Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Failed Revolution

"When someone shows you who they are believe them, the first time" - Maya Angelou

Did we do this with Donald Trump?  At first I thought we had not. But now Im starting to wonder.   Its seems that most of the people who voted for Trump might know and appreciate what they are getting. And I mean the misogyny, racism, brashness, disrespect; an overall opposite of how we would like our children to be.

But will that work for them?  It worked for them on election night.  Because it felt good.

Going forward I don't think its going to feel great.

First of all Trump is a person who likes power. The kind of power that is unquestioned.  He is going to be surprised and frustrated by how little of it he will have as President.  He is used to all those working for him to act without question on his demand.  The President does not have that kind of power.

Secondly, Trump loves attention.  His constituents gave him a lot of it, while those who opposed him gave him none, mostly because they didn't think he had a chance.  Now those who opposed him are giving him a lot of attention and this makes him feel good.  During the election campaign he had to wander for from Trump Tower to find attention. In the Whitehouse they will be everywhere.  From Paul Ryan to Nancy Pelosi. Whether they agree with him or not they now are considering him and this will be the way to his heart.

Trump will forget his constituents.  They will be left high and dry by the trust fund boy they hoped will crush the elite.  He is that elite.  Its all he knows.

We are not ready for a second American Revolution. And certainly not one being lead by a poser.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Where the White Women at?

Funny line from Blazing saddles, not so funny realization by the Clinton campaign, and all those who voted against Trump. I say against Trump because it doesn't seem like many voted with Clinton which is probably one of a few reasons she lost.

But back to the white women, or all women for that matter.  Voting for a self proclaimed misogynist against a woman does not seem like a smart move if you are at all serious about gender rights...no matter what the circumstances. Not even pro-life or a bully for a husband, he's not allowed to be with when you vote...and then lie!!!

53% of white women voted for Trump, 23% of Hispanics did the same.

Progress doesn't happen overnight but it doesn't happen at all unless a step in the right direction is taken.

I think that the gender discrimination in this country is far worse then that of race, it's just weaved into the fabric of our consciousness so is much harder to discern. But yet those being discriminated against have immense power since they represent 50% of the population.

As Seth Godin says..."The awesome power of the well organized crowd"

Next time this opportunity presents itself the women better have a little get together and be a little clearer on what is most important.

I think we all would agree that a giant step forward in gender equality will bring a lot of other equality along with it!!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

There you have it!

President Trump.

Trump won because those who voted for him were not unified.

Clinton's supporters were not unified for her, they were unified against Trump and that was not enough.  How many times did we hear people who voted for Hilary be sure to express their distaste for her as a candidate,  because of corruption, emails, etc etc.

Some people who voted for Trump did the same, but not his core.  His core wanted Trump in the Whitehouse, and that caught on.

Clinton's own supporters expressed doubt, and that caught on.  Our lack of unity behind Clinton ended in her defeat.  And now we are devastated, because Trump will be President.

But now we are unified.  Unified in our disappointment, horror, shock.   This is the unity we needed yesterday, but we have it today and now we will get somewhere...this is the unity that is needed for transformation.

Onward!!


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Don't Forget!

