Me by Zen

Zen Magic!

Zen Achilles turns his friends into magic. Here’s the latest version he did for my 60th birthday in 2021. And they keep coming!

And here are some more from the past – enjoy!

New and Good November 2019

What’s New and Good?Sunset in Newport Oregon

Hello from Lake Albert gone! I’m sitting in our sunny dining room on November 21st and it’s a fine morning. Coffee to my left, laptop to my front and a collection of house plants I’ve gathered over the years. I also like collecting glass orbs and have quite a few strewn around the living and dining room.

But that’s not why I’ve gathered you here. Mostly, it’s just to get in the habit of writing more. Less FB posts and one-off newsletters, and more writing writing 🙂  Yes, in preparation for January and February when I intend to do some longer pieces – namely my autobiography! Yes, it’s 11 chapters long and of course includes info about hitching across the country in 1981, a year living on a kibbutz in Israel and my involvement in Habonim which led up to that; 14 years of attending Burning Man into one chapter – we’ll see how that goes. Some of the chapters could probably be books of their own, but this will be an Albert taster. I’ve actually made a deal with myself that I will not attend Burning Man again until I can hand someone either a copy of the book or a thumbdrive of it or digital download code.  Or, the other thing that opens the gates to the playa would be me bringing a giant art piece I have in mind. But that’s a much bigger lift.  We’ll see which wins – but my current plan is to bring some form of the book forth next. I have the free time for this, and the stories – encouragement welcome!

Last night we hosted a Higher Thought Cannabis Game night here. Get your game today! It’s a really fun way to gather with people and share insights and thinking. All sorts of stuff gets discussed.  I’m constantly surprised at what comes up. You may remember my earlier mention of this game in my Cards blog post of last year. Since that time I’ve become part owner (15%) of Higher Thought and I’m also helping Aaron Trotter out with his empire of decks over at Illustrated Playing Cards. I really do think the decks in my post are possible ways for people to move themselves forward. I think it helps people when groups share knowledge. It almost reminds me of the days of yore when we’d sit around the campfire and tell stories. Perhaps it’s time to go back to that practice so that we can get our societies on better footing in preparation for dealing with climate change and other big challenges headed our way. That’s where my mind went to last night, at least.

So, I’m moving. At the end of the year I’m renting a friend’s house for 2 months (Jan and Feb. 2020!) and then I’m not sure what comes after that.  Very likely more Portland. I’ve had this thought lately of starting a “we’re staying” club. No matter how bad the traffic gets. No matter how many noobs from elsewhere come and move in – we’re staying!  We could have buttons and patches. I think there’s a value when we decide to stick it out and not do the typically American thing of moving when things get challenging. We’ll see how that goes. I’ve been here 18 years and there’s also something to be said for more sunshine 🙂  And warmth.  That’s partly what drew me to the PNW – warmth – so I wouldn’t have to brave the East Coast winters. But today’s very unusual sunshine is reminding me that more of that certainly would be nice.

To perturb my life I’m going to fly back East for Thanksgiving (that is the sweet part) and then drive back to Portland via points non-snow-covered in early December. That’s the perturbing part. I did this drive about 20 years ago and I’m excited to give it another whirl. I hope to visit friends in Chicago, Austin, Santa Fe and possibly California.  I definitely want to visit Summer Lake hot springs, too in Eastern Oregon. We’ll see what the weather and various visits have to say about all of this as I get underway around December 2nd.  If you living the middle of the country somewhere and would like a visit, please get in touch!

K, that feels good. Off she goes.  An Albert update!

Beloved 2018

Beloved 2018

Beloved Festival 2018This was Beloved Festival‘s 11th magical year. If you know me at all, you know that 11s are a big part of my life. From my newsletter (The Eleven) to my birthday (the 11th of May) – 11’s are key. You may have also seen me raise my hand when the question “who’s here for the first time?” gets asked. That’s another story (beginner’s mind…).  So, one thing for me that was fun about Beloved this year is that I’ve been there since the beginning and I also try to approach things as if I’m there for the first time. I was scheming to make a t-shirt with the Beloved logo on one side with the year 11 on it and on the other side the slogan Beloved Virgin (1st year!), but never got around Tuit. Speaking of t-shirts, some of the stage crew wore black t-shirts this year with the word Belivid in bold white letters on them. Striking and potent.

My friend Matthew Burns did an interview with me on the last day of the festival this year. If photography is your thing – Carlton Ward took a great collection of photos this year – check them out (any photos that are published here are from him!). And, Maggie Jane Cech did these beauties!

