Friends, Cats & Tigers

Today is my birthday. I have received many well wishes that came in all forms (cards, letters, VM, SMS, songs,...)
This is an attempt to express what they mean to me.
Thank you so very much for this most amazing gift that is your letter.
It resonates and makes my whole being vibrate, so in tune with the meaning of your words. I am about to collapse, literally!! I sincerely have no idea what is going on, but I can feel such a rebirth.
The past few days have been really scary on so many fronts. I have been on panic mode, but Michael, equal to himself is the one who keeps on pushing forward for the two of us, and I listen to his calm directions. He is the only reason why I am not trying to jump out of the racing car right now. You know that urge one has to just turn their back and run the opposite direction when faced with a dangerous wild animal? Your first instinct is to do that, but doing that is a sure death sentence because that is the last thing to do when faced with a danger like that. So Michael is the voice that has been telling me to stand in front of the animal, lift up my hands in the air, make noise and jump so to make myself more imposing and scare him into running away (while God knows I am dying with fear inside).
That is how it feels. But I must say that Hope is taking its place back, thanks especially to all the voices I heard from today. Michael has been joined by countless others today, including you. And your combined voices are forming a real beat that I now find myself in trance with, a trance that makes me feel invincible.
It is all so powerful, I can feel the Beast now being the one scared, wise in its belief that this collective is a force not be messed with.
I am so very glad that I called for help. And even more grateful that you all heard it and came to the rescue.
It is true what they say, that at the end of the day, all we have is one another. Thank You! A most grateful Magatte

Job well Done, My Genius!

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." Steve Jobs, 1955-2011

Fifteen years ago, after having closely flirted with spiritual and emotional death, I decided the only way to survive for me would be to live my life, and no one else's. Whatever the price.

And what a price I paid! It cost me my relationship with my parents, the rest of my family and everyone else I had come to rely on. It sucked, but then I read the Alchemist of Paul Coelho who said "The fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself and no heart has ever suffered while in the pursuit of its dream".

So when later, I came across the saying above from Steve Jobs, a Man, Genius for whom I have such Respect (there is no proper word to describe my admiration for him), I fell to my knees. No truth has ever been this pure,  this true and this liberating.

Often people wonder about the fire that inhabits me. I let them look at me with round eyes, thinking I am crazy. If only they knew the sacrifices I made to be a truly free person, perhaps they would understand why I am giving it all I have to make sure those sacrifices were not in vain.

Well Steve Jobs, you are the symbol of the amazing rewards of living one's own life. Living your own life is what allowed you to touch so many lives. And you also showed us how Excellence and Perseverance always win when it's all said and done. I will be forever grateful to have been an adult under your era, and fully grasp the meaning of who you have been and what you have done.  I have never been one to want to be where the masses were, but tonight I have no other way to cope with this terrible news of your passing than joining my brothers and sisters out there on the Net and try to find some comfort. I am crying right now, sobbing even. My hubby is on a trip. I never thought that someone I have never met for real would have such an effect on me. But you do. I know I have been changed forever by you! Job well done, My Genius! I love you and I will look for your spirit to visit me in my dreams. That and comfort for Yours are my prayers for tonight. Ce n'est qu'un au revoir.

Misguided Romance of Democracy

I make no comment. Just think it through.

"The fact that almost all our leaders appear to us as fools once they are in power, pathetically inadequate or seriously deceived, shows that the system is working. On a recent visit to China I met many young people who had recently discovered that their leaders were old, stupid and corrupt. These young Chinese were cynical, and yet upset by this realization. I reassured them that it is this very cynicism, rampant over the last three hundred years or more in England, which is one of the glories of Democracy. Those in power should never be trusted fully. We should always remember the novelist Daniel Defoe’s short verse: ‘Nature has left this tincture in the blood, That all men would be tyrants if they could.’ The British Prime Minister Winston Church suggested that ‘It has been said that Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.’ It is often a sham, a mask for power, but it is difficult to think of a better system."

You can read more here if interested.

Boy Scouts Offer Free Breast Exams for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbVifPkbYsk]Hilarious! Maybe you had to be a 12-year-old boy once upon a time to enjoy this one, if nothing else it will give you insight into the young (and the old) male psyche.

More seriously, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and if, like me, you don't want your breasts examined by a 12-year-old boy scout, you can find here how to do your own self-exam :)

And to my girlfriends  and women around the world fighting the Cancer Beast right now: we're all in this together and we will conquer!

