Just Doing a Job

Estralarian_IMAGEWe each ordered an omelet. I was glad for the reprieve and sipped my coffee slowly while considering his question.

“What about Molly?’ David asked.

“What about her?”

“Is she insidiously destroying the planet, humiliating people, and poisoning you?”

“Probably not.”

“Consider that cup of coffee,” he said. “What destructive chemicals did they use to grow it? Is it fair trade or did the growers
not get their money’s worth? Are the caffeine, cream, and sugar really helping you achieve optimal health?”

“I don’t know.”

“Should I not tip her?”

“No. She’s just doing her job.”

“Exactly. She came to work today with the intention to serve people. She found out what you wanted, and she went to get if for you. How does she differ from any other person in business in America?”

I sighed.

“I understand your frustrations, Steve. But your problems with Corporate America don’t have to be hopeless. There’s a better way of looking at things.”

This is an excerpt from How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. Order your copy today!

 

Steve McAllister is the author of The Rucksack Letters and How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. He posts regularly at InkenSoul.com, is sometimes posts at Anything Arts, Sarasota Music Scene, and Elephant Journal, and is currently the Director of Operational Development for the Common Wealth Time Bank in Sarasota, Florida. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

 

 

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Life in the Autonomous Nation of Stevetopia

On July 4, 2012, in service to myself, the people of my country, and the rest of the world, I severed my citizenship with the United States of America and declared my sovereignty as the Autonomous Nation of Stevetopia. I like America, for the most part, and am very grateful for many of the wonderful shiny things that it has brought forth into the world. However, due to their incredible penchant for wastefulness, violence, and ill health, I cannot, with good conscience, contribute to their ways of force when I believe that the way of power is so much more effective in contributing to and interacting with the world.

smiley faceStevetopia is a small nation with a population of one and a mobile territory of roughly one hundred and forty-four pounds of water, air, earth, and fire that generally maneuvers around the twenty-seventh line of latitude and eighty-second line of longitude in the northwestern hemisphere of the planet Earth. It is a peaceful nation, well-crafted in resilience, resourcefulness, and efficiency, and more devoted to creativity and collaboration than collusion and competition. Their largest exports include literature, art, film, music, technological innovations, good vibes, and smiles.

Economically, Stevetopia is a gift-based system. Because mathematics is ill-equipped to adequately value the four quadrants of the Stevetopia economic paradigm of heart, mind, body, and spirit, the Stevetopia Parliament decided that attempting to keep tabs on such things was pedantic and unworthy of the creative energy wasted on such a foolhardy endeavor. The citizenry shares freely with members of neighboring countries, who tend to return kindness amicably.

However, the Stevetopia Department of Cultural Affairs is sympathetic to the traditional members of neighboring countries that still rely on such rudimentary systems as finance, so in order to keep the peace, Stevetopia does occasionally engage them in their rituals and utilizes the currency they refer to as “money.” In order to empower the citizenry of these countries to realize more freedom than their totalitarian governments generally allow through their antiquated methods of the commodity world view, residents of Stevetopia also engage in the use of complimentary currencies such as Bitcoins, Time Dollars, and even the old, reliable practice of barter. It is due to their flexibility in accepting the abundance of the world that the population of Stevetopia declares such a buoyant economics of happiness.

Culturally, the philosophical foundation of Stevetopia is based largely upon the Judeo-Christian tradition and situational comedies. During its formation, the tiny nation has played host to a number of religious belief systems, but does not formally align itself with any organized religious structure. Though they exuberantly celebrate a variety of rituals and spiritual practices, the people of Stevetopia generally declare the two commandments of Christ – to love God and to love your neighbor – as the law of the land.

Because the population of Stevetopia has realized their unity and committed to supporting one another while serving the world at large, there are no formal laws beyond the two aforementioned. Because there are no laws, there is no punishment, and other than the occasional theft by foreign raiders, Stevetopia is free of crime. Although independent from the rule of America, the Stevetopia charter is still based on the rights of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness declared in the American Declaration of Independence, and it is due to their allegiance to uphold these rights that the people of Stevetopia will form no laws to infringe upon them.

