Core Competencies

cosmic consciousness

Universal Programming

Recent discussions have revealed that perhaps a plan of appropriate action is deserved of implementation. Many of us have been observing and planning how to assist the movement of change through America and the world… for the better. I chose to engage education and the practicum of working with people, places and things to do stuff… a lot of stuff across many industries. It gave me a feel for people and process… protocols aside for the moment.

I wasn’t sure how to move forward myself for a long time, but I produced an overabundance of stuff in the meantime including books, business plans, websites and more. The intended theme throughout them all was to benefit our society and the world in some small way… or large way if possible. I seem to be caught between the brilliance and insanity of the somnambulists amongst us. The logic of creating small nodes of community that find, filter and fund activities that promote advancing consciousness, critical thinking and sustainability of planetary progress necessary to feed, cloth, house and offer care for us all seems simple enough to understand.

Core competencies can be defined as “a harmonized combination of multiple resources and skills that distinguish a firm in the marketplace.” I’d like to focus on the ‘harmonized combination’ of that phrase and extrapolate it to community and society status in general. What we have to date is, by all apparent signs, a discordant set of priorities and protocols that rule our lives in community and society as a whole. It certainly isn’t harmonized or even holistic in terms of how our administrative frameworks are being used.

It seems we’re fighting for the right to decide what’s right for others instead of looking within at what is right for us individually. Our political system gets sidetracked by corporate greed and military spending and certainly does not function in the best interests of the citizens. The homeless situation in America is a perfect example as it includes veterans as well. It is the last thing we hear about in the news, if at all.

I don’t want to point fingers, necessarily, as the rule of thumb is there are three pointing back. My adoptive father, rest in peace, taught me very young that if you are going to point fingers at a problem (people are never the issue, it is their behavior that is), then have at least three solutions to offer or keep your mouth shut. Such wisdom I found to be priceless as I grew up and yet its display absent in private and public environments. It seemed absurd that such wisdom wasn’t ubiquitous. Nevertheless, it is not. So, what do we do to rally the troupes, so to speak, in order to gather a momentum of positive change in America? That’s were I live and where I must start. Perhaps the same process and protocols may apply in other locations.

Many years ago I read that America was to be the leading force in the new age of enlightenment. America, under the guidance of various forces of ‘light’ and ‘unity consciousness,’ was to be the way-shower for the world. America certainly has been a way-shower for activities; military, political and scientific programs that have not had the best of results for people and/or planet. American business endeavors have done more to pollute the air, earth and water than feed, cloth and house the world’s population by far. I get the sense I’m hedging the finger-pointing. I just wanted to establish a foundation of understanding of how things are currently that might find agreement amongst the majority. Now I’d like to begin to discuss the potential of possibilities to coagulate with relative ease.

Cosmic Consciousness – The Movement

Now you might think I’m going to launch into some kind of spiritual rhetoric because of the mention of cosmic consciousness. Just the opposite is true, I hope. I want to get real practical with the concept of condensing into form and becoming aware of how the process might work. A perfect example might be to understand how to relate to the world without becoming entrenched in the emotional or mental perturbations that are ignited by those who attempt to move populations through fear-based propaganda. I posit that anything that acts to separate any individual from another is always fear-based, regardless of how logically or smoothly it is presented. A slick politician can tell someone to go to hell and get them to look forward to the trip; another bit of Dad’s wisdom. So what? What now?

Change is slow. Initiated change is methodical, strategic and transformative. People, places and things come together for a variety of purposes and results. Sometimes they come together through intentional activities, sometimes they come together by accidental or unintended situations if you believe in coincidence, that is. The point is that those three elements are like the Trinity of Transformation; the electron, proton and neutron of the building blocks of the physical world. Our mental focus and strategic planning are only surpassed by the implementation of such and the unanticipated results that come along with the best-laid plans. The element of intention, our attitude during any process, can promote results beyond expectation… the magic of the event. It happens in consciousness first. How do we set that up to happen more regularly?

Happy people get more done with less supervision. Given their state of being the results are often far beyond the expectations of the stated goals of the activity, whether it is for road and bridge construction or putting on an event for a quarter million people. The consciousness and state of mind of the participants create a thoughtmosphere of influence that permeates each individual and therefore  the activity itself. I was working as a merchandise vendor at a rock show one night when I witnessed an even that I had never seen before, even thought I’d vended a hundred shows or so to date. The patrons lined up perfectly at each attendants station without any prompting, something that just never happens. Usually the patrons gather in a mob with complete disorder and mayhem, often fighting for position at the vending tables. Depeche Mode was the band, in case you were wondering. Maybe you can explain why…

Engaging Movement

I found Thomas Frey to be an adequate instigator, perhaps because he’s the record-holder for patents at IBM and turned the entrepreneurial world on its head with the early incubator-driven co-working space development or even that he founded the DiVinci Institute, a kind of futurist think-tank school after leaving IBM. He wrote a piece on starting a movement that offers a plethora of details to consider if one was thinking about doing so. There is a process for everything. We just have to do the due diligence and research to find and understand the process. It is much wiser to do so that just to launch into it without much preparation. I see that a lot with folks who get the urge to start a business or project and have no background in working with people, places and things to do stuff. They get a rude awakening when they realize that their dream can happen, but it will take a considerably more amount of work than they thought.

