People over Profit
I’ve always been an idealist, a change agent with the ability to challenge the status quo with intelligence and practicality. It hasn’t always been pleasant in my experience. Boat rockers are generally thrown overboard. That happened to me in the 80s while working for an aerospace company and being a top performer in our production control department. The aptitude and attitude brought accolades and inquiries, yet had the opposite effect on my peers. My success was solely based on interpersonal skills and treating people with care, honesty and respect.
As you might guess, or even experienced yourself, most businesses (and especially DOD funded ones) operate with a command and control complex. Don’t ever question the status quo, but if you can show a better way by providing results, then management might listen. The problem is, the behavior that provided great success was the opposite of how the company was actually ran at the time. Several years after I left I ran into the Purchasing Director’s secretary while grocery shopping. She was pleased to let me know the company finally instituted interpersonal skills classes company-wide.
In my short tenure of success and as a result of having the ear of management, I suggested interpersonal skills classes. I did so in a departmental meeting and got shunned by nearly everyone in the 35-person department for a week or so. A year later, another departmental meeting took place and the request for a consultant was given to me. I found one with credentials and recommendations that were impeccable, brought them in for a meeting and found myself demoted a few weeks later; the same week my divorce was final. I’d given my best effort in both worlds and in my church; within a three-month period all three became disappointments.
The tumultuous transformation was replete with a new living awareness that I chose to engage and never to look back. I’d attempted to live on the advice of Elders, friends, family and management with miserable results. My personal ethics questioned the integrity of those around me in church and work, let alone in my marriage. They were tough lessons, though in choosing not to let my own integrity suffer I grew stronger than I’d ever realized I could be in spite of the trials and tribulations.
A few years later I’d completed an MBA program and earned the letters. I went on to get a Secondary Teaching certification and taught school for nearly a decade, finding the same kind of environment I’d experienced in the corporate world. Customers and students were secondary, it was the fiefdoms that mattered. I decided to get a second Masters in Organizational Management. I was going to find my way, learn the ropes and change the world. In the process, we had to write a personal ethics statement.
I will to do good for all, desiring to serve humanity in the highest and best use of my mind/body/spirit complex, in the facilitation of a new world order of harmony among people and planet through the development of a state-of-the-art model community and website that promotes this endeavor.
Expressing one’s personal take on ethics and life may not always be understood in the context of the world at large. Belief systems are established early on though environments of home, church, school, and social gatherings, which help to form these beliefs. Most of these beliefs and patterns of behavior are established through the unconscious observations and experiences of childhood in the aforementioned environments. These I refer to as ‘outer’ experiences. For me, I knew that I was adopted by the time I was five.
My adoptive parents were ideal by some standards, demonstrating honesty, integrity, and willingness to address conflict with style and grace, even in the most difficult of situations. Dad was a tool and die machinist, building plastic injection molds for General Motors optical division, and a 32nd Degree Mason. Mom was an educator, with masters in Music and English, and taught middle school English and Literature. They were a formidable team for an adolescent with growing pains. My adoptive parents taught me that honesty was the best policy, even when the details may not be too favorable.
I became aware of my adoption just before I met my sister, who also was adopted. I also began having metaphysical experiences just around my 5th birthday. I refer to these as ‘inner’ experiences. For most, the internal experience is often ignored because of the lack external acceptance or validation. There was a disparity with my parents due to no frame of reference for them regarding my metaphysical meanderings, which often caused me to question my own reality, by the way. Consequently, the balance toward trusting others was often weighted by desire rather than discernment. The discernment came later as I began to understand that not all people were like my parents and especially not like me.
Others’ motives were not always utilitarian. They were often misplaced personal libertarian expressions of selfishness without regard to personal boundaries. What I learned was that the inner life I was leading provided more concrete understanding of the nature of the outer reality and the actions of others. Whether it changed those actions or not varied from situation to situation depending on my ability to question congruency, the awareness of connectivity, verbally. That, too, changed, as I got older and more experienced with introducing interrogatives.
In my teens, the greatest influence came through the Order of DeMolay. I was Master Councilor at fifteen and at 17, competed at the State Conclave through a speech on filial love and in one-meter springboard diving. I was a lifeguard during he summers and thought the diving competition was going to be from a 3-meter board, so I practiced during breaks as well as between afternoon and evening sessions. I had to completely change my routine for the one-meter event. I came in third against several AAU divers which gave me a great sense of accomplishment and realization of being able to shift on the fly and still do well.
