Monday, January 30, 2012

Value: Volunteering & Activism

Making an impact

There are a lot of ways to apply one’s vision onto the universe. The art I make. The stories I tell. The relationships I build. The work I do. Sometimes, however, it is also important to give back. Directly. Specifically. Writing a check is one way. This is a reallocation of resource (capital) which (hopefully) allows someone else the opportunity to organize the universe around their vision. A vision which I may share. However, it can be important to not get too far removed from the front lines of the struggles about which I care. The best way to do this is to volunteer the resources of time, intelligence, and creativity, and personally apply them to the project of choice. This can be immensely fulfilling. It can be an opportunity to learn new things. Develop new and unexpected relationships. It also ensures that I continue to maintain a ground-level view of the struggles/projects/goals that are important to me. 

From the Zone... 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Value: Justice, Freedom and Democracy

Ending all forms of humans harming humans

I want to live in a world where folks are not afraid to be and express themselves thoughtfully. I want to live in a world where people are not pulled to injure or physically coerce one another. I want to live in a world where everyone has a voice and is given an opportunity to communicate their piece of the truth, the personal facet of the divine that they embody. I want to live in a world where each person has a chance to have the life that they want to live without fear of blame, retribution, shaming, humiliation, attack. I want to live in a world where we put the needs of the many above the needs of the few, where we share resources in a thoughtful manner, where no one hoards while others starve, where difficult decisions are not put off for future generations while problems exacerbate, where greed is not the primary driving force for human ingenuity. I want to live in a world that is formed as a result of the highest vision of our combined intelligences and produced as a result of our most elegant collaboration. We can do better. I want to live in that world.

From the Zone…


Friday, January 20, 2012

Value: Health & Well-being

Thinking about fitness, strength, endurance and energy.

I am my intelligence. I am my body. Living a full life requires that both function optimally in an integrated fashion. Difficulties in either will severely (and sometimes permanently) reduce my ability to fully live my life. Staying fit and active, having energy and endurance, taking good care of myself, staying free from disease and injury, enjoying being in my body, enjoying doing fun things with my body, and making decisions to promote my longevity are essential to the accomplishment of all of my other goals.

Commitment Toward Health & Wellbeing

It is logically possible & certainly desirable to think clearly about my health & physical well being; to decide to have a long and healthy life, and to take actions in the pursuit of that goal, in spite of and in opposition to patterns, confusions and addictive pulls.
Further, in spite of feelings of hopelessness & despair, or because of pulls to procrastinate or ignore the issue completely, it is never too late or too early to take this stand.
Because I am interested in feeling good, having energy & fully enjoying a long and productive life, I do hereby decide to commit to this direction. And this will mean…

From the Zone…


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Value: Communities of Change

Building close relationships is a revolutionary activity

I was originally going to name this value: Friends & Family, Relationships & Community. In many ways, that would still be an acceptable description...

I take great joy in spending time with people I like. Talking, hanging out, playing games, sharing experiences, laughing. It’s fun and it’s fulfilling.

However, relationships also provide an opportunity to Inspire, Motivate, and Excite one another as we share successes or commiserate and keep perspective around difficulties and challenges. Friendship provides a platform upon which we can make a stand against our struggles whether they be the confusions in our head or the obstacles facing us in the world.

Further, I learn about myself by observing what is reflected back at me during my interactions with others. The more people I have in my life, and the deeper the connection I can make with each of these people, the greater the opportunity I have to compare my thinking, observations, opinions, beliefs with what other people believe & experience.

This sharing of ideas creates opportunities to broaden my perspectives and will have an expansive effect on how I experience the universe around me. The more diverse my set of relationships, the fuller and more accurate my understanding of that universe.

After all, we are smarter than me. And everyone owns a small piece of the Ultimate Truth.

