Saturday, June 2, 2012

Superheroes Converge at the UN

Just back to work following two days at the Social Innovation Summit held at the UN, an invitation-only conference that examines the intersection of social causes, business & technology. Hearing from and interacting with many truly incendiary agitator/activators - it reminds me that the fate of the world is truly in our hands. And what better hands than ours?

From the usual suspects including CEOs of Timberland & Seventh Generation, to senior executives representing corporate social responsibility from behemoth contributors such as Verizon and Intel, there is a LOT of good being done. Reusing resources to preserve what we have; extending connectivity to those whose lives may depend upon it; ensuring that we leverage all we have to make sure our world is as good as it can possibly be. So inspiring, so externally focused. Not that this external focus is bad - it's the spirit of altruism. But are we applying this same good-attention to our own lives?

Seriously. I saw hundreds of fervently passionate folks in the room, fueled with ardor for optimizing lives from every angle from wellness to technology, safety to skill-cultivation. Their passion for their causes is a given. They're up to the moment on what is needed to hydrate, educate and empower those who need it most. And yet so many of those faces looked harried, so many bodies showing obvious signs of neglect. As wisdom paths have taught us from the begining of time - we must attend to our own lives to effectively attend to the lives of others.

Here's my query: how much are we leaders acting as good keepers of our most precious resource - ourselves? It's time for a little personal activism by the world's most intelligent, privileged lives in support of attending intelligently to the lives we are primarily responsible to. What if we honor the good fortune so many of us enjoy of having adequate security, sufficient access to medical care, technological systems and resources, and a ready supply of food and comfort by assessing what the eco-system that is the human body and take strident measures to care for it's needs in a way that aligns with it's longevity, productivity and effectiveness over the long haul? What would be different in your life if you did that? As much as I like to think I attend to my life as a good steward, I know there is much I can improve upon.

During the lunch break, I headed to a patch of grass on the edge of the East River. An everyday, often-ignored occurance happened just feet away from me and struck my heart: staffers of the UN having their own little informal walking club. Just three of them. Walking. On the grounds, doing laps. Nothing glamorous. In their work clothing. Their quiet self-respect and intelligence in taking even the smallest action in support of their own sustainability spoke loudly of a level personal mastery I aspire to emulate.

Think about it: if the fate of the world is in our hands, shouldn't we start by taking better care of ourselves?

Monday, May 28, 2012


The first I ever heard of Telomeres is when Dr. Justin Boren (Santa Clara University) and I teamed up to scheme around integrating this into Balance Integration's immersion programming with clients. I'm so happy to see they are hitting the mainstream - no hopefully they'll figure more importantly when we craft our thought stream, activity stream, etc. Thanks to worklife writer Judy Martin for bringing this to my attention. Check it out by clicking here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Big love for Mac Attam's March 3 post...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pop Quiz

Whether you belive there's a divine teacher, you gotta admit that the world is really a huge, complex, neverending Rorschach test.

Ask yourself: What do you see?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Clarity NOW!

Chances are you're not going to head to a cave to search for the meaning of life anytime soon. Here are five things anyone can do to feel more clarity RIGHT NOW!

