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In the journey of self-improvement, shedding old habits can be as crucial as adopting new ones. In this AWElife article, we'll explore eight powerful changes you can make in your life right now to enhance your personal well-being and happiness. Each of these habits offers the potential for profound transformation, enabling you to step into the best version of yourself.


Say Goodbye to Procrastination


Procrastination saps time and productivity, a common hurdle for many. The solution lies in halting this habit and commencing meaningful action today. Embrace time management techniques, dissect your goals into achievable steps, and witness a surge in productivity as procrastination loses its grip, allowing you to achieve more than you thought possible.


Kick Self-Comparison to the Curb


In our interconnected world, constant self-comparison can erode self-esteem, fueling feelings of inadequacy. To enrich your personal life, break free from this cycle and focus on your unique path. Celebrate both minor and major achievements, and define your personal markers of success. By freeing yourself from comparisons, you'll find greater contentment in your accomplishments and nurture a stronger sense of self-worth.


Seek Internal Validation


Seeking external validation for self-worth is an endless pursuit that can breed anxiety and discontent. To enhance your personal life, break free from this reliance on others' approval and foster self-appreciation. Reflect on your strengths and achievements, cultivating self-confidence rooted in your intrinsic worth. By shifting to internal validation, you'll discover newfound self-assuredness independent of external opinions.


Break Free from Overthinking


Overthinking can trigger anxiety and indecision, trapping us in cycles of rumination about past errors or future concerns. To enhance your personal life, break free from this pattern by practicing mindfulness. Embrace the present moment and release needless worries. Through mindfulness, you'll attain a more tranquil mind, unburdened by excessive rumination.


Stop Hanging On to Grudges


Holding onto grudges is a habit that can poison your well-being. Whether it's a conflict with a friend, family member, or colleague, harboring resentment can take a toll on your emotional health. To improve your personal life, it's essential to forgive and let go of past grievances. Forgiveness is not about condoning the actions of others but about releasing the emotional weight that grudges carry. By forgiving, you'll lighten your emotional load and open the door to healthier relationships and greater personal freedom.


Banish Negative Self-Talk


Your inner dialogue wields considerable influence over your self-esteem and overall well-being. Negative self-talk, if left unchecked, can steadily erode self-confidence. To enhance your personal life, breaking the cycle of negative self-talk is imperative; replace it with positive affirmations and self-compassion akin to how you treat a close friend. This shift in self-talk will nurture self-confidence, equipping you to tackle life's challenges with greater resilience and self-assurance.


Quit the Job You Don't Like


If your current job leaves you feeling unfulfilled and burnt out, it may be time for a significant change. Many people feel trapped in jobs that do not align with their passions and interests. To pursue diverse business opportunities and improve your personal life, consider the possibility of pursuing a career that truly resonates with you. Going back to school or acquiring new skills can be a viable option, and online programs offer the flexibility to learn while maintaining your current job, making it a practical choice for those seeking personal and professional growth.


Design a Memorable Business Card


In today's digital landscape, a well-designed business card holds immense significance. It serves as a tangible symbol of your professionalism and can leave a lasting impact on potential contacts and collaborators. Crafting a unique business card is an essential element of your personal brand. To learn how to make a business card that truly represents you, consider customizing templates with images, text, color schemes, and fonts that reflect your individual identity. By presenting yourself professionally through a memorable business card, you create opportunities for meaningful connections.


Transforming your personal life requires shedding old habits that no longer serve you. By tackling procrastination, comparison, seeking external validation, and more, you pave the way for personal growth and happiness. Embrace these changes to unlock your best self and embark on a transformational journey.

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Living your best life and achieving your goals is something everyone strives for, but where do you begin? It can be overwhelming to think about making big changes in your life, but there are simple steps you can take right now that can make a significant difference. Here are some things you can do to start living your best life and achieve your goals, courtesy of AWElife.

Start a Fitness Routine

Regular exercise is vital for both physical and mental health. Incorporating exercise into your routine, such as going for a walk or doing yoga, can significantly improve your overall well-being without requiring expensive equipment or personal trainers. Exercise has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, boost self-esteem, and improve sleep quality. By making exercise a part of your daily routine, you can improve both your physical and mental health.

Tidy Up

Your home environment can significantly impact your mental health. A disorganized and cluttered space can lead to stress and anxiety, while a clean and organized home can have a calming effect. Take time to declutter and deep clean your home, one room at a time. This will not only improve the look and feel of your home but also positively impact your overall well-being.


Stress is a common part of life, but excessive stress can have harmful effects on both mental and physical health. To live your best life, it's crucial to find ways to decompress and reduce stress. This could include taking a bath, practicing meditation, or spending time in nature. By making time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation, even for just a few minutes each day, you can feel more balanced and better equipped to handle life's challenges.

Re-Evaluate Your Career Aspirations

Your career plays a vital role in your life, and it's crucial to assess your goals and aspirations. Consider if you're happy with your current job and if there's room for growth and advancement. If not, explore new career options that align with your skills and interests. Take courses or training programs to develop new skills and seek guidance from mentors or career coaches.

Improve Your Finances

Money stress can cause significant worry, but taking control of your finances can help you live your best life. Begin by assessing your current financial situation, including debt and monthly expenses. Look for ways to reduce spending, such as cutting back on unnecessary expenses or attempting to negotiate bills. A budget can help you track expenses and identify areas where you can save money to pay off debt or build an emergency fund.


If you own a home, refinancing your mortgage can free up extra cash each month and reduce financial stress. Refinancing your home with a lower interest rate can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. Shop around for the best rates and terms. Refinancing can provide added financial security and peace of mind, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your life.

Take Up a Hobby

Life can be busy, and it's easy to get caught up in work and responsibilities. Taking up a hobby is an excellent way to add some fun and creativity to your life. Hobbies can range from anything like painting or writing to gardening or hiking. Find something that interests you and make time for it each week. Not only will it provide a sense of fulfillment and joy, but it can also improve your mental health and well-being.


In conclusion, living your best life and achieving your goals may seem daunting, but there are simple steps you can take right now to get started. By incorporating regular exercise, improving your mental health by deep cleaning your home, refinancing your home, and more, you can start living the life you've always dreamed of. Remember, it's never too late to start, so take small steps, stay focused, and keep pushing toward your goals.


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Finding inspiration during a midlife crisis can seem impossible, especially if you’re navigating feelings of depression or anxiety. Some days may be better than others, or you may feel trapped in a cycle of work and responsibilities that are hard to get out of. Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Whether you want to try something new, learn a skill, or pursue a new career path, there are tons of ways you can make positive changes in your life and start turning things around. Doing something for yourself is a great way to jumpstart this change, and you can find support and inspiration at AWElife when you’re ready to get started.

Here are a few tips to help along the way:

Take your career to the next level

Whether you feel stuck in a job that’s not right for you or just want to move up, making a change often starts with education. Going back to school might sound like a monumental task, but with online courses, it’s easier than ever. You can earn a Bachelor of Education online that will take you along a path to teach elementary and preschool children, and because most of the core classes required are only 5 weeks long, you can tackle this next step in your life without disrupting your routines at home. When looking for an online school, make it a priority to ensure that it’s accredited and offers competitive tuition rates.

Boost your chances of landing your dream job

Whether you choose to go back to school or just want to find a job that makes you happy, it’s crucial to have a stellar curriculum vitae that highlights your skills, education, and experience. Luckily, we no longer have to labor to create the perfect CV; these days, you can utilize a free online CV builder that provides a professional-looking template so you can add your own copy, images, and details that will make it your own. Keep it neat and avoid wordiness; remember, you want your CV to stand out from the other applicants, but it’s also important to make sure your potential employer can easily see your accomplishments without wading through several paragraphs. 

Work on your mental health

If your career and education aren’t contributing to your midlife crisis, you might benefit from focusing on your mental health. Reducing stress and anxiety is something we could all work on, and the good news is there are many different ways to go about it. Taking up a hobby, such as playing an instrument or baking, can help you relax and build self-confidence. There are also activities you can do that benefit your mental and physical health at the same time, such as gardening. Spending time outdoors, soaking up vitamin D, working with your hands, and tending to living things can work wonders for both your mind and body as long as you do it safely. Wear sunscreen and protective clothing, and use the right tools for the job. Before getting started, read expert product reviews and gardening tips from Home Garden Hero.

Put yourself first

Finding new and relaxing hobbies can be extremely advantageous during a midlife crisis, but it’s important to remember that they’re just one part of a major life change that requires a different mindset. It can be difficult for many people to put themselves first, especially when they’re accustomed to taking care of family members or being a leader at work. Think of some ways you can prioritize yourself, such as learning to say “no” when someone asks for your time or energy and you can’t give it, creating time in your busy daily routine to eat a nourishing meal, go for a walk, or take a tech break.

Navigating a midlife crisis can be tough both mentally and physically, so it’s important to think carefully about how to make positive changes. Pursuing higher education, finding a new job, and picking up a relaxing hobby such as gardening are all great ways to focus on yourself and make this next phase of your life truly wonderful.

Ready to learn more about the team at AWElife? Check out the About Us page.

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Get Active as a Community Leader With These Empowering Tips

This article is one of many informative pieces of content you’ll find at AWElife.

Getting involved in your community has many benefits, from allowing you to make connections with your neighbors to giving you a platform to help others and make a real difference. If you’re a small business owner, taking action in your community can also help boost your profile and network with potential customers and other entrepreneurs. Whether you want to create a plan for a neighborhood safety watch or get active in the movement for social justice, there are several things you can do to make your presence known within your area. Think about your skill set and interests, as well as what your community’s needs are; for instance, neighborhoods with many families might benefit from a safe playground or a crime watch.


Here are a few ideas to help you get started:


Research your options


When making a difference in your community, it’s important to understand what your options are as well as what the legal ramifications might be. For instance, starting a community garden is a great idea for a neighborhood, but you’ll need to obtain permission and permits from the city to do so. One way to make some tasks easier is to create a nonprofit organization that will allow you to apply for grants and public funding; read up on the steps involved, which typically include creating bylaws that detail how the corporation is governed, how voting will work, how often you’ll hold board meetings, and how you’ll manage conflicts of interest.


Make sure it’s a cause that’s close to your heart


Whether you’re starting a nonprofit or laying out plans to start a voter registration campaign, it’s crucial to ensure that the ways in which you get involved in your community are things you believe in. Getting active within your neighborhood requires a lot of time and effort, and if you’re spending your energy and free time doing something that you’re not passionate about, you’ll likely get burnt out pretty quickly. Think carefully about what your community’s needs are and whether you can truly afford to get involved in a way that will make a difference.


Create safe spaces


In many communities, one of the most important needs is safe spaces for children. You might consider building a playground, starting an after-school program, gathering safety resources for babysitters, or putting together a safety team made up of members who can watch for suspicious activity, keep an eye out for hazards, or update the community on potential traffic issues (such as a large festival that blocks off Main Street, or a car accident that shuts down a particular roadway). You can utilize a community app for these kinds of communications or start a social media page where members can post, share information, and stay connected.


Start a cleanup initiative


Once you can ensure that your neighborhood is safe, you might consider starting a cleanup initiative that everyone can join. This is a great way to build friendships, find support, and create a sense of community while doing something worthwhile. You might ask everyone to pitch in a small amount of money to cover the cost of things like trash bags or to donate tools; then, build a plan for making repairs, cleaning up common areas, and maintaining outdoor spaces. For large jobs, it can be helpful to designate someone to communicate with the city to ensure they’re taken care of.


Getting active within your community is a worthwhile endeavor, so think about which direction you’d like to go in and whether forming a nonprofit would help you reach your goals. With a good plan and a little help, you can improve your community in a number of ways.


You can read more about abundance, wellness, and enlightenment at AWElife.

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The “supply chain” essentially refers to the movement of goods from raw materials to end-users. The supply chain generally involves a network of producers of raw materials, component suppliers, transporters, manufacturers, packagers, vendors, distributors, storage facilities, wholesalers, retailers and customers.

The three main components of a supply chain are generally: (1) Supply, (2) Manufacturing, and (3) Distribution. The activities close to the Supply (e.g., raw material and commodities largely coming from China, South America and Africa) are known as upstream activities. Activities between Manufacturing (e.g., China, E.U., U.S., Japan and India) and Distribution to the end consumer (e.g., U.S., E.U., China, Japan, U.K.) are downstream activities.

We are currently seeing significant supply chain disruptions and industry shutdowns around the world due to COVID-19. The COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions have had a dilatory effect on businesses worldwide. Now that the pandemic case numbers and deaths are declining, demand for consumer goods is increasing. The fragility of the supply chain and its inability to rapidly recover from COVID-19 is evidenced by the worldwide supply chain shutdowns and bottlenecks. Manufacturers and transport companies are suffering from such things as a shortage of workers, higher fuel costs, inability to obtain raw goods, customs delays, border controls and mobility restrictions.

Governments and economists are forecasting shortages, supply chain bottlenecks and inflation in industries including energy, equipment, computers, telecommunication devices, automobiles, groceries, home goods, medicine and construction starting Q4 2021 and lasting through 2022.[i]

At the time of this article, there are about 7.8 billion people on Earth, and worldwide there have been approximately 242 million COVID-19 cases (3% of the population) and 4.9 million deaths (.06% of the population). About 50% of the COVID cases are asymptomatic, 49.6% are mild to moderate, and .4% are serious or critical.[ii] Not to minimize the severity of COVID-19, but imagine what would happen to the supply chain and our ability to get water, food, household items, utilities, fuel, materials and manufactured goods in the face of an even more virulent pandemic or a bio-weapon attack. Now add a few climate disasters to the equation, and very quickly, we could see an immense supply chain shutdown, causing mass hunger, dehydration, illness, and death, not to mention massive inflation and economic collapse.

While the supply chain seems efficient because, up until recently, we could easily purchase goods at our grocer, restaurant, big-box store or Amazon, COVID-19 has raised our awareness of the fragility and inefficiency of the supply chain. However, the fragility, inefficiency and toxicity of the centralized supply chain existed before COVID-19 due to factors including the following:

(1) The supply chain relies heavily on increasingly depleting supplies of raw goods from extractive materials (e.g., minerals, oil, metals) and agricultural products (e.g., animal products, cotton, hemp, timber);

(2) The method by which the raw materials are extracted and generated often utilize ecologically damaging practices that reduce the ability of the planet to provide the resources required to meet our consumptive demands;

(3) The use of fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gasses and toxic pollutants for the transportation, manufacturing, processing and packaging utilized by the supply chain is contributing to climate change and the degradation of the quality of our air, water and food;

(4) The supply chain typically requires shipping raw goods long distances from suppliers to manufacturers, and then require shipping finished goods long distances to distribution centers, retailers and consumers;

(5) Each facility (e.g., manufacturing facilities, distribution facilities, retail stores) in the supply chain required energy and materials to build the facility and require significant amounts of energy, generally in the form of fossil fuels;

(6) The finished products frequently require packaging utilizing paper and/or plastic, which end up in landfills and the oceans;

(7) In order to get my goods, I either need to drive in my automobile (typically burning fossil fuel) to the store or have it delivered by a shipping courier such as FedEx, UPS and DHL (typically burning fossil fuel);

It is actually the inefficiencies of the supply chain that create massive profits for oil companies, transportation manufacturers, shipping and logistics companies, packaging companies, the construction industry, equipment manufacturers and retailers. While these inefficiencies give numerous industries significant revenues, these industries are largely responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, waste, climate change, and destruction of Earth’s ecosystems.

We have the technologies to give clean water, nutritious food and renewable energy to the world. We possess the ability to grow bananas on the North Pole, harvest potable water from the atmosphere and desalinate seawater. We can power the world through natural and renewable energy sources (e.g., hydrogen, solar, wind, hydro, tidal, biomass). We have the ability to bio-energetically regenerate soil and purify water, grow food hydroponically in vertical urban towers, and regeneratively cultivate an abundance of seafood, sea vegetables and materials from the ocean. We have the ability to ship food, water, materials and supplies to anywhere in the world and alleviate hunger, suffering and death worldwide. We can convert waste streams into new materials and energy. However, we haven’t engaged in deploying these technologies and life-affirming activities in a truly meaningful way largely because the energy costs are generally too high and doing so is not profitable.

Another issue has slowed the adoption of clean and renewable energy and activities that can alleviate world poverty, hunger, and suffering. The governments around the world, who write and enforce regulations have been infiltrated by incumbent industries such as banking, oil, auto, utilities (e.g., electricity, gas and water), construction (e.g., lumber, concrete, steel, glass) and commercial agriculture. These industries have been responsible for sponsoring legislation to impede or prevent innovative progress in energy, materials, construction, transportation, supply chain efficiency, and local self-sufficiency for water, food, energy and materials. Moreover, governments generate significant revenues from the supply chain, including income tax, import-export tariffs, sales tax, utility tax, and excise taxes collected on fossil fuels. For example, the U.S. generates an estimated $36.4B annually from federal fuel taxes[iii], and California generates more than $26.4B billion in state and local tax revenues and $28.5 billion in sales and excise taxes from fossil fuels.[iv]

The U.S. energy generation portfolio by source is 60.3% from fossil fuels, 19.7% from nuclear, 19.8% from renewables, .1% from pumped hydropower, and .3% from other sources.[v] Thus, the vast majority of energy in the U.S. (80%) is from fossil fuels and nuclear sources. With the billions of dollars spent on lobbying by the oil industry and the taxes collected at the pump, governments have been loath to kill the “greasy golden goose.”