Trump has never done anything good.  At least I can't seem to find anything.  Everything he has done is an attempt at self service.  Perhaps his family, but by observing the family dynamic that we are privy to, everything seems to be build around Trump.   
Trump regales us with expert use of words like "Very" and "Big" and "A lot" but beyond that there is no depth.  Since he cannot really articulate his policies, I turned to his website which describes his policies well.  I stopped reading after the theme was that his policies ready feel un-executeable.   More-so than Bernie's pipe dreams.  Trump dreams big which is admirable but his intention is questionable and his resulting failures are at the expense of others not.  His bid dreams that did come to fruition rely heavily on debt, tax creativity and the bankruptcy law, and also at the expense of others money and dreams.
“Anyone who’s ever had their kitchen done over,” he said, “knows that it never gets done as soon as you wish it would.” 
Those are Reagan's words after the 4th deadly attack on American installations in Beirut.  
Clinton may have straddled the law in her pursuit of executing policy.  But at least she has gotten stuff done.  Even Trump called her relentless.  And even if you have to believe that her intention is self serving you cannot deny that she has done good in the process.  
If I were an NRA member I would cringe at the thought of Trump in the Whitehouse.  He wouldn't know a gun if it was wedged in his belt.  Neither would Clinton, but again at least she'll get something done.  A good friend of mine has an arsenal in his garage.  I on the other hand don't.  But we both have the same option about gun control.  People who don't know how to handle a gun and people who are a threat to the country's security should not own guns.  If we all closed our eyes and listened to the words we would hear the same opinion across the aisle. Question is who will do something about it?
We must not forget, or we will be sorely disappointed. Don't forget that in 1960 people thought that Kennedy and Nixon were both bad choices for president.  Don't forget how you felt about George Bush.  Don't forget about everything we've learned about how Trump has conducted himself in business and socially.  Don't forget that Hilary has done a lot of good for this country.
Would you rather have Trump or Clinton taking your kid on a field trip?


Friday, August 5, 2016

The Next Adventure


Six years ago we cycled from Cairo to Cape Town in the 2010 Tour d'Afrique.  A sometimes long forgotten experience until this past week I found a copy of "The Slow Way Down", a book written by fellow cyclist Gerald Coniel.  I started flipping through and dropped into nostalgic rabbit hole.

Reliving the journey through photographic moments and literate descriptions made me feel like I was there.  If truth be told, I felt a waft of sadness that this experience was gone, like loosing a loved one. Sad that I didn't spend more time appreciating all of this moments that are clearly part of my soul.

Haggling a with perfume vendor in Cairo (don't ask), time trialing up the Blue Nile Gorge, Gerald falling into a pile of his own shit, a warm bottle of coke, taking a day end bath under a water pump, sitting around with fellow riders after a long day, bush camp, and I feel myself getting sucked right back into the infinite list of memories...I could almost write a book! Maybe I could live in those memories....

But Im left with a question that my friend Gauro asked me last week.  "What is your next adventure"?

There have been adventures since the Tour d'Afrique, but the question stands and in contemplation I must first define this word "Adventure"!


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Stoma Chronicles

I write this from somewhere over the Atlantic.  This story is about my airport experience prior to boarding.

A brief background is that I have a colostomy after having my rectum removed to get rid of cancer. A colostomy is essentially a hole(stoma) in the abdomen as an outlet for the large intestine.  There is no longer a sphincter muscle so elimination happens freely.  Rather than wear the more traditional bag, I choose to use a procedure known as irrigation, which means I give myself a colonic each day.  I need an hour in a bathroom, two liters of warm water, and some basic equipment which is a sleeve type contraption for elimination and what looks like a drip you might see attached to someone in a hospital bed, which has a cone at the end of it. In order for this process to work one must do it at roughly the same time each day.  Consistency and routine is critical.  I choose to do it as soon as I wake up.

Today, the flight was early so I decided it was time to up my game and irrigate in an airport bathroom...far away from the safety of a hotel or my home which is all I have know for the year that I've been doing it.

So I arrived with plenty of time, checked a bag and went to a bathroom “this side of security”.  The warm water was already in a flask which I had done at home. I decanted the precious water into the “drip”. And then started to prepare the rest of process in this stall with my wheeled suitcase opened up on the floor.  The hook on the door had been ripped off, not optimal, but not terrible I'll just hold the bag of water over my head while I hold the cone in the hole in my belly.  Then I looked down and saw the bottom of the suitcase full of water!

“Just breathe” I remember saying to myself. 

