Guest Post: Philanthropic Entrepreneurs: A Natural Evolution of Possibilities

philanthropy reframed1 228x300 Guest Post: Philanthropic Entrepreneurs: A Natural Evolution of Possibilitiesby Jo Ann Hammond-Meiers, PhD, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Historically philanthropy has been defined as “the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed esp. by the generous donation of money to good causes”. Synonyms: benevolence, generosity, humanitarianism, public-spiritedness, altruism, social conscience, charity, charitableness, brotherly love, fellow feeling, magnanimity, bountifulness, beneficence, kindness, compassion, and other words.

After researching about philanthropy, I see it very differently than how I perceived it growing up which was having the heart towards a cause and being able to contribute by writing a cheque. Morgana Rae in a recent phone conversation suggested to me that she believed it was aligned with legacy building and that is certainly part of it.

I have a whole story or fragments of a life of stories I tell myself about that in my own life and my philanthropic relatives. I am very proud of my mother’s father who gave money to many social causes, as did his brother. The next generation did as well but also contributed through service clubs and time and skills that were donated generously and made a difference in the communities and in the world.

But just like we have money blocks that often come from our subconscious learnings as well as our conscious learnings about money, I see the correlation about my beliefs about who can be philanthropic and who will not have this tendency. But this is a myth based on learning attitudes, what we think is valid giving or not, and how we learn to become philanthropic in the course of our lives.

Just like money blocks, people can have lots of feelings about giving and receiving too. Did I give enough? Did my time in that volunteer work matter? Did I do it for myself too and is that okay? These are just a few of the reflective comments we make. Now, I personally define philanthropy as giving in a wide variety of ways — from heart – heart feeling and heart thinking. Philanthropy can be a learned process and people can navigate it with others. We require dialog and education. With support from others , the possibilities of and the scope of what being philanthropic can be is heightened.

An example of innovation and also philanthropic endeavours on the internet can be shown by J.J. Ramberg of MSNBC. Darlene Cary whom I interviewed recently in the up-coming May Telesummit, Innovative Change for Entrepreneurs, available now at http://www.innovativechangeforentrepreneurs.com, introduced me to J.J. Ramberg who recently wrote a book, who Darlene mentions in a podcast found here.

Darlene was excited about the philanthropic endeavour that JJ and Ken, her brother started regarding a Search Engine (toward the end of the podcast recording). It has been a huge philanthropic success. Ramberg and her brother Ken founded the charitable search engine GoodSearch in November 2005. She gave birth to her first child in early 2007. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JJ_Ramberg. These efforts have raised money for many charities while making a thrive business as well.

Giving to Profit” was a recent Telesummit this April, hosted by Alisoun MacKenzie, who has done amazing work in Rwanda. Tad Hargrave was a speaker in that Summit, interviewed. Alisoun. Similarly, for the Innovative Change for Entrepreneurs: Be the Light Summit, I interviewed Gem Munro from the Amarok Society, found at http://www.amaroksociety.org and he and his entire family and the volunteers of the Amarok Society help remote northern communities in Canada and mothers and children in the Slums of Bangladesh where they have now 20 Schools in that areas where people do not go. The impossible is possible and he has much to teach in the interview as well as gives the password to the documentary that has been made about the work. The film is an education for anyone about another part of the world and how we are able to learn by giving. The May Summit that I’m hosting is free.

For the past 20 years, Mark Scheflen, from NYC, developed his dream to advance communications between the USA, Africa, and Russia, while also working with other volunteers. He did this work by computers, art, interviews, and exchanges between students and he wrote for grants to support the work. The projects that he started from a dream is ‘Kiboko Projects” and an article can be found here. This is an example of the evolution of an idea and being philanthropic. It is about gifting business ideas, skills and time over time. Being an entrepreneurial philanthropist can be challenging, but it is also very rewarding and can make a difference.

Cynthia Kersey’s Unstoppable Foundation was inspired by the dream of wanting to make a significant difference in the lives of others. Many schools have been supported through the non-profit raising of money for African communities and it is a force to be reckoned with a as it influences many socially conscious entrepreneurs. In this Dec 21st post, 2013 posted by Cynthia Kersey . The Unstoppable Foundation was created, and remains committed to changing this picture of our world. Go to the many sites on the internet, Google it for more information. At Marcia Wieder’s Wealthy Visionary Conference in 2013 I was privileged to be among the many in the conference to help raise enough money to have 2 schools, along with running water and an infrastructure that support education itself. It was a collective effort – a wave that is spreading as entrepreneurs gain collaborative visions.

To end this blog, I’d like to thank Tad for having his visions and for exploring the edges of what is or can be new, innovative, and thought provoking for the curious and “mindful” traveler who wants to make a significant difference – big or small – a philanthropic possibility.

