And I will be grateful…

I’m attending the SCARP Symposium today. And one of the required readings (I’ve never been to a conference that had assigned readings!) is a manifesto written by Mark Holland on October 22nd 2009 titled “Resilient Cities and Regenerative Regions”.  The manifesto is wonderful; the last section about commitments is phenomenal. I’ve included that last section below. (Thanks Mark Holland, I’m certainly feeling grateful to have discovered your words…)

As a resident and co‐author of a resilient city and regenerative region, I commit to the following:

  • I will embrace my responsibility as an author of the future and of my city;
  • I will confront my comforting illusions – but will not believe all those who would feed me news that might prey on my anxieties;
  • I will accept my disillusionment with all institutions and leaders, but will not take leave my responsibility and become embittered;
  • I will learn from whomever I can ‐ but will never devolve my responsibility to be the  author of my city to any teacher, no matter how gracious their words or beautiful their pictures;
  • I will engage my peers and declare our generation’s responsibility ‐  but I will share my successes and failures equally;
  • I will accept that I must live in this world, but will commit to slowing to look beyond the fog of overwork, lack of sleep, gridlock, shopping, and the apparent race with others in everything to nowhere in particular – to find my quality of life within my earth’s
  • And I will be grateful;
  • I will breathe deep,  I will smile at the rain, I will soak in the sun, and I will teach my children  the songs of the birds who live in our neighbourhood;
  • I will eat and drink the abundance of my region, and will share my abundance with those who work to maintain that land’s capacity;
  • In addition, I will share my abundance with many others in a manner that empowers them to create more of their own;
  • I will ask of myself the courage to see the challenges that give me fear through the eyes  of those whose job it is to deal with them and I will be a compassionate, engaged and disciplined citizen;
  • And I will be grateful;
  • I will open to the pain that I cause in the world through my ignorance and fear and the distance I seem to have from my internal dignity and nobility, and I will feel the pain, shock and injustice of participating in the death of so many, if only by accident – and then I will move past that grief to the restless serenity of my responsibility – to my planet, to my community, to my family, and to myself;
  • And in that spontaneous map that comes from that honesty, I will find my “well”, the source of my regeneration and I will personally become resilient;
  • And I will be grateful.

And finally, I will acknowledge that I do not understand the universe enough to yet proclaim that “its over” and as a resident of a resilient city and regenerative region I will have faith in you and I will have faith in myself that we can do this – that we can change.

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Shagufta is a UBC Political Science graduate with a passion for interdisciplinary thinking, writing, travel, reading, tea, and interesting conversations. She hopes to combine all of these things in her life work someday. For now though, she studies social policy and planning at the University of Toronto and shares her adventures in and out of the classroom at