I have come to a place where I am ready to take MY vows as a monk of LOVE. This isn’t anything I ask of others, but it is something that I must do out of my own feeling of what is right. Rather that espousing “Will Nots”, I will do my best to live the things that I find in keeping with best practices for the Earth, others, and myself.

1. Vow of Transportation-  I will carpool to important functions, meetings, or endeavors, otherwise I will ride my bike, run, walk, or use public transportation.

2. Vow of Food- I will eat food that I have grown, cooked, and prepared or that which is grown, cooked or prepared locally. I will share the food I have with those who have none.

3. Vow of Abundance- I will give from my abundance. If I have two of anything, I will give to those who have none.

4. Vow of Kindness- I will give love, kindness, and peace to others. I will give that which I should like to receive. I would like to receive kind words, acts, and thoughts…I should be willing to offer the same.

5. Vow of Stewardship- I will to the best of my ability leave any person, place, or thing better off than I found it. This for me is a meditation requiring constant diligence.

I have been quiet as of late. I have become abundantly aware that what one does out of intention is not the same as what one does out of laziness of mind. I have become a bit lazy as of late. Compared to living outside and on the road, living indoors has made me a bit complacent. When insulated from the weather, hunger, and need, it is easy to become self-satisfied, self-congratulatory, self-regarding, and conceited.

I have to walk my talk. It isn’t good enough to say something with one’s mouth, one must live it out with ones feet. To say that we should be green is important, it IS the intention. But, as the saying goes, “Hell is the place where one finds his good intentions corrupted.” To say that recycling, a low carbon footprint, living green, caring for the poor, and loving one’s neighbor is important and it is admirable, but to LIVE it out carries the weight of conviction. To say that we should “Treat others as we wish to be treated” is the goal of every ethical, spiritual, and moralistic tradition, and yet we see it so poorly borne to fruition. Am I not guilty of the same?

I have been truly blessed by friends, family, and strangers. I’ve been truly blessed by the universe. I am grateful. The testimony of such gratitude is a life of compassion.

Some friends understand what I am trying to do, and they want to help. When I was preparing to leave on my pilgrimage over a year ago, I gave away one of my many bikes to a young man named Will. Recently, Will learned of my desire to begin coaching again, and returned to me the same gift. I’ve been riding that bike now 15 miles a day back and forth to the gym in the rain. My dear friend Winnie gave me an umbrella. The umbrella has held up, however the bike has not. The bearings and the crank have ground to a halt, and fell apart literally in front of a bike shop.

The intention to buy local, to feed the homeless, and to do art for people was honored and supported by Deireck, the bicycle mechanic at Collin’s Bicycle Shop. He proved to be an invaluable resource. He found a bike that would be the best commuting bike for Oregon and my purposes of living green. The design of the bike helps keep waste and toxic chemicals out of the landfill, because the lights are not battery powered, but human powered. Deireck was kind and patient with me, and was moved by what I am doing. He even purchased some of the accessories for me, because he believes in the purposes for which they are intended to serve.

In addition, some anonymous donors purchased the rest of the bicycle and parts so that I can continue to do my part to serve others. Who am I to do less?

Mother Teresa was once being interviewed by an American journalist. During the interview, Mother Teresa was attending and washing the sores of a leper. The journalist said, “I wouldn’t do that for a million dollars.” Mother Teresa without looking up from her work said, “Neither would I.”