Upgrading Our Operating System

Everything has an operating system ~ a set of rules govern how things flow ~ whether conscious or unconscious. Take water as an example. It will always seek the lowest point to rest. Its nature is to flow downward until it can no longer find a way deeper. For people, that operating system is based on our internalized system of beliefs that form the way we construct our relationship to the world. These beliefs are formed by our experiences, particularly early influences such as parents and other relations who provide feedback to us about us. We form our approach to relating to, or managing, the world around us based upon these beliefs. Once formed, our operating system is incredibly difficult to change.

Part of becoming an adult is taking responsibility for the way in which we interact with the world. But for most of us, this process is unconscious. If it remains unconscious, it will become more and more entrenched the same way that the constant flow of water along the same path will eventually produce a Grand Canyon. If we engage our will and the support of others, we can make fundamental changes to the way we operate by shifting our vision, our beliefs, our communication, our values, and our actions which will eventually shift our conditioned way of approaching the world.

In a recent “Bones” session with a client, unpacking a relational challenge she was experiencing, the difference between operating out of fear and out of love came up in contrasting the way that men and women are conditioned in this culture to deal with problems. Inevitably, through facilitating the Bones guidance work, one cannot help but reflect on one’s own association to what arises. It became clearer to me, that although my life’s work and personal desire is to move out of love, just how much of my relational orientation is still trapped within the archetypal male operating system which is anchored in control and competition ~ in essence ~ FEAR. Yes, men are fundamentally afraid ~ even we who project that we are enlightened and in touch with our feminine side. This seemed like a revelation to me. But my love would gently tell you if asked, she has been trying to get me to see this for years. It is so difficult to see ourselves, particularly if we are moving from what appears to be our strengths. We have to engage with others and have the courage to ask for feedback in order to understand and then alter our operating systems. The smarter we are, the harder it seems, as we toy around with the window dressing without addressing who we really see through the looking glass.

The challenge is, we have relied upon this operating system for our survival and identity formation since our first moment of self-consciousness. Our survival system screams “DANGER” if we even think of adjusting our fundamental paradigm, and we instinctively retreat into our standard operating procedures. Even as we become conscious, we will construct a complex set of devices to make ourselves think we are being different, when really, we are just doing the same thing a different way so that it looks to ourselves (and maybe others) that we are doing something different.

As an example, I saw myself as incompetent as a child due in large to my ADD and Dyslexia. My initial way of controlling my circumstances was to be a clown which would distract and endear others, preventing them from identifying my incompetence. Much later in life, I figured out that I that I was kind of smart, and shifted my operating system to exhibiting the areas in which I was smart. This worked to reinforce my own sense of self by isolating my interactions to my strengths, but it never really addressed the fear of being exposed. So the underlying driver remained hiding my inadequacy ~ it is just the strategy that changed.

My partner has done more to unearth a path to really freeing this core belief than any other single influence. Her operating system is to love what is flawed. This regularly sends my internal operating mechanisms into chaos as my operating system attempts to hide my flaws, as my desire to love and be loved attempts reveal them to her. My operating system usually wins. But its grip is starting to slip after 8 years of internal back flips.

F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” Thus, the chaotic feeling is the sign that something is shifting. It is our job to both continue to function, and to hang in with the chaotic anxiety long enough to get the lesson at the same time.


Though water is water, if we add heat to it, it becomes free of its standard operating system and becomes a vapor that can rise into the sky in the form of clouds, or if we cool it enough, it will form hexagonal patterns of frost on our windows. We too can add light to the shadows of our operating system, and illuminate and free up our standard ways of being to choose to move beyond unnecessary fear toward connection. The truth is, our fear keeps our power encased in a useless dance of distancing and control. Let us instead, choose to embrace our flaws, our hidden places, and see what amazing patterns will emerge if we just chill out. Time to UpGrade…

Balancing Scales

I recently went before a group of folks from a foundation to pitch the idea for The Bench That Gives. The two big push backs were the scale of the endeavor, and the evidence or proof that what we are creating can work. I was told that what is needed is to produce 10s of thousands of jobs, and that it was a nice idea, but what can an handful of folk geared up to produce benches and other products achieve.

