I’ll never forget the day, a little over a year ago, when Seth Herman sat down in my living room and asked if I would carry the torch of Rootfire. I was shocked at first, then honored, humbled and a little bit terrified because Seth is a true visionary with impossible shoes to fill.
So I had to do some real soul-searching. What does this mean? Why am I here? Thankfully Seth had become a dear friend and mentor over the last few years, so I had more than just a surface level perspective on who he is and what makes him tick.
I eventually realized my mission was not to fill his shoes but to understand his vision and learn to mold it into my own along the way.
I remembered a story he told me about his days at the Stanford Sierra Camp in South Lake Tahoe, and how one morning he woke up early to shovel snow from everyone’s walkways, just because he knew it would make their day a little better. That’s the kind of person he is. The more I thought about it the more I realized that’s precisely the image in which he created Rootfire.
This morning I sat down for a 10 minute guided meditation and it ended with a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’”
Then I remembered his “I’ve been to the mountaintop” speech, which another mentor and colleague once told me is the single most influential speech he’s ever heard, so I listened to it in its entirety. Again, this theme leaped out.
Dr. King reminds us the question we must ask is not “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” We must reverse the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”
As we continue into 2018, let’s try to remember this every day. What is our purpose if we’re not making a positive contribution to those around us? What are we doing if we’re not trying to make the world a better place?
We must remember that we’re all in this together, and the way forward is by helping our brothers and sisters….a rising tide lifts all boats. When we really look below the surface, we find that the things we have in common as human beings far outweigh our individual differences. Furthermore, it’s those differences – our diversity – that make us stronger when we stand together as human beings, rather than adversaries.
Here’s to loving one another.
Here’s to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the light he shared with us.
Here’s to the heartbeat of music that has united us throughout generations.