Mid-December inspiring stories

OK, I’m slowly catching up this month! There has been so much goodness, it’s hard to keep up. Let’s get into it:

  • brinkleyFirst, an update. Some of you may have read my inspirational interview with musician Jonathan Brinkley last month. Jonathan has now officially launched his Kickstarter campaign, and I encourage you to take a look (I even have a cameo in the video) and contribute to the project if you are moved to do so. Minimum pledge is $1; his music is wonderful; and his vision is bold and generous. Let’s help him succeed!
  • lanzaOn the topic of unguarded hearts … it can be hard to keep one in today’s world. I enjoyed this thoughtful piece, from an NVC perspective, on the recent mall and school violence and its roots in the society we all co-create. The gist of the article: fear and vulnerability, un-tended or inadequately tended in youth, can turn easily to self-hatred and violence. On the face of it, this is not “good news.” But the positive message I took from the article was that with awareness and intention, we can all choose to continually create society differently:  The Fearless Heart: Adam Lanza and All of Us.
  • vegnewsSpeaking of creating a nonviolent world, one action at a time: Kudos to Costa Rica! The nation has officially banned sport hunting. What a compassionate, progressive place. No wonder their national “happiness score” is so high: Costa Rica Officially Bans Hunting Nationwide.
  • vegnews-gardenburgerAnd in other good news for animals, as well as for hungry people: Gardenburger/Gardenbar has donated 100,000 vegan meal bars to the Oregon Food Bank. I applaud their corporate generosity.
  •  compostingAlso on the corporate-responsibility front: Charlotte Douglas Airport has begun composting with worms! I would love to see all airports follow suit in the near future: One Airport’s Trash Is 2 Million Worms’ Treasure : NPR.
  • lettuce-growAnd speaking of vermicompost and natural gardening: I just learned about a wonderful organization, Lettuce Grow Garden Foundation, which helps inmates grow gardens in Oregon institutions. The produce is used by the institutional cafeterias, as well as donated to other organizations in the community who help get the produce to people who need it.
  • successful-peopleAnd finally, if you’ve been itching to get something started yourself, here is some good advice for becoming successful in whatever business or project you’d like to take on:  8 Things Remarkably Successful People Do.


Inspiring stories of early December

Wow! How time flies. My “weekly” digest is a tad late. Sorry. Better late than never, though, right? (Look for the “late December” edition next week.) Let’s get to it!

  • First, we have some wonderful news for animals. LUSH Cosmetics is taking an industry-leadership path by awarding a significant sum of money to promote cruelty-free research. I’m a firm believer that where there’s a will there’s always a way, and this sort of corporate philanthropy helps to pave that way.
  • madness-radioOn another topic: Here is an awesome, awesome project I just learned about, run by my old friend Will Hall: Madness Radio! “Since 2005 Madness Radio has explored the question ‘What does it mean to be called “crazy” in a crazy world?’ through powerful and provocative in-depth interviews. More than 125 shows have aired since Madness Radio began, featuring survivors of bipolar, schizophrenia, and psychosis diagnosis, as well as human rights activists, journalists, advocates, and artists.” I just pledged to the Kickstarter campaign. Perhaps you’d like to as well? And/or help spread the word?
  • daveChanging subjects again: Dave Dahl, of Dave’s Killer Bread, is a well known and respected example of a former prisoner who has quit drugs and become successful in business. (A vegan business, no less.) Using Dahl as an example, this article explores some recent policy changes that reflect a rehabilitative, rather than simply punitive, approach toward incarcerated persons. We need more of these approaches!
  • Lastly: If you are thinking of starting a business or nonprofit of any kind, I highly recommend this TED talk on entrepreneurship by a very knowledgeable and engaging speaker.

Thanks for reading! Keep your dreams alive!

All aboard!

Well, things are humming right along! I have been heartened by the feedback I’ve already received on this blog, even though it is still under construction and hasn’t been officially launched yet. I love hearing from people whose paths are in some way aligned with mine, or with whom my writings resonate.

I’m excited about the steps I’ve been taking in my own journey, as well as the steps I’m taking to help others via this practice. Most notably, I have just announced my first Dream Into Change workshop, and people are signing up for it! It feels very exciting to me … I can’t wait to see the kinds of life changes and dream-fulfillment progress all these folks will be helping each other to make! And, I’m excited to plan another offering of this workshop, probably in February, for those who couldn’t make it to this one. Eventually, I plan to find a way to offer these workshops online, so that people can participate from multiple geographic areas; I think that would bring an extra layer of richness.

First things first, though: I’m looking forward to this coming Saturday!

