Sunday, November 28, 2010

What Do Good Books Did You Read in 2010?

Each year I post a list of my favorite Have Fun Do Good Books for the year (even if they weren't actually published in that year).  As I'm beginning to draft my list for 2010, I would love to know what do good books you read and loved in 2010.

I'm always looking for good book suggestions, plus, I have to pick the next book for my "social changey" book club to read in December, and am looking for ideas.  I've listed some of the books I'm considering below (I haven't read them yet). Please let me know if you'd recommend any of them for my book club.

  1. Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals by Temple Grandin
  2. Be the Change: How Meditation Can Transform You and Your World by Ed and Deb Shapiro
  3. Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water by Maude Barlow
  4. Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism by Muhammad Yunus
  5. The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Social Change by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith
  6. The Enough Moment: Fighting to End Africa’s Worst Human Rights by John Prendergast and Don Cheadle
  7. Heart of Dryness: How the Last Bushmen Can Help Us Endure the Coming Age of Permanent Drought by James Workman
  8. Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder
  9. The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change by Beth Kanter and Allison Fine
  10. The Power of Half: One Family's Decision to Stop Talking and Start Giving Back by Kevin and Hannah Salwen
  11. Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace with Education in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Greg Mortenson
  12. Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America  by Paul Tough
  13. What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption by Rachel Botsman
  14. Work Hard.  Be Nice: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America by Jay Matthews

      Bookmark and Share


      Friday, November 19, 2010

      7 Ways to Have Fun and Do Good

      Last week I finished my month-long  Have Fun, Do Good series where 12 bloggers shared how they have fun and do good.  My main takeaway from their rainbow of stories is that there are *so* many ways to have fun and do good.   

      I've narrowed it down to 7 ways to have fun and do good, that can be mixed and matched:

      1. Personal choices (e.g. what you eat or buy)
      2. Self-expression and art 
      3. Volunteering time
      4. Donating money
      5. Working for a nonprofit, social enterprise, or socially responsible business
      6. Creating your own nonprofit, social enterprise, or socially responsible business
      7. Facilitating other people finding their have fun and do good
      Even though all of the contributors have fun and do good in different ways, the theme that ran through all of their posts was Joy.  Although theory, strategy, data, or intellect may have provided the impetus, or foundation for how they have fun and do good, Joy is their fuel.

      I've done a final round-up of their posts below, in case you missed any. You might also want to try my How to Find Your Have Fun, Do Good exercise to help you create a list of ways you can have fun and do good.

         With a group of mom-friends in St. Johns — my North Portland,
        Oregon, neighborhood — I've been working this year on a new, all-volunteer mentoring program for local teen parents.- Amy Potthast,

        Make it interesting. . . .Make it shareable.

        -Amy Sample Ward, 

        invite people along for the ride.
        -Allison Jones,

        Yes, trying to protect the planet from plastic pollution and inspire others to cut their plastic consumption can be hard. But it’s also fun.
        -Beth Terry, Fake Plastic Fish

        The single most important way I have fun and do good is all about what I don’t do: I don’t consume animal products.

        - Elisa Camahort Page, BlogHer


        It is my absolute honor to help people find pieces of peace within, while outwardly expressing this life process though dance with our bodies.
        - Heather Meyer, Work It Out!


        I became committed to using my prints on organic cotton.
        -Jennifer Moore, Monaluna Designs


        I act like a fan . . . I consider myself a teacher . . . I strive to be a perpetual student.
        Katya Andresen, Network for Good

        When I started Tranquil Space in my living room in 1999, creating a socially conscious business was always my intention.
        -Kimberly Wilson, Tranquility du Jour


        I make joy a transmittable disease.
        -Leonie Allan, Goddess Guidebook

        Buy art from artists. In your neighborhood...and all around the world!
        -Lisa Sonora Beam,

        One of my favorite ways to do good and have fun is to get together a group of friends to do a garden make-over for a busy young family.
        -Marianne Elliott, Zen Peacekeeper

        Bookmark and Share


        Wednesday, November 17, 2010

        Bringing Women a Global Voice: Jensine Larsen, World Pulse

        "I would wake up in the middle of the night and still hear their voices. I realized it would be a greater risk to not do this; it was almost like something would die inside of me if I didn't do it. I just had to take that chance." - Jensine Larsen

        Jensine Larsen is the Founder and CEO of World Pulse, a global media and communication network devoted to bringing women a global voice. They broadcast and unite women's voices from around the world into a powerful force for change. 

