09 5 / 2012

"We’ve all been give a gift, the gift of life. What we do with our lives is our gift back." - Edo. 

Listen to Charles Einstein’s beautiful perspective on the future of economic and cultural shifts towards a collective society that adds value to the beautifully functioning system, life. 

09 5 / 2012

Circles, Triangles, Squares, Pluses & Spirals are simple shapes.

What is your preference toward these shapes we all recognize countless times throughout the day? Angeles Arrien, developed a study that says your preference toward these shapes may say more than you think about the way your process and participate in change.

92% of global cultures agree on the meaning of these five shapes. Her findings will surprise you with it’s clarity and simplicity. 

Click to listen

10 4 / 2012

A sneak peak at what’s to come in this weeks post about connectedness, but still alone. 

A sneak peak at what’s to come in this weeks post about connectedness, but still alone. 

27 3 / 2012

""If it is true that a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link, isn’t it also true a society is only as healthy as it’s sickest citizen and only as wealthy as it’s most deprived?"
-Maya Angelou"

Last night, we had an excellent discussion about injustice & identity, we thought this quote  connected some of our thoughts. Be looking for more later this week, it will be thought provoking and challenging, something we enjoy engaging in! 

18 3 / 2012

"Love is essential, gregariousness is optional." - Susan Cain

"There’s a word for “people who are in their heads too much”: thinkers." - Susan Cain

More and more our culture and space is designed with collaborative and group style interest at mind. Our classrooms, offices, and work places have slowly shifted from segmented and isolated personal spaces to open & high-frequency interaction environments in hopes that collaborative thought will yield more innovation, more improvement and better solutions. It’s not that collaborative thought and group work is destructive, but when we pursue such measures without the interest of individuals who thrive working alone, we reduce the effectiveness of the groups, teams and people we interact with.

Some of the most enlightened thought offered to humanity has been gifted by individuals who would be identified as introverted or thinkers. Solitude is a unique practice that has been associated with deeper and clearer thought, but slowly we are removing the spaces and freedom for individuals who desire this space for their best work.

Susan Cain raises riveting questions about the room allotted for individuals who prefer & enjoy working alone, reading books for hours, or spending days alone. We had the pleasure of discussing this topic in a diverse group of people, some extremely introverted others at the other extremity of the scale of extroversion.

Here are some of the main points we discussed. 

1. Is our Association Static? The character of activities may bring different elements of introversion and extroversion out of people. Some people enjoy finding days at a time to be entirely one with themselves and their thoughts, while at the same time that same person desires positive interactions with other human beings in highly social contexts. Obviously, these urges vary from person to person, but maybe we aren’t entirely introverted and maybe we aren’t entirely extroverted. There could be a balance, and we think that balance is specific to each person, there is no conventional balance that you should conform to. Seek to understand yourself better, and recognize where your balance lies. Your balance, behavior, personality, & preference is unique and your uniqueness is what the world needs most. 

2. Be Authentically You. It’s easy to feel the pressure of the world by being what the world demands of you. Although it’s difficult to point to the origin of such pressure, it exist and often urges us to live in a costume that isn’t genuinely us. This may be where solitude or introversion is key. Maybe being alone allows us to better understand and learn who we genuinely & authentically are. 

3. Fear. Those of us that are introverted feel fear of being vulnerable with people, while those of us who are extroverted feel fear for being alone or practicing solitude. This fear, of experiencing the beautiful qualities of the lifestyle we aren’t easily inclined to live, is the fear we may need to challenge ourselves with. We are not saying you must be more introverted if you are an extrovert or the inverse, instead maybe we give more attention to the thing we are fearful about and try to understand why such fear exist in connection to introversion or extroversion. 

4. Solitude & Fellowship. Every world religion presents the importance of solitude and fellowship. Usually this emphasis is mention to experience a fulfilling life. So maybe it’s in the combination of these two social interaction preferences that we obtain significant meaning in our relationship to the world. With this being said, we think the combination  from person to person is specific to them and their unique complexities. 

5. What about the labels? Should we ignore the labels because what really matters is what kind of person you are. What kind of person are you to your friends? What kind of person are you to family? What kind of person are you to strangers you don’t yet know? Human beings express themselves in relationship to each other. However you do that be reflective in the way you express yourself to other people, ask yourself what kind of person are you willing to be in this world?


Further Reading & Resources: 

Susan Cain’s book: Quiet

Susan Cain’s Manifesto 

Kohn Ashmore selected this topic & presentation. Kohn lives in San Diego and enjoys spending his time writing and interacting with his many friends. Kohn, has many of the pieces he has written available on his blog Traveling Circus Acts

If you listen to Radiolab, check out the Slow episode to learn more about Kohn and his story (he was featured in an episode a few months back.)

We share our notes because we think these discussions yield pieces of information that can change the way we live and interact with the world. We think it can do the same for you. Enjoy. 