So, the work… a movement. The cursory details for change comes with understanding what needs to change first. Then the how and who comes naturally, even within the scope and sequence of the Frey manifesto. We, as Americans, would like our political system to actually work for the people’s benefit. Those in play now have mixed agendas at best. So, we need to replace them with those who prove themselves to be of integrity and true service to their communities and constituents. Theoretically, the House and Senate can be remodeled in six years, according to the voting cycles now. Will that happen? Anyone seen a snowball in Phoenix lately? However, the components to facilitate that action can be put into place in about that time, resulting in the change happening in maybe 12 to 18 years.

The ‘how to’ is pretty simple, but it will take an astounding amount of collaboration, coordination and resources. Notice I said resources, not money. We’ve been duped into thinking the money is the root of all power. People are the root of power. People are and have resources, skill sets and materials that can be rallied together to create local events that promote a variety of solutions for community development and restoration. Restoration can be fun, too. The whole package can be initiated within the framework of festivals, where enjoyment and fun are the focus and techniques can be taught that bring enjoyment and new life to project development and management. Natural leaders emerge and engage their community at new levels. Leadership is vetted over time and invited to step into leading roles as necessary and willingness is present. That’s it in a nutshell. What kind of nuts will we crack in order to get to the meat?

 

21st Century Social Entrepreneurship

Courtney-Klein

SEED SPOT signage with CEO/Co-founder Courtney Klein

21st Century Social Entrepreneurship

We all wonder where the world is heading. We see many things that need changing and few who are engaged in the positive efforts that make change possible. Social entrepreneurship is on the rise. SEED SPOT, a Phoenix-based co-working and incubator space, is doing just that – creating positive change. They are doing it on multiple levels simultaneously through their leadership, mentoring and social-entrepreneurship programs that create jobs and benefit the community.

When you walk into the space, an entire floor of a high-rise in central Phoenix, the first thing one notices is the sprawling work space area with the notable signage (see photo) front and center. It is the epitome of a collaborative environment where budding entrepreneurs and possibilities coagulators bring people, places and things into a new order that empowers each entrepreneur. The opportunities to stretch and grow, both personally and professionally, bring entrepreneurs and the help they need for launching and growing their business together in a wonderful symbiosis.

The team includes CEO and Co-founder, Courtney Klein; Director of Entrepreneur Initiatives, C’pher Gresham; Director of Development, Tabitha Branscome; and Operations Manager, Corinn Perry, among others, who demonstrate that good things can happen when the right components can be brought together and shared openly. Their programs bring together community leaders, corporate supporters and mentors that provide an excellent foundation for business and community development.

It is the author’s opinion that this organization is poised to grow exponentially. It is obvious from their success in the community that their leadership methodology is working. Truly, collaborative alliances are key factors in developing processes for positive change in local environments. No doubt over the next decade SEED SPOT will have a profound effect on Arizona. In order to change the current social architecture of our country, efforts like theirs are imperative to facilitate people, places and things toward positive change. This is just the beginning of a large-scale change in how business is done in America.

It is also the opinion of the author that examples like SEED SPOT need representation in both large and small communities around the country. How fast this happens will depend largely on public support and local/national leadership that also aligns with the goals and objectives of positive change through rebuilding our economy with sustainable methodologies. These kinds of efforts deserve our attention and support. Our communities and country will benefit and demonstrate that America is truly a world leader for positive change. It has been questionable to date.

Alliances and Relations

4.1.1Alliances and Relations

How do we really do business today? Is that a fair question? I’ve noticed an increasing amount of alliances across the gamut of ‘industry’ today. Those alliances seem to have a variety of visions and missions, often relative to the garnering of market share and stock price. Competition is fierce. Collaboration amongst cohorts and peer groups is on the rise.

An ‘alliance’ is defined as: a union or association formed for mutual benefit, especially between countries or organizations. What kinds of alliances get the most attention these days? One that I find is getting increasing attention is that of B-Corps or Benefit Corporations.

From Wikipedia:

  • In the United States, a benefit corporation or Bcorporation is a type of for-profit corporate entity, legislated in 28 U.S. states, that includes positive impact on society and the environment in addition to profit as its legally defined goals.

