Happy summer daily actors!
Wow, can you believe we are halfway through the year? Now is a great time to reflect and re-center, making sense of life’s ups and downs and putting our attention to taking action on what matters most. In a busy, challenging and topsy-turvy world, this is no small task. To richly and resiliently live one’s potential day after day requires a new mindset, a new skill set and a community of support. This is why we are extra excited to be accepting applications for the Daily Acts Leadership Institute! Ready for inspired solutions, new tools to create change, and a support network to ignite your leadership? Apply today! Someone pop into your mind that could really use such an offering? Spread the word, there are only three days left to apply!It can be a lot to make sense of all the difficulty and change in our lives and world. Not to mention figuring how to stay nourished, connected and centered amidst it all…I recently shed tears of joy as I officiated the marriage of Ryan Johnston and Kellen Watson, who met while working for Daily Acts. The day after, I shed tears of a different sort when I received a call from Janet Ryan, a neighbor and engaged daily actor who wanted to say happy Father’s Day and to give me a hug goodbye, as she entered home hospice. About a month ago Janet told me that while she had been in remission from cancer for many years, with the smoke from the fires last fall, her health took a turn.
As I visited her bedside she excitedly told a close friend about Daily Acts and with an inquisitive sparkle in her eyes, she asked what inspiring new projects we were up to now. I told her about the launch of the Daily Acts Leadership Institute and the beautiful success of our Soil to Supper Dinner, which raised enough money to install a healing garden for formerly homeless veterans at Veterans Village in Santa Rosa. That night, we even seeded our next fundraising effort to help fire survivors in need of support to rebuild and re-landscape their lives.
In recent months, Daily Acts has been part of a partnership that created free landscape design templates to help fire survivors get in their homes faster while encouraging long term sustainability. It’s vital for people to see and to help create models of more resilient, sustainable and beautiful landscapes, while rebuilding the spirit of our community. We worked on this project with the Water Agency, the City of Santa Rosa, the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership, Ann Baker’s Landscape Architecture, Equinox Landscape and Foresite Mapping.
Surrounding the joy of Ryan and Kellen’s wedding and the sadness of saying goodbye to Janet, more change was afoot. Kellen’s last day at Daily Acts was just before their wedding and the new week brought more transition as three close friends, partners and Daily Actors told me they were leaving Sonoma County, including our Operations and Finance Manager Jennifer Thompson. Not long ago Jennifer excitedly told me how she had worked in non-profits all her life but had never worked in a place like Daily Acts before where there was so much joy, inspiration and hard, heartfelt work. She said, “I wish we could bottle and share this!” But change happens, especially in a world of quickening crises and growing challenges.
Impermanence is a cornerstone of Buddhist insight, knowing that nothing lasts. Being able to fully accept the change that happens is also critical to building resilience. As is making meaning in any situation and having the adaptability and intent to make the best of whatever shows up. Reverence has long been a core value of Daily Acts. Reverence as defined by Deng Ming DAO is “the stately determination to make something worthy of the materials and the moment”.
In a true reverent Daily Acts fashion, Janet has chosen to have her ashes put in a biodegradable eco-urn to grow a tree. Recently after talking about and visiting Janet, my six-year-old daughter Ella was asking about death and dying. We talked about how death nourishes life and that none of us know how long we have. All we can do is treasure and make the most of each moment and day; to live and give our best; and to love and care for our people and planet. Of course it probably helped that Janet showed Ella a picture of a diving mermaid, saying that this was Janet diving into her next adventure.
Thank you for all the ways you take heart and take action to support Daily Acts and for your dedication to being the change you wish to see in your life and our communities. If you are inspired to further live into your potential and are looking for some new tools, practices and a community of support to do so, I hope you consider applying for the upcoming Leadership Institute program. Standing at this mid-point of another cycle around the sun, it’s a great time to reflect and re-center, to accept things as they are, and to make meaning of whatever difficulty or change one is facing. Then with reverence in our hearts we can go about making something worthy of the materials and the moment. This includes the small day-to-day moments in our lives; this big post-fire moment in the North Bay; and the larger planetary moment we are part of with fractured politics, crises galore, and an astonishing array of people like you rising to the times.