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It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. I’ve had a case of writers block and never was inspired to write anything but after a very lengthy conversation the other night, I think I found exactly what I was looking for.

When I’m in the mood (which is usually), I go out to an open mic night at one of the local bars. Being a musician I tend to look for opportunities to express my artistic side. This open mic has a featured artist which gets a little more time to perform. That night, one of  my friends I haven’t seen in awhile was the feature so went up there to see and support her. Usually when you go to open mics, it’s a crap shoot of talent who’s there. That particular night, everyone was amazing! Everyone was super talented on the level of the feature and it was one of those nights where I wish every night could be like that. One particular person who came through was an activist and spoken word poet who called himself Jus Rhyme. Jus Rhyme was on a tour he called the Segregated City Tour, visiting the most segregated cities in the country (unfortunately, Detroit certainly holds one of those titles) bringing awareness to the issue. I was very intrigued by his tour as he came from Los Angeles. After I performed my set, he enjoyed hearing my saxophone playing so much he asked me to perform with him during his set in the open mic and I gladly accepted. I totally loved the energy he brought during his performance.

After the performance, I talked to Jus Rhyme about his home and found out he was heavily involved in the Occupy Movement in LA and Oakland. He then asked me if he we could talk about it more and exchange my ideas on camera for his tour and I gladly accepted. We talked about many things from the occupy movement to money, success, spirituality, social issues, etc. While those recorded conversations were amazing, it was the conversation afterward, not recorded, that inspired this blog. We got into a conversation about his tour and touring with him and I mentioned to him I feel there’s too much pointless competition in the music world. “Co-operative Economics,” he said to me. “You are not my competition, you are my co-operation.” That was a profound statement to me because I’ve believed that for a long time now. He mentioned he has a hard time getting his regular band to tour with him because they don’t understand that. When he mentioned that, I started to think about how that showed up in other areas like in business and this one was easy… Gary Vaynerchuk! His whole business approach is that exact thing with the “Thank You Economy.” People think that he can do that because he has money but that’s why he has money. He learned (early) that it’s not just about listening to your customers but also caring about them. By doing that, you actually create a community that interacts with you (and each other) getting them involved. This allows you to go the extra mile and do things for them like sending them signed jerseys from their favorite football players and other acts that help to create repeat business. It was one of the most profound conversations Jus Rhyme and I had that night and we had some good ones. Naturally, I stayed in contact with him through facebook and twitter.

Outlook For The New Year

I sat on this post for a few weeks because I wasn’t quite sure how to transition through this story but with the new year comes new energy and new inspiration. The thought of co-operative economics has been running through my head for weeks now and I thought about how we can implement it into our lives. As I thought about it, I realized the solutions are actually quite simple. “How simple,” you say? Well, read on…

Thoughts

What goes through your head everyday? While you can’t monitor every thought every second of the day, the general repeating thoughts are the ones that you need to be concerned about. This means that the first thing that needs to change to bring about a change is changing you. Thoughts are a very good place to start. There was a pattern that many successful people and spiritual teachers talk about. Thoughts become beliefs which become actions which determine your results which create your habits (I may have switched two of them around but you get the point). You can chart it like this: Thoughts->Beliefs->Actions->Results->Habits. This means that everything that’s in your life has been created by YOU. In essence, you are responsible for everything that has come in your life at this moment. If you want that to change, you have to make a conscious effort to do so. We have to leave things like blame behind and start taking responsibility for our own lives. In the movie Thrive, Deepak Chopra says that if we want to have a different experience we have to start telling a different story to ourselves and to other people. Your thoughts are a good place to start. Just to throw this out there; Since it’s the new year, everyone loves to talk about the dreaded new year’s resolutions. I quit making resolutions years ago because if something is that important in life. I have to address it right away, not wait until January to attempt to change it. That’s a good example of what I’m talking about.

Community

This one requires much more action. Our communities have to be in a state of communication before we can co-create together. A general thought is, “I can’t just go around to the average person in my community and ask them to change,” and that’s true. This is where you need to seek out like-minded people. There are tons of people who want to create a co-operative community within everything but you have to find them. One of the ways I’ve found those people is through networking events. There are only a handful I go to because of what they believe in and I support that mission. Just remember that whenever and wherever you go to meet and network that you take the time to learn about people. Take time to learn about them, their community, background, beliefs and other areas of their lives. You may find you have the same things in common. Accept and respect everything about that person and what they share. Don’t focus on the negatives. While you may not necessarily like everything about them, you have to respect it. This is the only way you can create a bond with them. Only then can you start coming up with solutions and executing them. Another place you can connect with great minds is at an Ignite! or a TEDx event. Those events are all about what’s happening in your community right now and how you can get involved. Community is a big one for me because I feel with the state of the world, this is desperately needed at this point in time. I could definitely go into more but I’ll leave this for later.

I could write more but I want to open this up for discussion. I really want people to contribute to this and help create the world they want to live in. We can no longer rely on institutions to give us the world we want. It’s up to us. I know what everyone is saying about 2012 but it doesn’t have to be the age of Armageddon.  It can be an age of golden harmony. As Foster Gamble said in the movie Thrive, we have what it takes to thrive. Let’s make it happen!

How can you contribute to a co-0perative economic system? What issues need to be solved and actions taken to help create our world? Please share your thoughts!

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