Jo Ann Hammond-Meiers can be reached at www.coachingflowsuccess.com

Hosted Telesummits include:
Entrepreneur Breakthrough to Success and Significance (June 2013)
The Money Flow Formula (March, 2014) The Money Flow Formula 2 (Jan/Feb 2015)
Innovative Change for Entrepreneurs (May 2014)
Align Your Business For Success (September 2014)

P23029TA211614 p 15 200x300 Guest Post: Philanthropic Entrepreneurs: A Natural Evolution of PossibilitiesDr Jo Ann Hammond-Meiers is a Registered Psychologist in Alberta, a Board-Certified Dance/Movement Therapist with The American Dance Therapy Association, a Registered Art Therapist in Canada and USA, a Certified QSCA Life Coach and Law of Attraction Coach. She has a Graduate Diploma in Distance Education and Technology with Canada’s Open University, Athabasca University. For over 20 years she has co-owned and managed a psychological firm. She has been in her online coaching/consulting businesses for three years. She can be reached at 780-433-2269, Edmonton or . or she can be reached via www.drsgaryjoannmeierspsychologists.com

a blog post in which I discuss why the whole economy is toxic, destructive and suicidal and yet… marketing is needed to fix things?

397 a blog post in which I discuss why the whole economy is toxic, destructive and suicidal and yet... marketing is needed to fix things?This is a different sort of blog than I usually write  because it’s not just about marketing. It’s about the context that marketing happens inside of.
 
Namely, the economy.
 
Of course, most of us have some very justifiable issues with marketing. Some of us wonder if even the whole ‘conscious marketing’ thing is bullshit
 
But those issues are driven by something so much larger.
 
We live inside of an economy that David Korten coined as ‘The Suicide Economy’. For obvious reasons. If we let it, it will kill itself (and take a lot down with it as it goes). 
 
It’s an economy and culture that has led much of humanity to a point of a secret sort of self loathing. The sense that made, as William Gibson put it, ‘man is a bad animal’. Stephen Jenkinson illucidates on this brilliantly in the following video by Ian Mackenzie.
 
393 a blog post in which I discuss why the whole economy is toxic, destructive and suicidal and yet... marketing is needed to fix things?   
 
As David Orr so brilliantly put it, “The plain fact is that the planet does not need more “successful” people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every shape and form. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these needs have little to do with success as our culture has defined it.”
 
And most of us are fighting tooth and nail to create something more sane. Something more in alignment with what Judy Wicks of Phillidelphia’s White Dog Cafe expressed so beautifully when she said, 

“The Local Living Economies Movement is about: Maximizing relationships, not maximizing profits, Broad-based ownership and democracy, not concentrated wealth and power, Sharing, not hoarding, Life serving, not self-serving, Partnership, not domination, Cooperation based, not competition based, Win-win exchange, not win-loose exploitation, Creativity, not conformity, A living return, not the highest return, A living wage, not the minimum wage, A fair price, not the lowest price, “Being more, not having more”, Interconnectedness, not separation, Inclusion, not exclusiveness, Community and collective joy, not isolation and unhapppiness, Cultural diversity, not monoculture, Bio-diversity, not mono-crops, Family farms, not factory farms, Slow food, not fast food, Our bucks, not Starbucks, Our mart, not Wal-Mart, a Love of life, not love of money.”

In a similar way. this quote from The Necessary Revolution (shared with me by my colleague Julia) struck as right on theme for this theme of figuring out the deeper cause our business is about. It invites us to step back and consider the underlying cause of business itself:

“…the new generation of mission-based businesses builds on some very old ideas, ones that predate the Industrial Age. They seek, as an essential part of their purpose, to contribute to the health and well-being of living systems.  They reject the notion that the sole purpose of business is to make a profit and they regard the quality of relationships between members, suppliers, and customers as the true indicator of success.  In so doing, they are returning business to its origins.  The oldest Swedish word for business is narings liv, “nourishment for life.”  In ancient Chinese the concept is expressed by two symbols that translate as “life meaning.”   And the root of the English word company derives from the Latin com panis, “the sharing of bread”- the same root as that for the word companion.”  

Everywhere we look, we see the growth of this new Green Economy. But some of us wonder if it’s enough. Because, as it rises, so doesgreenwashing (in which corporations try to make normal things seem green instead of helping to make green things seem normal). But also because many of suspect that solar power and compact flourescent lightbulbs are not the complete solution we need. That we may need something more. Many of us are waking up to the reality that, even if we all did what Al Gore called for at the end of his powerful documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ it wouldn’t be anywhere near to enough.

Silently, some of us wonder to ourselves, ‘What if the Green Economy is a wonderful means, but a terrible ends?’

We see the Occupy Wallstreet movement and the new economy it’s calling on us to imagine. 

395 a blog post in which I discuss why the whole economy is toxic, destructive and suicidal and yet... marketing is needed to fix things? 

David Korten invites us to go even deeper than critiquing the economy but to question the very stories that have, for so long, underpinned it. And he invites us to consider what the economy might look like if it were inspired by a different set of stories. What if we shifted our stories from those of building empires (which never end well) to building and sustaining villages? What if instead of growing big and selling we could be small and enjoy the beauty in that? What if endless economic growth was not the drum we marched to but that love and justice were the drums we danced to? What if there were models of creating change that didn’t all rely on money?