At this point I wasn't sure where the water is from.  I'm wondering if the flask had leaked. Couldn't have.  And then I saw..  The drip contraption has a valve which I left on.  As I breathed and took stock( all within seconds), the evaluation was: bag with a sump of water, clothes wet, laptop wet, but the big disaster, is the precious water...gone. The tap in the men's room was Lukewarm to cold which I had tested before. (It's not a great idea to flush cold water into the body, I mean it's 98 degrees in there) Ok, pull out all the clothes, pour out the water, pack up and put all the irrigation equipment back in the bag.  Plan B...which was to be determined as I went through security.

Right to Starbucks.  “A small flat white, and a Venti hot water please”. $4.50….must not be charging me for the water I thought.  So socially considerate, I must remember that in my analysis for the social and environmental fund I manage.  Then she grabs a small cup, so I gently reminded her it was a Venti as I pointed to the big fellow.  “Sorry” she said, “We are only allowed to give hot water in small cups, and there are cameras watching for inventory.” I offered to pay for the precious water. “Paying is not an option, there is not a button”, she said pointing to the register.  I finally used my strong negotiating skills to get a Grande, or she saw the desperation in my eyes. Better than a stick in one of those eyes I suppose.

Off to a new bathroom, with stronger resolve, an amended plan, but a lot less time. And just for the record stress slows down the digestion system (in my very humble opinion, it's because the result tensing slows down peristalsis). As I sat there and laughed at the absurdity of life, I texted the story to my sister who seems to be quite interested in the stoma chronicles. I walked out of the bathroom just as the final boarding call sounded and glided seamlessly into my seat.  Now it's time to inhale the abundance of good movies that British Airways has to offer.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Use Yoga to fix Yoga

Im a Power Yogi.  Meaning that I gravitate to all those practices that fall in the category of Power Yoga - Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and all its offshoots and teacher choices.  I took my first class over 10 years ago and it was so hard I was terrified to go back again but deep down I knew I wanted to.  Then one day practicing yoga changed from "looking forward to the end of class" to "looking forward to the beginning of class", which happened not long after I had committed to take a class every day.

Then I took it to the next level, practicing 2 and 3 times a day sometimes.  One time I remember going to 5 classes in a day. Teacher Training. Workshops.  Books. But this writing is not about obsession.  Its about injury.

Even before the obsession kicked in, I started to get injured.  First shoulder, then hamstring, then back.  Increasing the frequency of Power Yoga classes didn't help.

So I started going to a new age chiropractor.  New age because before or instead of cracking and yanking he used massage and needles.  His handy work didn't help my injuries but a story he told me did.  He told me about all the yoga instructors that came to him and in spite of their injuries did not stop doing poses that aggravated them.  This stuck with me enough to peel back my yoga to once a day which was not enough. But the story lingered.

And then I read about how Ganga White hurt himself practicing, and he couldn't practice.  Meaning he couldn't practice in the way he was used to. And then one of his students suggested that he use yoga to fix himself. This was an AHA moment for him.  And for me.

Yoga is meant to be a healing transformative practice.  So I thought, why am I going to physical therapists chiro's and el, so that I can do yoga. Rather I must listen closely to what the practice I love is telling me.

In my mind Power Yoga was yoga and I needed to open my eyes and recognize yoga's core which manifested itself in so many other versions of the practice - Iyengar, Viniyoga, Kundalini, etc.  So many different perspectives on the use of Hatha poses and Kriya's.

So down the rabbit hole I went, and today I am injury free.  And I am still a Power Yogi...just a bit more open minded and less obsessive.  My intellect and ego has learned to treat transitions as a pose and the same duo knows which poses not to do on any given day. They can spot the pose that is not right for me from a mile away.

Is funny how injuries were teaching me yoga's most basic lesson - it does not matter what I look like in a pose, what matters is what my awareness looks like.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Last night...

I heard a women outside the apartment start screaming "Let go", "Let go"....desperately.

I ran over to the window, and she is yanking on her dogs leash, which has a massive rat in its mouth. At first I thought it was a squirrel. It was dark. But its size loomed. The dog was shaking it and the lady continued to scream at the top of her lungs and yank at the leash.

