I have a few heroes that I keep in mind as I try to get my writing tuned in. One of them is Colin Beavan, of No Impact Man fame. He spent a year trying to live in NYC with “no impact” on the environment, while raising a family and participating in society (not on a commune off the grid). There was a blog, a book, and a documentary. During his research phase, he came to me for a briefing on compost and “zero waste” living. At that time, I was elbow deep in the North Brooklyn Compost Project, and so we stood around my jacuzzi-sized worm bin in Brooklyn’s McCarren Park, parsing the finer points of rotting kitchen scraps.
After a while, he paused and asked me, “What is your spiritual practice?” So we became friends!
Last year, I was happy to receive a call from him while I was elbow deep in a refit of the liveaboard sailboat Tranquility that I share with my husband. I was happy to have an excuse to take a break from whatever itchy job I was doing at that moment, but also because he wanted to talk about the compost project again. It is magical to look back on completed past projects when you are feeling like your current one is rather impossible.
So I crawled into the V-berth and from there, he interviewed me for his new book, How to Be Alive: A Guide to the Kind of Happiness That Helps the World. You see, during his experience as No Impact Man, he encountered some interesting ideas about how caring for yourself and your community (and less about your stuff) actually brings joy into your life. It’s a wonderful notion, and right on time.
And he finished the book! See why he is one of my heroes? It is available now, and can be pre-ordered here. Perhaps you know someone who could benefit from a bit more joy?