Friday, July 25, 2008

Digging Deep for Earth Day: Sustainability and Spirituality

In my quest to regain the personal magic of Earth Day, I'm reposting this experience from several years ago with the hope that we don't allow Earth Day to become just another commercialized , shell of a holiday in the way that so many others have over the years. Here you go:

This morning I networked with the Cleveland Corporate Sustainability Roundtable on the lush green grounds of the River's Edge, a ministry of the congregation of St. Joseph and a place for reflection and action. My friend Starla (how cool is that name?) invited me and I am so pleased that I got up early to join the group for an early morning discussion of the relation between sustainability and spirituality. Key concepts discussed:

  • The physical and spiritual connection to all forms of life through creation
  • It is our spiritual responsibility to care for others in the planet, by addressing issues of human rights, environmental justice and sustainability
  • We must be more contemplative of our impact on the lives of others and our planet
  • We are co-creators of our future. What kind of future do we want to create?
  • Spirituality can be brought into the work place through the example we set
  • How do we balance economic demands of our jobs with social responsibility?
Attending the event were representatives from non-profits, governments, colleges, small business, law firms and big business. I was able to network with like minded individuals and receive encouragement and best practices from them on my journey to incorporate sustainability into the workplace. We also had time for meditation, reflection, prayer and even walked around the Cosmic Walk (a labyrinth that chronicled the history of our universe from big bang to climate change). We then explored the diverse artwork of the ministry (lots of African American art) and enjoyed fair trade coffee, tea and warm homemade scones. I recall thinking how great it would be start every work day with 10-15 minutes of contemplation and reflection on working in a socially responsible and sustainable manner as opposed to just diving into your inbox and dealing with the issues of the day. Image how much more effective we would be in our lives as well as the lives of others and how much more satisfied we would be at the end of the day, knowing that our work added value and had meaning.
What do you do to mentally and spiritually prepare for the day ahead? How conscious are you of the impact of your actions on others including, co-workers, employees, clients, community, our world neighbors around the diaspora, wildlife and nature?

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