Happy January daily actors!
And thus begins another turn of the wheel. Kicking the year off in a grand fashion, tonight we have Art Ludwig, the father of the modern greywater movement and an eco-designer who has mastered the art of living well on a low footprint while rocking transformative change across decades and continents. So join us! Come get your mind and senses blown. Reconnect with your community and get inspired to bigger and richen the ripple of your daily actions.
As David Whyte writes, the key to happiness in work is “to know what we desire in life, how we are made and how we belong to the world”. He goes on to say, “Even if we possess the work of our dreams, there is a way of doing it that will deepen and enliven it, a way that begs for a daily disciplined conversation.”
This time of year my daily conversation starts in the garden in the dark, meditating on work and life by candlelight. Also present with me is a swelling inbox and schedule of full of inspiring, important and courageous conversations to be had. Inspiring and important in the incredible visions we are making real together, courageous in the difficult conversations about unclear or unmet expectations and miscommunications.
This time to meditate and reflect is an important part of my rhythm as is breakfast with my family, time to study, write and garden. While always in heart and mind, they don’t all fit in the schedule all the time. So part of the daily conversation is making peace with and being empowered by that uncomfortable space between our vision and our reality. It’s remembering to appreciate when we succeed in living true to what we deem important. With big schedules always calling, it’s easy to skip even a few minutes to pause, water the garden and tend those important, non-urgent things that grow us whole, enabling us to know and live what we desire and still contribute our best.
With the landscape dry since December’s downpour, I fill up some cans with stored rain to feed the garden and tune into this living, breathing ecosystem. Yowza, look at those beautiful purple cauliflower and bright ripe Satsuma mandarins ready to be picked, that garlic to be weeded, the purple favas to be tagged for seed saving. The swelling buds of our guomi berry are already eager to share their emergent fruit, as I peruse apples, pears and plums observing where to finish some late pruning and to graft new varieties recently acquired at the Scion Exchange. It’s a chance to say hi to neighbors strolling by and have an impromptu strategy session with Deb from Mentor Me, our fabulous new partner that just moved in across the street at the Cavanagh Center. It’s also the small-unseen victories, not only did I water the garden but I wore neither my work shoes, which get wet when I do, nor my pajamas. It’s one thing to be rocking the Christmas tree pj’s as neighbors stroll by, but something else when our new partners rock up to their office and I’m standing with water can in hand waving good morning in my flannel jammies. So yes, my ‘to-do’ list grew in my 15-minute garden tour, but so did my inspiration, connection to place and neighbors and my sense of spaciousness to think clearly and have the presence to do as Thich Nat Hanh deems most important, “sit skillfully with the present to take care of the future”.
A few weeks ago I looked back at my journal from 13 years ago when Daily Acts wasn’t much more than a glimmer of inspired vision and a stack of Ripples Journal. It’s astonishing to me both how much and how little has changed as this incredible community of change makers has grown up around and with Daily Acts; pushing us to find new and inspired ways to “be the change” modeling our vision of self-care as well as home and community self-reliance.
While our community, impact and my schedule seem to have grown exponentially; I was shocked to see how similar the daily conversation was then and now – the feeling of gratitude and good fortune; of reverence for life and the deep sense of empowerment from leaders past and present like Gandhi, MLK, Paul Hawken, Van Jones and others. Though even then there was the sense of struggle with what felt like too big of a schedule, and a deep need to live this vision and values in self, home and community. What’s different is that while famed change makers still inspire me to step up, my reference points are down the street, around the corner, across town and the county. It’s YOU, our civic, business, school, church and non-profit partners, and our networks, alliances and intermingling movements.
This is the work and life of my dreams – you are the world-changing community of my dreams. The glimmer has turned into thousands of brightly lit beacons of light, connecting and spreading the spark where you live, work, play, pray, study and shop.
Take the time to find and affirm what you desire, how you are made and the gifts you have to bring. Tend your daily conversation and make friends with that space between your vision and where you stand today.
If you need a bit of extra inspiration and community connection, please join us tonight to hear Art share his incredible story of living a more simple, quality life with a minimal eco-footprint and a HUGE positive handprint for the many he has touched around the world.