Thursday, November 28, 2013

"Living the New Economy, is Living the New Community" - Mind Blown and Loving It - aka - LNE Vancouver 2013

Living the New Economy Victoria starts tomorrow, the third one of its kind! I've been meaning to digest, verbally, in blog form, my feelings from the first session and, I figure now is the time...before my mind gets blown, round two, in Victoria.

I was also only at the evening sessions, and then weekend, so I really can't speak for the wonders that happened during the day ...but I know they were fantastical.

The opening night, October 15, 2013.

Really set the stage for the week of wonder to follow. 

An amazing spoken word by one of the organizers, Tammy Lea Meyer entitled I Am touched on absolutely every piece necessary. My re-cap, quite honestly, will not be able to express how profound her words were. It was coming from a place of love, and connection, and it was beautiful to be apart of that.

Please, have a listen and let the words run through you.

Hard to pick a favourite part because honestly it's all phenomenal but what struck me so much, such that I had to pick up my notebook and scribble a bit was:

"Rationale is to the life force as a picture of a tree is to a tree." 

I am so thankful for this whole piece. It's curious how, any one of these words, individually, may or may not evoke something on their own. Yet strewn together in this remarkable, thoughtful, fashion, has a profound and lasting effect on the listener.

Easily taken for granted, certainly I do, it's fascinating how language works and how we communicate to share beliefs, ideas, and understandings.

The Evolution of the Butterfly from Abraham Heisler on Vimeo.

After that, I was awakened to this beautiful short clip, as included above, which compares our current economic/ecological crisis to the life of a caterpillar pre-butterfly, provided a perfect context for where we are, what stage we're in, and the beauty that is to come. Re-connecting us even further. In addition, it defined a word for what it is all of us amazing (arguably a different word would be selected by those in the "business as usual" phase) people are ...immaginal cells. Beautiful.

That followed by an amazing conversation between Mark Lakeman (story-teller, City Repair - Portland), and Ian Mackenzie (love-infused filmmaker). . . Suffice it to say, after that first night - my mind was blown, and I knew I was never headed back from where I came. Here is that beauty of a conversation on soundcloud! :) Well worth the listen! 

One of my favourite moments in the conversation between Mark and Ian was when Ian spoke of how we ought to be "Manufacturers of events that don't fit into others' world view". A light bulb went off in my head, and I'm sure many others around me, too. The empowering realization that every, single, moment, I have a choice - a choice to act in a way that shows compassion, love, kindness and openness, in whatever I am doing. That my interactions with everyone are an opportunity, an opportunity to shift our conciousness towards love, understanding, connection, and inter-being. What an empowering understanding.

I mean, I want to say I was doing this already, and certainly I was to some extent - i.e. considering how I react to a situation, considering how what I say impacts others, and vice versa, remembering that usually when people say hurtful things it is their own self wounded coming out, versus an actual direct hit to me - but when Ian articulated those key words "Manufacturers of events that don't fit into other's world-view" it was the perfect piece of the puzzle I didn't realize I was missing until he said it, to mobilize me into further actions, and conversations to create beauty. And, to that, I am so grateful. 

I was always of the belief that every interaction had an opportunity for learning, but never had I framed it from the receiver side. An opportunity for learning is really only from my perspective, if I'm talking about myself learning something, though the other learns too, if they were open to it, but I had not focused on that aspect. Now...I see the two-way interaction/exchange that can lead to a deep, lasting, profound experience. 

I also really loved Mark's story about the butterfly. Specifically because it points to our disconnect with nature. But it's empowering in the sense that, we all have this innate ability to interact in a meaningful way with our surroundings. That despite having travelled on this long journey of "Seperation", wherein our worldview is largely around competition, and power, the desire to connect with others, and interact with nature is still within us, where it always was. For some easier to access than others, but it's still there inside each and every one of us - and that to me is hopeful.

This also exemplifies the beauty and effect of story. Mark had this experience himself, but now he comes back and tells it to many people, and while we are not experiencing it first-hand, his story is compelling in a way that goes deeper than an analyzing mind. We not only hear his words, we feel them, as if we were him, in that moment. His story is one that, at least for me and I would argue for others too, resonates on the inside, on a level that transcends thought. It stirs emotion up in us, and that is a story that will have a lasting effect, and will imprint itself on our psyche for the better. Whether we notice it immediately or not, it's now added into our layers of what it means to be a human, and exist in this world. And to me, that's amazing. 

And of course, an amazing quote bomb gets dropped by Mark - couldn't have said it better! "Not just to save the world, but to savour the world". 

