Archive for November, 2009

What Step Do You Wish to Take?

Photo by: Julie
Today, I discovered Jamie Ridler’s Wishcasting blog. It’s a simple premise: a circle of people tend to each other’s wishes in response to a weekly prompt. This week, the prompt is, What Step Do You Wish to Take?

As soon as I chose the photograph for this post (which took about 5 seconds), I had my answer: I want to step into the unknown. This gorgeous piece of driftwood on a remote beach on the island of Vieques looks a bit like an old sea anchor. It’s lodged in the sand, which continuously changes around it. Sometimes the wood is buried up to its neck by the sand; on this day, most of it was revealed.

Gazing from the seemingly solid (but really shifting) beach out to the open ocean, I see an invitation to step from familiarity into possibility. From that old, safe anchor that no longer serves me to the life and work that are calling to me. Sometimes this feels like my Higher (big-S) Self egging me on to places I’ve never been and that my (small-s) self doesn’t want any part of. My Higher Self is a bit of a taskmaster! She knows I am not only capable of stepping up, I must to do so in order to fulfill my purpose and live a truly meaningful life.

The image of water and the question, “What step do you wish to take?” also remind me of the great surfing documentary, “Step Into Liquid,” which is at least partly about the thrill of stepping into the unknown. Surfers are some of the most spiritual people on the planet. They have an almost mystical way of relating to the awesome power of nature: humble, direct, receptive, highly intuitive, graceful, and incredibly courageous.

To my mind, these words also describe a life well-lived. As I step into the unknown, I know I will need plenty of support and encouragement!

You’ll Understand When You’re Older

Photo by: Julie

This phrase was ringing in my ears yesterday morning. As the youngest of four, I heard it a lot growing up. I usually received it as an indication that I was lacking something, just not quick or experienced enough to catch on to what the big kids or the grownups were talking about.

I’m feeling that way lately. Confused, unsure. Certainly, we are dwelling in a time of great uncertainty. Joanna Macy‘s great keynote at Bioneers 2009 was all about this. Her talk, which, alas, is NOT up on YouTube, was titled, “The Hidden Promise of Our Dark Age: Discovering Our Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty in the Midst of Crisis.” Nobody does dark-and-light better than Joanna!

She spoke very lucidly about the three intertwining stories we are living. The first is “business-as-usual” — the industrial growth society. The second is the story of the great unravelling of living systems on this planet. The third is the Great Turning, from the industrial growth society to a healthy, living, balanced planet, a life-sustaining society.

There are no guarantees here. It strikes me that, in order to choose the third, societies all around the world (particularly our own) will have to grow up, to step out into the unknown, to be courageous and act in faith. In order to stand up to the power structures of the First Story, to take another path from “how it’s always been done” (which is a lie, anyway).

As Joanna puts it, we have managed to get ourselves born into this incredible time! It’s nothing short of a major revolution, along the lines of the agricultural and the industrial revolutions that propelled our species forward in great leaps. This is happening; it’s not theoretical. It is out there in our heart-minds (Joanna’s words, so apt). We can absolutely choose to join our voices with those of indigenous peoples who have always known of our connection to the web of life, our oneness with All.

At the same time, this is not a given. We have no guarantees that the Second Story won’t continue to play out as a result of our clinging to the First Story. That’s where the uncertainty comes in. We are VERY uncomfortable with uncertainty, and we try to avoid or ignore it at all cost.

Macy encourages us to see the gifts in this uncertainty, to get the gold from the dross as an alchemist would. Rather than elaborate on her list, I invite you to come up with your own. It’s rich, let me tell you! I will close with a poem that she read, neatly summing up these gifts. It’s Rilke’s last Sonnet to Orpheus (second section):

Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent Earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

Want to Move from Me to We?

Photo by: Julie

Taking a break today and doing a little browsing for cool sites I didn’t know about. Here’s one: Moving From Me to We. Their tagline is “Succeed and savor life with others.” I found plenty that resonates with posts I’ve written here before. From their “About” page:

“For most of our lives we’ve been advised to lead and manage others. We’ve been taught to resolve conflict, influence, negotiate and otherwise attempt to get what we want from people.Through self-improvement, we’ve told we’ll become happier, smarter and more attractive, successful and self-aware. Right?

“But what about the concept of us? More people would rather enjoy the camaraderie of smart collaboration than be lead, persuaded or managed.”

This way of relating to each other is different from how most of us have been taught. Yet it is absolutely something that can be learned, so what are the successful methods? This site invites us to explore this question and others.

The site’s creator, Kare Anderson, was the Obama campaign team collaboration coach. Diagnosed as “phobically shy” as a child she went on to become an Emmy-winning former NBC commentator and a journalist forThe Wall Street Journal in Europe and the U.S.

“Credo for Moving From Me to We

“We don’t have to go it alone anymore. Together we can:

“Practice ways to accomplish more with each other.
Learn from unlikely allies on shared projects.
Be a part of something larger than ourselves.
Grow our work, friendship circle and lives.
Use our best talents more often.
Create a ‘first ever.’
Enlarge our worlds.
Get more done.

Pretty great words to live by, eh? Reminds me of that adage, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Is Your Diet Making You and the Planet Sick?

