Tag Archives: Caption

Peter Diamandis: Abundance is Our Future

Onstage at TED2012, Peter Diamandis makes a case for optimism — that we’ll invent, innovate and create ways to solve the challenges that loom over us. “I’m not saying we don’t have our set of problems; we surely do. But ultimately, we knock them down.”

Peter Diamandis runs the X Prize Foundation, which offers large cash incentive prizes to inventors who can solve grand challenges like space flight, low-cost mobile medical diagnostics and oil spill cleanup. He is the chair of Singularity University, which teaches executives and grad students about exponentially growing technologies. Full bio »

 I’m not saying we don’t have our set of problems — climate crisis, species extinction, water and energy shortage — we surely do. [But] ultimately we knock them down.” (Peter Diamandis)

Peter Diamndis – Founder of The X Prize and author of Abundance

Louie Schwartzberg: Gratitude w Brother David Steindl-Rast’s A Good Day

This inspirational video was filmed TEDxSan Francisco withfilmmaker Louie Schwartzberg. Louie motivates those around him as happiness is revealed. Music is by Gary Malkin and narration is from Brother David Steindl-Rast.  It begins with a young girl talking about imagination, and then Brother David Steindl-Rast says the following…

Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast

Brother David Steindl-Rast is a Benedictine monk, author and spiritual leader with a message to humanity: that we should live our lives with ongoing awareness of the constant miracle we all live in. Look, listen, and be inspired…

The text of Brother David’s A Good Day…

You think that this is just another day in your life…
It’s not just another day.
It’s the one day that is given to you – today…
It’s given to you.
It’s a gift.
It’s the only gift that you have right now…
…and the only appropriate response is gratefulness.

If you do nothing else but to cultivate that response to the great gift that this unique day is…
If you learn to respond as if it were the first day in your life
and the very last day
then you will have spent this day very well.

Begin by opening your eyes, and be surprised that you have eyes you can open
That incredible array of colors that is constantly offered to us for our pure enjoyment.

Look at the sky.
We so rarely look at the sky.
We so rarely note how different it is from moment to moment, with clouds coming and going.
We just think of the weather, and even with the weather we don’t think of all the many nuances of weather…
We just think of “good weather” and “bad weather.”

This day, right now, with its unique weather, maybe a kind that will never exactly in that form come again..
The formation of clouds in the sky will never be the same as it is right now…

Open your eyes.  Look at that.

Look at the faces of people whom you meet.
Each one has an incredible story behind their face, a story that you could never fully fathom.
Not only their own story, but the story of their ancestors.
We all go back so far…

And in this present moment on this day, all the people you meet, all that life from generations and from so many places all over the world flows together and meets you here like a life giving water if you only open your heart and drink.

Open your heart to the incredible gifts that civilization gives to us.
You flip a switch and there is electric light.
You turn a faucet and there is warm water, and cold water, and drinkable water…
a gift that millions and millions in the world will never experience.

So these are just a few of an enormous number of gifts to which you can open your heart.

And so I am wishing you will open your heart to all these blessings and let them flow through you.
That everyone you will meet on this day will be blessed by you,
just by your eyes, by your smile, by your touch, just by your presence.

Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you.
Then it will REALLY be a good day.

Louie Schwartzberg – Gratitude

Louie Schwartzberg

Louie Schwartzberg is an award-winning cinematographer, director, and producer whose notable career spans more than three decades providing breathtaking imagery for feature films, television shows, documentaries and commercials.

s a visual artist, Louie has created some of the most iconic and memorable film moments of our time. He is an innovator in the world of time-lapse, nature, aerial and “slice-of-life” photography – the only cinematographer in the world who has literally been shooting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week continuously for more than 30 years.

Louie went on to found BlackLight Films, a creative production company specializing in producing original theatrical feature, large format films, HD and TV programming.

In 2004, BlackLight Films completed production of the theatrical feature film, America’s Heart &Soul, distributed theatrically by Walt Disney Pictures. In 2006, BlackLight Films completed a series of HD shorts, Louie Films, for the launch of Buena Vista Home Entertainment’s Blu-Ray DVD releases. In 2007, the company produced a 1-hour special, Chasing the Light, which aired nationally on PBS.