What if indeed.

So, what does this all have to do with marketing?

So much really. 

The word marketing is full of such heavy connotations. But let’s say it in a different way.

We need to find a way to articulate the problems we face as a culture and the potential solutions with such a powerful eloquence and clarity that it awakens something in people. 

If people don’t know about the alternatives you offer the world, they, functionally, don’t exist. And we need people to know they exist. Desperately. The solutions are out there (e.g. holistic medicine, permaculture, solar power, local economies and currencies, slow food etc.) but what good are they if no one knows? And people finding out about things is another way of saying marketing. 

As Antoine de Saint Exupéry put it, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

And that’s marketing.

We need to educate people about what new things are possible that could be restorative to both the planet and ourselves. And that’s marketing.

We need to lift our rhetoric to a level of relevance and clarity than is unmistakable. 

We need to get people’s attention, help them understand if our particular solution is a fit and then make it sweet, gentle and easy to try it (because we know asking them to change everything overnight will never work). 

We need to find ways to not seduce people, but court them into living their fullest lives. Imagine if everyone in the world offering hopeful and positive solutions awoke tomorrow with this kind of irresistible eloquence that inspired the best that humanity has to offer. Imagine how many fewer people might find themselves on their deathbed full of regrets

We don’t just need more conscious marketing. We need a whole new economy. We need to reimagine the culture we live in. But, to get there, we need to be better marketers. 

Most of us get most of our money, directly or indirectly, from the Suicide Economy. We’d love to make all of our money from the more Conscious Economy and spend all of our money there… but most of us haven’t been able to do that. Most of us are, like this culture, in transition. Most of us are trying to make our little conscious venture financially sustainable.

And a mighty piece of whether or not we can pay the bills comes down to marketing. 

If you’re needing more help with finding the eloquence to express what you do I’d like to remind you of somethings.

My website is full of free things. There’s over three hours of free video. Five hundred blog posts. Case studies.

I have a 195 ebook that you should have gotten when you signed up for this email list but, in case you’ve lost it, you can download it here.

If you feel drawn to work with me one on one, you can find more info about that here.

Thanks for being on my list. I hope you get good things from it. 

warmest,
Tad

p.s. I’ll be in touch soon about some breakthroughs I’ve been having around this whole question of finding your niche, plus a contest around niching I think you’ll love.

p.p.s. On March 11th, I was the witness to a man taking his life by jumping off of Edmonton’s High Level Bridge. It was a deeply traumatic event from which I’m still recovering but recovering well with the help of a lot of good friends and support. I wrote a song about it and was able to go to the funeral and sing it to the family. It would mean a lot to me if you could share it with others. Yu can find the song and the story here: http://www.miguelitoslittlegreencar.com/blog/paying-tribute-tad/

 

The Banksy Manifesto

Banksy is a world famous grafitti artist who has this to say about advertising . . .

 

A letter from Banksy.

People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small.

They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it.

They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you. You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity.

Fuck That.

Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.

You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you.

They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.

Banksy

 

bansky bottle The Banksy Manifesto

 

if you don’t feel very successful today

If you’re not feeling particularly successful today, these words might sooth you.

In a world full of self help books and online courses exhorting us to be ‘successful’ I found this quote from this article by David Orr to be a healing balm. As Jiddu Krishnamurti put it, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” To be ‘successful’ in the global game of Monopoly and own Boardwalk and Park Place does not make the world better.

“The plain fact is that the planet does not need more “successful” people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every shape and form. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these needs have little to do with success as our culture has defined it.” – David Orr

petition: does nathan bedford forrest deserve a public monument?

 petition: does nathan bedford forrest deserve a public monument?I want to ask you to sign a petition.

If you care about social justice and racial equality then I think you’ll be excited to sign it.

Why?

They’re planning to expand on a public monument to Nathan Bedford Forrest (pictured here) in Selma, Alabama.

But why should you care?

You’ve likely never been to Selma. Likely not even Alabama. And my guess is that ‘public monuments’ are not your hobby.

But you might care a lot after I tell you about it.

And I’ll tell you in a moment . . .

But let me step back. If I had to define marketing in a sentence, I’d borrow the words of Mac Ross, ‘Marketing is about establishing the value of something beyond the apparent.’ You could also say, when speaking about larger social issues, that marketing is about establishing the importance of something beyond the immediately apparent.

Something like a public monument in a town you’ve never been to.

You might have a product or service, or work for a larger cause that people don’t seem to ‘get’ right away. It can take some explaining for people to really understand it’s value and importance. And the role of marketing is to shorten the distance between you starting the explanation and them ‘getting it’. To make that happen faster. To have it register more deeply.

It’s easy to complain about how people don’t get it. But, as they say, don’t get bitter – get better. 

If people don’t value your services or support your cause like you think they should, that’s not their fault. It might be yours. 

And sometimes you need the help of others to educate. We simply can’t do it all ourselves.

