Friday, November 20, 2009

Consistency....Business Managment.....Effectiveness....Transparency

When I started this blog, I was warned that I would start and stop along the way, and that has certainly been true.  It's now become a 'trailing indicator' for me of a few different aspects of my life, and unlike other personal indicators, this one is public!

What I've noticed is the way my work load and my attention at Yoga Yoga, PLUS my personal life combine to slow down my writing, to stop it, or to move it forward.  I might not write if I am distracted at home, or if I am distracted at work, but I also might not write if I am involved in a project at work that I am not ready to talk about....(I don't do that 'withholding' thing all that well!).

So, last year I didn't write alot right around the time we were adding Yoga Yoga 360 Wellness Spa to our 'mix'...and lately I have not been writing, but I have not yet been able to mention what we are up to....I expect to be able to talk soon!

As for blogging, for I am back at it.....and while I am starting up again, look for some more info about what Yoga Yoga has in store for 2010....its going to be an exciting year!


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Life and Music

Here's a sweet way to stop for a moment and notice that the point is to enjoy all of this 'work' stuff! So enjoy!

Life and Music....a FurryCarlos production, based on the words of Alan Watts

My thanks to my dear wife Susan for sending this on to me

Rich (Raghurai)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Corporatism, Life Inc, and Justice Sotomayor

Recently I've been reading Life, Inc. by Douglas Rushkoff.  

Douglas Rushkoff is an author, teacher, and documentarian who focuses on the ways people, cultures, and institutions create, share, and influence each other’s values. He teaches media studies at the New School University, serves as technology columnist for The Daily Beast, and lectures around the world.

The book is about 'corporatism' and gets to the heart of so much of what I have been trying to get to with the concepts around The Yogic Edge, and the way I am teaching yoga teachers to build local, heart centered personal business plans.  I'm inspired by his clarity, eloquence and level of synthesis around such an omnipresent aspect of our society.

 As it turns out, you can read most of the book on Boing Boing, where he posted it a few months ago as a guest blogger. Here's the link to the first chapter, and here's links to a few comments (link  link) so you can get a 'feel' for the dialogue that was starting around the book. You can also watch a short movie about the book here.

With all this talk about corporatism recently, I was struck in a heartening sort of way when I read this article, entitled "Sotomayor Issues Challenge to a Century of Corporate Law" from the WSJ. It seems that during that hearing the Justice questioned the long held and rarely questioned legal fiction of a corporation's 'person-hood'.  I think this question bodes well for putting some limits on the further unquestioned establishment of corporatism, even though it is unlikely to  sway the court's opinion in the current case.  And any shift back towards a human-focused set of constraints on commercial activity will bode well for our collective humanity.

Rich (Raghurai)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

SoCap09 - An Invigorating 3 Days Exploring Social Enterprise

I spent the end of last week in San Francisco, attending the SoCap09 Conference.  This was the second year for this conference, and it was well worth attending.  Being with 800 folks, all committed to the conversation about social enterprise, all exploring how they can make a difference and profit from creating greater common good was enlivening.

You can check out some of the video of the conference on YouTube, or see what it looked like on Flickr.

The plenaries gave a chance to see the big picture, from the view of the larger organzations and foundations.   And there were many chances to meet fascinating people and explore and engage issues that affect social entrepreneurs unlike others. 

There as a great panel on the L3C legal form, which I now understand more fully as almost a 'socially branded' LLC.  I have a better perception of how new this form really is, and I remain interested in exploring it for some of our work. That panel was very useful.

We had a great open session on Spirituality in Business, which is a great topic, and one for which group has alot to offer. 

I also led a small session on healthcare and personal responsibility, during the participant led sessions, which were done using Open Space technology for meetings. This was my first time using this process, and I found it excellent on many levels.

More to follow.....


Monday, August 31, 2009

What Does it Mean to Market with Consciousness?

I love Seth Godin. Even more importantly, I think he embodies and promotes the kind of values that we want to aspire to as marketers - conscious application fo skillful action. Kind of yogic, don't you think?

Seth originally coined the phrase 'permission marketing'. He brings an awareness to marketing that is always refreshing. So many of the teachers and business people that I talk to day by day struggle with the necessity to market. I often talk about how important it is that we (who care to add consciousness to the marketplace 'equation') learn to participate powerfully, so that we can compete with other businesses and succeed.

Here's a post he titles "Who Gets to Decide What You Want". He gives a useful 'sense' to marketers how powerful we can be, and he makes it so very clear that as a marketer we are influencing the experience of individuals....its our choice in what way we choose to use our power!

