Monday, January 31, 2011

In Memory...My Mother, the Storyteller*

...In your lap I first discovered the power of Story through words. From you I learned the way the strange marks on the paper could transform into dramas-- leaping into life faster with each turn of the page.

...At our dining room table I discovered the power of Story through images. From you I learned to hear with my eyes as well as my ears, watching as you flipped through picture books that only you knew the stories behind—stories I could embellish from my imagination if I looked closely enough.

...On our living room floor I discovered the power of Story through suspense, as the six of us small ones (and later increasingly bigger ones!) huddled around you waiting for the next installment of the Christmas serial from our local newspaper. From you I learned the way a dramatic pause or key turn of a phrase could keep us waiting for the next chapter, the next scene, the next sentence—as if our very worlds depended on what came next.

...And watching you bring stories to life with your puppets is where I discovered the power of Story through characterization. I learned—as adults in the audience watched most intently of all—about the child in each of us who never grows past how characters acting out stories can sneak past our defenses to open eyes, ears, hearts.
Through you I discovered
  • The Cat in the Hat and Where the Wild Things Are

  • Nancy Drew and Hercule Poirot 

  • Garrison Keillor and Paul Harvey

  • Narnia and Middle Earth

  • Shakespeare and Scripture

From you I learned about the little sailboat that was first made, and then lost—and then paid for by its own creator to buy it back out of love.

From you I learned about the treasures buried in snow holding the secret to forgiveness of serious wrongs done.

From you I learned about the giving tree that no matter how many times it was cut down kept finding something more to give.

Your own story and storytelling time with us here is now over.

But ours continues...

What will we tell the world about what those stories taught us?

How will we make meaning from what we found in them?

And where will our own paths take us in redeeming the pain with
the Stories we live
and the Stories we tell?

*For my readers unaware of the situation, my mother choked on a piece of meat while eating supper and died at the relatively young age of 66.  In this anticipated Dream Era when Storytellers are projected to become the New Leaders, whatever role I play in that will have been shaped first and foremost by my mother and her love and gifts in the area of Story. Thank you, Mom.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

3 Ways to JumpStart the Downward Nobility Trend

The Story
I think it was the babies crying that got to me the most. Katrina evacuees poured into the extended-stay Inn in Texas I was writing from at the time. Seeing the helpless ones in their parents' arms and realizing they'd just been wrenched from their homes with little notice—homes that might not be there if they returned—is when Downward Nobility became less of a “coming trend for the Dream Era” phrase to me and more of a practical, necessary reality.

I'd been following the simplification trend already, but it was mostly for self-oriented reasons. The practical realities of the traveling writer's life I was creating didn't make hauling a truckload of belongings around with me from one new city to another fun. So I'd figured out a way to get everything I owned down to two suitcases, a laptop case and about six boxes of belongings.

But I was pretty attached to what was in those six boxes!

The Boxes
Some financial value there. A small art collection that had personal meaning to me. A few top-of-the-line technology gadgets. An expensive air filter. Chef quality pots and pans. A significant resource library.

On top of that, since Hollywood area had been my most recent city of residence with a focus on acting and writing screenplays, my suitcases carried a wardrobe I'd invested a fair amount of money in.

But it was those babies crying in the rooms on either side of me that got to me.

As did the looks on the parents' faces eating near me in the restaurant downstairs.

My six boxes and two suitcases started seeming like a lot in comparison to people having lost everything with little to no warning. In comparison to having to start over with nothing. To having to leave a beautiful community-oriented place full of diversity and fun like the city of New Orleans without much hope of return.

Downward Nobility Comes to Life
That's when the projected Downward Nobility trend from the '97 Futurist magazine article I'd held onto all those years came to life for me and edged its way up my priorities.

I went a little overboard. Kept my laptop, but picked up a new substitute wardrobe from Goodwill and gave away my nicer one and the rest of my belongings to my new neighbors.

It was an awkward and clumsy beginning, and maybe even a little extreme. Looking back I'm not sure my Hollywood acting days wardrobe did anyone else much good, for example, given the climate and culture differences. And the latest tech gadgets were probably a poor in-the-moment substitute for food and housing.

But it was a start.

Over time, I came up with more practical and balanced guidelines for going into this time in history when we literally have all we need to end extreme poverty worldwide in our lifetimes--if we each do our part.

