Kelly Wendorf & Lisa ReaganTo Kindred Supporters, from Kelly Wendorf
(Photo of Kelly Wendorf and Lisa Reagan at their first meeting at the Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children Summit at Mount Madonna, Santa Cruz, California, 2004.)
“…a cardinal property of the gift: whatever we have been given is supposed to be given away again, not kept. Or, if it is kept, something of similar value should move on in its stead…as it is passed along, the gift may be given back to the original donor, but this is not essential. In fact it is better if the gift is not returned but is given instead to some new, third party. The only essential is this: the gift must always move.” — Lewis Hyde, The Gift
Dear Kindred Community,
On June 30, 2010, I wrote to you what I imagined would be my last official Kindred communication — a goodbye letter, delivered via email, announcing the end of Kindred magazine, and the ceasing of activity on the Kindred website due to unfortunate financial circumstances. And even though it may have seemed to you that I had shut the door and walked away, the Kindred community was never for a second out of my heart or mind.
As I promised you then, I remained with the question of what was meant to happen with Kindred, with all of its articles, bloggers, images, posts and most of all, its vision and dream and the passionate community that gathered within it. I simply could not just shut down the website and throw it all away. But leaving the website to grow cobwebs while it was parked online also did not seem like an honorable option — not for me, not for you, and not for our children. So like a smooth stone in my pocket, the options remained turning gently around and around in my mind.
It’s now autumn and I have returned to my hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico — over 7,000 miles from Australia, the birthplace of Kindred. The aspen and cottonwood betray winter’s silent approach with a celebratory riot of brilliant golden leaves. Tonight as I write this, I’ve just returned from the mountains where I’ve finished up some important family business—the packing up and closing down of my father’s home, and a ceremonial return of some ancient Native artefacts that I had collected from that land as a child. There were reasons why I was given those things then, and reasons why now, as a woman, it was time for me to pass them on. So it is with all things given and precious.
Since it’s beginnings, one of the central threads running through the tapestry of Kindred was generosity—from the hundreds of writers who gave hours of their best work (and sometimes courage), to the photographers who gave their magnificent images, to the thousands of you who gave your time, your voice, your heart’s best attention to your families. Kindred was always a circle of generosity, given and received, and given again.
Many Indigenous and Native traditions have their own “gift economy” that emphasizes the good of the community over the individual. Gifts can be freely shared because there is an underlying sense that there is always enough. The value of the gift increases as it is passed on, never residing with a final recipient. It is the giving, not the gifts themselves, that helps build and sustain the health of the community.
Just a few months ago, as I turned that stone over and over in my pocket, it became perfectly clear, Kindred never “belonged” to me. It was never mine. It was an inspired idea—a gift—given to me by forces I’ll never be able to name, to take care of for a while, and by its nature, was to be passed on to another.
But this idea did not come by itself—for often the gift is revealed when its recipient appears.
Kindred has long been associated with Families for Conscious Living (formerly Families for Natural Living), a registered not-for-profit co-founded by the gifted and wise Lisa Reagan (also Kindred’s US contributing editor). Recently, after hanging up the phone with her on a personal phone call just catching up, I knew Kindred belonged in her capable hands, and under FCL’s care.
Those of you who remember her from her outstanding articles in Kindred during her position, know she will be an excellent steward. No doubt, Lisa as the executive editor, will inspire renewed passion and energy. What’s more, I have the honor of sitting on FCL’s board of directors with a team of very talented professionals, and as well, will be writing for Kindred when I can.
So once again we can sit together, listen together, be curious together, and explore what is true together. And more, we can benefit from the outpouring of generosity that is Kindred.
May the giving of Kindred lift up the courage, strength and wisdom of the amazing community of dedicated parents and carers all over the world for all to see.