Red Shoulder Hawk

Red Shoulder Hawk

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Peace in Perspective

Discovering how to buy, build, and live in an interpretive center dedicated to promoting all aspects of sustainability and ecotopia, from the smallest personal hygiene task to the largest regional land-use awareness, is frustrating me to no end. I see the vision with great clarity, and to not have it and feel unable to get to it makes me sob. I've committed to honoring my own carrying capacity, but I'm already pushing myself unsustainably in my business, in my life, in my commitments. I can't manage my own needs; and I want to set up an example home?

I'm so agitated I don't sleep at night. My skin itches all the time. All the time. My right eye fades in and out of usefulness. I've even begun to black out. I can still eat, so that's good. Gray hairs are popping up like weeds. Do I need a break? I haven't earned a break!

I went hiking at Lake Chabot with my son. We covered over 6 miles and 1,000 feet elevation change. We both whined a little bit. The break and the exercise felt good.

I called Christopher Shein, the local permaculture genius. Left a message for him. I was babbling in pain and fear. Although he scarcely knows me, his heart is large and he called me from his cell phone (he loathes to use the device) while riding his bike home from work. He could tell I needed to find some peace. He invited me to dinner.

At dinner I shared greens, vegies and fresh pesto pasta with him and his green-living housemates. They were "interviewing" a potential housemate, with her little boy in tow. It was a delightful evening. Chris and his housemates have chickens, ducks, fruit trees, bamboo, native plants and a large garden. They have a gray water system. They are using natural clay plasters to cover walls, and many salvaged items for construction as they repair the house. I saw a window from made of a discarded futon frame! They work as permaculturists, teachers, and in creating jobs for formerly homeless folk.

And... they feel like they aren't doing enough. This table full of rooted, centered people, look at all the places they are making a difference, and tell themselves, "I have more to do, and not enough time to do it."

I look at what they've done, and where they are going, and am in awe. How can they feel restless? They are such healers in the world! Suddenly, I recall people telling me the same: Bob, you drive an electric car, you have real relationships with your children, you design logos for people in the green, ecotopia business sphere, you advocate for affordable housing, you bring community to the parish... the list goes on.

I am blind to the good I already do. I have to choose to see that yes, the positive places I touch the world, those are worth celebrating. I don't need a model ecotopian home to be my best self. I'm still driven by a force I don't comprehend to keep striving to make that ecotopian home a reality, but...

I can be my best self by doing exactly one thing: being my best self.

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