I was thinking that a rat ran across the side walk as I've seen them do and the opportunistic, pit bullish dog wheeled around and grabbed it. Best day of its life, until she started yanking on the leash. But it didn't let go.

I thought to go out and help, but help who was what I wondered so I watched. Then it started to bleed
which I know because she said "ah,
There is blood everywhere". Still the dog held on. 

The rat was so big that it was dragging on the ground as the dog shook it while the taught leash held its head high. 

The rat was clearly dead now. The dog had served his instincts well.

Finally the women's shock must have subsided because she stopped yelling and muttered to the dog, "you are such a bastard"

And I went back to the couch.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Put your money where your mouth is!

Tis the season to voice what we stand for...election season. How we believe the world should be. From dinner party arguments to the polls we stand by candidates or against others on the foundation of what we believe is right. From the basics of integrity to the the specifics of economics, from Roe vs Wade to healthcare - we take a stand and speak, write and vote accordingly.
The question we must ask ourselves is do we act accordingly?
There is no clearer way to examine or follow our actions then by paying attention to how we earn, spend and invest our money. I remember my aha moment of my own cognitive dissonance a few years ago when news came out about Apple's use of production lines that were less then optimal in the human rights department. I remember being disappointed and angry at Apple but I also noticed that I was passionately expressing my disappointment using an iPhone, a Macbook and an iPad. Which may have been ok, except I went on the buy more Apple stuff. Why...because I liked Apple stuff.
We have this opportunity of taking powerful action through the wheels of commerce. This action may seem subtle, but its not. We live in a world of stuff and we are not going to give it up. We like our lattes, our smart phones, our cars, our exotic food, our vacations. And if we look close enough we can see the dotted line between the things we like and the values and principles we believe in.
I believe that corporations are necessary because when I look around and notice all those things things in my/our life that seem integral to our success, creativity, well-being and fulfillment, I see the wheels of commerce. Yes, I also believe that corporations have tended to take the less then social and environmental road while making these wheels turn, however corporate strategy has evolved and there is plenty of evidence to show social and environmental mission(as opposed to obligation) within the corporate community.
We can effect change by standing behind the companies who have these missions by buying their products and investing our money and our careers with them. This togetherness will lead toward a powerful sea change, with downstream influence on the issues we toss back and forth across the political aisle.
Underlying our the decisions that drive the flow of our money is "not having enough", our most primal survival instinct lurks. So it’s good know that there is plenty of evidence these days showing that those companies who are faced with a decision between doing good or realizing profit, those who choose good are reporting that they end up making more. This reality which is expressed much more eloquently by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard has been noticed and adopted more and more by those in the C-suite. Sustainability is a panacea. It means preserving the environment as much as it means producing a profit again and again over a long period of time. Not to be confused to hauling in a short term chunk of cash with no succession plan.
So the good news is if we invest in and work with those socially and environmentally mission driven business’s, we will effect change, feel fulfilled and enjoy the fruits.
Express yourself!!

P.S. I write this from a Macbook and I manage a fund that invests in companies that have social and environmental missions. It invests in Apple. Since that aforementioned cognitive dissonance, my research has shown that Apple has realized the error of their ways and acted accordingly.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Bob and Donald

Trump is so much fun to talk about isn't he?! Maybe that's why he's doing so well. For the life of me I can't seem to find anyone who likes him, so it's really mysterious why he gets so many votes...although I recently started to hear comments like  "Well, I suppose I'm going to have to vote for "Trump".

So what about Bob. Bob (don't call me coach ) was my college squash coach. He also coached Donald for the first two years of Donald's college career at Fordham. 

According to a recent article in the Daily News - "Members of the squash team were in awe of Trump's extravagance when he took out his golf clubs and started carelessly hitting balls into the river on one of their trips..."

"... and while at Fordham from 1964-66 Trump propagated the same misplaced emphasis on winning he has during his presidential campaign. Winning squash matches. Winning over women."