The purpose of a benefit corporation includes creating general public benefit, which is defined as a material positive impact on society and the environment. A benefit corporation’s directors and officers operate the business with the same authority as in a traditional corporation but are required to consider the impact of their decisions not only on shareholders but also on society and the environment. In a traditional corporation shareholders judge the company’s financial performance; with a B-corporation shareholders judge performance based on how a corporation’s goals benefit society and the environment. (not to be confused with B Corp Certification)

  • B Corp certification (also known as B Lab certification or B Corporation certification) is a private certification issued to for-profit companies by B Lab, a United States-based non-profit organization. To be granted and to preserve certification, companies must receive a minimum score on an online assessment for “social and environmental performance”, satisfy the requirement that the company integrate B Lab commitments to stakeholdersinto company governing documents, and pay an annual fee ranging from $500 to $25,000. As of March 2014, there are 990 “certified B Corporations” across 60 industries in 27 countries.

The B-Lab certification is a third party standard requiring companies to meet social sustainability and environmental performance standards, meet accountability standards, and to be transparent to the public according to the score they receive on the assessment. B-Lab certification applies to the whole company across all product lines and issue areas. For-profits of all legal business structures are eligible for certification.

Relations and relationships are expanding from the old-world view of being associated with humans to a more expanded (indigenous) view of the inclusion of Nature – the Earth and all its inhabitants, human, plant and animal. Perhaps this ‘new’ view is one that we’ve been missing for some time, the result of which has been the ‘unintentional’ devastation of ecosystems and the pollution of our air, earth and water – not to mention humans. Is it time for a reexamination of how we do business?

Of course the idealistic and perhaps unrealistic perception is that we can change. The notion of change is frightening from many perspectives, mostly from the fear of loss of something we think we has provided security or a way of life to date. First World countries have standards of living that Third World countries only dream about today. Second World (a term rarely used today) refers to the former Soviet Union and China, which have grown to First World county status as they’ve incorporated capitalism. Unbridled capitalism is probably the root of our collective problems caused by the poor fiscal and social management of resources.

How do we change? The introduction of change management philosophy has focused on the induction of what appear to be ‘holistic’ systems now; the view that each component of a system affects the whole, a type of synergy if you will. This new ‘strategy’ is being taught across the gamut of business schools, first introduced in the last century to the corporate world through the work of Peter Senge and others. ‘Learning Organizations’ became the goal for maximizing resources.

Speaking of maximizing resources, just a few years ago a long-time respected authority, the International Organization for Standardization (known for the ISO 9000 series manufacturing standards), turned its vision toward Social Responsibility and commissioned representatives from over 90 countries to draft the ISO 26000 Social Responsibility Standards. It took nearly 10 years to complete and offers one of the most exquisite examples of an alliance of collaborators.

The ISO 26000 Social Responsibility Standards was released on 1 November 2010. Its goal is to contribute to global sustainable development, by encouraging business and other organizations to practice social responsibility to improve their impacts on their workers, their natural environments and their communities. (Wikipedia)

The difference in these ‘new’ standards is that there is no ‘certification’ process; intentional action is the only requisite. Beyond the resistance to change is great potential, possibilities that exist to truly change the way we do business. The challenge is that the request for change and restructuring has to come from both directions – top-down and bottom-up. There are no more silos. We’re all farmers, tending the new crop of corporate standards and social responsibility. Isn’t it time?

Attitude of Gratitude

attitudeAttitude of Gratitude

During this season we are particularly attuned to the attitude of gratitude toward the people, places and things in our lives. We set aside our thoughts and feelings of what is wrong with our lives and the world for just a moment in time. It allows us to invite a spirit of family and togetherness beyond our normal daily routines.

In my coaching practice I encounter a consistent mindset that focuses on what is not wanted. Folks are dismayed by the events and people in their lives that seem to reflect these undesirable situations on a continual basis.

We often shift this focus, through mindful practice, to that of an attitude of gratitude for those desirable situations that are always present, too.

What does that do for the beneficial evolution of one’s life and/or perspective?

Consider the notions presented by much of the material over the last decade or so regarding the nature of how we attract what we think and feel strongly. Some refer to this as the Law of Attraction, but the concept and philosophy has been around for centuries under different labels. Just take a moment and reflect, if you would, on how your life has been very different when you experience situations that edify your humanity, your good will and those who example that toward and with you and others.

What did you discover?

Your world of personal and professional relationships is full of desirable and undesirable situations, right? If you could determine a ratio of desirable to undesirable situations, what might it be? Are you satisfied with that? Is it possible to change that ration for the better? Do you want to? When?

Imagine the results of changing your perception just slightly. It’s hard to shift your emotions, how you feel, when the situations have emotional triggers that take you out of the sense of continuity or flow, right? Sometimes we have moments of just observing the situation for what it is, completely removed from our personal emotional state and/or view of the reasons for it happening. That is a very powerful position and full of possibility. Possibility of what?, you might ask.

We can grow in compassion and understanding when we are able to disengage our own emotions and our attachment to the outcome of the situation. It is what it is and it will resolve according to the emotions and perceptions of those in it. Does that make sense? We’ve heard about the notion that when you change your view, your perception, the world changes automatically.

