I'm a....feminist. Nope. A humanist? Nope. What then?

Source: http://tinyurl.com/hbprkpw

Source: http://tinyurl.com/hbprkpw

I consider myself a compassionist (which doesn't even appear to be an official US English word). Here's how I responded to the question of why I was passionate about my cause on a recent survey I completed, it sums it up pretty well I think.

Because I believe that when we connect and tap into our compassion, we can affect a flow of abundance (time, money and people) to save animals from extinction and cruelty.
— Linda Francis

Would you call yourself a compassionist and, what would being a compassionist mean to you?

What the thinker thinks, the prover proves.

Image found at cruiseweb.com

Image found at cruiseweb.com

I believe in abundance. It shows up all around me, like, how many leaves are in just this photo, or just on one tree? Millions? Billions? Trillions? And, when the leaves fall, as these beautiful colored ones will, millions, billions, trillions grow to replace them in a constant flow of loving abundance.

How often do people think in their professional and private lives that there is not enough money, time, resources to do xyz? Shifting to an abundance mindset happens when we look for proof of abundance around us, especially in the natural world. As one of my favorite abundance coaches (thank you Carl Harvey) just reminded me, "What the thinker thinks, the prover proves." So, if we believe in abundance, it follows that the prover will prove it, just the same for lack. I believe that non-profits can shift from a mindset of lack to abundance. It all begins with a belief in abundance. When you look, it won't take long to get the proof.

And what about time? Never enough, right? How about looking at time from an abundance perspective too? What if we believed that there was plenty of time, which, given that time is infinite, there is. Every minute that goes by is replaced by a new one, always. So, maybe it isn't that we don't have enough time, it is more that we have limits on what we can do with that time. Choose wisely and there will be enough time to do anything you desire. Anything is possible, miracles happen every day.

I'd love to hear from you about where you see abundance in the world.


Here's an innovation in packaging that could disrupt everything...


Since becoming vegan, I have been enjoying this Artisian Almond yogurt, with slivered almonds, sliced strawberries, cinnamon and nutmeg as one of my favorite breakfasts. This morning I noticed an innovation that makes possible something I dreamed about years and years ago: generic packaging. Marketers know that packaging is the primary means of standing out in the visual noise of choices splayed out on the grocery shelves. The size and shape of the container, how "theft proof" it is (in the case of electronics especially) and the "real estate" provided to paint the brand elements people are trained to recognize.

My idea years ago was for government to standardize certain kinds of packaging so that recycling and manufacturing could be improved to be less harmful on the earth. The challenge of course, would be how companies could differentiate themselves with the richness and diversity they were accustomed to.

This morning I saw my vision come to life when I noticed this little tab on the side of the container. Kitehill has found a way to provide a recyclable label that stays on the container (so you don't have to try and scrub off the label, which was always such an annoyance) providing excellent opportunity for all the print branding and regulatory information desired and required.

So much flexibility here, they can produce and print new labels and designs easily and don't have to throw out any previously printed plastic containers. It is also likely easier, cheaper and higher quality to print on paper than directly on the plastic.

AND, they have the inside to tell their story and to connect people to the good they are doing by choosing this vegan option. How powerful is that? How much "feel good" are they delivering here? Kitehill proves the ingenuity people can deliver when tasked with doing good.

Its all in the details...

A few years ago, a dear friend of mine told me that he was seeing someone new, and that it was love at first site. She came in a gorgeous, inviting package and he was going to spend that evening, and many more with her. It took a few minutes for me to catch on that he was talking about the new Mac he had bought, a switch from the PC world of his past. The visceral experience of unwrapping the machine, the rich smoothness of the cardboard, built to last, a place for everything, no messy bubble wrap thing at the bottom of the box... the whole experience was one of presentation and respect, for the computer and for the person experiencing it. There is no doubt that the anticipation of a comprehensive experience from Apple is part of the delight people have engaging with them and whatever product they are producing at any given moment.

Even organizations who do not think of themselves as product companies, with customers to "please" can benefit from considering what will delight their supporters. When a person has an experience with you, as a volunteer, donor or wanting to recruit other's support, what is that like? Is it a process and an introduction so elegant that they find you irresistible? I believe that the attention to detail Apple gives to mundane things like packaging is a key to their huge success, and that organizations that come to see their supporters as customers would benefit from a culture shift that puts awareness and attention to the details of people's experience with them.

