Tuesday, August 28, 2012

49 Years and Still Dreaming

"I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment I still have a dream." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today is the 49th anniversary of Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech at the March on Washington.  I was only 5 years old in 1963 but when I grew up I would read parts of his speech into the mirror hoping to have a little Martin Luther King, Jr. rub off on me.  Below is an excerpt of a "sermon" I gave in 2007 - actually it is a love letter to one of the greatest men in history, one of my mentors who I never met.

Dear Martin, 

Please forgive the informality of my salutation. I did not have the privilege of knowing you when you were alive. I was only 11 years old when you were killed. I lived in San Francisco, far away from the South where you were changing the course of history. Most people call you Dr. King today and as someone who people sometimes call Reverend, I understand the respect and dignity that is afforded such a title.

But you have become for me, and many others, someone who stands on the same sacred ground as Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi and Mohammed. Now I know of course you would bristle at such a suggestion, especially since Jesus and Gandhi were your mentors and inspiration, but your name, Martin, and your legacy stand in the prophetic Parthenon of history as deservedly as any person who has ever walked this earth.

Unfortunately there are other reasons to compare you with Jesus. You, like Jesus and so many other prophets, were killed because of your radical message. Your words, like those of Jesus, are selectively followed and misinterpreted by most of us. Too many people today pick and chose the words and the message you left us that best matches their political and religious beliefs.Some people tell us that if you lived today you would be an opponent to affirmative action and that you would swell in pride at the that so many of the dreams you challenged our country with on that hot August afternoon in Washington, DC over 43 years ago have been realized. Others, in their passionate and righteous concern for justice, have seemingly forgotten how important faith, nonviolence, and trust in a loving God were to creating a fair and just world. Your words about peace and love, forgiveness and service, poverty and the silence of those who prefer the status quo, are too challenging, too radical for most of us to heed.

Where would you stand on the issues of same gender marriage, the growing gap between the haves and the have nots, the role of religion in government, and global warming? How I wish you were here today to offer your prophetic voice to our struggles to live and do right. How I wish your example of non-violent protest and your unequivocal commitment to peace were on our television sets every night. How I wish your wisdom, your courage, your inspirational leadership and your words from the sixties could be translated for these fearful days of the early 21st century.

On a more personal note, I want to say thank you. Thank you for the life you lived and for the example you were for loving, forgiving, serving and giving one’s life to something bigger.  Thank you for showing me a way to deepen my relationship and commitment to justice, goodness, to hope, to love, to God.

I would not be a minister if it were not for your words, your challenges, to live and to die for something that makes a difference today, tomorrow and forevermore. Your words inspire me to love more deeply, forgive more often, practice peace more widely, and to speak, and more importantly, act for justice for those who society has forgotten, more passionately than I am wont do.

I sometimes imagine that you are sitting on my shoulder when I step into my pulpit whispering affirmation and love into my ear. You tell me to speak the truth with love, you challenge me to reach deeper into my soul so that I can articulate, in my own words, a vision of justice, of peace, of forgiveness, of love that those who hear me can live more fully. Most days I fall far short of what I wish I could say, most days I fall short of the love, the forgiveness, the peace that your words have taught me can be true. On those days when I realize my failings and how far my reality is from your vision, I find comfort and hope in your words once again, and I remember that the fight for peace and justice is a long battle with setbacks each and every day.

On the day you gave the eulogy for one of our Unitarian Universalist martyrs, the Rev. James Reeb, who was killed in Selma, Alabama when he answered your call to march for civil rights, you invoked these words from Romeo & Juliet to describe his short life, And if he should die, Take his body, and cut it into little stars. He will make the face of heaven so fine That all the world will be in love with night.

 I hope you know that the stars your life left behind have been lighting the sky and illuminating the darkness for millions each and every night since the day you died. You have made the face of heaven so fine that when I look at the “beautiful stars as they bedeck the heavens like swinging lanterns of eternity,” I find the comfort, inspiration and hope to live another day and to try again to make your dream come true.

We shall overcome. We shall be free. We shall live in peace. One day.

