Archive for Humor

11 Jul 2012

Vulnerability 2.0 (or, What I Shlepped with Me to the World Domination Summit 2012)

5 Comments Humor, Marketing/Business, Relationships, Self Development and Transformation, Technology and Change

I came with a big bag of stuff. It was super heavy but at least my duffle is a rolling duffle. They did not charge me extra at the airport so it must have been less than 50lbs. I thought about that when I considered the jerry cans of water that women carried for eight hours a day to bring their families dirty water. With slugs in the soup. I wonder how much stuff Scott Harrison of Charity Water travels with when he goes to make deals with villages to drill wells. I really like my birthday. One year I hired a real live improvisational comedian to fly out to my town from NYC and teach 30 of my friends how to be funny and then we broke open an Elmo piñata. Still, if people will donate money in order to give people clean water instead of presents then I’m all for it. Those slugs are gross.

I had a backpack with me too, did I mention that? I was sitting there as Chris Brogan was slinging superheroes, comics and Dungeons and Dragons like he was speaking directly to me. It was like he knew that I had two prepaid, advanced digital tickets in my backpack for next week’s Dark Knight Rises film. He was born in 1970 just like me and we’re both Batman fans. I wonder if Brogan’s going to the midnight showing, too. I wonder if those superhero cards will serve as agents of change to the masses of uninitiated geeks. I was already a geek but it was fun to fly the freak flag together.


I thought about all my stuff squeezed into the pack when I listened to Daniel Noll and Audrey Scott talk about their treks around the globe and how life truly came down to the relationships they made with complete strangers who weren’t really strangers once they got to know them. Made me think of the complete strangers who rifled through my bag at the airport and left the Velcro handles unfastened. How do Dan and Audrey respond to all those pat downs and bag searches? I thought about their mileage programs. I felt petty for thinking about that but I was glad no one could read my mind.


I had outfits for all types of situations and events and climates. I like to be prepared and I like to feel like I am ok in a crowd. I like to blend in but I like the choice of standing out if I feel safe. Do I sound like an introvert? Sometimes I worry that people think I’m stuck up because I think too much without sharing what it is I’m thinking about. I’m not stuck up, I’m an introvert posing as a gregarious fellow.  My life is like a back and forth between Susan Cain and Jonathan Fields. A little witty, a little shy, a little sarcastic, a little nosey. Good thing I brought my Bose noise canceling headphones so I can simultaneously tune out and tune in.


I packed too much. I anticipated everything. I had a zip loc bag of almonds and two packs of gum. Cash. I had cash for tips, coffee and food trucks. I could always give some extra singles to homeless folks. Is that bad?


I checked the Weather Underground and read blogs and watched videos by people who attended last year. I looked at my closet and tried things on that I felt good in and that I felt others would want to see me in. I recently gained some weight and didn’t fit into my really “good” Banana Republic clothes. They used to be the clothes I felt empowered in so I had to go with clothes that I didn’t feel were too tight. This way I could make ideas happen without worrying too much about my clothes.


I brought essential oils because they make me smell good and relax me.

I brought 3 Apple products with appropriate cords. I like to be connected and I like toys. My IPad is a toy even though I use it to tweet you because you could be a client or a potential client or I might blog on my iPad and thus it becomes a business tool. I should be an entrepreneur.


Shoes. 3 pairs of shoes. I know. A little plastic container for all of my receipts, it being a business trip and all. It was super Slim.


I brought cool T-shirts with cool messages on them and then some plain white T’s because maybe cool messages aren’t as cool as plain white ones are. I liked the volunteer who sliced and diced her yellow shirt and made it into something fashionable. Maybe Megan Hunt could sell that to some brides as part of her $100 Start Up. She’s so cool.


I forgot my own partially read copy of the $100 Startup but they gave me one in my swag bag. I looked Megan up and she’s like all over that book. I wonder if she would have been my friend if she knew how much stuff I crammed into my suitcase. Well, rolling duffel.


Sunglasses. It’s summer. I wore them once. They were cheap ones though, from a supermarket, although very heavily tinted so I could even watch a Firestarter do her thing without hurting my sensitive eyes.


Vitamins. Lots of vitamins. I tend to mess with my immune system when I eat too much and drink too much. I can’t afford to get sick. I’m an entrepreneur. Wow, though…I never drink that much at home. I mean yeah I eat that much at home but the drinking, no. As Cal Newport suggested, we can’t really set out to do what we’re passionate about, we have to do something we’re good at and eventually the passion finds us. Headaches passionately found me four mornings in a row. I should have brought more Excedrin in my toiletry bag. Note to self for next year. Wait, how do I get there without trying to get there, again…?


Brene Brown defines vulnerability as the uncool combination of uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. What does it take to be truly vulnerable? Who do you allow yourself to be vulnerable with and in what situations do you choose to expose yourself? Finding a tribe where one can simply be themselves and find love and acceptance is one of life’s most wondrous occurrences. Belonging is a bridge to transcendence whereas fitting in can be a cage in which we sit quietly, waiting. One simply can’t stop believing. Wait, was it don’t stop believing or belonging…?