16 3 / 2012

"A good curator is thinking not just about acquisition and selection, but also contextualizing.” ~Joanne McNeil

"Ideas are the most valuable thing. Good ones make all the difference; bad ones can hold us back, maybe even destroy us. If we can focus on finding the right ones, helping distill them, and transfer them as quickly as possible, we can get more of that. Curation is that means to the end.” ~ Peter Hopkins

This short video on curation from some of the most brilliant curators has some excellent insight about discovering and sharing information and ideas that spark curiosity & wonder. With the overwhelming amount of information available, we need filters to ignore the irrelevant information and to allow us to focus more of our attention on the material that adds value to our particular interests. 

Curate self seeks challenging information that can be discussed & explored from various perspectives, voices, & emotions. We believe our collective thought allows us to reach more clearer and holistic understandings of the topics we select.

Enjoy this beautifully crafted exploration of Curation.    

Featured curators include:
Maria Popova (twitter.com/brainpicker)
Joanne McNeil (twitter.com/rhizomedotorg)
Peter Hopkins (twitter.com/bigthink)
Edith Zimmerman (thehairpin.com/)
Anthony De Rosa (soupsoup.tumblr.com)
Rex Sorgatz (twitter.com/fimoculous)
Piers Fawkes (psfk.com)
Tina Roth Eisenberg (swiss-miss.com)

05 3 / 2012

Last Monday night, we discussed the Story of Stuff.

The Story of Stuff outlines how and where we get our things, and why our linear system of extraction, production, distribution, consumption and disposal is unsustainable, flawed, and bad for everyone involved (except for the wealthy corporations).  

Now, granted, we think most people interested in discussing these topics on this blog (or wherever?) are very aware of how privileged we are compared to the rest of the world, and that a lot of that privilege comes at a direct disadvantage, and even harm to many other people. This is partially why we discuss subjects like this. By watching & listening to the information presented, our awareness to these types of problems may enable us to make better decisions about how we spend our money and consume or uncover personal solutions that reduce our participation in this destructive circumstance.

Here are some topics we discussed: 

1. Awareness: The system was designed, it didn’t just happen. This system was created to maximize profits, externalize costs, and marketed to us so that we would ignore all of the dark sides. I believe awareness is the first step to change! The more people know how the system is broken, the faster we can take action and change things. 

2. The Overwhelming Reality: There is a lot of tough information to receive I this presentation. Most people feel overwhelmed upon hearing this information. In our discussion, many people responded with questions of confusion. “What are we supposed to do?”, was a question posed by several people.

When we need to buy new shoes because the ones we wear are completely worn out, what are we to do if we don’t have the time, money or skills make our own shoes. For items like shoes, there aren’t too many quality alternatives to shoes manufactures abroad, which tend to be made with materials extracted from small local environments & ecosystems. With an economic engine powered by big box stores like Wal-Mart & Costco it’s increasingly difficult to discover items from ethical, sustainable and fair companies.

Is it possible for companies that strive for these values (ethical, responsible, environmental, sustainable, fair & excellence) to survive in industries seeking profit maximization, cost-slashing & exploitative foreign labor?

3. Personal responsibility: Even if it feels like we are fighting a vast, inevitable tide of mindless, unhealthy, unsustainable consumerism, we can definitely start somewhere, and make conscious choices that have a positive, sustainable impact on the future. We discussed having relationships where we can be open and accountable to each other about how and when and where we spend our money.

Start somewhere. Think of ways you can improve or come up with alternative solutions that don’t fuel & even support a system filling the pockets of corporations (in technicality, people) with such short-term focus. 

4. Community: Along those lines of relationship and accountability, we discussed the importance of a good, supportive community that cares about and understands the desire to make personal decisions that have less negative impact on the planet. We also discussed starting a sharing campaign, where we can share things that not everyone needs to own, such as a grill, a camera, a lawnmower, a basketball, a ladder and other tools. Sharing items such as these reduces our collective individual consumption.

5. Real Costs v. External Costs: The system doesn’t make logical since. How are a dozen of eggs from Iowa a quarter of the price, at Vons, of a dozen eggs from a local farm in San Diego? If you start thinking only about the traveling it costs, the numbers don’t add up. With gas costing as much as it does, how can eggs travel hundreds of miles on the interstate and end up at the local supermarket on sale for $1.99? While buying a dozen of free-range organic eggs at a local farmer’s market that come from a local farm cost upwards of $6. The truth is, eggs, free-range eggs, do actually cost upwards of $6.00, if you account for all the costs included in raising a chicken in an organ fashion. The eggs sold for $1.99 are cheap for the consumer because the rest of the costs have been externalized to other stakeholders, be it local environments, communities or the global environment. All of the costs necessary to deliver a dozen of fresh eggs aren’t accounted for in $1.99 price, somebody else will pay the difference in future. 

We all need to be a little more aware and responsible of how this country consumes by improving our personal consumption patterns.

Wouldn’t it be great if animals weren’t being added to the extinction list as often as they currently are? Or, if we didn’t consume hazardous byproducts that cause cancer in the products we use? Or if we weren’t made to feel worthless for not buying stuff we don’t need? Or, if the world wasn’t so trashed with toxins and plastics that will take eons to dissolve? 
Well, we created this system and it is completely within our collective ability to begin make changes, even if it is at a personal level. 

