Archive for the ‘Conscious Living’ Category
Friday, January 20th, 2012
In a democracy, bounded by place and geography, we vote for constraints on capitalism and corporate activities so that everyone, on balance, can live a better life, a decent life.
We vote for things that enhance the commons and the long term prospects of our culture, like environmental protections, child labor laws, workplace safety, toxin labeling, mandatory education. These constraints increase short term costs and may either increase prices or decrease profits. Citizens in a democracy are willing to accept that tradeoff- because while they like to make money, they ALSO want a country with good infrastructure, vibrant culture, research that will benefit the long term health of the population, a level economic playing field, clean air and water, a way to take care of the people who fall through the cracks in the society, and opportunities to thrive in their life in other ways. (more…)
Monday, December 19th, 2011
Visiting San Quentin State Prison, and What I Didn’t See Coming
A few weeks ago I got the chance to visit San Quentin and speak with a community of prisoners who are working on personal transformation. What a surprise.
Unexpected thing #1: At San Quentin state prison, men with life eligible sentences play doubles tennis on the yard. Unexpected thing #2: These men (who have at some point killed another person) and I? We are more alike than I previously ever imagined. Unexpected thing #3: They are engaged in a year long program to become non-violent persons and peacemakers, and have taken a student peacekeeper pledge that many people ‘on the outside’ can partake in. (more…)
Tuesday, December 6th, 2011
I don’t “not hire people” because they lack the right pedigree. I don’t hire them because I almost always give a few test assignments, paid, to see how they will do. I give a lot of people the chance at work, especially people who seem to have a spark, but who don’t have the officially correct background (eg, the screening mechanisms and signifiers such as degrees and credentials and experience) and I, or someone on the team, will explain and teach as needed. It’s a chance to be a self starter and make something happen…if you’re a fast learner and you show up, we have a beautiful thing. If not, no big risk either way.
What I am finding is that there are some basic work skills that people just don’t have, and they aren’t related to education. They are however, related to teachability, and to accountability. These skills speak volumes to how easy it might be to work with you over the long haul.
Does this seem like tough love? (more…)
Tuesday, December 6th, 2011
Are people giving you only a fraction of what they are capable of? Do they go home early? Yawn in meetings? Seem disheartened?
Here are the top 5 reasons people don’t want to work for you:
1) You are unclear on what you want, so it’s impossible for anyone to be successful. You subconsciously believe that people should be mind readers. The corollary to this is you keep changing your mind or changing direction, or find it difficult to progress projects forward. This is exhausting for a team, as there is no real progress or accomplishment to point to. (more…)
Friday, November 18th, 2011
So, it’s that holiday time of the year again.
Back in 2008, when the economy had begun to tank and we were doing a lot of conscious work on ourselves, we decided that the best thing we could give each other was more connection and support.
We wanted the same level of depth and dialogue in our family circle (our kids, then ages 6 to 23, each other, our parents) that we were getting with strangers in the classes we were taking. We wanted to express gratitude, wonder and appreciation at the year gone by, to connect and communicate with those that we love, to help each person clarify their own intentions for the coming year, and to let each other know what we needed in the way of support.
So we set aside one of the holiday afternoons when everyone was gathered for a new tradition: a family inquiry and promise circle. We asked each person to spend some time alone in the morning doing some kind of vigorous exercise to clear their head: hiking, bike riding, dancing. We asked for all devices and electronics to stay off all day. We set up a snacky buffet and an art table with magazines and glue and markers in case people wanted to do their books visually… then we paired up in unlikely pairs, and handed out the promise booklets with the questions in them, so people could work side by side on their answers and really give them some good thought. (more…)
Wednesday, November 16th, 2011
What does it mean to be a grownup, emotionally healthy adult human being? To be happy and healthy and whole? Freud offered the opinion that psychologically healthy people are able to love and to work- simple enough, yes? But not granular enough for real skill development. On the other hand, much of the self-help industry addresses highly specific issues or manifestations of a lack of skill, without an overall framework for comprehensive skill development: a buffet without structure, rather than a food pyramid.
By looking at broad basic skill sets required for healthy adult functioning, and then by breaking down emotional skills into smaller bites, it’s easier to get at a full developmental profile. One can better assess where the growth edge is, and set a plan to get better at that aspect, through coursework, training, examples, techniques and practice. You can get a sort of emotional health check up, a look at your vital signs in each area.
Emotional and spiritual skills are like language skills in many ways-e.g, they can be learned, they come easier for some then others, and people learn them in different ways.
What, I thought, if we could have a grown up school that allowed self directed learning to fill in the gaps we never knew how to address, before it got to a crisis point? For example, if self care were the skill issue, you’d see it on your personal inquiry, before you got diabetes. If listening was the skill issue, you’d work on it before getting to marriage counseling. You wouldn’t get to age 35 and still be shattered over a break-up. You wouldn’t run from the truth of living outside your means.
Thus came this idea of “grownup school”, and a model for a complete skill set that we could work on. The more I looked healthy, optimized emotional skills in myself and others, where things cause pain, or send happiness or contentment tumbling, every skill rested easily on one of two dimensions: capacities on the spectrum of self and other, and capacities on the spectrum of freedom and restraint.
Read: Part 2: Self and Other