IN THE LAST few years, we’ve had some rough times: job losses and foreclosures, environmental disasters and protracted wars, not to mention global weather changes and all their ominous implications. Personally, I’ve spent the last dozen years cultivating a deep and juicy spiritual practice that has helped me gain some broader perspective on all of this. By my own choice and—like many others—because of the economy, I’ve downsized my life to a level I never used to think possible or practical. In fact, I’ve gotten it down to the point where I feel as though I have nothing much to lose.
And where has that landed me? On a quiet porch in a Balinese village, with a view of the terraced rice fields and a plug for my laptop. With nothing to lose, I came here, where life moves at a pace that makes time for reverence and I can learn from the traditional Balinese, who seem to be experts in simple, sustainable abundance. Did I lose or did I gain? That question feels less and less relevant.
Philosopher Eric Hoffer said, “In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”
When the going gets tough, the smart get playful. They turn into learners and with deep humility, look for teachers in places they never before considered. They listen for the inner signal that can recognize truth–not in the intellect, but in the mysterious felt sense that rises up from the gut. They use this deeper knowing to navigate open waters, as the seas change course and the human family searches for a way of life that makes sense now. Trungpa Rinpoche said, “Live your life as an experiment.” Seems there’s no better time than now to take him up on that.
I read something once that I’ve never forgotten: some seeds only germinate in a forest fire. That means there are flowers in us that have been waiting for exactly these conditions.
This blog is an invitation to become a flamingseed: one who uses difficult, fast-changing conditions to blossom rather than burn. For inspiration, I’ll hunt down the flamingseeds in our midst and grill them for clues that can benefit all of us (your nominations welcome!). I’ll comb the streets–not to mention the contemplative and mystic traditions–for teachings, spiritual practices and visionary ideas on cultivating a loving, generative world view regardless of circumstances. And I’ll doggedly question cultural and spiritual assumptions so that we can open fresh to these changing times with curiosity, innocence and a sense of adventure.
I’m a novice in the blog world, and welcome feedback, suggestions and gentle corrections. And being new at this, I deeply appreciate comments, musings and questions in response to the posts. I hope you’ll also check out the rest of the site, especially the free books page where I’ll highlight writings by aspiring flamingseeds who are cooking up some juicy experiments.
Thank you for playing.