A question I hear a lot from my clients is, what else can I be doing to go green? In addition to helping them to organize what they are already doing in a more systematic way, I always have suggestions of how to take it further. (For a first-hand experience of organizing your thoughts in a systematic way, tune into my special FR*EE call this Thursday, 11/12 at 4:00 p.m. EST, “How to Overcome Green Overload in Your Small Business: 5 Steps for Cutting Through the Clutter.” Follow this link for more info, and to register.)

So. . . .on the topic of taking green a little further. . . .You’re probably aware of studies that have been done on the links between eating animal protein and human health. But have you heard that commercial meat production is a major contributor to climate change? The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the global meat industry generates 18% of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide . . . far more than transportation.

Why not try going meatless one day a week? Since everything is interconnected, you’ll find that the benefits ripple through several other areas, including your health and your wallet. Read more at Meatless Monday, a great resource from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Get Your Business in the Flow

photo by: Julie
On a recent trip, I read a fascinating article in the October 2009, “Environmental Building News,” called “Building for People: Integrating Social Justice Into Green Design.” Being the mindset-tool junkie that I am, I was particularly drawn to the discussion of a tool called LENSES (Living Environments in Natural, Social, and Economic Systems), being developed by Dr. Josie Plaut at the Institute for the Built Environment at Colorado State University.

LENSES looks to be an excellent tool for cultivating awareness of the interconnectedness of elements, from big-picture foundational principles, to human needs and impacts, to environmental flows. As I read, I kept seeing the applicability not only to building projects, but to any human enterprise, including your business.

Plaut sees the potential for the tool to change the way we think. We tend to look at enterprises, whether buildings or businesses, as static and self-contained. Yet, they are actually hubs for flows of natural resources, people, and ideas. Plaut’s words: “What makes a place living is not the notion that it has a net-zero impact but rather its relationship to others and the flows through the system.”

It gets even better. Can you imagine your business as not only symbiotic with natural systems but as a filter for all that flows through it? “What if things are better coming out that they are going in?” Plaut asks. This simple question can dramatically change the way you think about your business, the opportunities you see, and the decisions you make.

Want to learn more about how to transform your business to be good for the earth? My FR.EE 75-minute audioseminar, “How to Overcome Green Overload in Your Small Business: 5 Steps for Cutting Through the Clutter,” explains clearly and simply how to start greening your business right away!

This is your chance to learn all about:

• The essential questions you MUST ask yourself before you go green
• The astonishing power of a green mindset
• The 4 must-haves of creating a sustainable green vision for your company
• My ground-breaking 5-step model for creating a green business

AND I’ll work with you to create your first green business plan right on the call!

Join me Thursday, November 12 at 4 PM Eastern (that’s 3 PM Central, 2 PM Mountain, 1 PM Pacific), and you’ll be on your way to an eco-inspired business. Follow this link to register.

Thinking is Acting

photo by Julie
Have you signed up for “”How to Overcome Green Overload” yet? During a FR*EE teleclass on Nov. 12, I’m going to reveal the power of a green mindset. Not to be missed! (More details at the end of this post.)

I had to chuckle when I came across this sign the other day. Such a relief! I am by nature a thinker, and sometimes succumb to an inner battle between the thinker and the doer. Am I a dreamer only? Or someone who takes action as well? Is it possible to find an ideal balance? There’s that old adage: Vision without action is a daydream, but action without vision is a nightmare.

Lately, I’ve been studying with mentors who emphasize that it’s not WHAT we think, but HOW we think. This appeals to me very much, even while it seems impossibly daunting. That same distinction can be applied to action as well, can’t it? It’s not WHAT we do, but HOW we do it.

All this boils down to a fundamental care taken in all that we do. What is that care? It’s compassion, respect, love, and truth. No matter what challenges face me, whether they be the most practical concerns about my business’s profitability, where my next client is coming from, or how to communicate my message most effectively, I can always tap into an expansive sense of possibility by remembering why I am doing all this in the first place. If I am not acting out of compassion, respect, love and truth – for myself, my clients, and the earth – my work will not be as meaningful and rewarding as it can be.

Today, ask yourself, How can I embrace thinking as a form of action with a problem that’s currently taunting me? Don’t be surprised if it leads you to wonder afresh, why do I do what I do?

I’d love for you to join me on my upcoming FR*EE teleclass, “How to Overcome Green Overload in Your Small Business: 5 Steps for Cutting Through the Clutter.” This call is on Thursday, Nov. 12, at 4:00 p.m. EST. This is your chance to learn all about:

• The essential questions you MUST ask yourself before you go green
• The 4 must-haves of creating a sustainable green vision for your company
• My ground-breaking 5-step model for creating a green business

AND I’ll work with you to create your first green business plan right on the call! Register now.

Living Climate Change

This new website is certainly one to watch. The introductory video explains what they are up to using wonderful graphics and an upbeat, empowering message. The design firm IDEO is behind this — a true testament to the power of clear, well-illustrated information.

Our Invitation To You from IDEO on Vimeo .

And, this video is a must-see! Think Tony Robbins crossed with your accountant. We need more people like Drew Jones, fanning out across the globe to deliver this message. Be sure to watch to the end. That newspaper cover in the year 2069 is priceless – never underestimate the power of the imagination.


Now, you’re probably jazzed about climate action and wondering what you can do to truly get on this train. Good news! I have an answer for you. Come to the upcoming FR*EE call, “How to Overcome Green Overload in Your Small Business: 5 Steps for Cutting Through the Clutter.” On this call, I will show you how to take your business from zero to green with clarity and confidence. Find out more and register here.