Do you try to find order in chaos,
The calm in the eye of the storm?
Do you search for the perfect solution
To a problem that’s not yet been formed?
If I stand in a room full of dominoes
And knock over one with my toe,
Should I try to stop the reaction,
Or relax and just let it go?
My mom is fond of saying, "People make plans and God laughs." She usually says it just about the time said plans seem to be falling apart. I was thinking about my mom's words when I got kicked off of Etsy this week.
"Kicked off of Etsy?!?!" a friend asked, bewildered. "How did you get kicked off of Etsy?" We joked about what a troublemaker I must be to have been cancelled from an online arts and crafts marketplace with no warning or explanation.
Sharon Zeugin and I opened the online Artwise Poetry store to offer the Artwise Poetry Roulette Cards that we created and designed. The cards arrived from the printer on Wednesday and I was overjoyed at the vibrancy of the artwork and the feel of the cards. They felt alive to me.
(I'll take a pause from the story to mention that if you want to check out the cards and possibly order a set or two for yourself or as gifts, you can find them at https://artwise-poetry.myshopify.com.)
I couldn't wait to share them so I sent an email to a waiting list of people who were interested in purchasing the cards. An order came through! I was delighted that our first customer was another soul sister of ours whose support and encouragement throughout the process of creating the cards was invaluable. Another order: my mom. Then, my sister texted me to tell me that she was trying to order the cards but couldn't. "Weird," I wrote back. "Two people just ordered them."
I went online to my Etsy account and saw that our listing had big, bold, red letters across it: DEACTIVATED BY ETSY. I could feel a pressure inside me building. Surely there had been some mistake. I sat, eyes fixed on the screen, clicking refresh over and over hoping something would change, but knowing that it wouldn't. I searched Etsy's help menu and found many reasons why products can be deactivated by Etsy. None of them seemed to fit our circumstance. Something mysterious was afoot, but I didn't want mystery in that moment. An hour later, our Etsy account was closed. All of the excitement I had felt about sharing the cards evaporated into confusion.
When I met my friend, Katherine, for tea later in the day and told her the story, I was spinning in angst about how to get the Etsy store back online, but I also had to laugh as I listened to myself recount the story and heard the absurdity in it. I recounted the story and realized that, from a different angle, the whole story was absurd. "What are you going to do now?" Katherine asked.
I remembered my mom's words. I also remembered the idea that the universe is always conspiring on our behalf. I said to Katherine, "If it's true that the universe is conspiring on my behalf, then maybe the timing's not right, or maybe Etsy's not the right path, or maybe there's some other possibility that I can't imagine right now but will be clear in hindsight."
Katherine reminded me to slow down and breathe, to feel into the situation instead of staying up in my head. When I did that, I remembered why I felt such an urgency to make these cards available right away. Sharon and I both deeply want to bring more beauty and joy and inspiration into the world, especially now. It's why we both create and share our art and why our collaboration is so meaningful to us.
I left Katherine and stopped at a car wash on my way home. Watching the soap and water make a colorful lather on my windshield gave me another chance to pause and breathe. A friend called and asked how my day was. "Well, I was kicked off of Etsy!" I told her.
"Strange," she replied, then offered, "I use Shopify."
Two hours later, the Artwise Poetry Shopify Store was ready to go without a glitch. Hopefully, it will stay that way. If it doesn't, I'll do my best to roll with it. It will be another chance to learn, another chance to trust.
Wishing you a week filled with inspiration and unexpected surprises, and a Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate!
With love and delight,