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I Resolve to be like the Sun and shine brightly my inner radiance.

I Resolve to be like the Leaf that captures sun’s light and converts it into earth’s vital energy to feed others.

I Resolve to be like the Earth that provides a quiet, safe, dark space to germinate new seeds of innovation.

I Resolve to be like the Seed that knows its value and sprouts boldly, brilliantly, bravely into sun’s light when the time is right.

I Resolve to be like a Sunflower (literally the Greek Helianthus God), who sun-loving as I am, gyrate my radiant, Fibonacci-ray formed flower head away from darkness and rather heliotropic-like track always toward the light.

I Resolve to Adopt (more often) the Sunny Character of Our Canine Companions, who sit by our sides when tides turn in our lives, who skid across the tiles to be first at the door, welcoming us home with those floppy ears, big round loving eyes, and panting smile. Wow, imagine if we resolved to evolve like our beloved God-Dogs and lead with our hearts!

I Resolve to be like the Rose, whose elegance and grace is simple and pure, whose scent travels the entire garden; and yet whose thorns naturally intelligently protect from harm.

I Resolve to be like the Sheep, sheeredaround the world for warm wool to clothe others, delighting in playful romps across the fields with fellow flock, and naturally drawn to follow the herd when our larger voice serves the common good. I represent the joy, light, life, and celebration of spring.

I Resolve to be like the Ladybird Beetle (Coccinella spp.), an immigrant from Asia, who has brought much value to rich North American gardens and farmlands by porting their natural appetite for pests from the plains (e.g. aphids) and in the darkest winters, show us that even miniature insects can survive when they hibernate in large collective groups.

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I Resolve to be like the Millennial Redwood Tree, growing up toward the light of knowledge, while rooting passion and purpose solidly down underground.

I Resolve to be like Fungi, humbly and quietly weaving thick, rich mycelia networks, so as to most effectively deploy nutrients, water, and vital information where and when most needed.

I Resolve to be like the Spider, spinning her web from water, proteins, and recycled insects in designing my home also with simple, healthy natural products.

I Resolve to be like the Salmon that after far-reaching ocean travel, one day navigates familiar creeks home to spawn new opportunities for family, school, and community.

I Resolve to be like the Beaver, use my sharp teeth (tongue) and engineering skill to architect not only a home for myself, but a viable riparian neighborhood also for my “otter” (other) friends.

I Resolve to be like the Redwood Grove that matures in vibrant, dynamic, and synergistic relationship to one other, living out each day fully alive and welcoming timely death of my hollowed self with graceful release to nourish the next re-generation.

I Resolve to be like the Squirrels,caching their nuts over the long winter, so as never to run out of energy, resources, and money. One never knows what to expect in the future, especially in the United States after this next election.

I Resolve to be like the Spotted Salamander,emerging from my subterranean hideout with a striking blue body and yellow-orange spots to warn others of increasing ecological damage when the acidity of our water due to increased industry run-off and acid rain becomes pronounced. Call me a canary in a coal mine, without the canary or the coal.

I Resolve to be Like the Banana Slug, happily decomposing moss and dead plant matter to nitrogen-fertilize and create new soil. And when attacked by predators- my tentacles snacked; I resolve to take on the banana slug’s peaceful resistant character and not fight back, but rather respond by rejuvenating myself.

I am Inspired by the Natural Intelligence of the Slime Mold, who although are independent, single-celled Protistas (“protestors”), organize into multi-cell organisms to reproduce–spread new ideas; and to move as collective units toward nutrient hubs, especially when resources are limited. As they are efficient traveling “foodies” (for decayed matter), biomimic-type urban planners have used slime mold to help design ideal transportation networks on maps, linking urban (nutrition) hubs.

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I Resolve to be like the Bison, who by his dust wallowing engineers vernal pools for salamanders and who by his migratory grazing ensures healthy prairie grass biodiversity; and so has adapted and evolved in perfect step with the Great Plains, serving as the land’s symbol and steward.

I Resolve to be like the Wild Horses roaming unbridled and free across open plateaus, responding honestly to my inner adventurous spirit, giving myself greater latitude to explore.

I Resolve to be like the Burrowing Owl; intrepid, awake, and always on the hunt to recycle abandoned resources (fox holes) and vulnerable prey (snakes, frogs, voles) into new opportunities and resources, shaving waste and sharpening adaptive strategies of others across the grassland ecosystem.

I Resolve to be like the Prairie Grasses, reliably regenerating new visionary ventures each spring when the rains prance and my peoples dance, growing toward a veritable harvest for all.