During my Fordham career almost 30 years later, the squash program depended heavily on donations from alumni, and so Bob founded the Hopkins fund named after a Jesuit who had been fiercely dedicated to Fordham racquet sports.  Back then Trump was a famous or infamous - I can't remember - real estate tycoon, and yet according to Bob...he never gave a penny to the Hopikins Fund. Bob's annual (or whenever the questions came up) declaration of this fact was sharp and flowery! 

Further stories go that right when Trump was listing his company on the New York Stock exchange under the ticker DJT(a few years ago a comedian talked about how Donald labels everything like one labels their underwear for camp) in the mid 90s, a wallstreeter who played squash at Fordham introduced himself to Trump accordingly, and the reply was something along the lines of " I give all my money to fordham, not a dime to Wharton". When called for verification Bob used the phrase "not a dime". Needless to say Trumps IPO ended in Chapter 11, with a $100 investment receiving $10.

Bob passed away a few years ago. He's missing the show, which he could probably do without. The show that has us mesmerized!







Friday, March 4, 2016

Trump eats too much sugar

Donald Trump is opinionated, defensive, narrow minded or not-objective, and childish.  Many of the qualities I notice about myself that I work hard to overcome and do well to hide.  Trump is also not afraid to speak his mind, make enemies, not caring much what other people think of him. All the qualities I try hard to have.  Although the latter quality only half true he is brave enough to risk it.

This leaves me a bit confused.  Should I like him or hate him?  Is he my true reflection?  Is this authenticity a better quality for the White House, over someone who has done well at refining school.

As the story goes, a women walks for days to bring her son to meet Mahatma Gandhi.  After a long wait she had the opportunity to talk to Gandhi and asked him to tell her son to stop eating too much sugar.  Gandhi thought for a while and then told the women to come back in three weeks.  A bit confused and disappointed she left.  Three weeks later she trekked back.  After a long wait she again found herself in front of him and started to remind him about her story.  He interrupted her, "Yes I remember" and turned to the son and said "Stop eating so much sugar".  The women was so happy and said "Thank you Mahatma, my son respects you and he will surely stop eating sugar, but I'm curious why you didn't say that three weeks ago". "3 weeks ago, I was eating too much sugar", said Ghandi.

Maybe Trump is here to remind us not to eat sugar.  Or maybe we need 4 years of Trump as a reminder!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Permission to be Human

I have to wonder if our competitiveness is our nature or by nurture?

Recently I watched a story unfold that made this question even more confusing.

A friend was scheduled to play in a squash match against someone who he had never beaten. The same friend is a very talented player whose major obstacle to enjoying the game or winning for that matter is his emotions.  Loosing a match triggers such intense anger, that he now wonders if he should even be paying competitive squash.  It wasn't until the last moment that he decided to play this match.  He desperately did not want experience this anger. But desperately wanted to beat this person. This keen awareness of his emotions gave him enough comfort to play the match

He came out of the gates guns blazing.  He was in the Flow!  Playing better squash then he ever had, much to the surprise of his long time nemesis.  Soon enough he was up 2 games to love. They were both tired, but two different kinds of tired.  An offense tired and a defense tired.

My friend lost the 3rd game, which ended on a call from the referee he disagreed with.  Sometime during this game his emotions had been activated, we could tell from the gallery.  But he was still in the lead and his opponent was against the ropes.

A few points into the 4th game, he lost a point and turned to his opponent shook his hand and told him he was defaulting! His opponent and the gallery looked on dazed and confused.  My friend walked off the court noticeably riled up, shook hands with the ref and walk off to the side and sat down on the ground.

To concede a match of this magnitude while being in the lead, and while playing as best as one has ever played is earth shaking.  A decision like this turns on its head everything we believe in when it comes to competition.  It requires self-awareness and self-regulation rarely seen in this day and age.

This behavior brings to conversation a reality that has been hard for many cultures to accept until recently.  And even now acceptance is not ubiquitous.  If my friend had torn a hamstring, it would have been perfectly understandable to retire and concede the match.  In this case his injury was cerebral.  He recognized a destructive change in his mind, that would cause even more damage if he continued.  And he acted accordingly in spite of what people might think or misunderstand.

