Aaron Perry


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Stewardship & Sustainability Series
Episode 34 - Maija West, Esq. on Forward Thinking Leadership

Maija West, Esq., attorney, mediator, consultant, and mother, shares profound insights about leadership in the age of balance, healing, and reconciliation. She speaks to the courage necessary to take the hard looks and have the hard conversations that are requisite for individuals, corporations, and institutions alike, in order to heal and evolve in our roles as advocates, stewards, and citizens in our rapidly changing world.

The founder of Moxie Lab as well as the Healing and Reconciliation Institute, Ms. West also provides boutique legal and corporate advising services to for- and non-profit corporations at all scales and sizes. As a practitioner of Forward Thinking Leadership herself, Maija asks us questions like: “What does it mean to be human, and responsive in these changing times?” Advocating the strength found in community, the essential importance of listening to indigenous wisdom, and the pragmatic imperative of cultivating mind/body balance and health, Maija discusses the complex neurobiology underlying our individual experiences, responses to stress and stimuli, and ability to cultivate a world and future marked by stewardship, regeneration, and sustainability.

Maija explains that through the awesome power of neuroplasticity, we each have the ability to evolve beyond the base fight/flight/freeze/appease responses to experiences we encounter in the board room, at work, at home, and elsewhere about our community. Doing so makes us more effective and impactful leaders in these momentous times.


(Automatically generated transcript for search engine optimization and reference purposes – grammatical and spelling errors may exist.)

Welcome to the YonEarth Communities Stewardship and Sustainability Podcast Series.

Today, I’m so happy that we have with us Maija West, hi Maija.

Hi, how nice to see you again, Aaron.

Great to see you today.

Maija West is the owner of the law office of Maija West and founder of Moxie Lab, a leadership

company for emerging visionaries.

She is also the founder of the Healing and Reconciliation Institute, a nonprofit consulting


Professionally, she is dedicated to supporting businesses in building a forward thinking

strategy as part of their mission.

Her background as a civil litigator, land use consultant, and community bank enterprise

risk officer, has provided her with a strong legal foundation as she assists her clients

from the start-up phase all the way to succession and exit planning.

Maija believes that helping create strong leaders is the path to growing conscious companies.

Maija has served on the boards of the Ventana Wildlife Society, the Wahine Project, and the

Taos Community Foundation.

She is currently the chair of the Women’s Leadership Council for the Women’s Fund of the Community

Foundation for Monterey County, as well as serving as a board member of both the Community

Foundation for Monterey County and the Monterey County Rape Crisis Center.

Maija is a graduate of the University of California, Seattle, and the University of New Mexico

School of Law.

She lives in Carmell Valley, California with her husband Cody and daughter, Ava.

Maija, it is such a pleasure to have you with us today.

Thank you for joining us.

Thank you so much.

I’m happy to be here.

I’m struck knowing some about the work that you’re doing and some of our recent exchange

of notes leading up to our discussion today that you are really on the forefront of bringing

together so many different disciplines and domains of expertise, which it seems as

one of the real keys to creating the stewardship and sustainability in the world that I know

we’re working so hard for, and I’m just curious, what is that like for you to be working

in so many different realms day to day?

Well, that’s a generous way to say it, but I would say that sometimes it feels a little

bit schizophrenic, but I delight in it.

I feel like I’m part of the playground of what it means to be a human when I get to focus

on leaders and their work around building good citizens that can be responsive to changing

times, means I get to play with various industries, various types of leaders and use different

techniques and furtherance of that goal.

What is that when you’re talking about this capacity for leadership in dynamic changing

times, what are you seeing with your clients and the colleagues that you’re working with

out there?

What’s emerging?

Well, one of the things that I’m seeing emerging, and this kind of comes from some of the

frustrations I experienced working in the environmental movement in the past, was that sometimes

it was very hard to, it was easy to advocate for something outside of ourselves, like protecting

endangered species or specific lands that were fragile ecosystem or watershed, but it

was harder to do that within our own organizations or even within ourselves and our own families,

and so this world is kind of what I see as emerging is truly in kind of leading from

integrated place, which means that when we’re in that boardroom, when we’re having to make

a hard decision, it’s about our advocacy out in the field, but it’s also about our advocacy

for our own moral compass and having the courage to have hard conversations.

