How to lead a life

Pay Attention, Be Astonished, Do Something.” — Mary Oliver

Know community as a living tapestry. Just how protecting and promoting biodiversity of our planet ensures harmony, and, equally important, beauty and awe, the collective power of love is a pulsing exponential life force — the source of all community wealth and wellness, just as water is the source of all life on Earth.

Build intentionality as a strong foundation. Collaborate with others to find agreement to optimize and create culturally appropriate intentions informed by your community, most especially with trusted loved ones, who act as unconditional mirrors holding you accountable to the intentions you have conceptualized and defined with your higher self. Always nurture an active practice of mutual aid in all ways.

Tend to your courage to see your privileged/unprivileged identities in the legacy of this complicated unjust modern society that struggles with so much oppression and divide-and-conquer rhetoric. Find the inherent brave creativity in your heart to move past fear to cross race, class and gender lines to form alliances to help each other decolonize our minds and claim our power against structural violence. Practice compassion for all, even your enemies — they are hurting too in this imbalanced modern world.

Show up to do the work. Observe how your shadow self struggles; mitigate inevitable setbacks that trigger shame and despair by accepting and forgiving yourself and others, releasing negative holding patterns. Utilize the setback as a tool to learn and grow from by acknowledging your mistakes, ideally with other non-judgmental comrades. Believe you can find deep satisfaction, and pride in yourself, for taking responsibility for your actions, always trying to listen to your intuition and instincts, striving to determine what is really yours to change, rather than others’ projections or transference of blame, which are not your problems nor your job to solve — in fact, it is futile and fruitless to spend energy trying to change someone or do the hard labor for them, even if they are verbally or unconsciously asking you to do so. Yet, give generously without judgement nor expecting repayment, and receive without shame.

Remember and cherish the fact that everyone is different. What works to aid your growth may be neither a preferable or useful tool for another- if someone is trying to grow by copying another’s path, the outcomes most likely will only lead to confusion. However, seek friends and family members who share your values and among those with whom your growth can be inspired — personally, spiritually, professionally and physically. Find people with whom you can co-counsel and co-mentor. Offer your insight regarding what you have learned from your challenges and struggles. We all have wisdom to share from which others can greatly benefit.

Take pride in your labor to honor the earth, no matter how noticed or unnoticed by those around you- in your garden, in your place on the food chain. Promote dialogue about our important need to eliminate exploitation of resources and resulting waste threatening our planet’s way of life for all ecosystems. Teach our younger ones with enthusiasm and storytelling. Show by your example, learn with an open heart to know their stories and experiences. Share the fruits of joy and fulfillment that come with striving to be in right relation with the land and all beings. Demonstrate how sacred ceremony and spiritual communion with the earth, no matter how humble, help all of us in both big and small ways- and cultivate remembrance of our ancestral ways, acknowledging our tiny but significant place in the universe- that humans are equal to all beings — that each insect and spec of star stuff has its rightful place as much as we do.

Each of us needs safe space. Know in your bones, and through your inner nourishing journey, that we all deserve a protected inner sanctum from which to replenish and nurture our connection to the life-source, that such an inner sanctuary is vital for our soul survival and that we each have uniquely different needs for building and maintaining this perfectly imperfect inner sanctum. Learn how to ask for help to protect your soul, how to set and enforce your boundaries to protect yourself from outside detrimental energies, and seek to perceive signs of distress that are others’ calls for help, however subtle, veiled or hidden. By helping others we invaluably learn about ourselves, too.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve decided that in addition to being inspired by the elders whose legacy of quotes and proverbs which I have revisited countless times for strength, focus and rejuvenation, I too can offer my thoughtful perspective on how one may walk through this life in the best way. This is my contribution, my personal proverbs, an offering for your open heart to embrace. May they inspire you to create your own- and if you do, please share what you have written with me here. We are all teachers and students on this beautiful journey.