Imagine what an attitude of gratitude for the challenges we face can do for changing perspectives. It frees us from the emotional turmoil often associated with undesirable results. It also allows us to refocus on desirable outcomes and work toward them instead. A lack of communication is often the culprit as well.

Too often we engage situations with unspoken and unfulfilled expectations that affect our internal engine, so to speak. Instead of running efficiently we choke and sputter because our supply of fuel is diminished. So it is with communication. We are often hindered by our fear of rejection or resistance, so we remain quiet and then walk away feeling emotionally damaged. How does that help?

One simple thing can make all the difference in the world. It may feel scary at worst, but at least uncomfortable, yet we simply must open our mouths and say what is on our mind and/or heart. It might stir others and cause a disruption in the perceived flow of the situation, but the result will take the outcome to a new height in relation-ship building. In effect, you’ve just created another level of transparency.

What happens when people know more about each other and the situation at hand? Can they deal with it more effectively? Does it offer opportunity for achievement beyond the previous constraints? I would venture to say that, in nearly all situations, there is a sense of gratitude that things were spoken that everyone was feeling but no one was willing to offer for discussion.

So, in conclusion I would like to offer and even suggest that when you feel tension in a situation rather than allow it to continue, you might engage an attitude of gratitude for the opportunity to help make things better for everyone. Beyond the resistance or turmoil it may create, temporarily, you’ll garner a deeper respect for yourself and from others. Remember.. Your attitude determines your altitude.

Thanks for letting me in today. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Cognitive Challenges

Buddha-adviceCognitive Challenges

I started this article just after the Winter Solstice of 2012 and set it aside. Today I was stirred by a newsletter from an old friend, J. Hamilton, and was inspired to respond. Upon reviewing this material, I found I’d already written a response to our cognitive challenges. Funny how that happens sometimes. Something caused me to put it on pause back then and leave it as a draft. Now, my work was made easy and with minor additions, fits the need. The response is to the perception that we are unable to respond to the problems we face as a planetary civilization.

I know folks mean well in their display of contradictions, the outer display of their cognitive dissonance, unaware of how transparent it is and in denial of its reality in how they communicate. They don’t mean to confuse and obfuscate. Right? We separate through conspiracy and phenomena transmitted through the grape vine, the Internet. Few check to see what the vines are growing in and whether the quality of their fruit is even worth tasting, let alone ingesting. So what of the dark cabals? What of the believers? What of harmony among people and planet?

By that I mean the juxtaposition of the good vs. evil governments. WE all live and work in the same world here on Mother Earth, right? Stop being a spectator stuck in front of the computer or the tube, believing and passing on propaganda meant to continue the obfuscation. Millennials are forcing evo-leaps in social architecture that challenge authority on every level, from transparency in personal and professional environments to feeling entitled to live in a world free of fear (at least from each other) to exploring their celestial heritage as a natural part of maturity. They don’t see good or evil. They are more Taoist in their philosophy; they witness desirable and undesirable results.

Perhaps we [humans] are exactly where we need to be and that humanity or the world’s population is perfectly situated for the next phase of natural selection or what we might even call ‘evolution’ in the sense that we must grow or die. Our previous methods haven’t worked, but we keep trying to do the same thing and expect different results. The U.S. has led the way with behavioral patterning on a societal scale that affects the global village. It’s okay that we didn’t know the long term effects of our earlier behavior. Is there a ‘pause button’ that we can collectively push so that we can get a grip on learning how to get along?

Father Sky looks upon Mother Earth and the Children of the Sun wondering when the suns will shine and showearth-hands in humanity’s progression. The world is changing, for some way too fast and way too slow for others. It is changing and as arduous as change is, we must meet the challenge in every moment and rise to our best behavior. Seems we need to create a new myth, embrace a spirit of truth, live as one people. We know the truth; the effects of love. Isn’t it time we lived it? “Easier said than done,” you might say, and you would be absolutely right. Is there anything more appropriate or called for in the New Time?

The classic drama of ancient legends and myths plays itself out in the physical world on myriad levels, yet we know not how to walk between worlds, recognizing reflections of ourselves in each and embrace both, balancing our own polarity. Is it so necessary to use terms that imply separation, without understanding. We know better. What affect is truly in place when everything is part of the ONE REALITY we share? We can imagine a Mobius strip as the spirit/mind of our soul being, two twisted circles of dynamic energy becoming one as we traverse the path, remaining unaffected. If you got that, the rest is ‘easy’ on the road less traveled.

The protagonist and the antagonist are ever present in the minds of humans, perceiving the world around them from this dualistic point of view. “Trust God, but lock your car,” is a good one. Knowing what we do about the affect and effect of thought on our reality, the obvious question arises: What affect would the awareness of this natural polarity (apparently) have on an individual? On partners? On groups? On organizations? On Dancer? On Prancer? We sure like Rudolf for his light-heartedness. Imagine what the Giver Of Data could offer our perceptions; reality expanded beyond our wildest dreams. Can we conceive, perceive and receive?

