Commerce Based On Circle Wisdom

This past May, while receiving an award from Mayor Coss and the Chamber of Commerce for Excellence in Business, I viewed my physical surroundings: the wood on the tables, plated food, concrete, drywall, lighting and carpet, and wondered about the true cost of these commodities to the communities that produced them.

My sensitivity to the issue of transparency is acute because I am actively working to counter the ravages of commoditization within the jewelry sector.  I know the gold in your wedding ring, unless it was recycled, may well have caused three tons of mercury laden sludge to be poured into a river where some child bathes every day. Perhaps you bought a diamond in the nineties, thus unintentionally funding wars resulting in the death of 3.7 million Africans.

You would never support these practices.  Yet in my business, just as in almost every other area of commerce, marketing sorcerers spin illusions that disconnect the “consumer” from the consequences of his or her purchase.  By not accounting for the true cost of the diamond ring, or even a banquet dinner in a hotel chain, I unwittingly contribute to the ongoing destruction which now threatens earth’s life support systems.
Commoditization is that natural outcome of large scale corporation’s functioning within local communities and economies as neo-colonial entities.  Except in obvious cases, such as the recent attempt to drill oil in Northern New Mexico, the so called economic benefit of companies that colonize Santa Fe—jobs, price competition and availability of commodities—are rarely considered in light of hidden costs.

It is easy to feel depressed about our current resource to cash to trash model which creates spiritual impoverished wealth.  I am, however, convinced we are in the process of radically changing to a new economic model.

Structures Behind Business Models

Most business are structured like pyramidal.  Resources from the base, communities and the environment, are focused on driving profits, as represented by the top point.  If the main goal is to deliver to shareholders, which is the law with publicly traded companies, the only way that you can move forward is by rapidly pulling resources from the community and ecology that you function in.  Unmitigated growth, disconnected from life systems, is called cancer.

Yet triangles, which make up pyramids, exist in nature and serve a vital function. I’ve observed from tips of feathers, shark fins, waves, sunflower leaves and even our own teeth how triangles focus energy toward specific goals.

In nature, however, this triangular movement exists within complex relationships that are deeply interdependent and radically equal within the whole: the circle.
How can we use circle in business which can provide a foundation for a new and just economy?  First, it requires a basic understanding how circles work in natural systems.

Right now, I look around at the circles in my environment through my round eyes: trees, fingers, a clay pot, light bulbs, my husky dog, Tasha, curled up by my feet.

Everywhere around me are circles functioning.  Each point that makes up a circle supports a whole.  We talk about the circle or life, or our community circle because the circle innately supports interdependence.

Experience has taught me that, just as the circle is the fundamental blueprint to nature, it is also the definitive blueprint for a well functioning community based on sustainability, which, of course, includes businesses.

Business is how we exchange with one another in our community circle.

The Santa Fe Farmer’s Market is a great example of a circle-based approach that helps the local community thrives.  It involves community, interdependence and sustenance on the most basic level.  Local, organically grown food only appears more expensive.  In fact, it is simply reflecting the real cost of growing in a sustainable manner.
By supporting sustainable-based local business, we strengthen our own circle.  Wealth that stays in our local community creates an upward spiral, strengthening our relationship with each other and our bio-region, instead of a downward spiral which concentrates wealth at the expense of economy and community.

These same principals can be carried through in resources that we import from outside of our community.  Commerce is based on equitable exchange, or fair trade.
In the circle, all parts have a radical equality.  As a business person, if I am to honor that basic truth that every person is a brother or sister walking on their own spiritual journey, this goal of fair trade needs to extend through out the entire circle of my supply chain, from mine to market.  We all have the same basic needs and depend upon clean air, healthy food and water.

In deep reverence to the natural world, I call this great movement of interdependent circles building creative synergy “The Circle Manifesto.”

In Action

The movement from our current state of fragmentation to a circle based economy is a process.  We have to heal thousands of years of patriarchal power systems and empires based on straight lines.  Commerce based on sustainability is both a goal and a process.  We also have to act within the context of sound economics.

Yet no matter where we are or what we are doing, we can find our community, strengthen our circles and make a difference.

In my circle-based company, we continually look for opportunities to create relationships based on our core values.   Purchasing carbon offsets and producing jewelry in house with fair wages and recycled precious metal was a natural step.  Internationally fabrication with recycled precious metal in a fair trade factory, which is starting this August, took us twelve years.  We might be the first in the vast jewelry sector to achieve this.
Our current direction includes educating the trade and public through our blog and building a set of relationships with marginalized small scale artisan miners based on fair trade.  I am trying to build a connection, a circle, between some small producer in the developing world and my customer by telling a universal story.

Right now, the movement for ethical jewelry is very small. Yet if just five percent of the public were to ask for fair trade or locally made recycled metal jewelry, it would tip an industry ignoring this wonderful emerging market.

