From the desk of Jayne Battey

Paradise, California burned to the ground last night. Here in Half Moon Bay, on the edge of the Pacific Ocean and over two-hundred miles away from this small Sierra Nevada foothill town, we are breathing the smoke from the fire. And it is a stark reminder of how serious a threat we face from climate change. As the winds are picking up and blowing from the east this morning, I wonder if we are immune from the fire danger living this close to the Pacific Ocean. I know we are not.

It’s been a rough week. The national and local news is a barrage of violence and hate and fear and division; and close to home I find myself confronted by realities that don’t match my personal values. So in the words of American Leadership Forum (ALF), it’s time to doing a little taking stock—to think about how I will live my life authentically and with love and joy. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. I am sorry New York Times, but I am banning you from my bedroom. Effective immediately. You will join the ranks of Facebook, CNN and other media. I appreciate your work (thank you for keeping democracy alive), but I am going to have to limit my intake of vitriol and violence to keep an even keel. I think you get no more than 30 minutes of my day on average.

2. My husband and I are throwing a BIG holiday party this year. We need more light and laughter, more time gathering with friends and family, and I think others need this too. It has always been a priority for us, but even more so in what seem like such unsteady times. There are so many very good people in our lives, doing good work, being good friends and doing their best to make the world a better place. Life is, in fact, good.

3. I am recommitting and doubling-down on my efforts to make Miramar Farms a place for leadership learning and connection, but with an increased focus on living and leading in a way that is sustainable for people and the planet. We all can see that time is up on this topic. I will be bolder in how we model sustainability in our lives and our business, as well as how we guide and support others in making sustainable choices.

4. I am going to actively search for ways I can support community and regional efforts around education, the advancement of women and the protection of the environment. These have long been my priorities, but it is clear to me that all of these topics require significant leadership and investment for the future of my children and grandchildren.

5. I am going to hold my family even closer. They are my life and I will make certain they know that in big and small ways.  I will do my best not to miss a moment of the moments that only come once.

6. I am going to remember to put on my own oxygen mask first. This means I need to take care of myself—eat well, rest, exercise, and take time to reflect, connect and create. It is easy to put personal care aside when the world is on fire, but I know these practices will allow me to do more in the near-term and the long-term.

So that’s it for now. And all of this reminds me how lucky I am to have choices—to have the health, resources and position to do more, say more, help more, be more. I see other brave people out there, standing up and not standing by. Me too.