I Got In, I Got In!

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SoOoOoOooo I Got In!!! Found out on Tuesday (yes, it’s taken me this long to share) that my application to the University Of Santa Monica application was accepted. I am on my way towards getting my Masters in Spiritual Psychology. Woooohoooo! Well guess what… as happy as I am, I still feel scared.

“I haven’t been to school for so long”, “Am I sure I’m gonna be able to pay for this?”, “Will I really be able to finish the two, maybe three, years?”, “How will I make it through the long weekends?”, “Maybe I’m putting too much on my plate?”, “School starts NEXT WEEK….am I ready?”

Ya know what, I DUNNO!! some of those questions, I’m just not sure of the answer. The thing I have come to discover over the last few days though is I have a choice. I can choose to let the fear of the unknown deter me away from my path (like I have done many a time in the past) OR I can use the fear of unknown to give me the strength and faith needed to continue forward. It’s like that saying that I love (that I might butcher), “Imagine driving in a car somewhere at night…with your headlights, as long as you continue to move forward, you only need to see a little in front of you at a time to eventually reach your destination”. That’s how this feels. With only little light leading my way, little by little I’m continuing to move forward along this path of my dreams.

The journey of USM started with me checking it out online and noticing there was an informational meeting that very same week. Being that, to get to this meeting meant I had to travel down the 405 (traffic nightmare) right after work at 6pm AND find a babysitter from 6-10pm on a Wednesday so my fiance could come with me, some people may have skipped the meeting. Not having a clue what to expect, I took a step forward. After the meeting I was excited but nervous about the financial aspect as that’s the thing that worries most people about situations like these. Wondering if I was moving too fast, what if I wasn’t looking at all my options. It took 3 months, but I did what I needed to do to apply. Scared about if I could handle it, yet another step forward. Now here I am filling out my enrollment forms after being accepted, still scared “what the hell is going on?” but STILL another step forward. I expect many more moments to come along like this, that leave me with the choice to stop or take another step forward and I’m coming to slowly learn that as long as I KEEP MOVING FORWARD, my goals will be met.

I’m finally coming to know what FEEL THE FEAR, AND DO IT ANYWAYS is all about. I posted this quote on my Facebook page a couple of weeks ago when I was finishing up my application, and it’s the thing I now start to think about when I get scared. It’s slowly becoming my motto for creating an exceptional life. I have felt the fear in other ways and areas of my life and continued along with stuff, this isn’t my first shebang, but I always felt like when it came to my career goals/dreams, when I got too scared I would give up. Whenever I felt a tad discouraged I would run away. SO this just feel like a BIG step for me to actually get something big started that I know I will follow through with, coming out a new and improved version of myself.

I have a lot of fears but I know once my first day comes, they will start to subside. Underneath it all I feel really good about everything going on in my life and the lives around me. I have learned a lot of things over the years, read a lot of books, given a lot of advice, had plenty of conversations and motivational talks with others to help them get through their fears, but through all that I’ve always been scared to trust my OWN heart. I knew there was a big part of me that hasn’t been walking my talk. And now I feel like I’m getting a taste of what that feels like.

Literally two seconds ago, I just text my friend with “Your head is just a bunch of mumbo jumbo filling your thoughts with fear, your heart knows the truth and just wishes you would trust it”. Stuff like that comes out of my mouth constantly to other people ALLLL the time but its a whole other story to feel and trust that myself. That’s all our soul wants from us, is to trust OURSELVES over the fears that are constantly being strung through our brain at lightening speed a million times all day. You get an intuition about something and almost immediately following are the thousand of fears challenging that intuition. The key is to listen to that intuitive thought.

When you start to trust  your heart and notice that it knows its shit, it can get addicting. You realize that it was right all along, even if at first it can be the scariest decision you make, and you’ll want to keep doing it. It takes many times of choosing your fears first and learning the lessons that go with them, but with practice you become stronger and less afraid. The goal is to eventually listen to ONLY my heart and tell my fearful thoughts to “suck it” (in the kindest way possible of course).