For me, the balance between how I work with money, my humanity and passion for sustainability is a testing ground.  I ask myself whether my decisions are going to altruistically strengthen interdependent circle or not, factoring in the survival of our company circle in the market.

Ultimately, each time I spend, it is expresses core values, my spiritual path.  For better or worse, spending money is gifting back to the world.  You can make a huge difference by aligning your money and your values.

I used to feel than an individual such as me could not change things very much in the vast jewelry sector.  Trade shows were depressing affairs.   But over the last two years, I am witnessing how a few people, a circle of passionate colleagues, are shifting the entire paradigm.

Regardless of the results, supporting life giving circles has huge benefits.  Connections become profound. I live in thankfulness for the work I do, which roots my daily existence in regenerative joy.

But I am merely a student of these ideas and greater mysteries– a mad man in the mucky bottom of a real and metaphoric swamp.  To find balance, each fall, I back pack up to 11,000 feet and hunt for elk.

The experience is a kind of medicine.  By having my hands in blood, hauling down a hundred pound back pack, eating the meat all year, I know my debt to existence—to the elk, to the trees, mountain, clouds and sky.

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This past May, while receiving an award from Mayor Coss and the Chamber of Commerce for Excellence in Business, I viewed my physical surroundings: the wood on the tables, plated food, concrete, drywall, lighting and carpet, and wondered about the true cost of these commodities to the communities that produced them.

My sensitivity to the issue of transparency is acute because I am actively working to counter the ravages of commoditization within the jewelry sector.  I know the gold in your wedding ring, unless it was recycled, may well have caused three tons of mercury laden sludge to be poured into a river where some child bathes every day. Perhaps you bought a diamond in the nineties, thus unintentionally funding wars resulting in the death of 3.7 million Africans.

You would never support these practices.  Yet in my business, just as in almost every other area of commerce, marketing sorcerers spin illusions that disconnect the “consumer” from the consequences of his or her purchase.  By not accounting for the true cost of the diamond ring, or even a banquet dinner in a hotel chain, I unwittingly contribute to the ongoing destruction which now threatens earth’s life support systems.
Commoditization is that natural outcome of large scale corporation’s functioning within local communities and economies as neo-colonial entities.  Except in obvious cases, such as the recent attempt to drill oil in Northern New Mexico, the so called economic benefit of companies that colonize Santa Fe—jobs, price competition and availability of commodities—are rarely considered in light of hidden costs.

It is easy to feel depressed about our current resource to cash to trash model which creates spiritual impoverished wealth.  I am, however, convinced we are in the process of radically changing to a new economic model.

Structures Behind Business Models

Most business are structured like pyramidal.  Resources from the base, communities and the environment, are focused on driving profits, as represented by the top point.  If the main goal is to deliver to shareholders, which is the law with publicly traded companies, the only way that you can move forward is by rapidly pulling resources from the community and ecology that you function in.  Unmitigated growth, disconnected from life systems, is called cancer.

Yet triangles, which make up pyramids, exist in nature and serve a vital function. I’ve observed from tips of feathers, shark fins, waves, sunflower leaves and even our own teeth how triangles focus energy toward specific goals.

In nature, however, this triangular movement exists within complex relationships that are deeply interdependent and radically equal within the whole: the circle.
How can we use circle in business which can provide a foundation for a new and just economy?  First, it requires a basic understanding how circles work in natural systems.

Right now, I look around at the circles in my environment through my round eyes: trees, fingers, a clay pot, light bulbs, my husky dog, Tasha, curled up by my feet.

Everywhere around me are circles functioning.  Each point that makes up a circle supports a whole.  We talk about the circle or life, or our community circle because the circle innately supports interdependence.

Experience has taught me that, just as the circle is the fundamental blueprint to nature, it is also the definitive blueprint for a well functioning community based on sustainability, which, of course, includes businesses.

Business is how we exchange with one another in our community circle.

The Santa Fe Farmer’s Market is a great example of a circle-based approach that helps the local community thrives.  It involves community, interdependence and sustenance on the most basic level.  Local, organically grown food only appears more expensive.  In fact, it is simply reflecting the real cost of growing in a sustainable manner.
By supporting sustainable-based local business, we strengthen our own circle.  Wealth that stays in our local community creates an upward spiral, strengthening our relationship with each other and our bio-region, instead of a downward spiral which concentrates wealth at the expense of economy and community.

These same principals can be carried through in resources that we import from outside of our community.  Commerce is based on equitable exchange, or fair trade.
In the circle, all parts have a radical equality.  As a business person, if I am to honor that basic truth that every person is a brother or sister walking on their own spiritual journey, this goal of fair trade needs to extend through out the entire circle of my supply chain, from mine to market.  We all have the same basic needs and depend upon clean air, healthy food and water.