3 Ways
  1. Build Your Budget Around Your Top Strengths

    One of the concepts in the article where I'd first encountered the Downward Nobility phrase was that in this coming era, people will begin to overspend in one or two categories needed to be their personal best and protect their top strengths, and then dramatically sacrifice in all other budget areas for the good of the whole. 

    It makes a lot of sense. We've seen times in history when people have tried either “Downward” or “Nobility” and neither has been particularly effective. But in this strategy, you still take care of yourself--”fasten your own oxygen mask first”--and honor the sustainability of the gifts you have to give the world.

    You just don't stop there. You keep looking for ways to give out of that protected area and keep asking the hard questions like, “Do I really need a house this big, or am I doing it because of some American Dream I think I'm supposed to fit into? Do I need all these vehicles—or even one of them? Technology—toys or key tools? Wardrobe? Eating out? Places my entertainment spending is going?” What could make one person more effective in giving to the Whole by spending in those areas could be unnecessary for another. The New Nobility—the downward focused one—asks those kinds of highly individualized questions.
  1. Establish Your Enoughness Point

    One of my favorite people to honor came up with that great Downward Nobility phrase! Journalist Calvin Trillin's wife—the subject of the book About Alice and a writer herself—felt each of us should set a lifestyle limit and define in advance what is our Enough! point and plan to give everything above that away. 

    A non-smoking victim of lung cancer from second-hand smoke throughout her childhood, she is one of those people whose legacy I'd like to promote and spread as part of my own. She died of cancer much too young in NYC on the exact day when so many others died there from another tragic and perhaps more preventable than we like to admit event: 9-11-1. In honor of her memory and theirs I'd love to see her term "Enoughness" become a powerful catch phrase for this time in history!

    How to practice this "Enoughness" concept?
  • Take from the Whole only what you need to be your personal best.
  • Use everything you have.
  • Give the rest away.
  1. Maximize Your Earning Potential 

    Finally, a sometimes neglected aspect of giving to the Whole is proactively developing ourselves and our earning potential. I spent several years after Katrina with a highly simplified lifestyle. I wasn't spending even a fraction of what I had been back in my pre 9-11 years when the money was flowing in fast and free. But I also wasn't making even a fraction of what I had been! So that's not doing the Whole much good either as I could barely cover my own living expenses.

    It's self-actualization time in history. Many now have the other layers of Maslow's pyramid of needs in place. Time for those of us who've been given so much and can go all the way to the top of that to do so! And then go Downward in our Nobility for the good of the Whole.

    Dan Miller, influenced somewhat by one of our current financial voices Dave Ramsey, has written a great book on moving more actively toward work that we love and that can help us each do our part. 

    No one who's awake and aware at this time in history is going to expect of any one of us to make more of ourselves than we're capable of. But the key is knowing you've done everything you can to make what you can. Heal from the past, find your optimum work, and then advance in your career or support roles to others (as moms, caregivers, etc.) to the degree where you're able to be as much of a resource for the Whole as possible.
I wasn't looking to join with the new nobility for this time—the Downward one. It just sort of happened. It took a Hurricane and babies crying and parents holding onto what hope they could to wake me up and call me to radical action. 

That impulse of the moment gave me my first taste of what could happen if we all exposed ourselves regularly to the needs around us to such a degree that we couldn't walk away without asking ourselves some new questions. And just maybe taking a little radical action.

Or at least implementing a few practical steps like these.

And if you're already there, I'd love to hear the stories!
  • Additional inspiration from Compassion International's blog:
  • Ideas on how to handle the "Social Cause" burnout: 3 Predictions for Social Good in 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

What I Admire Most About The King as a Dreamcaster

How can you write a blog titled the DreamCast and ignore the day on which we celebrate the birth of one of our great Dreamcasters of all history?  My answer to myself is that I can't. So here it is.

Martin Luther King, Jr. has been one of my heroes for as long as I can remember.  Probably from the first time I heard his story, contribution to history and the content of some of his great speeches he became one of those larger-than-life characters to me in the story of history and a personal inspiration.  Today, in honor of his life and death, I count down my top 3 reasons I admire this man and the contribution he made.

