A Culture of Generosity- what burning man & the internet have in common

I’m blown away. I have been in a phase of spending most of the day everyday glued to my laptop screen navigating the fruitful landscapes of the web. Yes, we all know that there is an overwhelming array of cool content hanging out there in this virtual net in ‘cyberspace’.

What is blowing me away is how much valuable advice and informative gifts everyone is giving away! For a while I was roving around like a greedy bandit gathering a bunch of educational treasure and stashing it my computer and mind. Now I am intentional and discerning in my gathering. Sure, a lot of the free gifts are dangling carrots luring people onto newsletters and hopefully into paying for products and services. But, I am glad to be on these newsletter lists and know about the offerings available to me.

It reminds me quite a bit of the ‘gift culture’ at Burning Man. (for those who don’t know, BM is a huge participatory week long costume party in the Nevada Desert- an experimental visionary artistic explosion with very few rules, one of them being not to sell things, only barter and gifts)

It takes a while getting used to, having people giving to you without expecting money. Giving affirms that you are abundant and sets goodwill in motion, which does come back to you. It is really profound to free ourselves from the paper chase and cultivate another kind of economy, based on a creative currency. Innovation, Information and Inspiration become a valuable currency, in the desert, on the web, and in the world that we are building.

The generosity factor is taking the Competition to Cooperation equation one step further. Yes, we need to be less divisive and competitive and learn to cooperate with each other more. Cooperation is something that can (and should be) taught in schools and workshops. There is another level beyond this though. A level at where you recognize interconnectedness and interdependence as more real and more important than your personal identity or agenda. When you see personal success and happiness is tied into community and collective success,  you have an inherent motivation to contribute to others. Generosity is a natural extension for someone who understands Oneness on an experiential level.

In fact the measure of a great person in many tribal societies is one who is the most generous, and one who leaves a legacy. At Burning Man I see people pour thousands of dollars, and countless hours of visioning and hard work into their theme camp, an art car, a fire opera, a sound stage, etc… This is not an investment that gives back to them in a tangible sense, and so from a business perspective it makes no sense. But since our culture has strayed very far from the model of giveaway and leaving a legacy of generosity, I think it is healing and transformative for people to invest so much into a gift and then give it to an appreciative community. Many go so far as to allow their thousands of dollars and months of work to go up into flames, as a part of the ritual of the offering.

That reminds me of the tradition of Tibetan sand painting where monks make these incredibly intricate, elaborately beautiful paintings out of colored sand, only to scatter them to the winds as an offering to impermanence. Some see impermanence as a reason to despair, consume, and basically take all that they can get. Others see it as the reason to get busy giving the gift that you came to this world to give.

“You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.” — Winston Churchill

In this incredible time, life’s banquet tables offer us a taste of anything and everything. May we sample the fruits of others with gratitude. May we concoct our own masterpiece to bring to the potluck. (after all, it isn’t a dinner party in our honor, it is a potluck in everyone’s honor) The world is full of abundant tables and empty tables and full nets of the mind and empty canvases. My wish is that you find a fit place to offer your gifts, to live your calling with generosity, and to leave a legacy.

Join the Creative Entrepreneurs Club?!

As I was diligently researching one of my keywords on google, I stumbled upon a great thing… A Creative Entrepreneurs Club.

Yep, if you are a C.E., you too can join the club. There is a free Guest membership and also a more involved membership granting access to more of the goodies.

Even as a guest you can: Perouse profiles, Create your own, post Articles, be a guest blogger on their blog, scope the forum, the radio show, and the best part to me so far is access to their ‘Expert Teleclass Archive’. This is great because not only can you download these calls with interesting content, but they are a joy to listen to because of the fabulous English accents. (the founders of the club live in England- as do most of their guests on the calls)

If you want to join me & lot’s of others in the club…

MANIFESTATION Tips- the Key of Specificity

We are all familiar with the saying “Be careful what you ask for, you might just get it.” But what about: be specific about what you ask for or you might get the wrong thing?