As one walks between worlds, seeking ways to bridge them for the benefit of all, this place of observing polarity is quite useful. It allows one to ‘see’ and ‘hear’ as a conscious being; aware of the disturbance, but not bothered by it. What does a viewing of life through the lens of a belief system offer? Does it allow one to walk between worlds and choose where to enter as prompted by the inner knowing of leadership by conscience, the core of ethical and moral behavior? Probably not; fear-based behavior is a common response to something outside [it], even manifestations unknown spark fear in believers.

Ghandi offered this, ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.’ It is important to be aware of the polarities in human nature and in order to ascend; we are compelled to act in LOVE. What does that mean? We open up, become vulnerable in our trust guided by discernment and lose whatever fear necessary to surrender to the indwelling spirit. True love evolves through relationships and into beneficial collaborations that synergistically elevate the status quo on both sides in the dualistic framework.

It is the willing acceptance of ‘what is,’ the reality of each desire for a ‘better’ world. It is only the view of how to accomplish this that is incongruent. Einstein said we cannot fix problems with the same thinking that caused them. We can opt for a better view, a new living awareness. What would happen if this awareness brought about the ability to transcend the current conditions? What if life could get better simply by shifting views a bit? What could it hurt, really?

advice - great workThis seems like a very idealistic proposal: to rise above one’s bias and prejudice and connect with the ‘enemy’ in love. Again I’m reminded of Jesus’ admonition ‘to love thine enemy.’ And paraphrasing… if they are thirsty, give them water; hungry, give them food… Buddha said, “Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the mind. Anger will disappear just as soon as thoughts of resentment are forgotten.”

Isaac Asimov made a clear point, “It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, which is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be…This, in turn, means that our statesmen, our businessmen, our every man must take on a science fictional way of thinking.” Even Mohammed said, “To overcome evil with good is good; to resist evil by evil is evil.” Hello…. is there anybody in there…. just nod if you can hear me….. is there anyone at home? Pink Floyd

I’m reminded of the piece on the wall next to my desk that goes like this, “In the spirit of Zen everyday life is the contest. There must be awareness at every moment – getting up in the morning, working, eating, going to bed… that is the place for the mastery of self.” And I suppose it is in that awareness that we seek balance, to understand the root of our dualistic predilection and to change it – returning to faith, love, trust and all things good.

Sure it won’t be an easy journey or happen in your physical body this time around, maybe, yet our reunion with Creator as Divine Kin around the world is inevitable. So why fight it? Perhaps the Star Families are maintaining a distance, communicating with a few covertly while displaying evidence of intelligence (crop circles) so obvious we’d be fools to deny it. True leaders of the 21st Century will work for the benefit of mankind by learning how to achieve balance between the worlds as neither one can be destroyed – harmonized not simonized.

It is not clear what results you can expect, only that we are called to action with pure hearts and purposeful passion to assist in this global transformation toward harmony among people and planet. Recent events and continued hardships only edify the real need for change. Masses only change when enough individuals do, proving their notions through demonstrable methods and results. It’s far from easy or simple, yet it is easy and simple. The paradox of truth prevails once again. Wow, what a concept!

Communication: Can We Just Talk?

advice-TaoCan we just talk?

Communication is the number one issue across the board in relationships – personal or professional. We talk at each other instead of with each other. We avoid addressing the things that make us uncomfortable. Even worse, we run from conversations that make us feel vulnerable.

Given our lack of coping skills and avoidance techniques that range in the thousands, how to do overcome what keeps us afraid, angry, ignorant and immobile? 

It isn’t like the subject hasn’t been address by those far greater prepared and the expertise, imho, spans several areas for drawing solutions. Daniel Goleman speaks of emotional intelligence. Howard Gardner address multiple intelligences and Peter Senge touts the learning organization and systems thinking to get things rolling in the right direction. There are many others that could be included as well. We tend to compartmentalize and segment our approaches when perhaps a holistic approach is what we really need.

Some years ago after giving the corporate ladder and my marriage the best I could possibly offer (or so I thought) and having both worlds crumble, I spent a year in self-examination and analysis with the help of a number of folks qualified beyond measure to assist. I love to go deep and knowing self is tantamount to understanding others, or so the story goes.

As I explored the depths, the same notion kept coming up…. just talk. Okay… How? Of course communication doesn’t happen by just talking; it happens from how we talk but more so how we listen. Communication is a symbiosis of gesticulation, words and understanding.

celest-meditationDuring that year I went from approaching $60K to less than $6K in income and the attending self-deprecating thoughts and feelings one experiences from lack of opportunity and/or performance. My life was in shambles and I let my family down. That sounds terrible, and it felt that way. I have to say it was also one of the best years of my life. I was able to get really quiet, listen and observe my feelings and thoughts.