Reason #3 That I'm a King Fan: Talent

He is, arguably, one of the greatest orators of all time.  As a musician, anytime I write or speak I want there to be something of Music to the language and the rhythm.  MLK Jr. was the all-time master of this in my opinion.  I can listen to his "I Have a Dream" or "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speeches as background music even while I'm doing other things. They play like music.  They sing like poetry. If I can attain even a glimmer of that in my own speaking and writing, I will have reached one of my top goals in life.

Reason #2 That I'm a King Fan: Cause

What he stood for.  I spent my summers growing up in a rural nearly all-black area south of Chicago.  My friends there were more loving and accepting of me than the ones of my own race where I spent the rest of the year. They were also a ton of fun and a rich addition to my life. I learned early on to see people as people and not as colors.

One day when I was maybe 10 or so we took a trip as a group to a community swimming pool in the neighboring city.  I will never forget the sight of a group of maybe 25 or more white people exiting the pool en masse as soon as we entered.

I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach and could not imagine anything more mindless or cruel.  I was much older before I could sort through some of the strangeness of the situation.  This was still happening in the late 70's instead of the 50's or 60's??  And in the North, not the South??  All I knew at the moment as a 10-yr. old was that here was a group of people who did not know anything about me or my friends yet had already made up their minds about us and our worthiness to be around by something as ridiculously superficial as skin color.  My child's mind and my own experience of feeling loved and accepted by this community could not comprehend the mindlessness of it. 

And not over yet.
In more recent years, it has been the pain of the look in my 10 yr. old niece Megan's eyes when--now decades later--this same area of the country makes assumptions based on the color of her skin.  On a school field trip to the State Capitol with her I noticed much whispering and staring at the two of us throughout the day.  Finally, one of her classmates asked her in a tone dripping with contempt if she were adopted. Megan matched tone for tone when she replied, "Of course not!" But pain flashed across her face at being singled out as different.

Mostly we try to smile sweetly in the face of those stereotypes and assumptions and just have fun showing up places past the stares with our heads held high as a blue-eyed pale-skinned blond walking beside a miniature African-looking princess who share the same genetic material. We will both be world-changers one day, and that matters far more than how we look to anyone.

It serves, though, as an ongoing reminder that we still have a long way to go in this country before the King's dream of people not making snap judgments based on externals becomes reality.  I admire him for pointing out that the Emperor actually has on no clothes in such an articulate and public way.  May his tribe increase.

And Reason #1 That I'm a King Fan: Courage

He was as imperfect as any of us and probably has numerous mistakes he'd like to undo from his journey if he could.  But a story I once heard about him has stuck with me and now gives me courage for my own dreamcasting.

Told by one of his reliable biographers, the story is about Martin Luther King, Jr. after his first arrest.  He was apparently badly shaken by it and even in tears.  This was not what he'd signed up for.  Who among us likes being rejected, having bricks thrown through our windows, receiving public taunts and even arrests for speaking our mind??  But one night at his kitchen table shortly after that first arrest he experienced a spiritual turning point of accepting that reality of a hard road ahead as part of the calling.  From that time forward we saw the resolute and unshaken man we have come to think of.  Not one who was immune to the taunts and dangers and rejection; just reconciled to them.

My primary "I Have a Dream" area that I care passionately about educating the public on is the horrors of incest and making a safer world for children everywhere.  There is little glamorous or popular about becoming the poster child for pedophilia.  It isn't a topic anyone I know enjoys hearing discussed. That seems especially true when the discussion leans away from just the random rapist on the street to the staggering statistic of child after child being unsafe behind closed doors in his or her own home at the hands of highly respected teachers or local politicians or church board members--as I was.

But if I turn away from the ugliness of the call--like the King could have from all going public over his great Dream involved--then where will that Dream and what I can uniquely say about it go?  What progress will or can be made?
  • It is the Dream that makes the rejection and pain worthwhile.
  • It is the Dream that keeps hope alive.
  • It is the Dream that keeps us moving forward--even if we cannot see it fulfilled in our own lifetimes.
And while my personal cause is only one piece of the puzzle that I hope to loudly dreamcast about beginning with this blog--along with ending poverty and solving clean water issues and emptying orphanages and stopping sex trafficking and healing our planet and so much more--I draw inspiration for my piece from a man who had a Dream, and found deep inside of himself the Courage to stand up for that Dream.
  • Thank you for living out your calling, Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Thank you for the difference it has made and will continue to make.
  • May we all go and do likewise.

