Tag Archives: Effort

Mission: Pushing the Envelope with Friends

CCL Washington DCIt was spring, 2016, and I knew I had to transform my grief.  My heart was overwhelmed with daunting climate change reports: bleached coral reefs, melting permafrost, methane monsters, extreme weather events, and climate refugees.  Beyond lightening my own carbon footprint, I felt paralyzed.

Then one fortuitous day, I found Citizens’ Climate Lobby via Facebook.  After reading about CCL’s Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal at citizensclimatelobby.org, I decided to risk stepping out of my introverted comfort zone to check out my closest active CCL chapter, which is an hour’s drive away in Fayetteville.   That decision and the warm welcome I received from the wonderful folks who make up CCL Fayetteville, changed my life.   Becoming active in CCL has transfigured my heartbreak into hope, pragmatic optimism, and enthusiasm.

I’ve read about many courageous and innovative climate change actions unfolding around the world.  There is so much good work to be celebrated; perhaps you are part of such a group effort or are diligently undertaking your own climate mission.  Certainly both personal and broader public efforts are essential!  I would love to hear about your passion,  your vision, your message, and your efforts.

From June 19th – 21st, eleven of us (students, business people, teachers, retirees) from Arkansas joined with 1000 other CCL’ers in Washington D.C. to hone our knowledge and advocacy skills and to meet with members of Congress.  The energy of togetherness, responsibility, and possibility in the conference gatherings was electrifying!  Still, I was a little nervous. Never in my life had I envisioned myself walking through the Hart Senate Office building or crowding into a conference room in the Longworth House Office Building to speak up for the planet, myself, and my fellow human beings!  Yet there I was (despite the butterflies in my stomach)  with an inspired team of Arkansas CCL’ers  (I can’t emphasize the enjoyable, heart-full, intelligent nature of this team enough) engaging with Congressional representatives and staff in earnest dialogue.

Now here I am back home in the beautiful Ozarks.  The physical, scientific facts of climate change still stand stark.  But I’m energized to go forward, pushing the envelope of my personal comfort zone, in concert with my CCL colleagues, to bring about climate change solution legislation and a measure of healing to our home.  That feels good.

 

 

 

 

Balance: Dealing with that Desire and Aversion Thing

Happy GoatsI’m journeying through the final hours of a 14-day cleanse.    The desire to massage away my daily chocolate cravings and generally reset my body chemistry motivated this attempt.

The last intentional cleanse I undertook was Kris Carr’s 21-day Crazy, Sexy Diet alkalizing regimen, which fundamentally simplified my vegan diet, boosted my self-confidence, and gave me a taste of  what vibrant health can be.

A few years and lots of change have passed since then, and somehow in that gap of time and events, I forgot about the emotional and spiritual re-centering that can accompany physical purification.  It’s an obvious reality, really, and an odd one for me to forget; perhaps a sign of how much I have truly needed to trace what has become an insatiable, distracting chocolate desire to its roots!

The Buddha teaches in his Four Noble Truths (at least as I understand them) that the cause of suffering is craving or thirst, which is expressed in the constant pursuit of external things, ideas, and experiences that appear to bring happiness, contentment and peace.   Frustratingly, the delivered satisfaction and relief are only temporary. This is chocolate’s bittersweetness.

Craving is fed by ignorance of, discomfort with, and distance from who we are.   The Buddha prescribes the Eightfold Path, leading to Enlightenment or Awakening, as the path for healing this dis-ease.

Cleansing, I’ve realized, works along these lines, simultaneously coaxing the body into balance, while providing space for gentle self-observation,  release from extensions and a subsequent re-centering.

What I’ve  found at the center during these two weeks has been me.  And perhaps more importantly me being ok, even happy, with me.   A healing, chocolate-free  enlightenment of sorts.

About the image of the goats, which starts this post:  I snapped their picture while journeying along a winding state highway to a house-warming last Sunday.   They seemed so happy with themselves, balanced on their traffic-watching log ,that I felt inspired to include them.

Ideal: Sweating through Chaos

yellow beltAfter 18 months of preparation, I was scheduled to take my yellow belt karate test last Sunday.  Circumstances were not ideal.   I was coming off a few days of a low grade fever, and I had tweaked my shoulder while practicing earlier in the week.  I considered cancelling.   Why put so much preparation on the line knowing I wasn’t at my best?    Why infringe on the teachers’ time?   Or on the effort of the two other students who would be testing with me?

On the other hand, I had entered a psychological sweet spot.  That inner place where countdown planning, commitment, anticipation, and the willingness to step into the unpredictable all converge.  After due reflection, I decided to proceed.

The warm up (cardio, sit ups, push ups, etc) completed in a reasonable 15 minutes. But standing at ready, I suddenly felt dreadfully (I am going to faint or vomit) ill.   To my surprise I actually didn’t panic or self-criticize.

In fact, in that physically chaotic moment, unseen calm and positivity enveloped me.  And I did something I never thought I would do; I asked to leave.

I headed for the bathroom, but after a mere 15 seconds crossing the lobby I somehow felt reasonably better.  I no longer needed the bathroom. I turned around and bowed back in.

Over the next hour plus of demonstration, question and answer, and the final set of push ups, I struggled with speed and form, but again I felt invisibly, yet tangibly supported   By what I’m not sure.  Months of practice?  The teachers?   The shared striving of my fellow students?  The simple ideal of doing my best in each sweating moment?   I don’t know.

What I do know is that I emerged from the experience feeling unexpectedly confident.  In myself.  In the value of chaos.  And in the unseen ways of the karate universe.   Perhaps this is evidence of why the first line of the school’s student creed states:  “To Build True Confidence.”