“May you live your life as if the maxim of your actions were to become universal law.” ‘
The power of intention – Wayne Dyer
The will to power – Friedrich Nietzsche
The ebb and flow of power – Aristotle
Create dangerously – Albert Camus
Get the heck out of bed – Nikki Weed
It’s hard to sit here and ponder on all of the intentions, creations, and destruction that has become the tumultuous wake of my existence. At times, I feel like my creations are so temporary and fleeting. Other times I feel like my intentions are stupid and there is no use in trying. Sometimes I feel like when I’m in front of the speeding bus, I’m actually in the middle of an Metra track during rush hour. Somedays, I don’t want to get out of bed.
“What’s the use,” rattles through my head as I shuffle the five steps to the bathroom and then four steps backwards to my desk. Many times I don’t even crack open the coffee maker or even brush my hair before hopping on my computer in my tiny workspace and diving into work. Suddenly, when my fingers grace that first keystroke and the electrical hum coming from the power inverter five feed away from my desk starts to resonate within my chest, I know there is a reason to get up. If I were to stay in bed, I would essentially be the bed. You are the circumstances in which you surround yourself with. Vis-a-vis, wrapped up in an overpriced Pendleton would make me nothing but, well, an overpriced blankie.
I’m lucky in a way, but cursed in the same way ( sort of like an ebb and flow of cursed ). During my young, formative, teenage wasteland of years, I buried my head in philosophy. I didn’t party, I didn’t skip class, I didn’t do “youth activities.” I dug into Aristotle, I dug in to Nietzsche, I dug deeper within myself, trying to find myself. The problem was, I wasn’t developed, I wasn’t there. There was nothing to find. I was dipping my bucket into a well whose spring hadn’t sprung yet.
Sitting on a seat from a car that was used in crash testing (because normal teenager had bean bag chairs and futons), I plummeted my not yet formed mind into the concept of Kant’s’ Universal Law. Young and full of optimism about the general public, the idea of having an unspoken do-right mentality seemed like it was plausible. I mean, what person would intentionally hurt someone, something? There was a naïve hope that the world wasn’t such a bad place, only because there were always repercussions of doing wrong.
Right? Right? RIGHT?!?!?!
Wrong. Dead wrong. As I dove deeper, connecting dots of intention, consequence, and the power to create your own existence, the startling fact that not everyone was on the same “do good” page was very defeating. Why wouldn’t you want to help an elderly woman cross the road? Why wouldn’t you want to call your grandma every Sunday afternoon? Why wouldn’t you do everything in your power to create a more harmonious partnership with the rest of mankind? I started not seeing people obeying the Universal Law (simply put, do onto others), but a world of really crummy people.
Scam artists, compulsive liars, thieves, cheaters, liars…they were all out there, not being good people. How the heck could I deal with it. I sunk into a depression, and it chased me through over a decade. The bad people caused me to be a bad person, the came concept of Universal Law applied to me as well. If people are treating me terribly, why should I treat people any differently? This turned into me flinging my disappointment at society in all directions in a self-destructive tumbleweed that pick up and toted a little bit of everything its path came across.
I look back at that tumbleweed and shake my head. The same books that were so soothing to my soul also created a monster.
Needless to say, the tumbleweed monster needed to be kicked firmly in the teeth and reminded that, although there is some ugly in the world, there is way more good. It took a few kicks.
After pondering the obvious “what now, what comes next” philosophical saga, I realized that the amount of effort you put into life is directly associated to what you get out of it. What came then was a quest to avenge the good that is latent in every human. Good, not for the sake of what race you are, what religion you are, who your parents are, your wealth; but good because its the right thing to do. Sometimes it’s not as easy as it seems, but it’s still the right thing.
So when I struggle to get out of bed. When the night was short and the impending day is long, I think about one of my horticultural heros, Luther Burbank. A man of high school education and a lot of hands in the dirt experience, he became one of the most renown plant people in the country (and world in a way). When he was a fledgling in his career as a plant man, a sage friend in the field told him he’d never make it, and that his heart wasn’t in the art.
What a blow, but Burbank took that statement as rocket fuel and pioneered past. By the time he passed away from – of all things, hiccups – he had created over 800 varieties of cultivated plants. If it weren’t for Burbank and his meddling with plants, landscape as we know it today would be very different. Of all things, his greatest accomplishment, and challenge, was to develop the perfect landscape daisy. It took him 17 years to get it right. 17 years…working to create one simple daisy.
So where I sit now, I look at interpersonal challenges and human interactions as nothing more than potential Shasta Daisies. It may not always be easy to do onto others, but, in the end, the reward is that much sweeter.
In the recent weeks, I’ve been focusing my intention on doing good. Part of this is to start raising awareness to the sad condition of pet care on many Indian Reservations. Humans, let alone canines are in sad shape, most riddled with poverty and homelessness. Every time we pass through on an adventure to the lake, Monument Valley, or parts of Southeastern Utah, it’s hard to overlook the “rez dogs” that roam free looking for shelter and a meal.
I want to help, my belly is fed, I have shelter, but they don’t. Through t-shirt sales from the Tan Van Adventure Channel on YouTube and my website here, I want to channel awareness away from me, and towards those helpless creatures that really need it. I’m okay, don’t worry about me. It’s them to worry about. With a harsh climate, with temps often over 115 degrees and water sparser than hair on Kojaks head – they need your help.
100% of T-shirt sales for our Tan Van shirts go to Tuba City Humane Society. Click here to shop (and if you’d like to see the image on a different style/object, let me know!)
Click here to donate directly to Tuba City, and click here to follow their mission on Facebook. (Warning – the images are hard to look at, but your donation can help).
Don’t turn your your back on Universal Law.
One of the rez dogs, hungry, dirty, and potentially pregnant.