BY MARY-ELIZABETH HARMON
Founding Mother, Chard & Stripes
The show was on something like the state of Black America.
I was watching with my father and getting bugged: If one more speaker took the mic saying do something without suggesting what, I’d scream.
Black folks—and all folks—didn’t need more facts about how bad things were.
Black folks—and all folks—needed pointers for making change.
I wished out loud to my Dad that someone would talk about that.
And then it hit me:
If I could see something missing that I wanted, I could be “someone” to make it happen. Without a plan for what to say but knowing my intent, I started a newsletter called, “The Practical Patriot,” which I renamed as “New Dealer News.” Chard Mail is the latest iteration.
Chard Mail is here to help folks eat elephants: carving up what could be the daunting tasks of making and spreading prosperity into digestible bits.
It’s for you if you’re ready to be “someone” to make something happen.
What’s important about my newsletter is that I didn’t wait for a clear vision or an endorsement:
I elected myself a leader and got to work despite some confusion. And I didn’t wait for my work to be good before putting it in public. Clarity comes by taking one step after another. And work becomes good by doing it consistently, which is easier to do when you promise it to others.
Chard Mail is for you if you’re willing to share your work before it’s “good.”
Chard Mail won’t be me playing the expert. It will be me sharing my journey—goof-ups and all—to make and spread prosperity. MY WAY, which I pray will help you clarify and do things your way. My way will rub some folks the wrong way but oh well. To me, prosperity means aliveness, or feeling great. The less our lives and world feel that way, doesn’t it mean all the more reason to break norms?
Chard Mail is for you if you’re willing—even if not ready—to do things your way and be misunderstood, criticized, or disliked.
People will talk mess no matter what, so commit to yourself and building the muscle to shrug at funniness from folks whose lives you don’t want. This is easier to do hanging out with someone else who’s doing the same. I am someone.
Chard Mail is for you if you’re willing—even if not ready—to drop your way for a better way.
There’s a power that makes the world work. I’ve accepted that this power—God/Life/Higher Intelligence—can do a better job at sorting stuff out than Miss Mary-E. My way is trusting Life’s way, which isn’t always my first choice, I’ll admit. But I’ve learned that focusing on my dreams and going with the flow is the most fruitful way to go in the end.
Chard Mail is for you if you’re willing—AND ready—to live out loud, like by being joyful and letting it show through your choice of clothes.
Here’s a glimpse at how my way will rub some folks the wrong way:
I believe that we feed what we fight and “No Justice, No Peace” is backwards. “No Joy, No Justice” is more like it. Joy opens us up to Higher Intelligence, which means getting divine ideas for making change. But we hold ourselves down by stifling our joy:
We fall for “noble struggle” and the lie that joyful people—especially from disenfranchised groups—aren’t smart or attentive because who could be joyful with so much oppression in the world?
Answer: A crazy-ass chick like me who thinks zebra print and stripes are neutrals!
Alrighty friend, if you’re now clear that Chard Mail is for you, here’s your first assignment:
Decide what “prosperity” means to you.
Like I said, I’m going with “aliveness, or feeling great,” but you can pick whatever you want. But pick something because like Yogi Berra allegedly said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
Dr. Mary-Elizabeth Harmon is a scientist turned storyteller and Founding Mother of Chard & Stripes, a “school” of prosperity making and word-of-mouth marketing platform for kind people, products and businesses in food, fashion & more. Subscribe to her newsletter here.