Thank You for a great birthday!

Hello and welcome to my monthly e-letter, The Eleven. It's a collection of my thinking, recent and future activities, interesting articles about world change and some eye candy.  Enjoy!


I turned 50 last month and had many celebrations. I wish everyone such abundance and showering of love and good wishes as often as possible!  Here's what I (and many helpers) did for my birthday (week/month).  



1. The night before my birthday, my partner Eecole (pictured above) took me for a ride and we landed at a friend's house where I was welcomed by 7 women who massaged me for an hour, fed me delicious organic fruits and chocolates and then sat me in a comfy chair and beamed at me as they detailed who I am in their lives and how I inspire them and why the love me. More, please :) and thank you!  Yum yum yum!


2. May 11th, my 50th. I had an early morning colonic at All's Well that End's Well. Highly recommended and more info on what that means/is like if you ask. Weighed in at Weightwatchers and was down 2 lbs :)  ha :)  In the evening I got to set the intention at our weekly Mindful Meltdown Ecstatic Dance at the Village Ballroom - I talked about living big and bold lives and how simply showing up to dance and figuring out how to take the time to do that and be together with others was a step in the right direction in terms of living big and bold lives. Our DJ, Chris Browne played an awesome set!  The sun streamed through the windows, we danced, and then ended the dance with a large game of ha-ha with 70 or so people lying their heads on each others' stomachs and bathing in laughter. We then moved the party to an Ethiopian restaurant where 50 of us ate with our hands and there was a delicious Pix Patisserie cake that Eecole picked up and much singing and smiling.


3. On Friday night I gathered @ home together with 25 men and we had a special evening together: I asked each man to say their name, ages, how they know me and a bit about our relationship and some wisdom they had to share with everyone. The thoughts were recorded as an audio file. Then we got to hang out, play music, sip whiskey and schmooze.  The evening was lovingly put together by my friends Steve Bennett and Jeff Cohen.

Ak and hans
Albert and Hans Barklis

4. Saturday was the grand finale.  A group of 50 spent hours together at the Birthday Garden, a new community garden at 3rd and Hancock, NE - shoveling soil, moving bark chips, and preparing and planting garden beds. My brother put together a large bbq that is a gift from my friend, Andrew Sigal in Oakland, CA. Brian Lundquist did his bbq'ing magic and we ate, worked and listened to Maria, Steve and Heather of Municipal Elevator.  People dug, sweated, and moved together - it was a beautiful site.  We also couldn't have done it without the delivery of 22.5 yards of soil by Mark and Candace - see photos of the day and the incredible earth delivery truck here

happy gardeners!

I think what I re-learned and was reminded of again and again on that day is how much a small group of committed people can do. And how important it is to ask for help when you're taking on big (or small) projects.  Over the last month we've transformed an empty 6500 square foot lot into a thriving garden, incredible.   


4b. @ 4pm we headed to the Common Grounds Wellness Center on 33rd Ave. and soaked our weary bones in two hour-long shifts.  4c. Saturday night, we hosted a potluck and party at the Happy Clam which went to 2am and the main festivities were over!  


Thanks to everyone who donated time, sweat, sent cards, gave gifts, sent notes and showed up for my 50th. It was blissful to be the focus of so much love, affection, caring, good food, smiles, hugs, and other lusciousness!  


Garden Update: The garden is doing well.  If you'd like to come see it, we'll be gathering @ 3rd and Hancock NE on Saturday, June 11th (today :) at 11am to continue creating.  The Grand Floral Parade is at the same time, so if you're coming you might want to come from the north :)  Bring a shovel!  


This months' The Eleven has more personal news than usual, but it's been that kind of month.  A couple more things I've been up to and then I'll get on to this month's action (a feature of earlier The Eleven's) and some precious articles I recommend.


This past month I've continued my work teaching people how to use social networking to better effect.  I held a class at my house on Facebook fan pages, worked with a number of clients one on one; and have been hired by a few small businesses to manage their social media presence.  In no particular order, the fan pages that I'm spending time on are:


House of Six Cats - my friend Bill Fantini's amazing photography imprinted on coasters

Holy Rascals - an online exploration of the common heart of all religions using humor & short videos of inter-spiritual visionaries. Fresh ideas and ancient wisdom

Working Design - Wordpress websites and graphics done by my friend, Kris Klassen in Vancouver, BC - see you at the Vancouver Folk Fest, Kris!

Wileyware - sparkling, shiny, hand-blown, magical, colorful one of a kind glasses - I like!


I've also decided to get involved in the world of Bright Earth Foods. Here's a note I sent to a friend about this development.  