1. Name It – most people experience stress as a generalized or vague state of overwhelm. Take a moment to clearly identify what’s got you down by these three categories: 1. In your sphere of control - Something you can take action to address immediately (an action you’ve delayed taking), 2. Requires growth - Something that requires more information/research 3. Beyond your control - Something that requires adopting a new attitude, patience or even surrendur. Let labelling your stressors empower and drive your next actions.
2. Intention Disarms Tension – sometimes from the moment we get up to when we go to sleep (whenever that finally happens!), we are in respond mode – fighting fire after fire. Starting the day or specific activities by clarifying your intention allows you to move out “react” mode and into a proactive, determined state. Before you make your next call or go to your next meeting, clarify not only what you want to accomplish but also what state of mind you want to maintain throughout it. Then if things get heated, remind yourself of your intention before you respond rashly or inappropriately.
3. Declutter Your Calendar – this might sound more like time management than mind management, but it’s actually both. By loading your calendar mindlessly accepting every commitment that comes your way, you scatter your attention and talents, decreasing effectiveness and enjoyment, and dilute your ability to accomplish the goals that really matter to you. Take a look at your calendar over the next week: how many items there truly align with your professional or personal goals? If it doesn’t, get rid of it.
4. Power Pause – got a few minutes waiting for a train? Elevator at the top when you’re at the bottom? Resist the quick flash of impatience and use these “captive moments” to practice relaxing. Instead of reaching for your phone or furiously jamming the call button, try shifting your awareness to your feet and relax them in your shoes. Imagine your whole body relaxing and feel your next inhale slow and deep into your torso. Notice how your whole torso expands, focusing on your belly exhale just as slowly. Repeat till the train or elevator arrives.
5. Breathe=ease – when we get stressed, breath tends to get short and tightened as well. The next time you feel your thoughts racing, before you hit send on that frantic email sit back in your chair, relax your shoulders and jaw, and try just slowing down. Shift your thoughts into your breath rhythm, and see if you can slow it down by counting how long your exhale is and how long your inhale is.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

YOU: A Story in Progress

In case you wondered, the story on you isn’t yet written – at least not to completion.

Whatever you believe to be true about yourself, choose a better story.

If you’ve given up, get up.

If you’ve lost hope, look for it again.

You can let your life be your teacher – and if you’re smart the lesson you learn will not be one of too little, too late, but one of “just in the nick of time”.

Check out Kathy Martin’s story.

Be well,


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gifting: Music for a Living Planet


Tips on great music is one of my favorite gifts to receive. And you know what they say about giving and receiving. That so, below are a couple of playlists I've made for yoga classes over the past couple of months. If you like them please let me know and I'll post more!


Gratitude India.Arie Voyage To India [UK]
Amazing Grace The Swan Silvertones Lifted: Songs Of The Spirit
Amazing Grace Caledonian Heritage Pipes and Drums Amazing Grace
Sun Again Kinnie Starr Sun Again
Lively Up Yourself Bob Marley & The Wailers One Love
Bonito Jarabe de Palo Bonito
Aguas De Marco Elís Regina & Antonio Carlos Jobim Nova Bossa: Red Hot On Verve
Let It Be The Beatles Let It Be
Sweet Thing Van Morrison Astral Weeks
You've Got A Friend Carole King Tapestry
Grandma's Hands Bill Withers Bill Withers Greatest Hits
You Are the Best Thing Ray LaMontagne Gossip In the Grain
Whenever Beth Orton Trailer Park
You Are The Only One (Jazz Version) INUSAX Global Player
Your Tender Loving Care Jon Hyde Hear Music: Sweetheart Love Songs
Gold to Me Ben Harper Fight for Your Mind
Gracias a La Vida Mercedes Sosa Trance Planet-Volume One
Grace Jeff Buckley Grace
Blackbird The Beatles The Beatles [White Album] (Disc 1)
Goodnight To The Mountains Paul Winter Consort A Celebration Of The World Of Crestone


Steppin' Out Joe Jackson Joe Jackson: Live 1980 - 1986
Air Play Outback Baka
The Wonder The Golden Palominos This Is How It Feels
These Days The Golden Palominos This Is How It Feels
Air India Dum Dum Project Desi Vibes
Eu Sou Meu Guia Lenine Na Pressão
Kid A Radiohead Kid A
Aguas De Marco Elís Regina & Antonio Carlos Jobim Nova Bossa: Red Hot On Verve
The Air That I Breathe The Hollies Have A Nice Decade (Disc 4)
Lilac Wine Nina Simone Verve Unmixed 3
Oh What A World Rufus Wainwright Want One
The Sky Is Crying Elmore James The Blues Collection (Disc 3)
Swing Low Sweet Chariot Christy The Blues
Wandering Saint L. Subramaniam Baraka