Meanwhile, I’m ecstatic to have purchased my 15-day Amtrak rail pass, and set my itinerary for my January California trip. I love train travel, and I have never taken a rail journey of more than three days (when I traveled across the country twelve years ago to attend my high school reunion in Virginia). This time around, I will be spending time in Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and the Bay area, before returning home to Portland. My hope is to offer the workshop in each of these cities as I pass through. I also want to do a lot of networking, meeting people in each city who are actively involved – especially in leadership roles – in any of my four main areas of interest: 1) NVC and restorative justice; 2) veganism; 3) touch- and/or sex-positive culture; and 4) sustainable energy and transportation. I’d love to have coffee or a meal with such people, and talk about the things they are working on. Perhaps do some interviews for this blog, as well. So, if you happen to know anyone in those cities involved in any of those topics, please feel free to share my contact info with them; I’d love to meet them! I’m especially interested in any San Diego connections, since I plan to live in San Diego from December through March, beginning in 2013. Also, if you know of anyone in any of these places who might be interested in the workshop, please feel free to forward the link to them. And, if you have ideas for how I could spread the word about it any of these cities, I would love to know!

I’ll sign off here. I hope you are all thinking about your dreams every day, and taking steps toward making them come true!

My dream

As I write this, it is the eve of my 40th birthday.  I am ready to begin the next chapter of my life, dreaming into my own change.  I am not a youngster anymore.  It is time for me to step up and bring my full self to bear on this world.  There is a lot in the world that needs changing.  I want to play the most powerful role I can to bring about this change.  The first step, for me, is to stand up and state my values.  Sometimes, in the past, I have kept quiet about them because I feared offending or  triggering discomfort for some people. But I now realize that we all get triggered sometimes, and that is part of life.  And in many social movements over the years, people really needed to get triggered in order for the change to come about.  And I really want to work with people in this practice who share my values (not necessarily all, but most) and my vision for a better world.  So, here are some things about me and what I stand for.

The bottom line:  I value compassion and respect.  For everyone.  This theme expresses itself in four broad areas, on which I want to focus my time and energy:

1) Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and restorative justice, as alternatives to conventional ways of communicating that are based on blame, shame, reward, and punishment.  I know that we humans are capable of so much more, and these tools give me great hope for moving humanity forward in this regard.

2) Veganism.  I know that animal products equal animal suffering, and I am not willing to play a part in animal suffering.  As a species, I believe we need to make the leap to living and eating compassionately and respectfully.  The fact that veganism is growing so fast all over the world right now gives me tremendous hope.

3) I am touch-positive, sex-positive, and polyamorous. I support everyone’s right to love whomever they want, in whatever mutually agreeable configuration they see fit.  I also think most people in our culture are tragically touch-starved.  Further, our culture is dysfunctionally dualistic about sex (simultaneously Puritanical and porn-obsessed, for example) and I believe we could all benefit from more connection, more supportive touch, and more heart-centered, conscious sexuality of many stripes.

4) Sustainable transportation.  I believe we need to move beyond our current model of single-occupant, internal-combustion vehicles.  I strongly support bicycling, bus and rail transit, and walking as alternatives to this paradigm.  Fortunately, this is easy to do, because let’s face it:  bikes and trains are cool!

Now … how do I plan to help the world – and more importantly, help you – to make changes in these areas?  I’m glad you asked!  I believe some of my biggest strengths are my optimism, my enthusiasm, my ability to connect with a wide variety of people and take in a wide scope of information, and my ability to support people as they discover and move toward their own dreams.

My intention with this Dream Into Change practice is to facilitate people’s journeys from where they are (for example, feeling stuck in a job that pays the bills, but does little to nourish the spirit or make the world a better place) to where they want to be.  For any given person, this might mean changing careers, beginning a new business venture, or perhaps starting up a significant “side project” and/or working to transform an unfulfilling work situation to make it more fulfilling.  These questions have been my personal struggle for the last 20 years, and I have found many different ways to approach them.  I want to share these ideas with clients and readers, and I want to collaborate with clients to identify their own values and passions, and collaborate to help them integrate their values and passions into as many hours of the day as possible, both in and out of work.

My vision is a world in which people direct their time and energy toward life-serving pursuits, for themselves and for others, with an eye toward the global picture.  I am very excited to help bring about this world, by working with individuals to turn their dreams into reality.

I hope you will follow me as I continue to dream into my own change here on this blog.  I will share periodic updates about my own journey, as well as interviews with people who are inspiring me by taking leaps of faith and living their own dreams.  I’ll also share links to other articles and items I find, relating to either following one’s own heart or to any of the issue areas I listed above, as well as other items that I find inspiring and I hope you will too.

Thank you for joining me!  Let’s Dream Into Change.