It’s funny because the one thing that got me to actually turn in my application was listening to one of my friends talk about how she had just registered for a certification class she was interested in so she could get her dream job. It motivated me because I remember her discovering what it was she wanted to do and within a few weeks she was making moves and putting down money. She was scared too but she was doing it anyways. I was just sitting there thinking “Here I am taking three months, scaring myself further away from my dream while she is just going for it”. The next day I started completing my application. I told her this the other day when I got accepted that her moves had motivated me and the ironic thing is, she told me I was the one that motivated HER. I told her if she moved forward and did it, MAGIC would happen. Well who knew, that magic would be for both of us.

Listen to your heart and MAGIC does happen. I believe that and now is time to start following through. Has there been a time where you have decided to listen to your heart over your head? I would love to know how that worked out for you. Share below!

Vulnerability leads to connection. Connections allows us to see we aren’t alone. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and share your thoughts or story in the comments section below so that you can open the opportunity for a connection with someone else

xoxo,

barista

PS: People have been asking me “What is Spiritual Psychology?”. Below is a video from the EXACT informational meeting I attended explaining what Spiritual Psychology is and what USM is all about. You’ll see why I am so excited to go. PPS: This school isn’t for those only interested in Psychology, as Im not trying to become a Psychologist, many different people attend that have many different backgrounds and careers, 1/3 of the students even travel from all over to attend the one weekend a month. So you may be interested and maybe I’ll even see you there next year 🙂 xoxo

Are You Suffocating Your Flame?

One day a couple of months ago I started thinking about the possibility of going back to school. I have been interested in going back for a couple of years now but had wandered from niche to niche trying to discover what I was most passionate about. I received my Bachelor’s in Psychology back in 2006 and have not really done anything with it since.

After graduating I decided I wanted to take a year from school and just live and enjoy myself without any added pressure for once in my life. I swore I was not going to be one of those people who said they were going to take a year and never come back… I felt really determined that going back to school was my goal and I was going to return. Well a year has turned into 7 years.

After years and years of entering job after job, starting but never finishing venture after venture, I have come to discover that I have been subconsciously scared of my success. Sounds kinda silly huh? But it’s actually quite common for many people.  Especially the closer you get to achieving your goals. Most people can relate to feeling scared of failure but I believe the two definitely go hand in hand. As much as some of us are afraid of not being good enough, we can also be afraid to shine our light bright. But why?

We feel we don’t deserve it. We are scared of change. We feel guilty because others around us aren’t achieving. We feel like once we reach success, we don’t be able to sustain it. We want to avoid being seen as show-offs or conceited. There is fear that others will envy or hate us, which in turn will leave us lonely and unloved. . The thing is, we witness things like envy and hate on others everyday, sometimes we’re even the ones judging. 

I know that change creates more change and I worry that if I change, the relationships around me can’t help but change as well. The fear comes from not knowing how and this fear creates a sort of suffering. The thing is I feel like once we have experienced growth and witnessed miracles, we create more suffering by NOT changing. The light is lit inside but we spend so much energy covering it or hiding it, afraid that it’ll be put out, that we are doing nothing but suffocating it, stealing the oxygen it needs to grow, in return slowly putting it out ourselves.  

As with everything, there is always a pay-off we are receiving that keeps us continuing the path we do, even if they act is a bad one. What is my pay-off for remaining powerless? “At least I can control the situation more” “I can’t lose if I don’t try” “No worry about obtaining success and not knowing what to do with it” “I can save my money instead of risk losing it” “My relationships with people can stay the same” and one of the biggest pay-offs being, “I am comfortable and don’t have to feel vulnerable”.