We wish there were an easier, more magical solution, but it is a process, and it’s one that We’re glad we got to dialogue about.  

Discussion Questions:

What are you initial remarks about what was presented?

How do you feel about the attention given to this demanding golden arrow?

What are small individual solutions or improvements you can begin making to reduce the effect of this flawed system?

What are your thoughts on spending more money to consume healthy food?

If you are involved in a community of people, could you begin making decisions to consume less? If you’re not involved in a community, what does it look like to start one and begin talking about consumption reduction?



Further Reading & Resources:

Story of Stuff website


Morgan Miller offered this presentation & discussion. Morgan lives in San Diego & is an awesome participating voice in Curate Self. Learn more about what she is curious & excited about on her blog, Friend of Mine or follow her on Twitter.

27 2 / 2012

Seth Godin, author of Linchpin, Poke the Box & Purple Cow, recently self-published a 30,000 word manifesto about his thoughts on education. 

Since, our last discussion was on education, we thought this would be an excellent resource for you to dig deeper and listen to another perspective on this pertinent topic. 

Seth entitled this free, yes I said free, manifesto Stop Stealing Dreams

Give it a read, it’s free. You may learn something new & insightful. 


17 2 / 2012

This past Monday night, we met together for a discussion about this presentation by Sir Ken Robinson on Changing Education Paradigms. The RSA org has beautifully illustrated this brilliant presentation, which has added a significant visual element to the information presented. 

Jeff Murray selected this particular talk and prepared excellent discussion questions, our group then took the material presented into a few thought provoking directions. 

Here are a few of the main points we discussed. 

1. Not necessarily fit for the 21st century. Our education system was effectively designed in the industrial age when large corporations needed large groups of similarly skilled people; however, as the complexity and connectedness of our world increases the skill a person posses don’t necessarily have to fit into a conforming mold, as they once did. We’ve learned, as the dynamics of our world have multiplied while growing closer, there isn’t a specific right way to do much. Maybe, our education system doesn’t have the flexibility and options it needs for our current conditions. 

2. We don’t all need to know Calculus. Why is it that every person that goes through the U.S. school system meet a given set of standards? It’s odd that an individual who desires to become artist working with materials collected from the overlooked corners of alleys and or abandoned school yards must study, learn, and prove proficiency in the same areas of study as an individual who desires to study the chemical structure of steroid induced & genetically engineered food. Most we things we learn in school, we never actually use, even though teachers say we may. If students had more say in the decisions they made regarding the subjects they studied, would they be better prepared to offer their particular uniqueness to the world?

3. Life Skills: Our education systems does little to educate people about the skills and knowledge required for living in the world; filing taxes, registering a vehicle, finding & paying insurance, writing checks, etc. These are skills that most everyone needs to know at some point in their life. Most people learn how to do these much later than people used. Whether this is good or bad, I’m not entirely sure? 

4. School Kills Creativity: The statistics about the deterioration of children’s divergent thinking skills is surprising. Ken Robinson & RSA org present & illustrate this information phenomenally. Throughout elementary, middle & high school we are told this is one right way to do everything. It’s unusual for a teacher to grade a paper with anything else than a red pen. This is a result of the troubling demands forced on teachers to meet standards. However, when we reach the university we are suddenly told to think for ourselves, which usually induces psychological turmoil because for so long this part of our brain has sat dormant in the pursuit of rightness. 

5. Learning is a choice. Some people will choose to learn and others will choose not to learn. This happens to be the case with many things - some people choose to do one thing, while other choose to do the other. Either option may be acceptable. However, what if we were able to provide more individual attention to the future leaders of our world? In doing this, more students would discover the emotional freedom they need to pursue life & the world with curiosity, wonder & inspiration. 

6. More diverse scholastic options. This is an extension of number 2, not all of us need to learn the same exact stuff. A self-motivated student feels more connected to information he or she is studying, which ultimately creates passionate people. It’s necessary to realize that every person has a motivation to do something different. Instead, of deciding for someone, it seems we may be able to retain the essential ingredients of an inspired individual (wonder, curiosity & passion) if we allowed more options and the opportunity for individual’s to direct their own learning.


Here are some interesting links that continue this important topic.

The Brooklyn Free School: http://www.brooklynfreeschool.org/

This American Life episode: Kid Politics (talks about education & the free schools) http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/424/kid-politics  

Freakonomics episode: How is a Bad Radio Station like Public School http://www.freakonomics.com/2010/05/12/freakonomics-radio-how-is-a-bad-radio-station-like-the-public-school-system/

Ken Robinson: How School Kills Creativity (TED Talk) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY

Ken Robinson: Bring on the Learning Revolution (TED Talk) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9LelXa3U_I

Ken Robinson: The Element (His book) http://sirkenrobinson.com/skr/the-element

17 2 / 2012

Here is version 1.0 of the logo I quickly came up with. What are your thoughts? 

Here is version 1.0 of the logo I quickly came up with. What are your thoughts?