With the growth of both population and consumption, we are seeing increasing demand for energy, food, products and services while concurrently seeing a diminution of potable water and arable land. As well, human activities, including burning fossil fuels and deforestation for commercial agriculture, timber and cattle ranching, have contributed to high levels of CO2 and greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere, which the scientific community attributes to climate change.[vi]

In addition to many other transformational societal shifts that must be addressed, there are three fundamental shifts in our society that will have a material impact on improving the quality of life and creating a thriving world for future generations: (1) clean, renewable, affordable, accessible and reliable energy, (2) supply chain disintermediation through localization and regenerative communities, (3) reduced consumption, (4) creating durable goods and building a sharing economy based upon collaborative consumption, and (5) innovation leading to supply chain efficiency, security and decentralization.

With our ever-increasing appetite for the newest, shiniest, most fashionable objects, a significant amount of what we purchase ends up in the waste stream. Rather than consumers demanding durable and built-to-last products, we tend to want cheap and fashionable products and therefore promote the manufacturing of products with short life spans and built-in obsolescence.

Maybe the silver-lining of COVID-19 is that more people are waking up and realizing that the less we depend upon government, central supply-chain and central banking, the more empowered, self-sufficient and happier we become. Many people are now realizing the dysfunction of modern society with such things as destruction of the planet’s ecosystems, contamination of our air, water, and food, increasing climate disasters, food shortages, financial inequality, war, and the desire for never-ending economic growth. More people are moving out of large cities and into rural areas, seeking agriculture-based regenerative communities and learning to live simpler, more fulfilling lives.

According to The Hill article entitled Rural America booms as young workers leave the cities behind[vii],

The net rate of arrivals and departures for major cities is devastating. New York, which lost 4 percent of its population over the last year, has watched about five people leaving for every four people arriving. San Francisco has seen 20 percent more people leaving than arriving, as Seattle and Boston each had about 10 percent more people leaving than arriving.

Rentals and purchases of rural property are reaching new records. Areas within a half day drive of major metropolitan regions are growing. Among the top destinations in the last year are the town of Stowe in Vermont and also Maine for those leaving Boston, Summit County in Colorado for those leaving Denver, the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia for those leaving the Washington beltway, and a number of sites in upstate New York for those leaving Manhattan. In places such as Delaware County, located two hours north of New York, home sales have skyrocketed 40 percent.

Fundamental shifts required to increase supply chain efficiency and reduce reliance on fossil fuels, transport, packaging, distribution, and military spending associated with the supply chain, include (1) Localization and Regenerative Communities, (2) Collaborative Consumption, (3) Planned Durability, and (4) Clean Energy and Technological Innovation.

1. Localization and Regenerative Communities: By planning and developing our cities and communities in a way that localize the production and availability of water, food, energy, materials and goods, we can lower our dependence upon a centralized supply chain and many of the environmentally destructive ramifications of the supply chain, including greenhouse gasses and pollution. By applying regenerative planning, design and applications to our cities and communities, we can nurture and promote the Earth’s abilities to provide us with an abundant and regenerative supply of water, food, energy and materials.

In the context used herein, localization refers to urban and community planning that provides for a mix of residential, commercial, retail, industrial, social and agricultural uses within distances that are walkable (no more than 1 mile) or bikeable (no more than 5 miles). For example, if we go into our backyard and pull an apple off the tree, it’s efficient, healthy and fresh. We didn’t need any trucks, warehouses, packaging or grocery stores. We also didn’t need a military to protect the oil pipeline and we didn’t need our cars to go to the grocery store. Moreover, the environmental impact and carbon footprint were minimal.

Many of our cities and communities have been intentionally planned to promote the centralized supply chain, vehicle manufacturing and burning fossil fuels as primary energy sources. By developing new cities and communities and redeveloping/retrofitting existing cities and communities into, regenerative, walkable, mixed-use communities, with their own water, farms, clean energy generation, waste upcycling systems, materials and goods production (including 3-D printing), we can create cities and communities that promote a higher quality-of-life and are more vibrant, beautiful, efficient, economically abundant and healthier.

2. Collaborative Consumption: There has been a rapid explosion in sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping reinvented through network technologies on a scale and in ways never possible before. Sharing, utilizing, giving away and/or selling under-utilized resources such as homes, cars, offices, sporting goods, clothing, furniture, jewelry tools, health clubs and machine shops has created numerous multibillion-dollar enterprises (e.g., Uber, Airbnb, eBay, WeWork). “Collaborative Consumption” and the “Sharing Economy” are disrupting outdated modes of business and reinventing not just what we consume but how we consume.

According to Havas Group, “Unhappy with the results of decades of overconsumption, many people around the world are searching for a better way of living and consuming. A large majority of those surveyed in 29 markets believe that overconsumption is actually putting our planet and society at risk. Most say they could happily live without most of the items they own and that they make it a point to rid themselves of unneeded possessions at least once a year. We have entered an age when sharing, rather than buying, everything from cars and vacation homes to textbooks and pets has become socially acceptable among those who realize we have exhausted the planet and ourselves with way too much stuff and responsibility.”[viii]

Collaborative Consumption and the Sharing Economy provide greater freedom and flexibility as well as a higher quality of life, with more options and amenities, without the burdens and expense of sole ownership. In our society, we generally share public infrastructure and services such as beaches, parks, roads, schools, police, fire, sewer systems, courts, public transportation, waste management and telecommunications infrastructure. It is also fairly common to share health clubs, restaurants, entertainment venues, hotels and community amenities. By increasing our sharing, building regenerative communities, and localizing resources (e.g., facilities, community farm, community kitchen, cars, tools and equipment), we can significantly reduce the expense and environmental impact related to exclusive ownership and enjoy higher quality lives with improved health, greater freedom, more amenities, lower cost and less stress.

3. Planned Durability: Almost every manufacturer in the world today designs their products to have an artificially limited useful life whereby the product becomes no longer functional or fashionable. This design and manufacturing strategy is known as “Planned Obsolescence.” Examples include (a) Apple and Samsung being accused of providing software updates that inhibit the performance of their older smartphones;[ix] (b) The “Phoebus cartel (consisting of GE, Philips, Osram and AEI) that colluded to reduce a light bulb’s lifetime to 1,000 hours when Edison’s first commercial bulb from 1881 lasted 1,500 hours,[x] © General Motors utilized annual redesign of its automobiles to drive the demand for the newer and more fashionable automobiles, and (d) short-lived and/or disposable products such as plastic forks, paper plates, plastic water bottles, unfillable ink cartridges, nylons, cheap clothes and fashion. We have been conditioned to link our identity and value to products. This conditioning has created a world of wasteful consumers who want the latest, newest, most fashionable and shiny objects. Aside from products becoming unfashionable, we have come to expect the products we purchase will have a limited lifetime of usefulness. Often these products are designed and built to fail sooner or become unfashionable. Planned obsolescence is good for manufacturers and sellers of goods and their investors but creates massive waste and is not in the best interests of consumers or the planet.

On the other hand, “Planned Durability” or “Built to Last” is better for both consumers and the planet. By designing and manufacturing products that are built last and will remain fashionable, we, as a species, can enjoy high-quality modern-day products and conveniences with reduced expense, waste and environmental impact. Moreover, by reusing products; designing products using recycled materials and parts; reducing packaging; and digitizing products (e.g., books, music, videos, games), we can significantly improve supply chain efficiency, minimize waste, and reduce greenhouse gasses and environmental impact.

4. Clean Energy and Technology Innovation: Examples of innovation that will transform the supply chain include the following:

· Clean Energy. Energy is the gating factor for quality of life in modern society. Energy is needed for such things as getting food from the farm to our table; pumping water to our homes, farms and businesses; keeping our lights on; handling waste; transportation and shipping; manufacturing and processing of materials and goods; and powering our computers, phones and other electronic devices, to name a few. Without energy, modern society virtually shuts down. While we get great benefits and convenience from energy, we urgently need to transform our energy portfolio from dirty energy sources to clean and renewable energy sources.

“Almost every way we make electricity today, except for the emerging renewables and nuclear, puts out CO2. And so, what we’re going to have to do at a global scale, is create a new system. And so, we need energy miracles.” ~Bill Gates

It is clear that we need to transform our energy portfolio from greenhouse gas producing fossil fuels (e.g., coal, oil, natural gas) and radioactive waste generating nuclear energy sources to clean, non-destructive, renewable sources of fuel and power, such as hydrogen, solar, wind, hydro, tidal, geothermal, biomass, biofuels, waste-to-energy, and microbial fuel cells (“Clean Energy Sources”).

While nuclear energy is becoming more expensive, most of the Clean Energy sources mentioned above are becoming more efficient, durable and less costly. According to a 2019 report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (“IRENA), unsubsidized renewable energy is frequently the cheapest source of energy generation.[xi] According to the report:

“Costs from all commercially available renewable power generation technologies declined in 2018. The global weighted-average cost of electricity declined 26% year-on-year for concentrated solar power (CSP), followed by bioenergy (-14%), solar photovoltaic (P.V.) and onshore wind (both -13%), hydropower (-12%), geothermal and offshore wind (both -1%), the report finds.”

While the consumption of fossil fuels has decreased from 1970 as a percentage of energy used, fossils fuels still account for almost 80% of the world’s energy source.[xii] According to Stanford University’s Professor Mark Z. Jacobson, a goal of 100 percent renewable energy is achievable by 2050 without the need for radically new technology. There is hope that by 2050, our world can be running on Clean Energy. However, achieving this goal will require trillions of dollars in infrastructure investment. This investment can also be a tipping point into creating the Regenerative Economy.

Some renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, provide intermittent power. Solar doesn’t produce energy when the sun isn’t shining, and wind doesn’t produce energy when the wind isn’t blowing. Therefore, intermittent clean energy sources require storage to be used effectively and reliably on a 24–7 basis. Today’s batteries generally store energy using relatively expensive metals, including lithium, vanadium and cobalt. Innovations in storage include massless carbon batteries, where, the structure becomes the storage medium (e.g., the body of a car being the battery); zinc-air batteries; and Noon Energy’s ultra-low-cost batteries utilizing elements carbon and oxygen that are targeted to cost much less than current storage solutions and provide much longer durations.

Hydrogen produced from renewable sources and waste will likely become a dominant fuel source in the future. With its portability as a transportation fuel and its use as an industrial power source, hydrogen (the most abundant element in the universe) promises to deliver clean 24–7 energy with virtually no greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Forbes article Top Technologies Transforming Energy In 2021, green hydrogen is likely to take a significant lead in future energy portfolios:[xiii]

“Green hydrogen is the renewable energy source to watch in 2021, as the E.U. and many other states around the world pump investment in the burgeoning sector. It is seen as a crucial way to accelerate decarbonisation efforts, particularly for hard-to-abate sectors where electrification is not viable — eg, for heavy industry, chemicals and transportation.”

· Internet of Things (“IoT”). IoT involves the integration of technologies that allow for automation and increased efficiencies in the supply chain, our cities, communities and homes. Primarily, IoT provides us the ability to use sensors to provide data that can be used to make smarter and more efficient decisions, as well as automate processes to reduce human involvement and intervention. The foundational technologies of IoT are wireless technologies (e.g., wi-fi, cellular, Bluetooth); sensors; Internet; data analytics, storage and management; object recognition, Machine-to-Machine Learning and Communications, Global Positioning Satellites (“GPS”), Radio Frequency Identification (“RFID”), Artificial Intelligence (“A.I.”), Augmented Reality (“A.R.”) and predictive modeling, software, hardware and storage.

Some of the benefits of using IoT, include (1) conserving precious water by using sensors that determine moisture levels to turn on and off watering systems; (2) saving energy by turning off lights and reducing HVAC when no person is present; (3) creating greater energy generation and distribution efficiency by utilizing locally generated energy and distributing it on demand to where it is most needed; (4) powering autonomous driverless vehicles that safely take us to our destinations and provide efficient supply chain transportation and delivery services with motion sensors, cameras, A.I. and predictive modeling; (5) having traffic control and parking systems that change signals and guide routes based upon real-time data; (6) tracking the movement of commodities, parts, manufacturing progress, finished goods and shipments through the supply chain; and (7) providing robots instructions on tasks and monitoring their accuracy and efficiency.

The promise of IoT is that many of the robotic and mechanical activities that humans currently do can be automated and made more efficient, thereby freeing humankind to engage in higher and more inspiring activities and work.

· Robotics and Drones. Robots will contribute significantly to the efficiency of the supply chain. We often think of robots as machines that resemble humans and are capable of carrying out human movements and functions. However, robots are machines capable of carrying out complex functions from instructions programmed into a computer and can be designed to carry out certain functions better than humans. Using cameras, sensors, object learning and A.I., robots are now becoming capable of doing such things as growing, identifying and picking our foods, loading trucks, driving trucks, unloading trucks, picking, packing and shipping orders from a warehouse and delivering the order to the end purchaser. Robots will soon be able to also do a significant amount of mechanical services, customer service and tech support.

Drones are technically unmanned flying robotic aircraft. Drones can be controlled remotely by a human or given instruction through software-controlled flight plans working with integrated systems such as GPS, sensors and object recognition. Aside from Drones being used by the military, they can be used to more effectively deliver packages. For example, Amazon has unveiled a plan to use drones to more efficiently deliver packages directly to its customers.

· Blockchain. While cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum have become fairly well known, the underlying blockchain technology and its importance are less known. A blockchain is, in essence, a distributed ledger technology with a list of records (known as “blocks”) that are linked together using cryptography (encrypted security communication protocols). A blockchain is a decentralized, distributed, and public digital ledger used to record transactions across many computers so that any involved record cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks. Each block contains a hash, a timestamp and transaction data. Once recorded, the data in a block is subject to network consensus to validate the authenticity of the block and thereby ensure the block is unalterable. Because the data in the blocks are redundant, validated and decentralized, blockchain has very high security and tolerance to attack and alteration. Also, using embedded smart contracts (contracts with predefined conditions that are digitally and automatically executed by the blockchain pursuant to the instructions) can create significant efficiencies for the execution and settlement of agreements.

The impact on supply chain efficiency is that tracking status, transport, manufacturing and distribution of supplies, components and goods in the supply chain can be done much more securely and efficiently. Utilizing blockchain can create end-to-end visibility from origin to consumer and can be used to (1) bring transparency and hold companies accountable for their energy, sourcing, and their environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) policies, and (2) minimize inefficiencies, counterfeit products, theft, embezzlement, kickbacks and much of the corruption currently found in the supply chain. Additionally, blockchain can ensure transparency and security of claims and certifications, such as organic, fresh, local, and fair trade certifications. Moreover, using blockchain, the contents of international containers can be easily, securely and transparently verified to ensure greater efficiency at customs.

As mitigating climate change, carbon reduction and localization become more critical to consumers and regulators, blockchain can be used to provide indelible proof of origin, quality, claims and compliance, as well as providing a reliable local currency.

By transforming our energy portfolio to use renewable and clean energy sources; reducing our consumption; localizing our needs; designing and developing communities to be regenerative and locally self-sufficient; sharing built-to-last products; and minimizing our dependence on the existing supply chain and fossil fuels, we are likely to see a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, and a positive transformation in the health of humankind and our planet’s




[iv] LAEDC, Oil & Gas in California: The Industry and Its Economic Impact;

[v] EIA,

[vi] Sources consulted include: NASA Global Climate Change, Scientific Consensus: Earth’s Climate is Warming ;;


[viii] Havas Group,

[ix] IT World, Apple and Samsung fined for planned obsolescence;


[xi] International Renewable Energy Agency, Renewable Power Generation Cost in 2018, (2019),

[xii] The World Bank, Fossil fuel energy consumption,


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More than 99 percent of all organisms that have lived on Earth are now extinct. An estimated 8 million animal and plant species currently live on Earth, but the rate of extinction has accelerated in the last 100 years, largely from human activities.[1]  Because of such things as industry, agriculture, deforestation and fossil fuel use, atmospheric carbon dioxide is at its highest level in 14 million years.[2] At the same time, disruption of other chemical cycles is turning seas and rivers into dead zones. Scientists know of 543 species lost over the last 100 years, a record that would normally take 10,000 years to accrue.[3]

Throughout the 4.6 billion years of Earth's history, there have been five known mass extinction events that have wiped out between 75% to over 90% of the species existing on Earth.[4]  We are on the brink of the 6th Mass Extinction – The Holocene or Anthropocene Extinction.  This is the first extinction in history caused by a single species - humans.  Because of the substantial anthropogenic causes triggering this 6th Mass Extinction, it is often referred to as the Anthropocene Extinction.  