Have you ever had an experience with a company or organization that oozed with respect and delight such that it made them irresistible? Maybe there is a small place to start, to experiment with what that would be like, a small step to huge success, just like Apple.

How the game of ultimate frisbee is a metaphor for a good life

I came to the game of ultimate when I was 42, spending most of my time running after women who were young enough to be my daughter. When I bumped into someone off the field, who I thought I might know from ultimate, I would ask them to put their hair in a ponytail and run away, and we would both have a good laugh. Now, 10 years since my last game, my son's grade 4 class is learning to play the sport. My husband has continued to play as a Master, and we have been invited by the teacher to teach the kids about ultimate. I am sure that my husband will do an excellent job of teaching them techniques, explaining rules and strategies and introducing the sport to them in the hopes of fostering an enduring fondness for the sport.

Today, as I wandered the redwood forest not far from the country school where this will all transpire, it occurred to me that I wanted to impart something deeper with these kids. Something that may not land today, but hopefully will bounce around in their subconscious through their "screenage" years and pop out somewhere in their twenties like some kind of random wisdom pixel, catching their forever scanning eye and connecting somewhere.

Mindfulness leads to flow

Mindfulness is buzzing all around these days, and with good reason, it is a key to wellness. Mindfulness in ultimate means paying attention to where other players are on the field, noticing who has the disk, and what their capabilities are, where your defender is, how much time has transpired before the throw must be made. Good ultimate players are constantly looking all around them, observing and connecting all these pieces of insight that will lead to flow, the perfect place to be on an ultimate field. Ultimate players even talk about just playing "flow", no predetermined plays or strategies. Part of the joy of playing is that the sport demands this mindfulness, a playful meditation that is appealing and refreshing, you are meditating with joy, from a playful heart, where magic happens.

Celebration fosters success & happiness

Recently, it has become clear that noticing something, and celebrating the notice, is a powerful way to rebuild the brain for success and happiness. Not only do ultimate players often end a match with a goofy cheer or a game, to celebrate the fun of playing, I think we each experience a tiny jolt of joy each time we catch the disk, make a throw or execute a successful defence. So, that means there are dozens of little loops of effort and learning, all in the context of mindfulness and flow that we get to experience and celebrate every time we play.

Continuous improvement comes from experimenting and learning in iterations

Ultimate frisbee is usually played without coaches or referees. In this free-form environment, players are able to try things out as they learn about each other and discover how to get into flow. Competitive teams constantly experiment with different offensive and defensive strategies. And every time the disk is launched into the air to begin play, an experiment is in place. Players discuss and/or celebrate the previous point as they line up to begin again, feeding information, enthusiasm and learning into each play, and setting up the next experiment, based on what they just learned. 

There is a ying and yang aspect that provides balance and tension which makes the game just challenging enough to be fun.

There is a ying and yang aspect to the game, where each defensive strategy recognizes that by "taking away" certain options, it "forces" the disk to a certain area of the field, thus making it "easier" to defend, as players only concern themselves with a portion of the field, rather than the whole field. Offensively, there are easy throws and harder ones, easier ways to get "open" and trickier ones. Each playing with the balance between what is easy, and what is harder.

Collaboration and inclusiveness are necessary for success

Ultimate is designed in such a way that men and women can play, even competitively, without one gender dominating in strength or speed over the other. In fact, mixed teams that ensure their women are equally included in all plays are more successful. By nature, with a minimum of three women per team on the field if the other four players do not engage with them, almost 50% of their team's strength and potential is wasted. As the game is physically tiring as well, only teams that play in an inclusive way succeed with consistency.

Success through collaboration is also built in, no one person can grab the disk and run into the end zone for a point. Players must pass among themselves to move the disk down the field and to score. Finally, because of the flow aspect of the game, people can play together who do not even speak the same language, as the elements of the game are universally understood.

Kindness is a must

Ultimate, with its deliberate lack of coaches and officials, calls upon its players to reach into their compassion for others, to act with integrity and to engender "spirit" into a sport that is very physical and can be very competitive. We often assume that certain activities, especially competitive ones, are not environments where kindness can thrive, and yet ultimate has proven that kindness can (and should) be present in our lives whenever and wherever we are.

Thank you for reading this and pondering this metaphor with me..what metaphors for good life come up for you?