Once you identify your fears, you can start to work through them and surrender to the outcome.  I looked into the University of Santa Monica back in June of this year. I attended an introduction into their program of Spiritual Psychology. I had never been so amazed in my life that a program like theirs exists. It was RIGHT up my alley. Everything I believe in, work towards, want to achieve,..all taught and mastered through their Masters Program. And what?? I can get a Masters too?!?!? Sounded so good to be true. I immediately knew that it was something I had to go through with. I have never felt so alive and motivated upon leaving that meeting. I just KNEW that school was for me. I even was mad I had not found or heard of it sooner. (BUT I also know if I had, I wouldn’t have been in the place I am in now to appreciate it).

I came home and couldn’t stop smiling, knowing that I had discovered my next step.  Hmmmm, now to take it. THAT was the challenge. I started my registration form and then all the fears come creeping into my head. “How am I going to pay for this?” “What if I can’t get three letters of recommendation?” “Will I be able to do this, work, get married, have more kids, and maintain the home at the same time?” “What if I don’t get in?” “What if I commit and then can’t continue” “Is this really reasonable?” I’ll admit some of those fears were powered by fear of failure, but because of how powerful I felt in my heart about this program, I realized more of it was coming out of my fear of actually coming to a successful place along my path.

I have had a lot of ideas over the years, started a lot of ventures of my own, but never fully following through with any of them. Over the last 3 months I saw this going down the same road.  Having been immersed in the things I love and continuing to grow over the years, witness the miracles that happen to others that are conquering their fears, even being a huge part of that very process in others lives. I have become nothing but more and more passionate about what I want to be doing with my life. I KNOW that I don’t want to settle. And I have come to truly believe that once you know this TRUTH, there is no looking back. There is no giving up. There is no backing down. As much as you try to cover that light, your passion becomes its gasoline and if you don’t move your hands, it will burn you eventually, forcing you to get out of your own way, until it can do nothing less than SHINE the way it’s meant to.

Classes start in the beginning of October. “Maybe next year will work out better” “Next year will only come with different excuses”. The fears that were stopping me from moving forwards were slowly becoming trumped by my fears of how I will feel if I don’t move forward. I came to an epiphany that the ONLY thing in my way was myself. It wasn’t money, it wasn’t support, it wasn’t time. It was just me and my limiting thoughts. And I CONTROL that. FEAR isn’t real. Grasping that thought is one of the most powerful realizations one can have. I have seen over and over miracles happen through the faith of letting go and surrendering. Why would it be different with me in this instance? How will I know if I don’t try? I believe things will work out exactly how they are supposed to. If anything, I needed this space to realize how powerful I truly am. I’ll take it!

This week I am finishing up with the application process. I got my transcripts sent, 2 of 3 letters of recommendations sent so far, finishing up my essay, and paying for my deposit. I felt the fear and I’m doing it anyway. The pure intentions are there, the flame of passion is burning, now all I have to do is SHOW UP!  This is it!!!! This is the moment, yet again, where changes will take place and life will open up. IM READY!!!

I leave you with a favorite quote:

 MarianneWilliamsom-Quote

Are you suffocating your light? What can you do to let it shine today?

Vulnerability leads to connection. Connections allows us to see we aren’t alone. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and share your thoughts or story in the comments section below so that you can open the opportunity for a connection with someone else

xoxo,

barista

The Butterfly

I came across the story below and thought it had simple meaning worth sharing.

You know when you hear someone else talking and sharing experiences with you and, from the outside looking in, and the solution seems so obvious. How many times do you wanna just shake people and just scream “How can you not know the answer?” Ok maybe I’m the only one that wants to get physical.

Especially when it’s someone you really care about, it can be hard not to force YOUR idea of what’s best for them. Maybe you’ve gone through a similar experience before, maybe we’ve seen them go through a similar experience before….One reason we do things like this, is because we are trying to save others from a struggle we think they can avoid… Besides we are “just trying to help”.  Truth is, no one knows what’s best for someone else. Only you know what’s best for you and they know what’s best for them.