        You can listen to my interview with Jensine on the Big Vision Podcast website, or on iTunes.  I've posted an edited transcript below.  Our October 14th conversation began with Jensine explaining how World Pulse works.

        Jensine Larsen: World Pulse is a global media enterprise fully devoted to bringing women a global voice. We unite those voices to accelerate change. We have several interactive media channels, we publish a print magazine, but we also have an interactive global women's newswire, where women are speaking out and reporting from 175 different countries; that is where the real action is, where women from some of the most remote, unheard regions - some using Internet cafes, some using cell phones - are truly speaking out and bringing their voice to the world.

        Britt Bravo: Why did you start World Pulse?

        Well, first, it started for me at a young age as a young woman.  I'm a complete magazine and media addict. I felt an emptiness inside, as a woman, that I wasn't hearing from the teachers that I wanted to about world issues. I wanted to go out and experience the world, so I went at nineteen years old to the Amazon in Ecuador and ended up working with indigenous women who were struggling because there had been a oil contamination (four times Exxon Valdez) on their traditional lands.  Those women asked me to be their messenger.

        From there, I ended up going to the Burma-Thai border and working with women refugees who had fled the ethnic cleansing under the Burmese dictatorship. Those women also asked me to be their messenger; that was the time when I had the vision for World Pulse, and I realized that I wanted to create something where these women could be their own messengers, and that wherever I was, whether it was the Amazon or whether I was in Southeast Asia, these women had such fiery determination; they had very sophisticated ideas for how to solve the challenges that they faced, and the world really needed a global media source that could broadcast the wisdom of women.

        It's interesting that you use the word that you had the "vision" for World Pulse.  I think some of the folks who are listening may have had a vision for something, an idea that they thought would make the world a better place. 

        How did you know to trust your idea and explore it? Sometimes we have ideas and we're too afraid to do anything, or we sometimes do them and they are a flop, so how did you have the courage, or insight to check it out?

        Well, I was definitely afraid, and the thing was, was that I was so young as well. I had absolutely no publishing experience, much less any technology experience, and I was also very, very shy and I had no resources either, another big barrier. My parents couldn't even afford to give me a hundred dollars to start a vision that I had.

        It took a long time actually, it took about five more years of holding it inside, and I bet a lot of people in the audience might have experienced that feeling - of just holding onto something that you think could be very transformational, but you are too afraid to take that step. It took me until I was twenty-eight.  What really pushed me over the edge was, day after day waking up and not seeing this magazine on the newsstands, not hearing it when I turned on the radio, and also the voices of the women that I had met was my biggest instigator.

        I would wake up in the night and I would still hear their voices.  I recognized that it would be a greater risk for me not to do this; it was almost like something would die inside of me if I didn't do it.  I just had to take that chance, and it was a small chance.  My friends in Burma and in the Amazon were really risking their lives in the face of the military troops, in both cases in the Amazon and in Southeast Asia, so I felt like this is something that I'm not going to die doing, and I just started.

        What was your first step?

        Well, the first thing I had to do was to create what it was I wanted to create and really develop the vision. The first thing that I did was, I had a massage practice at the time, I'm also a healer and a bodyworker, and I told all of my clients I was leaving.  I canceled my entire business, which was a big step. I went home to live with my parents in rural Wisconsin, and just to be close to my roots, and have the space to really think about the vision.

        I spent a lot of time in the fields of Wisconsin journaling, researching, reading, writing, creating the manifesto, if you will. After that I decided to move back to Portland, because I felt Portland, Oregon was an amazing place to start a vision. It's a very creative town, very community oriented, and the energy there is very supportive. So I moved back to Portland, and I posted on - it was new at the time, but now people are very familiar with it, so thank you to all the people behind because I posted, and the next morning my in-box was full of women from around the world.

        It had hit India.  It hit Singapore, overnight while I had been sleeping.  I came down, and I just started to cry. Because I realized that it was something that other women had been dreaming, too. Women would write, "I fell off my chair when I read about this," and "I've been thinking about my own own media source, my own magazine." By harnessing that passion of other people who saw the same vision, and wanted to make it happen, I built a pro bono team for the better part of three years. I worked on the side with my massage to be able to get the income to support myself while I did something very, very entrepreneurial and very risky.