With thanks and love, Your faithful disciple and hopeful partner in peace, Don 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Three Prayers - Part 1

"It doesn't matter how you pray - with your head bowed in silence, or crying out in grief, or dancing.  Churches are good for prayer, but so are garages and cars and mountains and showers and dance floors." - Anne Lamott, Plan B Further Thoughts on Faith

I don't remember the first Anne Lamott book I read. It might have been Operating Instructions because I had two sons to raise, it might have been Bird by Bird because I had hopes and dreams of becoming a writer or it might have been Traveling Mercies because I wanted to laugh and cry about life.  I have been a fan for many years.  Anne is from the Bay Area like I am and she found God through recovery like I did.  But the main reason I love her is because she is a great writer who isn't afraid to share the most intimate fears, hopes and doubts in her life while making me feel I'm not alone and how good it feels to be alive.

She has long wrote that there are only two prayers someone needs - help and thank you.  Last month she announced her new book, coming out in November, titled Help. Thanks. Wow.  She has added another essential prayer.  I look forward to reading the book but I don't want to wait until November to share some perspective on the practical wisdom of these prayers and practices for calltrepreneurs everywhere.  Tomorrow I will to add my personal experiences through the lens of the pilgrimage I've been on the last few months.

Help  - For many of us this is the first prayer we ever learned.  Even if we didn't really believe in any type of God.  Get me a good grade.  Let me have that special toy.  How about a job, or extra money, or a mate?  Asking for help from God, from the Universe, from life, from people is an essential practice of anyone who wishes to be a calltrepreneur.   One of the mythologies of the American way of life is that entrepreneurs, ministers - anyone - makes it on their own.  Life is hard.  So is business and ministry.  Show me someone who has a cadre of friends, advisors, therapists, mentors and coaches and I'll show you someone who has a better than average chance at being successful in their life; someone who is making a difference.  Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness it is a sign of humility, it a trait that people admire, especially in their leaders.

Thanks - Gratitude is good for the spirit, the soul and our health.  And lots more.  This article in the Wall Street Journal tells it like it is:  "  Adults who frequently feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those that do not, according to studies over the last decade.  They're also less likely to be depressed, envious, greedy or alcoholics.  They earn more money, sleep more soundly, exercise more regularly and greater resistance to viral infections." How often do you say thank you?  Not only for the blessings and  beauty of this world but for the little things that others do to make a difference to you and others.  Long, long ago I had a boss who said thank you every night when I left the job.  It made a difference.  Life is hard.  So is business and ministry.  But imagine how hard it would be without the kindness and gifts of everyone who we come into contact with.  

Wow - I look forward to Anne Lamott's perspective on this prayer but for me it means never forgetting the awesomeness, the beauty, the surprises, the take your breath away moments that are part of life.  They are everywhere we look  - IF we remember to look.  They happen during a worship service when the congregations sings so beautifully tears come to your eyes.  They happen watching a kitten purring in a lap or a dog napping by the fire.  They happen in playgrounds when children are laughing and playing a game.  They happen when strangers help strangers during a crisis.  They happen in companies when teams of people create something they never could have done alone.

These three prayers, these three practices have the potential to change our lives.  If we pay attention every day and look.  Where and from whom can we ask for help?  How often can we say thank you to someone or for something that we had nothing to do with?  When can we step back from our life, open our mouths, and say wow?  The truth is we could do all three almost every minute of the day.  On our knees or on a mountain, in our backyard or in the middle of a crowd of people, when we wake or when we go to bed, anytime, anywhere, let us pray.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Church of Baseball

"I believe in the church of baseball." - Annie Savoy, Bull Durham

Today is the 47th anniversary of my first visit to a cathedral.  When I walked in and saw the green grass of Candlestick Park I thought I was in heaven.  It seemed make believe.  The opening hymn was the National Anthem.  The pews were called "Lower Reserved Seats" and the only offering that was passed were hot dogs and dollar bills to the next person down the row.  The liturgy lasted nine innings and God was everywhere.  Especially in the person of the man playing centerfield for the San Francisco Giants, Willie Mays.

I fell in love with baseball, Willie Mays and the San Francisco Giants in 1965.   Every day I would close the door to my room, turn on the radio and listen to Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons describe in deep, rich, baritone voices each pitch and swing of every  game. I would put on my official Giants plastic batting helmet, pretend I was Willie Mays,and swing at every pitch that flew through my radio. When the Giants were in the field I would put on my glove and I would run after every fly ball and dive for every ground ball pretending my bed was the field.