Below is a summary of the 6 Mass Extinctions:

  • 1st Mass Extinction - The Ordovician-Silurian Mass Extinction. 444 million years ago, most complex multicellular organisms lived in the oceans. An abrupt shift in the continents caused global cooling and an ice age leading to massive glaciation of seawater at the south pole. Sea levels plummeted by hundreds of feet and dissolved toxic metals became concentrated.  As the ice age ended, sea levels rapidly rose and couldn’t hold sufficient oxygen to sustain most of the species.[5]
  • 2nd Mass Extinction – The Devonian Mass Extinction. 375 million years ago, nearly 80% of all living species on the planet were wiped out. This extinction is thought to be caused by the adaptation of aquatic plants to living on land, lower carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and lower oxygen levels in the ocean. With lower carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, global temperatures plummeted, causing many species to go extinct.  Other species became extinct through mass volcanic eruptions and meteor showers.[6]
  • 3rd Mass Extinction – The Permian Mass Extinction. 250 million years ago, the largest mass extinction occurred, wiping out 96% of all species on Earth. Massive volcanic activity and asteroid impacts sent high levels of toxic methane and basalt into the atmosphere while decreasing the amount of oxygen.  As well, extremophile microbes that thrive on methane proliferated, choking out other sea life.[7]
  • 4th Mass Extinction - The Triassic - Jurassic Mass Extinction. 200 million years ago, over 50% of the living species were eliminated. This mass extinction occurred over 18 million years ago from volcanic activity and basalt flooding, causing atmospheric climate change, and changes in sea levels and pH.[8]
  • 5th Mass Extinction – The Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) Mass Extinction. 65 million years ago, about 75% of the species living on Earth went extinct. After 165 million years on the planet, dinosaurs were virtually wiped out of existence. This extinction was caused by an asteroid impact with Earth, causing an “impact winter” that dramatically changed the climate of the entire planet including acidification of the oceans and interference with photosynthetic processes of plants and plankton.[9]
  • 6th Mass Extinction – The Holocene or Anthropocene Extinction.  There is a growing consensus among scientists and numerous research organizations that the sixth mass extinction has started and is accelerating.  The Holocene period started about 11,700 years ago and corresponds with the rapid proliferation and impacts of humans.  The first impacts of humans include hunting animals into extinction, deforestation and habitat destruction.  With the introduction of the industrial age approximately 300 years ago, anthropogenic destruction of habitats such as oceans, lands, forests, wetlands has exponentially increased and accelerated.  Activities contributing to the 6th Mass Extinction include the pollution, contaminants, atmospheric change and habitat destruction from fossil fuels, industrial manufacturing, chemicals, mining, commercial agriculture, centralized supply chain, overconsumption, the rapidly increasing human population, and the general disregard of humans for the value, conservation and regeneration of nature.[10]

Although the five prior mass extinctions resulted from conditions that caused significant climate change, no mass extinction prior to the 6th Mass Extinction resulted from activities of any particular species.  We, humans are special.  We are so smart and innovative that our technological advancements and activities are causing the 6th Mass Extinction. While the Earth has seen global warming, ice ages and climate change prior to humans inhabiting the Earth from natural causes such as volcanic activity, wobbles in the Earth’s orbit, continental drift, and meteors, today’s climate change is occurring at a highly accelerated rate never seen before in Earth’s history.[11] According to NASA, “These natural causes are still in play today, but their influence is too small, or they occur too slowly to explain the rapid warming seen in recent decades.”[12]

Due to human activities, including burning fossil fuels (e.g. oil and coal) for our energy needs, deforestation, overfishing and destruction of the ocean habit, chemical contamination of our soil, water and air, and commercial agriculture, we have destroyed ecosystems and released massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere along with other greenhouse gasses such as methane and nitrous oxides causing unprecedented levels not seen in over 14 million years.[13]

The concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide has been rising steadily since the industrial revolution and has accelerated over recent decades, with 50% of all emissions over the last 300 years happening since 1980 and 25% happening since 2000.[14]  As a result, the parts per million (“ppm”) of CO2 in the atmosphere has risen 50% from 280ppm in pre-industrial times to 420ppm as of June 2021.[15] The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) estimates that we will need to reach net zero CO2 emissions by 2030 to have a likely chance of keeping global warming below the 1.5 degree threshold.[16]

According to One Earth, “The impacts resulting from higher temperatures are almost unimaginable -- the death of the coral reefs in every ocean, the collapse of nearly one-quarter of the world’s agricultural land, dramatically increased heat waves and wildfires, 100 million people driven to extreme poverty sparking multiple refugee crises, 1 meter of sea level rise in some regions, and more than $11 trillion per year in damages from extreme storms and flooding. Stacked upon each other, these impacts and many more, could undermine the very fabric of life on our planet, greatly challenging the continuation of human civilization as we currently know it.”[17]    

If we act urgently, we may have a chance of reducing CO2 emissions and the devastating effects of climate change by doing the following: [18]


  • Replace fossil fuels (e.g., oil, coal) with clean energy alternatives (e.g., hydrogen, solar, wind, hydro, geothermal) and end fossil fuel subsidies;
  • Change land management and use practices by (a) restoring croplands to grassland or forestland, (b) extending timber harvest rota­tion lengths, (c) building healthy soil and organic with permaculture and regenerative land management practices and (d) regenerating forests and lands that have been burned, denuded and degraded for cattle ranching and commercial agriculture monocropping;
  • Reduce consumption, increase product durability, reuse, recycle, and apply circularity to manufacturing processes;
  • Localize production and distribution of water, food, energy, materials and goods and develop local sharing economies; and
  • Move to a primarily plant-based diet.

While innovation, science and technology can be utilized to accelerate the changes and remediation needed to reverse anthropogenic destruction and climate change, science and technology have also been responsible for great damage to the world. Examples of this damage include (1) fossil fuel pollution; (2) chemical contamination of water, soil, food and air; (3) commercial agricultural, ranching and fishing practices that destroy arable land, forests, wetlands and oceans; (4) massive waste from overconsumption, manufacturing, plastic packaging, electronics and agriculture; and (5) biological gain-of-function experiments that increase pathogen transmission from animals to humans. It is critical that we apply ethics and principles to innovation to ensure that innovation uses living systems applications and serves the health and thriving of people and planet.

While some of the technologies listed below have the potential for doing good, the unethical use of these technologies in the hands of sociopathic corporations, corrupt politicians or power-hungry fascists have the potential of accelerating the Anthropocene Extinction, as well as complete loss of human rights, privacy, freedoms and privileges. The most dangerous technologies include the following:

  • Biological weapons, experimental viruses and untested vaccines and medicines;
  • Nuclear weapons;
  • Autonomous intelligent robots designed to, or which mistakenly, kill humans;
  • Genetically modified and created organisms that can reproduce and mutate in nature causing untold damage to the Earth’s food, water and ecosystems that support human survival;
  • Carcinogenic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, antibiotics and preservatives in our water, soil and food;
  • Continued use of fossil fuels and toxic chemicals;
  • Commercial agricultural practices that destroy forests, deplete topsoil and contaminate the land and watersheds;
  • Unethical AI, smart weaponized drones, smart robots, facial recognition software, deepfakes, quantum computing, mandatory microchipping, pervasive surveillance and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS aka Smart Dust) with micro cameras and sensors, all of which can be used to destroy privacy and create a dystopian military fascist state with complete control of humankind;
  • Commercial overfishing and destruction of the oceans for commercial uses;
  • Cyberterrorism (e.g., taking out centralized supply chain and utility grids subject, hacking and controlling autonomous robots, drones and weapons, releasing security locks on uncurable pathogens, destruction of the banking system);
  • Weaponized nanotechnology and nano organisms; and
  • Unethical neural enhancement chips.

Below are examples of technologies and activities that have the potential to create rapid change, reverse the anthropogenic damage of humans and create a robust and regenerative multi-trillion economy (the “Regenerative Economy”):

  • Clean and renewable energy (e.g., green hydrogen, solar, wind, geothermal);
  • Carbon capture through natural climate solution (“NCS”) including reforestation, building healthy soil, regenerative land and oceans practices, and direct-air carbon capture;
  • Zero-Waste, Waste-to-Energy and Waste-to-Materials;
  • Regenerative ocean management practices including reviving coral reefs, cultivating seaweed beds, proliferating phytoplankton blooms and engaging in regenerative fishery practices;
  • Development and implementation of “Wise, Regenerative and Resilient Cities and Communities” planning, design and holistic implementation;
  • Clean storage and batteries;
  • Plant-based protein and diets and cellular lab-grown animal proteins;
  • Renewable plant-based materials and biomimicry;
  • Reduction of driving and travel by using virtual communications;
  • Ethical AI, machine learning and robotics;
  • Circularity in manufacturing and supply-chain;
  • Aquatech including sonic purification, atmospheric generation, molecular frequency separation, and desalinization;
  • Applications that track and reward conscious reduction of energy and consumption;
  • Internet of Things (“IoT”), sensors and monitoring for environment, endangered species, carbon credits and resources;
  • Energy-efficient and healthy building design and materials that are in harmony with nature (e.g., resistance to fire, earthquake, hurricane, storms, and mold; passive solar; water collection and purification; and grey-blackwater recycling);
  • Supply-chain efficiency, value-added processing, and localization of water, food, energy and materials;
  • Graphene as a renewable alternative source for energy, storage and materials;
  • Reuse-recycling-upcycling-conservation applications;
  • Bioenergetic soil and water remediation;
  • Organic burial pods;
  • Applications that provide transparent standards, monitoring, measurement and reporting by organizations to align economic incentives with ethical imperatives, ESG and triple bottom line;
  • Urban farming, hydroponics, aquaponics, vertical farming and forest, and integrated food systems;
  • Clean, renewable, public transport and driverless, autonomous vehicles;
  • 3D-Printing and localization of manufacturing;
  • Integration of life sciences, chemistry and earth sciences that fosters the health and thriving of people and planet through ecosystemic solutions that increase resource abundance, accessibility and quality-of-life;

As Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”  Yet, we continue to try to save our world with the same thinking, tools and systems that created our problems – the same corrupt economic and monetary system, government and regulatory system, antiquated education system, fake news system and destructive technologies.  The money and finance institutions try to convince us that we can somehow buy our way out of our problems while going further into debt. The governments assure us that new regulations will save us in exchange for giving up our freedoms, rights and privileges. The scientists and technologists tell us they will save us with innovation, much of which is untested and results in such things as pollution, ecological destruction, disease/pandemics and death.  The media and educators tell us they can save the world with their deceptive propaganda and conditioning that promotes conformity.   While money, regulations, technology, science, media and education can contribute greatly to the change we require, the real change needed is both systemic and personal. 

By participating in our current society (e.g., use of money and credit, use of electricity and fossil fuels, purchase of manufactured products), we are each responsible in some manner for perpetuating a society based largely on fear, greed, scarcity, environmental destruction, and overconsumption. Instead of making the personal changes required, we often foolishly pass our responsibility to corrupt governments, sociopathic corporations, and unethical bankers in the belief that they will somehow save us with technology, regulations, money and information.   Unless we are willing to change our personal destructive and over-consumptive behaviors, no new technologies, regulations or money will save us from the 6th Mass Extinction.

So, will technology save the world from anthropogenic extinction?  No, not by itself.

The solution requires holistic, systemic change from the inside-out (personal change), ground-up (the way we relate to each other and our planet and build our infrastructure), and top-down (government, regulations and leadership). We urgently need to accelerate a new socio-political-economic system devoted to ecosystemic thriving that fosters the flourishing and wellness of people and planet. The systemic change needed will require us to experience significant inconveniences and challenges.  However, these inconveniences and challenges pale in comparison to such things as climate disasters, desertification, starvation, water scarcity, resource shortages and economic collapse.

There is hope that we can still reverse climate change by creating a Regenerative Society.  This can happen through a combination of the following 5 Pillars of Transformation:

  • Personal change including eliminating overconsumption, waste and overpopulation, developing a deeper love, reverence and inclusivity for our fellow humans and nature;
  • Transformation of corrupt governments and the central banking systems that provide regulations and funding that truly support human and planetary thriving;
  • Substantial and meaningful corporate Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) commitments that achieve the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
  • Applied education and information systems that build regenerative skills, capacity and culture; and
  • The application of ethical sciences, healthcare and technologies that use living systems approaches to solve our challenges at a systemic level and promote the thriving of humankind and nature.

In the Regenerative Economy, practically every person on this planet will have an opportunity to gain meaningful work (rather than a job) serving thriving of humankind and the planet.  In so doing, all humans will have the opportunity to live a life of abundance, wellness, empowerment, beauty and fulfillment in a Regenerative Society.  




[2]     Sources consulted include;

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Emotions and feelings are powerful factors in our lives. They have a significant influence on our state of being, our health, our perception of the world, our relationships and how we interact with each other. Although our emotions and feelings are such a major impact on our lives, our society generally doesn’t provide much education, support and training in helping us understand and use our emotions and feelings in a way that benefits our lives and our world.

As will be discussed in greater detail below, emotions, feelings, beliefs and behaviors can be, in essence, defined as follows:

(1) “Emotions” are energy in motion generally derived from a reaction, response and relationship to one’s instinctual nature, beliefs, circumstances, and/or environment;[1]

(2) “Feelings” are embodied emotions and energy experienced as somatic consciousness and physical states of being;[2]

(3) “Beliefs” are attitudes or states of trust, faith or confidence that some idea or principle is true[3]; and

(4) “Behavior” is the expression of thoughts, beliefs, emotions and feelings. Behavior can also include inaction and that which is not expressed. When behavior reaches certain levels of adoption, it becomes “Culture.” Culture creates a feedback loop that perpetuates the environment, thought, beliefs, emotions and behaviors that created it.[4]

Feelings and emotions are often used interchangeably in our communication without much thought to their differences. By distinguishing between feelings and emotions, we can exponentially increase our emotional literacy, our cognitive abilities, our health and help our bodies from being ravaged by stress and constrictive emotions. By engaging in emotional literacy, we activate our pre-frontal cortex rather than the amygdala allowing us to intentionally and mindfully express our emotions to create the life and outcomes we desire. In my experience, those that have a deeper understanding of their emotions and feelings tend to be more evolved as humans and consistently experience more expanded and states of being that serve their ability to manifest a more loving, thriving and abundant life and world.

Emotions, feelings, beliefs and behaviors are intrinsically interconnected and catalyze one another. The resulting behaviors influenced by beliefs, emotions and feelings have a profound effect on our culture, our environment and ourselves.

Emotions are vibrational states that arise from a wide variety of stimuli, including thoughts, beliefs, events, sensations, perceptions, feelings, our environment and even other emotions. In psychology and philosophy, emotion is a subjective, conscious experience characterized primarily by psycho-physiological experiences that include mental and physical states of being leading to biological and neurological responses to stimuli.[5] Emotions are associated and considered reciprocally influential with mood, temperament, personality, motivation and behavior. In addition, emotions are influenced by beliefs, circumstances, hormones and neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine, adrenaline, cortisol and GABA.

Alternatively, emotions can be defined as a “positive or negative experiences associated with a particular pattern of energetic and psycho-somatic activity.”[6] When we judge our emotions as negative or positive, there’s a tendency to disconnect from, or bypass, the emotional experiences we believe are “negative.” This can result in missing the messages, lessons and growth opportunities that exist from fully experiencing our emotions and not judging them.

Because emotions are energetic at their core, emotions can be triggered from a multitude of stimuli (e.g., sensations, perceptions, thoughts, beliefs and events), with each individual having their unique subjective experiences of emotions and their triggers. The unique and subjective experience of emotions creates significant complexity in understanding emotions. It is my hope that this article can help us more fully understand our emotions, feelings beliefs and behaviors so that we can live more fulfilling lives leading to a culture of love, thriving, abundance and harmony.

The Frequencies of Emotion. Each emotion has a vibrational frequency signature that causes a resonate field which influences our state of being to expand or contract. The body resonates with the energy signature of each emotion. This has profound influence on our state of being by either expanding or contracting our energy field and somatic sensation. An expansive emotion triggers parasympathetic states of being, typically experienced as openness and relaxation, whereas a constrictive emotion causes sympathetic states often experienced as tightness and tension.[7]

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As shown in the illustration above, which provides examples of different emotions on the frequency scale. Love, bliss and empowerment are very high energy emotions that are associated with expanded states of being, whereas apathy, depression and grief are very low energy leading to contracted states of being. Emotions with an expansive resonance activate the parasympathetic nervous system resulting in the release of serotonin and the body becoming relaxed and feeling open. Emotions with both low energy and constrictive resonance can cause either a lack of energy and motivation, while emotions that are higher energy, but are still constrictive typically activate the sympathetic nervous system resulting in the release of adrenaline and cortisol readying the body for fight-or flight. For example, anger typically causes the body to become tight and constricted, but unlike apathy, anger has sufficient energy and frequency to motivate action. The energy from anger can be used to spiral the emotion of anger into more expanded emotional states such as courage, passion and love.

The energetic and vibrational frequency signature of each emotion creates a feedback loop that affects our mental, physical, energetic and emotional states of being. According to Harvard Medical School, “When someone experiences a stressful event, the amygdala, an area of the brain that contributes to emotional processing, sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus. This area of the brain functions like a command center, communicating with the rest of the body through the nervous system so that the person has the energy to fight or flee.”[8]

Emotions often arise as a result of a belief or expectation interacting with a circumstance. For example, if I believe making money is good and losing money is bad, when I make money I may experience the emotion of happiness, and when I lose money I may experience the emotion of anger. In this example, my emotional state (e.g., happiness or anger) is conditioned upon making money. Generally, when we are in an expansive emotional state (e.g., happiness, bliss, love), we feel better than when we are in constrictive emotional states (e.g., anger, shame, grief). By conditioning our beliefs and manipulating our emotions, advertisers, marketers, corporations and governments have been able to influence our behavior and actions. When we become aware of our emotions, our emotional conditionalities, and how are emotions are being manipulated, we can gain incredible power to experience the emotions we desire rather than falling prey to the belief systems and emotional manipulation that is often used to perpetuate consumerism and disempowerment.