What also really resonated with me was when Ian started talking about mumuration, and swam theory, and said something along the lines of "when you surrender yourself to the organism, a higher power emerges". Partially because I  am absolutely taken away into a different space and context when I look up and see birds (usually in the downtown case, pigeons), fly in their beautiful patterns, exemplifying community, co-creation, and love in all that they are doing. But for him to make that link between the "letting go, and letting be" and applying that in our current context as humans, it really took on a whole new meaning. 

As I navigate these new waters, uncertain of what lies ahead of me, easily able to go into a state of panic or confusion as the "old world" would typically have me do, I find myself not going there. It is feeling obsolete. I can feel my brain/ego toying with that, luring me in, wanting me to go there so it can be fed. But instead of feeding, I remain a step back, as an observer, witnessing this inner game.  My trust expands, I remain calm, excited, full of potential, realizing the opportunity that exists before me, and yet not getting too far ahead of myself either. Just being. Present. In the moment. Surrendering my beliefs and my understandings of the world. Letting it all unravel as it must, to propel me into a deeper layer, meaning, context, and yet a shallow (in a new world context, not heavy with the connotations the old world provides) layer too, the space where both make sense, deep and shallow, ebb and flow,  weaving a beautiful pattern of what it means to be human. 

Another thing I loved was - "We need to know it, and feel it, and believe's inevitable, and we need all of you." Ian explaining what he calls "Eiseinstein's Paradox, from Charle's Eiseinsteins new book The More Beautiful World our Hearts Know Is Possible "...this dynamic tension between these two polarities, is where the immaginal cells emerge, and where we find that maybe the world we are trying to create is not as far away as we think" - well put Ian, well put! 57.20 ish.

Lastly I love the whole notion that, we are all in this together, and that everyone, no matter what "side" they seem to be on, we are all fundamentally on the same side. It's such a relief, and provides the space for meaningful connection. It's about finding ways to connect, that that specific person may respond to, and about finding those shared values and beliefs, no matter how many layers they may be under. 

At the end of the day, how freeing is it that it doesn't have to be this sort of, frantic, mad dash to "save the planet"..... we've tried that for a long time now, and look where we are. As I believe Mark mentions in the chat, it's time we start having fun, building relationships, and creating beauty. People are social creatures and want to join in where the fun is - so start having some!

I feel the quote by Buckminster Fuller emulates this perfectly: 

Wednesday, October 16th 

What I once thought to be just a good way of raising money for a project, turned into a whole new understanding.


Allowing those who care, and want to contribute, do so.  How it allows for access to otherwise difficult to obtain capital, and how it allows a different kind of transaction to emerge. One that has more meaning - where the people who are helping to fund what it is you're doing, are moved by your work, and want to contribute because they believe in it. And now there is the ability to connect on a whole new level. And that is beautiful.

This is a great TED Talk on the concept, and how the format of how we do business is surely going to be changing more and more.

And then came the film by Ian Mackenzie - Reactor.  I think it was this night that I became more aware and in awe with Buddhism. Ian spoke of the Bodhisattva, and my memory of it, in combination with my nots, tells me that it is a being who has finished the cycle of reincarnation, but has specifically come back, to stay for the liberation of others.If all things are not free, then no-one is free".

"If we are all deeply connected, then if somebody else is suffering, the forests are suffering, if our parents are suffering, if our children our suffering, then we feel that suffering. In other words, I can't be free, unless others are free". Michael Stone

I came home in a flurry of curiosity, and profound emotions - luckily my roommate is Buddhist so I was thankful to chat with her more about it all, and she told me the beautiful story of Siddhartha, and it resonated with me, deeply.

"Our economy and our lifestyles are driven by stories we have, about what a meaningful life is.  Those stories seem so fixed, but yet, it's also fleeting, and it's also transient" - Michael Stone -

Here is the trailer.

"What is the story that wants to be told? " Many profound questions are asked in this film which provoke the mind to new levels. I do recommend giving it a watch, and supporting this amazing film maker, Ian. You can rent it, or buy it online, here.
Some of my take-aways from the film, and my paraphrased scribbles as I watched and transformed
  • It's not enough to simple be enlightened, poor people don't care what mantra you're saying. We need to act. 
  • How do I express [in action] what I experience in stillness
  • It's not necessarily obvious to know what to do with the complexity of the world we created. It isn't a simply x, y, z, we recognize change as it unfolds, each finds their own way to contribute
...and other such notes in my book - as part of the Q&A and epic commentary by Ian after the film, they are paraphrased from discussions had, and comments said
  • We all do our own thing, together we create real change - so many seeds have been, and are being, planted. 
  • There is no difference - when you put yourself in service to something meaningful, whatever that is, it benefits everyone
  • What the culture does not provide, we try to entertain/replace the void with things, what used to be filled in us ,and didn't cost money, free by community, is now monetized
  • We need to re-weave a culture to lower our energy needs, but increase our connection, and happiness
  • There is a bias within the system itself, to monetize whatever it is you are in service to, e.g. spiritual teachers and their wisdom - the concept of charging money for it, those who have chosen to not do so and the implications therein
  • What is community and how do we allow it to flourish? 
  • There is no specific formula, as long as you connect with that side of you that wants to be in service, which is connecting and life-affirming, that will be your answer
  • You're here, and that's enough to know you should be 
  • Your journey will change too, and that is ok. Only you are the one who will know what you can, and should occupy
All in all, my major take-away is weave the emerging paradigm into your everything, and to be your artist you feel called to be.

