Instead, we wanted to find a new way to bridge communities, disciplines, ages, and experiences. We wanted to be more than something singular. We wanted to be integrative, holistic.
So to get inspired, we started looking to nature. We knew that what we were trying to build could be found in the natural world. We just needed to keep eyes and minds open and listen to all that surrounds us.
As we looked, we became inspired by the poppy: its delicate and sturdy leaves, its bending stem that does not break, its ubiquitousness across California. Everywhere we turned there were poppies: in the cracks of sidewalks, in our back yards, in the Botanical garden, outside Ward 86 (the HIV/AIDS unit at San Francisco General Hospital). The poppy is resilient. It thrives everywhere.
The poppy seemed so natural that we then googled "flower meanings" and started looking at the various types of poppies and what they symbolize. When we reached the black poppy, which really is more of a deep purple, with its meaning of rebirth, we knew we found our iconic image. But we were still missing a name. Black Poppy just didn't seem compelling enough. There was some more work to be done.
We (Margaret and Jason) are both writers, so we took out our pens and notebooks and did what we do best: write. As the pages filled with ink, an idea sprouted: Let's write some proverbs, some simple statement of truths. And we did. we wrote proverb after proverb until our index fingers hurt and a callus formed on each of our middle fingers.
We then started reading them to each other finding some that overlapped, some that just weren't that good, and some that shined. As we read, we listened to each other and our hearts. In that space of silent reflection, fourteen proverbs emerged completed, whole, and universal.
These fourteen proverbs became the roots of alignment and intentionality of our emerging organization. These fourteen proverbs are the stars that guide all decisions, the oracle consulted when lost and questioning, the heart that beats in all we do. In that space of prevalence and intentionality, we decided that the fourteen must be added to our name.
Thus, 14 Black Poppies was named.
I am still realizing the implications, the ripples, the impacts of what our name means. It's exciting (and sometimes terrifying) to realize the potential of one's name. It is also liberating for we chose this name and in doing so we named our destiny.