Emotions are wonderful teachers that make us aware of our beliefs and perception of circumstances, giving us an opportunity to change our beliefs and perceptions. When we become aware of our beliefs and perceptions, we can consciously choose our beliefs and emotions to optimize our states of being and change our experience of the world.

As a powerful energetic charge, emotions can be intentionally expressed and manifest into constructive behaviors and outcomes. One of the major challenges we face in mastering our emotions is the judgment of emotions as good or bad. We often feel guilt, denial, conflict or resistance to certain emotions we believe are “bad.” For instance, most of us would consider emotions such as anger, fear and sorrow to be bad or draining emotions. Truly, all emotions can be utilized for positive experience. For example, fear can protect us from harm, anger can drive us to create amazing change and without sorrow, joy would not be experienced as exquisitely. As well, we can experience expansive emotions more exquisitely because of the opposite constrictive emotions. For example, we experience the expansiveness of love much more deeply, because we also experience the constriction of fear.

Emotions can be suppressed, denied or limited. However, until emotions are expressed and released, they tend to build up and can cause damage to ourselves and others. Emotions can also be expressed, guided, directed and when released through conscious and healthy behavior can energize and improve our lives and the lives of others. For example, as a teenager, I often felt anger and frustration resulting from being unseen by my father and his verbal and physical abuse. I learned to play drums and often saw his face in my drum heads. I would play for hours releasing my anger and turning my anger into a wonderful and creative skill. I became a professional drummer and musician and derived a great deal of joy from playing music, as well as making a living with my music for many years.

Much like how an artist uses colors to create a painting, we can use emotions as tools to create and manifest our intention to create fulfilling lives. Just like colors, emotions are neither good nor bad — they can be blended and used to create a desired outcome.

Rather than seeing emotions as good or bad, positive or negative, higher or lower, I invite you to experience emotions as expansive or contractive. For if we fear “negative” emotions, we tend to live in fear. If we strive hard to experience only “positive” emotions, then we create stress and rigidity about negative emotions in our lives. For example, I’ve seen many people in the “Love & Light” community living in perpetual levels of fear or denial of “the darkness” or their shadow. Fear contracts and works adversely to the expansive emotion of love. By embracing and loving the “darkness,” our shadow and constrictive emotions, we can more fully experience the expansive emotional state of love. By fully embracing and presently experiencing our emotional states without judgment, rather than disconnecting, bypassing, denying or avoiding them, we gain the power of “Emotional Literacy.”

Emotions can arise from linear, parallel, independent and/or collective stimuli. Having said this, below are 6 Elements of Emotion that individually, or in combination, contribute the existence and experience of emotion:

1) Environmental-Sensory Stimulus — An outer stimulus, such as a vibration, event or object, triggers sensory signals to the brain and body.

2) Physiological Arousal — Instinctual reaction to the Environmental-Sensory Stimulus and Perceptive Awareness.

3) Perceptive Awareness — Perception of the “Environmental-Sensory Stimulus” and “Physiological Arousal” prior to “Cognitive Appraisal and Beliefs” influencing perceptive awareness.

4) Cognitive Appraisal & Beliefs — The subjective thought and interpretation of the events, objects and stimulus through the filter of mind, meaning, beliefs and conditioning.

5) Feelings — Somatic awareness and response to the stimuli of a circumstance juxtaposed on the experience of “Environmental Sensory Stimulus,” “Perceptive Awareness,” “Physiological Arousal,” and “Cognitive Appraisal & Beliefs.”

6) Expression & Motivation — Emotional energy being manifest into mental action (e.g., inspiration, creativity, will-won’t decision, withdrawal, suppression), physical action and body language (e.g., running, smiling, staring, fighting), verbal language (e.g., talking, yelling, arguing, and/or energetic action (e.g., increased/expanded or decreased/contracted energy).

Klaus Scherer, a Professor of Psychology at the Swiss Center for Affective Sciences, specializing in the psychology of emotion, developed the Component Process Model (CPM), consisting of 5 components of emotion, similar to the 6 Elements of Emotion listed above. Scherer stated that these components did not work independently of each other but were part of a collective-collaborative process. Subjective feelings influenced and were influenced by other components such as physiological arousal being driven by cognitive appraisal. [9]

Other leading emotional theorists have posited differing views on whether an emotion arises by itself or from an event, a physical state, cognitive appraisal or beliefs. Using the example of a rattlesnake as the event stimulus, below is a brief summary of other theories of emotion[10]:

  • Walter Cannon — rattlesnake (event)  fear (emotion)  fight or flight (physical response)
  • James–Lange — rattlesnake (event)  fight or flight (physical response)  fear (emotion)
  • Richard Lazarus — rattlesnake (event)  rattlesnakes can kill me (cognitive appraisal)  fear (emotion)  fight or flight (physical action)
  • Singer-Schachter — rattlesnake (event)  fight or flight (physical action)  rattlesnakes can kill me (cognitive appraisal)  fear (emotion)

The foregoing, like so many scientific theories, are based upon a fairly linear and analytical framework. However, emotions, can be serial or parallel and arise in connection with numerous different stimuli The likelihood is that no one-size-fits-all linear way to experience life or an emotion, so each of the above theorists are right some of the time, partially right some of the time and wrong some of the time. For example, if I experience a purely instinctual emotion such as fear and react physically to avoid immediate harm to my body without thinking and cognitive appraisal, then Cannon and James-Lange would be correct in that circumstance. However, if I engage in cognitive appraisal, then the emotional theorists who excluded cognitive appraisal (e.g., Cannon, James-Lange), would not be correct in that situation and Lazarus and Singer-Schachter would be correct.

Instinctual Emotions and Cognitive Emotions. Joseph LeDoux, Ph.D., professor of neuroscience and psychology at New York University, posits that automatic physiological responses to danger and issues of survival are hard-wired in the brain and cognitive appraisal is irrelevant to these physical responses to threats. LeDoux argues, and I agree, that people are not born with phobias and that conscious emotions are learned through experience or programming. I also agree with Lazarus, professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, that cognitive appraisal often creates and contributes to our emotional state. Emotions can therefore be classified as Instinctual Emotions and Cognitive Emotions.

· Instinctual Emotions — Instinctual Emotions are generally associated with survival (e.g., fight, flight, food, mating) and are generated from a combination of somatic consciousness, the sympathetic nervous system and the amygdala. Instinctual Emotions arise somatically and bypass cognitive appraisal. Because the body is always in the state of present awareness, these Instinctual Emotions tend to be felt somatically in the “moment of now.” Thus, Instinctual Emotions are generally more immediate and present than Cognitive Emotions (discussed below).

Somatic theories of emotion claim that bodily responses, rather than judgments, are essential to emotions. The first modern version of somatic emotion theories came from William James in the 1880s. This theory has been supported with modern neurological evidence by theorists such as John Cacioppo[11], António Damásio[12], Joseph E. LeDoux[13], and Robert Zajonc[14].

· Cognitive Emotions — We are, according to currently accepted authority, born with only two fears: 1) the fear of falling and 2) the fear of loud noises.[15] However, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association lists over 150 phobias. Somehow, in our society, people acquire or are programmed to develop over 150 fears. Most of the phobias listed in the DSM are cognitive.

Cognitive Emotions tend to be based in the mind rather than the natural and present Instinctual Emotions of the body. Cognitive Emotions are triggered by thought and generally involve the prefrontal cortex. Unlike the present-moment Instinctual Emotions, Cognitive Emotions are often based upon future projection, past experiences, imagination, interpretation, falsity, rationalization, manipulation, mistaken assumptions, misunderstandings and conditioned beliefs.

However, utilizing the tools of mindfulness, equanimity and inquiry, we can powerfully guide and optimize our Cognitive Emotional states to be more pure and present so as to align with our desired states of being and free ourselves from emotional manipulation and increase our emotional intelligence.

Feelings are embodied emotions and responses experienced in somatic consciousness. Because our bodies are always in a present state of awareness, our bodies often don’t differentiate between an imagined and actual occurrence. Thus, when we imagine an unpleasant circumstance we often experience associated constrictive emotions (e.g., fear, shame, guilt, anger). In response to the constrictive emotions, the body tightens and, even though the event is imagined, the mind perceives there is some emergency at the physical level. This often leads to a feedback loop that increases the intensity of the emotion affecting our thoughts, our bodies and our energy field. The intensity of the feedback loop may continue until there is a new stimulus to break the pattern of the loop. By being aware of our feedback loops, we can consciously provide new perceptions, beliefs and/or thoughts to break the pattern of unnecessary stress associated with fight-or-flight.

Conversely, when we imagine a scenario that we find pleasurable (e.g., taking a wonderful vacation, making love, fulfilling a goal), we are likely to experience expansive emotions (e.g., happiness, love, joy and bliss) that activates our parasympathetic nervous system giving the body the ability to relax, the organs to efficiently function, our bodies to heal, and our brains to be more fully engaged.

Unlike “emotions” which consist of energetic charge often resulting from thoughts, beliefs and circumstances, “feelings” are embodied somatic states of being such as hungry, sexual desire, hot, warm, cold, relaxed, tired, tense, excited, vital, strong, expanded, contracted, tingly, calm, comfortable, heavy, lite, tight, open and loose. Because our body consciousness is always in the moment of now, our pure somatic feelings are generally more real and present and less subject to rationalization, manipulation and the interpretation of the mind. The body does not care about whether you get a promotion or whether you get married to your lover or whether you make money. The body’s consciousness is largely concerned with such things as safety, preservation of life, well-being, and comfort, as well as awareness of threats to safety, life, well-being and comfort. However, the body, mind and emotional experiences are interconnected, so often the body is responding to thoughts, imagined circumstances, beliefs and emotions.

To help clarify the distinction between feelings and emotions, we often hear people say, “I feel angry.” This is typically not an accurate statement because the body does not “feel angry,” but rather the mind experiences the emotion of anger, often as a result of a belief intersecting with a circumstance (e.g., unmet expectations, feeling wronged), and the body responds to the emotional charge and vibrations in the form of somatic “feelings” that match the emotional vibration of anger. The body doesn’t “feel angry,” but may feel tight, constricted, tense or charged. A more accurate description would be, “I’m experiencing the emotion of anger which is causing my body to feel tightness and constriction.”

The vibrational response of the body is generally the activation of the sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous system in a way that corresponds in intensity with the frequency and power of the emotional charge. For example, anger is an emotion with a vibration that generally causes the body to activate the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system prepares the body for fight or flight, which causes tension and constriction. The power or amplitude of the emotional charge determines the intensity of the body’s response (e.g., mild, moderate, and extreme).

When entering the sympathetic nervous system mode, “excitatory neurotransmitters,” such as norepinephrine, cortisol and adrenaline, flood our body and create a “fight or flight.” This process happens without cognitive thought; it’s a somatic reaction to the scenarios we create in our minds and the emotional reaction to those scenarios.

When we experience expansive emotions such as love, peace and joy, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated in resonance with the emotional frequencies and “inhibitory neurotransmitters” that are released, such as serotonin and GABA. The chemicals tend to relax, open and expand the way the body feels.

Dopamine is a dual-purpose neurotransmitter, as it can be both excitatory and inhibitory. Dopamine elevates mood, focus and motivation and is linked with the feeling of inspiration. States of inspiration and enlightenment access the whole nervous system as the body is concurrently relaxed, focused and expanded. I refer to this state of being as the “Awesympathetic” state as we are energized and activated, creative, focused and cognitively high functioning.

When the mind interprets feelings in the body, the pure and present feelings of the body generally become interpreted by the mind, which often exaggerates what is going on in the body. This creates a feedback loop where the brain picks up signals from the body, the exaggerated interpretation of the mind and the cognitive emotions created by the mind’s interpretation, thereby creating feedback loops. And round and round it goes, until there is an intervening event, pattern interruption, new stimulus, or the feedback loop runs out of energetic charge.

For example, if we imagine ourselves in a war zone, the brain is likely to create the emotion of fear, the body will become tight, tense and constricted and the brain will perpetuate the state of fear until the body relaxes. The body won’t relax until the mind is out of a state of fear. Whereas, if I imagine myself on a sunny beach in Hawaii and take some nice relaxed deep breaths, my mind becomes peaceful, my body becomes relaxed and I experience an emotional state of serenity. The feedback loops happen so rapidly that often the physical sensation and the emotional energetic feeling are completely concurrent. This is why people often confuse feelings with emotion. Using the imagination to choose the best future scenarios and outcomes can have a positive impact on bringing our bodies into the parasympathetic or Awesympathetic state of being.

To help distinguish between physiologically and cognitively created feelings, I have categorized feelings into two separate categories — 1) “Somatic-Instinctual Feelings” and 2) “Derivative-Cognitive Feelings.”

· Somatic-Instinctual Feelings arise from body experiences that result from original somatic awareness without being initiated or filtered by cognitive emotion or rational thought.

When we experience Somatic-Instinctual Feelings, the feelings emanate from the body and the body experiences the feeling in the present moment. Examples include somatic pleasure and pain such as feeling cold, hot, hungry and sexual arousal.

For instance, when we grab a hot pan, our bodies immediately and directly experience the heat and we release the pan as a protective measure to prevent us from getting burned. Because the feeling is experienced directly by the body in the present moment it is a Somatic/Instinctual Feeling.

· Derivative-Cognitive Feelings arise in response to cognitively generated thoughts and emotions and the feedback loop between the mind and body. Once the mind becomes aware of the physiological condition, it then interprets the physical stimulus coming from the body, creates meaning and a cognitive-emotional state arises which then creates a feedback loop with the body.

For example, after I picked up and dropped the hot pan, I might judge myself as being stupid for picking up the hot pan and experience the emotion of anger toward myself. Resonating with the frequency of anger, my body constricts, and I experience the Derivative-Cognitive Feeling of tightness as I enter the sympathetic nervous system state, even though the danger of getting burned by the hot pan is no longer present.

While we experience Derivative-Cognitive Feelings as real, they are often not based upon truth or actual facts. The greater the involvement and influence of our mind’s interpretation, meaning and story machine, the further away from the truth our feelings get.

If we want to have optimal health and vitality, it’s important not only to include healthy diet and exercise in our routines and practices, but also healthy thoughts, imagination and emotions that stimulate our parasympathetic or “Awesympathetic” Expanded States of Being. The parasympathetic state of being leads to relaxation, healing, rejuvenation, emergence and increased immune system functioning. The “Awesympathetic” state of being promotes flow, happiness, inspiration, motivation, achievement and fulfillment of our goals. The more we live in an Expanded State of Being, the more likely we’ll have a healthier and happier life.

It’s critical to understand and master the instruments of our emotions, feelings, beliefs and behaviors in order to powerfully align our beliefs, emotions and behaviors with our intentions for creating a healthy, thriving and harmonious life.

There is a critical distinction between fully and presently experiencing emotion and the expression of emotion as behavior. Rather than thinking, feeling and behaving like an automaton, mindlessly following societal conditioning, we can become powerful, free and sovereign beings capable of transforming our world. The greater our emotional literacy, the more we can consciously express our behavior, manifest our intentions, transform our culture and create a thriving world.

Emotional Literacy, Feelings, Beliefs and BehaviorsEmotional literacy provides great insight and mastery of our beliefs and behaviors that profoundly influence our life and the way we experience and express emotions. By fully experiencing all emotional energy, we become more aware and are able to guide the energetic charge of constrictive energy to be expressed as loving, expansive and positive behavior.

Behavior is the expression of emotion, thoughts, beliefs and feelings. Behavior is not only based upon active expression, but can be based upon inaction and indecision. When behavior reaches certain levels of adoption, it becomes “Culture.”

Culture represents the practices, beliefs, knowledge, arts, laws, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals in a group.[16] Culture creates a feedback loop that perpetuates the environment, thought, beliefs, emotions and behaviors that created it. This explains why “culture” is often so difficult to change. To change culture requires a transformation and widespread adoption of our thoughts, beliefs, emotions and behaviors.

Our “Internal Experience is the combination of emotions, feelings, beliefs and thoughts filtered through our perception of “reality” that we experience as a state of being” at any given moment. One of the most powerful influencers of behavior is our Internal Experience. However, behavior is also influenced by such things as beliefs, culture, values, ethics, actions and genetics. The following is an example, to help clarify the distinction between our Internal Experience and Behavior:

As I’m driving down the road, I put my signal on to change to the left lane. The car in the left lane behind me accelerates to prevent me from entering the lane. Based upon my beliefs and conditioning about being courteous, I say to myself “what a jerk — how discourteous.” I then experience the emotion of anger from my beliefs coupled with this circumstance. The energetic charge and vibration of anger causes my body to respond by secreting adrenaline and cortisol. This results in my body tensing in preparation for fight-or-flight and the blood draining from my prefrontal cortex into my amygdala. This is followed by a decrease in my IQ and rational functioning. The emotional state of anger and the decrease in my IQ coupled with the tension in body causes the Internal Experience of fight-or-flight and I’m likely to express behavior like honking my horn and giving “the jerk” a stiff middle finger. My behavior then may trigger behavior in “the jerk” that escalates into road rage. My behavior then contributes to escalating a culture of anger and road rage.

Alternatively, with the tools to shift the expression of anger into positive behavior, I could have consciously changed my Internal Experience and resulting behavior by flipping him the peace sign and smiling. I also could have said to myself, “he must be in a big hurry” or “he needs this space more than I do,” laughed and went on without expressing anger or behaving in an aggressive manner.

When we consciously experience and express our emotions, we can, for instance, turn fear into anger, anger into passion, passion into inspiration and inspiration into love, and thereby create a world of extraordinary beauty, brilliance, love and kindness from fear.

We can create the reality we desire by (1) increasing our awareness of the distinction between our emotions and feelings and that which is instinctual (e.g., real, immediate and present) and that which is cognitive (e.g., based upon imagination, beliefs, conditioning and mental constructs), (2) consciously directing our mind to imagine the most desirable outcome, (3) mindfully guiding the physical-mental-emotional feedback loops to create circumstances and environments that fulfill our highest expression and behavior, and (4) consciously utilizing the power of our imagination, emotions, feelings, beliefs and behaviors to create the world we desire to see.

By using the tools of awareness and more fully understanding our emotions, feelings, beliefs and behaviors, we can mindfully utilize our emotions as creative tools for conscious expression and behavior in alignment with our highest life-affirming potential to create amazing lives and transform our world.

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If we are to thrive as a species in the 21st century and beyond, it is critical that we address the core symptoms and root causes of our society’s dysfunction from the inside-out, ground-up and top-down and evolve from an extractive, exploitative, war-based civilization to one that is regenerative, abundant, harmonious & thriving.

The Symptoms & Root Causes of Dysfunction in our Society

Pollution, war, poverty, disease, climate change and destruction of our biosphere are major challenges that threaten the thriving of humankind. However, these challenges are symptoms of two deeper core & causal problems – 1) fear and 2) disconnection .

1.    Fear

Fear is the path to the Dark Side… Fear leads to anger… anger leads to hate… hate leads to suffering.” ~Yoda

Fear is defined as “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.”

While fear of real and present danger has contributed to the survival of humankind, the irrational anticipation of fear is a major cause of the destructive behaviors of humankind.

There are over 150 phobias listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association.  We are born with 2 fears, falling and loud noises.  Our cultural conditioning breeds the 150+ other fears.

Fear leads to scarcity, hoarding, lack of trust, control, war and brutality and competition. As General Douglas MacArthur said, “Our country is now geared to an arms economy bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and an incessant propaganda of fear.”

2.    Disconnection

Humankind has become disconnected from nature, and each other.  For example, the phrase “people & planet” demonstrates that we somehow believe we are separate from the planet.

Nature, quite simply, is everything. It is the source of life. It is our foundation and our nourishment, our comfort and our treasury. And it is only by accounting for the full, comprehensive and irreplaceable value of nature in our decision-making that we can secure the future of human societies.” ~Peter Seligman

As much as our society has tried to “civilize” us and disconnect us from nature, we are just another species interconnected with nature.  Everything that sustains our lives, including our next breath, water, food, shelter, energy and materials, are provided by Mother Nature, yet we, as a society, act with utter disregard to “our mother,” the provider of life.

The sociological disconnection from nature arises from 1) the delusional arrogance that we are smarter than, separate from, and the masters of, nature, and 2) from an intentionally engineered campaign to exert and maintain control over the masses.

For Dr. John Mack, inventing a psychology of earth is far more than an intellectual or therapeutic exercise. It entails a call for political commitment and activism.

We do have a psychology, or a prevailing attitude, conscious or unconscious, towards the Earth. We regard it a thing, a big thing, an object to be owned, mined, fenced, guarded, stripped, built upon, dammed, plowed, burned, blasted, bulldozed and melted to serve the material needs and desires of the human species, at the expense, if necessary, of all other species, which we feel at liberty to kill, paralyze, or domesticate for our own use. This form of species arrogance has received little scrutiny.

Michael J. Cohen, Ph.D., ecopsychologist, author and Director of the Institute of Global Education, wrote, “On average, society conditions us to spend over 95% of our time and 99.9% of our thinking disconnected from nature. Nature’s extreme absence in our lives leaves us abandoned and wanting. We feel we never have enough. We greedily, destructively, consume and, can’t stop. Nature’s loss in our psyche produces a hurt, hungering, void within us that bullies us into our dilemmas.

Our disconnection from each other rises primarily from artificially created dividing lines including race, religion, ideology, politics, age, gender and geography. “Divide and rule” (aka “divide and conquer”) has been used for centuries by sovereigns, dictators and government as a process for gaining and maintaining power and control over the masses.  This has largely been accomplished by disconnecting, dividing and pitting powerful and rebellious groups and individuals against each other to prevent the masses from gaining power and overthrowing the current regime.

Until mankind can extend the circle of his compassion to include all living things, he will never, himself, know peace.” ~Albert Schweitzer, Nobel Peace Prize, l950

The Engineering of Consumerism and Societal Dysfunction

The root causes of fear and disconnection have been engineered by psychologists, corporations and governments in order to exert psychological and economic control over the masses.  This was accomplished by psychologically disconnecting humanity from nature, farms and interdependent communities to create dependence upon a centralized supply chain and economic system requiring money to meet basic needs for such things as water, food and shelter.  Moreover, war, mass consumerism and an expanding population willing to be exploited was required in order for the central banks to expand their control, influence and demand for their debt-based fiat money.

Psychology became the secret weapon of corporations, governments and the central banking system. According to Philip Cushman, Ph.D., author of Constructing The Self, Constructing America: A Cultural History Of Psychotherapy,

Because psychotherapy denied the central influence of history and culture, symptoms reflecting the frame of reference of the modern Western world – such as loneliness and alienation, extreme competitiveness, and a desire for nonessential commodities — had to be considered natural and unavoidable. As a result, individuals have been constructed to strive tirelessly to consume and expand, and at the same time to believe that the search is simply an aspect of human nature.

Predicated on the promise of politicians and corporations as the road to freedom and liberation, capitalism became the core value of the country and the individual. As the American culture began to see wishes as needs, the road to salvation and freedom known as the consumer movement created the “empty self” Cushman wrote:

“The empty self is a way of being human; it is characterized by a pervasive sense of personal emptiness and is committed to the values of self-liberation through consumption. The empty self is the perfect complement to an economy that must stave off economic stagnation by arranging for the continual purchase and consumption of surplus goods.”

Strategically the corporations infiltrated the collective psyche like “ghosts” with the idea of remaining invisible to make consumers believe the feeling of lack originated internally rather than externally from an outside entity.

Additionally, Edward Bernays, who is often referred to as “the father of public relations,” combined the ideas of Gustave Le Bon and Wilfred Trotter on crowd psychology with the psychoanalytical ideas of his uncle, Sigmund Freud.  Bernays utilized propaganda techniques from World War I to influence consumer behavior and create the culture of consumerism.  He felt this manipulation was necessary in society, which he regarded as irrational and dangerous as a result of the “herd instinct” described by Trotter.  In his book “Propaganda,” Bernays openly communicates the engineering of our beliefs and society:

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”

According to Bruce K. Alexander, Psychologist, Professor Emeritus at Simon Fraser University and author of The Globalisation of Addiction: A Study in Poverty of the Spirit,

“When a society introduces free markets, exchange of goods and services optimally are not encumbered by family ties, cultural traditions, religious values, or anything else that may impede free play of the laws of supply and demand. In other words, free markets create an “every man (or woman) for yourself” dynamic that puts me in competition with everyone else for jobs, insurance, a house, goods, services and Lady Ga Ga tickets. One consequence of this system is that people become dislocated, or disconnected from one another because of the time and energy necessary to keep up with the Jones. Free markets are incredibly proficient at knowing how to keep people focused on stuff over experiences. Flashy ads, mass media, and the latest gizmo from Steve Jobs keeps us always wanting more. In the pursuit of the American dream, what many get instead is isolation, fear, and dislocation, which ultimately leads to compulsive lifestyles where people develop addictive relationships to stuff and get further and further disconnected from nurturing human relationships.”

We are all interconnected, yet we seem to have forgotten this.  None of us are immune from human suffering and ecosystemic destruction.  When the biosphere and people suffer, we each are impacted.  We can try to ignore it, desensitize ourselves, become callous, and misquote Darwin (e.g., “survival of the fittest”) to rationalize our behavior, but no matter how hard we try, we feel it in hearts and in our guts, we smell it in the air we breath, we taste it in the water we drink and we see it the eyes of the homeless and hungry.

Our society and the industrialized socio-economic-political matrix are plagued with war, pollution, over-consumption, over-extraction, over-population, social injustice, disease and poverty. About 80% of humanity lives in or near poverty and the planet’s ecosystems are damaged, over-burdened and suffering from human extraction and disrespect.  85 of the wealthiest people control more resources than 3.5 billion of the poorest people. The current matrix in which we each individually and collectively participate is unsustainable and often borders on sociopathic dysfunction.  The very survival of humankind and the ecosystems of the planet are threatened by human dysfunction.

In his book, Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit, Al Gore diagnoses our ecological problem as being a symptom of a dysfunctional, addictive civilization. Gore writes:

“I believe that our civilization is addicted to the consumption of the earth itself. This addictive relationship distracts us from the pain of what we have lost: a direct experience of our connection to vividness, vibrancy, and aliveness of the rest of the natural world. The froth and frenzy of industrial civilization masks our deep loneliness for communion. The price we pay is the loss of our spiritual lives.”

“Dysfunction” generally means impaired functioning, or unhealthy interpersonal behavior or interaction within a group.   Although the interpretation of “dysfunction” is often subjective, there is a groundswell of support for the need of humankind to make significant shifts in its unhealthy interpersonal, consumptive and destructive behaviors.

While there are some things about our society that are functional, there is significant dysfunction that is jeopardizing the health, well-being and survival of humankind and about 50,000 species per year. There are a plethora of examples evidencing “unhealthy interpersonal behavior or interaction (e.g., war, destruction, toxicity, suffering, poverty) within a group” (humankind) that demonstrate a high degree of dysfunction.  Here are just a few examples:

•    We spew over 5 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, according to  the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Of this total, 82%, was due to carbon emissions from the combustion of energy fuels. Whether or not you believe climate change results from humankind’s activities, such as burning fossil fuels for energy to manufacture, transport, store and “dispose of ” massive amounts of stuff, there is practically unanimous agreement that we have air pollution, water pollution, overconsumption and are becoming overrun with waste, all of which are having a negative impact on our health and the biosphere’s ability to sustain human life.

•    Over $29 trillion has been spent in the global economic bailout, according to Levy Economics Institute of Baird College.

•    Over the last 5 1/2 decades, the U.S. spent $5.8 trillion on production of nuclear explosives and an additional $13.2 trillion on other defense spending, according to the Brookings Institution.

•    Over $2 trillion has been spent on the Iraqi and Afghan wars, with a total price tag of $6 trillion, including interest.

•     5 billion people out of 7 billion live on $10/day or less, with 3 billion of the 5 billion living on $2.50 a day or less.

•    Nearly half of the world’s species of plants, animals and microorganisms will be destroyed or severely threatened over the next quarter century due to rainforest deforestation. That equates to 50,000 species a year.

•    According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS): “In 2008, over 7.3 million people in the U.S. were on probation, in jail or prison, or on parole at year-end — 3.2% of all U.S. adult residents or 1 in every 31 adults.”

There are some that would argue that, because the human population is still growing, our society is biologically functional.  This view completely ignores that, according to the WWF, we surpassed the carrying capacity of the planet in 1979 and are living on borrowed time.

Some also argue that our society is ecologically functional because humans can still breathe the air and drink the water, that human activities have only minimal impact on our ecosystems, that burning coal and oil don’t pollute or damage our atmosphere, and that dumping petrochemicals into our rivers and oceans don’t cause significant damage to these ecosystems.   These arguments border on absurdity, especially when there is a 97% consensus of the scientific community that human industrialization is a major factor contributing to climate change.

We spend almost $2.7 trillion annually just for military, gambling, cosmetics, pet products, chewing gum and ringtones (not to mention countless trillions on a plethora of additional frivolous consumer products), but can’t seem to come up with $6 billion a year to provide drinking water to save the lives of the 40,000 people that die each day from lack of potable water or $44 billion to end world hunger.  We also seem to have little awareness of, or concern for, the devastation our overconsumption  and industrialization causes.

I would posit that our socio-economic-political system is not only dysfunctional and obsolete, but has become sociopathic. What is commonly referred to as “Sociopathy” or “Psychopathy” is officially listed in the DSM as “Antisocial Personality Disorder.”  Antisocial Peronsality Disorder is characterized by an abnormal lack of empathy combined with strongly amoral or reckless conduct but masked by an ability to appear outwardly normal.

Sociopathy = lack of empathy + amoral or reckless conduct + acceptance as normal

As a society, we somehow accept as normal, spending massive amounts of money, resources and energy on endeavors that foster war, starvation, suffering, pollution, exploitation of natural resources & humankind, and destruction of the biosphere (lack of empathy+ amoral conduct) rather than for the creation of beauty, peace, health, education and abundance.

“This world of ours…must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.” ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

The sociopathic and dysfunctional society we have created, and are perpetuating, as an expression of our fear and disconnection, is leading us to our own destruction like a bunch of lemmings jumping off a cliff. We are a critical juncture where transformation is required in order for the continued survival of humankind.

Fortunately, the emerging field of “Ecopsychology,” is focused on improving the relationship between human beings and the natural world through ecological and psychological principles. The field seeks to develop and understand ways of expanding the emotional connection between individuals and the natural world, thereby assisting individuals with developing sustainable lifestyles and remedying alienation, fear and disconnection from nature.

New Language + New Metrics = New Consciousness

As Albert Einstein said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

Unless we want to band-aid ourselves into extinction by focusing on the problems with the same mindset that created them, it is critical to the thriving of humankind that we heal the core problems of fear and disconnection with creative solutions and life-enhancing actions rather than treating the symptoms with same left-brain band aids and approaches that created the symptoms.”

The transformation needed will require new language, metrics of success and consciousness.

“Language is the crystallization of thought. But the words we choose do more than just reflect our thought patterns–they shape them.” ~Tom Kelley, GM of IDEO and an executive fellow at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business

The geopolitical Industrial Age language and approaches of “warring against,” “fighting against”, “eradicating” or “ending” the symptoms of pollution, war, poverty, disease, climate change and destruction of our biosphere, will be replaced with “biopolitical” language and approaches of the Regenerative Age focused on “creating an abundant, well & enlightened society that enhances the quality of life and eco-systemic thriving.

The more we use language of love, respect, wholeness and collaboration, the more our consciousness will shift.  The shift in consciousness leads to new expression and behaviors that can profoundly and positively transform our environment (both inner and outer).

As Mother Teresa once told an interviewer, “I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”

In addition to a shift in language, we need a shift the metrics by which we, as a society, measure success.  The globally adopted Industrial Age quantitative measurements of “success” are Gross Domestic Product (“GDP”) and continual growth.  As we move into the Regenerative Age, GDP will be replaced by qualitative measurements of success such as Genuine Progress Indicator (“GPI”) and Gross National Happiness (GNH), and sufficiency.

One of the greatest flaws with GDP is that it only measures the quantities of production, not the quality of life.  Disease, war, increasing population, over-consumption, catastrophes and waste, which decrease quality of life, often increase GDP.

GDP, as measurement of success, actually squeezes the quality of life out of our lives.  With more than 5 billion people (over 70% of the world’s population) living in or near poverty, the natural resources of our planet depleted and filled with toxins and the carrying capacity of the planet exceeded in 1979, it’s pretty obvious that GDP and continual growth as measures of success are not working.

Efficiency, sufficiency, on-site water, on-site production of food and renewable energy, good health, peace and social justice generally detract from the GDP, whereas the GDP benefits from reliance on an inefficient supply chain and centralized grid that requires people to use money for such necessities as water, food, power, shelter, healthcare and education.

For instance, if I pull an apple off a tree in my backyard, it’s efficient and healthy, but bad for the GDP.  It did not provide jobs and taxable income.  Pulling the apple directly off the tree disintermediated numerous industries including farming, petrochemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, packaging, shipping, trucking, logistics, oil, construction, storage & distribution, grocery & retail, utilities and automobile. Also, because eating fresh food is good for my health, the medical and pharmaceutical industry did not get its “bite of the apple” and because I did not use oil, petrochemicals or fossil fuels, there was little need for the defense industry.

The largest and most powerful economies of the world are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).  As of 2005, the OECD started formally re-examining GDP as a measurement and found that it is a flawed measurement as it does not account for the wellbeing of a country.

Measurements of wellbeing or quality of life of a population include access to goods and services, free time, optimal health, freedom, happiness, pure food & water, health, longevity, innovation and low crime rate.

True Cost Accounting measurements such as the Genuine Progress Indicator (“GPI”) include transparency of subsidies, environmental impact, health costs and social costs of a business or activity. GPI advocates claim that it can more reliably measure economic progress, as it distinguishes between worthwhile growth and uneconomic growth.  Accordingly, the GPI will be zero if the financial costs of crime, poor health, pollution and environmental devastation equal the financial gains in production of goods and services, all other factors being constant.

Another metric used in Bhutan to promote a more kind, just, healthy and happy society, is Gross National Happiness (GNH).   Using metrics and surveys, GNH is a measurement that defines quality of life in more holistic and psychological terms than GDP.  The term was coined by Bhutan’s former King Jigme Singye Wangchuck in 1972.  According to Adrian White’s study entitled “A Global Projection of Subjective Wellbeing: A Challenge to Positive Psychology?” Bhutan ranked 8th out of 178 countries in Subjective Wellbeing, a metric that has been used by many psychologists since 1997 and the only country in the top 20 “happiest” countries that has a very low GDP.  The four pillars of GNH are 1) the promotion of equitable and sustainable socio-economic development, 2) preservation and promotion of cultural values, 3) conservation of the natural environment, and 4) establishment of good governance.

Another metric to be evolved is the measurement of corporate value. The value of a public company is generally known as “Market Capitalization” (aka “Market Cap”).  Market Cap is a measurement of corporate or economic size equal to the share price times the number of shares outstanding of a public company.  While public perception and market dynamics are major factors in determining stock price, a major benchmark of that performance is known as Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (“EBITDA”).  This is, in essence, a simple benchmark for determining the operating pre-tax net profit of the company before the creative accounting begins.  EBITDA multiplied by the Price/Earnings (“P/E”) Ratio is another method of determining Market Cap.

For example, a company with an EBITDA of $1 billion and P/E Ratio of 10:1, will have a Market Cap of $10 billion.  If the company’s board and management decide they want to spend $100 million on programs for social and environmental good, their EBITDA would be reduced to $900 million and the shareholders would potentially suffer a loss of $1 billion dollars of Market Cap.  Suffering losses generally aggravates shareholders and they often sue the company, board and/or management for making a decision that cost them money.

The interesting thing is that EBITDA is not a GAAP financial measure, but rather a creative measure approved by the SEC that allows companies significant subjective latitude in defining their performance.  Since most of the creative corporate accounting happens after EBITDA calculations, a new standard is proposed for baseline valuation.  This baseline measurement would be known as Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, Amortization, Social and Environmental (“EBITDASE”).  Thus, when P/E ratios are multiplied times EBITDASE, the company does not suffer a loss in valuation for doing social and environmental good. The trick is that the investment in such social and environmental programs must be objective, measurable and auditable.   These programs can measurable in terms of dollars invested or objective impact (e.g., reduction of waste per ton as measured in dollars per ton).  These programs can include investment in such things as (i) reduction of waste, (ii) reduction of resource and energy usage, (iii) implementation of proactive environmental programs, (iv) implementation of programs for employee education, advancement and wellbeing, (v) community betterment such as parks, victory farms, upgrading of schools, job training programs and promotion of community cultural events.

Working with such agencies as the U.S. Treasury, FASB, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (“PCAOB”), the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and the White House to promulgate new legislation to redefine and implement these new standards that reward corporations for doing good without penalizing shareholder value, the foregoing goals can be achieved.  Thus, with a little creative adjustment in performance measurements, the conflicts between corporate profits and social responsibility can be removed so that corporations, corporate management, shareholders and humankind can benefit from widespread corporate social responsibility programs.

Sufficiency and the “Shared Economy” will replace continual growth and exploitation. This realization is entering the early adoption stage and will fuel the flames of the rapidly growing demand for meaningful life-enhancing work, smart growth and self-sufficient communities. In the midst of the meltdown of the old and virtually bankrupt financial system, the “Shared Economy” based upon “Collaborative Consumption.”

“Collaborative Consumption” describes the rapid explosion in traditional sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping reinvented through network technologies on a scale and in ways never possible before.

From enormous marketplaces such as eBay and Craigslist, to emerging sectors such as social lending (e.g., Zopa), peer-to-peer travel (e.g., Airbnb), car sharing (e.g., Zipcar), and the increase in Intentional Communities (e.g., Collaborative Consumption is disrupting outdated modes of business and reinventing not just what we consume, but how we consume.

75% of respondents participating in “The New Sharing Economy” study predicted their sharing of physical objects and spaces will increase in the next 5 years with drivers including global recession, internet technologies, online communities and environmental concerns.

Transforming from Dysfunction to Function

Our default approach for hundreds of years has been to identify and focus on the ending, warring against, fighting against or eradicating the symptom rather than curing the cause and creating (r)evolutionary solutions that renders the symptoms obsolete.

As Buckminster Fuller said, “In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete.”

Fear, disconnection, scarcity, toxicity, war & destruction are characteristics associated with dysfunction, whereas love, respect, wholeness, collaboration, abundance, wellness & enlightenment are characteristics associated with function.

If we are to heal the root causes (disconnection and fear) of our societal ills and create a world where future generations can thrive in abundance, health and harmony, it is critical that we transform our socio-political-economic system from scarcity to abundance.  This can be brought to fruition by fostering qualitative measurements that mimic thriving ecosystems in nature to support a regenerative economy based upon a life-enhancing, collaborative, loving and respectful practices that synergistically reconnect people to each other and nature.

Functional abundance consciousness requires that we balance growth with resources and their equitable distribution to create sufficiency for humankind in a way that allows all life to thrive and be in balanced abundance.

In order to realize an abundant and regenerative economy, it is critical that we first evolve our beliefs about “success” from hoarding to generosity, from exclusive overconsumption to inclusive sufficiency and from competition to collaboration.  This transformation in beliefs needs to be integrated with ecosystemic awareness and thriving in a way that creates abundance, wellness and enlightenment to humankind and allows all life to thrive.  This shift in beliefs will lead to a shift in behavior.

These behavioral and cultural shifts include (i) using only abundant and renewable energy sources, (ii) eliminating the manufacture of unneeded collectibles and obsolescent products destined for landfill, (iii) adopting collaborative consumption, (iv) reusing and recycling waste, (v) providing water infrastructure along with necessary resources (e.g. agricultural education, tools, appropriate technologies and market access) to empower people living in starvation and poverty access to food and water, and (vi) providing education and capacity building that creates knowledge and skills to balance population growth with the carrying capacity of the local community and planet, and (vii) using the energy from polluting non-renewable energy source (e.g., coal fire plants, natural gas, diesel) to manufacture solar panels, wind turbines and other renewable energy sources.

Moreover, it is necessary that we use our individual resources to transform the system to functionality. Our time, energy, money, thoughts, emotions, words, actions, behavior and connection with nature are the resources we each possess.  Just like Napster went viral and forever transformed the music industry, we can use our resources like a functional virus in a dysfunctional system to develop abundance, wellness and enlightenment for all ecosystemic stakeholders, rendering the current dysfunctional system obsolete. By 1) reconnecting with and fostering the natural abundance of our bioshpere, 2) consciously using our money and economic will to purchase lasting products and services from eco-social companies, 3) engaging in practices of collaborative consumption, sharing and sufficiency, and 4) by creating local self-sufficient supplies of water, food and energy, we can virally transform our social-political-economic matrix from dysfunction to function to sustain ecosystemic thriving.

Biologist, Elisabet Sahtouris wrote:

“Cooperation, collaboration and community empowerment are, as Nature role-models them and as I cannot repeat too often, more efficient and effective ways of doing business than living in fear of drowning in a competitive race or wasting energy and resources on beating down the competition.

Tachi Kiuchi, former CEO of Mitsubishi Electric, and Bill Shireman, an ecologist, put it this way in their important book, What We Learned from the Rainforest:  “There is no problem ever faced by a business that has not been faced and solved by a rainforest.

“A rainforest is a Type III ecosystem in which mutual support among all species has proven more efficient and effective than spending energy to make war among species. (Note that predator/prey relationships are actually cooperative when seen from the ecosystem level of holarchy because prey feeds predators while predators keep prey species healthy.) The rainforest (like a prairie or coral reef) creates enormous new value continually by very complex production and trading systems as well as by recycling its resources very rapidly.”

For Dr. Bruce Lipton, a cellular biologist and author of The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles,

“Nature is based on harmony. So it says if we want to survive and become more like nature, then we actually have to understand that it’s cooperation versus competition.”

“Through consciousness, our minds have the power to change our planet and ourselves. It is time we heed the wisdom of the ancient indigenous people and channel our consciousness and spirit to tend the garden and not destroy it.”

The transformation of the current socio-political-economic system requires a 3-prong approach: 1) inside-out, 2) ground up, and 3) top-down, as follows:

1.    Inside-Out includes replacing old conditioned beliefs, patterns, behaviors and experiences (“ways of being”) that perpetuate societal and ecosystemic dysfunction with those that create abundance and increase love, respect, happiness, unity and ecosystemic thriving.  The following are examples of keys to personal transformation:

•    Elevate love over fear, peace over war, generosity over hoarding, respect over disregard, oneness over separation, and collaboration over competition.

•    Each moment is an opportunity to express love.  Connect deeply.  Be vulnerable. See the divine in each person and respect the uniqueness of each person’s experience as equal to our own.

•    Cultivate a state of awe with the earth and the universe.  Marvel at the tiny miracles like your next breath and magical way life force runs through you keeping your cells multiplying and heart beating.  Show reverence for the beauty of nature.

•    Be inquisitive.  Be in the question rather than the answer.  Question prevailing knowledge, beliefs and authority and taking the risk to innovate and manifest an new and thriving world

•    Provide compassionate, humble and loving support for the evolution and expansion of human consciousness

•    Cultivate mindfulness, peacefulness, equanimity and joy

•    Fill our minds, hearts and being with love, respect, compassion and generosity for each other and the planet and generously express this new way of being to create a culture of love, respect, compassion and generosity

•    Focusing on what we want to create rather than what we want to avoid, fight against, war against or end

•    Imagine, envision and manifest new possibilities (in a universe of infinite possibilities) that fulfill our potential for brilliance, beauty, love and compassion and expanding our consciousness through inquiry, imagination, dreaming and visioning

•    Respect your body temple and increase your health and wellness through highly nutritious foods, pure water, clean air, healthy built environments and the integration of mindfulness and movement in our daily lives

2.   Ground-Up refers to transforming the environments in which we live, work, learn and play to be ecologically conscious, energy efficient, sustainable, abundant, well & enlightened.  Our environment is the most impactful influence on our lives – it creates beliefs, culture and feedback loops that reinforce our ways of being.  To transform our environment requires the proactive commitment of energy, effort and resources including the following:

•    Employ collaborative consumption, sharing and effective utilization

•    Convert and upcycle waste into valuable energy and products

•    Replace fossil fuels and other extractive energy and materials with renewable energy and materials

•    Development of self-sufficient, healthy, beautiful and brilliant (beyond “smart”) “Regenerative Communities” that balance the community’s carrying capacity with its population.  These Regenerative Communities will be based upon living systems planning, design and engineering processes with localized water catchment, energy generation, food production and waste upcycling to increase efficiency, decrease waste and lower the carbon footprint

•    Restoration of the earth’s ecosystems

•    Preserving earth wisdom and first people cultures

•    Localized, healthy, renewable and efficient water, food, energy, transportation, built environment and waste infrastructure.

•    Revolutionize education with applied immersive learning and capacity building for regenerative work (e.g., reforestation, restoration of the wetlands, cleantech, agritech, resource renewal, eco-engineering, conservation, water conservation and purification, waste upcycling)

•    Balancing population growth and increasing carrying capacity with abundant food, water, energy and renewable materials

•    Bring natural connection back into our lives, cities and communities

3.    Top-Down involves using 1) our economic influence and power (“economic vote”) to support the thriving of conscious companies committed to eco-social responsibility and allowing obsolete, polluting, destructive and unethical companies fail, 2) the power of collective voice (e.g., internet & social media) to influence change in government, corporate leadership and the regulatory environment to enhance life and support people and planet.  Recommendations for transforming business, government and the regulatory environment include the following:

•    Innovative economic incentives and investment including tax credits, accelerated depreciation, credit enhancement, low interest loans, eco-social improvement bonds

•    Development of life-enhancing qualitative metrics of success rather than GDP (e.g., GNP, Development of living systems trajectories, regulations and incentives that promote ethical eco-social conscious business and ethical government

•    Commitment of resources for the life-enhancing benefit of people & planet

•    Metrics for qualitative ethical and sustainable business practices, manufacturing processes and government

•    Elevate the ethical and qualitative imperatives over the economic and quantitative imperatives knowing that ultimately what is good for life is good for business

•    Having the courage and heart to stand for the greatness of humankind, empowering and encouraging taking risks, making mistakes, losing money, innovating, laughing, learning and evolving in the face of adversity, criticism and ostracism from mediocre minds

•    Increase innovation over standardization, collaboration over competition, transparency over secrecy, wholeness over divisiveness, health over disease and function over dysfunction

•    Develop new adaptable and resilient organizational structures, regulations and metrics that provide for the measurement and rewarding of qualitative life-enhancing value

•    Economic, political and social reform that supports a regenerative economy

•    Rewards for enlightened and ethical leadership

•    Implementation of a people owned, ethical zero balance currency based upon contribution of value, collaboration and reputation rather than debt

Creating the Regenerative Economy

“We need red blood cells to live (the same way a business needs profits to live), but the purpose of life is not to make red blood cells (the same way the purpose of business is not to exist to make profits).” ~R. Edward Freeman

In our current society, money influences all aspects of our lives.  Our economic system has grown so powerful that large money interests have seized control of our social, political and legal systems.

UNEA (United Nations Environment Assembly) estimates an annual cost of $7.3 trillion resulting from the degradation of natural capital and negative environment externalities. The World Economic Forum estimates that it will be necessary to invest up to US$6 trillion each year to 2030 to build clean transport, energy and buildings infrastructure.  This is a $1.3 trillion per year ROI.  And just consider all the meaningful work (rather than meaningless jobs) this will create.

There is great opportunity to transform our socio-economic-political system and build a world in which all life can thrive.  In order for us to thrive, it is imperative that our socio-economic-political system evolve from destructive, extractive and exploitative industries (e.g., oil, mining and war) and quantitative measurements (e.g. Gross Domestic Product) to the “Regenerative Economy,” a socio-politico-economic system that integrates and promotes ecosystemic health and qualitative balance as the highest priorities of the system.

According to Storm Cunningham, author of ReWealth!, “If we wish to keep growing economically, the basis of wealth must shift to renewing what we’ve already built, and on repairing the damage we’ve done to our natural resources. Such wealth creating activities – redevelopment, replenishment, and restoration – comprise rewealth.   This represents a $2 trillion market.”

The Regenerative Economy will be based upon regeneration, conservation, innovation, information and collaboration.

Regeneration, in biological terms, is the ability to recreate lost or damaged tissues, organs and limbs.  Using biomimicry and the application of regenerative approaches can create dramatic improvements in our socio-politico-economic system.  The application of such approaches will require us to utilize renewable, non-polluting and abundant sources to meet our needs.

This includes such things as (i) energy from plants, waste, solar, wind, hydro, tidal and geothermal, (ii) materials and chemicals from renewable resources (e.g. plants, algae, spider silk, bioresins, regenerative forests) rather than extracted materials (e.g., oil, metals), (iii) food from agricultural practices that return nutrients to the soil and support prolific reproduction, and (iv) balancing human needs with that of the ecosystem to support integrated ecosystemic health.

Conservation is the ethical use, allocation, and protection of resources with a primary focus on maintaining the health of the natural world.  A primary focus of conservation has been the preservation of biodiversity and ecosystemic health.   Using the ethics of rethinking, recycling, reusing, repairing and reducing consumption, conservation seeks to minimize negative impacts on the planet resulting from human consumption (e.g., food, energy, natural resources).  For example, rather than consuming more energy to make more solar panels to support ever increasing consumption, Conservationists support both the reduction of consumption plus the use of ethical and non-destructive renewable resources.

Innovation is the creation of highly effective products, processes, services, technologies, or ideas for the betterment of society and the ecosystem.  In order to facilitate the balance of human consumption and wellbeing with the carrying capacity and health of the planet, innovation in the fields of renewable energy, agritech, waste upcycling, biology, regenerative economics, living systems, communications, information and ethical nanotech will see massive explosion that will dwarf the current economy and can be used to repair the damage we have done to the planet.
Social innovation will also play a major role in reshaping our world.  Social innovations include such things as smart growth communities, the sharing economy based upon collaborative consumption, global open source currency exchange, biomimicry, evolutionary consciousness, emotional literacy, social networking and applied education.

Information, for purposes of our discussion, consists of symbols, data, sensory stimulus and thoughts that are received, constructed and assembled to provide meaning, purpose, education, entertainment, empowerment and enlightenment.

Information consists of written, visual, audio, kinesthetic materials such as news, books, periodicals, blogs, music, art, film, research, reviews, recommendations and experiential learning.  Information, media and communications have reached a level democratization never known in the history of mankind.

Internet, information and communications technologies (e.g., web, mobile, email, digital content) have already caused massive transformation in our socio-politico-economic system, launching entirely new industries and processes for the production, distribution and consumption of information.  The information age has arrived and will continue to provide massive influence and wealth in the future.  By coupling information with practical applications and capacity building for the regenerative economy, we can transform human machines doing destructive jobs into human being with meaningful  and sustainable work.

Collaboration is a cooperative relationship of teamwork with the intent of yielding synergistic results based on combined efforts.  Because the carrying capacity of the planet to address human consumption was exceeded in 1979, our future socio-economic-political system will require increased collaboration that will include sharing resources, living in sustainable communities, value-based exchange and currencies and conservation consciousness.

Regenerative economics differs from standard economics by valuing, respecting and regenerating the natural capital of the planet to provide for human needs (e.g., water, food, timber, feedstocks, materials, fuel, energy), and to clean, restore and regenerate itself in a way that contributes to ecosystemic thriving, including the well being for humankind.  The failure to recognize the value of the planet’s ability to provide abundance and regenerate itself has led to unsustainable exploitive and extractive practices that have damaged the planet’s ability to abundantly regenerate it natural capital for benefit of the ecosystem and the well being of humankind.

By reconnecting with nature and valuing the unified ecosystemic thriving of nature and humankind, we can reshape our civilization from its current path of self-destruction into a regenerative life-enhancing society that creates a net positive ecosystemic thriving for all life.

The new regenerative social-political-economic model will provide for greater abundance and efficiency, with zero waste, through localized water, food, energy, bio-materials, waste-upcycling and a sharing economy (e.g., zero-balance reputation based economy).  The new reputation-based credit score will be adversely affected by hoarding and practices that are destructive and exploitive and will be enhanced by objectively measurable acts of generosity, beauty, love, kindness, compassion and exchange that create value for our world (e.g., replanting forests, restoration of the wetlands and fisheries, greater collaboration and sharing, new living technologies that create ecosystemic thriving, elder, child & sick care, civic engagement, education, entrepreneurial support, donations to humanitarian causes).

The “Regenerative Economy” will create trillions of dollars worth of meaningful work for hundreds of years to come, including the following:

•    Development and implementation of clean, cheap and secure renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure

•    Production and distribution of abundant clean & nutritious food and pure water

•    Waste recycling and upcycling

•    Nature stewardship (e.g., healing and preserving the watershed, forests and oceans) and resource conservation

•    Inspired, practical and interactive education that fosters each child’s brilliance and natural talents

•    Social, ecological and technological innovation and entrepreneurship that fosters life affirming products, services and technologies.

•    Optimal health & wellness programs integrated into daily life

•    Whole, healthy and integrated living and working environments

•    Sustainable planning, design and building of Regenerative Communities

•    Regenerative urban renewal including edible landscaping, roof top gardens and hanging gardens

•    Regenerative finance based upon eco-social impact

•    Personal development and conscious evolution

•    Eco & wellness tourism

•    New education, transportation & communications systems

•    New bio and renewable materials

•    Ethical nanotechnology and biotechnology

The Regenerative Economy will dwarf and render the industrialized war complex and extractive manufacturing industries obsolete.

Abundance consciousness has many characteristics that parallel the nature of currency, which requires the consistent exchange of value for currency to expand. The expression of abundance consciousness leads to regenerative practices that create a world of beauty, health, happiness, sufficiency, collaboration, sharing, harmony, gratitude and peace.

Edward Norton Lorenz, an American mathematician, meteorologist, and a pioneer of chaos theory coined the term “Butterfly Effect,” as a metaphoric concept that illustrates whole-systems interconnectivity.  In essence, the flapping a butterfly’s wings in one part of the world may create a hurricane in another part of the world.  This represents the concept of sensitive dependence on initial conditions in chaos theory namely, in a complex system, a small change in one place can have large effects elsewhere.

Transforming our extractive world of scarcity to a regenerative world of abundance is critical for our continued survival and will lead to the thriving of humankind.  By transforming ourselves, we can create a future that is Abundant (e.g., regenerative, collaborative), Well (e.g., healthy, vital, energized) and Enlightened (e.g., inspired, unified, beautiful, equitable, harmonious and awakened).

My firm belief is that, as a first step, we need exemplary demonstrations of new models of living within the next 5 years to have a meaningful impact on saving humankind from suffering and extinction.  This can accomplished by developing Regenerative Communities at sufficient scale (500-1,500 residents) to be abundant, well, enlightened, self-sufficient and ecosystemically thriving and implementing large scale Regenerative Economy projects in urban centers and developments. When we physically demonstrate that we can live more abundant, healthy, happy and thriving lives, I believe market forces will take over and the demand for a new way of living will foster the Regenerative Economy to create a world that is abundant and thriving for all ecosystemic stakeholders.  As mass adoption takes place, the ideology and metrics of success will be transformed to reward life-enhancing acts of generosity, eco-social responsibility and peace rather than destructive acts of greed, war and destruction. Meaningful work will replace jobs and we will not only see the dawn of the greatest economy in history, we will then see the symptoms of greenhouse gas emissions, war, poverty, inequality and separation being rendered antiquated symptoms of the past era of Industrial Age.

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"Man has come to dominate the planet thanks to two essential traits. One is intelligence. The other has been the absolute willingness to kill anyone and anything that gets in his way." ~Stephen King

Recently I saw the movie Lucy and while it was entertaining, it's kind of amazing how a movie about using the full capacity of our mind was written with so little mental capacity and imagination. Rather than Lucy using her incredible abilities to develop and provide solutions that could transform our world, she uses her powers for high-speed car chases and overcoming Chinese drug lords.

This reminds me of another movie, Bruce Almighty, where Jim Carrey, playing Bruce, is given all the powers of God. He uses his divine powers to get a newscasting job and girlfriend back rather than making the world more beautiful, sustainable, just and loving. Moreover, even though movies like Star Wars and Avatar are inspiring and entertaining, a common theme is to pit the forces of good and evil against each other, requiring the good guys to compromise their values and engage in acts of brutality, killing and war to emerge victorious.

In Lucy, Professor Samuel Norman, played by Morgan Freeman, is lecturing to a room of academics that we, humans, only use 10% of our brain's capacity, whereas dolphins use 20% of their brain's capacity. This got me thinking, are dolphins smarter than us? What makes us think we're smarter than dolphins? The answer is that we believe that because we can trap them, kill them and dominate them, we are superior.

We have employed this same belief system of destruction, killing, war and domination for centuries - committing genocide on indigenous tribes, destroying nature and conquering nations. We are now at the threshold of foolishly extinguishing ourselves as a species.

So what does smarter and superior really mean? Bacteria, viruses and fungus actually are the most dominant, resilient and adaptable species on this planet. Because they can make us sick and kill us does it make them smarter?

What is it about our culture that perpetuates the belief that killing and domination somehow makes us superior and more intelligent than those we dominate and kill? How can we use our brilliance to create an abundant, well & thriving world?

Maybe true intelligence is using our brilliance, effort and resources to create a world of ecosystemic thriving that is abundant, healthy and peaceful.

The definition of "Human Intelligence" has been debated almost as much as the definition of love, but a commonly accepted definition is one's capacity for understanding, self-awareness, logic, abstract thought, communication, learning, memory, emotional knowledge, creativity and problem solving.

David Weschler, psychologist and researcher, defined intelligence as, "The aggregate or global capacity of the individual to act purposefully, to think rationally, and to deal effectively with his environment."

Robert Sternberg, a prominent figure in the research of human intelligence, defines human intelligence as a "mental activity directed toward purposive adaptation to, selection and shaping of, real-world environments relevant to one's life."

Sternberg's Triarchic Theory of Intelligence consists of 3 forms of intelligence, as follows:

1. Practical Intelligence is a person's ability to react to his or her environment and adapt to it or change it to suit their needs. Practical intelligence is the ability to thrive in the real world.

"Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change."~Stephen Hawking

"Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed." ~Mahatma Gandhi

2. Experiential (Creative) Intelligence relates to the way a person approaches new information or circumstances and is able to develop solutions based upon prior experience or create a new solution based upon innovative approaches.

"Jeff Sachs has the Millennium Villages. He spends $2.5 million in one village. It's an absolutely ridiculous model, because I've said that if you gave me $2.5 million, I can train 100 grandmothers, solar electrify 100 villages - 10,000 houses - and save you 100,000 litres of kerosene"~Bunker Roy, Founder of the Barefoot College

3. Componential (Analytical) Intelligence which refers to a persons ability to analyze information and use logic, knowledge and strategy to develop solutions.

"The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting"~Sun Tzu

Based on the foregoing, "intelligence" is, in essence, the ability of a person to successfully adapt to environmental changes and thrive throughout their life with the least amount of conflict, energy, violence and harm.

In using this definition of intelligence, it appears that we are actually one of the stupidest species on the planet. Even though humankind has created many wondrous things, we have also created, and continue to perpetuate, a world full of untenable levels of war, toxicity, injustice and over-consumption leading to disease, poverty, irreversible damage to our biosphere and increased risk of human extinction.

We think our industrialized and weaponized "civilization" is progressive and far superior to that of hunter-gatherers. The popular view of hunter-gatherers, as promulgated by Thomas Hobbes in 1651 is that their lives are "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." But have we really made progress? Have we really created a higher quality of life with greater health and ecosystemic thriving?

According to Marshall Sahlins, anthropoligist and professor emeritus at University of Chicago, hunter-gatherers only worked about 15-20 hours a week in order to survive and devoted the rest of their time to leisure.

In his "original affluent society" theory, Sahlins shifted the anthropological view of hunter-gatherers from primitive savages to practitioners of refined modes of subsistence. According to Sahlins, "the hunter-gatherer societies were able to achieve affluence by desiring little and meeting those desires with what was available to them. In the industrial society "man's wants are great, not to say infinite, whereas his means are limited" and "the gap between means and ends can eventually be narrowed by industrial productivity."

The issue with Sahlins argument about industrialized society being affluent is that natural resources have been extracted and exploited without restoring and replenishing them and the damage to our biosphere has rendered the once unrecognized and undervalued work of natural capital unable to keep up with human demand and destruction. According to , WWF's "Living Planet Report," we exhausted the carrying capacity of the planet in 1979 while our population and consumption continues to increase. Our society has the illusion of affluence, yet there are billions of humans suffering to support this illusion. For instance, over 3.5 billion people live in extreme poverty ($2.50 or less per day) and another 1.5 billion people live in poverty (less than $10 per day) while 85 of the wealthiest individuals control more resources than 3.5 billion of the poorest.

Additionally, research of animal behavior has evidenced that animals in the wild appear to be relatively free from eating disorders, depression and addiction, whereas laboratory, caged and domesticated animals do have these disorders. So what is it about our society, our disconnection from nature, the cages we create for ourselves and animals that leads to behavioral disorders and sociopathy?

Nature has 4.5 billion years of wisdom and provides us with everything we need to live abundant and thriving lives. Yet we have the arrogance to think that we are smarter than nature and that our man-made systems are superior to nature. For example, it is a generally accepted meme that due to scientific and medical advancement, we are able to live longer, more healthy lives, while our poor ancient ancestors were lucky to live past the age of 35. However, the studies that support this view, skew the results with infant mortality rates and statistical averaging. According to Satoshi Kanazawa, when infant mortality rates were removed from the studies, the life span of hunter-gatherers was calculated to between 70 and 80 years, the same rate as that found in contemporary industrialized societies.

The domination, killing, destruction, increased work and effort of modern society are not the hallmarks of intelligence, but rather stupidity. How can we use the 10% of our mental capacity more intelligently and effectively? Here are a few ideas:

  • Create a world of peace, abundance and thriving
  • Develop a regenerative economy with meaningful and fulfilling work focused on ecosystemic and economic thriving
  • Restore, respect and serve the planet
  • Reallocate war spending to projects that benefit people & planet with renewable energy and materials, reforestation, water infrastructure, proliferation of permaculture farms, edible landscaping and smart communities
  • Implement "Living Technologies" that regenerate resources and improve planetary health
  • Localization and "living microgrids"
  • Utilize true cost accounting to acknowledge the value of natural capital and the costs of externalities such as war, ecological destruction, social injustice, cultural genocide and bad health.
  • Share more, consume less
  • Create a balance between profits, growth, social responsibility and ecosystemic thriving, where the social and ecological imperative is superior to the economic imperative

When we can cast aside our arrogance and give reverence to the superiority of nature, we might start using the 10% of our mental capacity in a truly intelligent way.

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The Profitability of Good Health

If you could increase your profits by improving the health, wholeness and happiness of your employees and organization would you?

It would seem that the answer to the foregoing rhetorical question, would be a resounding "Yes!" especially when the ROI on comprehensive, well-run employee wellness programs can be as high as 6 to 1 (Harvard Business Review, 2010) and eco-conscious, sustainability programs on average have a ROI of 2 to 1 (Bloomberg, 2011).

Despite the groundswell of evidence supporting the profitability of health and sustainability programs, many executives today are stuck in an old mindset that categorically views such programs as "fluffy" cost centers not profit centers.

As an example of a pioneer of healthy work culture, when Jim Goodnight co-founded his technology company in 1976 he envisioned generous health benefits and a campus environment equipped with racquetball and volleyball courts to encourage exercise, health-conscious cafeterias and free onsite medical services. He also dreamed of providing employees with a flexible workweek, daycare and education. Many executives at the time thought Goodnight's company would go belly up providing such "fluffy" services to employees. However, Goodnight proved the skeptics wrong by not only providing his employees with the benefits and amenities he dreamed of, but also built the largest privately held software company in the world -- SAS (Statistical Analysis Systems), with annual revenues exceeding $3 billion in 2013.

As leading companies such as Google, Zappos, Whole Foods, GE, Microsoft, Cisco and Nike have successfully demonstrated the pragmatism of valuing employees with such things as a healthy culture (e.g., exercise, nutritious food, live-work balance, child care, telecommuting), generous health plans and social responsibility, enterprise is waking up and starting to get healthy -- because it makes good business sense.

According to Forbes, the current healthcare spend in the U.S. is a crippling $3.8 trillion. About 70 percent of the diseases contributing to this crippling cost are avoidable with preventative measures including heart disease, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, insomnia, depression, chronic back pain and muscle spasm. And most of these diseases are incubated in a sedentary, stress-filled, junk-food eating and dehumanizing work environment.

Aon Hewitt's analysis showed the average health care cost per employee was $10,471 in 2013. When added to Mercer's estimates of an average of $14,000 per employee per year resulting from absenteeism and inefficiency, the total is $24,471 on average per employee per year. It's pretty astounding what poor health is costing both enterprise and society.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that integrating exercise and movement with healthy eating, stress reduction and social connection into the workplace will substantially reduce health care costs and absenteeism while increasing productivity, efficiency and morale. A winning formula for increased profits is to foster a healthy, whole and happy environment for employees to thrive.

By utilizing training, integration, environmental shifts, gamification, and peer support, the transformational lifestyle process of improving health and vitality can be personally and socially rewarding as well as engaging and fun.

I am glad to see the growing adoption of leadership committing to increasing profits by improving employee health and creating abundant, well and enlightened organizations.

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What if we could create a world of AWE -- Abundance, Wellness and Enlightenment -- a thriving and harmonious world that fosters humankind's potential for love, brilliance, beauty and kindness?

I am convinced that we can create such a world and am seeing a rapidly growing groundswell of people awakening and collaborating to transform our world.

There are, however, many people who still believe that those seeking to create a more thriving, loving, abundant, well and enlightened world are merely "unpragmatic woo-woo utopian dreamers."

As Albert Einstein said, "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."

Throughout history, it is the dreamers and visionaries (e.g., Martin Luther King, Thomas, Edison, Wright Brothers, Mother Theresa, Albert Einstein and Buckminster Fuller) that have awakened us to new possibilities, shifted our "reality," and changed the world.

As visionary and innovator Steve Jobs said:

"Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do."

The guardians of the status quo are conditioned to believe that perpetuating a world based upon maximizing profits from endless growth, GDP metrics, extraction, exploitation, scarcity, toxicity, war, injustice and destruction is "pragmatic."

Is it really pragmatic to cause destruction of our biosphere that provides us with life itself and everything we need to thrive as a species?

I would posit that real pragmatism is creating a world that fosters the health and thriving of our biosphere and humankind. For example, a billionaire about to drop dead of dehydration will give you every penny he has for a life-saving glass of water.

We are the planet! There is no separation. Each breath, drop of water and the nutrients that sustain our lives are gifts from the planet.

The planet and its intricate ecosystems have 4.5 billion years of natural wisdom. To think we can save the planet is just arrogance. The planet does not need us to save it. After we are long gone, the planet will heal itself and be just fine without us.

However, we have an opportunity to thrive if we choose to love, respect and serve each other and the planet -- if we choose trust, compassion, generosity, and collaboration over fear, distrust, greed, scarcity, and disconnection; if we choose well-being over toxicity and creation over destruction.

It is not hard to imagine a world that is "better." But, what does "better" mean? By "better," I mean an abundant, well and enlightened world that enhances life -- a world where love, compassion, generosity, equitability and the creation of beauty are the pursuit of humankind.

This "better" world is being birthed in eco-social conscious communities, in corporations that are adopting ethical and socially responsible practices, and in governments that are creating legislation and incentives to stimulate a sustainable economy.

As Buckminster Fuller said, "In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete."

In the 20th century, the economy was based upon industrialization, expansion, competition, centralization, profits-at-all-costs, debt, greed, consumerism, waste, war, fossil fuels, and environmental destruction.

In their February 2104 article titled "Remaking the Industrial Economy," McKinsey & Co. brilliantly summarized the industrial economy as follows:

"Visualize, for a moment, the industrial economy as a massive system of conveyor belts--one that directs materials and energy from resource-rich countries to manufacturing powerhouses, such as China, and then spirits the resulting products onward to the United States, Europe, and other destinations, where they are used, discarded, and replaced."

"In light of volatile markets for resources, and even worries about their depletion, the call for a new economic model is getting louder."

In the 21st century, we have an opportunity to create the new "regenerative economy." The regenerative economy is based upon elevating ethical value creation over economic expansion, collaboration over competition, sufficiency over greed, regenerative over extraction, and sharing over hoarding.