I Resolve to be like the Honeybee in service to all, happily guiding trusted hive mates in intelligent waggle dance toward my favorite flower’s sweet romance, pollinating those same expectant plants so fresh fruits blossom on the vine.

I Resolve to be like the Prairie Dog, often called a barking squirrel, whose alarm call to extended family members in surrounding burrows always alerts the “town” to advancing predators or threats, and whose tunnel-building activities prevent runoff and erosion to the grasslands during extreme run-off events; like floods and hailstorms.

I Resolve to be like the Roadrunner, standing its mountain shrub ground, committing to only one partner for life, leading that relationship from the first courting dance with an attitude and approach of gratitude and giving…and in the case of the male, bowing often to the female, offering her simple, sustaining gifts.

I Resolve to be like the Cricket, who may have strong hind legs for jumping to tall heights in my leafy kingdom; but who realizes that my real character gem is really my hidden serrated forewing that in the silent dark of night produces enchanting nocturnal melodies to portend future events and ultimately naturally serve to select for my female mate.

I Resolve to be like the Northern Alligator Lizard, faithfully living out his years in the same neighborhood and periodically shedding his shingly, old lizard skin as he matures into becoming the voiceless unique lounging lizard he was born to be.

I am Inspired by the Natural Intelligence of the Garter Snake, who makes himself appear lethal in his sleek scaly appearance, but who is common to the world’s gardens and brumates– (reptile hiberation) rests like the rest of us during cold winters; warming himself around the collective fire (hibernacula)… the smartest ones, exuding (not excluding) both male and female scents (pheromones) to attract the greatest amount of positive heat energy (connection).

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I Resolve to be like the Desert Camel, meditative and mindful in my movements across desert’s shifting sands, enduring dry heat by tapping into my internal wells of water.

I Resolve to be like the Falcon, soaring serenely above desert calm and dust storm until his razor vision detects opportunity or danger and he dives sharply, precisely toward his target… faster than most any living species on earth.

I Resolve to be like the Lion King who takes pride in his pride, who loves and accepts all in the family, and who protects each one however loud or soft they roar, rumble, and tumble.

I Resolve to be like the Elephant, cooling his sometimes over-heated feet with his large and veined ears, also intelligently listening with those floppy flaps and big heart to clan concerns.

I Resolve to be like the Turtle and move slowly with careful discernment, especially when big decisions confront me, even if the world weighs on my back, knocking on my shell.

I Resolve to be like the Saguaro Cactus,found uniquely in the Sonoran deserts of the US and Mexico, whose woody limbs (when the cactus dies in 150 years) can be used to build roofs and store carbon as calcites in soils; both building peace and mitigating climate change across country borders.

I Resolve to be like the Endangered Rhino and use my priceless horns as the ancient Kung Fu warriors to defend my life against evil hunters — ready to claim my prize and extinguish my tribe that has endured since the Eocene. They will not win; I will not disappear. No matter past tragedy and few our numbers, we will not despair. I will survive. And, indeed, we will thrive.

I Resolve to be like the Zebra,both celebrating his unique individualism with black striped tattoos patterned especially for him and cross-striping lock and step with others in the herd to form a secret code for the commons– difficult for an outside predator to crack and track and attack.

I Resolve to be like the Giraffe the tallest mammal; who travels 100’s miles across the African savannah, eating literally tons of top quality photosynthetic leafy greens and buds in canopies of acacia trees, replicating a mainly vegetable and plant-based diet-one that would also keep my body lean and healthy for the marathon of life.

I Resolve to be like the Aloe Vera (true aloe) Succulent Plant, so generous at the core (truth) of my existence that I am even willing to slice into my plant body, so that my cool and soothing sap (blood of life) can be used to heal others’ penetrating burns and wounds befallen them in the tragedies of life.

I am Inspired by the Natural Intelligence of the Hippopotamus,the semi-aquatic hairless horse of the river, who self-screens against the harshest rays of the sun by exuding “blood sweet” from his skin; and who swims along in his shallow water domain with his webbed feet (more closely related to a whale than a land animal), feeding mostly on aquatic plants and yet attending to the health and infinite growth of his sharp incisors by establishing a mutually-beneficial relationship with small fish, who happily feed on parasites between his teeth. Now that’s one way to avoid cavities and high dental bills…

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I Resolve to be like the Macaque Monkey, reinforcing friendships, resolving conflict through actions like social hugging and playful grooming- all actions that build trust.

I Resolve to be like the Orangutan, foraging for local, nutritious, in-season seeds, fruits, vegetables; optimally nourishing my body in ways where food feels like medicine again.

I Resolve to be like the Snake, sensing every natural vibration of ,earth adapting (evolving) to her changing temperatures, tones, and textures; achieving harmony with my environment.