And so for me, the kind of the bleeding edge of this is becoming an expert in conflict

adversion and how we handle those hard conversations, because that allows me to kind of coach my

clients in overcoming that so that they can do the right thing in that moment.

Well, that is so important and obviously requires so much courage.

Yeah, and I think one of the things that keeps us from being courageous is that we often

feel like we’re alone in that.

So we don’t want to be that one person in the room who’s saying the thing that needs to

be said.

And so one of the reasons that I wanted to kind of support more of an educational format

in my own work was so that we could bring more people to the table so that folks felt

like they had a network.

So when they need to stand up and do something from an active courage so they know they’re

doing that with the whole kind of network of people that support them or support those


Oh, that’s beautiful.

So there’s a real sense of stepping into a whole new community, a whole new set of relationships

that are available.

Yeah, because I think sometimes we pick our relationships based on job titles, work

histories, or convenience.

And I have gotten into the practice of doing this myself and also advising my clients on

this to pick their network based on their actions.

So those who show me through their actions that they can actually walk the top or my

kind of people because I’m kind of love, I’m kind of an actor myself.

So I want that in my life, whether that’s my professional life, personal life, whatever

I want to surround myself with folks that are people of integrity who can actually have

the courage to take those steps.

And so that becomes my new network and they can have all kinds of job titles and become

from all kinds of industries.

Well, that’s such an important and potent point.

You know, I find with the work we’re doing in the sustainability arena, you know, the

title CEO hardly tells us anything, right, and some of the most forward thinking and innovative

and frankly competitive executive leaders may have the title CEO well at the same time.

Some of the folks who are creating huge resistance to some of the changes needed in our world

right now might also have that same title.

So it’s such an interesting opportunity to focus much more on the actions and on the titles


Yeah, and I, for me, it’s just helped me also with distinguishing, not only not to make

people feel bad because they haven’t been acting on if they’re that kind of way, but distinguishing

what someone’s own way of handling conflict because in this world that we’re in with this

incredibly changing and persistent dynamic with climate change is that we are experiencing

something quite terrifying in our brains, we salon accordingly.

And so when, so even though we might have somebody who may not act, you know, my people

over actors, that’s just because that’s how I handle conflicts as I do.

But other folks freeze and other folks run and head for the hills, all of those are kind

of normal brain reactions to conflict.

And I think of climate change as being a very stimulating on our brain kind of event,

which is because we’re afraid of our future, we’re worried about our children, we’re worried

about how we profess protect animals and the environment and all those kind of impact

us from like a, you know, what we would call kind of a conflict perspective.

And so yes, I look for my crew from who acts because I do, but the folks that aren’t acting

maybe are doing so just because that’s their way of handling very challenging prospect

that we’re looking at.

That’s so interesting.

Well, I find that there’s plenty of opportunity to observe and experience a profound cognitive

dissonance in these times when we are aware that we’re seeing more and more systemic

change, disruption in climate and elsewhere.

And at the same time for a lot of us day to day, it appears as if all is well or it can

appear that way.

And I know for business leaders with all of the pressures and stressors of financial

performance of leading a team of people that in and of itself is incredibly dynamic and


And to layer on top of that, the additional environmental and social priorities and objectives

creates a pretty complex landscape for people.

It does.

And I, you know, as, you know, we both are parents and one of the things that we are constantly

juggling is something that a lot of folks can understand and so they can maybe relate

to this example, which is that balance between my role as a parent and my role as a professional.

My role as a wife, a role as a friend, you know, we get pulled in these different directions.

And I think that some of the challenges that we have and who we’re supporting in leadership

right now is that they kind of lead from just one, which is their professional lead.

And sometimes that means that they’re ignoring, you know, the other roles that they play,

whether that’s their family or their own, might be their own personal moral compass or

some other role that’s a part of their lives.

And they kind of override those or steam role, those other roles at the expense of performance.