Anti-Feminist Feminist

Camille Paglia is an interesting character; a sort of anti-feminist feminist.  I find much in her that I would agree with, though my personal force as a creator is more male than female, so her estimates of the low creative powers of women would not apply to me.  My beloved Michael is very interested in the voice he hears in me when I say "I'm a man" and claims that this Paglia quotation applies to me:

"Charisma is the radiance produced by the interaction of male and female elements in a gifted personality. The charismatic woman has a masculine force and severity. The charismatic man has an entrancing female beauty. Both are hot and cold, glowing with presexual self-love."

Perhaps.  There is much interesting truth in it.

For me, the sense in which I am an anti-feminist feminist is that while I very much believe in strong women and for women to play a powerful leadership role in the world, I also believe in traditional male and female sexuality, and I hate the way in which some feminists try to downplay our fundamental sexual energies.  Thus while I may not agree with everything Paglia says, I like her frank acknowledgement of the fundamental male and female energies, and the role that they play in our lives.  Part of my commitment to returning us to the "cultural origins of women's sensuality" is an attempt to help modern women get back in touch with their deep, primal, female selves.

"Camille Paglia, a feminist with a strong critique of feminism, has proposed controversial theories about the role of sadism and perversity in Western cultural art, and the "darker forces" of sexuality that she claims feminism ignores. Her more positive assessment of pornography and decadence, relegation of feminism to political egalitarianism, and assessment that women are actually more powerful in culture than men are has put her at odds with many feminists and non-feminists."

See below for some Camille Paglia Quotations

• Men know they are sexual exiles. They wander the earth seeking satisfaction, craving and despising, never content. There is nothing in that anguished motion for women to envy.

• It is woman's destiny to rule men. Not to serve them, flatter them, or hang on them for guidance. Nor to insult them, demean them, or stereotype them as oppressors.

• We cannot have a world where everyone is a victim. "I'm this way because my father made me this way. I'm this way because my husband made me this way." Yes, we are indeed formed by traumas that happen to us. But you must take charge, you must take over, you are responsible.

You Prefer Healthy Foods? You've Got A Mental Disorder!

I just came across the post below by Mike Adams for Natural News. No comment as he has said it all!!!

"In its never-ending attempt to fabricate “mental disorders” out of every human activity, the psychiatric industry is now pushing the most ridiculous disease they’ve invented yet: Healthy eating disorder.

This is no joke: If you focus on eating healthy foods, you’re “mentally diseased” and probably need some sort of chemical treatment involving powerful psychotropic drugs. The Guardiannewspaper reports, “Fixation with healthy eating can be sign of serious psychological disorder” and goes on to claim this “disease” is called orthorexia nervosa — which is basically just Latin for “nervous about correct eating.”

But they can’t just called it “nervous healthy eating disorder” because that doesn’t sound like they know what they’re talking about. So they translate it into Latin where it sounds smart (even though it isn’t). That’s where most disease names come from: Doctors just describe the symptoms they see with a name like osteoporosis (which means “bones with holes in them”).

Getting back to this fabricated “orthorexia” disease, the Guardian goes on to report, “Orthorexics commonly have rigid rules around eating. Refusing to touch sugar, salt, caffeine, alcohol, wheat, gluten, yeast, soya, corn and dairy foods is just the start of their diet restrictions. Any foods that have come into contact with pesticides, herbicides or contain artificial additives are also out.”

Wait a second. So attempting to avoid chemicals, dairy, soy and sugar now makes you a mental health patient? Yep. According to these experts. If you actually take special care to avoid pesticides, herbicides and genetically modified ingredients like soy and sugar, there’s something wrong with you.

But did you notice that eating junk food is assumed to be “normal?” If you eat processed junk foods laced with synthetic chemicals, that’s okay with them. The mental patients are the ones who choose organic, natural foods, apparently…"

France still has colonies!

I know I sound surprised but I am really not. But still, WTH? At this point, the best I can do is post the video below and hope that people reflect on it. Although I was born wayyyy after the "official end" of colonialism, why do these images of a scene that happened just few days ago "remind" me of a time supposedly long gone? It is a good thing I am an adept of principled non violence (after all Cheickh Amadou Bamba is my spiritual leader). A bon entendeur...

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuqEAalYXsk&feature=player_embedded]

Happy Birthday Wishes!

First of all, thanks to all of you who have reached out and wished me a happy birthday.  I have always tried to keep my birthday as low profile as possible, and yet it is still gratifying to receive greetings from so many friends.

This is especially true as I continue to undergo a transformation in which there is some discontinuity between my past and my present.  I feel as if I was a caterpillar who is now in a cocoon on my way to being a butterfly, and not all of those who loved me in my caterpillar stage love me in my cocoon stage, and not all of those who loved me in my caterpillar stage will love me in my butterfly stage.  So a special thanks to those of you who are staying in touch with me while I am cocooning.

