It was during a discussion over breakfast one fine morning that I found myself in tune with the communication strategy of nature. The sun does not care upon whom it shines. It shines and that’s all it needs to do. Those in the path of her rays can choose to be burned or use the energy to grow stronger, they can choose to shield themselves or be warmed by the light, the sun does not care. It just keeps shining bright, doing what it does best. Likewise the tree in the forest has a story to tell. It is a story of acceptance, fortitude and determination. The story is told whether we are there to hear it or not. The story is told by the simple actions of the tree, growing in the soil that was offered by chance to the falling seed, reaching for the light, standing strong and silent.
Everywhere we turn in nature we see the same communication. The river flows unendingly, day and night, not concerned about the water wheel or the river raft. The bird feeds on seeds, not concerned about the distribution of these seeds through its travels, the bee collects the pollen unaware of the fruits it brings to the branches of the trees.
So we must learn to be at peace with just living our life to the best of our abilities, holding fast to our values and bathing in the joy that each day brings. We must not be critical of the thirsty stranger that chooses not to drink from our river of knowledge or the hungry friend that won't unfold out of his stoop to reach for the fruit on our tree. Instead we must find ways to shine brightly so that others may see the gifts that are theirs to share.
It is in this context that I now would like to share
with you what I have learned about sustainability. None of it may apply to
your circumstance but if you find just a single morsel of truth in my
writings it will have been worth the effort.
- The credibility factor is very important. To emulate or even believe a message the delivery of the message must come from someone that is deemed credible. This credibility is sometimes forced by fancy titles or degrees, but most often it comes from demonstrating that the essence of the message is being applied with the stated results in the life of the person delivering the message.
- Life is not about money and things, it is about time and love and life. Time to share our life with those we love. Time to love our life. Love to share our time. Life to love the time we have here on earth. We all strive for that on some level. Even those caught in the wave of financial pressures know that its all because ultimately we want to have freedom to be, time to enjoy, love in our world.
- Community is as important as solitude. A community is not made of houses and streets. It is made of people sharing a common ideal, communicating and loving, supporting each other in they joys of life. Building community is taking the time to reach out and touch your neighbours’ lives.
- Love is a verb. To fill our life with love requires us to take action. In taking the time to love every single thing we do we manifest our love in these actions. Soon our world is filled with acts of love that radiate all around us and fill our world with beauty and joy. The pride of a job well done can only be intensified by the love that radiates from a task to which we have given our heart.
- To have the time to love requires that we get behind the wave financially. There is nothing so destructive of our loving actions as the pressures to meet a mortgage payment or pay the utility bills. Whatever our means are we must learn to live well inside their boundaries. It is here that we find respite from the crashing, tumbling, noisy confusion of the wave.
- Getting behind the wave is easier than most people realize. In fact for most it is just within their reach, although they often cannot see what’s in front of their noses. Sometimes it requires a change in location or a change in relationships. Most of the time though it just requires a paradigm change and maybe the modification of a few habits.
- A sustainable community is made up of a group of people living a sustainable lifestyle, having the time to love and take pride in what they do, caring for their neighbours and their family. Such a community is built one person at a time and the best any of us can do is to be that one person.
- Talk is cheap. Most of us are afraid of letting go of the old ways because we don’t trust what we are told. It is the very few who have the courage to strike out on new paths and develop a lifestyle that can be emulated by the less bold among us. Those of us who can, have a responsibility to live an example that serves to encourage others to follow in our footsteps.
- And finally: "Self respect is earned when we do the right thing even if we can get away with doing anything." This is the little reminder I carry with me when I feel that my little action won’t really make a difference. It reminds me to do the right thing when I can for my own personal satisfaction.