I found an oasis in the desert, literally, and began to restore my life. Living in Phoenix seemed only too appropriate since I was living the legend. I also found a lot of unanswered questions about building relationships and, more importantly, finding fulfillment. My first attempts were devastating, mostly through no fault of my own. My own innocence and naivety of human nature brought the house down. So I had to rebuild and remodel with new material.

Then I got a break. I had the opportunity to produce a television show. I had gotten involved with the Christown Lions Club and a public access program they sponsored. When the time came, the opportunity literally fell in my lap without saying a word. I treated it with the honor and respect I felt it deserved and although I was asked to do a kind of ‘new age’ show I opted for staying more mainstream. I’d had a bad experience on the radio with a ‘new age’ event I helped produce and I didn’t think it wise to set myself up for more uninformed public trials and tribulations.

One World became an avenue to explore how we integrate inner and outer realities, work through common fears and learn how to communicate effectively across the gamut of relationships. It was an education of many lifetimes with over 100 shows over about two years, done live to tape and no post production. I was scared of making mistakes initially, but gradually loosened up. It’s actually where ‘Zen’ began to emerge. About a half-dozen shows in the crew started calling me Zen. It came from the ‘subtitle’ of Zendor that I was using as a tongue-in-cheek ‘door to what is’ reference. The latter is a story for another time.

In the process of production, I met a gentleman who had founded a homeless transitional facility called New Day Educational Center. I had interviewed him and a graduate about their divergent yet serendipitous engagement. A few months later he approached me with an opportunity to do a commercial show on community activism and, even though it meant giving up the public access show, I jumped at the chance. I thought I could begin to generate conversations that could help Phoenicians connect and build better communities of practice and service.

Obviously it was still quite the amateur approach, but I still like the intro to the promotional video we produced. It carries a message even today.

Undisturbed Calmness

Undisturbed calmness-Zen-SRF

Undisturbed Calmness

That sure is a tall order for the average person in today’s world. It’s nearly impossible to stand undisturbed in the emotional tsunami that surrounds us everywhere we go. We’re pushed and pulled in every direction while we navigate the travails of our daily activities on the ocean of emotion.

It surely is a challenge to keep our sanity with so much turmoil in our world. The insanity of how humans treat humans seems almost impossible to change. Liabilities, limitations and excuses keep us from making the simple choices to clean up our thinking, affecting our behavior. Calmness comes from clarity; vision with an emptiness of desire or prejudice.

We seek to create the life we want to live. The frustrations mount when we don’t see immediate results. We hope and pray that we’re doing the right things as we wait for the signs to reflect. We strive to calm the inner dialog that seems to run rampant in times of high stress. The chaos to order scenario is hardly a notion that calms us in the depths of an emotional quagmire. Yet it can happen. We CAN be quiet.

Stilling the mind in the midst of the mayhem, perturbations plaguing the peace within, is simpler than we may think. In fact, our thoughts are so available to observe that once we begin to do so, changes happen automatically. Expecting to completely overhaul our thoughtmosphere in a short time is rather silly. It took a long time to get here. Relax, enjoy the journey back to center and make fun of yourself whenever possible. It helps to release the grip of the pattern.

You will be surprised how, completely unannounced, amazing things begin to show up. First, sporadically and then with more regularity as you come back to center more often. It’s important to breathe deeply when you have a moment, reminding you to relax and let go. Just when you are least expecting it…. something or someone will enter your world to make it all worthwhile.

It happened to me just the other day. The heavens opened and ‘coincidence’ caught up with ‘providence.’ It was quite obvious upon review. The day started with an invitation to a spiritual discussion group at a local Baha’i center. The discussion was about ‘family’ and the virtues that strong family values empower. I’ve got a wonderful extended family, but no one as a partner in life. Afterward, some friends and I decided to meet at a Barnes & Noble to catch up on life and share recent successes.

We met in the cafe’ at Barnes & Noble and had quite a wonderful conversation about the recent events in all our lives. A woman was sitting near us and I noticed she was reading The Scarlet Letter. I made a flippant comment about not seeing anyone read the book in a long time. My friends engaged her as well and, realizing that there was an ease of communication and natural affinity developing, invited her to join us.

Over the course of the next few hours evidence began to arise that this ‘chance’ meeting wasn’t so coincidental. A conversation took us into deeper and deeper recognition that our meeting was destined to move us both into a better position for fulfilling our dreams and goals. Perhaps those details will benefit many in the next few years. The trials and tribulations that produced the opportunity to discover the process to calmness produced a life-altering connection.

I’m grateful for all that has gotten me here now. More later…

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Breathe Oneness

fingertips-breathe

Breathe Oneness

I was reminded of an experience in Las Vegas almost 20 years ago now, at a weekend workshop called ‘Vision.’ Of course it was about self-development and creating alignment with purpose, people, places and things in our life.