My knee-jerk response was defensive ~ trying to show that this is just a start and that as we brought more businesses into partnership to create more of the model, we would eventually reach scale. But this response does not honor what I know to be true, nor the intuitive evidence that underlies this initiative. I tossed around all night. What came to me in the wee hours, was to really listen to what I know ~ the concept that this blog is based upon ~ that it is not only huge efforts that create change, little efforts with big visions and integrity have the power to reach critical mass.

The power of an idea is not in its grandness, it is in its ability to be lifted and carried by many people. Therefore, by design, it must be small, compelling, apprehensible, and able to be transferred by those moved by it.

Seth Stevens, CWGI Advisor, retail genius, and proprietor of the successful Mount Washington Wine Company and Dogma took me out on a selling trip to introduce me to the retail products business. Seth had coached me on producing some stunning leave-behind sales materials including a spec sheet with the color pics of the bench. Our first stop was an up-scale garden center in “The County”. Seth began by saying a couple words about the bench, and I followed with an equally brief description of the project. Seth nodded to me to pull out the spec sheet. When the woman at the shop saw the pics, her head literally snapped back as she noted how beautiful the bench was. When she saw the retail price of the bench was $2500, she said, “Expensive! But we can do expensive here.” The sale wasn’t complete, but the message was clear. We left with a spring in our step. Seth leaned over and said, “That’s the evidence we needed!”

By combining the stunning design of the bench with a project that teaches folks to use their hands to “make good”, she easily got it, and was invested in both the product and the idea ~ little as they both may be. So as the bench moves from the workbench at Gutierrez Studios, out to the garden center. It gives the woman who was sold on the concept a chance to sell the concept repeatedly ~ in her own way. Each of the folks who purchase one for their yard have now been invested. It gives them the opportunity to share this story with each visitor who comments on the bench, and so on… This is in part the vision of this project ~ that each person who is “sold” on the concept of Community becomes an emissary, invested in the idea that we are all responsible for eachother’s well-being. In isiZulu this idea is known as UBUNTU. UBUNTU is the little idea with the power to help change the world to something that is giving and beautiful. Imagine the possibilities!

The Bench that Gives

Nurture Form Community Bench. Photography by Chris Hartlove

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve experienced a rapid reduction in access to vehicles. Last year I lost my car and relied totally on my motorcycle and sharing a vehicle with my girlfriend when it was raining or too icy to ride. This winter’s fury kept me off of the motorcycle for months. When there was a break in the weather, I hopped on to take her out, and for the first time she wouldn’t start. I fiddled and fussed, but nothing. A couple weeks ago the car we shared had a rapid decline. So I pumped up the tires on my bicycle which hadn’t seen the road for a couple years and off I went.

Thank SPIRIT that much of my time is spent at Gutierrez Studios where most of the gents who work there commute by bike, and for those who don’t, sweat is still a way of life. But not every meeting is appropriate for a sweaty, lycra-clad entry. So for those days, and days to rainy to ride, there is Baltimore’s public transportation “system”.

For anyone who has contempt for those who can’t keep a job, I recommend a couple weeks relying on the MTA. Example: I had to get to a place with wifi this morning to get some work done. My iPhone (incidentally, a very useful tool for public trans travel, but also unaccessible to those who can’t swing the buck-eighty per month nut to ATT) told me to walk the mile to get to the bus stop to catch the 33 which was due to pick me up at 10:54. I arrived at the bus stop with 10 minutes to spare, but waited until 11:25 for the next bus to arrive. This waiting is a regular experience for public transit riders. On “good” routes, the schedule tells you there is a half hour to the next bus. If that one doesn’t show, add over an hour to your travel time. I had to get downtown, for my next stop. This is a 7 minute car ride from the coffee shop. My phone informed me that it is a 44 minute bus trip, including one transfer. Now, if even one leg of that trip breaks, it could be an hour and 45 minutes for the three mile commute. My iPhone tells me it would only be a 59 minute walk. Interesting dilemma.

