little garden & big garden

Consider that our objectives and orientation can fall into two domains, two "Gardens," if you will...

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Your Little Garden is your own personal concerns and priorities -- the ones pertaining to and directly effecting you. Your Big Garden is what your life is for. "Purpose" feels too grandiose and abstract here, so instead, consider to what end you like to spend your life. What difference do you want to make, what kind of impact would you like to have on the world and why? There is an undeniable interdependence between the two: you can't have a nice Big Garden without having a Little One first, and to be fully effective in growing your Big Garden, your Little Garden is well-tended and healthy.

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But the funny thing is, though, when you make your life about growing your Big Garden, things seem to resolve themselves within your Little Garden -- those personal concerns and comforts have to get handled in order to create the right conditions for the Big Garden to grow. This work does not happen without great intentionality, for it takes a real commitment to being up to something bigger than your own comforts. Those "Big Flowers" though, are the ones that can bring us George Bernard Shaw's "true joy in life," and the discipline and creativity it takes to be a Big Gardener can become a way of life itself. 

Film images by Cool And Thoughtful. 

Hey Change Episode 16

Anne Therese Bengtsson is my soul sister. We met through her roommates, and as I explain in the first few minutes of this interview together, when I first saw her, I feel head over heels in a girl crush for the ages. Our friendship is grounded in that "generator" attribute in service of positive change -- that is, we both express ourselves through projects to that could help shift our world in a more Cool And Thoughtful direction. In this way, our friendship holds special weight across all three "buckets" that comprise a friendship: Common Interests, Common Values, and Common Experiences.

Therese interviewed me for her podcast, Hey Change -- sharing below her description of the above interview, in a spirit of utmost gratitude:

In today’s girl talk with life philosopher, TEDx Speaker and total babe Kerrin Smith – aka my soul sister K – we find ourselves comfortable on my floor in Brooklyn and talk about everything the Universe has brought to our attention right now. How do we react when we realize that we may not be as healthy as we thought? When is a habit becoming obsessive, and how can we change our ways of being in order to take care of ourselves in better ways?

We also discuss the meaning of the word empathy, and how it’s so different to rebel against something bad opposed to standing for something good, even though the underlying cause may be the same. Then, of course, Kerrin also shares her view on what it’s like to be cool and tells us how this mission of hers, a mission she calls CAT (Cool & Thoughtful), is the passion beyond her TEDx Talk, her digital presence, and her entire outlook on life.

breakthrough du jour

A conversation with my dad this week reminded me of how silly - and human - it is to think that once we have "a breakthrough," we've "made it." In other words, we can so naturally assume that our most recent breakthrough will stick, that we are "set," that we've discovered the "it" which we've been seeking.  My dad laughed and reminded me that it's a mountain with no top, honey -- and you learn to love the climb.

Fundamentally, this is what it means to have a practice. There is no getting there, there is no end state, but it is in the process -- and the wins and setbacks and discoveries along the way -- that become the source of true joy and value. This is something you have to create. We seem to be wired to think in terms of end states and discrete milestones, as physicist Carlo Rovelli talks about so beautifully in his interview with Krista Tippett. At the risk of being prescriptive, I strongly encourage a listen. 

I find that this less linear sense of time can create space for us -- and maybe a little less anxiety.  Maybe there isn't somewhere to "get to" in a linear A-to-B fashion. Maybe easing into questions can help us move forward in a more present way, if we can tolerate the uncertainty of not always knowing, or trying to hypothesize, what comes next. There is strength in that practice, or raising our threshold for uncertainty...because after all, we don't really know, anyway, but we are wired to do our best to know. Practicing "not knowing," while moving forward with a dual openness and intentionality is another expression of Action + Faith.

 Wearing my favorite slip with the sun making magic up on Therese's roof in Brooklyn. Photo via Instagram:  @coolandthoughtful.

Wearing my favorite slip with the sun making magic up on Therese's roof in Brooklyn. Photo via Instagram: @coolandthoughtful.