Mindful Assembly Renewing Intentional Goodness & Optimal Living Daily
Healing lives. Building communities.
Education. Encouragement. Service.
The market is flooded (think tsunami) with “self-help books.”
I decided to offer this instead in one of the surest media I know to spread an idea fast to the most people.
It’s not about how much fun and power and wealth I discovered cobbling a life together in the wake of personal chaos.
It’s about self-determination rooted in common sense nurtured by love and hope.
Okay, that’s enough.
“To be ill-adjusted to a deranged world is not a breakdown.”
If rage wrote WAAAAY BEYOND LEMONADE, resolve writes The MARIGOLD Initiative.
This work began as a lifeline for psychiatric survivors; a putting to the page of ways we find a place and a purpose after breaking free from prescription drugs and widely accepted, however false, notions about mental/emotional normalcy.
But friends and loved ones have helped me see that this is a hopeful idea for any and all who have endured, for anyone who rebuffs defeat and commits to renewing his/her life. Borrowing from my late father’s favorite author, Terry C. Johnston:
“As the fickle spirits of earth and sky conspire to
rob a man of his soul, we rediscover that tiny
flicker of the Almighty within all of us who
refuse to give up!”
What all survivors must learn to do is accept a new normal.
Not easy. Not fun.
One learns, as my Granny used to say, to “make hay while the sun shines.”
Be productive when you feel well enough.
Or, as St. Francis of Assisi wrote, “Do what you can, when you can, with what you have.”
This is a story about potential: what is done with life during and beyond recovery.
My original conception of a MARIGOLD Community was as a group of individuals cooperating to educate one another regarding healthy life changes, encouraging the processes of those changes, and ultimately building resource-based alternatives to conventional capitalist economies. Each person volunteers a particular skill a designated number of hours a week, and takes for his own needs accordingly.
I envisioned private funding—enough, in my dream—to allow members to have real jobs, materials to construct their own homes, to build a community owned and operated by its residents.
I understand such things have been tried before.
So, I’ve downscaled and re-imagined.
Every community starts with one person and one idea.
Therefore, the first MARIGOLD Community is located in my own living room, in my own back yard, but first and foremost, in my own heart and mind. It is a personal plan and practice to rebuild my life.
I’ve been described as “a visionary with her feet on the ground.”
The idea is radical, no matter what the scale. It urges abandonment of beliefs, habits, attachments, and relationships that have failed you, that have become toxic. The MARIGOLD Initiative is based on ancient disciplines and practices applied to the hazards and complexities of twenty-first century life.
I know. I know. You want the KISS Method. So do I.
So, simply, The MARIGOLD Initiative is:
- Clearing the toxins from your life.
- Living in the present moment.
- Becoming the healthiest, happiest version of your own sweet self you have ever been.
- Being of service to others.
“The opposite of depression is vitality.”
They’re pretty, hardy little flowers, for one thing. “Mary’s Gold,” they were used to decorate the poorest churches. Their bright blossoms form tight petal clusters ranging in hue from bright yellow to saffron to copper. The clean, pungent scent of marigolds repels animals and insects; even their root systems protect against nematodes and other pests for years. A seed husk opens like a delicate paper horn to reveal straw-colored and black splinters. A tiny bit of even the sandiest soil, water and sunshine—lots of sunshine—will yield the next generation of cheer in a few weeks. I’ve grown them since childhood.
Today they are the symbol of a philosophy, a lifestyle, a vision:
Mindful – Present-moment awareness. Dismissing the Monkey Mind and its distractions of the past, its gibbering criticism, its jaw-clenching worry. Full engagement with your present surroundings and activities, from adapting to antelopes to zooming with zebras. Okay, that’s silly. But you understand.
Assembly – Any nurturing association, including family, friends, co-workers, and online communities created via social media.
If you’ve joined this group of like-minded, like-hearted, folks in the Life Renewal Process, together we may evolve into a dynamic organization that provides jobs and services, teaches, feeds, heals, clothes, rehabilitates. MARIGOLD Communities all over the planet. A very unique kind of city. A very unique kind of wholeness.