        How many years has World Pulse been around?

        Our first magazine was published in 2004.

        I feel like you're at 'start up 2.0' or beginning of the advanced level, or something like that.  How have you dealt with growth? Because there's the start-up part where everyone is like, "I'll do it pro bono.  I'm so excited," and then after awhile they're like, "You know, I can't do this pro bono anymore." Or, you have to grow to a demand.  What advice do you have for people to navigate those growing pains?

        That's a great question and it's very true.  World Pulse is really at a point where we've demonstrated proof of concept, and we've tested all of our media channels over the years. There's a need, the women are responding, and our community is doubling over the last year, so we really are at a point of expansion and scaling.

        Our next phase is really a massive expansion - our vision is to link over five million women within three years into one of the largest action networks for women in the world, and have a communications infrastructure that really unites the women's movement. There are a lot of things that are different from the start up phase.

        One thing I have learned about myself is that I have to adapt and shift. I am very much a social entrepreneur.  I'm like, "Let's just do it!" and "Let's call that person, figure out if they'll volunteer to do that, put it down on paper, get the designers to bang it out, see if it works, and throw it out to the community."

        Well, at this point because we've grown so much, we have a staff now of over 10 people.  We have such a large community, our network is over 40,000, who is depending on us.  The responsibility is much larger to our entire community, and it becomes a lot about your long-term sustainability, and your legacy.  That means building in more structure and more discipline, and for myself, it was a lot of letting go of doing everything and knowing how to do it, you know, figuring everything out and really bringing in people who bring that different set of skills.

        So, bringing on a COO who can manage the organization and bring a lot more structure than I can, because I am definitely a starter and a visionary and a networker and can bring all the people to the table, but I really needed that partnership of someone who is about structure and long-term strategic planning and bringing in various staff to manage each aspect of World Pulse.  Today, we have some incredible people who just head up the magazine. Corine Milano, our Managing Editor, and Jade Frank, our Online Community Manager, who is very much stewarding the heart and soul of the entire community and making sure that women feel heard there.

        It's been an amazing process finding these people, nurturing their talents and watching them grow and blossom.  Most of our staff did start as a volunteer; about 90 percent of our staff started as volunteers. Many of them are quite young, and just grew and really filled the shoes of what we needed.

        A lot of attention on team, it's probably the hardest thing because you have to keep getting out of your own way. You have to keep tapping the wisdom of the team and remembering that you don't know everything. I have had the vision, but I don't always know how we're going to get there. And the team brings a lot of wisdom there.  For anyone who is shifting to that perspective, I think it is all about your team. It's all about your team.

        I think it's really interesting that you were in the healing profession, and then moved to this, which some would say is businesslike or organizational, or journalism.  

        I'm wondering what you see as the connection between someone who has been involved with individual healing of people, and then this global, different kind of healing. What do you think is the connection between those worlds?

        I've realized that they're very related.  I actually started out with International Studies, and more academic.  That wasn't fulfilling me. I wanted something deeper.  I ended up going into bodywork to have a skill that I could perform with my hands. I fell in love with it, and realized that healing people one-to-one was something that I could do and I loved. But it was not enough.

        What's interesting is that part of why I started World Pulse as well was that it was after 9/11.  As people came into my office, my studio, and I would have my hands on their bodies, the tension and the fear and the terror that they had that the rest of the world was out to attack us made me realize that people needed to have an awareness of people around the world, of how much they wanted to connect with us, of how much they actually did want to partner with us, of how many good things were happening out there in the world, and of how much leadership there was.

        At a certain point, I realized that the one-to-one transformation of people, that journey was not enough, and I wanted to work on a global level.  I realize now that it wasn't an accident, this life journey. With World Pulse, with a community of women that are connecting and supporting each other - when a woman has a space where she can truly be listened to, truly be heard, and pour out everything that's happened to her and everything that she sees possible for her life - it is very profoundly healing, very profoundly healing.

        The women are day after day documenting that healing process in their online journals, in their online blog. We call them journals, because blogging is a little intimidating to the women who are new to this. So it's healing, it's just on a bigger scale.

        Can you talk about, since you mentioned the online journals, the difference between the print magazine and the online magazine and then PulseWire so folks know what are these different entities and programs that you have?