I did not realize it at the time but I have come to know that my baseball stadium bedroom was a sanctuary for me from the reality of my seven year old life. In the summer of 1965 my mother and father were fighting with increasing frequency and in September, as Willie Mays hit his 50th home run and the Giants fought the hated Los Angeles Dodgers for first place, my mom and dad divorced.  If one definition for God is a place to find comfort and joy, baseball and Willie Mays, was one of my first experiences with God.

We lived in a duplex and Mr. and Mrs. Shields lived in the front unit.  They invited me to play cards and watch the baseball game of the week with them on Saturday morning (my family wasn't much into baseball.)  Although they were Dodger fans, I forgave them for it, and looked forward to their company.  One day they asked me if I would like to see the Giants play the Dodgers at Candlestick Park.  Would I?!  My parents said yes and we took the hour long bus ride from San Jose to the closet thing I knew of the Promised Land.  

I remember most of that day, in part, because it was the best, most unbelievable game I have ever been to.  You can check out the box score here. (Box scores continue to be the only scripture I read every day.)  Sandy Koufax pitched against Juan Marichal.  The Giants and Dodgers really didn't like each other in those days and the Dodgers catcher John Roseboro threw a ball that nicked Marichal in the ear.  All hell broke loose.  Marichal hit Roseboro in the head with his bat, players streamed onto the field and I watched in awe.  Koufax got rattled, walked two batters, and Willie hit a three-run homer to win the game 3-2.  The Giants extended their lead over the Dodgers but when Marichal was suspended the Dodgers overtook them (again) and the Giants finished in second place.

What does any of this have to do with calltrepreneurship?  Willie Mays was a calltrepreneur.  He played with a passion and skill that few - if any - have ever shown.  He created new standards for baseball, some of which will never be met.  And he was a leader, a role model on the field. I didn't realize it on August 22, 1965 but Mays was more than a superstar player, he was a peacemaker as well.  The Boston Herald wrote after the game,  "Except for the majestic presence of Willie May, several players could have been maimed.  Willie was out of the dugout in a flash to help disarm Marichal...this could be the year Mays wins the MVP award and the Nobel Peace Prize, too."

Willie won the MVP award that year; he didn't win the Nobel Peace Prize.  But he did win a seven year old's heart, and maybe even helped saved his life along the way.  I believe in the church of baseball and the practice of calltrepreneurship wherever it may be found.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Secret To Success

A view of the Pacific Ocean from Jenner by the Sea

"Allow regular time for silent reflection.  Turn inward and digest what has happened.  Let the senses rest and grow still."  - John Heider, The Tao of Leadership

I have returned to the long to-do lists, endless emails, urgent phone calls, complicated projects and wired existence that make up most hours of my day. It's called work. The silent retreats in Assisi and Silicon Valley, the long walks through the streets and woods and waking up with nothing to do except meet amazing people, looking for spiritual and entrepreneurial wisdom are over.  Making time in my life to turn inward and digest what has happened takes more intentionality and much more effort.

I discovered meditation, the Tao Te Ching and John Heider's book when I was in my twenties.  They have been companions and guides ever since.  I've read hundreds of books and leadership in the last thirty years and Heider's book is still the one I turn to whenever I need to be reminded of what I want to be. When I was in the corporate world, I had a practice of giving The Tao of Leadership to every new boss I had.  Perhaps this was a bit risky in the Fortune 50 companies I worked at, but I was lucky and had good bosses and they enjoyed the gift every time.  We had rich discussions and sometimes we would even meditate together.

I have been thinking about the wisdom of the Tao a lot the last week.  I am immersed again in the work of leading a growing organization.  I am used to the multi-tasking and juggling that I have to do.  I am good at them.  But the doors I opened in Assisi and Silicon Valley and, more importantly, the questions, possibilities and challenges I discovered behind them, continue to whisper to me.

I - we - live in a world that goes faster and faster every day.  Some of us thrive on the energy and don't want and/or know how to stop.  But all the great religions of the world remind us of the same thing - take time to step away, to reflect, to pray, to meditate, to grow still and digest what has happened.

On my last day in California I met with a couple who are very active in philanthropy and spirituality.  One was a minister and the other a semi-retired business owner who has been meditating for decades.  As we sat in their living room with a spectacular view of the San Francisco Bay we passionately discussed business, religion, spirituality and social entrepreneurship.   The minister, not me!, invited us to stop, sit in shared silence for a few minutes and reflect on what was happening.  In my mind a lightbulb went off about a secret to success that I traveled around the world to be reminded of.  It all starts with silence.