Having open conversations, giving WANTED advice, and sharing knowledge can be very harmless but we have to know when to let go and let others go through what they need to go through. We have to trust that they will learn exactly they need to learn, to grow into exactly the person they need to become. We all have a journey.

The Story of the Butterfly

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.
One day a small opening appeared.
He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours
as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole.
Then it stopped, as if it couldn’t go further.

Butterfly
So the man decided to help the butterfly.
He took a pair of scissors and
snipped off the remaining bits of cocoon.
The butterfly emerged easily but
it had a swollen body and shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch it,
expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge
and expand enough to support the body,
Neither happened!
In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life
crawling around.
It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness
and haste did not understand:
The restricting cocoon and the struggle
required by the butterfly to get through the opening
was a way of forcing the fluid from the body
into the wings so that it would be ready
for flight once that was achieved.

Sometimes struggles are exactly
what we need in our lives.
Going through life with no obstacles would cripple us.
We will not be as strong as we could have been
and we would never fly.

Are there ways in which you can relate to the butterfly? Are there ways in which you can relate to the man? How can you can accept the struggles in your life and in others?

Vulnerability leads to connection. Connections allows us to see we aren’t alone. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and share your thoughts or story in the comments below so that you can open the opportunity for a connection with someone else

xoxo,

barista

Tiny Buddha: 7 Steps To Hear Your Own Inner Wisdom

I have been talking to a close friend of mine a lot over the last couple of weeks and this spiritual self-growth path is something she’s become more interested in over the last couple of months. A question she asked me recently was “How can I learn to listen to my inner self?”. I was thinking “GOOD QUESTION” because after 5 years of reading books, seminars, blogs, etc it’s been something I have been focusing on more then I have before. Especially since I have been reading “May Cause Miracles”.

Listening to your Inner Self is, I think, one of the most important things you can learn to do on The Path to reach your highest potential. YOU have all the answers you need right there in that heart of yours. We often seek advice from others be it friends, family, teachers, counselors etc and we want THEM to give us answers and tell us what to do. Why? Because we don’t take the risk or responsibility for the outcome. Some of us become so used to ignoring that little whispers of our hearts that we just don’t think it even exists. But it does and I found this awesome article on Tiny Buddha that explains ways you can start to HEAR it better.

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7 Steps To Hear Your Own Inner Wisdom  By: Lindsey Lewis

“I don’t know what to do.” “I can’t figure it out.” “How do I know which choice to make?” “Which one is right for me?”

Sound like someone you know? Here’s one thing I know for sure: You’ve got the power. You’ve got the love.

You’ve got the innate talent—you gorgeous, loveable soul—to know without a doubt what is right for you. You’ve got the power to know what to do, to figure it out, to know which choice to make. Your soul is calling. And all you need to do is listen.

At one time not so long ago my innate talent was ignoring my soul. I had developed an acute ability for lasering ahead no matter what my essential self was saying—even when it was “Wrong way!”

I set goals and made plans and went for it no matter what—and soon I was a stressed-out, exhausted insomniac. So that was fun.

In fact, fun was exactly what was missing from my life. I put external touchstones ahead of inner happiness. I let my ego tell me what to do, based on what I thought the standards for success were.

I bought into the mantra: Work, work, work and then work more. You can enjoy your life when you’re retired. It was no wonder my entire system went into revolt; it’s no wonder our systems do that. They’re designed to tell us when we’re off track.

They’re designed to tell us when we’re on track, too. It’s like magic—except scientifically-proven. The verbal part of our brain processes about forty bits of information per second. That’s pretty impressive.

The non-verbal part of our brain processes about eight to eleven million bits of information per second. Eight to eleven million!

That means that the thoughts we hear from the verbal part of our brain actually know less than the physical sensations and emotions that we feel coming from the non-verbal part of our brain.

So if “I don’t want to make this one choice but everyone tells me I should” seems logical, but every physical sensation or emotion about it just feels so wrong, it probably is. Wrong, that is.