And so I think that’s one of the challenges in business is that that exceptional pressure

is often placed on just one aspect of their day-to-day roles and under-emphasize the other


Yeah, interesting.

Well, as was written in Y on Earth, the chapter of balance, we really dug into how essential

it is for us to cultivate as much balance in our own lives as we can, especially when

we’re in positions of leadership.

And boy, that really is an ongoing practice, right?

It’s not flipping some switch and there you are.

Absolutely, Aaron.

And that’s one place where I really connected with your writing is that that idea of that


For myself, I use the metaphor of what I call the braid, the integrated self.

You know, I didn’t ask what I teach to in leadership, which is that if any point that

braid becomes braid, then I know I’m doing something wrong and I kind of have to wait until

I get them all back together again and back into a braid, because that I think of the braid

as being kind of like a wave thinking about the path of my life and that I’m kind of

bringing all these parts of myself along for the ride.

But if any one-on-point doesn’t work out, I have to kind of stop and assess myself and

get the braid re-braided.

And that’s one of the only ways I’ve been able to make sure that I’m not being a total

hypocrite when I advocate for my clients, because that’s very common to be a hypocrite


But I’m trying really hard not to do that and also just to realize the challenge of that,

which is that every day I’m having to also walk the talk so that I can be a model of

the behavior for my clients as well.

Yeah, that’s so important.

Oh, we hear that bold adage about the cobbler wearing their shoes, right?

And clearly, those of us who are coaching and advising and consulting to other leaders,

we probably have an additional call to be even more impeccable and diligent in those practices.


You know, I’m struck that you’ve got this beautiful metaphor of the braid of an integrated

self and boy, that can seem actually to make it sound very simplistic, but you have

done a very deep dive into the science of the neurology of what’s going on as complex

species responding to various stressors.

And I really want to ask you some questions about the neuroscience of all of this.

But before diving into that, I also, for context, want to ask you to share with our audience,

who are you working with?

Give us a sense of the different clients, the different companies that you’re working

with and for so that we have a good picture in mind as we get into the neuroscience.

Sounds good.

So I settled on forward thinking leadership because I personally wanted to make sure that

I included everyone that wanted to maybe approach their company or organization or sphere

of influence from a new leadership style, regardless of titles, right?

And so what, for me, encapsulated the forward thinking are those who are very growth-oriented,

vulnerable, and long-view planners, or the people who want to be like them, right?

So my clients are, you know, small to missized companies and, of course, the leaders who

pick up the phone are folks that fit that category of wanting that in their lives and just

not knowing how to get there.

It’s not necessarily something you learn in an MBA program or on the streets of being an

entrepreneur and a startup, and I served throughout the state of California under my law


And so some of my clients I do offer legal coaching to, and that’s to create space for that long

term plan.

So I jokingly call myself a high paid metronome, like that old wooden box on the top of the

piano that keeps the time, because I set my metronome with my client’s best interest

in mind, and then I can see them on a regular basis to help support their higher view for

their self and their company and keep them on track, because it’s just, you know, making

time for it is half the battle.

And so, yeah, so that’s who I serve, and again, you know, everything from organic farming

to, gosh, education, nonprofits, I play around a lot with the hybrid social purpose roles

a lot, because I love that interface between nonprofit and for-profit partnerships.

So those are, yeah, those are my clients.

And I got to those clients, and those are the ones that I wanted to be with because of


So if you want, I can dig into that a little bit if you’d like.

Yeah, let’s do it.

I’m so excited for this.


So why did I get involved in neuroscience was because I was, I’m a certified mediator.

I’ve been a, you know, former litigator years of, years of handling conflict and supporting

my clients and resolution of those conflicts.

And I wanted to create my new practice around those who had a different response to conflict.

So what do we know about neuroscience?

This is the classic saber tooth tiger scenario that people are getting more and more comfortable

with understanding, which is that our brains were built to survive a saber tooth attack.

And the saber tooth tiger invokes one of four responses in us.

We do a fight flight or freeze, and then there’s this fourth one called a peas, which we can

talk about.

But in general, we all have one that we kind of go is our default survival instinct.

So fight is obviously arguing with or actually throwing punches, depending on how bad you

are with your fight response.