My friend is 18 years old and I think his behavior bodes well for the future of humanity!

My eyes have opened a bit wider, my heart is a bit softer.  And know that what I don't know is much bigger then I thought, but I look forward to discovery.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Climate Change or Consciousness Change?

The definition of a consumer according to Merriam-Webster is a person who buys goods and services. The same dictionary defines climate change as changes in the earth's weather pattern.  The big debate at the turn of this past century is whether the the former is the cause of the latter.  Most opinion and evidence points to a big fat YES.

The debate is gradually turning into a brainstorming session on how to solve the problem hoping that everything from technology to legislation will save our you know whats!

Observing this process from the wings is our consciousness. Merriam-Webster says that being conscious is being awake and able to understand what is happening around you.  In my opinion consciousness is the ability to be aware that one is aware.  As Prof.  V.S. Rakmachandran suggests, "With the arrival of humans, it has been said, the universe has suddenly become conscious of itself.  This, truly, is the greatest mystery of all." His perspective comes from his study of mirror neurons.  Another debate that may muddy the water for some would be if humans are the only beings that are conscious which I'm not sure I can take a side on but I'm confident that human consciousness is evolving faster then any others' on this earth that might exist.

Is the human cause of climate change simply a reflection of the nature of our consciousness before we can say its the result of our behavior?  Climate change might not matter in end, what may be more detrimental to our survival as a species is our dependence on stuff.  The first of our species needed stuff for survival, but the process of survival is moving from the physical to the cerebral, and we still need stuff for this new paradigm of survival because it protects us from the predators within.  Most stuff these days make up the forts thats protects us from anxiety. Anxiety that has its roots in feeling disconnected from our fellow humans, from parents, friends strangers...even enemies!

Climate Change is a symptom.  Rather then focus on aleving the symptom shouldn't we work on the root cause. Is this the reason that it has been so difficult for us to embrace legal action or costly technology that may slow climate change? Are we trying to put the cart before the horse? Or maybe this process is a necessary step in the evolution of our consciousness.  Either way it seems that we should each become aware of our consumption.  This awareness is the panacea!

Buying a new car is a great idea.  But trading it in 5 years later should be re-thought.  Encouraged in the halls of the clothing company Patagonia is for sales people to help customers do just this.  One story I heard was a friend walked into a Patagonia store looking for a waterproof down jacket.  A sales person would asked him if he owned a fleece and a waterproof shell.  The answer was yes so they suggested that is as good as a waterproof down jacket, discouraging him from buying more stuff.

In the event we perfect energy storage and recycling, the population expansion levels off and our cities head upward instead of outward, does this give us carte blanche to keep consuming? Will another symptom manifest?
 Merrion-Webster's advanced definition of a consumer is a "an organism requiring complex organic compounds for food which it obtains by preying on other organisms or by eating particles of organic matter."

Its in our nature to consume...to consume consciously!


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Travel to Cape Town, ASAP!

Wedged between a majestic mountain and a grand bay, between the Indian and Atlantic Ocean, Cape Town is one of the most exciting and fulfilling cities in the world to visit.

Wake up to an artisan cappuccino for $1.70, thanks partly to an exchange rate very much in favor to any traveller from the northern hemisphere.  Enjoy a walk up Lions head or a yoga class in its shadow.  Eat a delicious breakfast of locally grown tropical fruit or eggs.  Sit and read in a cafe watching the city wander by.  Or paddle out into South Africa's famous surf.  Shop to your hearts desire or drive around Chapman's Peak and onto see the Cape of Good hope and the Simonstown penguins.  Explore the valleys and tastes of the wine country.  Have a delicious dinner overlooking Robben Island.  Settle in to a cozy bed or party the night away.

Then do it again.