Wondering how to tap into your own innate talent for knowing how to live the life that’s right for you and be who you want to be? Start small.

1. Start small.

Begin with simply noticing physical sensations. Check in with your body from time to time. What physical sensations are you noticing right now?

2. Fine tune.

Once you start to check in with your body, you’ll probably also notice emotions, and associations with whether or not the emotions you’re feeling are good or bad. It’s normal—but in this case it’s not all that helpful. Keep on fine-tuning your radar until you’re paying attention to only physical sensations.

3. Benchmark your “yes.”

Make a list of times that you knew things were right for you, or felt that things were exactly as they were meant to be, really great, going well, etc. Then do a body scan: What physical sensations do you feel? Write ‘em down and then label them.

4. Benchmark your “no.”

Make a list of times that you knew things were not right for you, or felt that things were not as they were meant to be, not going great or well, etc. Then do a body scan: What physical sensations do you feel? Write ‘em down and then label them.

5. Practice.

You’ve just created your body compass. Using it is fun. Orange or apple? Imagine making each choice and then see what physical sensations come up—closer to “yes” or closer to “no”?

6. Trust.

The verbal part of your brain might come up with all sorts of reasons why you shouldn’t trust your body compass. Practicing on the little things helps to build up enough trust to use it on the big decisions.

7. Live it in the moment.

Once you’ve got your compass down pat, keep on using it. Living it in the moment is about remembering your innate talent for knowing, and using it with reckless abandon and firm intention.

What’s your inner wisdom telling you?

 

Take some time to really think about these steps and start practicing them in your daily life and decisions. Like the article said, START SMALL. I hope this helps!

xoxo,

barista

May Cause Miracles: Week 1 Part 2

So it’s Tuesday and I’m starting Day 8. Yay, I made it through week 1. Usually Day 8 would have started yesterday but I was so out of it I could barely concentrate all day. I got home from Bali and was still trying to catch up time wise. I want to be able to put my energy into becoming aware and causing miracles so I gave myself a break.

Summary of the end of last week. I loved it. I love this book. Crazy enough I loved witnessing my fears. To me the opposite to Love is Fear so if I want to start living out of Love, I first have to learn how to get Fear to move its big booty over. I can not do that if I don’t take the time to recognize how fear is working in my life and I think the subtle steps in week 1 did a great job at helping do that.

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Day 4 was particularly my favorite because it was about Gratitude. “Gratitude is my only attitude for today“. Being grateful for the experiences I go through, the things around me, what I have, and even my fears have freed a whirlwind of paralyzing emotions. As human, we often tend to place focus on our lack of, which can cause fear and anxiety. When we shift and start to focus on what we have and become grateful for that, we let go of the fear and anxiety and welcome the abundances of the universe.

Day 4 Gratitude List:
1. Being able to experience this book
2. Waking up in magical Bali
3. The sounds of nature as I wake up in the morning
4. The black butterflies I keep seeing everywhere
5. My thoughtful fiance
6. Skype and being able to talk and see my son while I’m away
7. Being able to take a vacation
8. My blog – readers and followers
9. The pictures I have taken of this beautiful city
10. The opportunity to create peace through meditation.

and the list could go on an on. On Tuesday and Wednesday we actually were in a seminar about the Law of Attraction and each day we had to fill out a gratitude sheet with 50 things we are grateful for. It was amusing how on the second day things started coming to mind more quickly and any and everything was on the lists. That’s the glory of it. The more often you practice being grateful, the easier it gets and the more you become grateful for. You then move through the day LOVING your life.

The part of Day 4 that made me really enjoy it was figuring out how to be grateful for my fears. I had to go back to Day 1 and read some of my fears and write ways in which I am grateful for them.

“I fear that I’m not there enough or won’t be there for my son”
– I am grateful for this fear because it has made me more attentive to the NOW. I have become aware of the time I have and how  I will choose to spend time with my son, love him, play with him, laugh with him.