I came to WDS with a sizeable amount of baggage and it felt incredible to be accepted as a tribal member. I even danced! Thanks Chris Guillebeau and your amazing integrity, vision and kick-ass-starting execution. A hundred dollars ($US) will never feel the same.


02 Oct 2011

Spooning Buddha

3 Comments Humor, Self Development and Transformation

There’s a fat man in my bed.

He spooned my wife last night, walked my dog this morning and now he’s wearing my underwear.

The first time I lost a large amount of weight was in 10th grade. I had been overweight since 5th grade and had endured the typical jabs, pokes and shame associated with being too big for one’s britches. I hated my body.

Yet by the time I was a high school sophomore, I had found my niche. I was a clown. I could make fun of myself and get the laugh, somehow squeezing myself into a state of external acceptance. John Belushi did it as the Samurai. John Candy did it in Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Budhha looks pretty big in all those statues and always seems to be smiling. Is he laughing with us? Could he really be so enlightened as to think it is ok to be that big or was it that nervous giggle that I have known so well in my life?

Those first few races were straight comedy, too. Runners would be lining up for the 800 meter and have to step aside to let me through as I finally completed the previous 400 meter race. I pretended to be lighthearted and comedic as I made my way around the rubber streusel topping on that endless donut of a track. I’d sing songs, recite movie lines or just hyperventilate quietly to myself. I can do this.

I was there, forcing myself to be there, wherever there was. In the four months of the track season, I had “lost” all sorts of weight. I looked better, felt better and seemed better. It stuck for a while. Yes, I gained some weight back in college with all that drinking and the all-you-can-eat motif of college living. However, it wasn’t until I was in one of those long-term, committed relationships that the weight seemed to creep back in.

Living with a partner for the first time put me over the edge. I had to finish the pint of ice cream or they would. There was just enough of the leftovers for one person. Better finish it now. Or else…What was I worried about, really?!? Being without? Scarcity? Competition?

That was nothing compared to the amount of weight I gained after I became an entrepreneur and started my own company. Couple that with a few stressful relationships and poof! I was living large. Until I changed that.

It was supersized to downsized, up and down, over and over again. For years, I have been up between 30 and 50 pounds and then back down again to a nice cruising altitude. So here I am, once again, cruising at my “optimal” weight. And yet, there is still a fat man that looks into the mirror each morning. The consciousness of feeling self-conscious is hard to shake, especially one that has been present since I was 10 years old.

So, what does one do when my perception of SELF is inherently flawed? My ability to accurately see “me” as a body is deeply compromised by decades of shame, internal and external judgment, and the reality of boxes of clothes in my attic labeled “FAT BOX” or “SKINNY BOX.” How can I really see my self if my ability to see is so heavily influenced by my history? What kind of vision can I have if my lenses are so heavily scratched and carved through by years of obesity induced negative self-talk and self-loathing?

Like canyons of rock that are slowly but surely chiseled by years of relentless drops of thought, I am struck by the power and the beauty of persistent thinking. I am left to consider what years of loving, optimistic, nurturing and gentle self-talk looks like in contrast with the Grand Canyon of Shame. A flowering, lush garden, perhaps? A powerful, immense mountain range? Wild Jungles? Vast oceans?

Or maybe just me, the only me that ever lived, sitting at a greasy burger joint with a massive plate of food in front of me and a huge, French Fry induced grin on my face.

18 Jul 2011

Dial Your Inner Lama

2 Comments Humor, Relationships, Self Development and Transformation, Technology and Change

“ …???… ”
-Dalai Lama

It might have been the most profound experience of my life.

But it wasn’t.

I could have been inspired to change my life, to view the universe from a different perspective, to grow, or heal or both!

But I wasn’t.

In fact going to see the Dalai Lama speak yesterday at the UIC Pavilion here in Chicago was a grave disappointment.

No, it’s not due to the things he said, as I’m sure they were profound and probably facilitated all the marvelous things for others I would have welcomed for myself.

It is due to the simple fact that I could not understand a thing he said. Literally.

I sat for two hours straining, squinting, sighing, and looking around the room for a sympathetic eye. Nada.

Seems like the old pavilion had a sound system problem and the speaker in my section not only offered faint wisps of the Tibetan spiritual master’s message, those wisps were garbled like the sounds coming out of my first clock radio in 1976. Ever listen to Wings from a clock radio?

I was instantly relieved to find a growing number of similarly frustrated spiritual seekers in the lobby, displaying their credit card receipts and noting that any similar event where the fans couldn’t hear the band would have led to a riot. I suppose angrily waving one’s ticket in the face of a woman selling mandala T-shirts is better than a riot.

It’s funny, really.

The notion of seeking out someone else in order to enlighten us is as old as humanity. We have sought after seers and prophets, gurus and rabbis, shamans, teachers and talkers throughout our time on this rock, always hoping they will offer us the nugget, the kibble, we need in order to propel us to the next level of our spiritual unfolding.

