Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Shift Happens

Wednesday night last week, Greenheart put on an event called Shift Happens at the Chicago Center of Performing Arts at 777 N Green Street. The main draw for the event was a lecture by Emanuel Kuntzelman about collective positive transformation. Sandwiching the lecture, and possibly the main attraction for some people, local transformative, New Age and/or Eastern businesses put on an exhibition with complimentary hor d'ouevres and beer, wine and other drinks.

The night had a lot of potential. It mostly missed the mark for me, though.

The lecture by Emanuel Kuntzelman didn't totally grab me but neither did it bore me. It occurred in a theater with stadium seating around half the stage, very similar to the theater at the college I went to, Marlboro College.

Unfortunately, I fell victim to glancing off, head falling, eyelids getting heavy, almost falling asleep then snapping up my head into awakeness throughout most of the lecture. Common phenomenon for me, even with the most exciting lecturer for some reason. . .including Al Gore in The Inconvenient Truth.

Emanuel Kuntzelman can't be blamed for my glancing off. With a good stage presence, he presented a knowledgeable, general and, dare I say it, safely abstract lecture. Kuntzelman

+ Used words like karma

+ Discussed the year 2012 as the important date focused on by the Mayans

+ Showed derision toward the movie 2012 as just another disaster movie that probably doesn't show respect to what the Mayans had to say

+ Used a dry erase board to illustrate that we can do a "quantum leap" over the possible catastrophe and

+ Illustrated stages of personal transformative growth on an X-Y axes of individual-society and spiritual-material

As for solutions, Kuntzelman encourages

+ World travel to experience other cultures and perspectives

+ Read books and interact with people from other cultures and perspectives

+ Delve into transformative practices and scholarship

He didn't seem to want to provide actual concrete solutions other than to just broaden your perspective.

A cynical skeptic might see his lecture as more of a sales pitch than anything. Kuntzelman isn't just some scholar, academic, guru or adventurer that Greenheart found after some research. Kuntzelman founded Greenheart. Most, if not all, his very general methods for people getting inspired to bring about positive transformative change are offered as products by Greenheart.

Despite the voice of my skepticism, I still think Kuntzelman provides an additional service by making a presentation like he did.

It kind of reminds of some kind Christian Revival, the like that they had in the 17th and 18th centuries in the United States. The organizers of Revivals would feel happy accepting completely new converts to Christianity. However, revivals mainly focused on reigniting the faith of lapsed Christians or even Christians that just never really took it seriously as a religion.

Kuntzelman provided me with some invigoration for positive transformation. I just have been feeling flat, the tediousness of life and that the long-term projects I've been focusing on don't provide enough short-term reward. I'm just getting nowhere with them. The ideas I present with the project will be obsolete when I finally release the project to the world. At least I have those thoughts every once in awhile.

Even though Kuntzelman didn't fill time jam packed with newness or really any new concrete direction, he provided some new interesting ways to think of some old concepts and a boost of motivation. I haven't found much to do with that motivation, since I've already filled up my time with mostly mundane, materialistic things to do. Money's a little tight, too, but freed up time and brainstorming could probably find something transformative to do.

I probably won't do much transformative work until I set aside time for it. Even right now, instead of reading while commuting or eating, I’m patching together this blog entry on my Smartphone whenever the chance presents itself. It's a start, but I need to make something happen.

Emanuel Kuntzelman hasn't done anything directly to help me reach this point. Knowing that there's transformation going on out there helps, though.

I wasn't entirely impressed by the business exhibition, either. The complimentary beer and the bar service was real good. Unfortunately, only thing I remember about the beer I had was that it was a copper lager. I don't remember the beer company. Did they have a rep there or was the bartender the rep?

I signed up for an acupuncture trial, but the acupuncturist booth was pretty disorganized. A needle didn't touch me that night. They said that they would call out names when it was a person's turn. I didn't hear them call out any name. Apparently my wife had to keep pestering them to put her under the needle.

For all but one of the other businesses there, I just picked up pamphlets and fliers. I wasn't in the most social mood, so I might have scared people off. I don't know. Still. . .there probably should've been some kind of token effort to hawk their services and try to win a client, shouldn't there?

The only business at the exhibition that captured my attention was Mindful Metropolis. This is a monthly free magazine you can find on Chicago street corners.

It emerged from the ashes of the Chicago incarnation of Conscious Choice. Conscious Choice up and left Chicago near the beginning of 2009. Conscious Choice left behind an enthusiastic staff that wanted to keep going. With stuff left behind and the remaining staff’s knowledge, they started Mindful Metropolis about 4 or 5 months ago.