The Tao of Leadership states in the section on The Leader's Teachers:  "They practiced meditation.  Meditation made them good at seeing how things happen.  Meditation grounded them in the infinite.  That is why they sometimes appeared deep and inscrutable, sometimes even great."

I met so many wonderful people in Italy and California who I plan on telling you more about.  But one similarity kept coming up with almost everyone I met.  They spent time in meditation and contemplation. For some people it was the transformational experience of their life.   In Assisi that did not surprise me, the rhythm of life invites it, but in Silicon Valley the energy and buzz...not so much.

The first step in being a calltrepreneur is stopping, letting our senses rest and listening.  Regularly.   Not only so we can discern the calling(s) of our life, but so we can digest what is happening and know what to do next.   When we are grounded in the infinite, the possibilities for our lives and serving others become infinite as well.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Similarities of Steve Jobs and St. Francis

Is there any doubt that St. Francis would have used a Mac?

"You will see that one day I will be adored by the whole world." - St. Francis
"I want to put a dent in the universe." - Steve Jobs

Last year a BBC documentary compared people who loved Apple products with people of faith.  Researches found that "Apple products are triggering the same bits of (the) brain as religious imagery triggers in a person of faith."  I suspect for some people of faith, especially my ministerial colleagues, that statement would be heretical.  Given that I am a Unitarian Universalist minister proud of our faith's heretical history, it's probably not surprising I don't find this research to be all that surprising or worrisome.  Do I have the same experience using my iPhone or iPad as I do when sitting in meditation in a redwood forrest, praying before a sacred icon or singing in a congregation?  I hope not and I don't think so. But if some of the purposes of religion and faith are to bring joy to our lives, invoke more spirit and creativity in our lives while and opening up possibilities for living in deeper community (and they are), well all that happens when I sit before my Apple icons.

All of this is preface to what some have told me is a heretical exercise - comparing the lives of St. Francis and Steve Jobs.  I met a delightful young woman in Assisi  who hails from Eastern Europe, has an MBA and works for one of the largest companies in the world, is a very devout member of her Eastern Orthodox congregation and a fan of Apple.  When I told her one of the purposes of my pilgrimage was to explore the similarities between St. Francis and Steve Jobs, she said, "but Steve Jobs was a psychopath."  Not knowing what her definition was of psychopath I said, "and so was St. Francis."  

One definition for psychopath is someone with "an anti-social personality disorder."  Steve Jobs and St. Francis, fortunately for us, were both anti-social in the sense that they saw a different way of living and being than anyone else.  And they devoted their lives to inviting the rest of us into their world.  Below is my beginning list of how their lives were similar.  Some are trivial, some are silly, some are profound and inspiring.  Please add to it!
  • Steve Jobs was born in San Francisco.  San Francisco was named after San Francesco - St. Francis in Italian.
  • Steve Jobs died on October 5.  St. Francis on October 4.
  • Both worked a lot in their bare feet and had very austere diets.  (Steve Jobs would go weeks only eating one type of food such as carrots.  Francis would go weeks while eating no or little food.)
  • They both were called to something bigger than themselves.  
  • Retreat and pilgrimage were important to their lives.  Jobs spent seven months in India before starting Apple and was an intense student of Zen.  Francis regularly would go away for prayer and meditation.
  • Both were adopted.  Jobs was adopted at birth and his biographers and friends say it was a critical part of his spiritual and business quests.  (As someone who was also adopted and born in San Francisco I admit a kinship with Jobs here.)  Francis was "adopted" by God when he renounced his father.   
  • Both started new enterprises, left them, and returned after seeing things change in ways they didn't like.  Jobs was fired from Apple, the company almost went under, and he came back much wiser and better equipped to lead the company.  Francis' left the leadership of his order and turned it over to another Brother who eased some of the original rules.  Francis regretted these changes in his later life.
  • Both were college dropouts.
  • Both were "hippies" who enjoyed having a good time partying before they became famous.
  • Both were charismatic and great salesmen.  Jobs was known for his dramatic presentations of new products and Francis was, according to one biographer, "a master of dramatic gestures and visual tableaux, and unsurprisingly representations of these played an important part in this cult."
  • Both had cultish followings.
  • Both died young and were driven by high standards that they demanded from others.  (See my last post for examples.)
  • Both had big visions and dreams for their lives (see the quotes above.)
  • Both wore unique and distinctive garb - Jobs a black turtleneck, Francis a brown robe with a rope tied around it.
  • Both were calltrepreneurs.  Men who listened to the divine whispers of life/God, followed their passion/calling and created and managed something new which made the world a better place.  
Steve Jobs and St. Francis changed the world.  Forever.  Everyone does to different degrees.  What can we learn from their lives to make ours, and others, a little bit better?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Saints and Sinners