        Yes, and they're very synergistic. All our media channels work together in a design to lift women's voices from the ground to drive change. So, for example, on PulseWire, our global community newswire, every woman can have a voice. Any woman who is just coming on from Kashmir has access to some kind of connectivity to either an Internet cafe, or a cell phone, or a computer at her work. She can speak out. She can join the community and find resources and network.

        Then, the magazine is like a curation of all the best that's out there on our newswire, on our pipeline of content. It's also the hottest issues on the world stage, whether it's what's going on in the Congo, or with the environment and climate change, but it's through the perspective of women, of leading women, Nobel Peace laureates, or a woman who is on an island and is experiencing the rising tide of climate change and speaking her life experience and a way to solve it.

        There's the magazine, there's PulseWire, and the third component that has been very powerful is the online training, the women's Web 2.0 citizen journalism training that we developed because the women were asking for it. They wanted more training in-depth, and they wanted to really learn how to use all these different tools to get ahead in life and advance their dreams.

        So, we started this program. Last year we piloted it, in 2009. We had 500 women apply from 90 countries. And mind you, they weren't all women who wanted to be journalists. Some of them were community leaders and they wanted to have their voices, "shake the earth," as they often say. We selected 30 out of those 500, and they were the most high voltage voices. The ones we felt that with the proper training could become loud voices for their communities, and really offer solutions and a fresh perspective to the world agenda.

        They came from the favelas of Brazil, from Alaska, from the Bronx, immigrant women from the Bronx. They came from Sudan, from Saudi Arabia, from all over, some of the most unheard places of the world. We trained them in how to use their cell phones for rapid response, and how to write Op-eds, feature stories, and front line journals.

        We publish their stories, and from that experience, a big impact was that a lot of the women got their stories picked up. A woman journalist from Sudan had her story about the flogging of a woman who was wearing pants get picked up, and it made international headlines. We had the BBC pick up some of those stories, the UN Wire, and The Huffington Post.

        The most powerful impact we found was actually in the women's leadership and influence locally. They got so much confidence by being encouraged by each other, and by being published, that they started cyber cafes, they started solar power projects through women that they had met on the site, they got new job opportunities, and they got hired with other news bureaus. They also started doing training of other women citizen journalists, and training illiterate women how to read and write, and developing all of these programs that were influencing hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of other women.

        We really started to see this massive ripple effect, that if you could train one woman who is a transmitter, who is ready to be a communicator and harness the technology, she will reach out and she will share that confidence and knowledge with many other women in her community. The training really showed us our way forward for how we want to scale World Pulse, and how we plan to build a network of women citizen journalists and leaders speaking out from every region of the world.

        I feel like there's this wave right now of citizen journalism.  Just here in the Bay Area we have local things like, Oakland Local, Oakland Seen, and  I feel like it's in the collective consciousness. 

        If someone is in there own community and wants to do a training for journalists within their community, whether it's internationally or here, what advice do you have for them? I feel like people are saying, the news right now is not telling the stories we want told. We want to empower people to do that.  How can they do that?

        The first place that you start is you really want to tap into the local wisdom and the local experience that's there in the community, on the ground, that the big media outlets are probably missing. If your angle is using this training as an outlet for local empowerment and development, then you very much want to bring in mentorship. I think that's the key, 90% of our women were from conflict zones or very economically depressed regions, but we had an over 80% completion rate, which is double, if not triple, most online training program's completion rate. We think it's because of the mentorship. We brought professional empowerment mentors and coaches, and also professional editors. We call them editorial midwives, because they're helping these women really find, and birth their own voice and vision.

        So, finding that kind of expertise, whether it's video experts, or podcasting experts, or whatever, doing some of that matchmaking and training, and one-to-one peer, can really make a big difference.

        Going back to when we were talking about your process of developing World Pulse, how do you sustain yourself? It's a long journey, and it has ups and downs. What advice do you have, and what have you done to make it a sustainable path for you, presuming it's going to go on much, much longer, as well?

        I think, not only do most social entrepreneurs struggle with that, but I think women struggle with that as well. We so often are willing to give and give and give, and our own bodies or our own state of mind is the last thing. I'm really no different then that. Actually, who I am, I'm very much of a hedonist so, bring me wine and chocolate, crazy days on the river, dancing, and all that stuff. I love it. I love to live life large, but I also work very hard.

