Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Renew With Aloha

Yesterday evening I was kayaking on the Shenandoah River not far from where I live.  First going East since the sun was behind me.  Half way on this winding river I was going West blinded by the sun. Then I realized I could go backwards as a easy as forwards. As I stop to turn around I saw a  three foot turtle. This brought to mind there is no beginning, and no end- just the circle going around.

There have been many transitions in my life. Good friends have passed and as well as other things. I have recently moved my Dad near my home.  As one door closes another opens since all of life is filled in three parts:  a start; middle; and an end. Just as there is a past, present, and future how I relate to such passages fosters profound insights. Life is a constant reminder that all things come and go. 

I have met a friend in a men’s group and we are both in transition from this group. Over two years I attended this group at first every week, and then every several weeks and now probably every few months. For me this transition reminds me of a powerful word, Aloha. It means both hello and goodbye. It covers all circumstances from a simple welcome to grieving the loss of a dear love. 

For me grace comes from understanding equanimity of Aloha. Acknowledging my transitory existence is a constant reminder to how things work. When I renew it is as if I was born new again. Since everything changes with Aloha when I remember and exercise renewed awareness. With this widening circle of consciousness I reclaim greater prosperity in my life by honoring this hello and goodbye concept.  

Changing the way I reference all life is a transition this enhances my entire well-being. Aloha shifts my mind so to open in fresh new possibilities.

Renewing with Aloha allows me to discard much of my emotional baggage such as worry, anxiety and other fear based feelings.  Seeing how hello and goodbye helps me better balance the positive with the negative. 

Aloha is like a mantra that helps me recognize I have a choice to reawaken. This lens is the honor the constant rites of passage I experience. My old story can appear as I am looking through a dirty window.  When I open to new experience then I activate my well-being.   

Years ago I shared with a therapist my feelings of anxious energy and how I felt like a buzzing fluorescent light bulb.  It has taken me many years to Renew with Aloha stimulating my life force or chi energy. 

Renew with Aloha is how I choose to perceive and look at my current circumstances.  Either it is filled with Velcro for the bad and Teflon for the good or vice versa?  Such an open and flexible attitude can rejuvenate my outlook just as I can take the remote and change life's T.V. channel.

When I Renew with Aloha I enjoy its liberating effect. There is no beginning and no end just the cosmic circle rotating. This is because all things are impermanent. I accept such change as a given. With this awakening, I can better experience life's amazing mystery. Everything is a blessing, and/or a curse and so as all things it constantly arises and falls.  When I Renew with Aloha may I enjoy its awe. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Eco Trillion Revolution

Time to act is quickly ticking away.  If we are going to secure our future it is going to be the rich to champion it.   No longer can we wait since the fate of our prosperity is in the balance. Today we have nearly 800 billionaires and some are trail blazers for conservation.  One example, Bill Gates, is funding fossil free energy sources shifting from vaccines to greater global environmental issues.

Richard Branson, Michael Dell, Michael Bloomberg, Ted Turner, George Soros, Sergey Brin, Larry Page and others see the wisdom in green philanthropy.  These leaders are investing into alternative energy technologies, biodiversity, green buildings, and numerous other ventures to promote our future prosperity.

Branson, Dell, Turner and others are running their corporate operations by minimizing their footprint with everything from planting trees to green fuels and even educating children with Captain Planet. Bloomberg wishes on making building 80 percent more energy efficient.  Brin and Page are promoting smart cars and plug in vehicles.

Critical is that our weathly leaders develop a blueprint or coordinate efforts since financial impacts of global warming are accelerating. 

Change can only be stimulated by those who can afford to take the risk for greater gain.  For the last few decades major environmental economic advancements have been hampered by the idea that conservation hinders economic growth.  Madison Avenue has promoted an impoverished attitude advocating conspicuous consumption.  This "ending is better than mending" mentality now must be discarded.  Are we affluent or effluent Americans, waste makers or risk takers?

Hopefully new innovative eco-developments will spurn hundreds of other billionaires to a green economic revolution. Our environmental economics are still in the infancy since we still take for granted our free air, water and land resources.  No longer can we allow the philosophy of , "if it is not broke, we do not need to fix it," since it has been broken for years. The yearly cost of dumping on our earth with these externalities is in the trillions affecting the health and safety of billions of living things. 

This crisis requires an ingenious international green social security fund providing this planet with long term financial assurance monies invested for the future generations.  Such initiative would also minimize eco-terrorism and create future micro economic stimulus to fund such green infra-structure developments.

Without some coordinated world financial efforts investing in resources for the future human quality of life on this planet will be seriously diminished.  Such an assumption is not rocket science to figure this out.  Just add up more people, more consumption, less clean land, air and water and what is your conclusion?  Pope Francis, and host of other religious leaders have come up with the same conclusion. We can not allow for the many deniers and climate doubters to prevent such a green eco-revolution.  

