Archive for June, 2011

The Core Issue in Politics and Finance Which Makes Decision Making So Difficult

Posted in Living Abroad, Thinking Patterns on June 28th, 2011 by Sandy – 4 Comments

Dancing at the Jardin

When you dust away the rhetoric the basic issue is whether a community does better by looking after everyone in the community or just having a loose confederation of individuals who ban together for only the bare essentials such as fire, police, road maintenance etc. And ultimately which form is the most rewarding?  This is the great divide between Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives. It is the fundamental core philosophical difference and one in which creative thinking needs to move to the fore.

In this debate those who favor strong individualism with minimal government services maintain that those who make the money deserve it, and they will pump more money back into the community for the benefit of all but on a mostly voluntary basis.

In the community first idea where the community provides a safety net for all of its citizens the theory goes that everyone will pull harder to support this set up and as a result it will create a tide in which all boats will rise: the wealthy will actually do better than in the minimal government model.

Which is it? read more »

Looking for Small Synchronicities and the Extra ordinary

Posted in Living Abroad, Thinking Patterns on June 24th, 2011 by Sandy – 6 Comments

On The Road In Mexico

With a friend, Rick, I am beginning a ten day Mexican road trip from San Miguel de Allende  to Puebla, Oaxaca, and points to be decided upon. Anytime you drive in a foreign environment and are not familiar with anything, everything is a big deal.

One of the goals of our journey is to look for synchronicities and flow: make it a Zen trip if we can. That is  as we physically journey we will look for feedback and endorsement that we are on the right path. There may be subtle intuitive urges, synchronistic feedback signs popping, or both, which will validate the course . When approaching a task or journey from this conscious viewpoint you can feel a certain slowing down of time. You become both the observer and the observed. You become more present appreciating everything around you and paying attention to the subtle forces.

Today for, example, after a long drive, we were trying to find the hotel Colonia de Puebla.  The entrance eluded us because it faced on to a walking street and we were turned around to say the least. However,  we knew the hotel  garage was on a back street and we were close. We just didn’t know where. Rick, said, “Pull over after we pass that parked small truck ahead of us on the curve,. I think there might be an opening.” I do sliding  into a nice wide space so as to let traffic pull though. I stop, open the car door, scoot  across the street and ask  a fellow who seems to belong in the area where the hotel garage is. He points me to a squawk box directly behind me.  I am literally at the garage door . It swings open. Driving into the lot Rick comments about how fortuitous and easy getting into town and the hotel has turned out to be.  There was a certain ease in entering the unfamiliar city. Then our  Tom Tom GPS gal guding us to the city center after we had missed a turn, and then our hesitating right in front of the hotel’s unmarked garage door not knowing that that is exactly where we needed to be. The down pour turned every cafe on the Zocolo from being inviting but we wandered still protected from rain into a very nice Italian restaurant in the midst of the storm.  It was a nice day.

These tiny events, are the subtle nuances that may come many times in a day. They are so small that one can breeze past them unaware of the subtle forces at work. But once you begin to see the coincidences as actual guidance and manifestation, then everything begins to become a bit more surreal and exciting. The  ordinary does indeed becomes extra ordinary.

It is said that once you start to recognize synchronicities, however small, more will appear. We’ll see.

My guess is that each of you has at least one or more events that take place daily. Ou know, the kind which are smooth as silk. Stop next time that happens.  Take a moment to appreciate it. String these events to one another and notice how you begin to feel.

Puebla, where we are staying is a beautiful city. It was called Puebla de los Angeles, the city of angels because it was the result of a great idea to impose civilization, controlling those Spaniards driven by greed and to reduce the tributes paid by the Indians in exchange for their help in building the city. We are going to see it tomorrow.

Tell us about your own experiences of this nature.

Where in the World Are We Going?

Posted in Architecture, Thinking Patterns on June 18th, 2011 by Sandy – 1 Comment

Dresden VW Phaeton Plant

We are living in such sensational times whether  political, economic, social or environmental that it is difficult to grasp the consequences. One thing for sure that will be happening is that our creative thinking will look for ways to make it more palatable and force us to become more open minded about where it is all going.