Beloved Festival 2018 by Maggie Jane Cech

As I mentioned, I’ve been attending the Beloved Festival for many years. Each year is different – depending on the site; weather; who I’m camping with; relationship status (I’m single and looking!); who else shows up each year; how easy it is to get in and out of the festival; and 100 other factors. That’s also partly why it’s useful to have a beginner’s mind – ie, not expecting that the experience will mirror past experiences saves you from the frustration you might feel when something has changed. And Beloved Festival always changes as we continue to change, too. My first year going I was 46 and now I’m 57 – ha, my life has significantly changed through that time, of course.  The way Beloved has changed is a little bit structural – the layout of the festival – but the main change this year felt like an invitation or encouragement by the festival organizers for us all to challenge ourselves to go deeper.Beloved2018Logo

Beloved Festival is full of seekers.  People who are passionate about their craft – whether it’s yoga; eating healthy food; personal growth; healthy relationships; learning about and practicing consent culture; music; dance and many other passions are well represented. My sense this year was that there was a question in the air: “Are we doing enough personally and as a group to change the world?” Sub-questions around this are: are we doing enough to end racism?  Is this event doing enough to be inclusive (the attendees are mostly white, and probably middle class, though class issues are not usually raised at the festival). How can we take the amazing lessons we learn at Beloved and bring them into our lives; our relationships and into the world? This is something I was chewing on a lot at Beloved this year – beyond just digesting my experience – how can we take this event and all that it teaches us out into the world?  I know not everyone in the world can attend Beloved – most won’t get a chance to even attend something similar and even if they did, they would probably only take away a relatively small amount of the wisdom that is shared there.  For years I’ve imagined a video testimonial/interview booth for people to share their insights during the festival. We’re brought to such a peak state and that would be good to share – I believe it would be a positive influence on the world. This year we were asked to look at our shit – both internal and our actual poop 🙂Beloved Festival by Carlton Ward

These composting toilets were quite incredible (I believe the compost is left on-site and used to fertilize the property where this event is held. The troughs between the private toilets were for men. Perhaps in future, there will be herinals for women (like the ones at Oregon Country Faire 🙂Beloved Festival by Carlton Ward

Then, there’s the Beloved Festival by night. One change that I was quite happy about was the return of video mapping of the stage. There was just a light dusting of that this year, but it’s quite lovely to behold. See Carlton’s pictures for more of that imagery. Beloved at night is quite special. There is one main stage and most people are either dancing; having food or wandering to and from their campsites. This makes it a great place to drop in with people and for years I’ve been talking about the festival being my annual men’s workshop.  Ie, there’s nowhere to go that’s not in the center of things – so, when you meet someone it’s easy to settle into a longer, deeper conversation.

There is so much incredible intention put into this festival. Everything possible is thought of. In the first few years, some of the systems didn’t work so well, but now just about everything works beautifully. I’ll include some improvement areas down below, but here I just want to say HUGE kudos to the staff and many many artists who make Beloved such an incredibly beautiful place to inhabit for a few days. Just about everywhere you look artists like Nature and his crew came early to manifest beautiful interpretations of nature using the natural art materials found nearby. Making installations like this: Beloved Festival by Carlton Ward

I’ve written about my visits to the Beloved Festival in the past. (that’s a link to my 2010 write-up if you’re curious about the changes over the years 🙂  This year felt a lot deeper to me than in years past, but that might also be partly where I’m at right now in my own life. Here are a few major highlights from this year.

