As I download my digital photos and unpack a travel bag filled with receipts and brochures recalling eco-friendly promises from unnamed product reps, I am reminded of days past in which my soul moved ever so closer to understanding my continued response to a lifelong choice...
...what to do with the time we are given.
Last Thursday night, I found myself at a conference social. I had arrived late do to my conscious, yet regrettable, decision to relax in my hotel room earlier in the evening whilst watching Catwoman. Nevertheless, the social was housed in an old theatre in downtown Atlanta known as The Tabernacle. After an hour or so of people-watching from various vantage points, I concluded that it was time to depart. Upon moving toward the entrance, I happened upon a young black woman behind a table signing and selling cd's for $20. Intrigued, first because I was no longer the primary source of diversity in the room, and second, because I realized that she must have been the headliner at the function.
Her name was Leela James and she was a small, pleasant, smiling young woman with a blow-out afro. I told her that I had not seen her perform, but that I was interested in her cd.
She turned to her assistant and said, "He didn't even get a chance to hear me sing and he wants to buy the album. Give it to him for $10. "
An unprompted, simple, and kind gesture.
I gave her assistant $20 anyway. She signed the CD and handed it to me. In that brief moment, I started to get it.
What was the true lesson of this green building conference? What is this true meaning of this buzz term "biophillia?"(loosely defined as a passion for all living things) Why did I stumble unto this encounter with Leela?
I leaned close to her and said: "You have very kind eyes... and I am sure your voice is equally as kind. I wish you well in everything you do." And then I turned and walked out of the building.
You don't get it yet, do you?
We are all in this boat together. Our fate, sink or swim, is a collective fate.
I go to GREENBUILD because I get a chance to connect with likeminded folks that... get it. I sit through mind blowing lectures about the impact of the built environment on the real environment because I understand its importance and I need to connect with people that can energize me to choose wisely when I ask myself what to do with the time I am given.
I leaned in to speak thoughtfully to Leela, because...
We cannot be ashamed to be profound.
Galvanizing people to move towards being more comfortable with each other, with the need to think collectively, and with the challenge to be stewards of the environment in which we all exist will happen one kind conversation at a time... one unprompted kind gesture at a time...one blog entry at a time... one blog entry comment at a time.