If I was traveling to a job just 10 miles away during rush hour, I would have to plan on a two- to four-hour trip. Simple odds tell you that I would be late at least a couple times a month. How many employers would care to hear my excuse after the second time? Add single parenting and getting kids to school into that mix, and welfare seems about the only viable option.

This morning, after my hour-and-fifteen-minute-long commute to the local coffee shop, I ran into a woman I know. “Oh, that was you walking down the hill. I wasn’t sure if it was you, so I didn’t stop so I wouldn’t have to give a ride to someone I didn’t know.” I wasn’t mad at her. I know that she didn’t know her 3 minute drive would translate to an hour of lost time for me. But I am mad at a system that doesn’t hold people who don’t have resources as a priority. I am mad at a system that has made it unsafe for a woman to see if it is her friend walking. I am mad at a system that doesn’t make it safe for anyone to add people they don’t know to their empty cars to enable them to have any prospect of keeping a job and having a decent life.

Several years ago, artist Samuel Christian Holmes produced ornate sculpted thrones for MTA Lightrail stops on Howard street. He told me that he made them so that when his people were waiting for trains they would at least have a moment of feeling like kings and queens. I know this image moved a little something in my soul. As it turns out that little something had a lot to do with the Nurture Form Community Bench that was recently born.

Since I was very young, I have adored beautiful things. Not flashy things ~ things that exude beauty. I love the craftsmanship of old tools, formed of wood and steel by hand. I love the exquisite lines of instruments whose curved shapes are made to hold, and to make room for the bow to travel. I love the action of the keys of a Steinway Grand, resulting from over 12,000 moving parts. And I love the beauty of a well crafted piece of furniture. I know that the privilege of my upbringing ~ with a Mom who would on occasion pull out her beautifully ancient violin, and who collected things made by hand, and pianist Aunt Elaine, who allowed me to play her Steinways, and older brother Mark, who spent endless hours coaxing historic automobiles to life and beauty ~ I know my experience is rare, particularly for a Black man in America.

Yesterday in preparation for her first photo shoot, I methodically followed the grain of the pink ipe wood, initially with sand paper to pull smooth the surface, then, with penetrating oil to release the rich, brown beauty of her grain. I realized that the little idea of the Nurture Form Community Bench was not only about bringing something of beauty to life. I knew then that what was being born was the sum of all the gifts my life has given me ~ the gift of loving things that were made to continue giving. Although the design for the bench literally came to me one morning in the magical space between dreaming and waking, so many hands have touched and shaped this gift, that it no longer belongs to me alone. From the moment I first learned of Sam’s thrones, to when I first saw a stunning “Guti” bench, to when I handed the drawing to John who smiled his approval as he passed it to Mo the virtual sculptor, to when Mo’s 3D drawings of the bench appeared in my inbox making it no longer just an idea, to when he turned those into shop drawings for craftsman Drew to heat and bend her to life ~ all of these touches created this strong and delicate object. Yesterday, when photographer Chris Hartlove set his lights and lens to share her with the world, I began to feel the true power and movement of this gift.

My Son Grayson, himself an artist ~ a writer ~ and I were musing on the future of art. He was feeling that we had run the full course of art’s current form. We began to imagine where it was headed. I believe that the future is an evolution of the old way. Art will pull free from the rarefied walls of museums and will reconnect with life. I believe art will return to its original collaborative form where many hands bring life to the work, then, bring the work to life. The evolution will drift away from anonymizing or individualizing who gets recognition for the work. The fact that many hands touched the work will no longer decrease its value. This process will create its value. This will become the sign of truly great works.