        In the beginning, you feel like it's all on your shoulders, and nobody understands, and they think you're a little bit crazy because it's never been done before. The world is just now starting to really understand what we're doing and how important it is to empower women, and technology is the great accelerator. So, you have many dark days.

        It's you sustaining every single day and saying, "Yeah, it's going to happen, and it's going to be great," You have to repeat that over and over again, so you believe it, and everybody else believes it. It's the only thing that keeps it going. I definitely am shocked at how I maintained my energy and balance over the last six years.

        What's interesting about the way the organization is shifting into this place of more of a foundation, and more of that team, and sustainability, is it's giving me the space to build in my own sustainability. I had two weeks off this summer. I am able to focus so much more on my diet, my own exercise, my own health, and just watching bad TV sometimes, tuning everything out, and feeling like other people are carrying this.

        I think that shift really came beyond the team with the women from all over the world, as they started to pour onto PulseWire, onto our newswire. I would have women writing, and they still do to this day, and say, "Thank you so much for creating this vision. I've got this. I'm spreading it now. I'm carrying this."

        We even get Skypes from a woman from Kenya named Leah, who was one of our first grassroots women reporters. She would Skype me and see that I was up working late at night, burning the midnight oil. It was morning for her, and she would Skype me, and she would say, "Jensine, zoom off to bed it's time for you to rest." She would say, "I've got the flame. I'm carrying the Pulse Wire flame, so go rest."

        This woman who is HIV positive, care giving for 17 other women who are dying of AIDS, going to more funerals in a week than I've gone to in my life, saying to me, "You rest, I've got this," was a revelation, and it was this first glimmer of, "Oh my God, this is all happening."  Since that day, I get those kinds of comments all the time, and it is those women, their strength, and their courage, that is such a fuel for me, and makes it so exciting.

        Everyday I wake up and think, "What are we going to read on PulseWire today? I'm totally addicted. It's like my crack. It's better then coffee. It's better then anything. What they're coming up with, what they're saying, and how they're organizing. It's just accessible. I love that it's accessible to anyone. You can just go on there and you can be talking immediately to women in Bolivia, and in Nepal, and drawing strength, courage, and support from them, and vice versa.

        Is there anything else you want to add about what's happening right now with World Pulse or stuff that's going to happen in the future, before we close?

        There are a lot of things coming up. Anyone can engage in the World Pulse network and really become a part of this pulse of women's voices rising. You can sign up as a member, and for a membership you'll get a magazine.

        You can go onto the site and log onto PulseWire. It's all part of, but if you go specifically onto the PulseWire section you can be immediately talking to women all over the world. You can post a resource if you have medical supplies, or iPhones, or something you want to give to women, or anything you need, like you're looking for a designer, or a volunteer opportunity in Peru. You never know what you're going to find.

        Beyond that, there's an opportunity in the United States to be meeting with some of these women leaders face to face. We are doing a media and speaking tour (November, 8-20) of three of our award winning women citizen journalists. They're coming from Nepal, the Philippines, and Bolivia.

        They're going to come into New York City, D.C., Colorado, Portland, and San Francisco.  If you're in any of those cities, you'll have an opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, and hear them speaking about how we can use new media to accelerate women's empowerment around the world, how it's changed their lives, and what they're doing with it in their countries.

        Nothing is better then hearing the women for themselves.

        Bookmark and Share


        Tuesday, November 16, 2010

        New Girl Effect Video: What Are Your Favorite NGO's Serving Girls?

        An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages  by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent. -The Girl Effect Fact Sheet.

        Blogger and coach, Tara Sophia Mohr, has done a lovely thing and organized over 30 bloggers to post about The Girl Effect on the same day.  Many of you probably saw the original Girl Effect video in 2008, which laid out the connection between educating girls in the "developing" world and reducing poverty and HIV/AIDS.  It's a powerful message that they've shared again in a new video (posted below).

        I was hesitant to promote the Girl Effect, just like I was when I wrote about it in 2008, because it is produced by the Nike Foundation. I'm still not clear on the extent Nike has improved its sweatshop situation.  Some reports make it sound like things are better, others say it is the same.  I'm guessing it's somewhere in between.