Flight is avoiding running the other way.

Freeze is being non-responsive, cognitive decisions, memory loss, truly forgetting what


And then a peas is sometimes trying to make friends with a thing that’s trying to attack

you, like, which, which I can be guilty of.

And it’s one of those ones that, you know, it’s kind of tricky.

And so those four are kind of your classic responses to conflict.

And from a neuroscience perspective, one of the things that we’re just trying to do

is acknowledge that when we have a challenge that comes up, whether this is a moral crisis,

where we have to say the right thing in the boardroom and with the only ones to do it,

or we have to fire somebody.

Or something that I wouldn’t even imagine, but for that person is a conflict.

We acknowledge that we have a kind of a dominant response.

And in that way, we can overcome our normal dominant response with coming up with a plan

so that we can get overcome it and feel success.

And then the challenge of this sometimes is that we can go our whole lives, not realizing

that we’re actually responding to conflicts we want to avoid.

Or we railroad everybody.

Or we hire a bunch of mini-meas, and they all nod in agreement every time you speak.

We have a tendency to create a life around avoiding the things that need to be done.

And part of that comes from being an owner, sometimes we have a little bit more privilege.

We can be more selective in what we face, which means we can also be as selective

about what communities we live in, whether we recycle or not.

We have these choices that we can do to avoid hard conversations,

avoid hard choices, or any kind of sacrifice that may need to be met in response to changing times.

And so that’s the neuroscience piece has come in quite a bit into my work.

And so the low-hanging, the truth of that is how to know how to do a confrontation,

know how to do some basic conflict resolution.

And so that’s a huge part of our work is identifying that,

which gets the owners of the company helping them develop a more robust plan for that strategy.

And then, ideally, bringing the whole team involved to be involved in that process.

It’s so amazing how what we’re talking about is human psychology, right?

And a title might suggest we’re talking about legal and business,

but we’re actually talking about human psychology here.

Yeah, yeah, and I, because I’ve always, I’ve always been kind of a change maker.

I came into this world, yelling support for the underdog.

And I was always had righteous indignation about everything.

And my teachers in high school could tell you that I just was,

I’m sure I was just exhausting for them.

I’m always then interested in what makes people change.


And so for me, the coolest part that was liberating in the study of neuroscience

is this concept of neuroplasticity.


Which is a critical part of behavior change.

And so when we look at neuroplasticity from the perspective of business,

and being a responsible and viral social business owner,

what we’re looking at is what are the baby steps that we can take

in honor of our joyous future selves that allow us to create a new,

neuro pathway for a change in behavior.

And so that goes back to my high paid metronome.

All I’m doing is reinforcing the neuro pathway

for their decision making around a better future

and a more honorable self for them versus the habitual self

that they were doing in the past.

That’s absolutely beautiful.

And profound on the one hand yet, really simple on the other.

Yeah, I mean, this stuff is, this is, you know, this is not new material.

We just, we just, sometimes we forget what works best are the basics, right?

This stuff around neuro pathway work is exactly what psychiatrists use

to treat heroin addicts.

It’s about a small, small goal setting around identifying things

from a, you know, adversity and conflict perspective,

honoring that we all need to feel safe when we make decisions.

And even better yet, we need to be excited and joyous

about the decisions we’re making.

And then that’s the, that’s the special task.

That’s what works.

And so when we, when we create a long view for somebody

that sounds way more channelizing than what they’re doing today, you know,

we all can find ourselves in craft storms of conflict

and how did I end up here?

But if we create something that helps them imagine what it’s going to be like tomorrow

and it sounds as exciting as possible, then they have the ability

to take those baby steps and create the new neuro pathway.

So neuro toxicity is like the best thing in the world

because that means we all have the ability to do that.

We’re not, we don’t, we don’t, we don’t, we’re not born and die

with these brains that we have.

We have the ability to use our brains for our benefit and for others.

Oh my gosh.

Well, my own personal experience, I can attest to this a little bit

with some work I did with a guide and actually use the technology

called EMDR, which you may be familiar with, may have heard of.

It literally seemed to have rerouted neurological pathway responses

to certain stressors.