I can dream, can’t I?
Let’s imagine a foundation of volunteers in every capacity offering their skill and talent two hours a week. Architects to xeriscapers.
(My inspiration is Pinellas Hope in Clearwater, FL. It is a homeless encampment providing temporary, get-back-on-your-feet assistance: shelter, clothing, food, counseling, transportation, employment and medical services. It’s operated by a handful of salaried workers; most are volunteers.)
Imagine funding to actually give real jobs to the residents, either in their present skill set or in a new area, on-the-job training, apprenticeships. Such MARIGOLD Communities need corporate sponsors/capital investors.
That’s the large-scale MARIGOLD vision.
Renewing – Everyone interested or active in this philosophy or movement is undertaking a life overhaul of one sort or another, renewing energy, talent, hope, livelihood; something that has nearly shriveled and died on the vine is shooting out new, green tendrils. We renew the idea, the hope, the plan. We recommit to it. It’s fresh, not forgotten, and very much alive with potential.
Intentional – There is great power in focusing intention on a goal. Not the casual, “I intend to finish this project as soon as possible,” but a commitment to act in the direction of a goal with discipline and consistency. You don’t falter. You don’t do it halfway. Intention is rather like the action end of a decision. I highly recommend Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art and Turning Pro. These books got me writing again. You show up. Every day. And you work.
Goodness & … Well, duh. We all know what goodness is. Don’t we?
Optimal – For me, the happiest/healthiest/soundest/sanest/most loving/creative/gratifying/satisfying. Highly individual. There are no standards for what is optimal; no one-size fits all. You need to figure this out for yourself. I just thought of Lissa Rankin, M.D., and the Self-Healing Kit she offers free online. http://lissarankin.com/.
Living – Well, this might seem obvious, but I don’t only mean the state NASA defines as “a self-contained chemical system capable of undergoing Darwinian evolution.” Living is exhibiting vitality and interest in the present moment. Living is not anchored to the past. Living is engaged in play and rest and creativity and love. Living is social. Living is solitary. You know these things.
Daily – Certainly not meaning “repeat every 24 hours.” Mindful, intentional renewal of your goodness, your optimal elements, your life becomes part of your autonomic nervous system: These things are done with “effortless ease,” to borrow a powerful term from Deepak Chopra. Like breathing and digestion, they happen without conscious endeavor.
This is not a new way of thinking and being. It is an ancient way.
“A true healer doesn’t actually heal us; he or she simply helps us remove the blocks that are inhibiting our ability to heal ourselves.”
—The Sacred Science Newsletter, 12/5/2013
It is nearly two years since I began Waaaay Beyond Lemonade. I have come to such a quiet place. I no longer feel the need to write, which rather astonishes me. I reflect upon the therapeutic nature of writing: the catharsis, the self-counseling/consoling. I encourage others to keep journals, write poetry and prose, to “write yourself well.”
A need that abides in me is to be of service. I think it may be one of those key elements of recovery. Altruism heals.
The MARIGOLD INITIATIVE encourages volunteerism, suggesting two hours a week doing whatever you are able to contribute to the well-being of others, the environment, a charity, the list of possibilities is endless. It could be as simple as cooking breakfast for your neighbor or picking up litter on your favorite walkway. Be original. Everyone has something to offer. And it’s all important.
Let’s do this.
Join in. I’d love to see newly sprouted MARIGOLD Communities…Get going in your area and start a “sister” group, something like “MARIGOLD Community, Your City, State/Country.”
Okay. So now you know what I’m doing in my post-WAAAAY BEYOND LEMONADE (http://www.amazon.com/Waaaay-Beyond-Lemonade-Merry-Wilson-ebook/dp/B00HUJRO6M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424822377&sr=8-1&keywords=waaaay+beyond+lemonade) life.
Be well and happy, and don’t forget to plant marigolds and smell roses. And tend your garden and eat pistachio nuts.
—Merry Ruthe (M. R.) Wilson
St. Petersburg, Florida
December 17, 2014