If you or your loved ones would like to visit Stevetopia for vacation, customs agents insist that you come bearing fruit or some other such gift, and leave all weapons at the border. Stevetopians make hospitable hosts and like to eat well, make music, and engage in lively conversation. To make your travel plans, write to the Stevetopia Embassy at inkensoul@gmail.com or visit the The Flow Factory website, where the Stevetopia Embassy offices are headquartered.

 

 

Bleakness Incorporated

“Good morning, gentlemen. Welcome to First Watch. My name is Molly, and I’ll be your server today. May I get you something to drink?”

We each ordered a beverage and attended to the menus in our hands.

“Before we order,” he started, “I’m kind of curious. What inspired you to write a book about marketing?”

tears1“It just kind of came to me.”

“What did?”

“The idea. I guess I’m just lucky.”

“They say that luck is when preparedness meets opportunity.”

“Do they?”

“They do.” He looked at me more intensely. “So are you?”

“Am I what?”

“Prepared for the opportunity.”

“I think so. I think this is going to be a bit of on the job training.”

“Fair enough,” he said as he shrugged and looked to his menu. “The omelets are delicious here.”

I looked at my own menu, not only considering what to eat, but also wondering what questions to ask. I looked around me at the other people in the restaurant. None of them were glowing, which was a huge relief, and I wasn’t being sucked into anyone’s mind. However, there was a still a sense that made me very uneasy.

Perhaps it was a remnant of the shame I had experienced through the people in the park, but I was struck with an overwhelming feeling of guilt. It was as if I didn’t deserve to be here, like I wasn’t worthy of the kindness I was being shown.

David folded his hands in front of him and awaited my first question.

“Still a little shook up?” he asked.

“I guess so.”

“Hmmm. Perhaps I should ask you another question to get the ball rolling,” he suggested.

“Sure. Go ahead.”

“Do you have any hesitations about writing a book about marketing?”

“Other than the fact that I don’t know what I’m talking about?”

“Yeah. Other than that.”

My energy still felt low, and I was finding it impossible to find many positive points about anything. “Well,” I began, “I guess I’m a little leery of business in America.”

“Why is that?”

“You have to admit that Corporate America has taken everything over. Business in America anymore is just this machine that devours everything that it touches.”

“Really?” David said.

“Yeah. I mean, how many small businesses have gone out of business because some huge mega mart came to town offering cheap merchandise and one stop shopping? And these are the places we get all of our stuff from now, these huge corporations that get their merchandise from overseas so that no American jobs are created
except for the cashiers and stock boys that get poverty wages and no insurance benefits.”

“Sounds like a pretty bleak situation.”

“Ya think?” I retorted. “Not only that, but the people that do put together these products overseas are forced to work under deplorable conditions for substandard wages. It’s inhuman. It’s unconscionable.”

Though I heard the words coming out of my mouth, I was powerless to stop them from spewing from my lips. All I could see of business in America was its guilt.

“I see,” said David. “Would you say that’s the consensus for American business?”

`’It seems like it sometimes. I mean, if you go to any town in America, you see the same buildings, the same signs, the same logos, the same images. We’ve been corporatized. It just makes me sick sometimes that we’ve given ourselves over to that.

“You know,” I continued, “corporations now are legal citizens. But because they can supposedly offer more to the economic stability of the government, they’re getting all of the breaks while regular people are getting left out in the cold. It just seems sometimes like the world is run by and for businesses more than people.”

“Sure does seem that way sometimes,” David said.

“And the clincher is that the business as an entity doesn’t care.”

“Doesn’t care about what?”

“Anything,” I said. “Beyond the bottom line, the corporation doesn’t seem to have any devotion whatsoever. It’s a completely Darwinian entity, only looking out for its own survival.”

“How do you mean?”

“Well, look at the airline industries. After 9/11, they got billions of dollars in bail out money from the United States government which they used to buy more airplanes from other countries.”

“So they obviously don’t have any patriotic loyalty. What else?”

“What about the automotive industry?”

“What about them?”

