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Flowing Mu

Friday, January 12, 2007



Welcome to Flowing Mu. Thanks for visiting.

The information below will help you navigate this blog, and serve as an introduction to some frameworks and concepts that I GUARANTEE you will hear more about in coming years.

You can find the posts in each category using the links in the side-bar --> (Thanks to Rhys Stacker and this guy). Below are the codes that you can use to navigate the entries on my blog.

The first are based on Integral Theory. So,
* If you want to read about (external, individual) behaviour, actions, bodies, physical, sensual reality check out those labelled 'UR' - upper right.
* If you want to read about (internal, individual) values, ethics, reflections, ideas and internal mental and emotional reality, check out those labelled 'UL' - upper left.
* If you want to read about (internal, collective) culture, values, norms, societal and community internal reality, check out 'LL' - lower left.
* And for (external, collective) systems, insutitions, organisations, external and collective physical reality check out 'LR' - lower right.

And, relating to Sustainability I have also started to label things based on the five level framework used in my Master's course:
* SYS = understanding the system. Setting boundaries, working out waht is going on, dealing with the complex, intertwined reality...before you decide how (and even whether to) intervene.
* SUCC = success. The vision, the goal, the end-point the desired future. Articulating where we want to get to and how we want to be when we get there.
* STRAT = strategy. The general approach, nifty ways of combining tactics and actions to achieve success.
* ACT = actions. Things you actually do, or other people do to create (or block the creation of) a better world.
* TOOL = tools. Frameworks, metrics, methods...that help you do things, and know that are the right things, or are having the intended effect.

Also, some other Topics I am particualry interested in deserve special attention:
* C&M = coastal and marine ecosystems
* WATER = freshwater, drinkable water, the global cycle of H2O
* FOOD = local, organic, commercial, industrial, agricultural, blah blah you are what you eat...
* PROC = processes: decision-making, engagement, refelction...creative, visionary ways of doing things, rather than the things or ideas themselves.
No climate change, that is so lats season, so already-happening, so passe... : ) No, seriously, info on this will probably be under one of the sustainability headings....

Finally, the other things.
Are these the things that really matter? If I have not labelled them, it is really a reflection on my fuzzy thinking that means I don't know what category to put them in. Or maybe they are just fun...and labelling them makes them to academic. If that sounds nice, check out BOX...of stuff in the back room that you constantly re-organise, but really never sort out. And FUN

Be! Connect! Contribute!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

India Part 6 - Epilogue: Mixing it with Bollywood's hot young things

LL, Sys, Box

How's it going?

I'm at the free email thing in Singapore, so I thought I'd fill you in on
our last night in Mumbai.

We met up with Tim's Norweigan mate who got bitten by the rabid dog. He told
us he had gone to the hospital blind drunk at 6 in the morning and got shots
for rabies and tetanus, and was stoked that it only cost him 650 rupees
($20) - we informed him that this was the stupid westerner price, and he
should have bargained the doctor down to 300 at the most. We cut him loose
after a while and cruised around with two African guys who lived and worked
in Mumbai.

These fellas knew all the hot-spots, and we went to some establishments that
were classier than I have ever been in, and Tim's Dunlop Volley's were no
problem, once we informed security that they were the height of fashion in
Australia. We were refused entry to the nightclub in the ultra-glamorous Taj
Hotel because it's "couples only" and they refused to believe that Tim and I
were gay - I had a right mind to give those naughty doormen a frightful

We eventually got into "Polly Esther's" for 1000 rupees, including enough
drink vouchers for 4 whiskey and cokes each - there was only 45 minutes
until closing time so it was a race against the clock. 10 minutes later we
had drunk them all and were shredding up the dancefloor in a breathtaking
shock-and-awe display that left the Bollywood stars and starlets reaching
for the brown paper bags to return their breathing to normal. The shark, the
sardine, breastroke, freestyle..... a fine "Aquatic-themed" display. I got
refused access to the main dancefloor because I had a drink in my hand, then
because I didn't have a partner, then because the poor girl I convinced to
help me up there was smoking a cigarette...... I think they just didn't want
me up there - my dancing is ahead of it's time in India.

We spent the next three hours trying to rustle up some beers, wandering
through classy hotels and trying to bribe the doormen to get us beer.
Eventually a street hustler came through with the goods and we were able to
watch the sunrise over the "Gateway to India" - a large British-era archway
that looks out to the sea from Mumbai. The British symbolically marched out
of India under the gateway in 1947, so we thought this was a fine way to end
the trip. We would rather have been on top of the archway, but several lines
of security measures defeated us.

