The girls’ mom and I have this 50/50 visitation schedule, which means I won’t see them for five days.
Even though they’ve been gone for just ~12 hours, I’m feeling super nostalgic for my girls, so I’m gonna share a memory. It’s my weft story.
At five weeks Juliet almost passed from sepsis, pneumonia, and a suspected case of meningitis.
That’s her on the right, in what we thought were her final moments, looking at her sister Nina (named in honor of Nina Simone).
It was in that context that the PICU staff allowed us the concession of having Nina placed next to her in her bed (that’s Nina on the left).
They are identical twins, which means they are a single fertilized egg, split into two people.
Since conception, they had never been separated.
Not until Juliet expired in my arms and I raced her to the emergency room, driving 75 down Fremont, shaking the baby carrier and screaming for her to keep breathing.
Long story short: Juliet’s colors changed in the presence of her twin sister. She turned a shade more pink, which was an improvement from her prior greyish color.
What I witnessed was astonishing, and challenged my understanding of science and medicine. The doctors too were a little, uh. Surprised.
For days they’d been sending a social worker in to speak with me about having mom and I speak about “what’s next.”
Anyway, Juliet started turning pinkish in her sister’s presence, so they poured both girls into their mom’s lap, and Juliet’s colors improved even more.
What did it? Sight? Smell? Pheromones? Magic?
When I share this story with indigenous or eastern healers, they nod knowingly and say it’s a transcendent energy that connects us all, “ye olde golden thread” or whatever, and it’s often potently expressed between siblings and their parents.
I don’t know.
At first this description annoyed me, but I was more annoyed by the medical people, because those enamored with hard science tend to be coldly dismissive of this story; if they can’t explain it, they don’t like it.
SCIENCE SAVED YOUR CHILD, they say, ignoring the fact that the doctors were recommending that we disconnect her and “let nature take its course.”
So I settled upon détente:
I’m not inclined to believe that the entire domain of science and medicine has been conquered in just 200–300 years, and I’m willing to remain open minded to the suggestion that 10,000 years of indigenous tradition may have a few lessons to teach.
In any case, I came to call this almost magical energy “weft,” which is a term borrowed from the domain of weaving, and concurrently spent a lot of energy trying to describe it through the lens of western science.
Juliet was released from the hospital, and I watched closely for other expressions of “weft.”
At first I could See “weft” among other multiples, as well as their parents.
(You’ll note that I capitalize the word “See” to indicate a transcendent discernment of a quality that cannot be quantified using hard science.)
Next I began to See this same quality between the twins and their three siblings…and then I could See this same quality when a stranger would approach the twins in public.
The girls are so lovely, so engaging, so fun to watch; their light draws people in from the shadows, and they bring smiles and joy to so many people.
It didn’t take long — just 2–3 years — before I could See this weft quality everywhere, in the countless acts of love, charity, and kindness between strangers.
And once you can See it, you can’t “un-See” it.
Weft is everywhere; it may well be our baseline state.
Face to face, most of us are treated with kindness and respect by perfect strangers, most of the time. It’s a numbers game.
This is why I have a preference for the interactions at ordinary roadside gas stations; the kindness expressed among strangers is extraordinary…..and extraordinarily overlooked, and taken for granted.
“If you want to know what water is, don’t ask the fish.”
If you can coax a stranger to share a meal, chances are things are going to go well, and you’ll leave that exchange enriched on more than one level.
That’s why I buy roadside tacos for strangers whenever I can; this is how you bootstrap friendships, and although I’ve been in Austin just 18 months, I’ve gotten to know a ton of really good people.
It’s actually just that simple, and it took almost losing a child for me to see it.
Today I own a software company called 214 Alpha, which provides a community activation mobile app, giving a small town or a community everything it needs to deliver a self-funded economic stimulus, using money that normally remains “under the table,” and activating local leadership.
The community activation mobile app includes seven features essential to self-governance, and one is “reputation,” which (within our solution) is not just a score, but also a way community members can earn complementary currency: what we call a “selvage token.”
Within our reputation economy, the “selvage token” pays people a bonus if they can innovate a way to reduce the rates of arbitration within our system.
The economics behind this are pretty simple: by reducing the rates of arbitration, they optimize our system. Pretty straightforward.
Likewise, the weft token within our reputation economy rewards those who can innovate ways to elevate the well-being of others.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”
When someone is recognized for their contribution to weft, they are paid in community currency, which enables them to carve out a wage while remaining true to their values.
By leveraging Selvage and Weft, our hyper-local communities can calibrate their collective values as they seek to reformat and recalibrate their participation in economic and social exchange.