“Regardless of whatever excuse they want to give us, the technology does exist for us to run cars completely off of electricity. They’ve built them. They’ve been on the road. We could completely do away with the internal combustion engine and our dependence on oil while having less of a negative impact on the planet.”

“Are you saying it’s a conspiracy?” he asked.

“There’s no conspiracy to it,” I said. “It’s just business. The internal combustion engine has more replaceable parts which means more profits. And unfortunately, the automotive industry and the oil industry have grown a very symbiotic relationship, one that’s not going to be severed easily, especially when there’s still money to be made.”

“Hmm?” David thought for a moment. “What else?”

“How about the food industry. Do you realize how much garbage we put into our systems every day because it’s cheap?”

“And this is all the fault of businesses?”

“No. It’s not all their fault. But businesses are the suppliers, you know. Consumers are going to buy what’s readily available to them. I just wish businesses would give a little more thought into what they’re offering and why.”

“But businesses don’t think,” David said.

I stopped and looked at him. “Huh?”

“Businesses don’t think. They may be legal citizens, but they aren’t cognitive beings. They’re just machines. They do whatever the programmers tell them to do. And the programmers are people.”

“I know. It just seems like business in America is only about the almighty dollar. You know? I mean, we’re raping the planet, using as few environmental guidelines as we can get away with to make our profit margins as big as we can. And while we have the technology to do better and have less of an impact, the profit margins just aren’t there so we keep things status quo.

“And if it’s not bad enough that we’re destroying the planet, we’re just as diligent about destroying our own bodies. You look through a magazine or watch television and you’re just slammed with all of these advertisements for drugs, junk food, fast food, and energy drinks loaded with caffeine and sugar. Then, even when they do offer you stuff that they say is good for you, it turns out that it’s loaded with
high fructose corn syrup or some crap like that, and it’s not good for you after all. It’s insidious!”

“Wow. That is bleak.”

“Bleak? That’s not even the half of it. Most Americans know all about this stuff and they just shrug and go on about their business like there’s nothing they can do about it.”

“What can they do about it?” he asked.

“Huh?”

“You seem to be just as angry at consumers as you are at corporations. What can consumers do about irresponsible corporate practices?”

“I don’t know. They can boycott them.”

“What if they need what they offer?”

“They can find companies with better practices.”

“Do they exist? You make it seem like everyone who goes into business is out to destroy the environment, humiliate mankind, and poison everyone.”

“It seems that way sometimes,” I said. “Like Dr. Evil owns more than just Starbucks.”

“But do you really think it’s that way?”

“Sorry for the wait, gentlemen,” said Molly, placing our drinks in front of us. “Are you ready to order?”
This is an excerpt from How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. Order your copy today!

 

Steve McAllister is the author of The Rucksack Letters and How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. He posts regularly at InkenSoul.com, and sometimes posts atAnything ArtsSarasota Music Scene, and Elephant Journal, and is currently the Director of Operational Development for the Common Wealth Time Bank in Sarasota, Florida. Follow him on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

It’s All Energy

I followed the aliens’ directions and parked the car downtown before finding a bench at Five Points Park. We sat in silence for a few moments. I watched the aliens watch people walking around and through the park and soon let my attention wander to those that they watched.

Some walked slowly. Some walked quickly. Some gave us a friendly nod. Some moved by as if we didn’t even exist.

“What do you see?” Iman asked.

“People. Buildings. Trees. Streets.” I looked at Iman. “Is there something in particular I should be looking for?”

“We’re going to look at energy.”

“Energy?” I asked.

320px-Blue_energy-blog“Yes. Everything has energy. It’s what comprises the universe. However, there are gradations to its flow. Some allow it to flow
strongly through them, and some wrestle with it and don’t allow it to flow as it should.”

“Do you remember your experience with the life window?” Yewell asked.

“How could I forget?”

“What were you thinking about when you lost consciousness?”

“I was thinking about all of the people I’ve let down in my life. I was thinking about all the times I screwed up. I was thinking about all of the things I’d done wrong in life.” As I spoke the words, I could feel my posture start to droop.

