The Enlivening Force

The operations team of The Guest House has been reading a book called Matter & Desire: An Erotic Ecology.  The premise of the book is that one of the foundational holes in our current ecological approach is that we build our approach towards the earth based on understanding it as a collection of substances, rather than a network of relationships.  And that when we begin to build our ecological approach from a starting point of relationship – between each other, the land, other creatures, and even within the ecosystem of our own bodies – our standards for making ecological decisions becomes centered around principles of transformation, attachment, and acceptance.  Within this set of principles is an underlying belief in the force of life – the drive, imagination, creativity, and power of life.  Albert Schweitzer describes this force as “life that wants to live, in the midst of life that wants to live.”

So I’ve been paying attention to The Enlivening Force.  Watching for it in other people, watching for it in our work, watching for it in our decision-making criteria, and watching for it in an assessment of our relationships.  The questions are: Does it awake something creative in us? Does it inspire others to more life of their own? Does it ask for more attention to life that already exists? Does it spur us on to the next question? 

Andreas Weber (author of Matter & Desire) defines an enlivening force as “The irresistible desire to be, the desire for more life, for healing, for plenitude, for wholeness.” (Weber 44)  And I think we know intuitively when an enlivening force is present in our lives, our work, and our relationships.  I also find that the more we practice tapping into the enlivening force and feeling its presence, the more we develop the muscles to perceive quickly when it is absent.  It becomes a practice to which we aspire to live into more consistently.

Casey, the farmer on our ranch, said to me a little while back, “Being able to go full speed at the thing you believe in is freedom.”  He speaks to the force that is being generated in our work on our properties at this end of the Crystal River.  We are all daily in our various roles on the ranches pushing ourselves full speed towards the thing we believe in and not willing to settle for anything less than the awakening of the creative in order to answer questions that are essential for all of us – the creatures and the land included – to serve each other and to live more sustainably. 

Today we are thankful for the ability to live more fully into life, to tap into creativity, and to imagine new paths to healing and wholeness. 

seth o'donovan