"The saints are the sinners who keep on trying." - Robert Louis Stevenson

I woke up this morning with "write a new blogpost on Steve Jobs and St. Francis today" on my to do list.  I have been planning this post since March when I first realized that I was being called to explore the intersection between Silicon Valley and Assisi, Steve Jobs and St. Francis, business/entrepreneurship and religion/spirituality.  As I began writing I got a call from a friend asking if I had seen the new Wired magazine cover article on Steve Jobs asking, "Do You Really Want to Be Like Steve Jobs?"

The first computer my family bought in 1991 was made by Apple.  I didn't buy my second computer from Apple until 2009.  I tell you this so you know I haven't been an Apple fanatic.  (If I had been my retirement account would probably have a lot more money in it.)  I've always appreciated Apple and respected the innovation Jobs and his company brought to the world but it wasn't until the last few years that I became a convert.  When I read Walter Isaacon's biography of Jobs last fall I was inspired.  Not by Jobs' faults and shortcomings, and there were many, but by his passion, his genius, his calling and the spiritual grounding from which it all sprang.

St. Francis is for many, especially ministers, an easier person to admire.  His selfless life of serving God, renouncing all material possessions and loving all nature and its creatures and creations has inspired millions of people, even those who are not or have never been Catholic.  St. Francis has been one of the people I've included in my "spiritual hall of fame" for a long time.  These are people who I have read about and sometimes will wonder what they would do in a certain situation.  Some people ask what would Jesus do?  I've asked what would Jesus, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, Sojurner Truth, Willie Mays, Gandhi, Helen Keller, Dorothy Day, God, St. Francis, Howard Thurman, or Steve Jobs (to name just a few) would do at different times in my life.

Steve Jobs' picture on the Wired cover has both horns and a halo added to it.  Was he a sinner or saint?  Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and MBA from Wharton, wrote a compelling article comparing Jobs to the saints last fall.  Perhaps he, like me, choses to lift up the best of Jobs' life to emulate.

In the last few months I have read lots of articles and books on Steve Jobs and St. Francis.  I've always loved biographies but I don't usually read multiple ones on the same person.  Just as people see different sides of us and would tell different stories about what we have done and what we have meant to them, so do biographers.  I'm not sure why but I find this comforting and inspiring.  Every biography I've ever read has made the person more human, more full of the genius and flaws we all have.

People who accomplish great and wonderful things are bad at things too.  We all have halos and horns on our heads.  It seems to me that one of our tasks, if we are to be calltrepreneurs and more fully live and create lives of meaning, joy and service unique to who we are, we need to accept and maybe even appreciate those parts of ourselves that aren't what we wish they could be.  We need to keep trying.

Tomorrow I'll share my list of how Steve Jobs and St. Francis are similar but one story about Francis, that wasn't probably his greatest moment but, inspires me nonetheless.  Paul Sabatier in his Life of St. Francis tells the story of when Francis was traveling with Brother Barbaro who spoke evil against another person.  Francis ordered him to eat a lump of donkey dung saying "the mouth that has distilled the venom of hatred against my brother must eat this excrement."

Why does this inspire me?  If the great St. Francis can lose his temper and tell someone he loves to "eat shit" there is hope for the rest of us who get mad at the person who cuts us off in traffic or forget our best selves every now and then.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Back To Work

Sunset in Assisi

"The ultimate aim of the quest, if one is to return, must be neither release nor ecstasy for oneself, but the wisdom and power to serve." -- Joseph Campbell

My five weeks of pilgrimage has ended and it's back to work in the morning.  I'll be in California for one more week and still have some meetings in Silicon Valley but tomorrow I begin answering the hundreds of emails, returning phone calls and doing the work of being Executive Director of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association.

What an amazing five weeks it has been.  I have met wonderful people, visited sacred sites, eaten wonderful food (the diet begins tomorrow too!), prayed and meditated in redwood groves, in the middle of olive trees and ancient churches, and have had the chance to discuss spirituality and entrepreneurship with young and old around the world.

