12 Things I’ve Learned Not Owning A Car

“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”            Ram Dass

Dear Friends,

Upon moving to Missoula at the end of November, I made the decision not to own a car. Now there are several reasons why but that would be an entirely different list. I wanted to share some things I’ve learned about myself, our community, and life over the last two months.

  1. Backpacks are life! This is hands down the most useful thing I have purchased in the last two months.
  2. Speaking of money, I save a lot by not owning a car. Not just by not having a car payment and insurance but I also shop less and buy less when I do shop.
  3. It takes longer to get most places. Yes, but I don’t have to look for parking. So I’m going to mark this as a net positive.
  4. With all that travel time, I can get through a lot of books, audio books, and podcasts on my way around town.
  5. There are times to leave the headphones out of my ears and take in my environment.
  6. The world looks different when I’m on foot. I’m not entirely sure how to explain this one but I really have time to look at things and be present when I’m on foot.
  7. Walks are a great time to call your family.
  8. Always and I mean ALWAYS have a coat, preferably one that is at least water resistant.
  9. Shoes, shoes, shoes! Select footwear to match transportation (Then have a pair backup for that meeting you forget about and have to walk to).
  10. Missoula’s bus drivers are some of the nicest people in our community.
  11. Everyone has a story to share and sometimes the person sitting across from you on the bus is just the person to tell.
  12. Life is quieter and moves slower. I am a much happier person for it.

Now I’m not saying that going up a car is a possible or practical option for everyone but I hope you all take at least one day in February and go car-less if this is not already part of your lifestyle. Walk, take the bus, bike – I would love to hear about the things you learn!

Carol Schwartz

P.S. We had an amazing peace activist drop by the center last week who is looking to relocate to Missoula. If you have any leads on an affordable place to rent let us know!

Fear, Danger, Courage

“Fear creates danger, and courage dispels it.”
Henry David Thoreau

Dear friends,
Many of us are rightly concerned about the future of our country. The times we live in are perhaps the most uncertain of any in our history and our fears are well-founded. There are many politicians that we don’t agree with – ones that we blame for all that is wrong with our country. However, I refuse to respond in blame and ugly name-calling. Someone recently called me a coward for that. Maybe so and yet blame and anger have never moved a conversation forward. In fact they are the tools that sustain our divisions. We recently celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He is my example of courage – to speak the truth of his own vision without attacking the character or Continue reading

Martin Luther King Jr.

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

Dear friends,
When I reflect on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. this is the quote that always comes to mind. To me it beautifully reflects his life as a pastor and they way that he approached action. We can never really know what is going to happen on any given day there are just too many elements operating outside of our control. We can however decide to act or take that first step in faith that the world can be better and that we can do better. Martin Luther King remains one of the worlds greatest peace heroes and it is important to celebrate his lasting legacy and reflect on the work still to be done. There Continue reading

“Do what you can,..”

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”
President Theodore Roosevelt

Dear friends,
The new year has come with a lot of emotion so far and I have been encouraged by how many people we have heard from in the past week wanting to know what they can do. Doing what we can will look different for each of us and this is the moment to share your time, energy, passion, ideas, compassion, understanding, positive vibes, chants, prayers, and whatever else you can. I invite you all to to do what you can in the next few weeks to help leave this world looking a little better and more peaceful than it does today. Here are just a Continue reading

Usher 2020 in with a little peace and positivity

Dear friends,
Nearly 400 people stopped by Caras Park New Years Eve to help usher 2020 in with a little peace and positivity. It was an evening filled with love, laughter, stories, and some tears. Whether they had a wish for the new year or something they needed to leave behind in 2019, everyone brought such powerful energy to the luminary. There is much to look forward to in the coming year and because I could not say it any better, I will leave you with this wish for the new year borrowed from author Neil Gaiman,

“It’s a New Year and with it comes a fresh opportunity to shape our world. So this is my wish, a wish for me as much as it is a wish for you: in the world to come, let us be brave – let us walk into the dark without fear, and step into the unknown with smiles on our faces, even if we’re faking them. And whatever happens to us, whatever we make, whatever we learn, let us take joy in it. We can find joy in the world if it’s joy we’re looking for, we can take joy in the act of creation. So that is my wish for you, and for me. Bravery and joy.”

With a wish of bravery & joy,

Carol Schwartz