Happy September Daily Actors!
The abundance of fall is nearly upon us, and as we continue our four-part series from Reverence to Ripples, to the word for this month is REALationships. Relations are the stuff that makes life go round. Lucky for you, starting tonight, we have great gads of ways to enrich and transform all manner of your relations, from self to community to this beauteous world of ours. One really big way you can help to grow our relations, and inspire yours to take action, is by being Table Leader for Ripple the World, our grandest and most inspiring gathering of 600 amazing eco-leaders and engaged people.
Addressing our biggest personal and planetary challenges can mostly be boiled down to one word… relationships, or more specifically, a two-word call to action – nurture community. As author Fritoj Capra wrote, “Ecology is the science of relationships”. From the ecologies of our bodies and towns to the natural systems sustaining us all, every action we take is influenced by and impacts people and planet.
Building on the rekindling of our sense of reverence, we start with our heart because as the research of the Heartmath Institute has shown, doing so provides increased mental clarity, strengthened immunity, better emotional management, and greater overall resilience. From here we can better reclaim the power of our daily actions. As Stephen Covey writes, “You can’t be successful with others if you haven’t paid the price of success with yourself.” He notes that self-mastery is the foundation of good relations with others.
When Daily Acts began, it was all about providing an inspiring call to action and sharing positive examples. Though over the years, it became clear that while we have to start with the power of our daily actions, how things really change is through community. As we often joke, ecosystem restoration is the easy part. It’s the ego system restoryation that is difficult. It’s also the most rewarding; connecting through common cause for a higher good.
Similarly to how reverence found its way to our center, “nurture community” became a guiding principle at Daily Acts early on. Through all manner of stress and difficulty when interacting with humans, returning to our heart to decide what positive actions to take to nurture community feels like a pretty infallible approach. Through heart-centered, mindful action your self-awareness grows, as well as the emotional intelligence skills necessary to relate well with others.
So for richer lives and a better world, four key relationships are: our core attitude or relationship to life; our literacy of and connection to the living world; our family and close friends; and the contribution we make through work and service.
Our Choice of Attitude
Charles Swindoll wrote, “Words can never adequately convey the incredible impact of our attitudes toward life. The longer I live the more convinced I become that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it.” The solution to transforming stress and difficulty is changing how we perceive it and our choice of attitude. Our attitudes are an expression of our beliefs and values, which are influenced by our culture; and by resetting our relation to the beauty and wisdom of nature, we can transform our beliefs, values, attitudes, and actions.
Resetting our Relation to Nature
For many others (myself included), Permaculture has had a transformative influence in resetting relationship to nature. Permaculture is an ethics and principles-centered design science for living well and in regenerative relation to home, neighborhood, and life. It’s also a community of ridiculously inspiring and wonderful eco-aspirational people. While there are many pathways into sustainability, through the people I’ve met and understanding I’ve gained, Permaculture has transformed my life more than most anything else. This ranges from our yard and neighborhood to how Daily Acts is helping take these solutions to scale.
Synchronistically, yesterday I got a heart-warming message from longtime Daily Actor Karin Lease. She shared pictures of a beautiful garden created by a close friend who had recently passed. Karin wrote to let me know how much taking our Permaculture Design Course had transformed her friend’s garden and life and how anytime someone asked what she was up to, she couldn’t help but talk about this.
Our Core Relations
For many of us summer is a time to vacation with family and friends, enjoy garden harvests and be in nature. A month ago today I hiked Mt. Ritter, a 13,000 ft. peak in the high sierras. The mountains even inspired some spoken word poetry. My yearly sojourn to the sierras has nurtured and pushed me in the most incredible ways, rekindling my reverence, repowering my ripples and replenishing my connection to some of my closest friends. As Sam Ruark said after one of our trips, “The moment I get down, I start looking forward to next year’s pilgrimage into the mountains”. Similarly these trips power me through the year and as is often the case, close relations create the space for such experiences to happen.
This last weekend my peak experience was a peek into the magic moments of my daughter Ella’s first backpacking trip as she bounced down the trail with her ladybug backpack on, or peacefully sat in my lap staring out at the mountains, barefoot and covered in dirt. At night, it was sitting in the dark against a granite slab with the Bonaguras, Daily Acts’ Sacramento Outpost, mesmerized by the bright glow of a zillion stars and the milky-way reflecting off the still surface of the lake. Such time to refresh our relationship to self, nature, and community is hugely important to sustain our selves in these challenging times.
When we got home, our neighbor Hannah was at the back door with a bountiful basket of fruit, tomatoes, and peppers from the garden. And so we enter the abundance of fall, from garden and farm to community gatherings. Fall is an incredible time of community connection, learning, and providing the financial and emotional resources to carry this work into another cycle around the sun.
What relations are most in need of nurturing in your life? Is it your attitude and self-care practices to stay sustained? Your eco-literacy and sustainable living skills? Your close relations? Are you urgently inspired to step up and grow this movement? Or maybe it’s all of the above since they fit together in such a tasty and eco-efficacious way. Whatever you do, an intent to start with your heart, reclaim your ripples and nurture community is a powerful step towards healing our relations and world.
As is usual, we have an insanely inspiring array of ways to re-skill yourself, refresh your relations, reset your attitude, and deepen your eco-literacy. Even better, we get to grow this vital movement of people and groups reverentially regenerating self, nature, and community by reclaiming the power of our ripples. A few things I’m particularly excited about are Toby Hemenway’s talk tonight, our upcoming Soil to Supper Dinner on September 24th and the North American Permaculture Convergence, September 14th-18th.