October Reflections

Fall harvestAt Fall Equinox, when the hours of day and night are in perfect balance, we celebrate Autumn Harvest. The air is crisp; trees blaze in gold and burnt sienna. Orchards, Farmer’s Markets, and backyard gardens overflow with fresh wholesome produce. Spiritually speaking, Harvest marks the pinnacle of the annual cycle. It’s time to collect the “fruits” of our growth—both inner and outer.

What are you harvesting right now in your life and throughout October?

Perhaps you’ve had a banner year of Abundance, great love, or creative accomplishment. Wonderful! But many of us tend to gloss over the year’s inner achievements. And little wonder: unlike bright red apples or vivid orange pumpkins, our internal successes are intangible and can be easily overlooked. So take time to sit back this fall, perhaps with a warm mug of spiced cider, and reflect on the high points of the year’s journey. You’ll probably find that, despite a few disappointments or remaining challenges, you have come a long way indeed. Take stock of the different dimensions of your life and you’ll find plenty to harvest:

Where did you find personal and emotional enrichment? In a new avocation, an old friendship, or a long-awaited family reunion?

th-10What delighted you physically? A five-star beach day, dazzling nature walk, or a peak experience in lovemaking? Depending on your health and conditioning, running a marathon or walking a mile could deliver a similar sense of well being.

What fulfilled you professionally? Did you take a risk and earn a reward? Speak up at an important meeting? Discover new, like-minded colleagues?

And what about your spiritual life? Did you face up to a long-denied aspect of yourself? Start to meditate, journal, or practice yoga? Maybe you observed some negative thoughts or emotions? Instead of judging them, I have learned to reward myself with a positive comment like, “Good catch!”

The Celtic calendar divides the year into eight seasons, instead of four. Harvest is the first half of Autumn. The second begins at Halloween and marks the year’s 8th and final phase. In just a month we’ll start winding down to prepare for rebirth at Winter Solstice. So, now’s the time to gather an abundant, soulful Harvest. Honor your successes, especially the small ones, in the golden sun of October.


Conscious Capitalism and Conscious Money

I’ve always believed that employees, customers, and other stakeholders, along with conscious leaders, can transform business. Now I’ve seen it happen.

Marching for Market BasketThis summer, residents in my home state of Massachusetts were treated to a corporate drama that made TV shows The Apprentice or Shark Tank look tame. The saga is simply told: a decades-long rivalry at the family-owned, 71-store Market Basket grocery chain erupted anew when CEO Arthur T. DeMoulas was fired by a board controlled by his cousin Arthur S. DeMoulas. Too bad, you say. That’s business.

True. But it’s what happened next that gets the BBC and Time to cover the story. It turns out that the fired CEO— “Artie T” to insiders—is so beloved for his caring and fair leadership that employees go on strike and jeopardize their jobs, not for higher wages, but to get their CEO back! Every day hundreds rally holding hand-written signs, “Bring back Artie T!” Many customers honor the strike. Soon the rest join in, like it or not. Why? The stores are nearly empty because Market Basket suppliers support the boycott, too, which makes all the difference.

SupportArtieTThe conflict simmers for weeks. Employees stay strong even as management  fires more people and threatens mass lay-offs. Supposedly, the board might consider selling out to Arthur T, but few dare hope it will work out as nerves began to fray.

Finally, the governors of Massachusetts and New Hampshire (worried about the unemployment toll, no doubt) sit down with the conflicting parties. Then, it’s radio silence. Until late one August night, when the word comes down: the board has agreed to a $1.5 billion buy out by “Artie T” and his investors. Game over. Score one for the people. Later Arthur T. thanks a cheering crowd and modestly calls his people back to work. They’ve bet everything on him and on the jobs they love.

Employees, customers, and suppliers are critical stakeholders in any business. At a time when so many of us feel powerless to change “business as usual,” I repeat my decade-long mantra, “We the people have the power to transform capitalism.” Thanks to the new Market Basket for showing employees, customers, investors, CEOs, suppliers, and communities that we the people can indeed change the world.

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