I am certainly no different. I have spent more than twenty years seeking, traveling, paying and prostrating in the hope that a teacher will inspire me to understand yet another shadowed sector of my consciousness.

The silliest thing about it is that I learned long ago that I could not rely on any one else for spiritual sustenance. If I am to learn, grow and transform my consciousness I must not only find the right rock in the desert, I must find the right holy staff and then hit it just right…

Sure, it’s great to get support from others, especially those whom I admire and who have apparently passed a similar marker on their own journey of transformation. I suppose I still hang out with the guru/shaman/teacher folks because it is the reminder and reassurance that I, too, am on “the Path” that I appreciate while in their presence.

And yet, at this point on my journey, the things they say are typically things I have heard others say in the past. The words are words I, too, have read, written or translated. I suppose, in a lot of ways, there is little different in the messages of most spiritual teachers and religious leaders I have encountered.

Once you turn the sound down, all you see is a sweet, friendly person in robes chuckling to themselves. It’s all a great reminder for me that when it comes down to it, if I turn the sound down on myself, what am I really saying? What’s the message of my actions, movements or expressions? Who am I being on the most basic level?

Maybe I won’t ask for my money back after all.

03 Jul 2011

Freedom To Grow

2 Comments Humor, Self Development and Transformation, Technology and Change

I am so incredibly grateful to live in the United States of America.

Not because we have a great military and we’re not afraid to prove it whenever we feel the need.

Not because we got Osama (or have the best political marketing team in the world that is able to remove most doubt that we possibly didn’t get him).

Not because we only sort of keep out illegal immigrants because we sort of need their cheap labor, thereby half-heartedly sharing our American Dream with those less fortunate but not truly allowing them to enjoy it because they are scared we might toss them out in the middle of the night.

Not because our supermarkets are full of more foods (or the thousands of genetically modified excuses for foods) than most nations’ markets combined.

Not because our entertainment industry tirelessly pumps out the cinema, music and games that fill the world with its greatest distractions.

Not because we have some of the most dramatic physical landscapes on the planet, the most beautiful national parks and the most efficient network of roadways connecting them all…

Nope. These are not the reasons I love being an American.

I am grateful to be an American because here I have the freedom to grow. Yes, there is that freedom to grow physically into the largest human form ever known to humanity. Yet, the growth I speak of is spiritual, emotional, and psychological. In America I enjoy the freedom to simply be an ass hole if I choose to be.

Here, I have the freedom to never work on my inner emotional journey or, and this is what I’m really excited about, I have the freedom to utilize our seemingly endless resources and supports in order to create the perfect balance between material prosperity and spiritual elevation and consciousness.

We live in an amazing country for so many reasons and I really love it here. Yet, what I’m most grateful for is the freedom to do my inner work or the freedom to ignore it until the day I die. That is a true luxury.

14 Jun 2011

Who Is Your Co-Pilot?

9 Comments Humor, Relationships, Self Development and Transformation

Tell me how this God of yours works?

Seems like a great number of folks believe that if they believe in a “Saviour” God, then God will save them from bad decisions, taxes, and overeating. Others believe in one of those “Redeemer” Gods who will liberate them from bad relationships, bad governments and inclement weather. “Destroyer” Gods are less popular today although remain extremely central in certain social and religious circles.

What strikes me as odd is the segment of our society who define themselves as “non-religious” yet continue to foster a relationship with “Spirit,” “Source” or “A Higher Power” who will still somehow do everything for us. This has been popularized by the Law of Attraction and various programs of manifestation that become so oversimplified as to promote a similar projection of responsibility as the great religious traditions who suggest that if we place our faith in their God, then things will just work out.

While I am a firm believer in the notion that thoughts become things, I have not relinquished my relationship with my rational mind, personal experience and twelfth grade physics.

I believe in God. I do not, however, believe that God will do things for me that I do not want to do for myself! God is not my “Four Hour Work Week.” God is not my winning lottery ticket. God is not choosing the right candidate in an election.

God is my PARTNER.

We co-create. We manifest stuff together. We negotiate contracts, discover relationships and find parking spots together. God is literally my co-pilot.

I believe in personal responsibility. I know that when I make a decision rooted in a low frequency of my SELF that it will likely lead to low frequency outcomes. God, my understanding of God at least, doesn’t appreciate being a part of low frequency business deals, relationships and various other life contracts. God will reluctantly go along with some of these decisions because God loves me and wants to be supportive, but God will not use the vastness of God’s abilities to turn water into wine and make a lemon turn into a Ferrari just because I am a good person.

On the other hand, having God in my court is a huge plus. When I realize I have made a decision that is counterproductive; when it becomes clear that I’m not living at my highest frequency, it is really nice to have God around to consult with and recalculate the plan. God is always there for me when I need support. That feels really good.

While I don’t align myself with the billions of atheists on the planet who believe that God is an escapist fantasy, I do understand how it must seem to them when so many millions of people resort to their faith in God to fix what needs fixing in their lives.

To me, faith is a wonderful supplement to some good old fashioned common sense, hard work and smart choices.