The absurd breeds creativity.

Recently at Bread & Puppet’s The Honey Let’s Go Home Opera in NYC I was smacked in the face by a big old WTF?! within the first few minutes of the performance.  I knew there would be music and puppets and had heard that it was cool to be there, but that didn’t prepare me for the opening chorus of mechanical noises, dissonant voices and instruments all swaying in rhythm with a massive puppet.  To say it was surreal is an understatement.  For a split second I was worried that I wasn’t going to like it or that I was in over my head, but that moment passed and I got sucked deeply into the unfolding opera.

What this showed me is that the absurd draws you in deep if you can keep yourself open and curious.  What I noticed is that in the face of the bizarre you are actually more free than you were before.  Why?  Well because all the expectations of society and propriety have been blown out of the water making what was once impossible or unreasonable suddenly possible.

Let’s take Oprah for example.  She has an Empire of a multimedia company.  Through it she has earned the love and support of millions.  Years ago she said she wasn’t interested in running for office, but in the face of a man who some call a buffoon currently holding the world’s stage, anything had become possible.

But let’s look at this from a personal perspective: when anything becomes possible and the boundaries that you though were there are revealed to be imaginary, what would you do?  I know that I found myself inspired by Bread & Puppet to create an almanac for the Burning Man community.  Because to marry the surreal with the realistic in such a way that is blows people minds open to their own creative potential is the highest form of art in my opinion.

What would you do if you could do anything?

Networking Nightmares

Networking Nightmares and how to solve them.

For someone like me who loves to get out and meet people the idea of networking can still be a nightmare.  Don’t get me wrong.  I find the idea of going out and connecting with new people several times per week exhilarating – as most extroverts do –  but despite the enjoyment I derive there is still something in my systems thinking heart that cringes.  The nightmare is twofold.  First that we think that getting together over drinks is going to help us make deep connections when often people split into groups they already know or breeze through as many conversations as possible to ‘do their job’ for the night.  Second the idea that surface level conversation can possibly develop a relationship that can challenge the deep issues in our society is simply incorrect. Continue reading “Networking Nightmares”

The Fire Cider Primer

Ball jar filled with apple cider vinegar, onion, garlic, ginger, tumeric, horseradish, commonly called Fire Cider this is a healing remedy for colds and flus
My percolating Fire Cider

This week, I made my own Fire Cider based on Rosemary’s recipe, I’ve make other versions before when I was feeling ill, and I’m taking the opportunity to raise awareness of this simple healing recipe and get it into more hands.  Really that’s one of the best things that this conflict has done.

In the last few days there has been an uproar in the herbalism community.  While you might not think that could possibly be very loud, consider that the uproar overflowed into the Permaculture, healthy lifestyle, and organic foods sectors as well and that it might be an indicator of greater system change.

Some basics before I jump into what I think is behind what’s going on AND potential implications for the future based on how this situation plays out.   Continue reading “The Fire Cider Primer”

Provoking Hope

Triskele - Triple SpiralReading Karen’s recent blog got me to thinking about hope.  While she was talking more about harvesting hope, her post stirred within me the question:

How do we provoke hope in others?

Ok maybe inspire is a better word for it.  I have been learning lately how to tickle instead of poke; to gently move things in the direction I want them to go.  Bring lots of others hope and thereby the motivation to tackle the challenges facing them in their personal transformation and in the greater world is a passion of mine and so I’m inspired to reflect. Continue reading “Provoking Hope”

Confronting Failure

Sistine ChapelI was working on an outdoor project yesterday – probably one of the last before winter – and looking around saw how many different failures that I’d had in getting everything wrapped up prettily.  In the same moment I reminded myself that each of the failures was simply just a project that has yet to be completed or still in process.  What I was judging success by was based on the time it took to finish, which has nothing to do with whether it ever gets done or is even necessary.

I’m sure if you looked at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel on day 4 as a complete work you might have though that Michelangelo was not doing his job very well.  But you see, that’s the point.  At any given moment we are only looking at a piece of the process.  While some things so seem to be finished products, or projects we can always re-visit them.  This means that we are really only ever looking at a piece of a process.  Know this as well that the greatest beauties can come from what seems in the moment to be a disaster.

Don’t stop trying to achieve.  Don’t stop dreaming big.  In fact, dream bigger and try for more because you can’t ever fail at following your heart’s calling.

Going Upstream

What’s the real problem here?

Recently I was pondering shifting the burden while blogging about City Bees and it lead into something that sometimes gets missed in the process of finding a solution to our challenges.  Often when looking at a problem you need to go further upstream or deeper into the process in order to find the origin and create a more systems aware solution.

One of my favorite solutions came time and time again when I was working as an Associate Dean.  Part of my job at the time was to met out punishment for absences.  I took it a different way though, if there were no absences then I was also doing a good job.  So when the teens came into my office there was no heat or anger, we simply discussed why the absence had occurred and worked on going upstream to find out what the real problem was.   Continue reading “Going Upstream”

Stakeholder Care

I had the opportunity to lead a roundtable during the Resilient Business Summit a few years ago – here are some of my thoughts.

Finding and holding onto the pulse of your many stakeholders – Community engagement as the conduit.

I arrived on campus during the summer at the elite private school. No one was around. I wasn’t sure if I needed to call the cable company, or how to place a phone call. I didn’t know the area or which restaurants to avoid. I was brand spanking new to this school and community and felt very alone.

It became immediately apparent why so many people early in a new job or locale make the decision to leave. They have no real connection to the community and so the decision to leave is an easy one.

Tip #1 – Welcome Continue reading “Stakeholder Care”

Booritos & Transformation

People wait on a long line to get burritos from Chipotle on Halloween
Boorito Night: A cell phone picture of a very long line.

or What Chipotle and the Dali Lama have in common.
(hint: They are able to touch and transform a lot of people)

Lately I’ve been spending quite a bit of time thinking about gifting and inviting abundance into my life. I’ve also been very focused on personal transformation.  I’ve done breath work, dream analysis, meditation, et cetera.  I’m following this path because I can feel and see changes happening in my life and in the lives of those around me and its powerful stuff.

But much of the change that I’ve seen is localized or only affects a certain sector of the population that can afford it.  While I see the consciousness of the business world shifting through my friends’ businesses at SVN I wasn’t seeing much mainstream or popularized that really grabbed our transforming planet by the balls and… ok maybe a different metaphor.  Not that they weren’t doing enough.  They just hadn’t gone off the high dive.  I’ve been seeing the change as we live the words of Ghandi, and even some cool new products and businesses, but holy crap Chipotle just did a cannon ball into a pool that’s only had a little splashing.

Continue reading “Booritos & Transformation”

Being Effective in Achieving Your Goals

The challenges of operating in a changing world

The ‘old school’ as some would say with regards to being in business, has a lot to do with hierarchy. Domination of a sector ensures success and how much money you have enables that to happen even faster. Business owners sell most of their business to investors in order to bring life to their dreams, politicians kowtow to backers losing their morals and their concern for citizens in the process, and people sell their future earnings to companies for the privilege of taking care of their basic needs from day-to-day. As I was watching Les Miserables last night I thought of how people in the future would look to our current situation in disbelief and grief in the same way I viewed Jean Valjean. How could that possibly be ok that someone went to prison for stealing the bread to eat? Can easily turn into today’s predicament → How could someone not have a place to live when there are empty houses? Or → How could the government let that happen? Continue reading “Being Effective in Achieving Your Goals”