“Do you see how those thoughts made you weak?” Iman asked.

“I can feel how they make me feel weak now.”

“Unfortunately, a good part of your population lives in that state,” said Yewell. “They are stuck with that concept of shame as their primary reality. They feel that they don’t deserve anything and neither does anyone else. For them, life is suffering.”

“What does any of this have to do with marketing?” I asked.

“Marketing is all about right understanding,” said Iman, “communicating through your actions and words who you are and what you do. If that understanding is based on a lower stage of consciousness, you’re not going to communicate at your highest potential. You won’t even be able to realize it.”

“I’m not sure I understand,” I said.

The aliens looked at one another and sat on either side of me on the bench. They each placed a hand on my shoulder and stared at me.

“Okay, you guys are kind of freaking me out,” I said.

“Sometimes,” Yewell said “in order to gain right understanding, it is necessary to first view poor understanding.”

“We need you to see something,'” Iman said. “We’re going to give you a mind meld.”

“A what?”

“You’re going to be able to see things through our eyes for awhile. All we want you to do is to sit as you are now and look deeply at the people that share your space.”

“Is this going to hurt?”

They stared blankly at me for a moment before Iman said, “You’ll survive.”

“Okay, that pause wasn’t very convin…”

Before I could finish my thought, both of their hands tightened on my shoulders and my neck craned forward. Searing pain began to develop in my temples as if their eyes were boring into my skull. My vision blurred, darkened, and rose again into a new sensation beyond my optical sense. As much as I wanted to close my eyes, I felt as if my eyes had bugged out beyond the limits of my eyelids.

The people who walked before me no longer appeared as the three dimensional apparitions that I’d seen a moment before. Instead, they glowed with a multi-hued luminescence that transcended the clothes they wore, the color of their skin, or their standing in society. They each glowed with a luminescent aura as if I were looking directly at their souls.

My focus fell on one particular man who was sitting on a bench across from me. A red aura emanated from his lower pelvis, expanding until it overtook his entire body and drew me in like a vortex. My mind zoomed into his and I was shocked by the vision of a psyche racked with shame at a life poorly lived. My mind left his like a gunshot, catapulting my consciousness back to my own body where the multi-colored souls walked before me. Another body was enveloped in red, and again I was drawn into a troubled mind.

I sunk deeper into a subconscious where a raging storm of pain and abuse engulfed me before I was able to break free and return to my own body.

Again and again, my focus fell upon a person who swelled up with red and my mind melded with theirs. Again and again, I was pummeled by a barrage of shame and the weakness of the human condition at its lowest point. My head pounded with pain, my heart ached with sorrow, and my body cramped with the weight of the world upon it. The despair that overtook me made working on the screenplay the night before seem like a trip to Disney World.

I found myself in my own body again, the shame of others bringing me face to face with my own failings once again. The greatest desire that consumed me was wanting to die. With that, the colors of others faded to black and I felt my body slump to the ground on the soft grass as unconsciousness overtook me once again.
This is an excerpt from How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. Order your copy today!

Steve McAllister is the author of The Rucksack Letters and How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. He posts regularly at InkenSoul.com, and sometimes posts atAnything ArtsSarasota Music Scene, and Elephant Journal, and is currently the Director of Operational Development for the Common Wealth Time Bank in Sarasota, Florida. Follow him on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

Finding Balance

Estralarian_IMAGE“Why is marketing the language? I don’t know anything about marketing.”

“We think you know more than you think you do.”

“No, I really don’t. Do you know how many failed businesses I’ve had? Do you know how many things I’ve created that no one has bought? Do you know how many shows I’ve put on that no one attended? I’ve got a book for sale that no one is reading. I’ve got a DVD available that no one is watching. I’ve written I don’t know how many business plans and not one of them has been followed through to fruition. Surely, you guys have been paying attention.”

“Of course we have,” Iman said. “We find your antics quite amusing.”

“Thanks.”

“Absolutely,” added Yewell. “If it weren’t for people like you, we’d probably have no sense of humor at all.”

“Great. So glad to know I give you occasion to laugh.”