        That said, the message of the video - educating girls can change the world - is an important one.  If you'd like to be a part of spreading the word, post about The Girl Effect on your blog before Universal Children's Day (Nov. 20), and add a link to your post on Tara's site.

        You can also donate to organizations and projects that facilitate girls' going to school like UNICEF, Room to Read, and Three Cups of Tea author, Greg Mortenson's, Central Asia Institute.

        What are some of your favorite NGO's and projects helping girls go to, and stay in school?

        Bookmark and Share


        Friday, November 12, 2010

        Ten Tips for ChangeWriter Blogging Success

        Tomorrow I'll be speaking about Blogging for ChangeWriters at the 2010 Writing for Change Conference in San Francisco.  I'll be showing examples of "changewriter" blogs and sharing Ten Tips for ChangeWriter Blogging Success.

        I've included the list of blogs below and my presentation above, for folks who are interested.  Also, as Have Fun Do Good readers, you're welcome to use the special discount code (writersblog) at the end of the PowerPoint for $25 off a one-hour blog coaching session (by phone) with me :)

        Examples of ChangeWriter blogs
        1. Farmer Jane
        2. Big Green Purse
        3. Katya's Nonprofit Marketing Blog
        4. A. Fine Blog
        5. Take a Bite Out of Climate Change
        6. The Kind Life
        7. The Happiness Project
        8. Karen Maezen Miller's Cheerio Road
        9. Operation Beautiful
        10. Secret Agent L
        11. Slow Family Living
        12. Fake Plastic Fish
        13. Green LA Girl

        Bookmark and Share


        Thursday, November 11, 2010

        Heather Meyer, Work it Out!: How I Have Fun, Do Good

        The twelfth guest blogger in my have fun do good series series is Heather Meyer.  

        Heather is a passionate fitness expert, who loves to dance from her heart and inspire others to create their own beautiful! 

        You can connect with her on Facebook, or her blog Work it Out!~Fitness with Heather, where she sends out weekly juicy tidbits on living a healthy, happy life (from drinking water, to easing body aches to laughter). If you're in the Bay Area, you can join her classes at Hipline and Inside Outside Fitness.

        Heather Meyer, Work it Out!: How I Have Fun, Do Good

        As a child, I remember literally throwing myself around full-force without thinking too much about the consequences; I had plenty of bruises to show for it. I vividly recall running in big circles around my front yard pretending to fly; and, then having vivid dreams about it actualizing. I fondly recollect choreographing my first piece to Flashdance, where I became conscious of the power of movement combined with music. I was uninhibited, inspired, and living lusciously as Wonder Woman at the young age of five. As a child, having fun was an easy, natural way of being.

        As I got older, my relationship with my body changed. I internalized the subtle message that as a woman I should quietly take up as little space as possible. These thoughts changed how I moved, and dance became a self-conscious, self-critical experience, which was a bigger reflection on how I lived life and viewed myself within it.

        It has been a lengthy process of reclaiming movement and dance. And, myself.

        When I first started teaching dance fitness, I approached it with a more serious attitude, as I had found my strength studying martial arts. I taught my classes by mixing kickboxing with dance. There were bits of fun and silliness injected in here and there, but, overall, it was pretty serious business for me. Over time, I realized how much more enjoyable it was to 'have fun’ while ‘working out.’ I found myself dancing fully, expressing my heart through movement with as much humor, playfulness, and spirit as I could muster.

        Heather with some of her students at Hipline
        What I have noticed in this process is that the more that I allow myself permission to let go, to take up space, to be strong, to be authentically me; the more that others give themselves permission to do the same. I 'do good' by sharing this way of being with others. My dance classes have become a way for us to inspire each other by letting go of our inhibitions, enjoying our bodies for all the amazing things they do, and smiling and singing as we sweat and move.

        It is my absolute honor to help people find pieces of peace within, while outwardly expressing this life process though dance with our bodies.  I invite you to find ways to reclaim being uninhibited, inspired, and to live fully and lusciously. Breathe. Smile. Sing. Dance. Repeat in a different order with other fun things sprinkled in, turning up your personal volume.

        If you liked this post, you might also like:

        Bookmark and Share


        Wednesday, November 10, 2010

        Lisa Sonora Beam, The Creative Entrepreneur: How I Have Fun, Do Good

        The eleventh guest blogger in my have fun do good series is Lisa Sonora Beam.  

