Reflections on a launch party

A little over two weeks ago, my husband and I opened up our flat for the soft launch party for HOLOS. What an immense privilege!

40 people coming together from different parts of our lives. Various friends, partners and family members of the HOLOS team, all gathered together to enjoy time together and hear about the HOLOS movement. There were locally-sourced vegetarian canapés and bags of Tyrell’s Cheese & Chive crisps. And there was a lot of wine. There was a loud, delightful buzz of conversation happening in the dining room, kitchen and reception. There was an inspiring presentation by the HOLOS team and a taste-test of five different flavours of kombucha. And then it was all topped off with some amazing kombucha cocktails, thought up and delivered by the artistic soul of the husband of one of the founders. There was loud music, dim lights and a lot of joy.

As you do after a party, I laid in bed that night exhausted and elated. I played through the conversations of the evening, quietly laughed that I forgot to put out the second half of the canapés for our guests and reflected on so many of the laughable and learnable moments of the evening. I thought this would be a great space to share six of my favorite moments (five wasn’t enough and 10 was just way too many. I have a kitchen to clean, after all…) In no particular order:

Six of my favourite moments from the night:

1.    That part of the night when Megan - my dear, dear friend and one of the HOLOS founders -  started suspiciously watching the man with the shaggy hair and beard. At the beginning of the party, our children were still awake to greet the guests and “just see it all!” This guy kept going down stairs with our children. Alone. And leaving the party to play hide and seek and check out their bedrooms. “Does someone have eyes on this guy?” she wondered. Looking around to see that no one else was alarmed and feeling all the more responsible ... that guy? Was my brother visiting from the states.

2.    That part of the night when someone asked, “is it ok to put lime peels down the sink waste disposal?” To which I replied, “yup!” Only to turn around and see the remnants of about 80 lime peels angrily spitting back up from the disposal and filling the sink to the BRIM with a very citrus-y smelling tub of water and pulp that was, apparently, prepared to stubbornly sit there for another three days before a plumber could finally come out. Ick. One friend suggested adding gin to the concoction and passing out straws! Learning moment: don’t put 80 peels down the disposal. AND also, know what it’s like to clean up from hosting 40 people without a kitchen sink? It’s impossible, that’s what it is. I’m getting this blog post done before the kitchen is actually put back together…

3.    That part of the night when we all gathered in to watch the HOLOS presentation. Squished in shoulder to shoulder along the sofa, standing on the sides of the room, sitting on shared chairs and the floor. And the radiator. All coming together for a shared experience. Even the air inspired. And then afterwards, the natural split that occurred from no longer just chatting with the people that you had arrived with. That shared experience now uniting people and lending itself to new conversation topic and formed relationships.

4.    That part of the night where I watched one of our friends naturally work his way to each one of the founders of HOLOS. Engaging them in conversation and really getting to know each person. Listening to their stories and seeing their eyes light up as they talked about what their role and vision is for HOLOS. I missed seeing him talk with one member - Christine. Then I received a photo from a friend, and there he was, talking to Christine in the background! This friend followed up the next day, speaking so highly of the quality of the team members that are working together. He would know. Such an intentional friend and such an inspirational way to work the room!

5.    That part of the night when Joseph was called on to speak in the presentation and he wasn’t quite sure what he was supposed to say. He charmed us and made us all laugh in the way that only he can and told us to talk among ourselves about which of the HOLOS values is our personal favourite. He got things sorted whilst everyone was chatting and carried on. Ireceived feedback a few days later from one of the attendees of the party, he shared that this moment of sharing with one another was one of the most effective parts of the presentation. When in doubt, put it back on the audience! And laughter is always, always a good thing.

6.    That part at the end of the night. When the HOLOS team - all 8 of us - sat around our dining room table and discussed it all. Taking turns sharing how we felt it all went, sharing our favourite moments, eating the rest of the canapés that I forgot to serve … and resting together. Holding hands and praying and then sitting in silence for a bit. Together.

Writing by Kacey Lake