Happy August Daily Actors!
In July we kicked off our four-part, four-month theme by Rekindling Our Sense of Reverence. This month, it’s all about reclaiming the power of our ripples, or the effect that our actions and attitudes have on our communities, our world and us. And who couldn’t use a bit more inspiration, empowerment and world-changing juju in their daily actions?
As many have said and Gandhi lived so well, we must be the change we wish to see in the world. This is the essence of reclaiming the power of our ripples, to bring our vision of richer lives and a better world into the world through our everyday actions. Because when one is living in this way they can positively impact everyone and everything they touch. Before I even knew what this passionate and purposeful living was, I could sense it in those I began to meet who had it. It was an infectious sense of aliveness. Finding and spending time with such people deeply influenced my life and Daily Acts, as we tried to figure how to rub up against this aliveness more frequently and to share it with others. We did this by exposing them to the sustainability enthusiasts amongst us who had tapped into this power and how it helped them transform gardens, farms and other places.
As Thich Naht Hanh writes, awakening is the foundation of every kind of change. Though once awake to the beauty and hurt in our lives and world, we must take action to embody and share that awareness. The good thing is that exposure to inspired and empowered living infects us with the desire to have and share it. The trouble is that while many of us have glimpsed moments of vision and empowered action, living up to this day-to-day is difficult. We often operate way below our potential, spending too much time triggered, stressed or otherwise out of sorts. Or we spend our time and attention on things that don’t nourish our relations or accomplish what matters most to us. Then if we do, it’s easy to get burnt out or overwhelmed by trying to live healthy and make a difference with so much going wrong in our communities and across the planet.
How we get from concern to action to consistently being the change we wish to see in the world is a matter of lovingly relentless practice at staying aligned with our passion, purpose and power. For this hard work of being your best self from day-to-day, a good compass is a perfect companion. A compass is a beautiful device for finding direction, with its needle always pointing to true north. In regard to finding and living our own true north, a compass is a core set of habits and practices; tools and systems, which help us live into our potential day after day. It can help us discover or clarify our purpose, our important roles and goals in life and our strengths and passions. It helps us find and stay true to what we value, to learn from those who inspire us and to hone in on the stuff that keep us on path. A compass can also help us set up our habits and habitats to the sort of shaping that we want to occur. Just like applying the principles and strategies of permaculture to our gardens and lives, it creates conditions conducive for things to flourish.
While ultimately your compass is internal, practices like journaling, meditation, yoga, exercise, giving gratitude and reflection help us stay clear on what matters. Having a good system for weekly and daily planning is important to stay on track with life priorities. Why not a folder or special box to place quotes, notes, images, pieces of art and other things that make you come alive?
Consistently reflecting on questions that align us with our passion and purpose is a vital practice as well. Who and what inspires you? What are you passionate about, good at, in love with, and willing to sacrifice for? What is the difference you long to make in the world? What aids you in finding and staying tuned to your true north? Why not consciously rub up against what reminds you of whom and what matters to you, what you need to be your best? What one thing, if done regularly, would make the biggest difference in your life?
As Stephen Covey wrote in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the habit, which makes all the rest work, is daily self-renewal. He writes that spending one hour a day on our physical, social/emotional, mental and spiritual development will affect every decision and every relationship, improving the quality and effectiveness of every hour of your day including depth of sleep and restfulness. While I hugely recommend an hour, if you can’t pull that off, start small and build from there. Even 5-10 minutes of renewal and realignment can make a significant difference over time.
It takes a lot of practice, patience and compassion to consistently reclaim and live into the power of our daily actions. It also takes a community, which is why we so need and appreciate you, for inspiring and helping us and those around you. While much of this has been a long time personal practice for me and a focus for Daily Acts, in recent years we’ve started monthly Personal Ecology sessions with our staff to support folks in finding and living their inspiration through developing and honing their compass tools and practices. In the past we’ve offered some programs in this regard and we are looking forward to doing so again. One thing we are REALLY excited about is our upcoming 6-month Permaculture Design Course with Toby Hemenway, in which we will be integrating both the hands-on, community-based solutions that Daily Acts is known for, but also some of these tools and practices of personal ecology and self-care that help each of us better be the change we wish to see in our lives.
This morning I’m heading off to the high Sierras with friends and then having a nice family vacation. In addition to following the flow of waterfalls through mountain meadows and over granite walls and splashing about in the pool with Ella, I’ll be spending plenty of time honing my compass, to refresh and reinvigorate my ripples.
Lastly, in the spirit of ripples, here’s probably the most famous quote on the power of our ripples. And of course it applies not just to men but all people!
“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” Robert F. Kennedy