I fear that I won’t live the life that I dream”
– I am grateful for this fear because I know that if I want to live the life I dream I have to start taking the steps towards that life. I will start to focus more on my goals and acting appropriately in able to get closer.

Our fears can guide us towards being a victim or can guide us through seeking opportunity. Through opportunity we can GROW and LEARN.

Day 5 was all about the F-word…. FORGIVE. This is a day I know I will be continuously working on. If you do not know any better, it can be really hard to forgive. It is vital for our well-being though. It means you are choosing to move forward in your life. When you hold onto things it keeps you bound to that moment and can block all kinds of love from entering your heart. Most people think that forgiving means that they are excusing a behavior, but in fact it just means you have found your peace with it and won’t allow it to continue to lead your life. The most important person to forgive is yourself. “I forgive myself for choosing fear. Today I will choose love instead”.

Its time to let myself off the hook. It ‘s time to realize that before I didn’t know any better but to allow fear rule my world. Now I am learning and it’s OK. All the choices of my past. It’s OK. Such a relief to know ITS OK. The evening exercise for this day was to replace my fearful thoughts with the knowledge that fear does me no good.

I fear that I am not good enough” – THIS FEAR IS NOT SERVING ME. I FORGIVE THIS FEAR AND CHOOSE LOVE INSTEAD.

On Day 6 the affirmation of the day was “I believe in Miracles”. This day is about using the experiences I’ve had throughout the week into actively witnessing miracles take place. A miracle is a moment in which you choose love over fear. After working 5 days witnessing my fears and opening up to loving ideas, it’s time to notice how it can work for me. I can say that I have definitely witnessed some miracles on the way. On this day particular, one I remember is when we went to the Bali Zoo and decided to do a treetop adventure. I am afraid of heights but for some reason I wanted to experience this adventure. It had to do with all kinds of obstacles that were very high up in the trees. Zip lining, climbing up and down ropes, walking on crazy brides, on tightrope etc. Lets just say fear jumped all over this opportunity. I found myself very scared in many situations throughout this adventure but also found myself choosing love instead. THAT’S A MIRACLE! I chose to push my fears aside (I’ll admit sometimes I had to be pushed off the ledge….literally), breath, and welcome in a loving thought. The best past was that it seemed automatic. Miracles DO happen!

The week ended with Day 7 allowing me to reflect on the weeks work. It’s awesome to have a day where I can just reflect on what has happened to me and the shifts that have taken place. I even took an extra day to do so.

I am so excited for week 2 to begin. SELF LOVE week. A week I truly truly need.

catch up with you soon.

xoxo,

barista

Commencement Speech: The Earth Is Hiring

While we were taking a break at the Yoga Barn in Ubud, on the table sat this laminated copy of the commencement speech that was given in 2009 at the University of Portland by Paul Hawkin. I wanted to copy it here for all of you to read. It is amazing!

THE EARTH IS HIRING

“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.” No pressure there.

Let’s begin with the startling part. 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, civilization needs a new operating system, you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades.

“Working for the earth is not a way to get rich, it is a way to be rich.”

This planet came with a set of instructions, but we seem to have misplaced them. Important rules like don’t poison the water, soil, or air, 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 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 the 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. Rather than control, it seeks connection. Rather than dominance, it strives to disperse concentrations of power. Like Mercy Corps, it works behind the scenes and gets the job done. Large as it is, no one knows the true size of this movement. It provides hope, support, and meaning to billions of people in the world. Its clout resides in idea, not in force. It is made up of teachers, children, peasants, businesspeople, rappers, organic farmers, nuns, artists, government workers, fisherfolk, engineers, students, incorrigible writers, weeping Muslims, concerned mothers, poets, doctors without borders, grieving Christians, street musicians, the President of the United States of America, and as the writer David James Duncan would say, the Creator, the One who loves us all in such a huge way.

“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.”