So instead of dropping into that fire flight mode, it was almost as if

the thing just wasn’t triggering me the same way anymore.


And so, you know, I, so in my, my, the other work that I do,

I, we use what I call kind of a trauma-informed and healing centered approach.

But I do, it’s the same stuff I do in the business, which is, you know,

the works of Dr. Vessel van der Koeh, who’s an international expert on trauma EMDR

and these kind of mind-body, mind-body modalities do help us because we

need the brain response and then also the body integration.

And, and, and I think that that, you know, in the times that we’re in,

I think it’s fair to say that that most folks are dealing with even,

even a minimally traumatized brain because we are,

we’re dealing with quite scary things.

And so our brain response to that is, is having a normal reaction,

which is, so just handling ourselves with kid gloves a little bit and

understanding that the stuff that we would normally be able to handle more

resiliently, sometimes we might not be able to because of these kind of low

grade fever that we’re feeling with the national tenor and the international

issues that we’re facing.

Yes, yes.

So, it’s so beautiful that invitation to handle our own selves with a bit more

gentleness and understanding as we’re each doing our best to grow and learn and

change, right?

Yeah, and I think we’re really hard on ourselves and we carry a lot of shame

about being bad, you know, or making big mistakes.

And, you know, in my world, you know, we try to open that up to just

acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes, everyone’s human being.

And if we, if we, we, we, as much as we can, we own and acknowledge it.

And ideally, we work in an environment that allows for that because all

those things help with business strategy and success.

We want, you know, as an owner of a company, I want to know if somebody

made a mistake in my team because, gosh, then we can deal with it.

But, but if they, if my, remember, my team has a freeze response to making

a mistake, I might never hear about it.


That’s very challenging.


I want to ask you a specific question in this context because I’ve,

I’ve been encountering this on myself lately and I’m really curious what

you’ll say about it.

My, my experience in, and this is over simplifying is we, we could think of

our, our relationships with people as, as seeing individuals kind of in

three places.

We, I know plenty of folks who are absolutely activated, who are social

entrepreneurs, who are doing incredible things in their own personal work

like balance and are doing incredible work in the community, in the world

with environmental and social leadership.

I also know a whole bunch of folks who are heading in that direction and

who are really eager to learn more, to develop more tools, to develop more


And in many cases are soaking that up.

And then I also encounter fairly regularly folks who just aren’t there yet

and who we might say aren’t convinced or aren’t exhibiting a response to

the reality in which we’re situated as it relates to these various

environmental and social challenges.

And I, I want to quote you from an email you sent me, you said, action

that is sustainable and lasting comes from a deeper motivator, deeper

than just social approval or shame.

And it’s one that is based on our personal reasons for wanting to be good

guardians of the land and proponents of diverse communities.

And I’m just wondering in your experience, when we’re working with folks

who maybe don’t even believe any of this matters, do you have any tools,

techniques, approaches that you would share that help to unlock that a

little bit?

Well, I, a couple of things.

First of all, there’s some folks that just can’t be helped.

And that’s me with my lawyer hat on, not my former social worker hat.

I know, I know where to, you know, I just life is short.

And, and I want to, I don’t need to be trying to convince anyone.

Because, honestly, it’s, you know, we’re all on our own path, our own, at

our own station and life.

And, you know, some of us have the incredible privilege of getting to a

place in our lives professionally where we have the resources and the energy

and the time to be able to, to have this conversation that we’re having.

And, and some folks are truly, you know, worried about housing security, right?

So they’re, so they’re, they’re just focused on that.

And, you know, honestly, that’s, that’s critical.

They’re, they’re on a minute by minute or our weekly basis.

And it’s hard for them to have a longer view to see where, where what

happens today might affect tomorrow.

But for everybody else, for everybody else, one of the things that, that I have,

found really successful is that I work with a lot of folks.

This comes a little bit more on my, the nonprofit work that I’m doing.

But I work with folks that are white identified.

And, and, and what, what are we doing in that space is, these are folks who

want to serve a more diverse population.

They consider themselves progressive, maybe liberals or just, or, or good, good

conservative church folks, but in general, their folks that have always felt like

they were good people and want to do the right thing.