Receiving the International DeMolay Medal for Saving a Human Life was another significant emotional event at the Conclave. I’d witnessed an event that put a swimmer in peril and immediately responded, another swimmer had gone off the diving board before the area cleared underneath them. He landed on top of a young girl and knocked her unconscious. I was in the water before he landed and reached her in time before she inhaled much water and got her to safety. Her parents petitioned the local newspaper to praise my efforts. I was just attentive and responsive to the event, I thought, and it was no big deal. It reached the ears of our Chapter Dad and, unbeknownst to me he submitted my name for the award.
Beyond the personal achievements, I learned the value of teamwork in school through clubs, group projects and sports – football (varsity team 4 years) and individual participation in support of the team through baseball, golf, and track. I played third base as well as any, was medalist (golf) my senior year and ran sprints and hurdles in track (11.1 second 100-yard dash). I graduated 10th in my class of 300, though my classroom shenanigans in my freshman year cost me salutatorian status. On dares I filled the shop class with smoke from putting too much oil on a lathe and stuck a piece of gum between a substitute teachers glasses and eyebrow from the back of the room in Biology class. A bit mischievous, I was bored in school.
College Prep to Personal Plight
I entered college on a Pre-Med program, testing out of 5 quarters of general education studies. My second quarter in college started off with a real bang. I’d been dating a girl since my sophomore year in high school, ‘breaking up’ with her upon entering college because I was not sure I would be able to maintain monogamy. Well, after the first quarter I went back to ask her to marry me only to find out she was already married. My heart sunk and I returned to school determined to give my life to something with meaning. In respect of this, I knelt in prayer and asked to know truth, and was willing to die for it if necessary. It was the most intense prayer I’d ever made.
A week later, while in meditation listening to Journey’s first album, I heard a voice after the lyrics of the song. It said, “Bruce, are you willing to die for what you believe in?” I paused for a moment, checking my beliefs. My first thought was Christ Consciousness, though it felt a little empty still. My second was Cosmic Consciousness and I replied, “Yes.” Immediately I felt a tug at my solar plexus. It felt like I let go of my body, rose up and turned to see my body as I was moving away from it. O.B.Es were not unfamiliar, as I’d been having them for some time. This felt different, yet familiar enough to have no fear.
Before I could fully turn to look where I was going, I was engulfed by white light. It was only missing tactile sensations, and as an impetuous teen, I asked if there was more. I felt another sensation of movement and found myself in the center of a sphere of pinpoints of light. After recognizing them as points of consciousness, whether in body or not I was not sure as I sure as heck was not, the voice resumed. I got my marching orders, so to speak. I returned to my body with a rush of energy and a gasp for air, leaving my eyes closed temporarily. Returning to my body was in itself a significant emotional event, let alone the previous few moments.
I felt my question was answered and I wanted to shout it from the rooftops, told my parents, and found myself talking with a psychiatrist a week later. A blessing in disguise, my tenure with the psychiatrist helped me to begin to balance my inner and outer experiences, and to find order in my life. After a brief conversation on my third visit, he let expressed his concern, though he stated I wasn’t crazy and had gone through a ‘spiritual awakening’ at a young age. He said most people go through [it] in their mid-40s, if they ever do. We adjourned to the second story of his converted historic home. I had my first tarot card reading, which edified all we had discussed and more. HIs advice was not to talk about it until much older. It would be too much for people to handle.
Forty years later, I delivered a couple of signed copies of my books. He didn’t remember me. We had a peer to peer conversation, though, that was quite rewarding. What plagued me then and does to this day – How was this ‘facilitation’ all going to come to fruition? What did I need to do to prepare? I moved to Phoenix from a rural Indiana town four years later and within a year found myself working at the aerospace company I mentioned earlier, only as a machinist. I carried on my quest and over the next few years, as professional opportunities presented themselves and we got involved with church for our children I still felt empty inside. It wasn’t until I could read the writing on the walls that I realized how things were going to work, outside of my control.
