We are trying to live gently in the world, more gently than we ever have. We’ve been at this point before, when we were young, and again, and yet again -- only to fall short. So we aren’t being idealistic here. Instead, we are looking to make and choose our own “meaning” through the complex business of actually living day to day life where nothing ever happens according to plan, where unanticipated missteps, wrong turns and happenstance makes life an open and unstructured exploration.
Knowing how noble intent, no matter how heartfelt, is so readily trumped by thoughtless habit, we thought to write down a statement of the values we will try to live. The values that we believe may challenge us to make the remaining years of our lives meaningful -- to us. We are trying to state how we might accept responsibility for how we act, for what we do, for our relations with other living beings, with our neighbors, and with our planet.
We make our own LUCK.
- Learn where our resources come from – those we choose to use and those we must use.
- Understand the impact of our lifestyle choices on our wellbeing and that of others - people, animals, and natural systems. Understanding leads to more carefully considered choices.
- Choose options that make our action(s) more positive than negative, or at least less negative.
- Keep improving on steps 1-3.
We accept the self-evident truth that our existence comes complete with much that is “difficult to bear,” from extreme physical and mental pain to subtle inner conflicts and existential malaise. We will know we are honoring acceptance of difficulty when we turn our challenges into something positive.
Our family is our foundation. We find safety and strength in our family. We interact with each other in order to grow. We depend on each other when we need advice, support, or loving kindness. We know we are honoring the value of our family by the important time we spend together, learning and growing together, and our deepening love.
We seek opportunities to grow the depth and breadth of our understanding of our own physical and emotional natures and the nature of the world around us through travel, reading, study, contemplation, and our life experiences.
We choose a gentle path. To the best of our ability we will neither directly nor indirectly cause sentient beings to come to harm.
- We do not contribute to the industrial exploitation of sentient beings through our purchases or consumption.
- We do not compulsively cater to our whims.
- Though all living things change their surroundings, we will strive to act with awareness of our direct and indirect impacts.
- To the best of our ability we will engage in clear, truthful, uplifting, and non-harmful communication. If we cannot, we maintain silence.
For our own wellbeing and the wellbeing of all we hold dear, we endeavor to act from loving kindness and compassion to the best of our ability.
We are responsible for maintaining authentic satisfaction with our physical and mental health, our happiness, and our prosperity.
- We nourish our bodies with wholesome food and drink
- We respectfully maintain our bodies with activities that are enjoyable and safe.
- Wherever we live we strive to discover or create living conditions that surround us with tranquil beauty.
- We mind our financial resources and obligations ethically and responsibly.
We know we are honoring responsible wellbeing when our choices exemplify non-exploitation of ourselves or others.
Awareness in the Moment
We try to consciously direct our energy to developing a thorough awareness of ourselves, our feelings and thoughts, other people, and the world around us. We meditate to practice awareness in the moment.
We know we are aware when we remember to stop, be here, when we choose rather than react, when we notice the moment, when we reflect on our experiences, and when we count our blessings.
We accept the truth that the easiest person to fool is oneself. To the best of our ability we strive to avoid self-righteousness and to maintain healthy doubt.
We will know we are on track if we question, remain constant learners, and base our choices on evidence rather than faith.
Jamie Wyant is a retired American living in Spain. After a multifaceted career ranging from ecosystem science to digital marketing, he moved to Valencia in 2017 with his wife, Susan, and their senior pets. He writes about the joys and tribulations of living overseas. Jamie also manages the technical aspects of GentleCycle.net
Susan Carey retired in 2017 after a long business career most recently in animal welfare leadership. She writes about her experiences as a recent retiree living in Spain. Susan lives in Valencia, Spain with her husband, Jamie, and the senior pets they brought with them from the United States.