And so, once again it seems to come down to a personal decision. If you decide what you want (instead of letting someone else decide for you) perhaps you could choose the things that would actually bring you and your loved ones the satisfaction you can live with.

In so few words, he makes it clear that we have choice, both as consumers/citizens/people and also as marketers. We MUST choose how we engage the market, and we must use a balanced set of values and goals, in order to both be happy personally, and in order to be of service as we engage.

Rich (Raghurai)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Life, Work and Balance.

At the heart of the experience of my life, I struggle, as many of us do, with bringing balance to my life and my work. It seems like this sort of struggle is not personal on one level, but it is terribly personal from another perspective.

These last few months I've spent attending to many concerns: the challenges of some very specific business issues against the existing backdrop of the overall struggle to maintain and sustain.  Real change at leaving for college, the challenges as family members grow and change, my mom's passing, the changes and concerns of family at several levels.  My health, my vitality, and where to put my attention, how to stay passionate about life at each moment - especially when so many of those moments are working moments around which my personal choices are often secondary to the needs of the 'enterprise' or the family, but the demand to find balance is never far away.

All this personal experience is present for me against the very stark background of 2 great realities we face as a nation....the disgrace of our national approach to health care, made even more shameful by the lack of political will to engage the issues genuinely, and the havoc wreaked on our economy by a greater interest in greed than in balance, superimposed on a distain for service at so many levels. 

Its against all of this that I write or don't write each day, that I work productively or minimally, or that I am available to serve with strength or not.  I know that my personal practice has served me well in sustaining at so many levels.

It's no wonder that so many of us are struggling with our health, challenged in ways that have long since passed through the healthy challenge of life into the fatigue of chronic stress. Making a life against this backdrop can be daunting. I am grateful each day for the community of good people I share this jouney with, and the opportunity to do good work, work that is worthy of my time and effort in the multi-dimensional rewards it provides.

With Gratitude....


Monday, May 25, 2009

Choosing Our Work

Some years ago I chose to be a yoga teacher/entrepreneur. I was already an entrepreneur, something I had learned from my dad, something I was 'swimming in' as I grew up. I love 'creating from nothing', and I am grateful that through Yoga Yoga I have had the opportunity to apply my skills to something that has brought me, and many others so much joy and satisfaction. I often am challenged (mostly internally) to explain the nature of my choices - a particular level of income, working with a particular group of people, and in a particular level of 'local', human-to-human sort of work.

This article, from the NYTimes, The Case for Working With Your Hands, by Matthew B. Crawford is a jewel to read with these questions in mind. Matt's writing is skilled and easy to follow, and he does an exceptional job making the case for choosing our work by considering the affect of that work on our overall life experience rather than simply the economic expectation of that choice.

In addition to the article in the times, you might also read this one by He apparently has also had a preview copy of Matt's book to review.

Matt's book, Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work, comes out shortly, and these articles provide some insight into the book and his thinking. This discussion in our culture about the nature of work tends to get trivialized too easily, and Matt clearly does not fall into that trap. He apparenly provides new thinking, in a broad way about the issues we all face in finding both sustainable economic return and gratification from our work.

He quotes the Princeton economist Alan Blinder about how the labor market of the next decades won't necessarily be divided between the highly educated and the less-educated:
"The critical divide in the future may instead be between those types of work that are easily deliverable through a wire (or via wireless connections) with little or no diminution in quality and those that are not."
As yoga teachers, we know that the personal human connection is vital, yet we struggle to make the economics work. What is not obvious as we do this is the wholistic, personal choices we must make ...deep spiritual choices about the nature of work, the relationship we will choose to have with money, our sense of safety in our society as we age (will we be able to care for ourselves, have medical care, etc?), what value can we place on personal gratification in our work, in the context of our beliefs and the information available to us?

This next quote eloquently expresses a critical point about this dynamic in a 'meta' way....I am grateful for his skill in illuminating this so clearly.
"We in the West have arranged our institutions to prevent the concentration of political power. … But we have failed utterly to prevent the concentration of economic power, or take account of how such concentration damages the conditions under which full human flourishing becomes possible (it is never guaranteed)."
I have chosen to teach yoga and be a yoga entrepreneur to do work I enjoy that provides a service to our world. I have chosen to grapple day after day with the issues that are critical to this choice....issues like enterprise scale, fairness in compensation, organization structure, sustainability. I am grateful to Matthew Crawford for apparently engaging with his life and his work in a way that clearly will help illuminate these issues for me and my life. I look forward to reading his book shortly.