Rising Above the Situation
The only thing I could control was my response to betrayal, fallacious remarks and an immature workforce, and use it to transform my life toward fulfillment. I was finishing my Bachelor’s degree and in the midst of using a business case at work for a final project. We spent a weekend in northern Arizona during the Harmonic Convergence, where another, night-long, experience gave me direction. I knew I had to change my project. I began to conceptualize an environment that would demonstrate leading edge technologies in all fields and how they would work together in harmony with people and planet. It had to include every best practice and element of a global community on a micro community scale.
There were no existing financials for such a community, and only a few even remotely close in the world at the time. Eventually, the plan began to develop with enough detail that I could at least write an overview of the project. It was just under 60 pages and received a D. Four years later (1991) I had a conference with a founder of Valley National Bank, as I’d refined the plan and knew he’d be a straight shooter. He was 91 and still had an office. He loved the plan and told me my next step was to find all the pieces, which he encouraged me to do so. Then, the conversation took an unexpected twist and the importance of trusting, what I’ve grown to call psychospiritual technologies, was edified.
After acknowledging the validity of the project, he spent the next hour talking about the psychic gifts that his wife had used to help him in his business career. He said he relied on her ‘readings’ as a critical part of his decision-making process. I was completely taken by surprise that one at his station in life would rely on the psychospiritual technologies his wife used. Cards and readings were a small part of them. Carl and his two brothers were responsible for bringing nearly 70% of the business to the Phoenix area through the Valley National Bank, which they had founded. Carl was 91 at the time and still had an office in the VNB building downtown. He died a few years later.
I began my MBA in 1994 to begin the process of finding the pieces and knowing what to do with them when I did. Now, in my second masters program, I seek to continue the plan and assemble an organizational plan, including all necessary policy development, organizational duties and responsibilities, and management philosophy that will empower the assemblage of a team of dedicated professionals to take the plan to the next level of development. I realized early on it was too big for the time I had for the program. I’d been teaching high school and saw how a model community and school could emulate the essence of the larger scope and provide a duplicable model.
The concept became Spectrum Academy. It included a variety of leading-edge philosophies for holistic education (mind, body, spirit) as well as critical education that I had not found in public or charter schools – understanding natural rhythms and cycles of personal and planetary design. It included a 13-moon process for achieving goals and objectives tied to their housing arrangement; moving every new-moon through 13 dwellings and, upon achievement, became voting members of a peer community council designed to manage the on-going responsibilities of administration, with help from adult advisors. The areas of study included educational, environmental and social development.
The business plan met all the criteria for the program as well as serving as a working document to go for support in the community. My first stop was the Director of Education for Arizona Child Protective Services. Again, loved the plan though he couldn’t see how the state would ever grow to that level of educational environment. He though it was years, perhaps decades, ahead of its time. Although we were not able to move it forward then, I built a website that housed the basics, concept and rationale, with the option of requesting the business plan. The information needed to be made available for those who might find ways to implement even parts of it in their own programs. A few have reached out and some have found some worth over the years.
Nature’s Way of Refinement
In spite of the ability to materialize the concept as of yet, the tenacity of the idea has once again come to the surface. At the beginning of the ‘transcendent event’ the world is experiencing with the threat of a virus and social distancing making business as usual nearly impossible, I paused and reflected on the progress of my good in the world. I was ready to step up to a different role after cohosting a small business radio show, building a transformational coaching practice, facilitating pre-construction team building sessions, building a number of website and writing a bunch of books – all but the cohosting is still in play. I prayed for an opening in the non-profit sector and serving the community better, with little detail as to the specifics.
Within a month and through a series of synchronous events, an old friend reached out with a story that was just too horrific to ignore. Over 70% of youth aging our of foster care in Arizona are homeless, incarcerated, sex trafficked or chronically jobless. That is just unacceptable to me. He had an idea to change that after working with a non-profit for nearly a year and now fundraising events were saddled by the lockdowns and social distancing mandates.
The timing for me was impeccable and we’ll be launching the effort officially in January 2021. Perhaps others will see opportunity in participating in Arizona and, if elsewhere, either participating in their own state’s programs or initiating legislation to get tax credits approved if none are available. The effort addresses the ineffective distribution of funds through State authorities and will greatly impact the lives of thousands of youth aging our of foster care across the country in the next few years.