Which is why I’m reaching out to you and writing this blog post.

 petition: does nathan bedford forrest deserve a public monument?Because of my dear friend Malika Fortier in Selma (pictured here). I met Malika in 1999 at an event I hosted for young change makers. She has always been one of the most powerful, loving and honest people I know. She’s a friend who’s willing to push you and challenge you. She strives to practice unconditional love and uncompromising truth. She’s a wonderful mother. I love her so much.

And she is a black woman living in a country (the USA) where racism is far from gone, in a town where racism is still very much alive and in your face. And I want something better for her. And for her children. For all of us. 

But this moment around this monument is a chance to bring national attention. It even creates a possibility to have a national conversation about the true state of the union.

Why?

People know Selma as a city where Dr. Martin Luther King fought for civil rights. Selma was, in fact, the launching point for pivotal protests that hurtled the voting rights movement into the national spotlight. It is also a city of tragedy: thousands of students, religious leaders, and families fighting for civil rights in Selma were arrested, injured, or brutally killed.   

Many have been outraged and saddened to learn that Selma’s city council is sitting idly by as a local group expands a public monument to Nathan Bedford Forrest.

And who is Nathan Bedford Forrest? 

He is a founder of the Ku Klux Klan.

The president of the city council is actually also president of Friends of Forrest (which many consider to be a hate group).

Monuments celebrating violent racism and intolerance have no place in this world, let alone in a city like Selma, where the families of those attacked by the Klan still live.

Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate military leader, a founding member of the KKK, and the first Grand Wizard of the KKK. He wasn’t even from Selma — why should Selma be honoring his shameful legacy of racial segregation and genuine terrorism?

You feel differently about the public monument now don’t you?

That’s marketing. 

And of course, this is a marketing issue for the town of Selma itself.

If Selma wants be viewed by the rest of the country as forward-thinking, they simply cannot give in to those who pine for the “good ole days” of the 1860s. This monument has blighted Selma for far too long. Please join me in calling on the Selma city council to remove the monument celebrating Ku Klux Klan founder Nathan Bedford Forrest.

 

Sign the petition here.

 

In the last few days, working with change.org, they’ve gotten more than 66,000 signatures on this petition, and we’re generating more and more local and national press coverage.  They’ve also launched a website, and built a social networking presence.

Will you join us?

Guest Post: What are the 7 Graces of Marketing and Life?

7 Graces FINAL cover for web Guest Post: What are the 7 Graces of Marketing and Life?What are the 7 Graces of Marketing and Life?

My friend and colleague, Lynn Serafinn, has just published her new book The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell.

(You can check it out here – but it on December 13th and get yourself some cool free things)

The ideas she presents in this 400+ page book are a call to action, not only to business owners and marketers, but to everyone one of us as a consumer.

Reading Lynn Serafinn’s list of the marketing graces (below) is a liberating experience.

It reminds us that marketing can be either a thing of beauty or a source of our collective discontent. It reminds us that the choice is not `Do I market or do I keep my integrity?’ but rather, `How can I make my marketing more gracious and graceful every day? How can my own marketing be a part of the healing of the world?’

Lynn paints it out so clearly–for each virtue, there is a toxic mimic (twice the calories and none of the nutrition)…Marketing shouldn’t feel like we’re holding our breath just waiting to be discovered as frauds. It should feel like easy breathing. Lynn’s astounding contrast of virtues and vices is such an excellent guide. I can’t wait to dive deeper into it.

*  *

Pasted Image 1 Guest Post: What are the 7 Graces of Marketing and Life?Lynn’s sneak peek into the 7 Graces paradigm

Grace #1: Connection

This is the “antidote” to the “Deadly Sin of Disconnection”. Connection is at the foundation of everything in life—Connection to Self, Source, others, our businesses, and our audience—determine how effectively and authentically we communicate and conduct our lives.

When business owners are disconnected from Self, their businesses cannot be genuine representations of who they are. And the problem is, as businesses get bigger and bigger, that Connection becomes increasingly difficult to maintain. When business owners are not connected to Source and others, it opens to door to exploitation of both natural resources and people.

Connection is the first of the 7 Graces, because without it the other Graces cannot manifest.

Grace #2: Inspiration

This is the “antidote” to the “Deadly Sin of Persuasion”. The literal meaning of the word “Inspiration” means “to breathe life into”. As business owners, we have a choice to be “life giving” to our audience or “life robbing”.

Persuasion, wherein we will do anything and everything to make a sale/profit, is life robbing. As business owners, it is our responsibility to “feed” society, and thus ensure not only that our products and services are life-giving, but also that our communications (marketing) is life-giving.

For marketing to be filled with the “Grace of Inspiration”, it should never incite fear, anxiety or feelings of inadequacy.

Grace #3: Invitation

This is the “antidote” to the “Deadly Sin of Invasion”. Nearly every form of marketing we see today is invasive. Our attention span is continually interrupted, whether it is through television/radio adverts, pop up messages, uninvited email adverts, cold-calling or billboards. As business owners and marketers, we need to bring back the “Grace of Invitation” into our communications.

