Saturday, June 2, 2012

Superheroes Converge at the UN

Just back to work following two days at the Social Innovation Summit held at the UN, an invitation-only conference that examines the intersection of social causes, business & technology. Hearing from and interacting with many truly incendiary agitator/activators - it reminds me that the fate of the world is truly in our hands. And what better hands than ours?

From the usual suspects including CEOs of Timberland & Seventh Generation, to senior executives representing corporate social responsibility from behemoth contributors such as Verizon and Intel, there is a LOT of good being done. Reusing resources to preserve what we have; extending connectivity to those whose lives may depend upon it; ensuring that we leverage all we have to make sure our world is as good as it can possibly be. So inspiring, so externally focused. Not that this external focus is bad - it's the spirit of altruism. But are we applying this same good-attention to our own lives?

Seriously. I saw hundreds of fervently passionate folks in the room, fueled with ardor for optimizing lives from every angle from wellness to technology, safety to skill-cultivation. Their passion for their causes is a given. They're up to the moment on what is needed to hydrate, educate and empower those who need it most. And yet so many of those faces looked harried, so many bodies showing obvious signs of neglect. As wisdom paths have taught us from the begining of time - we must attend to our own lives to effectively attend to the lives of others.

Here's my query: how much are we leaders acting as good keepers of our most precious resource - ourselves? It's time for a little personal activism by the world's most intelligent, privileged lives in support of attending intelligently to the lives we are primarily responsible to. What if we honor the good fortune so many of us enjoy of having adequate security, sufficient access to medical care, technological systems and resources, and a ready supply of food and comfort by assessing what the eco-system that is the human body and take strident measures to care for it's needs in a way that aligns with it's longevity, productivity and effectiveness over the long haul? What would be different in your life if you did that? As much as I like to think I attend to my life as a good steward, I know there is much I can improve upon.

During the lunch break, I headed to a patch of grass on the edge of the East River. An everyday, often-ignored occurance happened just feet away from me and struck my heart: staffers of the UN having their own little informal walking club. Just three of them. Walking. On the grounds, doing laps. Nothing glamorous. In their work clothing. Their quiet self-respect and intelligence in taking even the smallest action in support of their own sustainability spoke loudly of a level personal mastery I aspire to emulate.

Think about it: if the fate of the world is in our hands, shouldn't we start by taking better care of ourselves?