All In


What does it mean to be all in?

I made a list last autumn of the qualities I am seeking in a partner.

Sitting by the big fireplace at Lake Crescent Lodge with a glass of wine and a blanket wrapped around my feet, it was the first Monday night in November. I had scrambled alone up 2,000 feet of steep switchbacks to summit Mount Storm King that morning before breakfast and spent the rest of the day adjusting to the clarity that comes from listening to the pounding of one's own heart for a ninety-minute hard climb before finally stopping to rest atop a craggy, precarious ledge of a mountaintop with a view of, well, everything. Something shifted inside me and I had to write it down.

My notes on a partner are four journal pages long. They begin with "sexy as hell" and end with the words "ALL IN" in capital letters, underlined twice. I wrote it with the sort of emphasis that would imply knowing exactly what these two words mean. The truth is I do not.

What does it mean to be all in? How does it look? How does it feel? What do you do when you are? How do you invite and hold space for someone else to be "all in" with you? That was November and this is May, and I am still exploring this question.

Aside from romance, I have been simmering on the meaning of commitment as it relates to Lucia. One year ago this month, we introduced Lucia to the world and today I am discovering the real work has only just begun. I made the decision to be "all in" with this magazine before I fully understood what it would entail and how much I would have to learn about what it really takes to create a successful business publishing.

"Being all in means not giving up," a friend of mine said. "It doesn't mean that you have to have it all figured out."

Last night I stopped by Anthropologie to buy two coffee mugs. From day one, I have envisioned Lucia being on the shelves in this store. It would be a perfect fit. We are not carried here yet, but I think the right buyer simply has not discovered us. It is only a matter of time.

I was buying these mugs because tomorrow morning I am hosting the first small Lucia Circle. I only own three coffee mugs that are not chipped or broken and there will be four women drinking coffee in my home.

Lucia Circles are a new experiment. How else can we explore the meaningful questions and curious themes in our creative lives? How else can Lucia's mission, to inspire and enlighten the world by giving voice to the heart and celebrating true beauty, be brought to life?

To begin, I've invited a few brilliant women I know to come over for a couple of hours, sit in a circle in my spacious light-filled living room, have a juicy conversation, and do a little journaling. I'm hosting four circles this summer and if they go well, I may continue them or move toward something larger like a retreat.

Our theme for tomorrow is commitment. I stood in my kitchen this morning asking myself, "Why on earth did I pick this theme? It's so unwieldy and uncomfortable and odd and constrictive. What if no one can relate?"

Then I picked up my journal, flipped through the pages, and saw the words I had written back in November: ALL IN.

Maybe the words we place in all caps and underline twice are important not because they are answers, but because they hold questions. Maybe the answers do not come to us in words. Maybe they must be lived.


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