Actually, in getting the trailer, above, I found this beautiful commentary on what it means to be present, and felt compelled to include it here, too. :) Enjoy.

Redefining the present moment - Michael Stone from Ian MacKenzie on Vimeo.

October 17 - Day 3
Heard from
...An amazing concept, organization, ecosystem, emerging wonder - I suggest checking them out and getting involved however that may look like. Check them out!  A helpful way to think about it "an alternative MBA" but certainly there is so much more to it than that. They are in their first year of classes and so far, so good.
From their website: 

Groundswell is a new project that tackles head-on the economic insecurity, social disconnection and precarity so many young people are facing today.

In a nutshell, "We need to pluralize the measurement system, and stop teaching people to compete" re: school! Amazing! "Education is a journey, we need to help people find their flow". Their main components are 
  1. Personalize Education - starting with the gap inside of YOU
  2. Community - what is livelihood in the community, what is it you want?  Business is not separate from community, we need to start treating it as such, we need to bring community logic into business
  3. Alternative Business Structures and systems to help foster/facilitate the above, and beyond. Opening up dialogue around new economic logic - empathy, cooperation! 
And interesting words were spoken regarding entitlement, and what that means. While we often think of it as a negative thing, and has certainly been thrown around these days as such, a new lens was opened up, which I thought was pretty neat.

Entitlement as a driver of progress - the right to participate in everyday actions - which can be incredibly empowering, versus the way we typically think about it say, the right to buy new stuff, and own, acquire, dominate nature - so it can certainly have a very different effect. The speaker used the example of Rosa Parks, and had she not felt entitled to a seat anywhere on the bus, or women standing up for the right to vote, as they felt entitled to that. Makes perfect sense to me! Entitlement can fuel change for the better if it's directed in a positive way. 

And, one of the best part about Groundswell - they will be opening up a Cafe, next to their class studio, that will be very community oriented and function as a space to incubate amazing ideas, help people collaborate, and all around, engage in open discussions and dialogue. Creating that space, I feel, is so important. So I'm very excited to see how this will all progress.

October 19 - Day 5

The day started out with a discussion, from Tam Lundy, from Communities that Can! Institute, on generative change, versus the two that precede it, in order, being technical, and adaptive. This was a more theoretical session, and it was great to get our heads out of the proverbial box, and start thinking about what that really means to be part of generative change. 
The definition provided was "purposeful, emergent, fosters health and well being, and healthy development in self, and society, now and in future generations, nudging system to higher level of complexity"
Increasing in dynamic complexity would look like:

static (concrete thinking) --> linear (conceptual thinking)   -->circular (systems thinking) --> reflexive (meta-system thinking)

Tam also pointed out that it is important to remember that adaptive challenges, are not technical problems, and that generative challenges are not adaptive problems. So we must understand the situation we are faced with, and apply the appropriate mind-set to determine our solution. 
The feel was very co-creative, and bridging our understanding of how we function in the world, and how can we expand our reality and our concept of how we solve problems. Pretty neat.
A new paradigm of human capacity, to meet a new era of human existence - rad!
Something interesting too, which I had never really thought about, we are the only mammal whose still developing outside of the womb - certainly interesting to consider - how important it is for us to be in a loving, safe, accepting space. 
A nice visual, that I now only have it words, but you can use your imagination. As the four quadrants fall into collective versus individuality, interior versus exterior --> Psychological and Spiritual, Cultural, Physical and Behavioural, Social and Ecological Health - we need it all. Which category do you spend most of you time in? Which category do you feel businesses, organizations, communities are focusing on primarily? 
....well, if you're still reading, that is only up to Saturday morning - and this is getting be continued! ;)


  1. Excellent read, so happy you are still on-path with your passions. A very happy holiday to you :)

    1. Aw thank-you Bronwen. So good to hear from you! I'd love to know more about what is going on in your life these days. How is your art doing, too? And still living close to the forest in beauty?