The last day we (180 or so) were thrust into a ballroom with the edict of ‘creating a miracle.’ The miracle happened when the partner (for the seminar) of one of guys put a rose in a vase in the center of the room, unbeknownst to him at the time. Shortly later he arose from a meditation on the side of the room, walked over to the rose and sat with it, cross legged.

Before too long he was weeping uncontrollably. Many came to his aide and attempted to ‘make it okay,’ desiring to pull him out of the seeming funk. He responded with, “No, you don’t understand… you don’t understand.” After several minutes the entire group, again unbeknownst to him, had surrounded him, with arms outstretched and embracing one another as he continue to weep completely oblivious of his surroundings. Then he stopped.

Through tear-soaked and swollen eyes he looked up at the group around him now, all 180+ in a huge group hug…. simply loving in the silence of the embrace. He smiled and arose, wobbly from the outpouring. Someone asked him what happened. He said it was like the rose was a connection to the Earth and all the sorrow came pouring through it and into him.

It evidently began to subside as the group gathered around him, first wanting to push or pull him into a different place instead of allowing him to just BE in that moment. When they finally did just allow and embraced each other in a loving ‘unknowing’ the energy shifted and the sorrow subsided. The miracle had occurred.

In his statements about the experience he expressed the deep sorrow he felt from the rose vis a vis the planet and her deep despair regarding our treatment of each other and her simultaneously. It was nearly unbearable as he noted the words he spoke to those who, early on, attempted to get him to come out of that obvious despair, not knowing truly what it was. His response of, “No, you don’t understand!” came from deep within that consciousness that was being shared with him through the rose.

Ultimately they all at least got the message of our inhumane treatment of each other and the planet and at least for a brief moment in time they had all released any and all bias, judgment, prejudice or whatever… and breathed in and out together in a an embrace of unconditional love. It was truly magnificent to witness, this breath of oneness.

Just in case you haven’t experienced a breathing as one event… try Do As One.

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Full Spectrum Approach

DreamHow do we incorporate the advantages of best practices in a full-spectrum approach to community building?

I’ve spent decades wandering about the various aspects of community development. I wanted to know how things worked. I produced a television show that allowed a deeper exploration of how people worked through fears and the commonality they found in personal, workplace and community relationships. We explored both inner and outer motivating factors. I found engaging City futures forums, community assessments and working in educational systems to be quite fulfilling for a time, then disappointing as they seemed to be plagued with sub-standard behavior and considerations for the future. I understand that society changes slowly and the resistance to change often creates war.

Those wars spill over into agenda constrictions and behavioral complexities that even the best organizational development consultants and facilitators find challenging. I liked one of the notions that came up in my MA program… that challenge and change are only three letters different. Removing the ‘lle’ (liabilities, limitations and excuses) automatically creates change. I was fortunate to be able to extend that thoughtmosphere into the realms of the local chapter of the American Society for Training and Development’s annual conference in 2010, titled, “The Shift: Challenge to Change; Removing liabilities, limitations and excuses in the workplace.”

I enjoyed teaching high school in a number of environments, while looking for a steady job in the business curriculum arena so I could become fully certified, which included district, charter and even a residential treatment center. Holistic systems always fascinated me, so I look for ways to improve upon existing arrangements to facilitate greater harmony among the people, places and things involved. It doesn’t always bode well. However, it prompted me to write a business plan for a model school to address the ‘at-risk’ students I found to be slipping through the cracks right and left.

Partial Answer to the Question:

My living partner, who I coaxed into the MA in Organizational Mangement program at the University of Phoenix, and I proceded to discuss and craft the plan while in our program together. We’d met as a result of our deep-seated desires to create highly functioning communities that integrated eco-systems and hi-tech solutions to engaging the citizens and nature, modeling a symbiosis of people, places and things that could provide future solutions to a variety of challenges. Our concern was to look at the big picture first and craft a scalable model that would emulate a best-practice-driven community.

We began by considering housing, including the natural circadian rhythms as well as planetary rhythms. We concluded that a 13-moon configuration would work well for the achievement of lunar-driven goals and objectives. As each month’s goals were met, movement to the next house would occur as a rite of passage, celebrated as well, with a full cycle granting the student a vote on the peer-community council’s administrative and facility management actions.Community building and operation is taught through the living environment as well as the curriculum. Each ‘house’ would extend the learning from the classroom and outdoor activity with developmental processes.

That is the beginning of the plan and perhaps it can stimulate other discussion and/or considerations for the community here. Holistic considerations can spill over into the subsets of communities that are being created around population centers now. They already include master-planned developments that have the standard civil planning or community components. Inclusion of advanced technology that included power generation and transportation options appears to be just sense made common. Commerce is taking a turn with the entrepreneurial co-working and incubator space developments. Why not associate those with a community development as well?