Cape Town's sights, sounds, tastes and interaction's are second to none to bring out our most creative attributes, to energize our soul and remind us what a wonderful gift life is.

And if a week in the "Mother City" is not sensory and happiness overload, then take a short flight to Kruger Park and spend a few days amongst its gargantuan, fierce, primal, majestic residents.

I write this as an memoire, a personal experience of my last two weeks.  An experience I would encourage everyone to pursue.

Enjoy Cape Town's gift to the world!




Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Follow the Money

Is how you earn, spend, donate and invest in line with your ethics?

Money has become the fabric of our interaction with each other. It has become how we project ourselves on the world. Paying attention to our relationship with money is an opportunity for personal transformation as much as a chance to improve the well-being of others close and far.

Our cultures have taught us that circumstance is more important then shared experience which drives our intention, but our actions show that unconsciously the most important is in fact the opposite....shared experience is more important then circumstance. This misalignment in our psyche has skewed our relationship with money. Our opportunity is to reset the boundaries in this relationship so that money works as our teacher, and a tool to deepen that which is most important to us.

Making changes to our money energy, will reduce anxiety, increase sleep, improve our diet, and allow us to have a richer and more meaningful connection with the world.

We may earn money from someone or a company who acts in a way that is not in line with our ethics. This most likely leaves some dis-ease in our subconscious. The question that we must ask ourselves is how does this dis-ease balance against the fear of not having that job or client and is there a better option even if it pays slightly less? Quite often we don't know the answer until we act.  There is plenty of evidence showing that working in an environment that is in line with our values excites and energizes us, making us more productive.

Spending money is a massive energy force.  As soon as we buy something we further along the cycle of consumption and effect the chain of supply and demand. We change our emotions by spending. Think of the elation of a brand new car, clothing or electronics....think of the pain of buyers regret.  Spending is a force more powerful then a vote,   strong enough to be mistaken for the feeling of love, more numbing then a glass of wine!  Once can become aware the most subtle ways we spend our money, when we spend it, what we spend it on we begin to transform.

Let's examine the levels of giving as defined by the Torah by putting them in the context of a visit to a coffee shop. Level one is we order a latte and the barista spins the iPad around for us to sign and first we have to decide on how much tip to give. We give a dollar because we feel we have no choice. Level two is we give a dollar because we want to but we hand it to the barista so we can see their gratitude. Level three giving is when the barista turns around to make our latte we put $5 in the tip jar without them seeing. This is not to say that we must tip, its to examine how and why we give.  Giving is a reflection of our energy and the further up the scale we go the more energy we create, the more selfless we feel. I once heard someone say that more selfish then doing nothing for someone is helping someone out of a feeling of obligation.

The last part of the question is to address how we invest out money. The stock market has offered the opportunity for anyone with just a few dollars to become a partner in any company that is publicly traded. Most of us don't have our own company to invest in so, so we can then leave our savings in the hands of other CEOs for growth. If 30 years ago we had invested in the S&P 500 our money would have grown about ten percent annually. Interestingly the average investor's money only grew about three percent. The reason being that most sell when the market takes a plunge and then buy on the way back up. This is driven by fear. Lack of confidence that our investment will weather the storm.  If we invest in companies that operate with the same values and principles we believe it, might our fears be soothed? As long as we are sipping lattes and tapping on iPhones the market will always go up, in spite of periodic dips.

There's that and then there is the feeling of empowering companies who have the well being of us, our children and the environment in mind. Let's invest in profitable companies that are built to last a hundred years. Lets empower companies who are consciously leading us into a bright future,

As Mark Bertolini from Aetna says profit is not the goal, profit is the output of mission driven companies, who build quality products for their customers.
Yvonne Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia says that whenever faced with the choice of profit or doing good, he chooses doing good and in the long run this always ends up being the most profitable decision.

The portfolio on the upper right hand side of this screen is a list of such companies.  Companies with good financials, who operate with the greater good as their mission.  These publicly traded companies have humble CEOs, products that improve the lives of humanity, work to reduce their impact on the environment giving as much as they take, diverse boards, happy employees.  Theses companies are congruent with our well being and the well being of the environment.  