And, and they come from all walks of life, but they’re white identified.

And they’re wanting to be better and more sensitive allies and a multicultural

setting, for example, and, and not offend anybody and try to, try to continue

to be helpful in those spaces.

And so, and, and when we have those conversations, one of the things that I

encourage folks to do is, is to first to, to, to, to remember that we all have

our own, our own intuition about where, where we should say spending our time

and where we shouldn’t, our own sense of, of what it means to be good citizen for

us. And perhaps my, our own feelings about that.

And sometimes it might not be so obvious.

So I encourage people to journal, to explore some people pray, some people

meditate. So, you know, there’s all kinds of ways to get there, but just having

more of an internal focus in asking ourselves these questions about why, why

we’re motivated in the first place. And then for some people, especially

don’t, are white identified folks, sometimes we have to go, you know, even

further back, because some, some, unfortunately, many folks, white folks in

the United States have lost their cultural identity and lost their original

homelands. They don’t, they’ve lost the storyline and they’ve lost that

connection. And, and that in itself is also a really important exercise. And so

for some people, they may not have nowhere their ancestral lands were and, you

know, northern Italy or wherever that was, but, but they might have a place that

they went to as a young person, a place in nature that, that helped, helped

them feel at peace. So by, by doing that, we encourage folks to, to find that

place within themselves that, that may be where they are motivated to do these

things in the world before we ever leave the house. Because I think that that,

because I think that that in the end is what’s sustainable. You know, we all have,

we can all compare ourselves to each other. So there’s always going to be someone

who has a fancier degree than me, who’s, you know, in more publications, who’s

gotten some, you know, it’s hard to reach awards or whatever it is. And yet,

at the end of the day, you know, we all are showing up with our own unique

flavor. We come from our own unique lineage and our own family of origins. And

that in itself is special. And I think we can have confidence in that. And so I

feel like that’s sometimes a longer, more lasting way for people to come to the

table. And certainly the rest of us can help support that process by not

shaming people into, oh, you don’t recycle your plastics, you know, it depends

on where you live, you know. I know, maybe, of course, the news at least this week

that might, you know, be a challenging physician, even in that. And I always

think, like, just might be going by a waste I completely, who knows. But, but

anyway, so that’s a long answer to your question. But yeah, I truly encourage

folks to do that deeper dive, especially white folks, because we have a tendency

to reach out into other communities. You know, I get to serve a lot of

indigenous leaders and, you know, Native American populations that indigenous

folks outside this country too. And, and the thing I keep learning from spending

time with them in these various capacities is, gosh, you know, white folks,

just, you know, find your own, you’re find your own motivation and your own

your own people, find your own reason for being here first. And then, and then we

can hang out in this multicultural session. Yeah, let’s, let’s have fabulous

such great advice. I want to mention that we are here talking with Maija West.

This is the YonEarth communities stewardship and sustainability podcast

series. And you all can connect with Maija through several social media channels.

There is on Facebook, it’s law office of Maija West. And it’s spelled M-A-I-J-A.

We’ll have this in the show notes. Twitter is Maija West law. Instagram is law

office Maija West. And LinkedIn, the law office of Maija West, those words all

separated by dashes. And once I also mentioned that this topic is so apropos

for a fabulous three-day summit that the YonEarth community is hosting

outside of Boulder, Colorado, May 17th to 19th. It’s called massively

mobilizing sustainability deep leadership for the 21st century. And Maija with

her network and friends is offering a special discount code Maija West, which

will give you a 25% discount when you register for the summit, which you can do

at YonEarth.org. I’d like to also thank all of our sponsors for the

podcast as well as the summit. This includes Patagonia, the International Society

of Sustainability Professionals, Equal Exchange, the Association of Water

Schools of North America, Waylay Waters, the Litch Family Foundation, Earth

Coast Productions, and Purium. Thank you for all of your support to make all of

this happen as we’re each individually and together in our relationships

growing, evolving, and cultivating ourselves as stronger leaders in the world.

And Maija, I want to ask you on that note, you’re sharing so much with us about

your professional life, and I understand that you also have a teenage daughter.

