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Shhhh... Hear that?

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Author: the Inkslinger

Our scent guru, Eva-Marie passed along this link to Just-a-Minute, an organization encouraging us all to take just a minute here and there to quiet our minds and let peace and stillness rush in as a way to maybe get some of it to rub off on the world.

It’s feels so true to me that peacefulness is rapidly becoming an extinct quality. The general pace of human existence, at least here in America, just seems to get more maddening every year, the noise and static that much louder, the collective blood pressure that much higher. We’ve all but lost the ability to sit still and just be. Empty. Unexpectant.

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Can This Man Save The World?

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Several weeks ago, my wife was emptying out her family’s home in Providence, Rhode Island, and she found this picture among the things her father had saved. On August 10, 1989, it appeared on the cover of the second section of New York Newsday, a daily newspaper in New York City. I hadn’t looked at it for many years.

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Living in the Here & Now

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In case anyone missed it, I recently recorded a segment for the NPR series “This I Believe” about my late brother Peter. For those of you who haven’t ever heard it on the air, “This I Believe” is an international audio project based on the popular 1950s radio series of the same name hosted by Edward R. Murrow.

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Finding Peace

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I am a pretty obsessive do-er. Waiting at the airport, in the car if I’m not driving, when I wake up, and before I go to sleep, I read. The computer on my desk (this one, in fact ) is like a magnetic force that draws me to it whenever it catches my eye. The phone does the same thing. (And it’s worse now that I have a new i-Phone but more on that some another time). So does the radio, which I prefer over the TV.

But somehow, when I am at the beach, it is effortless to do nothing but stare out across the waves into the sea. Or to lie down curled up in the warm sand and sleep. Or to walk with no destination or purpose.

There is a magical force for me that being near the ocean never fails to provide. A force that draws me to it whenever I am near. For endless hours, I can sit and stare. Sit, and sit and sit some more.

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The Longest Day

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Author: the Inkslinger

Today is the year’s longest day. As we sit on this serendipitous ball of water-drenched rock, sailing through the space at 66,700 miles per hour, we will arrive this afternoon, at 2:06 pm Eastern Daylight Time, at that place in our annual 149.6 million mile journey around the sun at which the Earth’s gladfully tilted northern axis points most directly at the sun and our hemisphere is most fully bathed in its lifeforce.

I think it’s the year’s best moment to stop and contemplate the mysteries that surround us. And I think we very much need to find such moments wherever we can and whenever they present themselves. I think this is the amorphous hunger so many feel. A hunger for connection to something larger than themselves, something that reaches well beyond our daily banalities to penetrate deeper and get at the marrow of life, a spiritual hunger for a relationship with the divine. For me (and we each have our own definition), that divinity is embodied by nature, the sum of all things that sustain us and that bring to our senses and our hearts the inscrutable beauty that cannot be named but only known.

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An Apology

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You have to love Consumer Reports. Their vigilance when it comes to looking out for consumers is as boundless as their enthusiasm for the job, and, as I learned late last week, no detail gets overlooked along the way.

I wish I could say the same for things here. But details occasionally do get overlooked on our end. Stuff happens. I’m philosophical about it. As a company that’s gone from struggling to explosive growth in the space of just a few years (a corporate Cinderella story if there ever was one), I know all too well how many days we spend just trying to hang on as this roller coaster picks up steam. We do the best we can, so I can’t complain. But Consumer Reports can. And last week they did and rightfully so.

At issue was the label for our Automatic Dishwasher Gel. One of the words that appears on the front is “biodegradable,” an implicit message that our formula breaks down in the environment. And all of it will except for one polymer-based cleaning agent that it uses. (There’s another cleaning agent in the formula that does biodegrade, and both are needed for the product to work.) In accordance with our belief in full ingredients disclosure, this important information appears on the back of every bottle. Still, without an asterisk or some kind of immediate notation on the front, “biodegradable” really shouldn’t be there. But it is. And Consumer Reports quite correctly wondered why. Here’s the story:

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Today We Give Peace a Chance

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Author: the Inkslinger

Peace is something the world could certainly use a little more of these days. Or a lot more depending on which direction you’re looking. So today, along with a bunch of other people and organizations, we’re thinking about peace and encouraging peace and just sort of ruminating on the idea as way to tap into whatever universal mind there might be and send positive signals into it. The occasion, ostensibly, is the publication of a new book called Where Peace Lives by Debbie Robins. But really peace doesn’t need a day or a moment. It should live and be everywhere always. It’s how we’re going to get where we need to go. From how we treat each other to how we treat nature, it’s really the only road there is to take.

I think when we talk about creating peace we’re really talking about evolving to a higher plane. Because “peace” is not just about no war. It’s not merely a condition of existence, a switch that’s either on or off. It cuts deeper than that. It’s a state of nonviolent being that exists on a higher plane. It’s the culmination of the acquisition of the wisdom needed to expose violence for the cruel madness it is. And once we see, we’ve grown.

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In the Aftermath of Oprah and Vanity Fair

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April 21, 2007, New York, NY? Success breeds uncertainty. One might think of success as a confirmation of the path one has chosen to travel down. A sign of well made choices or an affirmation that one is headed in the right direction. Yet, there is no right direction, only the making of the direction you have chosen or have happened upon at that particular moment in time. This is something I am prone to forget.

Spring has been subsumed by the beginning of summer. Spring barely had a chance to slowly warm the frozen ground and ease tulip bulbs up through the melting snow and the remnants of fall’s leaves. Just as it began to awaken, spring was overtaken by summer. I’m not quite ready for summer. After winter lingered late into what would have been spring, with snowflakes and endless dark and cloudy days, it was, as it is today, already hot.

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Reflections On Growing My Self

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Sometimes I forget that my job is more about growing my self than growing others. It is, or at it least seems to be, easier to grow others than to grow me. I usually have a point of view about who you need to be or become to do your job better. Such clarity about myself, however, is often elusive.

The amazing success of Seventh Generation has created possibilities and opportunities that we couldn’t have dreamed of a few years ago.
Those possibilities become expectations and then commitments to achieve some pretty amazing things. For me, that produces both excitement and fear, anticipation and anxiety. On the fear front, I wonder how I can provide the leadership needed to sail across the ocean on a 100-foot vessel when the totality of my experience is guiding a model sailboat across a pond in Central Park.

At times, I notice that the hand I place on the tiller of the boat trembles, and that trembling produces vibrations in the boat that slow it down. Other times I notice that I am inclined to change directions when it seems that we are not sailing quick enough. These actions may seem impulsive or reactive. But never having sailed across this part of the ocean, I can’t know how fast we are already going relative to our potential or whether a new direction will get us to our destination any quicker.

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