Today I realized something important. I know what I want to be when I grow up! At 48, some would argue, I should be pretty much grown up by now, so maybe it’s about time… I am a — wait for it… Spiritual Economist, or at least a Spiritual Economist In Training. I did some online searches to find out where to go to become one officially and it doesn’t seem to be a thing yet, so I may have to do some trailblazing (which I am more than okay with — that’s kind of how I roll.)
So, what led me to this decision? It actually makes quite a bit of sense now that I look back on it. If you want to know, here’s how it unfolded, or at least the highlights anyway:
- Education – University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 1984-88I started out in the College of Engineering, mostly at the encouragement of my guidance counselor, a very dear man who based his recommendation only on the fact that my grades showed that I appeared to be good at “math and science.” Maybe, but I’ll tell you what, the other people in my classes at U of M were very, very good at math and science and seemed to love the classes, in fact. I didn’t love it. I missed English and psychology and art history and other stuff. I started to do very badly in some of my classes. Key learning: I need variety to live. I am a generalist. I was anxious to get out in the world and start doing something “real” though I still didn’t know what that would be. On a whim I took a Micro Economics class and was surprised that I loved it. Learning about the marginal utility of demand curve really flipped a switch for me. Macro Economics was not quite as fun and Econometrics a little less fun still, but I got through them. My favorite classes though were the ones I took through the School of Natural Resources: Economics of Sustainabilty, where we learned about sustainable fishing and farming, among other things. I managed to graduate in four years and then managed to spend the next 26+ years not really doing anything all that related to economics; I have spent my career mostly in sales and marketing, but always had the lens of economics.
- In the mid 90’s I began studying metaphysics and in 2000 took a class to learn Reiki, a system of energetic healing. I went on to take additional courses to become a Reiki Master/Teacher. I took many other classes and workshops over the years and have read countless books and listened to hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of lectures on spirituality. I became a minister in the Universal Life Church and last year did a guest minister talk at a local Unitarian Church. Key learning: I am a healer and I need to do honor my soul’s mission.
- I began studying I started my social media marketing consulting business in February of 2009 shortly thereafter launched Northwest Indiana Tweetup, a monthly meetup for people to come together, learn and share what they know about social media. The business has been great. New organizers stepped up over the years and took over running and done more with it than I could have. I loved empowering people to use new media tools to make things happen in the world, in many cases, good things. In a few cases, very good things. The clients I was most drawn to serve for what you might call non-traditional marketers: artists, farmers, visionaries, healers, start up non-profits and some people with ideas, but no revenue model or traditional entity behind their plan at all. I also worked with insurance companies, ad agencies, banks and some pretty big businesses; I will always be eternally grateful to each and every one of them for helping me get started, but secretly (and sometimes not so secretly) I proclaimed my preference for the offbeat, the pioneers, the visionaries. I said “no” to a few companies, which was not always good for my bank account, but ultimately made my soul feel better. Key learning: work doesn’t feel like work when I love what I do and who I’m doing it with/for. I knew I to figure out a way to spend more time with what I began to think of as my tribe rather than just doing work for any old company. Note: I wrote about the start up of my business and the reasons behind it in a book I co-authored called Pathways to Vibrant Health and Well Being.
- In late 2010 I developed a website www.219greenconnect.com. My intention with that site was to provide an online resource for eco-conscious people in Northwest Indiana (area code 219, thus 219 green connect) to network, grow and learn from one another. To support that effort, I began to organize monthly meetups called Green Drinks. Green Drinks happen in 600+ cities all over the world and usually attract attendees from academia, business, NGOs and interested citizens as well. I helped neighboring Michigan City launch their own chapter as well. After 4+ years of running the meetup in Valparaiso and now 2 years of helping Michigan City, I am again feeling led to do something a little different, namely I’d really like to combine these interests in a more holistic way and aim a little bigger than Northwest Indiana. Key learning: a generalist with too many interests who is underfunded, and with no support may burn out. My “system” (or lack of one) was unsustainable.
- Last summer, in the midst of my feelings of overwhelm from trying to do too many different things, I received an email from a group called Conscious Evolutionaries Chicagoland emailed me to tell me I was to be recognized at their Golden Innovator Wheel of Cocreation Awards in May 2015. I was honored and grateful for the recognition that I was on the right path, but now I really wanted to get focused and to be as deserving as possible of the honor they were bestowing on me.
- Recently I began an online course to learn about Permaculture, Permanent + (Agri)Culture. It’s a holistic system of looking at how plants, animals and humans work together. It has applications not only for agriculture, but also for societal systems as well.
Today the fusion of all of this came together for me and I knew I needed to create an online community of conscious cocreators and that it would be called CoThrive. The www.cothrive.org is brand new today, more to come soon. If you like more information, click here.