Community Re: seeking balance
From: Wayne Tyson (
Date: Sat, 1 Jan 2011 10:07:41 -0800 (PST)
Dear Susan,

Happy New Year!

"You can't suckle the world," as Anne Morrow Lindberg wrote in "Gifts From the Sea," but you can do what you can, when you can. "Doing" too much can backfire in lots of ways--there's an old saying that "nine-tenths of the hell being raised in the world is well-intentioned." Just being who you uniquely are is sufficient. Doing what you can in your community, in your own way, is a definition of a successful, fulfilled human being. The mere fact that you would "struggle" with this is an indication that you are already doing what you can. If you sacrifice yourself to the point that your ability to be personally fulfilled is undermined, the amount of "good" you can do be reduced. Follow your own true heart, your own true feelings, and putting your community first is not shirking any responsibility to life, it is fulfilling it. In being happy, you make others happy; in being a fulfilling human being, you inspire others to go that way too. Even though some nuts seem too hard to crack, just letting them alone and setting an example of an alternative way of being is more "instructive" to them than instructing them.

Just some idle thoughts in response . . . my advice is to never take advice--take everything under advisement. Let me know what you gather from what you gather.


PS: "Selflessness" can be an expression of egocentrism. I cringe (silently) when I see, for example, movie-star billionaires visiting some impoverished community for a photo-op and bragging about hisher "good works" and the rarely disclosed actual contribution they've made to the actual improvement of the state of life on earth. It's an easy trap, egocentrism, and all of us fall into it. But not all of us use "good works" as a publicity stunt. We live in a global village, to be sure, but "the media" are in business to make a profit. I recently saw video footage of one of my favorite news-anchors asking a group of people in Haiti if they had any water, microphone in hand. I couldn't help wonder what happened when the cameras were off. She looked "beautiful," as usual. I'll be willing to bet that you do more for life than that woman. (This is to prove that I, too, can be judgmental--but I try to keep it in bounds and try to quietly go on practicing what I "preach" ("Don't preach, and don't take advice.).

Joel Hedgpeth, Ed Rickets, and their pals, through their works, have "done" a lot for me, by setting a good (not perfect, but save us from perfection!) example for me. I'm a better man for being exposed to them even though I've never met them (I did hear Hedgpeth talk once, and was most impressed with his human qualities). I don't know if you're related to Joel, but I'd like to know if anyone is doing any writing about him.

----- Original Message ----- From: <hedgpeth [at]>
To: "Cohousing-L mailing list" <cohousing-l [at]>
Sent: Thursday, December 30, 2010 1:07 PM
Subject: [C-L]_ seeking balance

Dear Cohousers,

I'm trying to figure out how to balance the various parts of my life.  I
work full-time, and I'm an active member of my cohousing community.  But
that doesn't leave any time for social activism outside my community.
There is so much need out there in the world these days and I want to
help, but my community also needs my time and energy.  Are any of you
struggling with this?   Any ideas?  Thanks.

Susan Hedgpeth
Pleasant Hill Cohousing

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