Friday, January 14, 2011

How to Tap Into the Genius of Groups for World Change

So I've been reading this amazing book from a few years back, Cracking Creativity: The Secrets of Creative Genius, exploring the great minds we have come to call “Genius” over time for how they changed our world as they found it.

And now I have this Big Idea spinning around. 

Why wait for our next DaVinci, Newton, Einstein, Edison, Copernicus for world change?  Why not duplicate what they have done individually—by figuring out how to do it in groups?  True MasterMind groups.   Think Tanks for Global Issues.

The one thing each one of those household names we call Creative Geniuses listed had in common—across very different actual IQ scores, family backgrounds, educations and other factors—was the capacity to approach a problem from multiple angles till the most creative and effective solution was found.

Few individuals are wired to think that way—or just think how many names we could add to that list by now!

But if we truly learn to embrace this new trend toward “Celebrating Diversity”--and stop labeling diversity by superficial differences and accurately look for diversity of thought instead—couldn't we duplicate that same phenomenon over and over again?  Couldn't we create our own Genius Groups, who look at complex world problems from all angles till they are solved?

I say yes.

I say it based on the strength of my diverse group of Facebook friends alone.

When I wrote a note Celebrating the Diversity of my first 100 Facebook friends to stream in (representing 7 countries of origin, over 20 states and about 25 different communities I've been an intimate part of along my journey around the country) I didn't know what to expect for response.

But here are the stats of the random 6 who liked the concept enough to immediately respond.

  • Political Views: evenly divided between 2 Republicans, 2 Moderates, 2 Liberals
  • Cultural Perspectives: again evenly divided between three very different cultures--2 living in the hardworking rural Midwest, 2 from the business driven Dallas area, and 2 in LA land of dreams 
  • Generational Angles: Close to a 2/2/2 split here as well, among our three very different generational distinctions currently active in the workforce.

And perspectives on Faith?!
  • Buddhist/New Age, Jewish, Catholic—plus 3 divisions of Protestants: Baptist, Pentecostal and Reformed.

Now that's what I think we really mean—or perhaps should—when we cite the trend that the Celebration of Diversity will help usher in the Dream Era!  Diversity of thought.  Not diversity of skin color, hair color, eye color.  (My biological niece Megan and I look totally different in that regard, but the same forces that shaped my thinking are now shaping hers.  Diversity?  I don't think so.)  What we really need Bridges between if we're going to Change the World is between very different and sometimes seemingly insurmountable Diversity of Thought.

So here's my Big Idea:
  • Tapping Into the Genius of Groups of Diverse Views to think tank and mastermind out complex global problems.  At the local level.  And at the international and global levels.  Literally starting right where we're at today and taking on the wold's problems one by one as ordinary people from all walks of life.  

Sound too easy?

I'd like to suggest we've never given it a try before, consistently, at any time in history. 

We group by Same in thought perspectives.  Not by Different. Always have.

But now we have easy forums for doing something new like these bridge-building groups, both in-person and virtually.
  • From coffee houses to chat rooms, 
  • Discussion forums after seminars or after webinars, 
  • Meetup to Facebook groups.

Am I suggesting we throw away deeply held beliefs and opinions overnight or stop grouping by common perspectives for family life and faith practices and even work?  Not at all.  Diversity tends to be really messy and some amount of shared starting place saves time in moving forward in daily life. 

But sameness of thinking isn't doing us any favors in solving complex global issues that most of us on the planet—no matter our faith or political perspectives—agree on wanting to see changed.  All we do is spin our wheels in the same old mire of stuckness, trying to partner with minds thinking just the same as we are.

