Dear Friends far and wide!
As we round the bend into the touted yet mysterious 2012, I offer a small reflection and celebration.
The celebration: Day One of 2012, 20 years after publication of Your Money or Your Life, it is featured as one of USA Weekend’s 5 Personal Finance Books for 2012 you can bank on.
As the economy rocks, I’m glad so many people used – and will use – this program to get financially grounded so they can roll with the current punches.
For half a decade, reading the tea leaves of the economy, resources and climate, I’ve encouraged everyone I know to settle where they want to ride out the waves of seismic changes ahead. I have here on Whidbey Island.
- I wrote future fiction stories for books like Imagine and Hope Beneath Our Feet.
- Moving to Whidbey Island, launching Transition Whidbey (in the Transition Town model from the UK) and writing Blessing the Hands that Feed Us (Viking/Penguin 2013) all come out of this intuition unto conviction.
- In partnership with Aoka, I’ll be leading a sustainable food systems trip October 5-14 to Sao Paulo, Brazil (my second home) to learn about the vibrant food movement there. Stay tuned. Itinerary coming soon.
I’ve also served for several years on the Board of Transition US, working to catalyze communities around the country – hopefully hundreds more this year – to use the excellent Transition organizing approach to get their communities moving towards resilience.
Everything that calls me has a quality of “blessed if you do, blessed if you don’t” – if nothing untoward happens for a decade or two, all these endeavors bring me great joy.
Yes, I’m sort of Little Mary Sunshine of Doom and Gloom. As Leonard Cohen’s Anthem says:
“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”
Things are cracking. Let the sun shine in.
My community right now is grieving the death of a little girl on Christmas Day, crushed by a limb falling onto her family’s car. Another friend’s father just died. Another friend hangs on the edge. Occupy Wall Street is shaking things up, speaking for the millions falling off economic edges.
I have a sense that we will see more cracks in what was the smooth surface of a culture that thought we could grow and consume and borrow our way out of our problems. It won’t be bells tolling for others. The bells will ring in all our lives, calling us out of our comforts, cracking any illusions of predictability.
Helen Keller said, “Life is either a great adventure or it’s nothing.” The adventure is here and much depends now on our attitudes, on turning into the storms asking “what is possible now that this crack has opened?”
Much also depends on “loving the ones we’re with” – not just the people living with us, but living around and near us – your neighbors and towns-people – we used to rush past in pursuit of bigger dreams than our little local lives offer. When they say “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for” it means our local “we.” Who else could it be? Some work for justice, some for innovation, some for peace, some for security, some for art, some for the children. Let’s all now stop a moment and realize we are working together for our communities where we all belong.
A lot of quotes, but for me conventional wisdom seems more poignant now. It contains the wisdom of people of prior eras, people who actually were born, lived and died close to home. Maybe that’s why Your Money or Your Life is a top pick for 2012. It’s conventional wisdom, repackaged for our times.
I hope you will avail yourself of the tools of transitioning – there are so many! Transition US – and many more. I’m loving my local life, and eating has been a powerful way to express this love. I hope you enjoy the 100,000 word meal I’m preparing of ideas and stories and practices and promise that will be Blessing the Hands that Feed Us.
So I send you my very best wishes for a deeply happy 2012. Let’s hold hands and jump into it together.
Here are two beautiful meditations from our home, the earth and spirit.