“Conversation is the heart of human life and conversation is the heart of commerce” - David Whyte

Lets start the conversation about following the money!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Kalin

"I am headed to that place where I can really break free and my spirit comes alive".  These are Kalin's words on November 22nd.  She died on December 23rd.

Kalin's death has moved me deeply.  Perhaps being sad is the same thing as being moved, but it feels more then that.  It feels as thought Kalin has passed along to us the most important lesson we can learn on how to live. And its our duty to put that lesson into practice.

Whether she was headed to the beach, to work or to a good party, Kalin embodied the words "I'm headed to a place where I can really break free and my spirit comes alive".

She died the same way she lived.

Rest in Peace Kalin...or dance for joy throwing confetti in the air!!!

We love you.

2015 has Set!



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Small Matters

My street cred awareness has been one of my biggest aha moments of this year.  I realized a few months ago, how I was fighting for credibility in areas where I had none (mindfulness, yoga) and this was not only with cold call prospects but among my closest friends and family.  I was constantly running into a lot of positive affirmation but not much follow through, although I would hear of follow through by them in other paradigms under the same intention.  Then it dawned on me, I had no credibility. 
For months I wrestled with this, trying to understand my reaction to it.  And then i realized thats what much of my life was about...chasing, or following paths in search for credibility. Everything needed a name.  Was at a dinner party and someone asked me what I do, and I realized how important it was for me to have an answer for that question.  Finally I said  - why do I need to be a specific thing.  Why should I spend much of time being busy doing this stuff that gives me credibility, when there is so much opportunity to partner with people around me on a day to day basis, helping them get from 0-10 as much as helping them get from -10-0.  Life always seem to be measured in what I might get paid for, or what i thought others saw as my label.  It was right around then when my Mom needed to goto NJ, and she was scheduled to take an Amtrak. And i thought to myself what am I thinking!!?? I put my plans for that day to the side and drove her up, and then came back.  Yes, I will need to do something to pay the bills, but my mantra has changed to partnering with people I know or meet along the way, doing whatever I can do. My choice these days is as Goethe said "Not the maker of plans and promises, but rather the one who offers faithful service in small matters.  This is the person who is most likely to achieve what is good and lasting"


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

CEO's can only do so much

In early October, NRG Energy capitulated to investor craving for short term gain.  NRG has successfully been leading the charge amongst traditional fossil fuel companies in implementing green energy portfolios'.  They have lead by example.  As CEO David Crane said to New York Times columnist Joe Nocera almost a year ago “It’s like Wayne Gretzky said,” he told me before hanging up the phone. “We are skating where the puck is going, rather than where it is now.”" Which is in fact the last time NRG was written about in the Times.
Investors being dissatisfied with NRGs stock price has put pressure on the company to divest its focus on the alternative energy and go back to what works now.  Coal powered plants.
In a time when polls and meta-analysis of news and opinion show that the majority of Americans are concerned about climate change, if not for the impact on our lives then definitely for our children's.  With the exception of some of the most conservative of republicans.  I doubt the latter constitute the majority of investors in NRG stock.  Which begs the question, why are we punishing a company for working so hard for the health of our future(thats us and the planet), even with promise of sustainable long term profit?  Based on the business trajectory of NRGs wind, solar and home solar business's it seems like a sure bet for a long term investment, as sure as any other business, including fossil fuels.
Alternative energy works now, just like Fords first assembly line car did when it drove out of the factory.
We need start putting our money where our principles are.  We need to start investing in our future not just talking about it.  Companies like NRG should be rewarded, not punished for working for our well being.
Let's pay attention to where the puck is going, and head in that direction!!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

It pays to care!

"The most conscious companies give more, and they get more in return. The inescapable conclusion: it pays to care, widely and deeply"

https://hbr.org/2013/04/companies-that-practice-conscious-capitalism-perform.html