There is a rabbinical teaching that says if the world is ending and the Messiah arrives, first plant a tree, and then see if the story is true. Inspiration is not garnered from the litanies of what may befall us; it resides in humanity’s willingness to restore, redress, reform, rebuild, recover, reimagine, and reconsider. “One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice,” is Mary Oliver’s description of moving away from the profane toward a deep sense of connectedness to the living world.

Millions of people are working on behalf of strangers, even if the evening news is usually about the death of strangers. This kindness of strangers has religious, even mythic origins, and very specific eighteenth-century roots. Abolitionists were the first people to create a national and global movement to defend the rights of those they did not know. Until that time, no group had filed a grievance except on behalf of itself. The founders of this movement were largely unknown — Granville Sharp, Thomas Clarkson, Josiah Wedgwood — and their goal was ridiculous on the face of it: at that time three out of four people in the world were enslaved. Enslaving each other was what human beings had done for ages. And the abolitionist movement was greeted with incredulity. Conservative spokesmen ridiculed the abolitionists as liberals, progressives, do-gooders, meddlers, and activists. They were told they would ruin the economy and drive England into poverty. But for the first time in history a group of people organized themselves to help people they would never know, from whom they would never receive direct or indirect benefit. And today tens of millions of people do this every day. It is called the world of non-profits, civil society, schools, social entrepreneurship, non-governmental organizations, and companies who place social and environmental justice at the top of their strategic goals. The scope and scale of this effort is unparalleled in history.

The living world is not “out there” somewhere, but in your heart. What do we know about life? In the words of biologist Janine Benyus, life creates the conditions that are conducive to life. I can think of no better motto for a future economy. We have tens of thousands of abandoned homes without people and tens of thousands of abandoned people without homes. We have failed bankers advising failed regulators on how to save failed assets. We are the only species on the planet without full employment. Brilliant. We have an economy that tells us that it is cheaper to destroy earth in real time rather than renew, restore, and sustain it. You can print money to bail out a bank but you can’t print life to bail out a planet. At present we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it gross domestic product. We can just as easily have an economy that is based on healing the future instead of stealing it. We can either create assets for the future or take the assets of the future. One is called restoration and the other exploitation. And whenever we exploit the earth we exploit people and cause untold suffering. Working for the earth is not a way to get rich, it is a way to be rich.

The first living cell came into being nearly 40 million centuries ago, and its direct descendants are in all of our bloodstreams. Literally you are breathing molecules this very second that were inhaled by Moses, Mother Teresa, and Bono. We are vastly interconnected. Our fates are inseparable. We are here because the dream of every cell is to become two cells. And dreams come true. In each of you are one quadrillion cells, 90 percent of which are not human cells. Your body is a community, and without those other microorganisms you would perish in hours. Each human cell has 400 billion molecules conducting millions of processes between trillions of atoms. The total cellular activity in one human body is staggering: one septillion actions at any one moment, a one with twenty-four zeros after it. In a millisecond, our body has undergone ten times more processes than there are stars in the universe, which is exactly what Charles Darwin foretold when he said science would discover that each living creature was a “little universe, formed of a host of self-propagating organisms, inconceivably minute and as numerous as the stars of heaven.”

So I have two questions for you all: First, can you feel your body? Stop for a moment. Feel your body. One septillion activities going on simultaneously, and your body does this so well you are free to ignore it, and wonder instead when this speech will end. You can feel it. It is called life. This is who you are. Second question: who is in charge of your body? Who is managing those molecules? Hopefully not a political party. Life is creating the conditions that are conducive to life inside you, just as in all of nature. Our innate nature is to create the conditions that are conducive to life. What I want you to imagine is that collectively humanity is evincing a deep innate wisdom in coming together to heal the wounds and insults of the past.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years. No one would sleep that night, of course. The world would create new religions overnight. We would be ecstatic, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead, the stars come out every night and we watch television.

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, stupefying challenge ever bequeathed 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. Hope 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.”