For example, you don’t go into a restaurant and ask for a salad and assume that it will have the toppings and dressing that you like on it. And if you ask for a salad and get a generic boring salad instead of the spinach salad with roasted beets and warm goat cheese that you later realize was what you really wanted, you can’t blame them for bringing you a generic dish when you didn’t clearly ask for what you want. Even if you ask for what you want and they can’t make it, there is bound to be a restaurant that can.

This semi obvious wisdom in the salad metaphor translates to more profound scenarios such as manifesting the right apartment, shoes, partner, or job. Although in these cases, we don’t have a waiter taking our order, instead we are engaging (consciously or unconsciously) with whatever invisible forces move behind the scenes to make things happen. Many prefer to call this force God, or a variation thereof, and though it may sound somewhat vague, overused, or new agey, I’m going to refer to this great force beyond us as ‘the Universe’.

I am not necessarily just another proponent of the “Secret” philosophy that we can command cars and careers and money from the Universe and it must comply if we do it right. There is some selfishness in this spin on Universal law that I am a bit uncomfortable with. Yet the principles of manifestation seem to be pretty consistent across the many philosophies that proclaim them. These principles involve clarifying your desire, really asking for it, and then combining faith, gratitude and action till it comes to be.

I have had so many experiential confirmations of how easeful manifestation can be that now specificity is mandatory. So when it is time to manifest a new home, I write down the key features that my new home needs to have, from closet size to feel to price and place it on my wall or altar during my search. I still do all the work to find a place, but each time I have done this, I have magically found the place that matched my list.

So let’s take this principle into the realm of jobs. Jobs and money tend to be a place that many of us experience a frustration or a lack of easeful manifestation of just the right situation. But being a career coach in a recession time, I can’t oversimplify the matter by saying that it’s only a question of ask and you shall receive. There are limitations due to the socio-economic design of our modern society, and then there are limitations due to the scope of our own thinking. Yet specificity is still key here in manifesting a good fitting job. Just like our lunch dish, we don’t go to a company and ask for “a” job, we apply for a specific job and in some cases it doesn’t exist and we have to create it. (which will need to be the topic of a future blog post)

The specificity principle is not just applicable for manifesting, it is also a key for marketing. If you put out an ad saying Nice Massage available, you will get a fraction of the response then if I say Therapeutic Massage specializing in low back injuries or neck and shoulder pain from desk jobs. That is why everyone is saying niche niche niche. In the overwhelming array of options, you won’t hit a target unless you are aimed, and your target audience will not find you unless you hone in directly on them and their aims.

We need to have clarity in order to have this level of precision, and we have to be diligently curious and honest with ourselves to get that clarity. We have to ask ourselves over and over again, “What do I really want to be or to do?” What am I really good at? What is my biggest issue and what support do I need to solve it? What do I really want or really need right now?  What can I offer that will help others and feel fulfilling?

If it is clarity you want, then ask the Universe for the specific clarity that you need, and be willing to do the work to find it. Journaling, bouncing thoughts off best friends, or hiring a coach can all help you hone in on the correct target. If you already know what you want then challenge yourself to get really specific and put it on paper and ask the Universe for exactly that. If it is meant to be, it will be. And if you ask for it specifically, so much greater are the chances that your cherished desire will indeed be realized.

Cheers to your Clear and Easeful Manifestations,

Audette Sophia

Mtv- Music Television or bad “reality” tv?

Mtv stands for Music Television. But don’t go looking for music videos anymore, unfortunately they have been replaced by a whole slew of bad “reality” tv shows.  VH1 is almost as bad. I don’t watch a lot of tv, but when I do, I want to check out some new music videos, so I go to these two channels and instead get subjected to superficial immature (but eye candy) people and their weird competitive interactions, and shows designed to get people to cut each other down so that they can be the “love” or “best friend” of some slightly famous person. 2 questions– What kind of values are these shows promoting? And What does any of this have to do with music??

A recent article in the New York Times entitled ‘Make Room, Cynics; MTV Wants to Do Some Good’ seems to claim that I am not the only one complaining about recent programming and that the executives have taken note and had a meeting to discuss a transformative direction in their programming.

“Meet MTV for the era of Obama. After years of celebrating wealth, celebrity and the vapid excesses of youth, MTV is trying to gloss its escapist entertainment with a veneer of positive social messages.