Morning Devotion

Gaayatri Ravi Shankar Chants Of India
Om Namah Shivaya Wade Imre Morissette Sagram Scales of Music
You Are We Am I: Blue Mix Tj Rehmi Shakti Rhythms With Shiva Rea
Cairo Bar Caravana Digital Bled
Ganesh Vandana Kakoli Indian Room
Walking Through Kaya Project Stoned Asia presents World Peace (mixed by Pathaan)
Wa Winjigo Ero Ayub Ogada En Mana Kuoyo
Nathdvara Shyamdas Beloved Chants
zaman8sani A Six Degrees Collection Emerging Artist Sampler – digital
Teardrop Massive Attack Mezzanine
Take Me Coco Zap Mama Adventures in Afropea, Vol. 1
Namaste Maneesh De Moor Sadhana
Tiny Birds Yo La Tengo Summer Sun
How To make A Baby Elephant Float Yo La Tengo Summer Sun
Shiva - The Third Eye Tony Scott Music for Yoga Meditation and Other Joys
Shiva Various Artists - Music Brokers New Age Series: Yoga Alternative
Hare Krishna Wade Imre Morissette Sagram Scales of Music
Shiva Gopika Poornima, J.P. Sai & Party, Kasinath Brothers & N.S. Prakash Rao 108 Vibrations of the Almighty

Mental Diet on a Down Day

This time of the year can be really beautiful with the reminder to reflect, connect, smell the flowers. But even as we embrace beauty, our minds have such power to cast a different hue.

Many deaths in my family have taken place this time of the year and even though consciously I feel completely whole in relation to these transitions, the power of the subconscious has a strong tug towards melancholy. Add on to this subconscious low of a boatload of travel last week, the energy required by being “on” much of it, missed connections due to airline misdirects, and then passing a holiday alone in a hotel room with horrible hot water flow and only intermittently flushing toilet, a dog attacking and scratching up my car, well, by yesterday morning despite the great weather my glass was feeling pretty empty. Knowing that no matter what I endeavored to do, my starting point would skew my perspective, I opted to spend time alone – not in withdrawal or to lament or lick wounds, but to regain the equilibrium of a neutral state by doing things that give me that.

I got up around 6AM and meditated, then grabbed a latte and headed to a nearby park for as much sweat, silence and fresh air as I could find. I let myself stay as long as I needed – no commitments. I topped that with a leisurely breakfast (huevos rancheros), and gave myself as much time as I wanted to read the paper. Returning home, I took as much time as needed, making sure not to rush any movement and be present to the light, the temperature, all the interactions no matter how transactional. When I got home I took a long bath, put on clothing I love, even took another walk with my dog around my neighborhood. Net net: by late afternoon I was still in a complete FUNK. DOWN. It happens.

I wasn’t sure what to try next to right my mood – I had tried movement, nature, self care, bonding with my little dog, and even nourishment to remind myself of my own wellbeing and nothing had really worked. So knowing I had a life change workshop to facilitate today, I gave up and took a dive into youtube looking for relevant, well-told stories on overcoming difficulty, getting THROUGH our challenges rather than just managing them. After all, when in doubt, always come from your truth.

You can imagine that in my negative state of mind, these images didn’t go over so well. Navigating through clip after clip, I discarded one after another for this reason or that – this one has sappy music, that one only features male examples, that other one feels preachy, I’ve seen that one a million times. Even with all that imperfection, something interesting happened: my mood shifted. By the time my eyes were tired from looking and my belly was grumbling for dinner, in 30 minutes of immersion in ideas of YES, I was completely reminded of the quality of our lives as being determined by HOW we respond to whatever stimulus we experience – internal or external. Focusing on inspiration for my class participants, on finding the right story about getting through difficulty resulted in a shift in my own state of mind. Imperfect as each of those clips might have been, by the end of my little research project I was in a completely empowered mood.

It reminded me: choose your mental diet. Don’t let perfection get in the way of a healthy dish.