        Lisa is the author of The Creative Entrepreneur, an award-winning book on creativity and business for creatives who want to do what they love, and make a difference.  She is a lifelong artist, and was a therapist working in psychiatric hospitals before she made the leap into advertising (long story).  

        In 2000, she realized that she could use her marketing and advertising superpowers for good, and founded Digital Hive EcoLogical Design, the first communications firm to specialize in promoting green and social products and enterprises.  You can follow Lisa on her blog (, Twitter (@lisasonorabeam), and on The Creative Entrepreneur Facebook page.

        Lisa Sonora Beam, The Creative Entrepreneur: How I Have Fun, Do Good 

        Buy art from artists. In your neighborhood...and all around the world!

        One of the most fun ways to do good is to buy art and hand crafts directly from artists and artisans. The Internet makes this so easy now, but what's even more fun is to step away from the computer and go out and find artists where they work, live and exhibit.

        I combine my passion for travel, art and teaching by taking people to off-the-beaten path places that have lively arts and handcrafts scenes. After many discovery trips to search out the artists and nearby accommodations, I put together a workshop that is part cultural tour and part art-making extravaganza for the participants. We eat, sleep and make art 24/7. To me, it's the best way to take a vacation and really recharge my creativity all at once.

        Very often, someone attending my workshop is going abroad for the very first time. They need a passport! It's exciting and scary all at once. I absolutely love taking first time travelers abroad and introducing them to the wide and amazing world beyond the borders of our own wide and amazing country.

        Art is a healing force in the world, and on an individual level. Many cultures still view art-making as an integral part of their spirituality, culture and traditions. Art crosses so many of the barriers that keep people separate: not just geographical borders, but differences in race, religion, language and customs. When we connect with people through arts and culture, the sense of "other" falls away. We recognize how much we have in common. We bond over our mutual humanity.

        Curiosity about other people and places promotes peace, understanding, tolerance...and very often lifelong friendships. Learning about an artist's work is the best history, sociology, foreign language and anthropology lesson you can get. All for way less than a college course! As a bonus, you'll take home adornments for home, fashion, beauty and style, bought directly from the people who made them.

        When you visit me in my art studio, you'll drink tea out of cups I've bought from Marrakesh, and eat tapas from dishes handmade in Spain. You'll see a small oil painting from a favorite Parisian painter, and folk art from five continents and counting. All bought from an artist so grateful to be earning money from their work. All with a story (sometimes about how the stuff actually made it home) and an unforgettable experience that lives on in the sharing.

        If you'd like to join Lisa on her next Creative Entrepreneur reTREAT in Mexico
        , click here to view more details. (Full disclosure: I am a member of Lisa's affiliate program).

        If you liked this post, you might also like:

        Bookmark and Share


        Tuesday, November 09, 2010

        Kimberly Wilson, Tranquility du Jour: How I Have Fun, Do Good

        I hope you've been enjoying my have fun do good guest blogger series as much as I am (:  The tenth guest blogger in the series is Kimberly Wilson.  

        Kimberly is a teacher, writer, do-gooder, entrepreneur, and eco-fashion designer currently obsessed with Paris, potbelly pigs, and all things sparkly. She is the creative director and founder of Tranquil Space (named among the top 25 yoga studios in the world by Travel + Leisure), author of Hip Tranquil Chick and Tranquilista, and holds a Masters in Women's Studies. She blogs and podcasts at Tranquility du Jour and tweets at @kimberlywilson.  You can follow her on Facebook at

        Kimberly Wilson, Tranquility du Jour: How I Have Fun, Do Good

        When I started Tranquil Space in my living room in 1999, creating a socially conscious business was always my intention. Through volunteering, donating classes to community raffles, and holding events to raise money for various causes, I've always hoped that I was planting seeds of happiness for others.

        Kimberly and Walter the piglet
        With a passion for do-gooding, I took it to the next level by launching a non-profit, Tranquil Space Foundation, and returning to school to get my Masters in Social Work. The skills I'm learning in this new profession is all about doing good - through words, thoughts, and action. This aligns beautifully with my practice of yoga.

        As a blog and podcast hostess, I'm constantly searching for ways to offer up ongoing inspiration by featuring fellow do-gooders, sharing daily struggles, and encouraging ongoing exploration. And, yes, I'm having fun along the way by doing my best to leave a legacy. Nothing could be more rewarding!

