When mass shootings grab headlines every day, it’s easy to become suspicious and fearful. It’s easy to think that arming yourself is the only way to greet violence head-on. It’s easy to shed tears and say prayers and go on with our lives.
What’s not so easy is doing what all memorable leaders—Gandhi, Jesus, Buddha, the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Pope Francis, Martin Luther King Jr. and many others—have preached: to live compassionately.
But what does that mean, and how do we do it? I’m not sure, but for me I think it means living from the heart and knowing we all share dreams, hopes, sorrows and pain. We are all the same, no matter our station in this life, our skin color, our religion, our age.
I think the place to start to live compassionately is in our own community, by helping others, by volunteering, by strengthening the bonds that foster kinship. Knowing who we really are and the contents of our own hearts makes it easier for us to feel compassion toward others, especially those who might be different from us, with different beliefs and cultural systems. Bettering oneself is the one struggle we should all seek.
And though this magazine’s contribution to that quest is tiny, and perhaps insignificant, we strive to bring you tools in every issue to make your life and our community better.
In this issue, for example, we highlight front-yard food gardens, plants for detoxing interior air, places to see amazing wildlife, and tips to create a spiritual garden.
A story that truly touches upon the compassion of our community is the Feature Home story. It’s about Ben Rickard and Shannon Rood, a Niwot couple who lost all their belongings, their truck and their home in the 2013 flood. Through the kindness and generosity of friends and strangers, and their own resilient spirits, Ben and Shannon gained back everything they’d lost—and more, as they watched the community and themselves pull together to build a new home for them, and their many pets, to live in.
We hope you enjoy reading about your neighbors and your community in the pages of this magazine. We always want to hear from you, so please drop us a line if you have a home or a garden we should feature, a story we should cover, or any thoughts you might have about the betterment of this magazine.
Go in peace and live compassionately this new year and beyond.
Enjoy the winter, and hope to see you again in spring.
Carol S. Brock, editor