This year has been really hard. Really challenging. Personally, nationally and globally. With the issues that have risen around me and in me, I've been thinking about the answer to that familiar question, "what really matters?" When significant changes and upsets occur in life, we're forced to revisit that question and try to understand how to go on. Proceeding without caution could cause even more damage and yet if we try to do everything exactly right, we'll never do anything. And so, we must move forward in love, with as much understanding as possible and in humility, realizing that we will make mistakes and need to have grace... and repeating this process as far as I can see. Reflecting on this past year, I know what's going to get me through this next year and give me hope is: authentic community, continual education, and abundant compassion.
Surrounding myself with authentic people who care about improving and growing over protecting an image or comfort has been essential to my own growth this year. The people I need around me are curious people. I need people who have a vision for the impact that they want to have... and because of that vision, they are willing to take risks. They're willing to risk not fitting in, in order to innovate. They're willing to risk being perceived as basic, in order to learn. They're going to risk exposing their pain, in order to heal.
Educating myself and allowing others others to educate me, has helped me be more effective in attaining and re-aligning my goals as I learn more about the solutions to the problems I seek to solve. I've read a lot this year, listened to many podcast episodes and talked with a lot of really smart people who are doing important work in the social and environmental spaces.
Having abundant compassion for myself and others, has led to more authentic connections and and greater growth. When I have compassion for myself, I can have a greater compassion for others and when I have compassion for the people who hurt me the most, I can be free. Only hurt people, hurt people and the more hurt someone is causing, the more hurt they've likely experienced. For me, compassion looks like helping reveal the value of each individual to themselves and to others. This is not a call to tolerate abuse and destruction, but to confront it, head-on, in love and for the greater good.
I'm most thankful for the community of people around me who are on the same mission of caring for people and the planet. We've helped each other see our blind spots and held each other and ourselves with deep grace.
Here is just a small snapshot of this passionate community I find myself in. Genevieve and Marimar from Eco Collective Seattle organized an amazing workshop where we talked about how to bring sustainability to the holidays. We also succeeded (with a few failures) at implementing more sustainable gift-wrapping techniques like wrapping with cloth, biodegradable materials and recycled pieces like maps and newspapers. To keep up with Eco Collective and learn more about how to get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to these fierce ladies for your friendship and work on this event: