Monday, June 29, 2009

What does gaia mean?

What is this word—gaia?

For mythology buffs, Gaia (guy-uh) represents the Earth Goddess, Mother Earth—protector a
nd nurturer of life.

There is also the gaia hypothesis—an ecological hypothesis proposing that the biosphere and the physical components of the Earth are closely integrated to form a complex interacting system that maintains the climatic and biogeochemical conditions on Earth in a preferred homeostasis.

IN OTHER WORDS, everything is connected, and has an effect on everything else.

To ME, it’s a philosophy—the idea that all of us are connected.

I believe we are here to educate each other, to help one another, to
spread positivity, and to love as much as possible. It’s both energetic and also very tangible. Our choices have a ripple effect, that impact the world at large. We need to understand that small choices have big consequences.

Because, as a society, we have such a direct effect on the environment, this is the best way I know how to illustrate this.

An old friend of mine (whom I hadn’t seen in years) and I decided to attend a festival together. There had been a flurry of incidents prior to this trip that lead up to my ultimate “aha moment,” but the biggest inf
luence on my decision to reduce my plastic footprint stemmed from a conversation with my friend.

“Plastic is evil,” she said, “Every piece of plastic that has ever been manufactured still exists on the planet today.”

She proceeded to tell my about the Pacific Gyre, aka the Garbage Patch. It’s a traffic-jam of man-made plastic, larger than the size of the US, brought there on the ocean currents from the beaches on our planet. Today, the plastic continues to gather there, gaining in size day after day after day.

The entire eco-system is affected. As the plastic is broken down by photosynthesis, it decomposes into tiny toxic pieces. These pieces look like plankton, which are ingested by ocean creatures and birds. The animals either end up dead on our beaches or they cycle back into our food stream, and eventually, back into us, with high-levels of toxicity caused by the reaction of the sun hitting th
e plastic. The garbage patch is so large and unmanageable due to its slushy and grandiose content and location, it is likely nothing can ever be done to improve it.

I was inspired by this video. Immediately, I stopped purchasing plastic water bottles and began using recycled grocery bags every time I went shopping. It has even motivated me to bring lunch to work more often, since I generate way too much waste if I get lunch “to-go” too regularly.

Beyond the day-to-day stuff, I was inspired to create and share my knowledge with others—children and adults—through an “Environmental Stewardship” exhibit. Within a week, I had collected enough plastic from six different households to create a full-size plastic man—who became part of the installation. I was proud of my sculpture but even more so, I was honored to share the story, knowing that it was possible that plastic man’s existence had a long-term effect on one of the show-goers, just as my friend’s story had on me.

This philosophy—that ALL IS ONE—it goes so far above and beyond our relationship to the environment. It translates to all we do and all we are—community, philanthropy, volunteerism, and connecting—on a real human level—with others around us. The struggle of our families and friends today—it’s creating an opportunity for us to relate to one another on a level unlike ever before. I'm excited about the chance to make this a priority in my life. I hope you are too.

Scalable Intimacy

Someone who agrees that relationships are key.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I used to work in the HR department for a local organic grocery chain. It was really the first job where I was linked to a retail experience—and my first experience with customer service. From day one, it was my responsibility to teach our new employees the value of connecting with our customers. As a result of providing stellar service that went above and beyond, our company thrived with repeat customers and folks who shouted our praises to their friends.

What a valuable lesson! Thereafter, whenever I came across poor service, I always thought back to my experience there and thought twice about revisiting an establishment that didn't measure up.

In my role as Production Manager, one of my greatest responsibilities—and one of the things I enjoy most about my job— is establishing and maintaining relationships with our vendors. YOU CAN BET that the vendors that go above and beyond for our company—who work with us to solve problems, provide samples, work on budgets, and show a GENUINE interest in us—are the ones who are receiving the calls on a regular basis.

Web sites like Facebook, twitter, myspace, tribe, friendster, and LinkedIn have revolutionized the business world, making connecting with our networks and cohorts easy. A wide variety of resources are suddenly, readily available to us and relationships have taken on completely new meaning.

Everywhere you look these days, people are touting the significance of genuinely connecting with others and the importance of developing authentic relationships as a smart business practice. As someone who agrees, this perspective is a breath of fresh air.

Getting back to what matters, the PEOPLE, matters to me.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The right time...

I love it when it feels like I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing at the right time.

Do you look back at your life and how it has evolved?
Do you marvel at the journey, where you have landed, and where you have yet to go?

I have been working for the same employer now for a little over four years. My experience there has been incredible.

I started right after I had my son, when he was six months old, fresh off maternity leave. Looking back on the progression of my job, from a part-time office management position that enabled me to spend four out of seven days a week with my son, eventually becoming employed full-time (when he turned two and started pre-school), to now... two plus years into my job as a (Print) Production Manager. I have learned SO much and made so many INCREDIBLE connections with people in this industry. I never imagined how well this job would prepare me for my future.

Prior to giving birth to my son, I attended a local college to study graphic design because even back then, I had the desire to own my own business. As life progresses, the desire continues to grow stronger.

When I look back to the time when the ideas for my business first generated, it seems like forever ago. Though the core of the business is still intact, I am energized even more so now, because of all the amazing philosophies that have emerged, changes in technology, and the life experiences I currently have under my belt. The business idea has morphed from a basic recycled greeting card company to a full-blown business model where I will CONNECT with others and HELP those who are helping the world at large.

Being a mother has motivated me to CREATE the life that I want. And every time I move in that direction, the universe reminds me that I am doing the right thing. Whether it's a tid bit I catch on TV regarding small businesses, something I hear on the radio, a person I meet, or something I read.

Recently, I gratefully accepted the opportunity to housesit for a girlfriend of mine. I encouraged my son to break from the wide screen TV and Wii to spend a little quiet time reading some books that he and I pulled from the shelves in her daughter's room. He and I read a couple books together and then parted to read separately. I gravitated towards this book called, "Is There Really a Human Race?" written by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell.

I had been struggling at work with changes in management, skewed perceptions, miscommunication, and the political beauracracy which comes in any work environment. I have always been one to stand up for the underdog and those who don't feel safe expressing their concerns. I did this with the best of intentions within the constraints of the established system but as it sometimes does, this time, it backfired. I felt defeated. Ultimately, I decided that I would use moments such as those as motivation.

The story starts off with a child who is questioning the "Human Race." Who am I racing? Why am I racing? Eventually, the story presents a beautiful summation about what life is all about. I pulled these words directly from the end of the book:

Sometimes, it's better not to go fast
There are beautiful sights to be seen when you're last.
Shouldn't it be that you just try your best?
And that's more important than beating the rest?
Shouldn't it be, looking back at the end,
that you judge your own race by the help that you lend?
So, take what's inside you and make BIG BOLD choices.
And for those who can't speak for themselves, use BOLD voices.
And make friends and love well, bring ART to this place
and make the world better for the WHOLE HUMAN RACE.

Amen to that.

Is There Really a Human Race? by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell (Hardcover - Sep 5, 2006)