According to the Futurist Magazine, “The average American consumes about 34 gigabytes of data and information every day… and that amount of data will rise 44-fold in the next decade. The Economist Magazine predicts, “that by 2017 there could be as many as 7 trillion wirelessly connected devices and objects, which translates to approximately 1,000 per person. Personally I can’t grasp that yet.

I maintain that one must let “technology be your friend.” It doesn’t mean that I have to gobble down every new device, but that I actually find applications which make daily life easier. The more I do this the more I get into the flow of life at this ever increasing pace.

While there is a backlash at some level of how technology is taking over our lives there is also the positive side.

Here is an example of what a future factory looks like now. It is not only aesthetically beautiful but creates an interface between customer and producer. It is the Dresden Volkswagon plant where they  make the Phaeton.  The real creative thinking  was to get the city fathers to allow the plant to be built in the heart of the city. See how they did it.

How To Gamble Sensibly

Posted in Thinking Patterns on June 15th, 2011 by Sandy – 2 Comments

Not all in one basket, please!

I think we have all been in situations where  some favorable turn of events suggested to us that lady luck was in our corner. Then we were liable to “bet the farm” against all rational measures. But how can we be open minded and think creatively about why and what we are doing?

What is happening and how do we see a larger picture? read more »

What Does It Take To Make Life Worth Living?

Posted in Discoveries, Thinking Patterns on June 12th, 2011 by Sandy – Be the first to comment

Today more than ever in all of the turmoil and change the old adage that “life is determined by the questions we ask” certainly needs front and center stage. If we are open minded and using our creative thinking focus we might ask ourselves the question in the headline.,

I went to a dinner tonight where the generations were discussing what they were facing. We had retired, recent college graduates, and those still very active in the work a day world. While it was acknowledged that each generation must find its way the difference between today and earlier times was that employment today is more challenging.  It is not that clear where opportunity is and how to land on one’s feet. It used to be that people had a game plan. They would find a career, apply themselves, save and muddle through to more gracious years. But now more than ever, nothing looks very certain, and when it is all stripped down here is what one of the leading thinkers and psychologists of the day, Mihaly Csikszentmihaly has to say about   What Makes Life Worth Living

How Can The Global Economy Make My 201 K Act And Feel Like A 401K With A Bonus To Boot?

Posted in Uncategorized on June 11th, 2011 by Sandy – 1 Comment

Street life in Guanajuato

True,  this is a tongue and cheek expression. However it is meant to address the sad fact that many people in their early 60’s and beyond saw their savings dwindle by 40 to 50% may have gotten some of it back, but are not facing bright prospects. Perhaps you  are retired and have had to face the dim prospects of finding part time work. To make matters even worse what savings you do have maybe tied up in low yielding interest bearing accounts or worse yet in really risky high yield returns that could go south if a number of events were to happen. I have been writing about creative thinking with the idea of becoming more open minded to the larger possibilites.

The fact of the matter is that we are in the midst of a huge structural change. Much of the work force is losing their jobs to the international market, because we do live in a global  environment.  Hourly rates of $50 to $60 are being replaced at $10 to $20 or less in emerging economies, and these jobs are not coming back.  In the local markets what fewer jobs exist have greater competition.

So what does that have to do with my making my retirement or income work harder? read more »

Mindfulness 101

Posted in Uncategorized on June 5th, 2011 by Sandy – Be the first to comment

Watch that step

The area of decision making is a constant process in our lives and one of the best decisions we can make is to practice being mindful. What do I mean?

I had a friend just the other day here in San Miguel step out in front of a bus slowly making a turn. She was knocked down, but fortunately just got bruised.  She said, ” I just wasn’t present, daydreaming or whatever. What a close call!”

Then I was in Mexico City a few days later and handed the cab driver a 200 peso bill. He gave me back change and folded inside of the change were a couple of old bills that were worthless.  Instead of looking at my change I just stuck it in my pocket, only to discover the ruse a short while later.

Then there are the misplaced keys and glasses that I personally have spent cumulatively too much time looking for  to want to admit.

So, what’s the answer? read more »

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