        And, to top it off, I'm obsessed with pigs. Literally. Meeting Walter the piglet - who fell off of a transport truck - during a recent visit to The Pig Sanctuary in West Virginia was truly one of my happiest days this year. I've recently discovered Humane Society University and hope to take classes to help better inform my passion for doing good for the animals. Oui, I do love people but there is something so special, fragile, and oh-so-freakin' cute about animals - especially pigs! Have I mentioned pigs?

        If you liked this post, you might also like:

        Bookmark and Share


        Sunday, November 07, 2010

        Your Free, Fun November/December 2010 Big Vision Worksheet

        It's a rainy Sunday here in the Bay Area.  A good day to mull over goals/wishes/big visions for the next lunar month.

        You can download your free Big Vision Worksheet (illustrated by my hubs) from Dropbox here.

        As always, you'll want to start with your 3 big vision goals for 2010. Then, write down 3 goals (related to your 2010 goals) that you'd like to complete before fall ends (December 21).  Finally, write down 3 goals (related to your 2010 and fall goals) that you'd like to accomplish before the end of the lunar month (December 5th).

        You can view past Big Vision worksheets here.


        Bookmark and Share


        Friday, November 05, 2010

        Cat House on the Kings: Have Fun, Do Good Friday Video

        Regular readers probably know that the hubs and I live with a wonderful cat, Dora, who we adopted through a local organization, Maine Coon Adoptions.  She's not really your regular, independent, "I'll see you when I see you," kind of cat.  She greets people at the door, follows us to every room, likes to eat when we eat, and "talks" A LOT.  Not a day goes by that she doesn't crack us up, and bring us happiness.

        At some point this year, the hubs came home and told me about this amazing place he'd visited on a sound job: The Cat House on the Kings.  Cat House on the Kings is California's largest no-cage, no-kill, lifetime cat sanctuary and adoption center.  It's a 12-acre facility where 500-700 cats (and some dogs) live together inside, outside, up in trees, wherever they want.  I forgot all about it until Maine Coon Adoptions posted on their Facebook Page this week that they took a road trip there to drop off three feral cats.

        Below is a terrific video about Cat House on the Kings so you can see, as the filmmaker calls it, this "Planet of the Cats."  I'd hope I can visit there someday >^..^<

        You can see more Have Fun, Do Good Friday videos here.

        Bookmark and Share


        Thursday, November 04, 2010

        Katya Andresen, Network for Good: How I Have Fun, Do Good

        The ninth guest blogger in my have fun do good series is Katya Andresen.  Katya is the COO of Network for Good and the author of Robin Hood Marketing: Stealing Corporate Savvy to Sell Just Causes.  

        She blogs at and tweets at @katyaN4G.

        Katya Andresen, Network for Good: How I Have Fun, Do Good

        Britt Bravo is ahead of her time. One of the brightest thinkers out there – Seth Godin – recently posted about the importance of joy in the workplace.  For years, Britt’s been promoting this very concept - the idea of having fun while doing good. It’s a powerful idea, and I’m happy to share what I do to have fun while doing good in this guest post.

        1. I act like a fan: It’s fulfilling to be an enthusiast of others. When I blog, I like to point to the good ideas of others. When I speak, I try to highlight the brilliance of new ideas that aren’t my own. I find the more I do this, and the more generous I am, the more happy I feel. It’s about approaching work from a place of sharing and abundance rather than self-absorption and scarcity. It’s more fun – and it’s more effective. Especially when it comes to the online world. We live in an economy of affection, not dollars, in the world of social media.

        Psychoanalyzing how to have fun and do good
        2. I consider myself a teacher: I take a few days off a year to teach at American University, and I do a lot of public speaking and training. It’s incredibly rewarding to help others, and teaching – or mentoring – gives me a sense of accomplishment. It’s also an act that is both vain and humbling. Vain, because if you teach, you believe you have something important to say. Humbling, because when you teach, you realize how much you don’t know. This brings me to…

        3. I strive to be a perpetual student:
        I try to stay in a state of intellectual curiosity. I try to read every good book written about marketing, technology, behavioral economics, and I invite every expert who will agree to present to the Network for Good community. The mind is happiest when it’s in an expanding state. There is no better way to make work fun than to be learning all the time.

        If you liked this post, you might also like:

        Bookmark and Share