This means that when visitors come into our “space” (our website, our office/shop), we treat them like respected guests, offering them hospitality and generosity. Conversely, when we come into our customers’ space (as when we send out emails), we must do so with courtesy and care, ensuring we never become the dreaded “houseguest from hell”.

Grace #4: Directness

This is the “antidote” to the “Deadly Sin of Distraction”. So much modern advertising depends upon Distraction to seize and maintain our attention. Nearly every advert you see will utilise random brand identity triggers and humour to get us to pay attention.

What is wrong with this is that people end up buying products simply because they remember the advert, and not necessarily because they have been given direct, clear information about the product or service. Directness is simple: we marketers need to get back to “telling it like it is” instead of hyping up our businesses.

The public need to be informed and empowered. The Grace of Directness allows that to happen.

Grace #5: Transparency

This is the “antidote” to the “Deadly Sin of Deception”. Deception in marketing is rife, but is sometimes extremely subtle. In the book, I give many examples of how language and imagery are often used in a deceptive way in marketing, where technically (and legally) the message is “true”, but the unconscious message we perceive is untrue.

Transparency literally means “to shine light through”. When we are Transparent in marketing and in life, we are not merely being honest, but we are also allowing the true intention behind our thoughts, words and deeds to be seen and heard clearly. When we walk in Transparency, both in business and in life, we are walking in the Essence of who we really are.

Grace #6: Abundance

This is the “antidote” to the “Deadly Sin of Scarcity”.

The chapter on Scarcity in the book is one of the biggest, because it’s simply such a massive topic. Scarcity marketing is all around us, and it appears in so many forms, from limited-time offers to the various kinds of “obsolescence” used to incite us to buy beyond our needs or means.

Abundance, on the other hand, is the fundamental belief that there is enough for all—when we are living in rhythm with the planet. It is our natural state of being. If we operate our business from the fundamental belief in lack or Scarcity, we will always bring Scarcity strategies into our marketing.

The irony is that Scarcity begets Scarcity.

In other words, if we operate from a Scarcity mentality, we are likely to create the very Scarcity we most fear because the end result will be overconsumption. Overconsumption is destroying both our economy and the ecological balance of our natural world. But if we operate from a fundamental belief in Abundance, we will not bring such fear and anxiety into our marketing, and overconsumption will be a thing of the past.

Grace #7: Collaboration

This is the “antidote” to the “Deadly Sin of Competition”. Many people have the false notion that competition is necessary to create healthy economies and stronger societies.

But this is largely a myth and has no foundation in Nature whatsoever. While I believe in “free enterprise”, this is not the same thing as Competition. In the book, I cite many studies that have proved how Competition diminishes creativity and innovation. When we conduct our businesses or our lives with a competitive mindset, we not only reduce our own performance, but we also reduce the support we receive from others.

On the other hand, Collaboration always results in something greater than the sum of its parts. Every single marketing campaign I have produced is based upon Collaboration. The permaculture of the world is actually one giant, interdependent Collaboration.

We’ve been brought up in a competitive world, but the more connected we become via technologies like social media, the more we see that Collaboration is the way we perform best.

*  *  *

I hope you enjoyed this overview of The 7 Graces of Marketing from author Lynn Serafinn. If you want to dive more deeply into this paradigm … do check out Lynn’s book The 7 Graces of Marketing on December 13th.

When you do, there are dozens of wonderful gifts for you, including the audio download of all 7 sessions from the telesummit, and many other goodies. Check out the gifts, and request a launch reminder so you don’t forget to pick up your copy (in paperback or Kindle) at: http://the7gracesofmarketing.com/book 

 

 

occupy wallstreet – the revolution is love

Caroline Casey occupy wallstreet   the revolution is loveI just watched the most lucid and incredible video about the ways that spirituality and love meet economics and the current Occupy Movement.

In a blog post I wrote on November 18th, I said,

At its heart, the occupy movement questions how the richest 1% of the world became so rich and whether the systems that fostered that are truly just. Was it just because of hard work, ingenuity and positive thinking? The occupy movement questions that. Is the time of a CEO worth so hundreds of times more than the time of a factory worker? The occupy movement questions that.

And this all reminded me of a workshop I went to in the summer of 2010. It was called ‘The Compassionate Trickster” workshop. And it was led by Caroline Casey.

I first saw Caroline Casey speak at the Bioneers conference a number of years ago. Instantly, she became my favourite thing. Who was this woman? I’d never seen anyone more spontaneously artful in her language – improvised craftsmanship.

But it’s only now that I’m beginning to understand what she means by the Trickster.

And why it matters so much.

We live in a day and age of so much hidden, obscene devastation highlighted most recently by the devastation in the gulf of the United States. And the oil gushing out was bad enough – but it was made far worse by the cover ups, the lack of media access, the obfuscation. And this is one of the roles of the Trickster – to illumine that which is hidden. The word ‘obscene’ is perfect for so many of the troubles going on today as it translates into ‘off stage’. So many things we will never heal unless we look at them. So much hidden from the eyes of the public.