I am learning that the Community Bench is named for the community of individuals that are behind her inviting lines.  This bench is also gift to the community. She is a fine instrument ~ a Steinway, boiled down to its essence. She was not created to bless hallowed concert halls. She was designed to “give” ~ to yield ~ as she gently holds those who have not been held in the narrow band of esteem traditionally reserved for those of privilege. As we begin to produce the Nurture Form Community Bench, she will continue to give everyday people the skill and artistry to bend and form the steel and wood from which she is constructed. As we place her on the streets of forgotten and neglected communities, she will give hope to those who learn what her lineage represents. She will signal that we as a people no longer will we tolerate the maintenance of an underclass. She will give a people who have for 400 years served an owner, the chance to own their own. She will give those waiting for buses, and change, a loving place to rest. And she will call to others to join the evolution of a society that holds all her people as deserving of the best we have to give. She will become known as “The Bench that Gives“.

Photograph By Chris Hartlove Photograph By Chris Hartlove

Photograph by Chris Hartlove Photograph by Chris Hartlove

Join the Circle of hands who give in support the Community Wealth Generation Initiative

The Master’s Touch

Photograph by Julia Pearson

It was a cold night, three years ago. The fire pit was blazing, spinning and shooting orange embers into the sky, challenging the stars for a moment before they flickered and faded. There were a hundred people huddled close. Some baking the warmth into their clothes, others pressing together in groups in animated exuberance. John had offered his amazing space to yet another friend and admirer in celebration of her birth. Farrah shone, wrapped in her grandmother’s fur like it was the best birthday ever. It was always The Best if it had anything to do with John Kennedy Gutierrez.

The drinks flowed like honeywater, painting soft our consciousness and vision ~ blurring the edges of who we thought we were. I wandered from the outside into the Gutierrez Studio showroom filled with stunning objects, armoires of shining steel and zebrawood, tables and chairs with legs of rust and patina, hanging amber light fixtures, each more simple and elegant than the last. One object captured my imagination. It was an exquisite desk lamp, honed of fine steel, delicate and sturdy ~ a cylindrical counter weight at one end, offsetting a long thin rod tipped with a tiny light. The entire piece was balanced with a polished steel ball sandwiched, well, more like suspended, between to thick steel discs. It looked like something pulled straight out of my dreams ~ the perfect object. It was blue heron-like in its hue and elegance. Like a child in a museum, I couldn’t help but reaching out to touch it. But rather than the metal-on-metal resistance I expected, the weighted rod moved as if it was floating in air. So perfectly balanced was this being from another universe, it stayed, without settling, exactly where I moved it. It was breathtaking.

I wandered around the room in awe ~ then, was overwhelmed by a feeling of deep sadness. I work in the neglected communities of Baltimore. Most people who don’t venture there imagine the pain of poverty. I see the majesty of my people making magic out of nothing. I see my young black teenage brothers in the streets pushing twisted bicycles, front wheels spinning off-kilter like tacos, slack chains, twisted handlebars. A condition that is impossible to ride. Yet, they mount these broken machines and bend the forces of space and time, hoist the front wheel towards the heavens with exquisite ease, and ride impossible wheelies for endless blocks, one hand swinging behind their backs as if to cuss back at the impossibility ~ to say, this ain’t nuthin. I knew in my soul that they deserve vehicles engineered like that lamp, and will never have access. These objects were made for those who can afford the artistry with which they were crafted.

I ran out the door to meet the man who conjured the space that created this magic. As I emerged out of the door, there was a man who towered above my 6 feet of stature, thick as a tree. He looked over at me with, olive skin, brushy brows shading sharp eyes peering through the delicately wrought glasses of an architect. His face broke into an off-kilter, snaggled smile as dimples danced up his right cheek. He stuck out his hand, which swallowed mine as if I were a child. His booming voice announced, John!

“Is that your shit in there?”, unable to pause for formalities. “Yeah, this is my place.” I don’t remember if this is true, but the residue of my memory tells me I didn’t let go of his hand. I pulled him into the showroom directly over to the “heron lamp”.

“Did you make this?”

