Happy May Daily Actors,
Yowza! Has spring sprung and sprung or what? If you’re looking for inspired action and education, May is Community Resilience Challenge time and we all know there is a SERIOUS need to further build personal and community resilience. So register today! Looking for a chance to gather with friends, eat well and feed this vital work? Then Soil to Supper is just around the corner and will be an immensely special night. Wanna help grow a movement of resilient homes, we got that too!
Last week, sitting around a table of influential change makers, each attendee was asked to speak to how we were disrupting business as usual in our field to solve the wicked problems our world faces. It was inspiring to hear passionate leaders tackling huge problems, from Indigenous Designs working around the world on fair trade to the Palms Inn housing Homeless Veterans. Sonoma Clean Power CEO Geof Syphers spoke about addressing our climate crisis by starting with the stark reality, determining what needs to be achieved, and then working back from here.
Eight years ago Geof and I were at a Leadership Institute mixer with a similar set of world changers, when he offered to help hone our proposal to the Water Agency with some of that world-changing mojo in mind. A small group of us had come up with the outlandish goal of planting 350 gardens in a weekend. Just 17 weeks after our first organizing meeting, lots of engaged people and over 40 schools, churches, businesses, organizations, and agencies rose to the Challenge and nearly doubled an incredibly ambitious goal by installing 628 gardens. In the 7 years since, we have registered more than 80,000 resilience-building projects and actions locally and through groups replicating the Challenge. The depth and range of actions people have taken to transform gardens, neighborhoods, schools, churches and everything else is astonishing. And even after 7 years, there are more actions to take, there’s more resilience to build. So be sure to stand up, be counted, and register your actions today.
Since May is Community Resilience Challenge month, there’s no better time to sow the seeds of our next revolutionary endeavor (or one of them), the Resilient Homes Network. Part of the disruption we seek to unleash is the “power of small”: small acts and small groups. It’s about rising to this big planetary moment through shared leadership and the power of community.
You have transformed our perception of what is possible with how you show up and step up again and again. With you at our side, through over 1,200 programs in 16 years, Daily Acts has shared and created a lot of demonstration gardens, and inspired thousands of people to create resilient homes and gardens. Establishing a Resilient Homes Network will magnify this impact, further unleashing the power of community. By developing and better connecting a network of resilient homes, we can amplify the number of people taking positive, meaningful action to build real resilience while addressing our core human needs for safety, satisfaction and connection.
Of course Daily Acts doesn’t exist just to affect change in the world around us: we must be the change we wish to see. For a lot of us this means we want to change the world AND have time to garden, exercise, raise our kids, chill with neighbors and enjoy time in nature. As I pontificate this dynamic tension between do-gooding and tending life, and try to bundle up a sizeable swarm of activities into a coherent form for this blog and myself, I get a call. Some friends have a swarm of bees in a tree. While driving across town to get the swarm, a large patch of vibrant purple flowers and bunches of ripe artichokes in a front yard grabs my eye. A warmth comes over me when I recognize it as the Petaluma Fire Department garden that Daily Acts installed two years ago, via the power of community of course.
Later that night, I’m in a backyard shed across the street, plotting a block party for one of our Community Resilience Challenge actions with neighbor and daily actor Jesse Rankin. A shed in another transformed garden certainly makes conditions conducive for such plotting.
The next morning a swarm of texts and emails comes in, from an offer to attend Regen18, a conference of world-changers, to difficult news about partner organizations and agencies. Mentor Me just had to cancel their big fundraiser and has to make up a lot of money, and Sonoma County’s vitally important Energy and Sustainability Division is at risk of being shut down because of the budget crisis from the fires. So many are facing so much.
In a more connected and imperiled world, navigating urgent need and inspiring possibilities is an important part of our work. So while I love a good swarm, be it of bees or inspired do-gooders plotting epic change, I’ll resist the urge to conference. Instead, I’ll connect Deb from Mentor Me with a grant opportunity (disrupting the mindset of “competing” for scarce resources), I’ll check for the Sonoma County Gazette article coming out about the Energy and Sustainability Division and I’ll chip away at those hard to get to priorities… not to mention squeezing in some time to tend the bees and take my daughter on a bike ride.
The thing about the gathering of world changers I attended last week, the one I’m missing today, attending tonight or others like them; is that they are full of people who are living their inspiration, intent on nurturing community and regenerating nature. This is the core work of our time. What do you need to disrupt in your work, your life and your mindset to further unleash your potential and make your greatest contribution? Do you need to step up and lead bigger and bolder? Do you need to pull back to take care of your health or family? Do you need to spend more time meditating and planning so you can gracefully do it all? That last one is for me, because what I most want to disrupt is the belief that changing the world comes from sacrificing other parts of what makes us whole.
Why not live a rich life that enriches your family, friends, neighbors and world? What if these things lived in a reverent reciprocity of resilient relations, like how a bee pollinates a flower that meets its needs…AND the needs of the hive? Are you ready to rise and shine and step to the times by more fully living and sharing what makes you come alive? Do it. Schedule it. AND register it for the Community Resilience Challenge of course. That’s what those DIY, create-your-own-action boxes are for of course!