How would it work?  Here are some potential beginning steps:
  1. Form small groups of people different enough in perspective from one another as mine that randomly formed over shared interest in diversity
  2. Keep the groups 4-9 in membership*
  3. Choose Causes common to each member of the group (plenty out there: world hunger, clean drinking water, sex trafficking, child abuse, sustainability, misuse of authority in workplace/government/home)
  4. Ask group members to keep focus as targeted as possible to just the Cause at hand (honor the old “don't discuss politics or religion”) 
  5. Appoint a couple group members to learn and facilitate some of the creative techniques great thinkers who have contributed to civilization in the past have used for problem solving.  [Books on Cracking Creativity, Thinking Like DaVinci, MindMapping, Thinkertoys.]
  6. Meet at least bi-monthly for an hour and a half a a time to throw out every possible idea of what a group of concerned, committed people could do--starting today--on this Cause.
  7. Each take the pooled solutions back to separate Sameness-oriented groups (families, churches, neighborhoods) to start implementing.
These bridge-building Think Tanks could become a starting place for any person from any walk of life to get involved in World Change.

Perhaps the “Grouping together in NeoTribes” trend that futurists are projecting for this next era of civilization includes forming bridges from within our Sameness groups that cross over into radically Different groups to learn what our greatest minds down through history each knew how to do within themselves: look at problems from as many different angles as possible until the solution is found.

Will we wait for our next Newton, our next Einstein, our next DaVinci, our next Edison?  Or will we choose to temporarily accept that whatever is drawing others to different faiths and political views and generational and cultural mindsets than our own could also be a part of their minds wired to see things differently than we do?  And that together—using all those parts for problem-solving on complex global issues—we could accomplish vastly more than we have so far?

I'm in.  Anyone with me on this?

* Rebecca D. Costa in her cage rattling, world-shaking book The Watchman's Rattle cites a study that has shown we need more than three and fewer than ten in a group to effectively harness the power of group problem-solving which is why I suggest groups of 4 to 9.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Forces That Change The World

Once an early adopter of trends in my past business life, this time I ignored the buzz and friend invites and avoided Facebook for years. Don't get me wrong; I've always loved networking and socializing. But my very different worlds on this path seemed to make it easier to move from one to the other at a time than to pull them all together in one place—even if the “place” was as obscure as my own Facebook Wall.

But then a couple of freelance projects required fb involvement, so in I jumped.

Which is when I saw it.

Avoiding the messiness of pulling all my worlds together, I had cut myself off from the combined power of the forces that had shaped me! Each one of these three major regions and cultures had given me something essential for changing my own world. For stepping into the fullest possible healing from a childhood riddled with abuse.

I knew that about these three areas and types who had shaped me individually; I'd lived it. But by continuing to keep my worlds separate, I had cut myself off from the energy of all three of those elements interacting at once instead of just one by one in my life. And I'd cut myself off from noticing the combined force they could have for global change.

What do I see now? The three very different cultures and worlds on my journey represent the three primary forces that Move the World.
  • The Workforce—driven by a combo of ethics and hardship to sacrifice for a cause.
  • The Power Players—who can make or find the money and the connections it takes to launch things.
  • The Rising Stars—with the popular appeal to draw a global following.
The Three World-Change Forces in My Story:
  1. My upbringing in the rural Midwest full of tradition and values and a heavy work ethic—school years spent in a nearly all-white area outside Grand Rapids and summers in a nearly all-black area closer to Chicago—taught me about persistence. It taught me about hard work and overcoming the odds and helping the next generation rise above.
  2. My years in Dallas/Fort Worth shaped my ability to find the most strategic ways of getting the job done and to make smart business connections. The combo of its Southern debutante culture and financial success taught me how to live graciously and modeled ways to make money and find funding.
  3. And finally, my exposure to the dream-like environment of Santa Monica/Hollywood and involvement with young artists pursuing dreams of taking the global stage taught me to think bigger about my potential and the potential of all those around me. The Disney feel of the area did for me what it tries to do for us all: kept hope in dreams coming true alive.
The Gift of My Facebook Experience...for World Change:
My dread of ever letting these worlds collide disappeared in my first weeks on Facebook. The gift those weeks gave to me was remembering all at once what each culture has done for me, and recognizing in a new and powerful way what these three types of energies--working together—can do for the world.
No one of these--a sacrificial workforce, a powerhouse of influencers and funders, or a group of rising stars--has ever affected great change working alone. But together they can be unstoppable.

So what's stopping us?
Why aren't we all working on connecting anyone we know representing those three primary forces together for world change types of efforts?
Probably for the same reason I've stayed away from Facebook these past years. In every one of those three worlds of mine while in each I heard little good said about any of the others. And the same is probably true of you in your own networks if you know all three of these “types.”