“It was made here ~ designed by one of the craftsmen at the shop.” He walked me across the room and took me into the darkened space of the shop. He reached to flip a switch that flickered the lights to attention, revealing the caverness, cathedraled ancient space filled with machines, metal, wood, and projects in various stages of completion. It was the first time since childhood that I experienced the feeling I long to feel when I walk into a church. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe reminds us, “God is in the details”.

I was standing there. I couldn’t move. “Let me run an idea by you…” I blurted in manic impatience. I sketched the image of the kids hittin wheelies on trashed bikes. I said, “What if we taught folk who can do that, to do this?” His mouth arched into that crooked smile ~ he let go a laugh and said, “Call me Monday.” That was the genesis of what will now be know as the John Kennedy Gutierrez Apprenticeship, the first project of the Community Wealth Generation Initiative.

Last week, three years later, we filmed the bending and welding of the prototype bench that will be the first product of the apprenticeship that will teach men and women in East Baltimore to do just that. The next day, I sat in the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center next to John as he labored to breathe. The next night, I stood in my living room watching the amazing footage of John’s youngest employee, Drew, heating, bending and welding the steel bench as John’s voice powered through the speakers of my stereo. I happened to record a conversation with John 6 months before. I was about to write the curriculum for the initial orientation for the apprenticeship. I asked “what do the folk we are training need to know”? John took the next 22 minutes and 40 seconds to explain what it means to be a craftsman and an entrepreneur.

As I was watching, the wind picked up outside, pushing its way through the still sticky sliding doors of my living room that John once instructed me how to fix when he was there. Moments later I received a text from John’s sister Diana that said simply, “John has left this world.”

If one is truly blessed, one is given a gift of someone with the power to bend time and space ~ to bend your life from something ordinary, into something exquisite. This is the gift that John gave to me. 500 people gathered this Monday, filling the cathedral he calls “The Shop”, that John Kennedy Gutierrez bent into being from the ashes of the Clipper Mill fire. As we pushed close to eachother around the fire pit, still blazing, spinning and shooting orange embers into the sky, challenging the stars before they flickered and faded; I knew that I was not alone.

A man who works with his hands is a laborer;
a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman;
but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist.

Louis Nizer

Dancing with Karma

I have been doing a lot of guidance work around a structure that the SpiritBones has taught me about karma, at least my understanding of it. It has brought the idea closer and made it simpler. In an attempt to definie it clearly and simply: Karma is energy. It is neither good nor bad. How we engage the energy determines how that energy engages and surrounds us. It’s not the shit we did when we were X years old, or the mosquito we swatted last week. It is the way we choose to carry the energy or let it go, NOW.

This understanding has been really freeing in so many ways. We can shift our experience instantly if we alter the way we hold what we experience and the story we imbue it with. It is incredibly empowering to realize that we have that power. It’s not like some mistake we made years ago has to haunt us ~ unless of course we give it that power.

The Bones call us to face forward. The past is just that. Nota thing we can do bout it. But we can sculpt our future if we engage the present passionately, and know clearly who we are and what we have come to give to the world. Then everything starts lining up in an exquisite dance.  The reality of karma is that we sculpt our life no matter what.

The dance sometimes is more of a stumble. As we image our circumstances we shape them. When we operate from a place of scarcity, with the assumption that there is not enough of what we need to go around, we at times try to exert control over our conditions that sometimes distorts the karma surrounding them. We have all been there in some circumstance in our life, trying to bend the truth to force our selves into some situation that doesn’t quite fit. A little voice inside tells us that we should not invest in this little lie. If we ignore that little voice, we paradoxically become attached to it. We have to keep engaging that sticky energy because we don’t know how to shake it, we have to maintain the myth. It is like walking with lead weights around our soul. We can do it, but it slows us down and holds our attention ~ even subconsciously. So we begin to self-sabotage to try to compensate for that energy. But that just distances us more from our true dream and entwines us deeper with the karmic stickiness. It runs us down, we feel depressed, and often we don’t know why. So we try to address the depression externally, we drink, we prozac, we shop, to make our selves feel better. But each additional strategy further distances us from our soul’s desire. The cycle is set.