Anway, my 15 minutes of free internet are up, so now I'm going to catch the
plane to Perth, then one to Kalgoorlie, then straight to a steakhouse for a
big slab of steak.

Ciao for now, sacred cow.


'Harbringer of Death' killed by climate change

LR, Sys

'Harbinger of death in steep decline'

The frequency with which news stories are tying things back to climate change is overwhelming. This one is particularly haunting given the colloquial name for the Barn Owl here in Britain. It is really sobering news about these poor birds whose numbers are in decline because of rainfall preventing them from hunting. Oh, and 75% of young who don't survive are killed directly by cars.

I cannot vouch for the certainty of the links to climate change, because natural variations in weather do occur. The trouble is when habitat and numbers are already decimated by other human activities the capacity of natural systems to bounce back is massively diminished. This is the problem worldwide, that the remaining natural ecosystems haven't the numbers, space, time or resilience to deal with accelerated changes in climate that on their own are orders of magnitude greater than anything we have seen in the last 420,000 years.

If you want more facts and gut-wrenching truth - check out An Inconvenient Truth.

Then ask me what to do about it :)


September '06 update

Strat, Act, UL, UR, Box

Hope this finds you all well. I am well - maintaining a grounding in exercise and meditation, finding work, travelling and thinking, and uncovering and exploring more and more about myself.

After initial June meetings in London with many consultancies and NGOs to scope out how I could contribute to the scene, a quick flight had me back in Sweden and on my bike. With Lisa Chacon I explored parts of France and
Germany, highlights including SW German forests and backyard vegetable gardens, the Berlin holocaust monuments, the amazing Aus-Croatia World Cup match, and great sessions of deep personal work and
idea generation.

From Paris I trained (in 1st class upgrade!) back to London where my jubilant mood was somewhat dented by stone-throwing children. A weekend up in the Lakes district walking was lovely, before flying out of Glasgow to Stockholm to get a UK working Visa. Back in K-town I finally go to eat a MASSIVE icecream and say goodbye to people and place. Ten days in Belgium cooking and cleaning on a Vipassana meditation course in Belgium, really reconnected me with a sense of selflessness, service and a deeper sense of self. I then zoomed back up to Hamburg (great city!) to meet my holidaying Mum for a day, then back to London via train (again 1st class upgrade)!

August in London saw me starting a 3-day a week internship with Eastside consulting, and applying for loads of sustainability work (20+ applications). There really are an incredible range and number of organisations trying to create a better world here! Earlier in June I had identified Eastside as having a nice vibe and people but lacking the skills and knowedge re: REAL sustainability. Being thrown straight into the lead role on a real project suggested things could work out... At the same I was trying to get work to get some money through the door - and ended up finding weekend work at a bike shop (in a very cool area, in a solar-powered building).

Socially, I dined with some amazing SoL crew, and had time to hang out with both my parents, and catch some low-priced summer festival events. For my parents, it was the first time they have had any time to themselves for about 28 years. I have a lot to thank them for because of their tireless support and priviledged position I find myself in now :) Come September I finished the Internship with Eastside, then flew off to Colorado for Integral Sustainability (full update to be included in MSLTS newsletter) - which was one of the most intense and incredible things I have EVER been able to participate in. San Francisco was a dream with Miriam, Ingrid and Lisa and a meeting with the inspiring women of Sustainable Sonoma County. It was also a chance to reconnect with the sea and sun, which was beautiful and heart-wrenching at the same time.

Now I am back at Eastside as a freelance consultant to help their clients be more sustainable (financially, ecologically and socially) and working on their internal knowledge management; and still at the cycle shop to keep some steady money coming in. A second sustainability workshop with all the Eastside associates is happening on 19th October to thrash out details of how to integrate an integral, strategic approach to sustainability into their offering (Hoorah).

So, I am just about to launch into a serious effort at meeting more people and organisations, building my networks and understanding around 'innovative ways of helping entrepreneurs and SMEs make more strategic, integral decisions to increase their probability of success and enhance the well-being of their communities'. There are a number of little side projects I have ticking along, including meetings with other consultancies, a TNS-Integral paper, and getting better at relationships with peers, family and friends! We (Miriam, Richard and myself) have also received a scholarship to present our thesis findings at a conference in Ghana in November. The biggest project is just trying to integrate, internalise and use the massive amounts of wisdom I have been exposed to over the past year.

