Surfing Your Mind


Ride those atomic waves with compassion. Everything is connected and so are you even if you feel isolated.

As someone who writes a lot about climate solutions The stay in place order seemed to be a direct challenge to living with a net-zero carbon footprint. Of course, it would have been nice to have a few more acres to do some serious perennial gardening (fruit and nut trees, vines, and berries) but even with a small back yard I went from seed to salad greens in less then two months, microgreen and now they are huge and heady. Since lockdown my life has resembled what could be coined, The Modern Victorian Age, cooking to audible's Moby Dick, Gardening to the Frank Sinatra, working to classical music, sculpting, and painting to pastoral murder mysteries. Like many Victorians who felt distressed by mediocrity, elated by literature, shocked by culture, delighted to be home, I pacify many delinquent urges with walks on the mountain and botanical studies in my yard. I wasn't in a city and as rice and beans can tie me over I wasn't hungry. The opportunity for the languid boredom of the Victorians was replaced by a welling anxiety for what may still be to come for so many living in the margins. I spent time baking this discomfort into a simple life of natural pleasures and service to others and made a concerted effort to live by example. The Italian countryside in the '80s comes to mind, local food, local talent and no place to go but home with family and friends for happiness. Distance - socializing is oddly well-suited for our moment in history. There may be quite a lot that is worth keeping or considering.... home cooking, bird watching, working without pants, robotic manufacturing, universal access to healthcare, education, and basic income. what is not worth keeping is leadership that abuses power for profit. Leadership that is slow to rise to the warning signs of a pandemic and ill-prepared to protect its citizens. The only silver lining is that this pandemic has slowed two other major pandemics, chronic consumption, and restless travel disorder. We have cleaned the air, and our junk drawers, two challenging endeavors dusted in one news cycle. I am praying that somehow we as a society keep this slower pace and integrate it into a clean energy economy that is paid for restorative not destructive habits. It is also interesting that you are not allowed into a bank without a mask on. My new best friend is a small circle named Alexa indicating that indeed there are some big cultural shifts underway that may make low-carbon living easier. Maybe we will find ways to keep some of the benefits that we have experienced and do something about our failings we have uncovered. I also hope we all fall in love in a meaningful way with something bigger than ourselves. Needing to use power tools was the moment I realized life really is a community endeavor. A team effort is the name of the game and that is an essential service. Group zoom dinners won't ever be able to replace the in-person community experience. If we were being graded on our recent resiliency challenge how would you fare? Isolation is used historically as torment as well as a means to arrive at mental liberation. I teeter somewhere on the side of liberation. I give my self a solid B average on the liberated resiliency scale. It's a lot on your own, and I hope you did OK. I hope you found new ways to have fun. It's hard to feel settled in unsettling times and we would be wise to resist the urge to do so. Find friends that you are comfortable to be unsettled with, ones who can rise to the occasion of our times. Together we can restore our natural and institutional systems. The first step towards this isto have compassion for yourself as you learn to surf these uncertain times and gratitude for the waves that are our teachers.