|"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. |
Learn as if you were to live forever." - Gandhi
I am particularly attracted to teachers from the east (or they are attracted to me), like Lao-tzu. One of his quotes has been a constant source of inspiration and strength.
Have few desires."
Henry David Thoreau
Thoreau has been a teacher that entered my life early, and has made repeated appearances since then. His life at Walden Pond was his message, but he is also an endless source of memorable snippets of simple living wisdom.
"What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?"
Merkel's book Radical Simplicity came to me at a time I was ready to take the next step in simplifying my life. His ideas on the concept of using our "fair share" of the earth's resources profoundly changed the way I look at global resource allocations and the exploitation of people and the environment.
"Imagine you are first in line at a potluck buffet. The spread includes not just food and water, but all the materials needed for shelter, clothing, health care, and education. How do you know how much to take? How much is enough to leave for your neighbors behind you—not just the six billion people, but the wildlife, and the as-yet-unborn?"
A holy man of the Sioux Nation, Black Elk was born in 1863 in Wyoming. At the time his people still roamed the land freely, but that was soon to change. His warnings to the invaders should have helped avoid the human and environmental atrocities that have occurred (and continue to occur) since then.
“Any man who is attached to things of this world is one who lives in ignorance and is being consumed by the snakes of his own passions.”
Ted is a friend that was also a teacher. Before the school year started one year, Ted gave notice and quit his tenured position. Instead of "getting ahead" in the professional world, he traded the so-called good life for a backpack and flew off into the sunset, never to return. His bold actions taught me about exercising my freedom to conduct my own life according to my own agenda.
"After you have done something extraordinary, do not rush back into normal."
There is no shortage of teachers - some have been waiting a very long time. What we need are more students that are ready. Ready for the truth. Ready to hear the message of simplicity from the teachers that have lived it.
Today I honour the wise and patient teachers across history that have assisted me on my journey. Some have been famous, and others regular people in my life. Either way, the secret is to be ready and receptive to be able to hear the message.
Here's to the teachers of the past, present, and future.