Louie spoke at the TED 2011 conference in Long Beach, CA and has been a regular presenter at the annual Bioneers Conference in San Francisco. Currently, Louie is in production with National Geographic to produce Hidden Worlds, a 3D Imax film.

Candy Chang: Before I die I want to…

In her New Orleans neighborhood, artist and TED Fellow Candy Chang turned an abandoned house into a giant chalkboard asking a fill-in-the-blank question: “Before I die I want to ___.” Her neighbors’ answers — surprising, poignant, funny — became an unexpected mirror for the community. (What’s your answer?)

Fabulous 6:20 TED video –

Candy Chang – before i die i want to _________!

David Allen: Mind Like Water and Getting Things Done

by Alan Furth

Mind Like Water – Imagine throwing a pebble into a still pond. How does the water respond? The answer is, totally appropriately to the force and mass of the input; then it returns to calm. It doesn’t overreact or underreact…

Achieving “mind like water” through Getting Things Done

I was surprised to find that the most important benefit that (David Allen’s ) Getting Things Done (GTD) claims to provide is an increased capacity to focus on and think creatively about our higher-level goals and values.

In other words, more than a methodology for getting things done, GTD is a system for aligning ourselves with meaning.

The argument is that by providing a reliable system for recording all our to-do’s and setting up appropriate reminders, we “empty our heads” of all the mundane stuff that we inevitably need to take care of in the here and now, freeing up lots of psychic energy that can now be used to think (consciously or unconsciously) on more meaningful stuff.

From the book:

Many executives I have worked with during the day to clear the decks of their mundane “stuff” have spent the following evening having a stream of ideas and visions about their company and their future. This happens as an automatic consequence of unsticking their workflow.

I totally buy this argument. Above and beyond what I have experienced during the few weeks since I adopted GTD to manage my day-to-day, the key benefit of my Year of Nothing was a spontaneous shift towards a life based on meaning.

Empty your mind, Free your mind

I think that the key here is the “emptying of the mind” that occurs both by doing Nothing, and by the process of writing context-based to-do lists and reminders advocated by GTD.

Allen describes this mental state as “mind like water,” and uses metaphors from the martial arts to convey the idea of a mind that is highly focused in the here and now, yet flexible enough to deal with the bigger strategic picture, reflect on the higher issues that we consider truly meaningful, and therefore keep our actions consistent with core values and crucial goals.

The “mind like water” and martial arts metaphors used by Allen are specially significant for me after the insights on the Taoist concept of wu-wei or “effortless action” gained throughout my Year of Nothing:

In karate there is an image that’s used to define… “mind like water.” Imagine throwing a pebble into a still pond. How does the water respond? The answer is, totally appropriately to the force and mass of the input; then it returns to calm. It doesn’t overreact or underreact…

The power in a karate punch comes from speed, not muscle… So the high levels of training in the martial arts teach and demand balance and relaxation as much as anything else. Clearing the mind and being flexible is key.

Anything that causes you to overreact or underreact can control you, and often does. Responding inappropriately to your e-mail, your staff, your projects, your unread magazines… will lead to less effective results than you’d like.

Mind like water and synchronicity

The Luck of the Tao: synchronistic events that bring us the right resources, at the right time, for to achieving our goals effortlessly.

I had been postponing reading Getting Things Done for a long time. Then, right after my Year of Nothing I felt naturally drawn to it as I got back in touch with goal-oriented action. This makes perfect sense from a Taoist perspective: according to the concept of wu-wei, once “mind like water” and an enlightened focus on higher purpose is achieved, we should expect lucky, synchronistic events that bring us the right resources, at the right time, for to achieving our goals effortlessly.

I wonder what Allen would think of the link between “mind like water” and synchronicity. His core audience of business executives would perhaps find the concept to be too esoteric, but he definitely is a firm believer in a psychological mechanism that resembles the Taoist paradigm of synchronistic luck.

Because a mind like water state automatically shifts our focus towards higher-order goals and values, Allen thinks that this (with the help of simple, positive visualization exercises of desired outcomes) has a direct impact on our brain’s Reticular Activating System (RAS):

[The RAS] is basically the gateway to your conscious awareness; it’s the switch that turns on your perception of ideas and data, the thing that keeps you asleep even when music’s playing but wakes you if a special little baby cries in another room…

It seems to be programmed by what we focus on and, more primarily, what we identify with… We notice only what matches our internal belief systems and identified contexts.

