Colleen Martin, Erik and Johanna Josefsson, me and about 150 others gathered at Veritas Vineyard & Winery for a masked ball 365 days ago. The night was brisk but warm enough that the backless gowns were far more comfortable than the suits which a night of dancing gradually shed. An expansive feast was set before the revelers accompanied by opulent pairings of the fruit of the vine. Celebrating my 29th New Years with Colleen and my first with Erik and Johanna was a lovely diversion from the melancholy that marked so many New Years before. For with the passing of each year, I find myself quite often reflecting on that which was in need of improvement in my own life and in the experience of lives with whom I intersect. My New Year’s tradition has been more requiem than magnificat. And as I donned my mask – a beautiful Venetian gesso and gold leaf homage to the contrast of light and darkness – I realized that the party marking the end of the year was as much façade as the ornament on my face.
In a timeless ritual, I have constructed a discipline to officially end my siege of lugubrious introspection with the passing of the year. Having reflected on all my omissions and commissions that represented my unrefined ideal, I turn my thoughts on this day, the last of 2015, towards those who have lit the constellation of lights in my blackest of nights so that, through every passage, I arrived safely at this moment. Now, for the third year of blogosphered modernity, I wanted to share with you some of my Litany of the Saints of 2015.
On January 6, 2015 I left the freezing snow of Washington DC for the balmy sun of Gold Coast Australia where Colleen, Christine McDougall, me and beautiful group of about 30 Aussies got together to share an amazing several days deepening our knowledge and practical implementation of Integral Accounting. Among the gathered was my dear friend and colleague Robert Prinable, together with his lovely wife Bernadette, who would become some of the most valued and trusted friends across the year. Peter Hojgaard-Olsen and his amazing family, Martin Blake, Jason Andrew and several others were to be not only 2015’s earliest but also most valued compatriots for the coming year. Without question, one of most cherished acquaintances from the gathering was artist extraordinaire Devon Bunce who opened my eyes to the power of aesthetic story-telling in a way I had never contemplated. I was to learn that her perspective was to punctuate much of my year.
My longtime colleague Rodney Woods and I shared the stage at Rev. Jesse Jackson’s RAINBOW PUSH conference in New York before I headed to the Middle East and India to round out the first month of the year celebrating the life, vision, and later legacy of the passion of the late Hon. President A.P.J. Kalam with my dear friends at the Indian Institute for Management – Ahmedabad. And just in case I didn’t have enough frequent flyer miles in the first month of the year, on January 23 I joined Julio De Laffitte and about 100 amazing, intrepid Aussies and Kiwis on what was to become an Unstoppable experience of life beginning in Chile and then blossoming in Antarctica. During this trip, I was to meet a host of amazing people who have become of inestimable value in my life. Matheos Venetis who taught me new depths of gallant vulnerability and tenacity of spirit. Robin McClellan, the personification of dignified grace in service to purpose. Lorraine Mill who opened the aperture on my willingness to be seen and perceived. Kaya Finlayson, the most capable of story-tellers who choreographed the first media artifact in which I saw the best of me exceed my wildest expectations in our celebrated film Future Dreaming. And Kim Phillips. On a Deception Island ridge formed by volcanism in the year of my birth, 1967, I came face-to-face with an ancient future guide and accomplice who has fanned the bellows of my life’s refining fire to allow my pure essence to emerge.
The Spring included the amazing collaboration with Michael Lythcott and Jennifer Carter-Scott at the University of Miami’s MBA for Artists and Athletes where Pam Cole, Bob Kendall, John Kendall and my collaboration with Chris Redman, Russell Okung, Derrick Morgan, Lee Evans, Tommie Harris, Jack Brewer and many others took root; Mak Khan and USHA; more awards for our documentary Patent Wars; Charlottesville living with Katie in streams and vineyards; and long bike rides in the rolling hills of Virginia. Summer warmed my media credentials with the launch of Kaya’s masterpiece, Future Dreaming; my first animated appearance at the Cannes Lions Festival courtesy of Will Sansom and Dan Goldstein; and the launch of our growing relationship with CNBC courtesy of Adam Tepper’s introduction. And then came the fall and winter…
In Terra Pax
I’ve spent years feeling like I’ve been observed and not SEEN. This year, Kaya, Kim, Lorraine, Katie and Robert helped chisel away the veneer I’ve hardened around this perception. Years ago, when I was writing my unpublished love letter to Katie and Zachary, Sometimes Out of the Clear Blue Sky, I made the following observation:
In business, as with the rest of life, having an innovative idea is more often a curse than a blessing. For while people may marvel at a complexity or concept, it often becomes a thing to amuse and contemplate – much like the consumption of a Dali painting. When one gazes at “The Persistence of Memory” the mastery of detail and the surreal are evident however few walk away inspired to bend pocket watches over dead tree branches. Most of us do not have friends like Dali on the “A” list for Super Bowl parties. Oh, yes, we’ll have them around at gallery openings or charity events but not in the intimacy of everyday life. Our society cloisters innovators in ivory towers and gives them titles that both command respect and create distance. While we crave the creation, we seldom want anything to do with the creator.
This year, in exceptionally precise ways, I had the blessing of individuals who were willing to directly tackle this source of turmoil in my life. My dear friend Dustin DiPerna persisted in that role but it was some of the new Saints that had the courage to meet my complacent assuredness with ruthless, meticulous criticism. Bypassing friendship and empathy and relentlessly demanding accountability and integrity like those who give accounts for souls was the greatest offering made to me this year. Ironic that this came at the same time as Future Dreaming was unveiled. It was as though my long-held view that celebrity is a social toxin was being inoculated with a vaccine of truth so as to insure that I couldn’t be seen as being anything other than completely, fully, gratefully human. My deepest gratitude for this generosity of spirit and intrepid love goes to Kim who navigated with me what has been until now too daunting an undertaking.
Kaya’s beautiful gift in film did more, in one act or artifact, to disseminate a message about which I have relentless passion than anything I’ve collaborated on to date. Future Dreaming is a defining moment in the present and served to propagate a clarion call to humanity to remember the purpose of living like nothing else I’ve done. I’ve often stated that I may have offered the canvas and the paint in my words but it was Kaya (and Robert, Colleen, and Lorraine) that crafted the masterpiece. Working with Robert, Peter, Nadya Peshevska, Kim, Colleen and others in the coming year, Kaya and I look forward to building more depth to this important opus. In so doing, we all can stop praying for peace on earth and start living it on a daily basis.
Magnificat anima mea Dominum
Being seen as the vessel of purpose gave rise to Mary’s proclamation that we know as the Magnificat. In all of life, be it personal or professional, it is this that in the final analysis, is the gift of inestimable value. When one goes from being appreciated to being genuinely seen and valued, the desert of vanity and aspiration melts into the verdant Eden of magnanimous abundance. This year’s canonization of those who have been my saints is unlike years past. My year began with a mask and ends with all being revealed. My gratitude pours out to hundreds unnamed save by inference in this last of the year’s writings. If you’re reading this, I am grateful to YOU!
Meet each sunrise with gratitude;
Abandon that which restrains your joy;
Reverence those who share your path; and be,
Tenacious in integrity
Indomitable in resolve, and
Noble in thought, word and deed.
Happy New Year!