Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

"You are brilliant, and the earth is hiring."

A conversation last night centered on graduating from college, and the ensuing despair that many 22 year-olds seem to encounter. I feel as if I have been walking around in a cloud, under a veil of confusion- who am I? Who are my friends? Am I really doing something with my life that retains any shred of significance? And I'm one of the lucky ones- I actually have a "real" job. I can't even imagine what my thoughts would center on if that wasn't the case. As of late, I feel like I have nothing to say and posting here seemed like a little bit of a lie. But today, I stumbled across this, the commencement address given recently to the University of Portland. It's one of the most encouraging things I have read recently- and it's written in a way that brings a little excitement, magic, and possibility into focus. Read the rest of the speech on Tim Brown's at IDEO's blog, here.

Commencement Address by Paul Hawken, University of Portland, May 3rd,

When I was invited to give this speech, I was asked if I could give a
simple short talk that was “direct, naked, taut, honest, passionate,
lean, shivering, startling, and graceful.” Boy, no pressure there.

But let’s begin with the startling part. Hey, Class of 2009: you are
going to have to figure out what it means to be a human being on earth
at a time when every living system is declining, and the rate of
decline is accelerating. Kind of a mind-boggling situation - but not
one peer-reviewed paper published in the last thirty years can refute
that statement.

Basically, the earth needs a new operating system, you are the
programmers, and we need it within a few decades.

This planet came with a set of operating instructions, but we seem to
have misplaced them. Important rules like don’t poison the water,
soil, or air, and don’t let the earth get overcrowded, and don’t touch
the thermostat have been broken. Buckminster Fuller said that
spaceship earth was so ingeniously designed that no one has a clue
that we are on one, flying through the universe at a million miles per
hour, with no need for seatbelts, lots of room in coach, and really
good food - but all that is changing.

There is invisible writing on the back of the diploma you will
receive, and in case you didn’t bring lemon juice to decode it, I can
tell you what it says: YOU ARE BRILLIANT, AND THE EARTH IS HIRING. The
earth couldn’t afford to send any recruiters or limos to your school.
It sent you rain, sunsets, ripe cherries, night blooming jasmine, and
that unbelievably cute person you are dating. Take the hint. And
here’s the deal: Forget that this task of planet-saving is not
possible in the time required. Don’t be put off by people who know
what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it
was impossible only after you are done.
When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my
answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is
happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand data.
But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and
the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a
pulse. What I see everywhere in the world are ordinary people willing
to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore
some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world. The poet
Adrienne Rich wrote, “So much has been destroyed I have cast my lot
with those who, age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary
power, reconstitute the world.” There could be no better description.
Humanity is coalescing. It is reconstituting the world, and the action
is taking place in schoolrooms, farms, jungles, villages, campuses,
companies, refuge camps, deserts, fisheries, and slums.

You join a multitude of caring people. No one knows how many groups
and organizations are working on the most salient issues of our day:
climate change, poverty, deforestation, peace, water, hunger,
conservation, human rights, and more. This is the largest movement the
world has ever seen.

(some text removed)

This extraordinary time when we are globally aware of each other and
the multiple dangers that threaten civilization has never happened,
not in a thousand years, not in ten thousand years. Each of us is as
complex and beautiful as all the stars in the universe. We have done
great things and we have gone way off course in terms of honoring
creation. You are graduating to the most amazing, challenging,
stupefying challenge ever bequested to any generation. The generations
before you failed. They didn’t stay up all night. They got distracted
and lost sight of the fact that life is a miracle every moment of your
existence. Nature beckons you to be on her side. You couldn’t ask for
a better boss. The most unrealistic person in the world is the cynic,
not the dreamer. Hopefulness only makes sense when it doesn’t make
sense to be hopeful. This is your century. Take it and run as if your
life depends on it.”

Thursday, April 9, 2009

a little poetry for you

Love For This Bird


She makes room in her bird-nest hands, full and woven with various twigs,

sheer feathers,mismatched strings. There is something wrong with the sky

when she collects the things that fall from it, like leaves or clouds,

mostly of ocean. Is she, sky? I ask the ocean for its birds.


Walk softly in her hills, soil bright with moon, all found

in the palm of her smile. Morning finds audience behind

sheer curtains of wave and lacy lines on face. Walk towards

leave and return on her lips. She will make cliffs

out of static rock and hollow birch.

You will inhale as she commands.


Cliffs are scattered with feathers and other things

birds search for. Anticipate earth- like she, the bird,

will guide you home. Shove me back into the mouth

of this ocean, my place. I have left nothing,

there is nothing left and she, living as a bird

in a nest of cliff, soil, and hunger, is alive.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


So, I'm training for a triathlon. And by training, I mean that I've actually started to get some form of exercise (skiing doesn't count). I was all stoked about it, and I totally felt like I could do it, no problem. But, when I took a week off to go to Belize, I lost a lot of momentum. Riding my bike today (to get lunch, not for a workout) got me breathing pretty hard, and I realized how much work I have left to do. Not to mention the fact that I haven't run a single mile.

I have been reading all these fitness and training blogs, and I am realizing how much work this is really going to take. I'm in no way ready to do this, and the tri I was thinking of doing is in a month. Either I hit the gas pedal for the next month (on top of school and work) or I train consistently until the next one, in June.


Friday, April 3, 2009

um yes please

and i want this jacket with my whole heart


1. So Rich, So Pretty- Mickey Avalon
2. Sleepyhead- Passion Pit
3. Untrust Us- Crystal Castles

yeah i <3 electronica right now, so what

the anatomy of leaving

Recently, I have been doing a lot of thinking. I just got back from Belize, where I spent over a week with 28 of the most incredible people I know. There were some big thoughts in my head, and being able to discuss them with some truly caring and smart people was exactly what I needed. Now, I'm starting to think more and more about graduation, and what comes after, and I used to think I had it all figured out. If you asked me a month ago where I would be in September, I would have told you about Seattle and the two job opportunitiesthere. As May 8th approaches more and more rapidly, I'm starting to question if those will work out. Many more conversations need to be had before I can make the decision to leave, although I thought it was the only thing I was sure of. But most importantly, only recently have I begun to think I would be okay staying in Boulder.

The word staying makes me itch a little. With so many options ahead of me, why would I choose to stay? With the rest of the world to discover, why would I spend the next few years exactly where I've been? The truth is, I know I'll come back to Colorado, and probably even Boulder. I'm not sure if I'd survive anywhere else. And since I am falling more and more in love with Boulder, should I even bother leaving?

Now, I have to think about the reasons I want to move. Am I craving new surroundings simply because I am craving newness? Or do I really want to leave? Will finishing school, beginning a career, saying goodbye to some friends and starting another chapter in my life be newness enough? Or will I forever be wondering, what if? And what's wrong with moving anyway, even if it might be for no reason other than I have also fallen in love with Seattle?

So if anyone has ever left simply for the sake of leaving, or stayed just to stay, let me know. I could use some advice.