The Trickster is that mythic part of all of us that comes alive when times are most dire. Unlike Han Solo’s ‘never tell me the odds’, the Trickster thrives on the impossible. The Trickster finds the way out of no way by seeing through the false oppositions created by the ‘reality police’. Even more so – the Trickster sees that these ‘team a’ vs. ‘team b’ dynamics as part of what has gotten us into this mess in the first place.

The Trickster doesn’t take sides, but is on the side of Life.

The Trickster is not interested in giving people easy labels of ‘you’re a redneck’ or ‘you’re a heartless CEO’. What use is there in putting people into boxes and prisons?

 

“Clever men place the world into cages,

but the wise woman

ducks under the moon

and throws keys to the rowdy prisoners.”

– Hafiz

 

The Trickster transcends dualities like Republican/Democrat, Conservative or Liberal. And, while provocative, the Trickster is not interested in creating opposition – but inviting everyone to play. Not polarizing but liberating. Nothing is demonized – everything and everyone can be called forth into the service of life. It doesn’t see the world through the lense of, ‘do i like this? do i approve of this?’ That’s all irrelevant. It only wants to know – ‘how can this be used for the greater good?’

Radical collaboration.

Everything welcome. Everything useful.

 

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

- African Proverb

 

And if it isn’t useful in its current form it can be thrown into Pluto’s Cauldron to be boiled back into what it wanted to be.

The Trickster knows that even the most toxic things on the Earth can be transformed into healing tonic. That every shadow has its light side. That impositions can be transformed into offerings, shame into remorse, constraining certainty into liberating mystery, punishment into restoration, celebrity culture into deep mythology, vengeance into accountability, triggered reaction into creative responses, unconscious rage into wrathful compassion, rape into ravishment, the addiction to purity into a deepening wholeness, seduction into magnetism and the conman into the Trickster.

The Trickster doesn’t just want you – it wants to fullest, most magnetic and charasmatic expression of you. It knows that there’s a right relationship or angle of approach between all things.

The Trickster knows that whatever we speak to in others we are animate. Whatever we speak to we invite to dance with us. Are we speaking to what is Tonic in others – or what is Toxic? Are we seeing and relating to the best in others? Or the worst?

There is no time or use for shaming, blaming or finger wagging. There’s no time for posturing – only the passionate and creative protection and upliftment of Life everywhere. There’s no time for the whining and complaining about how bad it is. There’s no time to be caught in instant reaction to the forces that destroy life – but rather the Trickster slows down to go fast and offers up infinitely creative responses because to walk around in reaction is to carry around a portable jail.

The Trickster is capable of seeing things from multiple lenses and holding multiple stories as true at the same moment – but then discerning which story to animate.

The Trickster is that force that wants to liberate ALL forces in the world for the uplifting and healing of Life.

Certainly the Trickster wants to see the abused and exploited protected and safe – but has no interested in punishing anyone. Because, while incarceration and punishment or ostracizing people might work for the moment – in the long term it does not. How many revolutions of hope have imposed far worse tyranny’s than were there to begin with?

“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” - Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

The Trickster knows that the only long term answer – the only sustainable thing is that everyone is welcomed and everything finds its proper place. Like Sheherizad in 1001 Arabian nights knows – it’s not just enough to get rid of the tyrants (even the ones who have murdered their own hearts) – but to compost Tyranny itself. To change the hearts of the Tyrants. A radical sense of hospitality, equality and democracy is the only true answer to Tyranny.

The Trickster wants to see everyone liberated.

Let’s all get free.

Watch the video here.

my thoughts on occupy wallstreet (+ inspiring video)

occupy my thoughts on occupy wallstreet (+ inspiring video)Not all of us are activists.

Not all of us will be called to the front lines of social change, or to camp out for weeks, to lock down, sit in and march.

Some of us are working for healing the wounds that keep perpetuating the sick system we have.

Some of us are working to build alternatives to the failing ones that face us.

But some good souls, increasing in number, are called to move into action and resistance; to slow down the juggernaut of destruction, to hold back the tides of exploitation that threaten our planet and all of its creatures.

Enter: Occupy Wall Street.

Says their website . . .

308983 288370641203537 262356017138333 891886 280602482 n my thoughts on occupy wallstreet (+ inspiring video)Occupy Wall Street is a people-powered movement that began on September 17, 2011 in Liberty Square in Manhattan’s Financial District, and has spread to over 100 cities in the United States and actions in over 1,500 cities globally. #ows is fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations. The movement is inspired by popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and aims to expose how the richest 1% of people are writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our future.

300454 10150818471480195 516700194 21404667 1763923713 n my thoughts on occupy wallstreet (+ inspiring video)It’s easy to mock this type of change. To say it’s disorganized, negative, pointless and impatient. All things which have been said about the women’s rights movement, the civil rights movement etc. Movements that were vital for the kind of society we have today. Movements that did so much to make our societies more just and sane. I say god bless everyone who’s willing to take action and put their bodies on the line for a more whole and loving world.