Years ago I co-wrote an article with two other experts on landfill financing called,  Dump Now, Pay Latter."  Recycling, and conservation does not happen unless you create incentives or economics to support it.  There is not a credible economist today how has not advocated a carbon tax, including the Exxon Corporation.  Years ago I worked with the American Petroleum Institute who promoted consumer used motor oil recycling by placing tax on each quart of motor oil.  Such measures are most successful in insuring product stewardship. If we do not make it easy and simple to conserve people will not participate.  For example more people recycle in the U.S. then vote.

I challenge you to do the numbers.  Just follow how the Fortune 500 world has profited from pollution prevention and waste reduction.  Output over input equals productivity. Efficiency is about saving time, human and resource capital. Again do the numbers and figure what the long term bottom line is all out.  Finally if you do not believe me just research what the economic and insurance experts reveal.  If the human species does not have a green eco-awakening we may longer enjoy this blue green planet. Without a green one percent revolution our future looks very disheartening.

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Friday, July 3, 2015

David's Brooks, Road to Character

In “The Road to Character,”  David Brooks makes a moral examination of those who champion virtue. He features diverse men and women shaped by adversity and who humbly overcome many obstacles to be of greater service.  Brooks looks at ethical conduct or moral ecology of these individuals who develop a special discipline in tackling their weakness and vulnerabilities by showing insightful humility.

Brooks makes his people selection based on their selfless qualities. These self actualized individuals are not so worried about their ego or as Brook's terms, Adam 1, resume, however their Adam 2, eulogy or higher calling.  Humility allows us to awakened from our weakness so it may be transformed into strength.

Brooks writes about Frances Perkins, who witnessed the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.  She latter asks the most important questions about not what is inside by outside her self. First, she questions what she wants of life and then importantly asks what life wants of her.  Overcoming criticism and loss, Frances becomes a leader of the New Deal.

Another person who looked at is Saint Augustine.  He started off with the Roman life of partying, sex and drink.  Brook writes on page 212 on how he changed;

"Augustine sank down in posture of openness and surrender,  Then after the retreat, he was open enough to receive grace, to face gratitude, and rise upward.  This is life with an advance-retreat-advance share; life, death, and resurrection,  moving down to dependence to gain immeasurable height."

Brooks makes spiritual judgements of Frances Perkins or Saint Augustine. “The Road to Character” is about spiritual journeys.  For example, he talks about vocation is a calling or even indignation.  It is not about wants or desires or pursuit of happiness. Instead becoming an instrument for the performance.  There is joy. It is not about serving the community or the destination.  It is about the perfection in each task, satisfaction with craftsmanship.  It is the art where their values are in deep harmony with their behavior

Brooks writes on page 207,

The ultimate conquest of self, is not won by self-discipline, or an awful battle within self.  It is won by going outside the self, however by establishing communion with God and by doing things that feel natural in order to return God's love.

Finally Brooks writes about the The Humility Code pg 261;

Each society creates its own moral ecology.  A moral ecology is a set of norms, assumptions, beliefs, and habits of behaviour and an institutionalized set of moral demands that emerge organically.  Our moral ecology encourages us to be a certain sort of person...But each moral climate is a collective response to the problems of the moment and it shapes the people who live within it.

Below is my summary;

1) Seek life with purpose, meaning, excelling the soul, nourish moral joy, cultivate virtue
and ideals.

2) As flawed beings, virtue vs. vice  Overcome short term desires toward spiritual needs.

3) Inner struggle about overcoming, growing stronger, sacrificing worldly success for inner victory.

4) Humility help assess my true nature, underdog in a struggle against own weakness,  not center of universe however serve a larger order.

5) Pride results in vice. It blinds, deludes and cripples.

6) Struggle with insecurity. Key is to engage with the struggle.

7) Character comes from inner confrontation; dealing with weakness.  Develop discipline, considerate and loving self-control. Do not become slave to passions.

8) Lust, fear, greed, and other flaws lead in a downward struggle.

9) Can not do this alone; you need help and support- God, family, friends etc.

10) We are saved by grace. Struggle with own weaknesses is U shaped.  I am accepted. gratitude fills soul and the desire to serve.

11) Defeating weakness requires quieting the self.  A mute ego opens the external sources of the strength that are needed.  Capacity for admiration and reverence are key sources of virtue.

12) Wisdom starts with modesty.  We are not able to see complex cause and effect. Experience defines wisdom that emerges out of a collection of virtues

13)  Vocation is key to good life.  Find intrinsic work that is compelling and focus on being excellent at that.  serve both self and community.  A vocation is not found by looking within
but looking outside to see what life is asking of us.  What problem is addressed by an activity you intrinsically enjoy?

14) Lead by working with the grain of things, find balance between competing interests, values and goals. Be trimmer, shift weight one way or another.  Be steward of effort

15) Maturity - unity of purpose, purpose of centeredness and calm: find equanimity.