“Oh, you’re hysterical.”

“Thanks,” I said. “I wish I could enjoy my screw ups that much. See, I have this condition called Attention Deficit Disorder.”

“Oh, yes! ADD. What a marvelous invention,” said Iman.

“You’ve got to be kidding,” I said.

“Not at all,” he said. “That mindset has been the most open to us on our visits. It’s a travesty that you so often classify it as a disorder.”

“What else could it be?”

“A gift,” said Yewell. “There’s more to you than you realize, Steve.”

“How do you figure?”

“Because you’re human. Do you think you’re the only one that doesn’t have it all figured out? Do you think you’re the only one who doesn’t have it all together? Your entire planet sometimes looks like a Three Stooges episode.”

“Whom we also like quite a lot,” Iman added.

“Hysterical,” Yewell said.

“But I’m a failure.”

“No,” Yewell said as he patted my shoulder, “you’re just not finished. If you were a failure, you wouldn’t be here. You wouldn’t have come this far.”

“You see,” Iman added, “you’re not a failure. You’re just imbalanced.”

“Oh, that makes me feel much better. Thanks.”

“My pleasure.”

“How do I get balanced?”

“Realize who you are.”

“Who am I?”

“That’s what we’re here to find out,” Yewell said. “After all, that’s primarily the focus of marketing in the first place. Finding out who you are.”

“I thought it was to let other people know who I am, or at least what I do.”

“How can you let them know that when you don’t even know yourself?” said Iman. “The problem that you have, Steve, is the same problem that is shared with many individuals, businesses, and organizations. You’re imbalanced. That’s what keeps you from operating smoothly. That’s what keeps you from making the most of this abundant planet. That’s what keeps you from being effective at life.”

“It’s that whole `ten percent of the brain’ thing,” added Yewell. “You’re not thinking completely. You’re not realizing your whole being. Remember when you said before that marketing was just advertising?”

“Advertising and stuff,”‘ I corrected.

“Well, it’s the `stuff’ part that needs clarification. Advertising is just letting people know what you do.”

“Or at least getting them to think they know what you do,” Iman added.

“But marketing is more than just spreading the word…”

“Or spreading other things,” Iman interjected again.

“It’s the entire package. Marketing is everything in your business…”

“Or busy-ness…”

“…everything that you utilize to get to identify, anticipate, and supply your customer with what they need and want.” Yewell paused for a moment as if waiting for it to sink in. “And the same module is used in realizing your role in life as a whole. You must gain awareness, discover your purpose, and realize your Self.”

“Thought, Word, and Deed.”

“Idea, Intent, and Action.”

“Knowledge, Will, and Being.”

“Mind, Spirit, and Body.”

“Beginning, Middle, and End.”

“Start, Go, and Finish.”

“Larry, Moe, and Curly.”

“Excuse me?” I said.

“Sorry,” said Iman. “Just wanted to see if you were still paying attention.”

I sat down in a nearby chair and ran my fingers through my hair. “So you’re saying that marketing is like a metaphor for life?”

“Marketing is a microcosm of life. Your businesses, your organizations, your economy, all of your actions and creations are an extension of who you are. As you progress in one, you will progress in all.”

“Provided that we find our balance,” I interjected.

“Exactly. You see, your culture is at a pivotal turning point. Because your needs are changing and your practices are changing, your industry is changing as well. This generation marks the dawn of the next great revolution of humanity. That is why we want you to write this book. That is why we want you to write the world.”

This is an excerpt from How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. Order your copy today!

Steve McAllister is the author of The Rucksack Letters and How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. He posts regularly at InkenSoul.com, and sometimes posts at Anything Arts, Sarasota Music Scene, and Elephant Journal, and is currently the Director of Operational Development for the Common Wealth Time Bank in Sarasota, Florida. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

The Power of Words

Estralarian_IMAGE“Perhaps an explanation is in order,” Iman said.

“Ya think?”

Iman slowly paced the room as he walked, stalking over the floor with long strides as if searching for the right words to say in the hidden crevices of the room.

