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!

Cards

It’s in the Cards!

I’ve been playing cards since I was a kid. The game in my house was hearts. I also have a friend, Aaron Trotter, who has been sketching the world’s cities (starting with Alberta Street in Portland, Oregon) and turning the sketches into decks of cards. You can find Aaron every weekend at the Portland Saturday Market.

https://www.illustratedplayingcards.com/

At last year’s World Domination Summit I met Jan Keck from Toronto who has created a deck called Ask Deep Questions. Jan is an interesting guy who is trying to help people break their small talk diets. His use of the cards has opened my eyes and mind to a new tool for parties; family reunions; ice breakers at events; and just a way to go deeper with another person quickly. Science actually shows that people who have deeper conversations are happier. Jan has taken the cards to another level through a Facebook group called the Ask Deep Questions Movement. This has become a hangout spot for those who believe in Jan’s mission and for the sharing of tangential resources. Here is a conversation 4.24.19 between Jan and Erin (mentioned below)

Jan Keck Ask Deep Questions

Jan has also shown me how to run a successful Kickstarter – he had a team of people that he was building as the Kickstarter ran – and he’s also a wiz at using social media and his camera to capture what he’s up to.  His activity mostly takes place in person in Toronto, but he’s also developing tools to teach people his ideas online, as well.

Then, there’s Erin Hickok’s Cards for Connection. I learned about Erin’s work about 2 weeks ago and already I’ve learned a ton about what her decks are about. Erin has been sharing her decks with people all over the country and world for the past 5 years and she’s probably been transformed by the experience. I took part in an online Zoom session with 4 others where we answered questions together – the way this process allows people to share stories; get to know one another; and go deeper – is pretty remarkable.

Cards for Connection https://www.cardsforconnection.com/

Erin also has a Facebook group called Core Connectors which is where people who have been attracted to her work have gathered.  It’s also where some of the online games have happened as well as some interviewing she’s doing. This week she’s having Jan Keck on as a guest and I imagine they will have a very fun conversation! They also share a birthday! Take a look!

Last, but definitely not least, is my friend and local Portlander, Marc Polansky’s game The Higher Thought Cannabis Game. This game is also a series of questions – but they’re designed for taking the group on a journey to answers which build upon one another. It’s a little hard to describe, but it’s worthwhile, for sure. I’ve played the game about 4 times with groups of 4-11 people, and each time has been memorable and interesting.  Here’s a copy of their recent newsletter which comes out weekly and is worth signing up for. Here’s a short video that was made for the SPLIFF Film Festival.


Where are these cards taking me? I’m not positive yet, but I have to say they have led to some new, fun relationships and more of a desire to go deeper quicker with people. I think everyone’s lives can be improved through the use of deeper questions and time together with others to ponder them. I’m always open to feedback or suggestions. Do you know of another deck that I should check out?  And, give something in this post a try and let me know what you experience. Thanks!

Game on! Albert

https://higherthoughtcannabisgame.com/

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