From this, it follows that by applying GTD to our lives we should automatically start noticing all sort of resources in the environment that can help us in the achievement of our higher goals. According to this view, it is not synchronicity that “brings to us” these resources: they were always around us, we just failed to notice them due to our RAS’s lack of proper focus, and is part of the same process that strengthens our creative imagination and subconscious capacity to experience aha! moments mentioned in the beginning of this post.

The similarity of this process and synchronicity is very well captured by a passage by Maxwell Maltz quoted by Allen in the book:

Your automatic creative mechanism is teleological. That is, it operates in terms of goals and end results. Once you give it a definite goal to achieve, you can depend upon its automatic guidance system to take you to that goal much better than “you” ever could by conscious thought. “You” supply the goal by thinking in terms of end results. Your automatic mechanism then supplies the means whereby.

Regardless of what David Allen thinks of Taoism and synchronicity, one thing is for sure. If Lao-tzu would live in our day and age, he would definitely be a total fan of Getting Things Done. I can picture him in his Taoist robes, having green tea for breakfast after early-morning meditation, checking the “next action” folders in his Evernote-GTD system on his laptop…

From Alan Furth originally: http://www.alanfurth.com/achieving-mind-like-water-through-getting-things-done/

Allison Wright: Nia, Choice, Meaning, Peace

Living Meditation – Choice, Meaning, Peace
by Allison Wright

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”~ Dr. Viktor Frankl

Nia is a sensory-based movement practice that draws from martial arts, dance arts and healing arts.

In Nia* we say that choice is the first gift we give ourselves and our students. It begins with the choice to sense the body and to choose The Joy of Movement, a universal sensation that can be present amidst pleasure and/or pain. The thread of choice is then woven through a principle called Your Body’s Way, which encourages you to move your body in accordance with it’s natural design and function; a method of personalizing your movement to fit your body’s needs. We also offer the choice between Three Planes of Movement (high, middle, low) and Three Intensity Levels (1, 2, 3). Really, the list of choices just goes on and on…

But beyond this list of somatic gifts that ‘choice’ gives us, there is a more personal growth element at play. What basic human right is so closely equated with choice?


We feel free when we feel like we have choice. When choice is taken away, so too goes our sense of freedom. There’s an incredible story about choice in holocaust survivor Dr.Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search For Meaning. When Dr. Frankl treated fellow prisoners at Auschwitz , he observed a distinct psychological difference between those individuals whose health faded quickest and those who survived the longest. He found that the people who lived the longest were those who found a sense of meaning amidst the unfathomable suffering of the concentration camps. Those who lost hope were the quickest to die. He concludes, “Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

For the last two decades of my life, no ally has been so close a friend as choice. Choice has allowed me to find peace and empowerment amidst great pain and difficulty, to sense stability inside when everything outside felt unstable. When I have hovered in the delicate lifespace between “no longer and not yet”, choice has invited me to simply be present with what is, relinquishing my need for things to be other than they are. Investigating choice, I sense how my life purpose and the circumstances in it have as much or as little meaning as I choose to give them. What has given my life the deepest meaning, consequently, is the choice to see every experience as an opportunity to learn something new about myself. Viewing my life this way, viewing my experiences in Nia this way, I know that no matter what happens, I will always grow. When choice is actualized, evolution is guaranteed.

We say in the Nia Brown Belt that between the emotions of Love and Fear exists Peace – the unconditional sensation of centeredness. When it comes to making decisions, peace is a great sidekick to choice – providing us with a firm foundation from which to respond. If I do not have the personal power to respond from love, can I connect to the omnipresent sensation of peace? The way I see it, the more allies or tools I have to assist me, the better off I am in managing my own emotional energy…

Peace is available at every turn – all we must do is choose it.

Allison Wright - Nia Trainer and Nia Black Belt Teacher

Allison Wright is a Nia Trainer and Black Belt teacher. She is also an avid writer. She’s a puppy enthusiast, green tea fanatic, a neuroscience dork and a jazz pianist. Her quirk is that she tends to eat the same thing for breakfast weeks on end before moving on to something else. The same is true of new pieces of clothing…. minus the “eating” part.

Learn more about Allison Wright & Nia @: