Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Do what makes you happy.

Once upon a time, there was a wise man, who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had the habit of walking along the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore; as he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day, so he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn't dancing, but instead, he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer he called out, "Good morning! What are you doing?" The young man paused, looked up and replied, "Throwing Starfish into the ocean."

"I guess I should have asked; why are you throwing Starfish into the ocean?"

"The sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don't throw them in they'll die."

"But young man, don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and Starfish all along it, you can't possibly make a difference!"

The young man listened politely, then bent down, picked up another Starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves. "It made a difference for that one." - adapted from The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley 1979

You've probably heard this story a thousand times.  I still really like it.   It reminds me that just one person doing just one thing can make a difference.  Because trying to live a more sustainable existence won't save the world but it will still make a difference to you and your family.  Or choosing to become a vegetarian won't save all the animals from the horrid factory confinement system but it will save a few.  You also know that you are not a part of the problem. 

I've found that even though D and I have given up a lot of luxuries, I'm actually happier.  I'm more present in my life, I'm more grateful for what I do have and  I'm a lot less stressed out.  And, on top of everything else, I really don't miss those pedicures luxuries.  

So, if you are unsatisfied with your life, don't be afraid to make changes that set you apart from everyone else.  Don't tell yourself, "It won't make any difference."  You  probably can never change the system but you can change your own life and take satisfaction in doing what you know is right.  Don't get caught up in the idea that if you can't do/change everything, why bother.  Do what makes you happy and be happy with it.  As Joel Salatin says, "Good enough is just perfect."

Well, I do miss those pedicures a little bit but still.....

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