Sustainable or NOT?

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Sustainable or not?

I was at Seattle Green Drinks last week thanks to the invite of Joe Kennedy at Iameastsideand Craig Norberry of Norberry Tile. Sometime during the evening I had the pleasure of meeting Dan O'Shea founding partner of Re-vision labs. In the middle of conversation as I listened to Dan  talk about his business and his life the internal disco ball began flashing and the divine aha lights blinked; Christmas red, green and white.

 Divine aha's, you have them right?  Those moments when something  suddenly becomes clear, those moments when you recognize a knowing, that previously you were oblivious to, unaware of.

Dan's comment was, "I changed my career, started my new venture when I realized my life, business  wasn't sustainable."

Sustainability. Most of the time when I hear this word I blush green and think about things like green house gasses, nuclear war, terrorism, ugly electric cars, low water- no flush toilets and landfills like the one above, jammed full of plastic water bottles.  As I listened to Dan's comment I realized 'green' had hijacked sustainability in my vocabulary and in the next second, I disconnected the two from each other and like my new friend, opened myself up to this idea of sustainability.

 Sustainability as a word is more and more prevalent. My new friend Brenda Nunes is the founder of the Sustainable Foundationand she is working on a very cool new sustainable co-housing community called Trails at Newcastle here on the greater eastside of Seattle.

To sustain is to support, provide, enhance to be sustainable; capable of being sustained, minimal negative long term impact on the environment, eco-system. Hmmm. Funny, I'd always thought of sustainabiltiy as it related to business; products, services. I  never thought of it in terms of life, a life, designing a life  and business that were sustainable. And I never really thought about sustainability in the most holistic sense of the word, it was always married to the environment but not to my entire life eco-system.

I have to admit, the question what is a sustainable life is an intriguing question, to me! My divine aha moment helped me to realize it was a question I had yet ( 46 years in to my journey here) asked myself.

 Why had I never considered what was sustainable to me?

How many things had I invested in, never once considering the sustainability of the investment; emotionally, financially, relationally, environmentally, physically and spiritually?

As I prepare to say goodbye to 2009 and GOOD MORNING 2010, I find myself musing over what sustainability looks and feels like for me, my loved ones and my business in the year ahead.

 Some of you know this has been a year of helping my son find a more sustainable life. He spent the first part of his year in a wilderness program  breaking free from substances. Ever since he has been teaching me about what it means to create a sustainable life. He chose not to return to traditional high school opting for an online high school that supports him and allows him to become who he wants to be.

Is what sustains you- sustainable?

If you were to design a MORE sustainable life in 2010…a more sustainable business, or economic driver to fuel your life…what would that look like?

Thanks Dan you've helped me liberate sustainability from green and from bigger than life issues that sometimes threaten to overwhelm me. You brought sustainability down to my circle of influence; my life and the eco-systems and communities I am involved in. 

2010 – what are some of the things you've done or are planning on doing to make your life more sustainable….?

Pam Hoelzle

Photo credit Mountains of Bottles , originally uploaded by The Advocacy Project.

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