I Resolve to be like the Caterpillar, silently reflecting for a time in her quiet, solitary cocoon until a natural metamorphosis ultimately delivers hope and faith in the promise of a new beautiful butterfly transformation.

I Resolve to be like the Palm Tree, resilient and enduring through life’s pages and ages, droughts and floods and salty soils, aerating roots when necessary, contributing to future fertile environments.

I Resolve to be like the Slough (sometimes) and just hang out watching cecropia leaves flutter in cecropia trees, unmoved by protective, fiery ants that might sting.

I Resolve to be like the White Umbrella Cockatoo Birds, affectionate and giving, sharing responsibility equally for nesting chores and incubation (rearing) of offspring, averting danger in conflict; keeping love flowing in the home.

I Resolve to be like the Poison Tree Frog– a committed parent who would do anything to keep her children from harm, even porter tadpole offspring 100 feet up tropical tree trunks to safe pools of bromeliad (epiphytes) air plants nested on tree branches.

I Resolve to Parent like the Parrots (aka. Psittacines), who inculcate strong social play early in the development of their young birds, so this most naturally intelligent species can evolve to think creatively– solve puzzles and structure its own sentences; well beyond merely imitating other adult human voices.

I Resolve to be like the Peacock, fanning my iridescent tail feathers at onlookers who are curious and enchanted by my beauty, and celebrate with pride and poise– the bright, vibrant colors in life’s radiant spectrum that I reflect back to the world.

I Resolve to be like the Madagascar Ring-tailed Lemurs,who are industrious, zero waste little fellows- foraging for fruit, leaves, flowers, tree sap, and even bark to fuel their scent-filled day of play; and who fight for dominance among other males in their “scout” troops/tree-sleeping groups not by “outshining” others as they sun themselves, but by “out-stinking” other males (exuding a truly unique, personal scent) to attract the nose-who knows of the dominant female who presides over all.

I am Inspired by the Natural Intelligence of the Gecko—a highly adaptive little fellow, found in most every ecosystem and continent except Antarctica. The Gecko has a special secret service-like camouflage capability to blend into most every social scene, and disappear when necessary to protect against predators. He also has cool, Velcro-like webbed hands and feet to climb vertical walls and even scurry across ceilings to pursue a hunt or escape danger.

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I Resolve to be like the Chamois, nimble on my feet, trusting my pronged, padded hoofs while traversing rocky canyons, scaling high mountains, ambling knife-edge ridges; aware that a life worth living is one filled with daring adventure.

I Resolve to be like the Hummingbird and drink the sweet nectar of life when and where I can find it and to convert that energy into instant acts of kindness without a second flutter or thought.

I Resolve to be like the Stealth Jaguar and pounce on injustice, climate change, war, terror where-when found with exacting strategy and an element of surprise.

I Resolve to be like the Bat, who when navigating life blindly in the dark, creatively accesses other six senses, like sound (as well her shadowy echo) and intuition to fly still straight through fate, negotiating even narrow cave corridors, always on course toward my destiny.

I Resolve to be like the Alpacas of the Great Andean Mountains, our great teachers, Om, who have found a way to sustainably provide warmth and clothing to their mountain communities, while maintaining their own spiritual, social, and physical health… But be sure that when that balance is disturbed, they still know how to spit and kick.

I Resolve to be like the Wolf and Follow My Natural Instincts — for my deer hunt ensures an ecological balance across watersheds. By regulating runaway ungulate populations and browsing behavior, I (the wolf) allow mountain valleys and gorges to regenerate willow and poplars and berry bushes for bears and beavers and songbirds. I (the wolf) bring back winding rivers and ravines, which in turn attract rabbits for raptors… and return my home again to harmony and peace.

I Resolve to be like the Male Elk (Alces, alces; wapiti),who may prance around with his 40 lbs. antlers in late spring and lock points in duels with other male rivals during the rut; he still bugles his heart out to attract his prized mate, may even lose up to 25 lbs. protecting his harem instead of browsing or grazing; and ultimately sheds his rack of riches every year- gifting smaller grassland animals a sustaining source of calcium. Any question why many cultures revere the elk as a powerful spiritual force?

I am Inspired by the Cerro Torre,who rises up out of the ancient ice fields of Patagonia, in all its in its other-worldly geologic glory, to grace the moody skies above and the moving frozen world below with its dominant, albeit silent, presence.

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I Resolve to be like the Glacial Ice, floating peacefully on an ever-expanding sea, while facing the capricious nature of people and events driving climate change with perfect calm, before the silent storm.