We can’t talk about marketing without talking about the marketplace. And we can’t talk about the marketplace without looking at the larger systems and structures behind it. And we can’t look at those long without begin to see deep, pervasive and troubling things with the way things are currently being done. We can’t talk about capital without exploring capitalism. Notions of using the ‘secret‘ manifesting money are fine but shouldn’t we also consider the ‘systems’ that are generating that money?

Take Gold for example.

It seems like everyone is investing in gold.

We are, in fact, seeing a planetary gold rush. And this is being touted by many as smart and wise investment. And I don’t doubt that, for the current system, it is. But shouldn’t we question the current system? I just got these words from a friend of mine in Calgary. She’d heard a fellow named Gates share them at an Occupy Calgary rally . . .

On CBC Radio the other day I heard a report about gold mines in South Africa. In parts of South Africa there are very very large gold mines owned by multinational corporations. The South African people work in these mines under terrible conditions, and can barely survive. This is the only option for survival for these people. Those who work in the mines are considered lucky, the rest die in poverty.

There are 750,000 cases of tuberculosis reported each year in this region. In South Africa, tuberculosis is a deadly disease. The people contract it from inhaling tiny particles of silicate in the mines, which they are not protected from. Forget HIV/AIDS, forget hunger, forget the other thousand reasons that African People die from by the thousands, millions year after year, decade after decade.

This one number alone is staggering.

This is all happening at a time when gold is in highest demand, it’s selling for more than it ever has before, a time where western currencies are being sold off in return for gold and other real assets. People are buying gold to protect their wealth which is threatened by the currencies of many nations losing value at something more than historical norms.

I argue that tremendous wealth of people in the west is directly and inextricably linked to tremendous poverty of people in other places, I contend that expendable wealth invested in gold is directly linked to this giant health and humanitarian crisis in South Africa.

And yet, we’re told to invest in gold. To stock up on it. But we are not told about the consequences. And none of the above even begins to scratch the impact that this kind of dirty gold has on the world and its peoples.

I’m with Joanna Macey when she says we need to honour all three levels of change: holding back the destruction, creating alternatives and shifting consciousness. That none of those levels have a monopoly of the ‘real’ work and they all need to work together more. Recently, I’ve seen a number of comments criticizing the Occupy movement for creating an ‘us vs. them’ mentality and duality and saying that what we really need to do is just occupy our hearts. I get it. We need to do that too. But, the notion that meditating is the only answer and that everything else is wrong (aside from itself being a dualistic notion) is precisely what Joanna Macey is pointing towards. We need to weave all efforts for change together.

And we deeply need those who will stand up to injustice – who will speak truth and be powerful.

At the heart of Occupy Movement is the notion that J.R.R. Tolkien was right. The core thesis of Tolkien’s Lord of the Ring series was that the centralization of power was the problem. That the question was not ‘could we find someone nicer to rule Mordor?’ but that the ring and Mordor had to be destroyed. Again and again, a pattern establishes itself around the world – the happiest and healthiest cultures in the world are cultures where sharing and generosity are rewarded. The most violent and destructive cultures are those where wealth is hoarded and greed is rewarded.

There are two ways to live: ‘how can i get what i want?’ and ‘how can we all get our needs met?’ The former makes us miserable, the latter makes us happy.

This quote from Judy Wicks says it all. She’s the founder and proprietress of the White Dog Cafe in Philadelphia. She co-founded the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), a network of business groups in North America that create living economies in their regions.

“The Local Living Economies Movement is about: Maximizing relationships, not maximizing profits, Broad-based ownership and democracy, not concentrated wealth and power, Sharing, not hoarding, Life serving, not self-serving, Partnership, not domination, Cooperation based, not competition based, Win-win exchange, not win-loose exploitation, Creativity, not conformity, A living return, not the highest return, A living wage, not the minimum wage, A fair price, not the lowest price, “Being more, not having more”, Interconnectedness, not separation, Inclusion, not exclusiveness, Community and collective joy, not isolation and unhapppiness, Cultural diversity, not monoculture, Bio-diversity, not mono-crops, Family farms, not factory farms, Slow food, not fast food, Our bucks, not Starbucks, Our mart, not Wal-Mart, a Love of life, not love of money.”

305862 10150845582395195 516700194 21609401 894964324 n my thoughts on occupy wallstreet (+ inspiring video)At its heart, the occupy movement questions how the richest 1% of the world became so rich and whether the systems that fostered that are truly just. Was it just because of hard work, ingenuity and positive thinking? The occupy movement questions that. Is the time of a CEO worth so hundreds of times more than the time of a factory worker? The occupy movement questions that.

And those questions are important.

When thinking about why the top 1% are rich remember this: If success relied solely on hard work and ingenuity, most women in Africa would be millionaires, most migrant farm workers could have retired by age thirty and most chinese factory workers would be reading this blog from their 90 foot yacht off the small island they’d bought in Croatia.

The wealthiest man in the United States at the founding of the country? None other than George Washington (who was responsible for the slaughter and scattering of many indigenous communities). How much of the wealth of the wealthiest families in the United States had its roots in free access to stolen land and slave labour? More than you’d think. Much more than you’d care to want to believe.

