The Morning Question

Every morning we get to site and circle up to stretch while someone asks a, “morning question” which we then all take turns answering. Some days the question is as ridiculous as, “what’s the highest, or lowest, pitch sound you can make?”, “what was your favorite activity as a 14 year old”, or “tell the story of the last time you shit your pants?”. Other times it’s a little more serious like, “what scares you the most?”. The latter question was actually asked on my birthday, and our last workday before our mid semester break. If I recall correctly, I believe I answered that it was tall heights like skyscrapers, buildings, or bridges with glass floors (seriously, why do these even exist?). This was also knowing that in two weeks I, along with a handful of others in the group, would be jumping out of a perfectly ok plane, which I was less scared of than these glass floors.

In reality, yes those types of structures do scare me, one of my biggest struggles in life, and I don’t think I’m alone here, is the fear of success. I feel failure is actually the best teacher life gives us, I can say I have had that teacher many times over. Failure I can handle, it’s almost comfortable like an old friend. I’ve learned many lessons by “failing” which have shaped or changed the trajectory of my life. Perhaps failure doesn’t even exist, we should just call it experience. I think success is the harder of the two to accept, where do we go from there? What happens when you reach those goals? Perhaps it’s a fear of the unknown, the mystery of what comes next… the change that comes once you reach what you think/thought is/was your goal?

As the semester draws closer to completion, and the plaster goes up on the walls, the houses we are building look more like homes every day. This has also brought one question repeatedly back to the group, “whats next?”. For some, they will go on to pursue a career in natural building, or back to their lives and jobs they had before they arrived in Moab, some may still be figuring it out. I personally came to Community Rebuilds to have a better look at how it operates, and also to see what it’s like living west of the state of NY. My past experiences have led me down the path of wanting to create a nonprofit affordable and sustainable housing organization. It was in this pursuit that I was informed about an organization that was already doing this, and the universe made it possible for me to attend this semester. As the weeks move forward, I still question what the next step is for myself. Where do I go from here? 

Maybe the answer lies in the question, what is holding me back? I’ve started and shut down businesses in the past, I’ve moved, I’ve restarted them, I’ve shut them down. There is a lot of energy that goes into starting a private business, and even more when you’re trying to start an NPO. A year and a half ago, I was in the good graces of a supportive employer who allowed me to shift my work hours to part time so that I could focus some energy on the start-up. When I gathered friends to create a program, we started with our vision and mission statement, and began preparing the legal paperwork, but one thing I struggled with in my head was location. I know my hometown could use a program like this. I know the environment needs more programs like this. I know what it takes to get a private company off the ground. But do I have the energy to do it again, and do I have the energy to do it here?

I feel I often ask myself, is it actually the fear of success that holds me back, or is it the idea of deepening my roots and pouring my limited energy into a city that I am not 100% sold on spending my life in? So whether it is the fear of success holding me back or not, finding “home” is the first step, and when (or perhaps where) it’s time, I firmly believe that when you take a leap of faith you cannot fall as your wings will be there to catch you as you soar.

Written by Eric Menz, Fall 2019 intern.

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