  1. Mornings in the woods with campmates => Sharanam Anandama => Solsara practice daily. That’s quite a combo and I’ve been trying to make it happen on every Beloved day for years. Usually I get to 2/3’s. But this year I was able to catch a little of both each day. Solsara happens in Portland and Eugene regularly – a great, accessible personal growth practice (featuring Carrie and Larry!)
  2. Sara Tone and friends and how they called in the directions and opened and closed the festival. This felt like the most profound opening and closing ceremonies I can remember. People seemed more focused and attentive than I can remember them – and Sara Tone and Michael Meade both shared few but profound wisdom with all of us – setting the tone for the festival ahead. The magic of facing towards the mountains in each direction – Tahoma, Wy’East, Shasta, and Fuji (with a deviation to focus on Pele on the Big Island this year which was new…) were powerful! We also sing together “medicine for the mountain” and Sara Tone calls out all of the native tribes that were or are based in each area before we sing – it’s very profound and powerful. If I can find a video of this, I would be glad to share it, here.
  3. Seeing the master guitarist and songwriter, Peter Rowan on the Tree stage was a big highlight for me. Peter’s been such a big part of my life over the years – performing on Old and In the Way and in so many other arrangements that his voice resonates deep in my soul
  4. Seeing old friends. This year had a special aspect to it for me – I feel like a lot of people I hadn’t seen in 2-3 years decided to return and visit again. That was special as I also notice that many in my tribe that used to camp together have stopped attending festivals more and more – so, it’s hard to have that posse feeling when that happens.  I also enjoyed making some new friends – Patty and Mike from Connecticut – who flew across the country to attend their first Beloved! (get in touch, ya’all!).
  5. Whoever started the creation of the vulnerable signs and parade (vulnerability rally) – that was a beautiful effort and reminds me of something that happened at WDS this year. I’m referring to this talk by Yes, Yes, Marsha.
  6. The music – so much great world music. I’m not sure how long this will stay up, but here’s this year’s line-up. I don’t usually attend festivals on who’s playing – I’m generally pretty happy with organizers’ choices and this year felt like an incredible offering. Angélique Kidjo playing Talking Heads Remain in Light?  Over the top fun! Ayla Nereo?  Wonderful!
  7. Sound: generally better over the years and this year was probably the easiest on my ears. That said, it’s often still way too loud – Blackalicious, for instance, was too loud for human consumption. Please – it never needs to be that loud. My friend suggests walking out into the audience with a decibel meter and seeing what the levels are.  Thanks.
  8. Most of the lighting at Beloved is glorious. And, there are bright lights that come out towards the audience at the Purple dome – I wish those would be turned off or turned down, or out of audience’s eyes. Also, the blaring headlight bright lights that shined out onto the audience from the main stage – I don’t like those at all. They are jarring and I don’t like the trend of the way these are being used at festivals.
  9. The art: particularly the natural installations I mentioned above – but also all the lighting and fabrics and thought put into making the festival grounds beautiful, festive and sacred.  The alters on either side of the main stage were breathtaking and a great reminder of how to mix the divine with a festival.
  10. More photos by Melissa Robin, and Andrew Paul
  11. th Beloved! – Spotify Playlist of this year’s artists! 
Beloved Festival by Carlton Ward

Alter to the left of mainstage

I’ll probably add to the list of highlights as I think of them. Here are a few improvements I’d like to make for Beloved Festival’s 12th year.  The festival already does so much right it’s hard to even consider posing some suggestions, but after 20 years as a software tester, I think it’s part of my DNA to share bugs with the hope that developers will improve the software 🙂

  1. The new composting toilets are world-class. I’m not sure where to put more of them, but a couple more either where they are currently, or one more bank behind medical wouldn’t hurt.  Also, Herinals like at OCF would be a nice addition.
  2. I arrived on Thursday for early entry and spent about an hour on a hillside slowly moving towards a parking spot. I’m not sure what the solution is, but I’ve had easier entries in the past. I was parking and camping in the Far Mosque area (hard parking) and if there had been a couple more traffic people I believe I would have been parked quicker. There seemed to be an issue with people coming out while people were coming in, plus only one person was moderating a long line-up of cars.  Anyway, not sure about the solution here, but imagine it can be improved.
  3. Having the Purple Star Dome where it was made workshops there hard to follow due to the sound from the main stage. Again, not sure where the best location would be.
  4. I missed the Grove stage (sound healing) altogether this year – having that so far from the main area .. hmmm.  How about @ the Gazebo?

I’ll add to this list as I think of things, but the improvements for the Beloved Festival are probably well-known by the organizers and are nothing like the ones I’ve written up for Strummit.  Overall, this year’s Beloved Festival is something I’m still chewing on and digesting. I still haven’t taken my wristlet off which is usually a sign to me that something was remarkable 🙂  In fact, Beloved is the one festival which I see people leaving their wristlets on for a year or more – which tells you something.  Early Bird tickets usually go on sale for Beloved in the Spring – join their email list and perhaps we’ll share a dance there next year! Also, there’s a somewhat active FB group if you’d like to hear about other events and connect with other Beloveds throughout the year.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to your feedback/comments to me, or below.

Albert Kaufman

PS – did I mention I found a new place to dance (face altered by Maitrea)?  Oh, and I skipped the word LOVE. Love is a big part of this festival – add in love. Loved the food. Loved the rain (fresh air). Loved the people I camped with. Loved the ride to the festival. Loved the ride home. Love thinking about Beloved. That.

PPS – The Economist weighed in this year.

Beloved Festival by Carlton Ward

The Eleven, August 2014 – Beloved & Next Door (a new tool I’m ga-ga over)

The Eleven 8.2014

Hello, and welcome to another edition of The Eleven, my monthly e-letter where I tell it as I see it. If you’d like to unsubscribe, there’s a handy link below. And, if you’d like to know more about what I do for work, please click the “update profile” link below and join one or more of my biz lists that will appear! - The Eleven

OK, first of all, I’ve been secretly and not so secretly giggling over my newfound love of NextDoor!  NextDoor is a new platform that is a super-local bulletin board. It allows you to connect with your immediate neighborhood (our cat is missing, is a common announcement (our cat actually is missing – come home, Scooter, we miss you!)). Then, you can also connect with the 7 neighborhoods nearest you. This makes finding others with similar interests (Spanish conversation group, anyone?) a synch. I have been waiting for something like this all my life, and I am very excited to share this with you and see what you think. For those of us wishing our lives were lived closer to home, this is a Godsend.