They don't typically think much of each other. Hollywood loves to ridicule the upper Midwest and Middle America in general in its more practical, hardworking, no-frills/ no-show conservative approach to life. Dallas has little to no respect for what is sees as LA's more shallow “quick-fix” approach to doing business. And I grew up in the upper Midwest hearing each of these other cultures described as “dangerous”--given the one's pursuit of money and a luxurious lifestyle (at least in contrast with their own), and the other's of fame.
...Somehow the positive side of what Funding and a Global platform can do for the very causes the Middle America area that birthed me cares most about was missed. 
...Just as the Hollywood types sometimes forget that about all they can do alone is entertain and inspire. 
...Or that the Money and Star Power working together without a committed Workforce can only spark temporary trends instead of lasting movements.

It will take all three of these Types represented in my own journey to truly affect change in the world. Me? I have fallen in love with all of them--one by one.
  • I show pictures and tell stories of my young friends in Santa Monica who are breaking into the movies and music industry and modeling and dancing and creating art to anyone who will listen--like they're my own children or something! Their energy and potential inspires me like nothing else. 
  • I have never met role models I admire or respect more than the generation just above me in the Dallas area who became my friends and shaped my own young adult years; they taught me how to live.  
  • And the people from the place that birthed me?  No words for the treasures they have become to me--richer every year.  Any character I have for facing life, I have because of these people and this place that first gave me life.
Working together, the Star Power and the Influencers and the Character-driven Workers can become a Force capable of launching a major movement. Working together they can become a Force for making dreams come true.
  • Like the end of poverty
  • And child abuse. 
  • And sex trafficking. 
  • And need for orphanages. 
  • And lack of clean water. 
  • And spread of disease. 
  • And misuse of authority and political unrest.
Maybe it's time we start looking for ways to bridge the differences that divide these basic mindsets.  Maybe it's time to start looking for ways to superconnect them.
If nothing else comes from my sometimes strange, often heartbreaking, but ultimately beautiful journey, I hope that linking these three separate but equally necessary energies is one of my great legacies.  I, for one, would like to see these combined Forces mobilized.  I, for one, would like to see these issues they each care about changed.


Anywhere in history, story, current culture or your own life path that you've seen these three Forces for Change come together? Collecting stories and strategies so would love to hear them by email or in the comments!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Dream (Era) That Is Coming!

A Think Tank experience in the Dallas area 11 years ago shaped the course and focus of my life.  I just didn't know it was happening at the time!
A sidebar article written by Watts Wacker a few years earlier in Futurist magazine caught the group's curiosity. Writing out of SRI International at the time, he projected the next logical era to follow the Information Age to be The Dream Era and listed the following characteristics:
  • Storytellers as Leaders
  • Downward Nobility
  • People Regrouping into NeoTribes
  • Spiritual Experiences as the New Status Symbols
Enough of us were there because we had futurist strengths or gifts ourselve that we didn't dismiss this utopia ideal as instantly impossible.  Rather, the discussion that followed around the cycles of history and what concrete clues and trends Watts was using to make those projections convinced me the article was worth holding onto through the next years of my life.
Or maybe it held onto me.
  • It followed me through the shock of the Columbine school shootings and the first major financial rumble of early 2001. 
  • It followed me into the devastation felt round the world on 9-11-1 and the impact it had on my own dreams—personal and professional. 
  • It followed me until it caught up with me around the time that the tragic combo of human error and forces of nature that became known simply as “Katrina” rocked the country. And that happened to be right in time for my own internal awakening to areas of major growth and change and possibility.
That’s when I began to realize that little tattered slip of paper from a Think Tank held in 1999 was going to define my life for the next few years–and be worth throwing myself into. Because finally in 2005 in those weeks and months after Katrina, I could see it. I could see that it had begun happening right in front of us—everything Watts had projected. Overnight, it seemed, national tragedies with global ripples awakened a sleeping mass of philanthropy and we saw those bullet points come flooding in.
  • Storytellers as Leaders? Our highly paid storytelling celebrities in sports, music and especially movies stepped more visibly out of mere entertainment and idol-like roles into Leadership roles, speaking out about social justice causes (sometimes to the detriment of their own careers) and leading the way in giving back to the whole.
  • Downward Nobility? Instead of seeming like a joke began to become the norm with consumerism taking a hit and Simplicity movements catching on.
  • NeoTribalism?  Groups started coming together to help each other heal and try to figure out new ways to balance individuality with community--new ways of pooling resources and even living spaces.
  • Spiritual Experiences as the new Status Symbols? Commentators started asking why the sudden influx of spiritual language into the public arena.  Major talk show hosts conducted highly publicized "spiritual" events. 
 Then came wikipedia and Google’s big explosion making the shift from Information Age to Dream Era much more plausible. In just a few short years it seemed like information as a commodity made the shift food did between the Agricultural Era and the Industrial Age. A basic we take for granted. No longer is it something we build our lives around trying to obtain for the security it brings. Now it’s just a given rapidly available enough at our fingertips that we can move on to putting it to use.
Then too explosive to find an anology for, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube took off and now for the first time in history a different kind of “tribalism” with global possibilities than has ever been possible—neotribalism, or the potential for it–--is strongly in play.
So now you know the story of this blog.  The point of why I’m dreamcasting.
  • Because I think it’s time to get this party started–-messy or not.  
  • Because I figure I can do my part if I use my core Strengths of futurism, maximizing and arranging to cennect global trends to the gifts of each world-changing member of my highly diverse network.
  • And because I want the pain of my personal story and journey to be transformed in a powerful way that makes a difference for those coming after me. 
The opportunities for world change are open as never before. And while the birthing process may still be painful for a few more years, that will not change the fact that never before in history has it actually been possible to do things like End Poverty, Build Social Business, and to start solving major complex global conflicts by learning how to recognize, admit and cut others slack in Being Wrong.
    The capacity for ushering in the Dream Era is upon us...ready or not.  What we do with this window of opportunity will define our place in history.