I read the quote from Joseph Campbell above in The Art of the Pilgrimage, by Phil Cousineau, when I was staying with the Franciscan nuns in Assisi.  The words have stuck with me as I have spent the last few weeks roaming the world in search of something that is still being revealed.  The wisdom and power to serve.   Ecstasy is good; very good but the goal of the calltrepreneur, is to answer something greater than ourselves while serving the greater good.  How will these past few weeks help me, and hopefully others, do that?

Time will tell.  But one thing I have learned even more deeply than I knew before.  It is something else I read in The Art of Pilgrimage.  The words of Nadia Boulanger who said, "Never forget that your days are blessed."  It's easy to forget on some days that I, that we, are blessed.  Some days it is impossible to forget.  I have been living those days for the last few weeks and I wonder how I, how we, better share those blessings with others?

 Sometimes the gratitude of our lives is overwhelming.  The best way I know to give it away is by practicing generosity with our time, our money, our spirit, our work, our lives.    Living the life of the calltrepreneur, sharing our gifts with others, is one way to express our gratitude for the blessings of life.  In the coming weeks and months we will continue to explore how to best do that.

Many thank you cards and 467 emails await me in the morning.  I'll end each card and email the way I always do with "blessings, Don", hoping that each person remembers what we should never forget - our days are blessed.  We don't need to travel halfway across the world to remember, we only need take another breath.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Dash

Steve Jobs' early childhood home in San Francisco

"So when your eulogy is being read, With your life's actions to rehash...Would you be proud of the things they say, About how you lived your dash?" - from Linda Ellis' poem "The Dash"

One of my favorite museums is the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.  The gallery contains hundreds, if not thousands, of portraits of mainly famous Americans from the last 400 years.  The portraits are photographs, paintings, and drawings that include a brief description of who the person is and the years that he or she was born and died.  The first time I visited the museum I enjoyed the portraits but I was more impacted by the dates of life and death, the dash, that was included on everyone's plaque.  Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865),  Johnny Carson (1925-2005),  Helen Keller (1880-1968).  Lucille Ball (1911-1989),  Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968).

I have thought about the Portrait Gallery and the dash as I have "pilgrimaged" to Assisi and Silicon Valley the last four weeks.  I have visited the sites where St. Francis (1181-1226), St. Clare (1194-1253) and Steve Jobs (1955-2011) were born and died and I have returned to where I, Don Southworth (1958-?) was born and raised.  (See the picture below.)

Most of us won't have our portraits hung one day in the Smithsonian or be listed on Wikipedia with the dates of our birth and death.  Very few people will travel to the places we were born or the the places we will die.  And yet our dashes, our lives are just as important as those famous people...and just as unique.

I'm always struck when I visit the portrait gallery, or cemeteries (another favorite place of mine) that while we all know the year we are born none of us know the final date that will follow the dash.  Would we change the way we lived our lives if we did?  One of the most popular classes I led when I was serving as a parish minister was titled, A Year to Live.  The class was based on a book of the same name written by Stephen Levine.  We began by setting the "pretend" date for our death one year from the beginning of the class.  We met once a month and worked on the practical and spiritual aspects of preparing for death so that we could live more meaningful and fulfilling lives.  

The class was a transforming experience for most people and always was for me.  It's easy to talk about how precious life is but when we are forced to face our mortality - whether in a class or more powerfully, by life and a loved one's illness or death - we realize at a deeper level how sacred, and how brief, our time on earth truly is.

St. Francis, St. Clare and Steve Jobs are three people whose lives inspire me to craft and manage a life of innovation, spirit and service - of calltrepreneurship.  In my travels the last few weeks I have met many others whose life stories have done the same.  When I began this pilgrimage I knew I wanted to explore the intersection of spirituality/religion and business/entrepreneurship and I knew it was a trip about going home.  Home to Italy and home to California, obviously, but maybe too about home as the number following my dash.  

"So when your eulogy is being read...would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?"  Isn't it both comforting and sobering to know that we are still working on our dash?  And that we have so many people, both living and dead, to coach, guide and inspire us as we do?   Thank you so much for joining me on this pilgrimage month and I hope you'll stay around as we continue to explore living the calltrepreneurs' life - a life of creativity, spirit and service to something bigger than ourselves.

(Note:  I'm still learning this blogging stuff and for some reason comments haven't been allowed recently.  I think we have fixed that error so I encourage you to add your thoughts to this conversation.)