To grow our understanding and capacity for harmony with people, places and things in our future developments is imperative as we all know. I’m just another choir member whose thankful for a place to share something that, perhaps, may have some value. There is more if there is interest. Something that can offer an additional professional perspective is my work with construction partnering through Team Partnering. It may appear conservative in presentation.

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Distilling Reality

3d Cube LogoDistilling Reality

Robin and I were having a conversation about life and our transition this morning.

Since our break up over a  year ago, we’ve had some wonderful discussions about energy and soular paths and choices to change the plot amidst our story. Our solid relationship as friends allows us the freedom to continue to explore the depths of reality. The awareness of the choice to change the story happened many years ago when she felt the ‘fantasy’ of our life together just didn’t work for her.

Let me back up for a moment and explain how I interpreted her entrance into my life. I was rehearsing a presentation, with my eyes closed in a kind of meditative place, and when I reached the end I was surprised when a woman stepped out of the darkness in front of me. She was faceless, but had curly blonde hair that was pulled back at the top and had an attractive physique, too. Her only words to me were, “Okay, are you ready to get to work?”

I closed my notes, stuck them under my arm, held my other arm out for her to grasp and we walked off into the darkness. I came out of the meditation wondering if it was real. A month and a half later she showed up at my door after a fairly lengthy interaction from replying to a personal ad I had on AOL. Suffice it to say that she ignited my life in ways I had not experienced to date. It took nearly a year for us to cohabitate after a wild series of events in 2001, not the least of which was the WTC towers coming down. By the end of September I was living in her home with her teenage children, who weren’t prepared for having a man enter their home.

The following years were filled with magical situations that I’m sure seemed right out of a story book, including multiple metaphysical encounters that would have had most people running for cover. We began our relationship, by choice, on the foundation of faith, love and trust. We both had perspectives on life that allowed us to experience reality beyond the normal daily travails of the largely unconscious society in which we live. We are both highly intelligent people, gifted by educational or intellectual standards. We’re able to grasp concepts of both science and spirituality that stretch most folks beyond their comfort zone.

That being said, a few years later there was a rift in the force. Robin decided the ‘story’ needed a new twist and went back into the 9-5 realm of practical positions and regular paychecks. I completely understand why as it is an extreme challenge for folks to live on the fringe in faith, love and trust when they have a mortgage payment due. That’s just the reality of this world. We had the opportunity to move forward with some other things that were closer to our collective heart, but the mental constraints just weren’t going to let it flow.

Pertinent Points

Now that brings me to the point that came up this morning. It may seem abstract and yet relative to the concept of ‘flow’ in the process of life. There is, according to a lot of sources, a level of reality that is tied in to what one might call a soul-level experience. Now in this soul-level experience there is harmonic that resides within each person who is engaged in a lifestyle that holds the spiritual purpose or divine destiny at its root. This is a foundation that simply ‘is’ within the construct of reality as we know it. I’m sure there are many conflicting stories to this point, but for now I’m going with the potential of this soul-level experience being one that is running the show for most, if not all, of us.

When the choice to shift focus happens there is a change in the ‘force’ of the path of each and both simultaneously. The fact that we were such good friends and amicable people meant that it would take some time for things to work through and we’d have a number of bumps in the road as the reality of our eventual disengagement evolved toward our waking consciousness. We enjoyed each other, so it was quite some time before the incongruent energy of our collective reality surfaced to the point of being obvious to both of us. It may sound incredulous, but we really do get along well regardless of our relationship status. We are inherently curious and non-judgmental.

As we peered deeper into the nature of our reality it appeared that our current situation is unfolding just as we designed it. The consciousness of our intention to grow included doing the ‘work’ of understanding how relationships really work and being able to converse about it openly. I found that, over time, I was able to articulate some very deep levels of emotional perturbations as well as the view of soul-level foundation that presented a much clearer and unfiltered potential reality. We both realize that it’s just conversation, but it is a very powerful conversation nevertheless.

In the year we’ve taken to extricate ourselves (we’re not done yet) the process has allowed us to see things in ways that most people never have the opportunity to view. Too often relationships are torn asunder by uncontrollable emotional fits and/or separation anxiety that don’t allow one to think or behave in a rational way. Fear destroys rationality. Our ability to continue to perceive life through the faith, love and trust lens continues to offer wonderful insights and realizations that we share with each other, in conversations and often write about in our blogs or on-going drafts of the next book. Both of us are prolific thinkers and writers, so we process emotions and other considerations in many ways beyond the simple and straightforward responses that often accompany break ups.

Gratitude

I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue the work, even at a distance. What we also discussed was the possibility that even though the story has changed for us personally at this time, the long-term story continues in our ability to allow the Divine to interact with us on increasingly intimate levels. This notion led into a short discussion about how the harmonics of creation bring certain aspects of people, places and things together in order to increase the capacity for harmony to evolve within humanity. It is an ongoing process that presents us with the opportunity to see things beyond being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ … rather just how it ‘is’ in the moment without emotion.

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