The regenerative economy represents a horizontal economic transformation that will dwarf the industrial age economy by transforming almost every industry vertical, with the greatest impact on energy, water, food, built environment, transportation, packaging, health care, infrastructure, natural resource and waste management, technology, resource and supply chain management, and education.

A small sampling of regenerative economy metrics include the $1 trillion "restoration economy," the $290 billion "LOHAS market," the $110 billion "sharing economy," and the $248 billion "clean energy market."

The regenerative economy will include the following:

  • Renewable energy and materials replacing fossil fuels and extractive energy and materials
  • Ethical and sustainable companies, manufacturing processes and government
  • Collaborative consumption and effective utilization
  • Converting and upcycling waste into valuable energy and products
  • Development of self-sufficient smart communities based upon localized water catchment, energy generation, food production and waste upcycling
  • Increased health and wellness through highly nutritious foods, pure water, clean air, healthy built environments and the integration of mindfulness and movement in our daily lives
  • Restoration of the earth's ecosystems and inefficient infrastructure
  • Healthy, smart and energy efficient buildings
  • New transportation with proliferation of renewably powered public and smart transportation solutions with increased walkable and bikeable live-work logistics
  • Leveraging IT to reduce energy, product consumption and waste
  • Revolutionizing education with applied immersive learning
  • Balancing population growth and increasing carrying capacity with abundant food, water, energy and renewable materials
  • Implementation of a people owned, ethical zero balance currency based upon contribution of value, collaboration and reputation rather than debt
  • Transforming our environments with living systems planning, design and engineering processes
  • The ethical compass to use our creative powers for the life-enhancing benefit of people and planet

With consistent and proactive application of our energy, effort and resources in alignment with the foregoing, we can create the regenerative economy and a world of AWE.

The regenerative economy requires a shift in consciousness that includes the application of whole, healthy and regenerative practices that transform our environments, deepen our connection with each other and the planet, and evolve our beliefs and behaviors in a way that shifts our culture to align with life-enhancing outcomes.

It is not likely that this transformation will occur in our comfort zone. In order to create a thriving abundant, well and enlightened world, we need to be willing to have courage and tenacity, to stand for our dreams, take risks, make mistakes, lose money and face adversity, criticism and ostracism.

We live in a universe of infinite possibilities, yet most of us live lives of such limited possibilities. There are energies, forces and consciousness in the universe that support human thriving, yet most of us are "perceptually blind" to these energies, forces and consciousness. Let's open our eyes and minds to new possibilities that are life-enhancing and expansive in order that humankind can thrive by expressing its potential for love, brilliance, beauty and kindness and create a world of AWE.

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Revelation for the Thriving of Humankind

I had a major revelation today (September 19, 2013) about the potential and possibilities for humankind. The timeline, dimension and illusion of our current "reality" is at the edge of transformation. . .

While walking through a redwood forest today, I stopped to embrace a beautiful redwood tree. Although on the outside, the tree looked healthy and strong, during my embrace, I could feel its life force was weakening. I became aware that the redwoods are both "barometers" measuring the health of our planet and "antennas" that transmit this information to "guardians" of earth.

What came to me is an urgent message: The time is NOW to open our hearts, minds and beings to entirely new possibilities, even though these possibilities will shake the very foundation of our social structure and belief systems.

We have an immediate choice to either 1) embrace life-affirming, regenerative practices and new beliefs that expand our ability to thrive in unity and harmony with each other, nature and the universe, or 2) continue to extract, exploit, divide and destroy ourselves into extinction.

We are the planet - there is no separation. Each breath, drop of water and the nutrients that sustain us are life-giving gifts. The planet will heal itself and be just fine without us, however, we have an opportunity to thrive, if we choose unity, love and synergistic resolution over selfish hording, scarcity, fear and compromise.

We live in a universe of infinite possibilities, yet we live lives of such limited possibilities. There are energies, forces and beings in the universe that support human thriving, yet most of us are "perceptually blind" to these energies, forces and beings. Let's open our eyes and minds to new possibilities that are life-affirming and expansive in order that humankind can express its potential for brilliance, beauty & kindness and thrive.

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Birth, Death & Metamorphosis

Merrill Ward, AWE's Chief Enlightenment Officer, just shared this inspiring piece about transformation that I am compelled to share this with you. . .

Birth, Death & Metamorphosis

As the sap begins to pull back from the branches of the trees, and the leaves begin their inevitable shift into the vibrant reds, rich golds and deep purples of Autumn, my mind, body and spirit generally tend to begin their own withdrawl into the inner realms of Self as well. The fires of the summer have finally waned and the harvest season is in full swing as crops are duly reaped and put up for the coming winter months ahead. As things finally seem to be slowing a bit, I find myself shifting into deep reflection as this powerfully transformative time, both seasonally and within the greater shift in human cultural awareness, begins to unfold. As we enter into the astrological sign of Scorpio, with it's emphasis on Death,  Regeneration & Rebirth and celebrate Samhain and the Day of the Dead, where the veil between the worlds is at its most tenuous within the wheel of the year, I am drawn to the analogy of the metamorphosis of the caterpillar. Culturally,  we have been developing the rational egoic aspects of our collective consciousness for several thousand years now. Perhaps since the rise of agrarian society, when we began cultivating our food and crafting tools and weaponry, creating artificial limits of geographical boundaries and systems of ownership. This eventually manifested in the establishment of city/nation states and our ideas around cultural identity - of the creation of a false sense of us and them, that we can really no longer afford to maintain. This divisive meme, which may have served us during this particular phase of our growth,  has effectively reached its limit of usefulness for us as a species and effectively represents the caterpillar stage of human development on our planet. For the last several decades, with the advent and rise of the information age, we have been creating a cocoon - a web, if you will, that can effectively hold and contain the cultural transformation that is unfolding within it. And now, the natural processes of disintegration are occurring  as we move into the chrysalis or pupal stage of our collective evolutionary process. This manifests as collapse within various personal, social, governmental, economic and environmental systems, the breakdown of which we are currently witnessing throughout our world with ever increasing frequency and intensity. This is the phase of metamorphic transformation we are currently undergoing and it is not always easy nor comfortable. This dying process to our old ways of being is something to be accepted, to be embraced, to be held or contained within  the cocoon (the Hermetically sealed alchemical alembic) of our collective human psyche.  What we once were, or believed ourselves to be, is rapidly disintegrating in order that it may become what it is, that we are truly destined to be. At this stage, the imaginal cells that will eventually develop into our transformed human condition are as yet undetermined and undifferentiated. I feel strongly that we can positively impact this transformational process through deeply surrendering to it's unfoldment while remaining focused and open - powerfully holding a clear vision and intention within the collective resonant morphogenetic field within our shared Great Work together. Our ability and willingness for us to continue to drop deeply in and collectively hold this field - for ourselves, for each other and for humanity itself, freed from the "lust of result", will manifest in the quickening that will allow for our emergent essential nature to unfold fluidly and organically. Allowing for us to break free from the constraints of our current cultural conditioning and in due course, enabling the butterfly of our enlightened Divinely Human psyche to soar freely into a future of perfect love, perfect trust and limitless possibilities. And so it is......

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Helping Mothers Become Leaders

We have gone far too long waiting for the world to change, and all here know we are doing good deeds and great works.  Mothers, carrying life within their bodies and in a real sense nuturing a new spirit with sustaining love and compassion, may be one of the most powerful communities to organize and engage in buidling and then thriving as children of our Mother Earth, and our mommies...

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5 Powerful Tools for a New Paradigm

We are each part of a Global Human Agreement (“GHA”) that creates our current reality.  The GHA shapes our external and internal worlds and the way we relate to each other and our environment.  Much of the GHA results from implanted programs that we perpetuate both consciously and unconsciously.  These programs shape our view of the world, dictate our behavior and create our “reality.


In order to manifest a new reality, we need new tools that allow us to replace the programs that are disempowering and destructive.  We can’t fix the problem with the same tools that created the problem.  A prime example of this is the “War on Terror.”  We use war and force in an attempt to create peace.  It just doesn’t work.  It’s perpetuates war and terror.  However, such activity is good for the GDP.


This paper is written to explore the operating system and programs that create and perpetuate our reality and to provide access to 5 powerful tools that can change it. 


The Operating Systems and Programs

Upon entering this world, we start engaging with the realm of time and space as sampled by our phenomenal senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch.  We have no language or context for the filtered information being received through our senses.


The environmental matrix of time and space, as experienced in human form, represents our fundamental “operating system.”  Throughout our development, we are implanted with “programs” by our parents and society including language, context, meaning, emotion, judgment (e.g., good/bad-right/wrong) and “appropriate” behavior.  These programs shape the way we relate to each other and our environment. 

These programs provide us the ability to communicate with each other, to form thoughts and context and a lens through which we view and behave in our world. These programs include everything from deeply embedded unconscious genetic survival instincts that stretch back beyond the dawn of humankind to social constructs and behaviors that have been developed through the millennia.


Soon these programs take over our lives and we “become the programs.”  We find ourselves conforming to “appropriate” forms of behavior rather than standing in our truth.  We fit in and try to be “normal” rather than extraordinary.  We compromise our greatness, our passions, our potential and our power for security, convenience and comfort.  We accept the enslavement program as “reality.”


For example, a significant majority of the developed world believes that we need money to survive, that money gives us power, that the more money we have the happier and more secure we will be and that natural resources and money derive their value from scarcity. 


Based upon this set of beliefs, we have created a world “reality” where we have become completely dependent on valueless paper money for our survival, where ever-increasing expansion of the gross domestic product, profit at all costs, hoarding, greed and destruction of the eco-system are not only justified, but are actually rewarded as the accepted the definition of “success.” 


Accessing the new tools to manifest a new paradigm, requires us to get down to the operating system layer and erase the disempowering and destructive programs that perpetuate a world rampant with war, pollution, toxicity and social injustice. 


5 Powerful Tools for a New Paradigm

The 5 Powerful Tools for a New Paradigm are as follows:

(1) Equanimous Observation

(2) Inquiry

(3) Choice

(4) Prior Consciousness and Imagination

(5) Manifestation through Embodied Awareness


1.            Equanimous Observation

“Equanimous Observation” means the state of neutrality, emotional detachment and non-judgment when observing one’s internal experience, beliefs, programs, patterns, stories and circumstances.

When we judge things as good or bad, right or wrong, “pigeon-hole” or get emotionally triggered, it is highly likely we are running a program based upon context and story that is fabricated. 

Equanimous Observation teaches us to just look at things for what they “truly” are without layering context and story around it.  For example. . .


            Fact:              A child was occasionally spanked by her father when she did not listen to her father. 

            Story:  My father is an abusive jerk who didn’t love me.  I am a victim of abuse and it’s all my Dad’s fault.  He makes me so angry!


Stories tend to exaggerate and dramatize what actually happened and are products of interpretation.  Stories are generally created from language and culture programs giving rise to context and imagined scenarios. 


When we are able to impartially observe the facts without judgment, emotional charge or attachment to outcome, we start to differentiate between fact and fiction.  We are no longer trapped as unwitting hostages inside a story that controls our decisions and actions, but instead possess the ability to objectively see our programs and the causal patterns, beliefs, thoughts, emotions and experiences that arise from our programs.  From this perspective, we can make objectively evaluate and inquire into our programs, thereby gaining the power and freedom of choice and manifestation. 


2.            Inquiry

Although inquiry arises from language and context, it is a powerful tool for developing awareness of the programs that are running us.  As mentioned above, language is a program.  Language is learned and is not part of our original operating system.  When we learn a language, we become implanted with the mindset that created it, including the culture, context, constraints and viewpoints.  For example, the Polynesians have a plethora of terms to define ocean conditions and navigation, as do the Eskimos for snow and the nomads for sand.


Inquiry consists of the art of asking the right questions. When we become aware of the programs creating our beliefs, emotions, thoughts and stories using Equanimous Objectivity, we are then able to apply Inquiry.  Below are some examples of questions to allow us to evaluate whether a program is serving or non-serving.  For purpose of this Inquiry example, we will use beliefs.


Is this my belief?  If not, whose belief is this?

Where did this belief come from?

Does this belief empower/serve me?  If not, what other beliefs and views are available to empower/serve me?

What affect does this belief have on my choices and behavior?

How does this belief affect or create my internal and/or external reality?

What program in language, culture and conditioning is creating this belief?

If this belief is not serving, what is the payoff for holding onto or perpetuating the underlying program?

Am I willing to delete this program? Why or Why not?


Once we are able to inquire into our programs the causal beliefs, emotions, stories, thoughts, patterns and experiences, we can clearly choose to keep, strengthen, modify, delete or replace the programs. 

3.            Choice

The Power of Choice is the ability to accept all that was and is and be fully open to creating new possibilities.  This means being unbound by limiting non-serving programs.  To be free of past programs, choice requires us to take responsibility for our choices and fully accept everything that was and is. 


By accepting what has happened and what is present, but not being bound to it in the future, we are free to choose our future.  This is known as a “Generative Future.”  A Generative Future is one we powerfully and fully create.  The future is actually a blank canvas waiting for us to create it.  However, when we bring our past into our future, the canvas is already full of stuff from our past.  This is known as a “Pre-Determined Future.”  In essence, our past has already determined our future as we back into our future looking at the past.


Most of us go through life making our present and future decisions based upon what worked or didn’t work in our past.  Most of what worked or didn’t work was determined by our programs.  Thus, if we unconsciously run non-serving programs and get results we don’t want, we only serve to reinforce these non-serving programs. 


We keep trying to create a Generative Future with tools from our past.  This just doesn’t work - If we focus on fixing the past, we are focused on the past rather than creating the future. 


A key to creating a Generative Future is becoming conscious of the non-serving programs and deleting, replacing or modifying these programs.  This is done by bringing the programs into the light of consciousness.  When we see our programs, whether they serve us or not, they no longer hide beneath the surface controlling us. We have power over the programs and then can choose to delete, replace, modify, accept or strengthen the programs.


Once we have fully accepted what was and what is, we no longer are bound to a Pre-Determined Future.  We then align choice, declaration and consistent action to powerfully create a Generative Future.


4.            Prior Consciousness and Imagination

So far this discussion has focused in the realm of mind and language.  Through the process of Equanimous Observation, Inquiry and Choice, we obtain access to “Prior Consciousness” – the all-knowing infinite consciousness that existed prior to our birth, prior to our experience as a human and prior to the installation of programs, including the program of language.


We access prior consciousness when our minds, ego and language are no longer involved.  Because Prior Consciousness is beyond language, describing it language only creates a paradox.   The best way to describe Prior Consciousness is the space in between thoughts that holds the infinite possibility of what the next thought may be.


We all have had the experience of shifting from one thought to another.  In between thoughts, there is space.  Accessing that space gives us amazing power to create from imagination.


Imagination is the ability of forming images, sensations and concepts, in a moment when they are not perceived through sight, hearing or other senses.  The imagination arising from Prior Consciousness is that which provides images without language.  These images, when embodied, work to create reality.


5.            Manifestation through Embodied Awareness

When we clear programs, create imaginatively and anchor our Generative Future in the internal environment of our bodies, we can powerfully create using Embodied Awareness.


The somatic awareness of our body is always in the state of here and now.  Because of this here and now consciousness, our bodies respond immediately to our thoughts and emotions.  When this happens, the experience of thoughts and emotions become anchored in our “physical reality” as if they were true.  This is because we really presently feel our thoughts and emotions in our body.  Even if our emotions arise from thoughts that are fabricated, once anchored in somatic consciousness, we often believe the fabrications as if they are real.


For example, imagine laying on a white sand beach in Hawaii on an 80 degree sunny day with a light cool breeze blowing off the turquoise ocean with the palms swaying.  Despite that you are not actually in Hawaii on the beach, it is likely that your body responded to the imagined scenario by relaxing.  Now imagine yourself in Fukushima, Japan during the earthquake, Tsunami and nuclear reactor meltdown.   It is likely that your body’s sympathetic nervous system kicked in releasing adrenaline, increasing your heart rate and tightening your muscles readying you for fight or flight.


When we are trapped in our programs and mind, we often anchor unwanted physical realities in our bodies.


Although mental focus and affirmations based upon language and programming can influence our reality, they are not nearly as powerful as the combination of imagination, choice and embodiment. 


For instance, when we want to raise our right arm, we visualize and it happens naturally with little effort.  We can say 1,000 times “arm raise” and it won’t.  We can stare at our arm and focus our cognitive mental capacities on raising our arm and it won’t raise.   However, in act of practically effortless coordination between imagination and somatic will, we just simply raise our arm.


Manifestation through embodiment is a powerful tool that works much the same way.  We imagine what we want to manifest, anchor that in our body and allow Prior Consciousness to easily manifest the reality we embody.


When we imagine, choose and embody a Generative Future while taking consistent action in alignment with the Prior Consciousness and Embodied Awareness, magic starts to happen.  This magic is deeper than mind, words and programs and works at a level prior to and deeper than the mind.  From this state of being, take action in alignment with the signals of your somatic wisdom and you will magically manifest using Embodied Awareness.

About the Author

Mark Chasan is a “Transformational Integrator.”  As an Internet veteran, serial entrepreneur with a public exit, environmentalist, digital media pioneer, attorney, futurist, financial and strategic advisor, healer, composer and author, Mark possesses experiences and tools that utilize whole system approaches to help enterprise, non-profits, executives and leaders powerfully manifest their visions and create positive global transformation.
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