The metaphor of transforming myself from a caterpillar to a butterfly may seem an odd one for me in particular; in some ways in my former life I was a social butterfly par excellence, and many people loved me most of all for being the life of the party (and giving them a glamorous existence to live vicariously).  Now I am more quiet and thoughtful, and engaged more deeply in my life's work.  I still enjoy parties, and still enjoy laughing and having fun, but my mind and my spirit are now more deeply engaged in achieving something meaningful with my years.

And I have realized that as exciting and stimulating as it was to be the life of the party, and a social butterfly par excellence, it is even more beautiful, and even more stimulating, to create meaning with the gifts that God has given me.

Blessings and love to all of you,

Magatte

Ch… Ch… Ch… Changing…

When I was growing up in France, I knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, and I knew that I wanted to go to America because I knew that it was the land of entrepreneurship.  In business school in France, I very much identified as right-wing because in France the left is so insanely anti-capitalist.  Moreover, my parents had always been right-wing, so it was natural for me. When I came to the U.S. to start my career, I was completely apolitical.  When I moved to San Francisco and got married to my late husband, a French entrepreneur, we were naturally repelled by George Bush, the invasion of Iraq, and Fox News.  But we were still mostly apolitical.

It was only when I started my first company, Adina World Beverages, that I began to become immersed in the progressive movement in the U.S.  As a female African entrepreneur, the Bay area progressives were very drawn to me and were eager to support the creation of my first company.  I gradually became socially immersed in their culture, as my company had booths at Green Fest, Bioneers, Expo West, and other venues associated with the organic and Fair Trade cultures.  I went to their parties and developed friendships with them, especially after my husband died.

Later, after I transitioned my company into the hands of professional managers, and began my new company, I left much of the world of Adina behind.  I attended an event on women's entrepreneurship held by FLOW, a non-profit founded by John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, and Michael Strong, an educational entrepreneur.  I had expected, naturally enough, that I was going to yet another green event - Whole Foods Market?

As it turned out, John and Michael are libertarians, something I had never heard of before.  They are very much do-gooders, as were my progressive friends, but they also believed passionately in entrepreneurship as a solution to world problems - a message which resonated powerfully for me as an entrepreneur who was motivated by the good I could do through my businesses.  (In fact, they now have a book out - Be the Solution: How Entrepreneurs and Conscious Capitalists Can Solve All the World's Problems.)

I began working with Michael and gradually became exposed to his network of libertarians with a heart.  Time after time I met hard-working entrepreneurs who believed in entrepreneurial solutions to problems - and who did not believe that government was the solution to most problems.  

The transition was gradual, because some of my progressive entrepreneurial friends who were still no-nonsense business people were very similar to the libertarians with a heart - I now call them progressives with a brain.  But I gradually saw many of the more extreme progressives, who thought that every thing bad on earth was caused by an evil corporation somewhere, as out of touch with reality.  Here they were living in comfortable homes, driving comfortable cars, eating nice meals, and traveling around the world, all thanks to capitalism, while complaining all the time about how evil capitalism is.  What?

On the other hand, I have also met libertarians who are selfish, cold, and heartless much as I had previously stereotyped all Republicans for being.  They are living in comfortable homes, driving comfortable cars, eating nice meals, and traveling around the world, all the while saying that it is good and right to be selfish - with no apparent concern for the cost to other human beings or the environment.

As I continued to build my new company, I became increasingly resentful of the fact that many of the progressives I knew only wanted to support Africa if it was pitiful and poor.  With my new company, my ambition is to create world class products in Africa that are as elegant and well-manufactured as anything on earth.  But when I presented my ideas to progressives, they often responded with a dumb-founded expression:  But where are the wells?  How are you helping people?

WELL YOU DUMB^$%#&!!!!!, MAYBE THE JOBS I'M CREATING WILL HELP PEOPLE!  MAYBE THE PRIDE IN EXCELLENCE AND CRAFTSMANSHIP WILL HELP PEOPLE!  MAYBE GETTING RICH BY CREATING VALUE, INSTEAD OF BEGGING FOR FOREIGN AID WILL HELP PEOPLE!

And I'm afraid at this point, if a progressive still has a dumbfounded expression on their face at this point, I'm done with them.

On the other hand, when I meet libertarians who simply don't care about Africa, or the poor, or the environment, I am creeped out and am done with them.


BILLIONS OF PEOPLE ARE SUFFERING, THE ENVIRONMENT IS BEING DESTROYED, AND ALL YOU WANT TO DO IS TO MAKE MORE MONEY??????  WHERE IS YOUR CONSCIENCE YOU A-#$@)#%!!!! 

There is more to it than that, and I'm still in the process of ch-ch-ch-changing, but this is the start - an attempt to find more people who fit that perfect intersection of libertarians with a heart and progressives with a brain.