And I’m curious how might you apply some of these skills and tools you’re

talking about in the boardroom and the office at home with your daughter?

Well, I thank you. Yeah, going back to being a hypocrite, I consider my daughter,

the hypocrite detector. So she is not only is she very attuned to, you know,

feeling out BS about the adults in her life, but she’s also incredibly honest.

So I get that great combination in my household, which has just made me

an obviously a better leader because, again, walking the talk, you know, she’s

my truth teller. Yeah, you know, gosh, you know, with my daughter, one of the

biggest things that I have been responding to this last year, especially her

coming into adulthood and feeling her oats in her own way and her own

independent self, is the challenge around screens. And so we have personally just

tried to do more family trips completely away from screens. You know, everyone

benefits. You know, my husband and I are both business owners also. So, you know,

having that downtime is just critical from all kinds of ways. But I also, I feel

like one of my biggest jobs in her life right now is for her to not give up faith

and faith in humanity. And that’s actually such a huge driver of my work is

that I want her to believe that this world is worth saving and that it’s

possible. And so, you know, I try to structure almost everything I do around

making sure that she feels that and that she’s around inspiring people. We

get her in the mountains, we get her in the ocean, we get her, you know, we get

her with people who care, who are, you know, actively pursuing these things.

And then to be in a friend group that keeps it light and humorous as well, you

know, to balance it out. So, yeah, it’s absolutely applies. I mean, Erin, I’m sure

you can relate to this, but it’s, it’s very important these times that this

next generation that we have have that hope, you know. Oh, I agree. So, whole

heartedly with that and that hope, that faith and that joyfulness. Boy, the

cultivation of those things, it seems as absolutely essential, critical,

requisite to all of this work that we’re doing. Yeah. And going back to the

joy, you know, that’s the only thing that actually truly motivates us. I mean, if

we’re really looking at it from a authentic perspective, but, you know, I had, I

had the, well, again, I get to hang out with these amazing indigenous leaders who

are all, of course, environmentalists because they, how could you not be? It’s

especially coming from these traditions and practices that they have. But, you

know, we’re having a conversation about multi-generational trauma, you know,

very heavy, colonizing, you know, kind of this conversation around, you know,

kind of reckoning our US history. It was quite intense. And there was a lot of

people kind of heavily taking notes and, you know, all these well-meaning activists

everyone’s just feeling it, you know, feeling the gnarliness of listening to

this. And this, this woman from New Zealand, a Maori woman, starts a game of

telephoned to ask what’s going to be for dessert.

Love it. Love it. And it just wrapped it everybody. And everyone was like, you

know, trying to listen and then someone’s literally in their ear saying, what’s

for dessert? And, and it was, it just, it’s shifted enough. And it was an

acknowledgement of, look, you know, we’ve got all this stuff going on, but what

we have to balance it with the joy because we need to be, make this

sustainable for ourselves, you know, so we can do this good work, but we got to

lighten it up a little bit on the side and, you know, take a page of the

nurse’s handbook. You know, they have the best galos humor of anyone I know.

And it’s because they came up with that humor at three in the morning in the

ER, right? It’s the same kind of lightness that we bring to this work.

That’s such sage advice. I absolutely love it. Well, my, I know we’re, we’re

just about out of time here for our conversation today. And I’m wondering is

there, is there anything else you want to share with our audience before we

sign off?

You know, I guess as I, as we sign off, I just, I think that I just

acknowledge that, you know, and everybody that’s chosen to listen to this

amazing mission of this podcast and to tune into the work of Aaron and the

other leaders that he brings on to this, to this recording. But that in

itself is making a choice. All those little actions make a difference. And

then every single one of us through these little, little tiny baby steps

makes a collective impact. And so I’ve just been a pleasure to be here in

service of your mission, Aaron. And, and I also thank the sponsors for

serving your work as well.

Well, it’s so wonderful having you on our show, Maija. And thank you for all

the work you’re doing and for taking time out of your busy schedule to share

this with us today. It’s wonderful to know our audience will, we’ll be

able to listen to this soon.

Thank you for having me.


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