Tuesday, April 14, 2015

10 Steps to Change Your World: A List in Progress

"Today we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking, so that humanity stops threatening its life-support system. We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own -- indeed to embrace the whole of creation in all its diversity, beauty, and wonder." — Wangari Maathai 

I think a lot about whether I'm helping or hurting the planet. Maybe this is because I grew up in California, maybe its because I practice a Buddhism that challenges me to revolutionize my life.  Maybe its a persistent naivete, but I woke up this morning thinking of ways one can change the world. Is that possible? In college, earnest, unjaded and sure my actions made a difference, my college professors were pulling their hair out over the fact of climate change. Twenty five years later here we are. The news is full of woe; who know where are water is going to come from; the result as of entrenched racism and sexism and greed have never been more stark; the presidential race is a sales job... people are struggling everywhere. And after 25 years of ups and downs of action, result, periodic disappointment...we're still here. I think, I know — because I've changed a lot — change —of one's mind, of ones limits, changes that can result in a more peaceful world —is very and always possible. Actions add up to result. Why not make them positive, proactive actions? Why not start with your own world?  Think of it all as an experiment if you have to. We might all yet surprise ourselves. What I've found thus far...

 10 Steps to Change the World: A List in Progress
  1. Love something or someone. Show up every day and decide to love it or them. This can be your practice (#2). Life is suddenly that much more amazing.
  2. Practice. Regular practice is where it's at for me: a prayer, an exercise, a martial art, an instrument, an art, a relationship...all the above!  Like  #1, its about paying attention and through repetitive action you learn your mind, your habits and what needs to change to progress. 
  3. Get involved with a community. That is volunteer for something or join a committee: whether that's music or gardening or spiritual study or cat rescuing or a project at work, get involved with something where you're a part of it but IT's not all about you. Yes, you'll find out how tricky it is to reach agreements about seemingly simple things. And you'll find out that you really don't like everyone. But that's the point. You'll learn to work with other people to make things happen.
  4. Know nature. Go for walks where there's dirt underfoot.  Learn about the other creatures around you. Be amazed.
  5. Eat locally grown, organic food whenever possible. Plant it if you have to. If you don't have a yard, inquire about a community garden.
  6. Limit fossil fuels. Carpool. Use public transportation. Walk. Or ride your bike. Clean air, healthier you.
  7. Clean up. Wash your hands, etc. et. al.
  8. Vote whenever you can. Run for office or get involved (#2) yourself if you don't like what's happening.
  9. Say thank you. Simple acknowledgement can go a very long way.
  10. Forgive. Assess the past, take the lesson in the mistakes and move forward.

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