No Regrets?

So I was at this very neat event the other day – Paul Hawken addressing a Toronto business crowd for a special ‘Inspired Future’ day**, & it really was a treat for me to hear him speak, being a long-time Hawken admirer (see Blessed Unrest quotes page here. I also read & much enjoyed The Ecology of Commerce in its first edition, quite a few years ago now). The man who organized the event quoted his father having said we should live our lives so that at the end, we have no (or maybe few??) regrets.

& I thought about regrets. & of course I do have a few. Don’t we all? Let’s be honest.

The regrets I’m thinking of now, though, are not personal, exactly. They’re sort of global.

Well, some of them (most of them??) are kind of both – what with “the personal being political” & the political being personal & all.

So here is a list of some sort of global regrets – that definitely definitely definitely do intersect with one’s personal life in a variety of ways:

  • That the human race has taken so long to “grow up” (still hasn’t, actually, far as I can see) & made so many horrendous, appalling, grievous mistakes during our (apparently eternal) adolescence
  • That it’s taken so long for us to recognize our true species & individual value & infinite potential & the value of all species, all peoples
  • That we so long ago (10,000 years or so?) lost our deep, instinctive understanding of the power of community, shared work, cooperation, collaboration
  • & got so caught up in patriarchy, competition, ego, turf wars
  • That we so long so devalued the true contribution of “the feminine principle” (birth, nurturing, sharing), the real incomparable value of motherhood, the importance of family – & continue to this day to undervalue these things...that are not things – & overvalue things that are things, & that, frankly, bring us much less joy than we suppose they will, or do. “The best things in life are not things,” hmmm? (Can’t tell you who said that, but do know it's true!)
  • That women so often made the mistake in our excitement about “liberation” of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, undervaluing our own contributions & inner knowings, thinking we needed to become “more like men”
  • That we have become so reliant on the bloody personal automobile that has caused (continues to cause) so much horrendous pollution on our lovely planet
  • That we have this terrible tendency to ignore facts/truth & have such a kneejerk resistance to change that we fail to see the forest for the trees most of the time, or to be willing to put on the brakes, hard, when we so desperately need to do so
  • That we developed these horrid, unfair, absurd disparities of income & privilege – so few with so much, & so many with so very little
  • That we have had such insufficient gratitude for the blessings in our own “small” personal lives, & the infinite gifts of the Earth, that we come to believe we “own” things, & our privileges & entitlements come to define us, & we defend them at the cost of the Earth, & each other
  • Waste. How I regret that so much is wasted – whether we are talking about the earth’s resources, or our “own” individual ones, & our potential


& now, as I compose this sad, regretful list, I regret that I am being such a downer, everyone, & so full of what my “spiritual” friends would call negativity.

I am being honest, you will grant me that, yes??

& now, back out onto the snowy streets of Toronto, post-snow-dump, for more shovelling & walking & “fresh” air.


p.s. & to lift my spirits, after I drafted this draggy, dirge-y blog posting, I once again watched the awesomely inspiring film ‘The 4th Revolution – Energy Autonomy’ – & yes, that definitely elevated my spirits!

** p.p.s. btw too, another speaker at this event the other day was Peter Busby, someone of whom I had not heard, who was also an enormous inspiration – do check out his firm – & the projects they are making happen. Woo-hoo!!!! (He's behind the Dockside Green project in Victoria, B.C., & UBC (University of British Columbia)’s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability – quick short but impressive YouTube if you scroll down!).

p.p.p.s both men had plenty to say that was both interesting & inspiring – one thing I would like to point out that Hawken pointed out: talking about “alternative energy” as though it is something new is an absurdity, & he cited examples of solar/wind-powered projects from a long time ago. There isn’t “alternative” energy (language that is off-putting to some folks, dinosaurs, admittedly) – there is just energy. & clearly, some energy sources are a good deal less destructive than some others!! I always like to remind myself that every single thing that happens on Planet Earth is a solar event. It’s true! 

Quote of the day with this post: “I do not want to talk about what you understand about this world. I want to know what you will do about it. I do not want to know what you hope. I want to know what you will work for. I do not want your sympathy for the needs of humanity. I want your muscle.” ~ Robert Fulghum, author of numerous books - All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten being perhaps his best-known.