At the turning of the light between the days of 2011 and 2012 I sat perched on the edge of the world, very literally, nestled on the lava rock cliffs of the Hilo coast of Hawaii. I was deep in meditation about the world, my life, my work, and the attachments to such things that cause us great anguish. And at the stroke of midnight I chucked it all away into the great ocean off the cliff, over the edge. I stood up only to be smacked in the face and soaked to the bone by a giant spray from a crashing wave. Perfect, I thought, you just gave it all right back to me, Mother Nature. Whatever. I turned and left that cliff, only to return a day later with a business plan in mind to start my own consulting company for localism and social entrepreneurship. The plan was only three paragraphs long, scribbled into a damp journal. But to this day it comes with me everywhere I go. And my 2012 resolution and daily meditation became: “Stay open to everything.”
This year, for the turning of the light between the days of 2012 and 2013 I was called to be home with my family in my home and native land of Southern Ontario, Canada. It’s cold and snowy and I meditate to a grey sky and a grey yard as my view. But today was different because in that quiet moment I realized that there was no line between snow and sky, no line between now and then. No line between now and never. No line between home here and home there. Home is everywhere. The world is large and as we move around on it, shouldn’t we be responsible for it? Shouldn’t I care as much about the family owned businesses in the city where I grew up as much as the ones I adore in my own town now? Tonight, while listening to a new song written and composed by an old friend, I was deeply inspired. “Take Action.” It’s now my resolution/mantra/meditation for 2013.
In these days of great change (you know you felt it too in the waning days of December) we must take action, in our own lives, our work, in the world, in whatever we do. If you don’t, who’s going to do it for you? You never know where the idea will come from to start over, start new, restart.
Take action. Be the Change. Insert whatever mantra you need to get yourself motivated to make the world a better place for all of us. I’m a Localist. Localists take action. See if you can be one, too, with a couple simple changes in your life, in your community, in your work, in your business, in the places you visit:
- Move Your Money – Go. To your nearest credit union or community bank. Now.
- On-shore your products – Own a manufacturing business? Learn about how bringing the jobs back home is the new American way, here. Don’t own a business? Support one that practices on-shoring.
- Buy Local – that means more than you think. Food, clothes, whatever you can, although socks and underwear are not easy, I get it. See On-shoring. But here’s 10 reasons why you should support locally owned independent businesses, thanks to my friends at the Institute for Local Self Reliance.
- Grow Local, Eat Local – Grow it yourself, pick it yourself, start a community garden, frequent the restaurants that support local producers, shop at farmers markets, go out of your way to support a local food producer. Ask for locally-made products you love at locally-owned places you shop. The more you demand, the more power you have as a consumer. And know that you are helping to change the world, one tomato at a time. Here’s proof why the sustainable food movement is working.
- Support your community – volunteer, give back. It’s worth more than a dollar in your pocket and double that to the organization you show up for. Check out how this Idaho business is doing it.
- Go Green – Go beyond buying local. Being green can also be a way to be local. Buying close to home helps reduce your carbon footprint but what about the products you are buying? How green are they? Where are they produced? How far did they have to travel to get to your own organic kitchen? This index, from Planet Green, can get you down the green lane.
- Renewables = New Economy: fuel your car with biofuels, support businesses that power up with solar. Because climate change is for real and if you don’t believe me, watch this: http://www.chasingice.com/ and then go see it in theatres.
- Think it through and think Local First – Think: where can I get it? Do I really need it if I can’t get it locally? Can I ask a local business owner to get it for me so I won’t have to go online? Ask yourself what you are doing to help your neighbor’s business stay in business. And grow. Because local business is the beating heart and soul of our communities. My friend and localism researcher and writer, Stacy Mitchell recently lit up the TEDx stage with a talk on why we can’t just shop our way to a better economy.
- Start Now. Are you thinking about a business/project/program/organization but something keeps stopping you? What is it? Get it over it. Share your idea and ask for feedback. You won’t know unless you go, someone very wise once said to me. Just start. Maybe it takes you nowhere, maybe it takes you somewhere. Start with an idea, get creative, dance to your favorite song, write to your favorite music. Shake it out. Step it up and go. Call me. I can help.
- Be A Localist. Go here and spread the word about why you are a Localist. Tell someone about the importance of a dollar in your community and why you support Local First.
Take Action. Happy New Year.