Last fall, after the financial crisis erupted but before the presidential election, MTV executives gathered in New York for meetings to discuss the direction of the network and whether programs like “The Hills,” which chronicles the lives of the young and rich in Los Angeles, and “My Super Sweet 16,” a weekly visit to over-the-top coming-out parties, had trapped MTV in a decadent age that was passing.”

Let’s hope so.  Apparently, the ratings have going down, and so this discussion of values motivated by that, and also because Viacom, the network’s parent company has a new deal with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to make “shows more supportive of education.”

When can we expect to notice any positive educational changes in programming? Van Toffler, the president of MTV Networks says  “It’s not like you flip a light switch from one type of programming to another…” and that  “The notion of escapism will still live next to inspiration.”

Hm… What an interesting quote, huh? It is true, we do turn to the TV to provide us an escape, and that is fine. Personally, I am more interested in Music and Inspiration than junk food reality tv escape, so I will hope that MTV follows through with their intentions and in the meantime, I will just keep the TV off. ☺

By, Audette Sophia

You can read the whole article at :

Why Some Sticky Songs Suck & how to get pop mantras out of your head.

What is it about some songs that makes them get ‘stuck in your head’?
(a funny saying, but pretty accurate)

I seem to have a particularly impressionable mind when it comes to this, as it seems any song being hummed by a passerby is grabbed by my mind and gets stuck there. Even if I don’t like a song, I have somehow managed to memorize it, and a loop of it will play over and over…
For example, though I am ashamed to admit it, I have had a Britney Spears song stuck in my head for the past 2 days. That alone is disturbing to me. I am generally speaking not a pop music fan and sappy wannabe sexy bubble gummy songs make me roll my eyes and wish for better role models on the air waves. (I like hip hop a lot more, but mainstream hip hop is not the place to look for positive role models either. The problem is the production is often so good that when I catch a song on the car radio, I listen to it.)  Why is Britney in my head? O.K., I did check out her circus music video the other day (liked it because I am a sucker for anything circus-y) and then made the mistake of watching one or two more. Next thing you know I am going about my day singing things like “womanizer womanizer, oh your  a womanizer” or “all the girls and all the boys are begging to f.u.c.k.amy…”

What does any of this lyric critique have to do with Mantras? Well, anything that is memorized and repeated in the mind can be considered to be a mantra. Choruses are notorious for their stick factor, and commercial jingles are also trying to jump on that same bandwagon of being catchy enough to catch in your mind.

What is a Mantra? The word itself originates in India and refers to a phrase (usually in Sanskrit) that a spiritual seeker will repeat over and over as a means to focus their minds and connect them to the energy or deity that the sound is representing. Some popular mantras: “Om Nama Shivaya” (to the God Shiva) or “Om Mani Padme Hum” (to the jewel in the lotus) and other sacred names and spiritual affirmations.

Mantras and their equivalent can be found in many cultures. The Sufi’s sing their prayers and do this trance inducing chant with movements called ‘Zickr’. Buddhists monks chanting, the Muslim call to prayer and chanting of the Koran, Christians singing hymns, Benedictine monks and Native American songs. Nearly every spiritual and cultural tradition on the planet utilizes repetition of word and or song to anchor key teachings into their minds.
Pop and Rap stars that sell millions of albums are getting their messages stuck in millions of heads. A lot of their music is great, but the messages… let’s just say they don’t qualify as key spiritual teachings. Hence, the reason that some sticky songs suck. Bad messages caught in the mind and looped can be annoying and also programming you with the wrong affirmations.

So next time you have a toxic pink bubble gummy pop mantra in your head, and don’t want it there, try some of the below tactics.

Tactics for Removing Sticky Songs from your Head:

•    Don’t listen to cheesy songs with bad messages. There is enough quality music out there that we can be discerning and still have an overwhelmingly huge music selection.
•    Have one default song with a great message that you love and every time you catch yourself looping trash, sing it to yourself.
•    Intentionally interject a random out of place line into the loop and sometimes it will break the spell
•    Learn some real mantras or create your own little affirmation chant and let the mind loop these instead.

Any other ideas?