Hopefully I have settled down for a while, so I can get more into the groove of daily practices, good friends, 'walking-the-talk' community gardening and various hobbies. Right now this minute, I feel both great and not-so-great - my heart, mind, soul are all pulling in multiple directions and I am having some trouble deciding exactly what I want. Walking the road between visionary, enlightened, fearless transformational leadership, and the 'reality' of earning money to get food in your mouth, a roof over your head, and make some dent in your massive credit card debt. What I am wildly happy about is that your support - knowing you are all out there - has allowed me to be more entrepreneurial and confident, and has resulted in me being able to create work for myself. I mean, we are trying to change the world...and it is probably rare that people advertise jobs to disrupt the status quo and lead the transformation!

Be.Connect.Contribute....Yeeee Haaa!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Take just-a-minute and reconnect

UL, UR, Act, Box

During a day participating in a complex simulation exercise (to try and cooperatively, sustainably manage the Florida Everglades) at the Integral Sustainability workshop, a gong was rung at random times. During the couple of minutes between gongs, everyone was invited to take the time to breathe deeply and reconnect with their highest self and spirit. Most of us were already in a state of mind that is rarely achieved during daily life, and this extra encouragement and opportunity was a welcome way to step back into the deepest sense of my 'self'.

It is not that I came up with good ideas or interventions during that little break, but it certainly created the space in my mind, in the process, and in the room...to reconnect, relax and allow a part of myself emerge that is often buried under so many other layers of thought and activity. During the simulation some divine innovations were born out of this state of mind, and so I want to continue some similar practice in daily life, and there are some cool ways to do it. I guess it is one step on the way to making sure I am mindful, and in touch with my highest self in every moment.

Workrave is
quite an elegant and customisable little program, but might not deliver the benefits of an evolved consciousness. What you do with your 'microbreak' or 'break' is up to you, and strretching your legs may be more your style than howling and drawing on the combined strengths of all your ancestors (though that is equally valid at certain times!).

Just-a-minute do have higher ambitions for that minute, and provide (under the 'experience' link) downloadable commentaries to guide through the process of relaxation, concentration, visulaisation, meditation, silence, sharing and connection. I have not really explored their links or downloads yet, and will see how I feel during my few minutes' break every hour or so first.

A nice thought to start with, and one that I often let drift through my mind before I exercise in the mornings is:

through your feet, or whatever part of you is touching the ground, you are literally able to be in contact with every other person on the planet.

A current of electricity or some other form of power could surge through the earth and arc us all up. It feels good to wriggle my toes, bend my knees and let my weight sink into the earth; and draw on the power of the the oceans, the land, the biosphere and other beings who are able to access the same sensation of grounding and connectedness all over this little blue globe...

Be. Connect. Contribute.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Music: what have I been missing?

LL, UL, Fun Box

Music is quite incredible really, in the way it can affect your state of mind and lift your spirits. I really have not made time to listen to much music for a long time. During university I was so into it: punk, local gigs, and a lot of trance and plastic techno (and even some DrumnBass and Breaks)...taking photos and writing reviews of gigs, then dancing all night.

Then I stopped listening, mainly because (in the words of Custard) I preferred the silence not the sound. And that applied while studying, working, riding, weeding, travelling or whatever - always trying to concentrate on what I was doing 'right now', and what was really occuring around me. Perhaps, having proven I can concentrate and handle extended periods of silence, it is time to dive back into sensory overload and lose myself in the energy and vibrations rather than just observe them.

My forays into actually playing music consist of an interest in drumming, and the purchase of a thumb piano (which I absolutely love), maybe Capoeira and now...an interest in full-on dance (click in the centre). This type of energetic embrace of the rhythyms is a good 'feminine' 'dynamic' complement to the rather 'masculine' 'static' forms of meditation like Vipassana and Zen. So, it is sure to open me up and stretch me in new ways. I will let you know how it goes!

Sort-or-related, I might try to purchase a new little radio to listen to BBC while commuting to keep up with the news, or download podcasts from ABC Radio National (simply brilliant programs like Background Briefing) or Triple J onto my pocket PC. One new infusion of music into my life has been the almost constant (starting at 7am) Rasta/Reggae beats virating up through the floor of Gabrielle's house from the Caribbean crew downstairs. I think if I did not finished meditation before they turned on their tunes, it might disturb me more than it currently does!

While on the topic of cultural tunes, a new addition to the Triple J archives is a mix-tape of Swedish music, if you see that as a useful window that wonderful place and its people!


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Designing the Future

Act, Fun, Box, LR

There is always something happening in London, especially near my work at Spitalfields markets, Brick Lane, and the Old Truman Brewery. Last week there was a Future London exhibition, which was pretty inspirationaland broad in its scope for creating a sustainable London.