Also, I develop a more accurate understanding of my core self when I strive to connect to and communicate with others. For example, I try to journal everyday but what I write for this blog is actually a bit more rigorous (and better written) than my free-flowing diary entries. I come up with some good ideas in that journal, but writing for publication requires that I really flesh out those ideas and describe them in a way that someone else will understand. The end product does not just make more sense to you, it makes more sense to me. Adding other people to the mix forces me to Step It Up.

Communities of Change

Change begins from within. And then emanates outward. Communities of Change brings to mind the idea of an Army of Lovers. A group of folks deeply committed to one another, using those relationships to strive to make the world (or household, neighborhood, school, workplace) a better place for themselves and others.


I enjoy working on projects with other people. When I am getting along with others, and when we have a shared agenda, such opportunities can be more interesting and fulfilling.

In my day-to-day life, “the view from here” is limited by my line of sight. However, when I tap into the views of my friends, or the friends of my friends, I have access to a larger picture. An increased number of interesting and exciting opportunities present themselves within the context of these networks of relationships. Through the exposure to larger views such networks can facilitate having a big life.

Some relationships will be based on mutual attraction (i.e. a shared sense of humor or a mutual appreciation of good science-fiction.) Other relationships will be more strategic: building connections with people who can help me, or the folks I care about, to move forward in our lives, more accurately expressing our values, reaching our goals.  

I want to take time to think about and deepen my existing relationships and build new ones.

From the Zone...


Monday, January 16, 2012

Value: Creative Intelligence

Creativity, Creative Thinking, Creative Intelligence

Intelligence = Creativity.

All intelligence is creative. Information comes in, is compared and contrasted to information already on file, new connections are made and new understandings take place. This is creation. One does not “have” thoughts. Thoughts are created by our intelligence. Thinking is an act of creation. There is a natural inclination for action to follow thought… for the potential to become kinetic. Potential energy is a form of tension and tension seeks release (think of a coiled spring.) After creating a thought, we can create an action. Take a step, write a word, draw a line, make a noise. With a greater investment of energy, this can become a dance, story, picture, song. If love is the ultimate expression of our humanness, then creativity is the ultimate expression and manifestation of our intelligence.

Human beings are designed to be creative and to express that creativity. Taking time to do so is joyous, cathartic, fulfilling, fun. In the absence of hurts, we would all be constantly creating. In fact, since we are all thinking all of the time, we are, in actuality, doing just that.

I am an artist. I want to create art, write, perform, make music, sing, dance. I want to set aside time to continue to develop my craft and skill so that my creations are as close to an accurate reflection of my thoughts and artistic vision as I can manage.

From the Zone...


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Value: Flexible Human Intelligence

As I wrote previously “as I formed my values-list and my descriptions, I realized that there were some themes that ran through it. Some through-lines that were unique to me, my life experience, my personal expression of self. I decided to try to organize these themes as a top line overview and created 3 short statements: Mission, Attitudes, Perspective.”

So here goes...

Mission:  Creating Change through Expressions of Intelligence, Creativity & Love

Attitudes:  Hope, Confidence & Enthusiasm

Perspective:  A life with no limits

What follows in this post and some of the subsequent posts is my attempt to eat my own dog food. I have been thinking about my values, developing an understanding of what is important to me, and I am going to begin to share some of those ideas here. 

Value: Having my full and flexible intelligence

When I talk about intelligence – human intelligence... our intelligence -- I am referring to something very specific; a particular and unique way in which the human brain (and corresponding “neural infrastructure”) operates.

I define human intelligence as a cyclic, multi-stage process during which a person absorbs information from his/her environment and brings it into conscious (or subconscious) awareness. These can be sights, sounds, smells, ideas (memes) -- information from all of our external and internal sensory organs. 

This information is then evaluated and used to develop a contextual understanding of the current situation based on how it is similar to and different from information already “on file” (information absorbed during previous experiences.) This processed information is then added to the existing record (stored within our memories), thereby increasing the amount of information about the environment available for the next cycle of the process.

When functioning optimally, this process (i.e. our intelligence) creates a conduit to our “Human Inherency”— that unique, personal, “breath of the divine” that makes each of us specifically, individually, ourselves. When the system is working, the connections we make using current and past information from the environment, as well as how we extrapolate that information to both (A.) understand and interpret current events as they unfold and (B.) predict future events, is based on this essentialness. 

Having more information does not make us better or smarter, more intelligent or more human. It does, however, allow us to articulate more informed responses to any given situation and increases the chances that these responses will be successful.

Unfortunately, most of the time, most of us do not function optimally. We have feelings, confusions, addictions, distractions, “conflicting voices”, old resentments, embarrassments, which make it harder to accurately and honestly understand the universe around us and to know and express ourselves as we truly are.

I plan to...

1.  Continue to reclaim my intelligence, removing tensions and rigidities so that I can think clearly;

2.  Continue to grow the store of information I have available so that I can more elegantly and accurately express myself flexibly in the moment as I truly am. 

From the Zone…


Monday, January 2, 2012

A “Business Plan” for Life

Managers have long understood that a clearly articulated statement of organization is essential for success. Almost every successful company begins with a business plan: a description of why the company exists and how and to what end the company’s managers will organize and operate their resources. There are many ways to write a business plan but they all have the same basic components: vision & mission statement, goals, methodologies. Relatively speaking, companies (or groups or clubs, for that matter) tend to be fairly straightforward. They are created for very specific reasons: to make a profit by selling widgets or to better the world by serving soup to the hungry (needless to say, I have simplified a bit.) 

Despite what some politicians would have us believe, such organizations, while made up of people, are not actually people in and of themselves. Humans are complex. Our lives our complex. A single person has many, many goals, likes, wants, desires. All of which are in constant flux, changing and evolving over time. While some folks achieve greatness through serendipity (like the person I met at the sales conference last week who won $270,000 playing nickel slots – true story!) most of us will not be so “blindly fortunate.” We will have to work, and work hard, to achieve success. This will be greatly aided if we know what the desired outcomes are.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, the rich fullness of our existence is not likely to be contained by a simple organizational statement. However, we can borrow from what business managers have learned and create our own perfectly tailored life-plans. 

It won’t be easy and it will require some attention but the pay off will be huge and the results will be visible almost immediately.

Over the past 10 weeks I have spent some time each day thinking about my life, how I want it to be organized and what I hope to accomplish. I have thought about my relationships, my health, my career, my hobbies; things that interest me; things that I wish interested me but don't (and what my motivations are for wanting to be interested as well as the reasons that I happen not to be.) On average I have managed anywhere between 30 – 90 minutes a day on this project. I have spent time thinking, journaling, and reviewing. I also have a separate but related project to take that content and edit, repurpose and publish it on this blog. 

In following from the ideas that I have written about in previous posts, I began by creating a list of everything that was important to me, everything I valued. This list was long and covered everything from Universal Health Coverage to the smell of freshly baking bread. Each day I would review this list, adding to it, prioritizing it, and grouping entries into shared categories. The outcome was a comprehensive but somewhat vague outline of the issues, topics and values that were important to me. 

A great first step, but still a far cry from a Life-Plan.

I then started to think about what I actually meant by each item. Writing about, and in the process, clarifying and refining my thoughts as to what exactly it was that was important to me and why.

I am not done. This sort of “soul searching” takes time. But it is also an on-going process. Even after I finish an acceptable first draft, I expect that I will want to regularly review and course correct.

As I formed my values-list and my descriptions, I realized that there were some themes that ran through it. Some through-lines that were unique to me, my life experience, my personal expression of self. I decided to try to organize these themes as a top line overview and created 3 short statements: Mission, Attitudes, Perspective.

What will follow in subsequent posts are excerpts from the first step of my Life-Plan: My Value Statement.

From the Zone…


Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Visual

Happy New Year!

Here is a visual to get the 2012 juices flowing...

In my last post, I wrote about an elegant methodology via which we could build long-/mid-/short- term goals on a foundation of the values we had in our lives. 

Here is a schematic of what something like that would look like...

From the Zone...