Happy March Daily Actors,
Great gads of blossoming goodness. While spring is a few weeks away, the season’s verdant emergence is upon us. Are you ready to get out and about, to sow, grow and connect with inspired friends and allies? Lucky for you we have a plethora of tasty options to fulfill your urge to emerge, learn and take action. So join us!!
Harold Thurman wrote, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs – ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” This has long been a favored quote of mine. So when I saw these words on a workshop flyer hosted by Daily Actors extraordinaire Dennis Hardle and Claire Grinsel, my interest was piqued. Knowing how aligned this workshop was with Daily Acts, Dennis and Claire generously offered for me to attend. Workshop host Stuart Emery has been writing, teaching, consulting and running organizations based around aliveness for four decades. In Success Built to Last, Stuart and his co-author interviewed dozens of incredibly successful people and found that they all had discovered something they loved to do and how to be REALLY good at it.
As part of the workshop we did an Aliveness Audit, meditating and reflecting on times in our life where we felt most impassioned or alive. Aliveness has always been core to Daily Acts. It was Mark Cohen’s spark and sense of presence that first drew me to permaculture. Attending Bioneers Conference and being exposed to a whole community of inspired good-doers who were aware of injustice and environmental degradation, but were operating from a place of empowerment and vitality cracked open my sense of what is possible. It was stepping into the garden at the Permaculture Institute of Northern California and getting a direct transmission of nature’s fecundity and the transformation possible right in someone’s backyard. This is why we bring you people and places that are modeling how to live their inspiration in ways that regenerate nature and community. We want to help you grow this in you, your garden, your neighborhood, networks and relations.
Spring is the quintessential season of aliveness as nature’s bright, blossoming and buzzing emergence infuses us with newness and possibility. It’s when we launched Daily Acts and every year since it’s when we’ve stepped to our next level of inspired action from the first Ripples and Sustainability Tour to our first greywater installation, public food forest and the 350 Garden Challenge. Now amidst record drought, cold and snow on our coasts and a dangerously ticking climate clock, there is all the more need to inoculate more people and places with this regenerative aliveness. We know we can spread these models to thousands of homes and neighborhoods in hundreds of communities, to connect our networks and grow our movements. But how can we do this while staying spacious and present, connected to both the urgency of this big planetary moment and also what’s alive in us? For a lot of folks, this means time to reflect and practice self-care, to connect to nature and neighbors and to grow and tend gardens, families and our other vital relationships.
It’s also not about work/life balance, where one gets more so the other gets less. It’s about integration. Why not treat all of it as service, be it to self, family, home, garden, community or world? For me some of it looks like meetings and deadlines, some of meditating in the garden, making a meal or mead with friends, helping a neighbor or enjoying the Cavanagh Center workday this Saturday. I’m on vacation this week, but sitting in the garden, rubbing my kitty’s belly and writing to you as the bees buzz and wrens and red-shouldered hawks call and squawk brings me alive. As does the meeting I just had with David Shaw (with both of us in our gardens) in Santa Cruz who’s 120 students are rocking some sustainable goodness and will be bringing the Community Resilience Challenge to their communities. Three years ago today I was in the garden with a couple dozen Daily Actors connecting, laughing and growing the sort of lush aliveness that infused me years before in a backyard. Just before lunch Mary and I got a call and left to pick up our favorite perennial ever. After a long and challenging two-year adoption process, in just 24 hours we met and brought home our daughter Ella who is the essence of joyful aliveness.
A lot of what I love to do and seek to get good at involves the garden. It’s a vital part of what brings me most alive, growing, meditating, celebrating and connecting with family, friends and allies; being with you and other Daily Actors and partners, pruning and planting trees, pulling weeds and sharing inspiration while visioning how we take our lives, communities, organizations and movements to the next level of richness and resilience. After all this is what life does, create conditions conducive for flourishing wonderment. When we live and share this, we tap into the power to transform our lives, communities and world.
As Stuart reminded us, how alive we will live is to the degree with which we commit our self to something. What brings you alive? What are you willing to commit to? This also means committing to not doing the things that get in our way, to spending more time and attention on activities and relationships that bring out the best in us. What do you need to prune or compost in your schedule and life to focus more on what brings you most alive? What seeks to be sown and to blossom? And as Stuart asked, “How will you spend the breaths you have left?”