I love Arianna Huffington. I love her intelligence, her sense of humor and her Greek accent.

I first watched this Wisdom 2.0 talk a few months ago and was inspired when Arianna gave out her email address and invited listeners to “continue the conversation.” I wrote down her address, but didn’t know what to say. Listening to it again this morning, I composed my response and sent it off.

For your enjoyment, here is Arianna’s wonderful talk about Well-being, Wisdom, Wonder, and Giving, followed by my response:

Arianna-

Having just listened to your Wisdom 2.0 talk on The Third Metric, first I would like to say that you are one of my favorite thinkers. I first heard you speak in Venice, CA during your campaign for governor but prior to that, as a teenager, I was deeply moved by Picasso: Creator and Destroyer.

For someone who – from an early age – longed to be an artist, your depiction of Picasso provided a powerful cautionary tale about the dangers of prioritizing personal vision and success over human relationships. And, in fact, though I devoted a decade to chasing “success” in the entertainment industry, ultimately I acquiesced to something more sustainable.

I’m inspired, therefore, to share my own first-hand observations from the trenches of my own third metric life:

  1. Well-being, Wisdom, Wonder and Giving shape my days. I live in a 1 bedroom apartment with my husband and two young children. I cook for my family, practice yoga, meditation and writing. I provide card readings and direction for people seeking more soul-centered lives, and spend as much time as I can in nature. My readings, blog and divination/guidance are my greatest forms of giving, but I also actively nurture relationships between the families in my apartment complex. 
  2. As a family, our income is small and, though much can be achieved with mindfulness and thrift, there is a consistent sense of uncertainty about the future. The status quo persists on the assumption that, through participation in conventional “success”, you can control your future by means of retirement savings, home ownership and education, etc. And though that’s not strictly “true”, stepping away from even an imagined safety net creates its own stresses and anxiety. 
  3. Iain Thomas certainly has it right when he says “And everyday the world will drag you by the hand….” because it takes effort, persistence and courage to constantly yank it back. One of my biggest challenges is feeling discomfort and embarrassment for not having first demonstrated my social worthiness with conventional success. My on-going task is to believe my life is inherently valuable for the way I live it and not due to external “results.” I have to remind myself of this everyday. It is not reflected back to me by mainstream culture. 
  4. Lastly, though I’ve never had economic wealth or privilege, I have had the privilege of being well-educated, well-informed and healthy. Until this conversation and these choices are accessible to people living in poverty – or working their asses off so that they’re not – third metric living risks remaining yet another elite lifestyle trend. For me, this is where sustainability, non-violence and mindfulness represent more than just personal “choice” but form a platform for social change. 
  5. So, how can the media spread the message beyond its own elites and those who are already educated and informed? I don’t have the answer. That’s just my question.

Yours, Jesica Davis