All living organisms and all living systems rest. From the smallest single cell organism to vast aspen groves connected via intricate networks of roots, life must pause, be still, relax, hibernate, lose its leaves. Stillness is a state of being which allows organisms to later thrive. If perennial plants did not shrivel up and lose their leaves in the winter, they couldn’t reserve their vitality to come back in the spring. If we did not go to sleep every night, we would not have the energy to do all that we need to do during the day. There is a Chinese saying: “the circle of wholeness is made up of action and stillness.” We all need to rest from time to time.
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“No more prizes for predicting the rain, only prizes for building the arks.” —Don Beck
This quote appeared on the invite for the Vermont Art of Hosting that took place in late August, 2011. Little did we know that a week after the training Vermonters would be putting their ark building skills to the test when the torrential rains of Hurricane Irene tore the state apart. The calling question for our Art of Hosting was: What are the conversations we need to have with each other to build healthy and resilient communities now? We explored meaningful conversation as a catalyst for community building in the region, where belonging, identity and neighborliness are dyed-in-the-wool traditions.
This fall will mark the five-year anniversary of the first time I upcycled my own trash. With the help of friends from SoMoHo (Soweto Mountain of Hope) in South Africa, I transformed a couple soda cans into a pair of earrings, a necklace and a bracelet. Since then I’ve become increasingly passionate about the practice and the mindset behind upcycling (making things that are more useful, beautiful or durable from what was previously considered garbage).U.S. citizens generate around 251 million tons of waste a year – 4.6 pounds per person per day. I’m convinced that if we begin to recognize waste as the most abundant resource on our planet, we’ll not only contribute to “solving” what is currently one of our most pressing global dilemmas, we’ll also become more creative, both individually and collectively. I’m also convinced that creative thinking is absolutely essential to develop during times of increasing complexity and uncertainty. Read More »