The Biomimetic Life: A Self-Analysis
For a while I’ve been meaning to analyze my life and work based on Life’s Principles from biomimicry, to see how I’m doing in my personal quest to live an ethical life of service to the planet. A few weeks ago I attended Barbara Marx Hubbard’s Planetary Mission Launch in Berkeley, California, where she spoke eloquently about conscious evolution. She said conscious evolution requires three ingredients: consciousness (well, duh), freedom (to co-create), and love (the purpose of evolution). In other words, humans are conscious beings who can impact the course of their future, and (for me, anyway), the important action to take is to evolve humanity in ways that affirm and love life. Nature is masterful at creating conditions conducive to life; humans, not so much.
This time, now, is more important than ever for humanity to align with life. I got started in behavior change through ethics, and have spent sixteen or more years examining my own actions and principles. I know we are all works in progress, which is why it’s important to have compassion for ourselves. As I embark on this analysis of my life from a biomimetic perspective, I’ll try to remember that. Journey with me, and see how you fare.
I’ll list each one of the Life’s Principles and briefly summarize what I’m doing in this arena and what I could do better. Here goes!
Evolve to Survive
A big part of this principle is to replicate strategies that work; I do this through the integrated model for Alchemus Prime, and through the holistic service offerings of AZENTIVE. Personally, I use strategies for wellness, time management, and productivity that work for me. Integrating the unexpected is also an evolutionary strategy, and is something I do through improv for myself and my clients, but sometimes it’s challenging, because I’m a planner too. Reshuffling information happens through genetics in nature; I brainstorm and re-evaluate what I’ve done before in terms of products and services and facilitation, and then tailor differently based on what’s needed. In a sense, I’m always creating too, if not procreating, ha! I think I could do better here by being more welcoming of the unexpected, and more nimble in the ways I integrate it. Having more time for play and fun would help me. Translation: I need to get back into dancing. It’s been six months.
Adapt to Changing Conditions
Two of the strategies for adapting to change are to embrace diversity, and maintain integrity. I love diversity in all its aspects: ideas, ethnicities, ways of knowing, and more; without it, I feel unhappy. I grew up with 31 nationalities in my high school, and I’m sure that has a lot to do with it. Integrity is vital to me, and I practice self-renewal through meditation, personal retreats, and my poetry. Adapting to change is something I’ve made my career as a behavior change specialist, but it’s still difficult on a personal level. The only solution is to accept and embrace change as the norm. I could always improve in my practice; it’s a lifetime of learning to live this way. Nature’s guidance is beautiful: plants and animals are serene in times of change, they never complain or worry…they simply go with the flow.
Be Locally Attuned and Responsive
I’m good at being locally attuned in the sense that I walk everywhere and cultivate friendships with people in my neighborhoods. I support local organizations and communities, and communicate frequently with those around me. The strategies of cultivating cooperative relationships, using feedback loops, and using readily available resources are pretty familiar to me. I also welcome seasonal changes and cyclical processes, eating and doing what makes sense for the season I’m in. To do better here, I need to use the previous principle to embrace change, as I had to do in my recent move to Southern California. Now I’m in a process of learning my local neighborhood all over and starting anew. A world of opportunities, to which I say: YES!
Use Life-Friendly Chemistry
My biggest example of using simple, harmless chemistry is in the products I use for my body and dwelling. All are biodegradable and organic, affirming my values. I need to do better by bringing the same standard into all my materials for workshops and retreats. Often this is hard to control because we travel to different locations, but I could establish a practice of bringing my own cleaning products. A wonderful idea for a 2017 resolution for Alchemus Prime!
Be Resource Efficient
One of the big ways I’m being resource efficient is by eating low on the food chain. Plant-based foods take fewer resources such as land, water, and nutrients to grow, and are better for my health. I also ride a bicycle or take public transit whenever possible, and don’t own a car to be more mindful of my resource use. I recycle, compost, and repurpose religiously…but my biggest flaw is that I still fly. My dream is to one day have my own retreat and workshop venue, and have clients come to me using resource-efficient means. This would potentially reduce my travel by air to zero. Of course, I’m torn about this because traveling internationally affords so much intellectual growth and understanding of cultures, that it may be difficult to give up entirely.
Integrate Development with Growth
The strategies at play here are working from the bottom-up, creating modular components, and self-organizing. I chose behavior change as a calling because it embraces these characteristics. I enjoy creating community and mobilizing bottom-up approaches because I firmly believe in scaling up individual behavior changes. I embrace modularity in the product design for AZENTIVE, where we have created modular and overlapping offerings that form a comprehensive whole for resource efficiency and wellness. I want to do more in this vein, and mobilize masses of people to take back their health through plant-based eating and meditation.
My esteemed teacher, colleague and friend, Toby Herzlich, has taken the Life’s Principles are adapted them into leadership practices. Take a look at my photo of my copy below, which I obtained in her workshop at Bioneers this year. See how these leadership practices apply to you, and how you could be more life-affirming in your leadership.