October 24, 2014

Let’s Work & Play Together to make sure our World is Okay. [Editor’s Letter]

FInishing the day looking Bike Stylish heading out to an art party

Yesterday, I bottomed out. As I do, and as you may do, every few months or more, or less.

I was burned out. Today, I took most of the day off. My staff let me. I’m grateful it was easy to do this. I worked maybe two hours, maybe three, and I’ll work another three tonight. But just sleeping in–to 9 am–and waking up without a todo list was enough. Meditating, approaching life for one day as if I could live it, instead of as if my work was running me.

I love my work. It’s my mission, it’s my heart, it’s my “bodhisattva vow.” It’s my purpose, through which I am fulfilled. So I don’t mind working a lot—rather, it’s a privilege. My entire life has been privileged. Though I was raised by a single mother, poor, I was raised by an amazing single mother, and we lived a rich life. We were safe, and happy, and cared about important things (like caring about others), and I got a good education.

Yesterday, burn out day, a colleague of mine, Rachel, asked me what my goal for life was, or elephant. And I said just that we could help make sure the world was okay.

It’s not.

dalai lama

I think a part of my burnout was heartburn. As in, heart break: I got out of the Boulder bubble, Tuesday, to go to Ft. Collins to talk with Kim, the founder of New Belgium Brewing. On the ride there–a drive I know well from my days working at Shambhala Mountain Center–I was saddened to see all the farmland on both sides of the interstate highway being bought up and turned into big box stores. Every single gap had a for sale sign on it, except for a few government-protected parks. That’s all government is, or should be: human beings, you and I, and him and her–citizens coming together to do things. But government is weak, overrun by ideologues and fear-mongers and money, money, money–Citizens United.

Even worse than all the ancient open space, open since time immemorial being overrun by Shopping and Consumerism, were the dozens if not hundreds if not thousands of fracking wells.

They’re everywhere, now, in Colorado–fouling our precious clean water and air (methane clouds) and causing earthquakes.

What will humanity do to humanity out of greed? Just about anything. Capitalism is hungry.

Of course, there’s Conscious Consumerism, too. Join our Page, if so inspired. There’s Right Livelihood. Join our community. There are men and women and children everywhere who want to do well, and do good, both. It’s a false choice.

We have to do both. We have to sanctify money as a vehicle for good and we have to value and monetize environmental responsibility if we want to protect our land and health. This is our land. We may not, none of us, be truly natives: but we must assume stewardship of this land and protect it from ravenous greed.

My house is solar-powered. But there’s still a gas line coming into it. I don’t drive. I ride a bike. But I still fly, on occasion. We are each of us responsible for our impact. And that can be a joyful thing to take responsibility of.

The other day, on that drive, tired, harried, cheerful…I started crying. If you know me, you know that’s not like me. I’m not a soft hearted person. I don’t soften, often. But what we are doing to one another–cancer rates, BPA, gmos/patenting and controlling food, cheap tasteless suburbia (no good for those who live there–development can be eco-responsible, community-focused, beautiful and quality), fracking, rape, war–none of this has to continue. We can change our world for the more peaceful.

As MLK reminded us, we have to go with love. Hate is too easy. We can react as most of Canada did, to their recent terrorist attacks–by staunchly defending their peaceful and free values, and refusing to let fear change those liberties.

Stop shopping new. Get used clothes. Much cheaper, and often more quality. I get Pendleton and Filson and stylish shirts and jackets and suits and wingtips secondhand. Shop local for food, as much as possible–skip the plastic. Cut your commute, or get on the bus or train if you must commute.

And, vote. Those who refuse to play ball with a broken, messed up political system give up the chance to move the needle. At the same time, we must work to get money back out of politics.

Let us begin with ourselves. Take the blame instead of pushing it on others. Meditate. Take a moment to enjoy nature. Breathe. Hike. Sleep more. Drink more water. Give to good causes. Clean your room. Enlightened society begins at home, and in our community.

If you’re on Instagram, share your moments of peaceful activism–a moment enjoying the autumn leaves, anything–with #amonthofnow.

Let’s create community using media. Let’s create change using non-aggression. Let’s think about the next seven generations, and consume less. Let’s love.

In actions, and not just in these too-easy words.


Photo at top: Waylon with #Bikestylish friend and colleague, Jeanne Eisenhaure. Check out: bikestylish.com

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