On Sundays, I like the discipline of challenging myself to do something different, something out of the norm. So this Sunday, I didn’t workout in the morning, or do my typical emails and then go off to church. Instead, I took the time to do a deep dive into stress in the workplace and the impact it has on health and wellness.
This is something I have wanted to do for months, so I was focused on getting started. Just doing the research, though, I realized how the digital transformation of business is going to impact so many people. It was stressing me out —so I stopped doing the research, and said to myself, wow! I have to shake this off.
It just so happened that the day before, I went to Coral Tree Farms, a 1.6 acre farm in Encinitas. Recalling my meeting with Laurel, the owner who runs the organic farm, I though this might be the answer to relieving the stress I was feeling.
I had met Laurel the previous week at the Encinitas Library. She was looking for options as to how she could make the farm more productive. I told her I was a big supporter of organic and urban farming, so if I could I would help, I would.
The farm is right smack in the middle of dense housing in Encinitas, and is fantastic — with chickens, goats, ducks, you name it — along with organic fruit and vegetables. It had a magical energy and a real reason for being. Urban farming has long been one of my causes, because we need urban farms, just like this, so people —especially children— have the opportunity to connect with our food supply.
And, Laurel also told me she was closing on this particular Sunday to attend the 11th Annual LeucadiART Walk near Encinitas, CA. I thought, that is something that will shake the stress of researching “stress” off me.
The Art Walk is made up of multiple local artist and their paintings, sculptures, knitting, rocks, surfboards—you name it—and it takes place along the complete stretch of the 101 in Leucadia, California. I was kind of excited to explore this, and to see how my own attempts at art would stack up against others, and also to see if the stress of studying “stress” would drift away.
At my very first cluster of tents, the artist was inside, and I notice multiple pieces of glass sculpture. They struck me as stunning and beautiful, and one in particular got my attention. As I went to look at it, and ask the price, a person came up and said they wanted to buy it. I had not told the artist that I wanted to buy it yet, when it was bought right in front of me. Then two more pieces where purchased, all within a matter of minutes. It finally settled down enough for me to ask the artist, John, if the glass was 100% recycled. He said yes, and that he has trouble finding it. Then, I asked, “What if I could give you a million tons of recycled glass? What would you do with it?”
He looked at me like I was on something… and I told him that our Code Blue Innovation team had been working on a solution for glass recycling over the last several months—to no avail—and that recycled glass is a real problem for the recycling business. Then he said, with a big smile, “Well, you are talking to the right person!” Then he pulled out some architectural pieces that he had also made, and proceeded to tell me that not only could he make countertops out of recycled glass, but that he could also make beautiful wall board.
Imagine, a glass wall board! I was thinking this could be really cool. I immediately emailed Paul, the lead in the Code Blue team, and asked him what he thought and he responded… “Yup! Love it.” He said he would be all over it. Now, we will have to determine if we can scale a business that services architects. It would fit with another business we are looking at that uses recycled paper. Anyway, it was inspiring to see this glass art and meet the artist, John.
I suddenly realized that the stress was completely melting away, and I smiled, and said to myself, you never know! You just have to get out and explore. Do something different. Mix it up. YEAH! So, I continued down the street, seeing some interesting pieces and styles, which were also very inspiring and soothing to my soul. Love watching people express themselves in so many different ways.
One particular artist, Virginie, had this unique style of graffiti art with a multimedia, French flair. It was mesmerizing and really caught my attention. She is having a show in a few weeks and I will be attending. Again, walking away, I was just so happy to have gotten out of my normal workout-church-coffee shop-work routine on a Sunday.
Continuing down the 101, I saw this little pod of tents and went down to it, and there was this group of about 12 musicians ranging in age from 65 to 15, playing big band music. Just funky enough to have a significant personality and pleasant feel. I stayed, listening and feeling really good about what they where doing. Turns out they were from the Encinitas School of Music. They meet every Tuesday night, and will teach anyone any instrument they want to play. How cool is that? Then, I thought, Wow! What if this, or some reconstruction of this, could be the surprise entertainment at the next gathering of the Extraordinary and Incredible? Yes and Yes! This will be perfect.
Then, I reflected on how this couple of hour stroll could solve a major U.S. industrial problem of what to do with recycled glass,could inspire me to evaluate a new style of painting, and lastly —but just as important, help me find a new local musical component for our “Gatherings of the Incredible and Extraordinary.” Wow, what fun!
So, the point of this entire, rambling blog, is… could the answer to stress in the work place, as well as some of the critical answers to questions of our industrial food and recycling system, be solved right in your immediate community? What if the new jobs in the community are on an urban farm? Or making wall board out of recycled glass, which is given to you, post-consumer, by your community? What if all the musicians you need for a roaring band are all right in your community? Could this be the real lesson here?
I started to feel inspired as I was walking to my car. I wondered, where these last two days an example of how we could actually become connected to each other? Connected to our community? Is the digitization of business as we know it, going to be a good thing for new local jobs?
I started to feel very hopeful and positive, which made me feel great! And it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t visited Coral Tree Farms, and decided to change up my normal Sunday, by studying stress and then walking the Art Walk to shake it off.
What are you going to do differently today? What can your community offer you that you are not currently connected to?
Community on —