Changing Relationships and Humanity One Note At A Time… The Story Of Chandra Greer
Stationery that helped a woman thank every person who supported her through cancer recovery.
A man who used her cards to reconnect with friends of 20 years.
Or someone who wrote an entire play in one of her journals.
It takes an amazing heart to create space for this to happen. she does it with her values of “beauty, thought, appreciation, concern, respect, kindness and civility.”
This is Chandra Greer, owner of Greer Chicago, a store that brings carefully curated greeting cards, notebooks, pens, pencils and well…creative inspiration to the world.
Chandra’s products have been in all of our circles community experiences this year. Over 100 people have been touched by her thoughtful curation and eye for beauty.
One of our favorite products is the Mnemosyne journal that has the softest paper i have ever felt. when i asked her what attracted her to these journals, she said “the culture and restraint” of the Japanese company that makes them. “Here is this gorgeous black cover with just a small amount of gold text on the cover,” she explained.
For me it sends the message please write, draw and create today because we honor what you have to say.
Chandra shared with me that it was the Japanese soccer team in the most recent world cup that was apparently the only team that cleaned up the locker room after they played. This kind of character and “citizen of the world” mentality is very important to her and something she instills in her daughters.
She decided that while uncommon, she wanted her daughters to have a global and diverse cultural upbringing through consistent world travel. Chandra and her family have been to Europe, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil to name a few. She hoped this kind of travel might inspire a much larger perspective in their lives that would generate more creativity, love and humanity.
It is probably no accident that one of her daughter’s is now an actress who recently graduated from NYU Tisch with a degree in drama and her younger daughter is currently at NYU studying fine arts. They are both amazing people who have such a unique ability to connect and relate to everyone they meet.
Just like their mother when you spend time or work with Chandra you immediately pickup her talent for “seeing people.” Ever since i met her, she has been a champion for our success.
She believed in our goals to inspire a world of Ubuntu or as Desmond Tutu described, “a person is a person through other persons.” I think she understands, like she learned through travel and culture, that people need space to sit down and understand each other.
We talked about how it is this type of connection that creates the ability to feel. When we feel we are more present to both our gifts and those of the people around us. We are able to connect deeper to how each of us experiences life.
Maybe this would build the foundation for an inability to tolerate the endless pursuit of more, hate, oppression, racism or suffocating the gifts of our soul.
It is the capacity to feel that gives us the courage to honor what matters most to us. It reminds us about the interconnectivity of the human spirit. That we all want similar things with love, a sense of belonging and ability to contribute to the world.
We can also better understand the immense beauty and freedom in what is most simple. take one look at that Mnemosyne journal and you will see what i mean here…
I think this is why when I asked Chandra who her audience was she explained “it is a network of high functioning, high feeling people….who want to live their best life, but their best life is not buying a boat, a gucci bag or whatever else…rather their best life is having friends, experiences, doing great work and taking care of their relationships.”
She explained further “it is people who are more interested in emotional and intellectual fulfillment rather than merely the physical.”
Chandra went onto say “I think that is why I love what you do. because those (circles experiences) are the things that are going to move us forward as a culture. a nice handbag, a great meal is not going to do that. but ideas and bringing people together while sharing other ways of thinking will do it.”
I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that a person who creates space for words has such a delicate touch with them. Chandra truly understands why our partnership with her matters so much.
This year alone at circles community we have seen so much restoration, reconciliation, friendship, kindness, courage, healing and change happen through the shared dialogue and time for people to write letters, words, poems or drawings in one of her journals.
It is a joy to see her values alive not only in her products and store but who she is as a person. this certainly takes enormous restraint and character in the world of retail.
She explained how seeing other people’s art and going on cultural walks through Chicago fuels her creative inspiration. this helps her connect to beauty and she shared that sometimes “creative work is like a recycling process.”
This certainly gives us a greater nudge to get our own art and voice out in the world.
As julia cameron once said, “i believe that as i have an impulse to create, the something i want to create has an impulse to want to be born. my job, then, is to show up on the page and let that something move through me.”
We can apply “showing up on the page” to anything. what we have inside us might be the very thing someone needs to see, hear or observe in this very moment. It is the essence of being a catalyst for change.
Chandra completely embodies this idea. This is why Greer Chicago is way more than a retail store.
It is a place that honors our very best. A reminder the change we want is only one moment away.
Just ask the man who wrote his first play in a journal.
or the woman who honored all the people who supported her through cancer.
or the person who mustered up the courage to write a letter to someone they hadn’t spoken to in 20 years.