This week is a Design Festival is occurring all over the city, but again centred at the Old Truman Brewery. I visited 100% East and flicked through the catalogue of other designers to uncover some creative gems:

- Positive Tees. Nice people getting beyond the cynicism and irony that dominates what used to be considered 'cool' be covering fair traded t-shirts with positive messages. Weird web presence though..
- Artificial turf made from paper for use as a mat or rug. It feels nice underfoot, and I gues can be composted.
- Toast. Burnt with pictures of your choice. 12 by 12 pixels. Oh yeah. I NEEEEED one of these.An absolute highlight.
- Furniture and chairs made from polystyrene-like material (EPS). Apparently 100% recyclable (the sustainability of this product requires further investigation, but being made from fossil fuels is not a good start!), and definitely modular and funky.
- Packable mattress for homeless people (click on product, then select 2nd from left, top row). Very remiscent of N55, who I just adore - expecially their nicrodwellings, barmobile, soil machines...and all of it!
- Moving wallpaper. May make for a more creative workplace or loungeroom?!
- Ummm. lots of interesting products. Probably not much to do with sustainabilty! Same with these guys, though I can't help but think the coffee and cigarettes item has a pretty big market still. Oh, and this, which is nice for your pet and helps keep your household environment 'clean', but unlikely to have wider benefits.
- And finally, Interesting looking furniture and lighting, which gets even more intriguing when you realise all of it is based on interpretations of oil spills, climate change and other ecological disasters.Go the Swedes!

So, I like design. Putting ideas into form. Craft-art (crart), design as art...I'm inspired by all these things and enjoy just wandering through the spaces these people create as part of their shows. It makes me feel better about my urge to put coloured patches of material on every piece of clothing I own. junky styling make that (patches and strange alterations) look good like noone else can, and I hope to source more ethical, sustainable clothing from them or their friends as the pressure mounts for me to get a suit and some business-like shirts.

Actually, while I am on textiles, check out these quilts I saw in an exhibition in San Francisco. Absolutely fantastic, and an incredible depth of history behind them. I am making one FOR SURE - all my old clothes that are worn too thin will be turned into something useufl and beautiful :)


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Live from Denver, Colorado

UL, UR, LL, LR, sys
The world is an amazing place.

And I continue to be amazed at my own ability to live totally beyond my means and buzzing around it in pursuit of wisdom and connections. This week I am just outside Denver in Colorado at an Integral Sustainability workshop. The kind of place where my brother's new favourite joke meets sustainability meets Vipassana...and makes total sense. More sense, more resonance, more whole-being beautiful-truth than anything I have done before.

I learnt about Integral Theory late last year, and it instantly clicked. Clicked in that is a way to bring together all the various threads of knowledge in many parts of my life, and in a way that is wildly powerful for use in sustainable development. It brings together wisdom from all aspects of human investigation and experience - from psychology to macro-economics, evolutionary biology, sociology, and every other field - and puts them on the same 'page' - within the same framework. Having access to the most accurate 'map' and model or reality, consciousness and evolutionary dynamics yet made is pretty handy in any and all endeavours, and especially sustainability.

Exploring the ideas with colleagues in Sweden, through reading, and through new networks was exciting. Even more exciting was the news that there was a specific workshop on Integral Sustainability in Denver (only the second ever run)...and that scholarships were on offer. I applied, and received a half-scholarship to attend. It has still cost me thousands of dollars to get here, but I really felt it was the absolutely most important thing I could be doing with my time, money and energy.

Since arriving it has been an amazing roller-coaster of consciousness-expanding work and play. New connections and friends (and a strong Aussie contingent!), amazing experiential pieces, good food, healthy living (exercise and meditation), and of course lots of wildly nerdy dialogue around sustainability. If you haven't picked it up yet, this way of approaching sustainability puts the evolution of human consciousness at the heart of the challenge. This contrasts with other apporaches that tend to focus on the behaviour of individuals, or the manifestation of problems in our social, economic, political or ecological systems. This can lead to proposal and implementation of solutions that are superficial at best, ignorant of the culture, context and individuals involved in its implementation...and damaging at worst.

This alternative lens of consciousness (or access to a multiplicity of lenses) allows you to see the whole picture and realy understand the reality of the context then puts your own perceptions and consciousness in the front and centre before even thinking about what the best thing to DO might be. It really is that 'thinking at a level above that at which we created the problem' that Einstein and others called for...

And, they are long days. Really intense work from 7am to 9pm. Which means I am off to bed. More bits and pieces and a full report soon!