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BK Magazine BK Life
We’ve heard it time and time again, from the Romantic poets to Disney’s Pocahontas, there’s a lot that we can learn from nature. Unfortunately for most of us, we just don’t leave enough time in the day to hang out with trees and inhale their wisdom like we do their oxygen. But most of us do have enough time to read a book, especially one as slim as The Seven Paths: Changing One’s Way of Walking in the World by the Anasazi Foundation, which shares traditional Native American wisdom gleaned from the natural environment. And for those of us that don’t even have enough time for that, I’ve pulled 7 quotes from Seven Paths that can lend us some serious insight.
How many times do we work so hard to get what we think will make us happy, and trample over all our loved ones in the meantime? If you have the plot of Elf (starring Will Ferrell) memorized like I do, you’ll recall that Buddy’s dad Walter is so absorbed with doing well in his career that he completely ignores his son Michael. But at the end of the movie, Walter gets his priorities straight, and quits his job so he can go save Christmas with Michael and Buddy. Walter figured out that his family, rather than his job, that would provide real happiness.
Regardless of whether I want to be or not, I am connected to other people. My decisions change circumstances that affect their decisions, and my circumstances are affected by there’s. Remember The Butterfly Effect? “It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly's wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world.”
The truth is, we have all been hurt by others. These are the times that we’d rather not be connected, and give up on finding happiness through community. This semester I live in a house with 21 other people, and there is always someone stepping on my toes. If I let everything upset me, I would shut myself in my room all day and not have any friends. I’ve learned to forgive my housemates for the mistakes they make, just like they forgive me. Forgiveness is one of the building blocks of community, and essentially, contentment.
We define the community around us through our own decisions. When I look around my house and see only messy, selfish people that keep getting in my way, I am inspiring a broken (and unhappy) community. But when I smile at my housemates, look for their strengths and forgive their mistakes, I am creating a community of peace through attitudes of peace.
When we live with these attitudes of wisdom, our actions inspire wisdom in others. I was inspired the first time I saw one of my housemates doing everyone’s dishes, now I look for ways to serve my housemates. The pursuit of peace becomes a common goal, and communal satisfaction is produced as a happy side effect.
Realistically, all of this is easier said than done. The great thing is, we’re in this together (High School Musical style), walking and learning in the quest for wisdom. Don’t be afraid to learn from others, encourage others, and allow the same to be done to you, as we all seek true happiness.
Hopefully these have been valuable tidbits for you, but I’d highly recommend going beyond the mere tidbit. There’s much more to be learned from The Seven Paths , so pick up your own copy here. May your search for wisdom be fruitful, and may you inspire others to take the same journey. “The dry desert slopes and asphalt expanses of your day need your inspiring presence.”