The guy representing Mindful Metropolis did an awesome job

+ Telling the story of the magazine

+ Providing us information about its content

+ Where to find the magazine

+ Editorial guidelines

and just about anything else we wanted to know. The guy also provided some great conversation and gave us a very warm reception while providing us with very useful information.

Mindful Metropolis started a little rough with a fairly boring layout, but over the months, it has become more interesting to look at. It covers a lot of topics that Conscious Choice but tries do so with even more of a Chicago focus. Mindful Metropolis doesn't try to create themes for issues but generally ends up doing so just by luck.

For instance, the April issue has a theme: composting. You wouldn't think that a theme would just come out a morass of different writers, but something like composting during a pre-summer or summer issue seems pretty obvious. Get enough professional writers together, and a good number of them will come up with article ideas focusing around the season that the article will get published.

I’ve read about 20 pages into the current issue. If I took the reading more seriously, I would have learned quite a bit about where to get a composting container and also would have found out where to go for getting trained in a Green Job.

So far, Mindful Metropolis feels a little too materialistic, and I’d like a little more of the spiritual/philosophical side of things. Still have a lot more to read in the one magazine and the other issues that I have, though. Pretty good chance I’ll find something more in the vein that I want to read.

Mindful Metropolis made a great exit to the exhibition. I enjoyed the lecture by Emanuel Kuntzelman and the copper lager I had, but the other exhibitors felt bland and unimpressive.

For all I know, these types of businesses don’t like to get all forward and gregarious or want to feel pressured to put themselves out there. This subculture does have a laid back reputation for a reason.

Nonetheless, to bring about positive transformation and bring people to higher, mindful consciousness, I think these types of business need to get a little bit more assertive about their services. Just imagine the change then.

Links of interest: Greenheart, Chicago Center of Performing Arts, Emanuel Kuntzelman, 2012 (phenomenon), 2012 (movie), Mindful Metropolis, Conscious Choice


jrobinson said...

I also attended Shift Happens and the Transformative Life Fair and took on a different perspective of how the evening went. While Emanuel Kuntzelman didn't provide "actual concrete solutions other than broaden your perspective," I think it was part of his tactic. He started the talk with stressing the need to have a strong will to transform, and it is part of our commitment to find our own methodology. His other talks have provided more specific answers to these questions in more intimate settings, but to truly evolve and transform we ultimately have to take the initiative. No matter how aggressive those businesses at the fair could have been, it would be a waste if you weren't willing to set aside time to commit to change. There's another talk on Dec. 3 on karma, reincarnation and the Akashic Field. It looks to be really interesting and provide another perspective and tactic in our transformation.

The_Lex said...

I take issue with one part of your post, jrobinson: "No matter how aggressive those businesses at the fair could have been, it would be a waste if you weren't willing to set aside time to commit to change."

As someone who does some work in sales and has schilled for a time share company, I can see that as a viable sales technique. It's inefficient to push and push on one person when there's plenty of people out there with some initial interest. Takes less effort and time to "close" with people who have at least some interest, so you can move onto the next person with some interest. The more people you can fit into your time, the more money you can make.

When trying to get people involved into transformative practices, I can see working fine, too. You want to get as much people involved as possible. The problem in regards to the fair at Shift Happens: I am someone who has at least some interest. If someone came up to me, was friendly, started talking to me, explaining a little bit more about their transformative service, I would have been open ears and probably brought that much closer to participating in transformation.

Otherwise, though, I believe following a script of ". . .it would be a waste if you weren't willing to set aside time to commit to change" is unproductive. There's a lot out there competing for people's attention that is a whole lot easier, superficially compelling and rewarding in the short term. The road to catastrophe and destruction also has a lot more momentum working for it than the transformative community trying to make the world a better place and divert catastrophe.

I think the transformative community needs to be more outgoing to (a) get the attention of people who have some interest in transformation and (b) make practices of transformation more compelling than pop mainstream culture, make it more accepted and perform outreach to make it easier for people who don't have the inherent will for change develop that will.

I'm not in any place to do any of the above. As someone who has some will and interest in these matters, however, especially as someone who has felt humdrum and looking for some kind of meaning and purpose, I think the Shift Happens missed the mark for engaging me and pulling me further into the transformative culture. I'll do more someday, but the exhibition may have been able to feed my will for it more and give me the impetus to do more, earlier.