I was just thinking.
I was at a small conference put together by the New Economics Foundation at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund's Pocantico Conference Center a couple of months ago. There were all sorts of luminaries there like Francis Moore Lappé of the Small Planet Institute and Jerry Mander of the International Forum on Globalization.
The theme of the conference was "Do good lives have to cost the earth?" In other words, can we find a way to support the human race and all its aspirations without trashing the planet?
Anyway, during one of the round table discussions, Betsy Taylor of 1Sky suddenly said, apropos of pretty much nothing, something like, "You know, I just think it's really important that we don't forget to put love and kindness at the center of what we're doing."
"If we don't spread the love," Betsy wrote me privately, "we're not going to make it."
My dad, who was mad about something the other day, wrote to me, "You should worry less about your carbon footprint and more about your family footprint."
Before this project started, when the only thing I did to try to change the world was complain about politicians to anyone who would listen, Michelle, my wife, would say to me, "You're creating missiles in your head."
I hesitate to repeat this Gandhi quote because it's so often written that it's becoming a saccharine cliche, but here goes: "Be the change you want to see in the world."
No more missiles in my head.
It's easy for me to get angry at the state of things and to point fingers. But doing so only divides me from people. It doesn't change them.
Betsy's right about the love and kindness. But how can anyone make the world have more love and kindness if they can't have more love and kindness in themselves?
I still have more work to do on my heart.
What we need is not to draw lines between people. We need to draw lines around them.
Colin Beavan (that's me!) is now leading a conversation about finding a happy, helpful life at Colinbeavan.com. If you want to know how people are breaking out and and finding authentic, meaningful lives that help our world, check it out the blog here and sign up to join the conversation here.