“We have visited your planet a number of times over the course of its development, and for the most part, we really like what we see. For one, it’s the only of the planets in your solar system that is remotely conscious of life.”

“What do you mean `conscious of life’,” I interjected.

“It sustains life,” Yewell explained. “Things grow and prosper here. Not like on the other planets.”

“Oh, no,” added Iman. “Not like the other planets. The other seven are just plain dismal. Not very inspiring. Perhaps you’ve seen pictures.”

“Seven?” I asked. “You mean Pluto’s really not a planet?”

“Not anymore.” They looked at one another, and Yewell continued, “You humans don’t quite understand the power of your naming system. Your classification of things truly does have a profound effect on the ramifications for the rest of the universe. Therefore, if you don’t consider Pluto a planet, we don’t consider Pluto a planet.”

“No kidding?” I said. “And here I thought we were just being anal.”

“Well, you are that,” Iman said, “but it doesn’t take away from the fact that your understanding of things has an effect on them beyond your comprehension. What you call something has a great bearing on what it actually is and what it eventually becomes.”

Yewell interjected, “Even your ancient texts speak to the fact that letters and words are the means through which physical reality comes into being and manifestation.”

“And that’s why you want me to write the world?”

“My, you are a quick one,” Iman said. “I knew we were correct in picking you.”

“Exactly why did you pick me?”

“Because you paid attention,” Yewell stated. “Do you think you’re the only one we’ve sent messages to? That’s our entire mission here: to speak to your people.”

“About what?”

“About life.”

“I thought you wanted me to write about marketing?”

“We do.”

“So what’s that have to do with life?”

“Everything.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Most don’t,” Yewell said with a shrug. “That’s why we want you to help us. You see, as often as we try to communicate with your kind, most of you turn a blind eye.”

“Or a deaf ear,” Iman interjected.

“Exactly,” Yewell continued. “Your kind has greatly excelled at using your power to create many wonderful things with your words; however you have also used them to build boundaries and fortresses outside of which you can no longer comprehend.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, you humans have developed this habit of only using ten percent of your brain. If we try to speak to you in a manner that is beyond what you allow yourself to use, the majority of you miss it. So we figured that we’d try to speak in a language that you’d understand through a conduit that you can relate to.”

“And you think that marketing is the language and I’m the conduit?”

“That wasn’t so hard now, was it?” Yewell said.

This is an excerpt from How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. Order your copy today!

Steve McAllister is the author of The Rucksack Letters and How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. He posts regularly at InkenSoul.com, and sometimes posts at Anything Arts, Sarasota Music Scene, and Elephant Journal, and is currently the Director of Operational Development for the Common Wealth Time Bank in Sarasota, Florida. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Write the World

“Did you two send the press release?” I asked.

“We thought it would be a good way to get your attention,” said Yewell.

“To get my attention?”

“We didn’t think the fly by was quite enough,” added Iman.

“That was you?”

They looked at one another and back at me. “Do you know anyone else who might have a similar vehicle?”

“No. I guess not.” I scratched my head. “What do you want with me?”

“We want you to write the world,” said Yewell.

“You want me to what?”

“Write the world,” repeated Iman.

“Do you mean you want me to write to the world or about the world?”

Again, they looked at one another and back at me. “Yes,” they said in unison.

“I don’t understand.”

“Didn’t you read the press release?”

“Yeah, but it was about a book that I haven’t written. I’ve never even heard of it.”

“We’re optimistic,” said Iman.

“Wait a minute,” I said, “you really want me to write a book about marketing? What makes you think I know anything about marketing?”

Yewell looked at me oddly. “You don’t know what marketing is?”

“Well, yeah, I know what it is. It’s like advertising and stuff.”

They looked at one another, and then back to me. “Hmmm,” Yewell said. “You do have a bit to learn.”
This is an excerpt from How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. Order your copy today!

Steve McAllister is the author of The Rucksack Letters and How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. He posts regularly at InkenSoul.com, and sometimes posts at Anything Arts, Sarasota Music Scene, and Elephant Journal, and is currently the Director of Operational Development for the Common Wealth Time Bank in Sarasota, Florida. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.