Mindfulness, Hiring, Org Dev & Cool Stuff
Hello dear friends,
 
The podcasts for this week form a two part series related to the fall season, with the first being a talk on the central themes of the season: interconnectivity and reflections on change. A deeper understanding of interconnectivity is a wonderful antidote for loneliness. And learning how to accept change through recognizing its unsuspected gifts helps relieve the anxiety so many of us feel in times of uncertainty. I encourage you to reflect deeply on these concepts as you listen to the first part of this series, and then apply the learnings to the beautiful stories in your life. 
 
The second part of the series is a meditation on presence and acceptance as these themes relate to fall. If at all possible, please do the practices outside, either in your back yard, a park, or wild space. If being outside is not possible, perhaps looking out a window. If that’s not possible, we can always close our eyes wherever we are and imagine the lovely colors sounds, colors, movements, and smells of fall.  
 
"I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its leaves are a little yellow, its tone mellower, its colours richer, and it is tinged a little with sorrow and a premonition of death. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor of the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and is content. From a knowledge of those limitations and its richness of experience emerges a symphony of colors, richer than all, its green speaking of life and strength, its orange speaking of golden content and its purple of resignation and death” - Lin Yutang, Chinese Writer and Inventor
 
Years ago a wild, southwest sunflower appeared in my back yard. Did you know that when plants appear in your yard without you planting them, they are called volunteers? Isn’t that sweet? 
 
As the small plant grew, I could hardly wait for the vibrant bloom of summer. And around mid-July, the impossibly vibrant yellow flower emerged. And with the flower came friends, the bumblebees. Ever noticed how bumblebees are the exact colors of the sunflower? Amazing! As much as I enjoyed the sunflower, even as it bloomed mightily, I felt sadness, because I knew the sunflower would wilt, the green leaves would turn to brown, the bumblebees would leave, and the plant would die. I felt a sense of aversion to these changes as well. 
 
By September, the flowers wilted, the leaves turned morose. They lost their color and flexibility. They looked ugly to me. This is about the time new learnings began to dawn. As the dark center of the sunflower turned to tiny seeds, new friends appeared, the goldfinch, a small energetic bird, again the same color as the sunflower. The seeds clearly delighted these little guys and they ate with reckless abandon. 
 
As the season ended, so departed my new friends, the sunflower, the bumblebee and the goldfinch. I felt the sadness more intensely. Then, like most things, seemingly so important in the moment, I forgot about the whole thing. 
 
The next spring came, and as I walked about the yard, there were a field of tender young sunflower shoots. Wow! The birds feasting scattered the seeds from the one little volunteer, and now probably fifty plants reached for the sun. Did my volunteer die after all? Was I too quick to think the sunflower died, and was my perception of the aging plant as ugly far too harsh? You know the answer. 
 
New sunflowers meant more bumblebees and goldfinches. A new ecosystem appeared in my yard. And then I began to ponder  more deeply the similarities of all these beings. Remember, they all are colored similarly. They all depend on one another. There is little or no separation in their lives. Where does the sunflower end, the bumblebee and birds begin? We can all realize more deeply, the interconnectedness of life. Our first little volunteer has now become a thriving ecosystem, of which, I am so thankful to be a part. 
 
And now, a few minutes of meditation to help tie these principles together. 
 
Breathing in, I know I am part of everything else, breathing out I smile. 
 
Breathing in, I know the sun is a part of me, breathing out I smile to the sun. 
 
Breathing in, I know air is part of me, breathing out, I smile. 
 
Breathing in, I know water is part of me, breathing out, I smile.
 
Breathing in, I know the Earth is part of me, breathing out, I smile. 
 
Breathing in connected, breathing out complete. 
 
Breathing in, I smile to you. Breathing out, I smile to you.
 
 
Cheers!
-Rick Breden, CEO
zen rocks

 Part One: Welcoming Fall 

In the first part of this two part podcast  series, Rick talks about the wonders of fall and shares an anecdote that illuminates the interconnectivity and change inherent in this season.
Listen
zen rocks

 Part Two: A Meditation for Fall 

In the second part of this series on fall, Rick guides you through a meditation on presence and acceptance as these themes relate to Fall.
Listen

Behavioral Scale Deep Dive: High Dominance

In this week’s behavioral scale deep dive, we explore the natural tendencies of someone with a high dominance score and give advice to best manage and encourage their growth.
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Staying Mindful this Fall 

By practicing mindfulness during this season of change, we can kindle internal fires, to bring us peace and comfort throughout the year, despite the changing nature of ourselves and the natural world we are so closely connected to.
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Bob's Pick: A Conversation with Joel Parrott, President/CEO of the Oakland Zoo

This week we feature one of our clients, Joel Parrot, at Oakland Zoo in an interview where he talks about the opening of California Trail and his history with the zoo.
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