The Lucky Cock - The Eleven
For 3 years I lived at a big group house. Downstairs was The Happy Clam and upstairs, The Lucky Cock. Last month, the last folks who lived upstairs moved out and we had a great, sweet goodbye to our communal home. I had some of the best times of my life in this house on 13th and Hancock (thus, Alex Kain dubbed the house – The Lucky Cock 🙂  We had many great parties; lived with some close friends; and the house is a beautiful 1910 craftsman – a beautiful, historical Irvington house – a great home for all of us in so many ways. I’ll miss this house and the community we experienced there.
Beloved: Photo by Zippy Lomax

Last weekend, at the last minute, I decided to attend the Beloved Festival for my 7th year. I’m glad I did. It’s one of the most beautiful festivals I’ve ever been to – the music, food, people, setting (Oregon temperate coastal rainforest), dancing, art (lots of live painting), camping, community, purpose, (the porta-potties had Rumi and Hafiz poems in them this year!) and general evolved communication and connection – is a welcome change from how our society generally connects. I’ve often mentioned to friends that it’s also a “mens’ retreat” for me. It’s a chance to hang out with my men friends in a relaxed environment where we don’t have to be anywhere else – and so can hang out for long stretches – over a meal; watching some incredible music or going for a walk together. I don’t know, but somehow I find it hard to have that kind of ease with my men friends in the city. I applied to lead a mens’ workshop this year at Beloved, but the workshop was not accepted. I’ll definitely apply again as I think it would be a great addition to an already incredible experience. I could write a book about this year’s experience – here are some quick highlights:

  • Rafe Pearlman‘s Shabbat invocation on Friday night was like nothing I’ve ever heard before – part mystic, part kirtan – it was other-worldly and beautiful.
  • YogiTunes. They did some sound-scaping at the yoga dome which was delicious. I’m enjoying continuing to learn about them. Kristen, Ryan, and Jon R’s sound-healing offering were super-fine, too!
  • The fountains of green drink, oxygenated water, and vitamin C water were provided by Healthforce Nutritionals kept me dancing and hydrated all weekend long. In the food category, I was also elevated by Lydia’s Kitchen, Get Fried Rice, Coconut Bliss – you get the idea – delicious, conscious food, at a reasonable price, available all weekend long.
  • My friends. Their friends. The kids – bouncing all over the place and having the time of their lives.
  • the art – and especially all of the alters.  Annie and her crew were at the festival a week early to install dozens of little and big alters all over the grounds. They were beautiful – temporary – created by Nature and Annie Eshaia.
  • Here’s a nice collection of pictures that can give you an idea of what the Beloved Festival is all about.  I look forward to going back again next year – it keeps improving from year to year.
  • Oh yeah, I almost forgot – hanging out talking to Michael Meade for a while – definitely a highlight!
Work-wise, I’ve been going a bit lighter this August. Meeting with clients (feel free to refer people to me who are seeking to up their online presence through email marketing and social media!). I’ve got a couple of free classes coming up (see below).
Yeah, Summer! – heat, sunshine, friends, playing guitar, and being my activist self, too 🙂  Making sure friends are registered to vote (for labeling foods with GMOs in them in Oregon this Fall – to Legalize Recreational Marijuana here in Oregon this Fall, and more).  More on these issues this Fall.
I hope life is treating you extremely well. Rest, relax, and please take some time to have a Summer 🙂
Much love,

Upcoming Events

Getting Your Business Thriving with Email Marketing

Wednesday, August 20, 2014, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM PDT

Getting Started with Email Marketing is the most cost-effective way to build your business – join me, Albert Kaufman, for a guided discussion about how email marketing works and how to get up and running. 8.20.14 – great inner NE PDX location.

Holladay Park Church of God

Social Media Marketing for Small Business Success

Wednesday, September 24, 2014, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM PDT

Come learn about social media from a local expert, Albert Kaufman. This presentation is a guide for small businesses or nonprofits who have been using social media marketing but need some tips to take them to an intermediate level and/or add new channels to their marketing efforts. Heather Fulton, a social media expert, will also be speaking!

Uptown Billiards



The Love Art! Gallery

Love Art!

I had a great time last night talking to a group of about 15 artists who are part of the Love Art! Gallery in Sellwood.  The group was very receptive to information about how to use social networking to help their sales, outreach and follow-up and hopefully leave them more time to do their art.  Also along for the ride was my good friend, Aaron Trotter, who is working on some great drawings of street scenes and local haunts for a greeting card series that he’s putting together.  I can’t wait to see what he puts together, but he’s got a show at Enterbeing on Last Thursday on Alberta this month.