So how do we move beyond that trap? We run the Bones. Level 0: We get in touch with our vision/our dream. Level 1: We begin to tell ourselves the truth of how our choices are impacting our dream. Level 2: We share our truth with others and accept the new karma that rolls out from that. It may mean leaving or even loosing that job. At first glance this might seem like “bad karma”. But it is actually the movement, the hand of the universe aligning us with our true purpose. This is Level 3, the gift that is born out of all truthful relationship. Level 4: We start to build structures, based in truth and transparency, that can support us moving towards our dream. Level 5: We begin to manifest those dreams in the world, and our karma is lightened by the act of being true to our purpose. We also build momentum actualization our true path. Level 6: A community of mutual support begins to form around our vision. The community receives the gifts we came to bring, and we are supported by the community to bring those gifts. We become free of the doubt that initially set the negative spiral in place, and it inverts to a positive, supportive spiral. And Level 7, the new 0, allows us to reflect on our capacity to shape karma, and the energy supporting us lifts our vision to a new place.

The challenge is that it is difficult to even see we are in this spiral. This is where loving guidance is helpful ~ working with someone who can see the patterns of our lives through the telling of our story and opening to the truth or our little choices. This is the gift of the Bones. There are many individuals from many practices that can help with this reflective awareness. If you are interested in the SpiritBones structure to support you through this work, Let Us Know!

Raising Your Dollars’ Values

Many of us have just dumped a load of cash (and credit) on gifts for those we value. But we don’t often think of the dollars we spend in terms of the values they represent. If you want one clear snapshot of your values, follow your dollars. This is as true for individuals as businesses and governments.

Money is simply energy. It is just as critical to be conscious of what energy your dollars are moving in the world as it is your attitude, your work, your relationships. The bones ask us to Zero In on the our core values. Who are we? What drives our decision-making? What fingerprint do we want to leave upon the world – Each Day? Take a minute to answer these three questions, as honestly as you can. Then take a look at your bank statement, and ask how it reflects these values. If you hold your self to be a giving person, how much of your budget is given? If your love of music is central to your life, how much do you support those who create the music you listen to? If you want to tread lightly on the planet, does your financial investment in the planet’s health reflect this? If you believe in justice and fairness, are you willing to spend more dollars on a gift to ensure that you know the workers were not abused in its production?

If you are like most of us in the western world, you haven’t given this much thought. You can now either start to feel guilty for what you haven’t done (not a very useful application of energy) or you can get started aligning your use of dollars with your values. If you are not sure where and how the product you are about to purchase (or not) was produced ~ ASK. Asking is a powerful way to raise the impact of your spending. If enough of us ask, the buyers will take note. Where we choose not to spend is as much, or more of a reflection of our values as where we do.

To what ever degree you engage this practice of values spending, you will create change. You will also notice over time as you do this more and more, you feel more of a participant in your life, and your days will grow increasingly rich. As you raise the values of your dollars, you will raise the value of each day.

Subjective Support

Eachother

EachOther

The western world has this obsession with the myth of objectivity, as if there as any such thing as an objective viewpoint. In a 1998 study, researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science conducted a highly controlled experiment demonstrating how even a beam of electrons is affected by the act of being observed. They proved that the greater the amount of “watching” takes place, the greater the level of influence on what is being watched. That means that even inanimate objects are effected by the presence of others. That’s deep, huh?

So when we go to individuals for support or guidance in the hope they can offer us an “objective perspective”, an oxymoron, what are we actually asking? Are we asking not to be moved by others? Are we actually asking that they cease to exist? Are we asking to stay stuck where we are because we fear change? SpiritBone Catalytic Guidance is a partnership, one in which it requires the guide to be fully subjective ~ to be who s/he is in order to enter a mutual moving ~ a dance. It is through this dance that the supportive relationship emerges in which both partners evolve and free up to be more of who they are. It is dependent upon what was proven at the Weizmann Institute. It assumes that we are interconnected to such a degree that your existence literally changes me. Even if we do not know each other.