    I for one would like to be ready--and to step courageously into my role.

    And you?

    Projections for 2011

    • Finding the Common Ground through Social Media
    We will see a shift toward using the tools available to us for networking in a new way. Instead of using them mainly to connect with people we already know and see regularly or to get back in touch with former friends, we will use them as bridge builders to find the common ground past the walls of age, culture, and background that often divide us. These resources will become powerful tools to help us figure out what's stopping us from getting world-changing work done.

    • Standing Up for the Best and Against the Worst In Others
    We will sense the stirrings of a new kind of revolution of Hope. This type won't be grounded in magical thinking or quick fixes. Rather it will be a powerful person-oriented kind of hope that takes on new depth due to the support system it creates around Vision. I believe a quiet wave has already begun and will swell in 2011. This sweep will be about learning to come alongside one another one by one to affirm the best in each person and the great individual potential ahead. But it will also involve learning new ways to stand against whatever is sabotaging those closest to us with “You're better than that!” challenges. (Book Being Wrong is my personal favorite new resource for sparking this revolution.) Hope in our dreams of doing our own part tends to die without that combo of people both strongly believing in us and yet also helping us shift out of the patterns that are holding us back.

    • Using Our Imaginations to Create New Realities
    And finally, the other major shift I am watching for is a shift in the use of our Imaginations. As we integrate so many new forms of Play and Story into our daily lives (social media, gaming, ever-expanding entertainment industry) we will see a shift out of merely using our gifts of imagination and dreaming to escape. We have used them already very effectively to create other Realities that are completely Impossible but consistent and Probable within themselves.
    We will begin to use those same powerful and uniquely human capacities to Dream and Imagine and Believe to start noticing how much we are dismissing that is totally Possible...just because it seems highly Improbable!
    We will then begin to bring those amazing Possibilities into the Reality that has always been waiting for us. This time in history will bring new challenges to stop being mired in the doubt that "Improbability masquerading as Impossibility" brings. We will remember the image from Man on Wire so many of us have now seen of Philippe flat on his back on a high wire stretched between the Twin Towers on 8-7-74 and we will ask ourselves what other clear Possibilities we have always told ourselves are Impossible.
    And then we will Play and Dream and Imagine our ways into making things happen, just as Philippe did. We will begin to use our Imaginations for the true purpose for which they were give to us: to change the world in the numerous ways that we already can but aren't imagining our way into...until they become practical reality.

    Those are the trends I'm following and hoping to live my own way into for 2011. Anyone with me? I say Let's go change the world.