Life Advice for Your 20 Year Old Self with Steve Torma at Earthaven Ecovillage
(Transcript from video)
Courtney Brooke: Hi Steve.
Courtney Brooke: I was just noticing you know in my life the longing for more mentorship and elders. So I’ve been asking some people in my life who are who are more experienced and farther along the journey. If you could give yourself some advice when you were 20 years old, what would it be?
Feelings and Needs
Steve: Wow I like the question. Well, the first thing that comes to my mind is the concept of feelings and needs.
It’s the amazing realization that everything that I do is an attempt to meet a need. All of my feelings are this amazing elegant feedback system that my body mind has to guide me. So I would encourage my 20 year old self to get more in touch with my feelings and learn what the basic needs are. You know that I think that would have been incredibly powerful.
Pain Can Inform Life
I think maybe the other thing would be that when painful things happen, it doesn’t mean necessarily that there’s something wrong or that I’ve done anything wrong or anyone else has done anything wrong. When you look out in nature you see death and destruction all the time that leads to life. So I would tell my 20 year old self: yes, feel the uncomfortable painful feelings. Don’t deny those and don’t repress that. But also don’t jump to conclusions that just because this thing is painful that is necessarily bad for me. I have a lot in my own life, I had a lot of stories about that, that made everything much more difficult. That pain is a way for life, to get information about life.
Failure = Living Systems Educating Themselves
The third one is kind of similar. It is around the concept of failure. I had a dear friend who years ago told me this: “there’s no such thing as failure, there’s only feedback and learning.” If I could have had that wisdom when I was 20; I used to beat myself up so much about having failed at this and failed at that. Then eventually adopted a more evolutionary and nature perspective of reality. Like the quote “failure things happen all the time but they’re just part of living systems educating themselves.” That would have given me a lot of relief. I had much more energy in my life if I had less of that failure thought and more of just realizing that “oh, this is just a living system, I’m a living system learning.”
Reclaim the Sacred…Earth, Feminine, and Relationship to Our Bodies
Let’s see the fourth one I think would be around the concept of the sacred. What does it mean for things to be sacred? What things are sacred and what things have lost their sacredness in our culture that would be really helpful if I could reclaim? The three that come to mind is something that I think I heard from Starhawk. I’m not sure exactly where I heard it. The three aspects of life that got most damaged in the patriarchy has been our relationship to the earth, our relationship to the feminine, and our relationship to our bodies. I would I really encourage my 20 year old self to reflect on and pray and read and whatever would help to reclaim my the sense of the sacredness of earth and feminine in my body.
Courtney Brooke: Wow thanks so much Steve. Thank you.