This is the text of the recent email I sent out to our community of lifequesters. If you would like to be part of that community and receive updates about how to build your own good life, join here.
First of all, I want to thank the many of you who responded to my last email (you can read it here) about feeling like we matter in our efforts to help our selves, each other and the world. A lot of you liked my idea of building an online community to help us feel connected to other lifequesters.
For that reason, I am giving that community a lot of thought. I’m kind of stumbling forward and trying to figure it out. Your telling me what you want from me will be important. But for now, I’m thinking it will initially take the form of 1. A Facebook group; and 2. An eight-week online course where I will guide people through the teachings of my new book How to Be Alive.
What do you think? Would those two ideas be useful to you? What would make a Facebook group particularly engaging? What would you like to see in the course? (You can email me your thoughts but if you leave a comment here then everyone can read them.)
Secondly, I want to thank some readers who helped cheer me up this last week when I felt a little blue. I sometimes get caught in this tension between saying and writing what needs to be said in the world and saying and writing what sells and earns. I see these self-help gurus promoting routes to “peace” and “happiness” and “getting what you want” without ever tipping their hats at helping with the tremendous world crises that are causing so many of us dis-ease.
It feels like some of those writers are perpetrating a trick because none of us can reach our full happiness potential while others are not happy and safe. The more personal peace we get, the more we will be affected by the suffering of others.
So for true happiness, we have to help others be happy, too. But that message doesn’t sell as well and I can’t help thinking that telling the truth sometimes keeps my audience and my earnings smaller than that of the self-help gurus I mentioned. Not that I need to rake in cash, but I do need to support my work and my daughter and, if I ever had more than I needed, I would use it in good and helpful ways.
So the thanks I wanted to give was to a few particular readers. As an experiment, to help support my doing the work that I feel needs to be done instead of what earns the most cash, I quietly posted a “donate” page on my website. Almost immediately, a number of readers made contributions. It made me feel I mattered and it really helped my mood.
What do you think? Is this a good way forward? Should I consider Patreon or Kickstarter or just stick with this link? (Click here to leave a comment.)
Finally, I wanted to offer a kind of apology or regret. After No Impact Man came out back in 2009, I was overwhelmed with the attention. I found myself trying to keep myself at a certain distance from my own audience. Then, Michelle and I split up and I knew a lot of fans had questions that I didn’t know how to answer publicly (we are great co-parents and best friends these days, by the way). So I kind of kept my distance.
I’m sorry about that and I don’t want to do that any more. Now that How to Be Alive has been published (read about it here), I am so excited to build a community around the questions it raises. How do we lead, good happy lives that don’t ignore the various world crises but actually engage in and help fix them? I want to support as many “lifequesters” as possible in their personal work around that. Hence, the coming course and Facebook group and even some person-to-person work through my coaching practice. I don’t want to maintain a distance anymore.
Is there anything else you all need from me and want from me? I’d be glad to hear (most especially in the comments where everyone else can read, too). What do you want from me?
Lastly, check out these posts I wrote for you:
- The Opportunities in the Crisis in One Drawing: A drawing that came during the brainstorming for How to Be Alive showing how we keep trying to walk the old, broken paths when the news ways will serve us better.
- Does Enlightenment Matter When Police Are Shooting Black People?: Many people seek enlightenment or peace or nirvana as the goal of their spiritual practice. But how can there be peace when other people are suffering? This article is about using spiritual practice to help understand how to help in the face of institutional racism and other big societal problems.
- No Impact Man Gets a Colonoscopy: Well, I said I was trying to be more intimate with you guys, right? But also I learned some good lessons from it.
Hope you enjoy these posts. Meanwhile, keep your eye out for the announcement of the course and the Facebook group, which will come soon. I’m really psyched about both. I think they are going to help us all a lot.
Colin Beavan aka No Impact Man
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