I would submit that much of the personal growth and conscious wealth creation scene has become simply another expression of the Suicide Economy that is destroying so much that we hold dear. That elements of it have become a wolf in sheep’s clothing and a spiritual rationalization for greed and material acquisition. That is has become another rational to avoid living within the beauty of our limits.

And I think we should question that.

We don’t need to demonize people in order to name what we see happening and work to stop it.

This isn’t about punishing, it’s about stopping abuse but ultimately seeing those who are doing harm healed as well.

As we work to stop injustice my wishes are also to see . . .

. . . the scientists who create so many poisonous drugs, chemicals and weapons liberated from the constraints of chasing funding, adhering to a materialistic worldview and Scientific dogma so that they might turn their brilliance into the creation of ingenious solutions that heal the world and inspire our minds.

. . . the rich freed from the Golden Cage of wealth and the fear it creates, freed from the Hungry Ghosts who plague them with their endless hunger for ‘more’ and have their hearts filled with honey so that they can send hundreds of gold laden boats out to sea in the direction of the highest aspirations of humanity.

. . . the politicians freed from the need to be re-elected, approved of and the backroom deals with the devil they feel they must do so that we can see the rebirth of true Statesmanship turned towards the reweaving of the soul of our communities.

. . . men liberated from the shackles of patriarchy so that the genuine masculine can return, white people unlocked from the lies of racism so that their roots may go deep into the soil of their indigenous hearts,

. . . the masses liberated from their ignorance and the veil of lies that has been cast over them so that they can look up and see the sky clearly again.

. . . the police officers freed of the need to protect the property of the elite and able to become members of the community – a genuine force to serve and protect and restore wholeness in our communities rather than punish and exclude minor offenders. May the police be liberated to bring the beautiful strength and discipline they carry to hold accountable those who do the most harm to our communities rather than trying to punish those working to protect our communities. May they know so much love and support in their lives and feel such pride in and love of their role as community protectors that they would never tolerate abuses of power, brutality police violence against peaceful protestors or racism within their own ranks. May the day soon come where we those who work for justice can count on police protection rather than needing protection from the police.

321234 10150845689525195 516700194 21610090 1242269300 n my thoughts on occupy wallstreet (+ inspiring video)May people be woken up to deep and immediate empathic experience of their impact on others, may we all know the true stories of where our food comes from, may the worst tyrant meet a woman who will change his heart, and may we all fall in love with a woman who will change our hearts – and may that woman be the Earth.

Like all movements, it struggles, at times, to get its message heard by the media – to clarify what it’s about. And I’ve never seen a better and more beautiful rendering of the heart of the message than my dear friend Drew Dellinger‘s video below. Drew is an extraordinary poet and spoken word artist whose work seeks to bridge the worlds of social justice and environmental sustainability.

 

 

If you’re moved – consider joining me in donating to the movement today.

the roots of all business

bread the roots of all businessA quote from The Necessary Revolution (shared with me by my colleague Julia) struck as right on theme for this theme of figuring out the deeper cause our business is about. It invites us to step back and consider the underlying cause of business itself:
“…the new generation of mission-based businesses builds on some very old ideas, ones that predate the Industrial Age. They seek, as an essential part of their purpose, to contribute to the health and well-being of living systems.  They reject the notion that the sole purpose of business is to make a profit and they regard the quality of relationships between members, suppliers, and customers as the true indicator of success.  In so doing, they are returning business to its origins.  The oldest Swedish word for business is narings liv, “nourishment for life.”  In ancient Chinese the concept is expressed by two symbols that translate as “life meaning.”   And the root of the English word company derives from the Latin com panis, “the sharing of bread”- the same root as that for the word companion.”  

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Marketing, Framing and the Environment

Let’s talk about marketing from another angle: the environment.

We’ve got a problem. And the problem is that no one wants to admit there’s a problem.

To make it worse: there are many who actively don’t want us to see that there’s a problem. And if you try to speak up to say that there is, indeed, a problem – they will call you unpatriotic, negative, a whiner and pessimistic.

They will frame your concerns and critiques as pathetic and cowardly. As, against progress.

Case in point, a few months ago Greenpeace campaigner and old friend Mike Hudema was on the air on Alberta Prime Time with columnist (and apparent oil industry apologist) Ezra Levant.

Ezra came out fighting. And framing.

He argued that Alberta’s oil was the most ethical oil in the world. And, to be fair, made some excellent points.

To quote the Globe and Mail: “On four fundamental criteria – the environment, peace and conflict, economic justice and treatment of minorities, the industry operating in Canada is heads above other crude producers like Saudi Arabia, Libya, Nigeria and Venezuela, Mr. Levant argues.”

So, let’s give him this. He’s likely right.

But we need to step back a bit and look at this frame of comparison.

Almost anyone looks good standing next to Hitler.

It’s the easy way out to say, ‘We’re not as bad as ______.’ There’s always someone worse than us. Always.

But what if we started comparing things to where we want them to be?

 

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