I Resolve to be like the Clever Seals, who when hunting for crab in frigid artic waters must be sharp and quick with their innovative twists and body turns in order to avoid the jaws of their higher trophic predators, the orcas.

I Resolve to be like fellow Emperor Penguins, linking flippers and locking beaks to stay warm during arctic winters, realizing the alternative to a welcoming community is a cold, isolatedeath.

I Resolve to be like the Arctic Hare, adapting to the seasons of winter-summer fashion by changing (molting) my coat color to maintain my stealthy elegance in every environment… of course also blending to camouflage myself from unwanted predators.

I Resolve to also be like the Arctic Fox, adapting to changing environments in self-reliant and self-contained ways with multi-layered insulating fur, ample fat, and optimal internal circulation to weather any storm (-70C).

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I Resolve to be like the Barnacle Mollusk holding fast to rocky shores, while graciously making space for neighboring critters and crustaceans of different breeds and creeds, entering the tide pool community.

I Resolve to be like the Dolphin, happily surfing ocean’s waves, playfully present to life’s moments, so when the big Kahuna wave comes, I’m ready.

I Resolve to be like the Schools of Sardine who flaunt and flash their polychromatic scales, 1000’s of them in unison, coordinating larger-than-life right actions to thwart impending and lethal predatory threats of hungry sharks.

I Resolve to be like the Pacific Octopus who once impregnated, finds a comfortable den to nourish, oxygenate, protect, and keep clean of algae each of her 100,000 + eggs, dedicated to the survival of her species seven generations into the future until her last breath and death when her den becomes her tomb.

I Resolve to be like the Shoreline Pelican, relentlessly “dive-bombing” again and again into pacific ocean waves in hot pursuit of that “big” shoreline fish – dream catch, partner, venture.

I Resolve to be like the Parrotfish, using its beak-like teeth to scrape and grind away at coral reefs and feed on algae; but also excreting sand in the process of digestion as an offering to all the benthic-dwelling ocean creatures, who hide and inhabit the ocean floor. Get it? I give and take; take and give. I am Nature.

I Resolve to be like the Whale, traversing big oceans, keeping informed of global conditions through direct experience, exposure to local politics, and interaction with indigenous populations in order to frame an informed opinion on relevant world issues.

I Resolve to be like the Flying Fish, who has evolved a stoic, rigid body and bird-curved pectoral wing-fins in order to adapt to his crowded and cosmopolitan marine environment at the sunny surface of the sea by jettisoning himself out of trafficked waters to glide along the sea’s serene ocean wind currents toward peaceful waters. Oh, how I wish our urban smart cars were equipped with fly fish wings. I suppose for now I must resolve to take flight in my own imaginary world when surrounded by a sea of automobiles in my sunny city.

I am Inspired by the Lobster, who though blue-blooded, is an exceptionally sensitive creature; feeling his way around dark sea crevices with his antennae and becoming vulnerable every time he grows and molts his protective exoskeleton-oftentimes recycling his shed shell; and for this he is a good, low impact, eco-steward, who matures well, living up to 70 years.

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I Resolve to be like the Moon, nourishing our common gardens even in soul’s dark night and only with reflected light that is healthy and good.

I Resolve to perhaps Travel to the Moon one day, but not with ambition to live there, never with intention to replace or erase my earthly existence, nor to lose hope in the evolution of humanity — but rather to remember and to reclaim my right and humble place in the greater universe of being.

I Resolve to Reflect Forgiveness back to the world when struck with the dark shadows of human nature, like the best examples we have of those who celebrate our common humanity; Gandhi, Dalai Lama (80, and Going Strong), Pope Francis (Thank you for your Encyclical on Environmental Stewardship), Nelson Mandela, and Malala Yousafzai (You are Malala!).

I Resolve to Reflect my Stardust Nature towardeveryone I chance encounter, while realizing that I am both an infinitely essential light in the universe’s darkness and yet a completely insignificant speck when isolated from the stream of life which flows me forward on my evolutionary path, spinning forever toward unknown galaxies.

I am Inspired by the Moon Flowers (Ipomeoa)who twines and binds and climbs toward the reflected light of the moon; only unfurling its pure white flowers during the calm, still, peaceful hours of the night, then spiraling back into its petal pod at the first touch of sunlight.

I am Inspired by the Coyote,howling into the reflective light of the moon and against social injustice. While wandering the southwestern prairies, he upsets and challenges political conventions through deception and humor, and as the quintessential trickster figure, tests and tries social norms to teach our communities how to grow, adapt, and evolve.

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Thank you for being open to nature’s inspiration. You are well on your way to becoming an NI hero for the world.
Amber Aziz