In South Africa, the Zulu people have an understanding which is called UBUNTU. There is no English translation for this word. There is a reason that our Western ideology does not have this word. It is dependent upon the negation of this truth to sustain itself. But it is also the same myth that allows us to have the word “objective”. UBUNTU, as close as I have been able to process it through my Western training, means we are responsible for eachother’s wellbeing. Maybe even, we are eachother. Now, as I type the words “wellbeing” and “eachother” as singular words, my spellchecker underlines them in red, reminding me that those ideals should be broken apart and isolated from each other. The true revolution is to sit with the judgement of this individualistic, objectified culture and continue to know that they belong together, with every cell in ourbeing.

What if the truth is that the doctor is being healed by the patient, and the therapist is being healed by the individual on the couch? We actually know that somewhere in our souls ~ both as practitioner and patient ~ that the benefits of the interaction often weigh on the side of those in the healer role. It is actually the relationship that creates the healing. If we deny that truth to maintain our power over others in an imbalanced, patriarchal relationship, are we not doing more harm than good?

I have a close friend who was just diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. He was told very concretely by folk in white coats about his future on the planet. He jokingly said to me, “I told them, ‘You can’t talk to me that way!’, and I hit them!” But he is right ~ who the hell are they to pretend objectively that they can tell him anything in such a detached way as if something is happening to him and not US?

What if the whole premise of our individuality is simply wrong?

I am not a doctor, I simply sit with folk who want to work in a collaborative way to emerge what is going on with, around, and between US, from the premise that we are connected like the electrons are connected to the observers. And that by our sitting together ~ exploring what is emerging in our collective reality, we can help eachother to understand our next moves ~ on behalf of eachother and the whole of humanity ~ The Big Family. My friend’s sister partners in the SpiritBone work with me. She said at our last session that she breaths healing into her brother’s cells. I know for certain she can do this ~ as can I. So I am joining her in that process. So can you, without even knowing him, you can breath wellbeing into his cells, because we are all connected. So I invite you into this very subjective work of supporting eachother. I invite you to breath wellbeing into my/your brother’s cells. And let us together be very subjective observers of the powerful influence WE have!

For more information: SpiritBone Catalytic Guidance

Little acts that changed your life!

I recently attended TEDx Mid-Atlantic. One of the speakers, Bob Duggan co-founder of the Tai Sophia Institute, spoke of loosing his mother as a young child. It is hard for me to imagine this moment in a young child’s life, but it is not hard to imagine the response of those surrounding the boy in this death-denying culture in which we find ourselves. The words, though coming from the best of intentions, undoubtedly reinforced his experience of loss. He spoke of a doctor offering a very different view of the experience, one that shifted his relationship to this experience and probably the trajectory of his life. The insightful man said how lucky he was that his mother was now at the hand of GOD, and could protect him where every he was. This little act was profoundly powerful and continues to educate through the ripples it still sends across the Unisphere.

Doors to Self Perception ~ Ray's Results

This got me thinking of a sentence that changed my life. I was not the student all of my grade school teachers wanted me to be ~ to say the least. I had the fortunate “accident” of landing for college at the Maryland Institute College of Art which is where TEDx happened to take place exactly 30 years later. My first semester passed with similar pattern of non-performance resulting in a 2.0 GPA. Then, enter Ray Allen, a teacher that lit my imagination and passion for creating like no other since my kindergarten steward Grace Land. I hit each assignment with the delight of a 5-year-old in mud. At one point, mid-second semester he said, “You are responsible, I have a project I would like you to do for me.” I panned the room looking for who he must be talking to. There was no one else there. I had never heard any words resembling those from an authority figure in my life. I realized for the first time that my performance and my capacity were not the same thing, and that it was I who was “responsible” and able to bring them together. From that moment on my engagement in my work and my education lifted. But more powerfully, my image of my self was changed forever.

Many of us have moments like this that have shaped and shifted our lives. If you have such a story you wish to share, post it below and let us know the little acts that changed your life.