Also work-wise, I've started a part-time job with a small company where I'm the software tester for a small group of programmers. The work is quality assurance and I'm hoping to develop some social networking and I'm excited about this new opportunity. 

Health: as I shared @ my Men's gathering for my birthday, I've decided to renew my focus on my personal health ASAP. I got a physical, went to see a physical therapist about my ankle and neck, had a very strange out-patient operation: a soft tissue graft in my mouth which has taken me weeks to recover from and involved a weekend on vicodin which I can't remember too well :) and I've been on my bike more and more as the weather improves.  And the man burns in 84 days.




ACTION: Regarding the planet.  There have been quite a number of good articles, great articles, really, about the state of the world and steps we might take to right things.  Here are a few of my favorites from the past month.  


1. Escape from the Zombie Food Court - a long read, but well worth it - talks about how hard it is to see beyond the culture we are steeping in, but how necessary it that we do just that.  Probably one of the the most important articles you'll ever read, and it's probably worth a study group on its own.


2. Advertising Is a serious health threat to the environment.  I got a chance to be on our local cable access TV this week and talked about this. There was an excerpt of this article in the recent issue of Adbusters, but the longer version is an important read.  


3. Off the Pedestal: Creating a  New Vision of Economic Growth


4. I've been doing some research on how cellphone use is affecting our societies. here's one interesting article about how they're killing off face to face interactions.


5. The Earth is Full, very recent, by Thomas Friedman. 


And possibly the most important article I've read in my life: Revolution in America: Will Corporatocracy or Democracy prevail? Good article, good question.


Action Suggestion:  Read any of the above articles (or all of them :) and share them with your friends if that makes sense to you.  More than anything our world needs the best thinking to rise to the top and that's going to mean us being our own media until (and if ever) mainstream/traditional media and our government (at all levels) gets free of corporate control. In the meantime, for fun and important messages with an artistic flair, I turn to Mark Morford of the SF Chronicle whose writing I subscribe to: Ask me about my agony and despair! 


who says, and I will quote at length here cause it's worth it: 


"What is to be done? How to not sit in front on your screen and rage and shake and weep at the unchecked horror show? It is, you might say, the most pressing question of the age. I'm still struggling to answer it, every single day.


This is the practice. This is the study and the meditation and the perspective, the insight and the consciousness and the awareness all rolled into one mandatory spiritual cocktail and sipped gently as you inhale and exhale and try not to freak the hell out every minute because, well, what good would that do?


We say, the karma of the world is not yours to solve. We say, the collective burden of seven billion cannot be taken on en masse by any individual -- save a few incredible beings of light -- lest you become instantly crushed and suicidal, prone to lots of sneering and road rage and screaming at the TV, your loved ones, yourself.


We say, it is not a matter of turning your feelings off, or shutting everything down, or ignoring all media, or somehow transcending all suffering and 

pain and floating off into some airy detached bullsh--land of wimpy bunnylight.


It is simply a matter of understanding your role, your part in the schema. We say, don't you realize you are the universe in microcosm? Oh, stop whining; you totally are. You are asked, what would you do if you could be God for a day? Then why not shut up and do it, in proper scale of your life and your energy and your abilities, right now, because you very much are? I mean, obvs.


How to endure/digest the horrors of the world? You don't. I mean, please. You cannot possibly grasp and resolve the whole of the pulsing organism. It's not your job. You simply resolve and illuminate your own world; you become that messy imperfect gorgeous thing, that drop of lucid dish soap in the sinkful of water away from which the grease scampers and leaps.


And then, you engage. You get out from behind the headlines. As recently put by Jonathan Franzen in a fine commencement speech to overly Facebooked youth of today, "When you stay in your room and rage or sneer or shrug your shoulders, the world and its problems are impossibly daunting. But when you go out and put yourself in real relation to real people, or even just real animals, there's a very real danger that you might love some of them. And who knows what might happen to you then?"


Not clear enough? Still deeply confused by the mass misery of the world? Try ee cummings: "Unless you love someone, nothing else makes any sense."



have a great month.  Keep doing good work. Take chances. Love harder.  Dream bigger.  Rest. Take your time. 


See you on the dance floor! 

The Village Ballroom Dance Floor
The Village Ballroom Dance Floor 


Albert Kaufman

PS - for those following my effort to eliminate the phonebook, the OR legislation stalled in a Senate committee. And, I'm not done! 2,051 signatures!  SF banned phonebooks, Seattle moved to a very strict opt-out.  This issue is winnable, country-wide.  Feel free to start up a petition for your city/state/country :)  Thanks.