In deep reverence to the natural world, I call this great movement of interdependent circles building creative synergy “The Circle Manifesto.”

In Action

The movement from our current state of fragmentation to a circle based economy is a process.  We have to heal thousands of years of patriarchal power systems and empires based on straight lines.  Commerce based on sustainability is both a goal and a process.  We also have to act within the context of sound economics.

Yet no matter where we are or what we are doing, we can find our community, strengthen our circles and make a difference.

In my circle-based company, we continually look for opportunities to create relationships based on our core values.   Purchasing carbon offsets and producing jewelry in house with fair wages and recycled precious metal was a natural step.  Internationally fabrication with recycled precious metal in a fair trade factory, which is starting this August, took us twelve years.  We might be the first in the vast jewelry sector to achieve this.
Our current direction includes educating the trade and public through our blog and building a set of relationships with marginalized small scale artisan miners based on fair trade.  I am trying to build a connection, a circle, between some small producer in the developing world and my customer by telling a universal story.

Right now, the movement for ethical jewelry is very small. Yet if just five percent of the public were to ask for fair trade or locally made recycled metal jewelry, it would tip an industry ignoring this wonderful emerging market.

For me, the balance between how I work with money, my humanity and passion for sustainability is a testing ground.  I ask myself whether my decisions are going to altruistically strengthen interdependent circle or not, factoring in the survival of our company circle in the market.

Ultimately, each time I spend, it is expresses core values, my spiritual path.  For better or worse, spending money is gifting back to the world.  You can make a huge difference by aligning your money and your values.

I used to feel than an individual such as me could not change things very much in the vast jewelry sector.  Trade shows were depressing affairs.   But over the last two years, I am witnessing how a few people, a circle of passionate colleagues, are shifting the entire paradigm.

Regardless of the results, supporting life giving circles has huge benefits.  Connections become profound. I live in thankfulness for the work I do, which roots my daily existence in regenerative joy.

But I am merely a student of these ideas and greater mysteries– a mad man in the mucky bottom of a real and metaphoric swamp.  To find balance, each fall, I back pack up to 11,000 feet and hunt for elk.

The experience is a kind of medicine.  By having my hands in blood, hauling down a hundred pound back pack, eating the meat all year, I know my debt to existence—to the elk, to the trees, mountain, clouds and sky.

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This past May, while receiving an award from Mayor Coss and the Chamber of Commerce for Excellence in Business, I viewed my physical surroundings: the wood on the tables, plated food, concrete, drywall, lighting and carpet, and wondered about the true cost of these commodities to the communities that produced them.

My sensitivity to the issue of transparency is acute because I am actively working to counter the ravages of commoditization within the jewelry sector.  I know the gold in your wedding ring, unless it was recycled, may well have caused three tons of mercury laden sludge to be poured into a river where some child bathes every day. Perhaps you bought a diamond in the nineties, thus unintentionally funding wars resulting in the death of 3.7 million Africans.

You would never support these practices.  Yet in my business, just as in almost every other area of commerce, marketing sorcerers spin illusions that disconnect the “consumer” from the consequences of his or her purchase.  By not accounting for the true cost of the diamond ring, or even a banquet dinner in a hotel chain, I unwittingly contribute to the ongoing destruction which now threatens earth’s life support systems.
Commoditization is that natural outcome of large scale corporation’s functioning within local communities and economies as neo-colonial entities.  Except in obvious cases, such as the recent attempt to drill oil in Northern New Mexico, the so called economic benefit of companies that colonize Santa Fe—jobs, price competition and availability of commodities—are rarely considered in light of hidden costs.

It is easy to feel depressed about our current resource to cash to trash model which creates spiritual impoverished wealth.  I am, however, convinced we are in the process of radically changing to a new economic model.

Structures Behind Business Models

Most business are structured like pyramidal.  Resources from the base, communities and the environment, are focused on driving profits, as represented by the top point.  If the main goal is to deliver to shareholders, which is the law with publicly traded companies, the only way that you can move forward is by rapidly pulling resources from the community and ecology that you function in.  Unmitigated growth, disconnected from life systems, is called cancer.

Yet triangles, which make up pyramids, exist in nature and serve a vital function. I’ve observed from tips of feathers, shark fins, waves, sunflower leaves and even our own teeth how triangles focus energy toward specific goals.

In nature, however, this triangular movement exists within complex relationships that are deeply interdependent and radically equal within the whole: the circle.
How can we use circle in business which can provide a foundation for a new and just economy?  First, it requires a basic understanding how circles work in natural systems.

Right now, I look around at the circles in my environment through my round eyes: trees, fingers, a clay pot, light bulbs, my husky dog, Tasha, curled up by my feet.

Everywhere around me are circles functioning.  Each point that makes up a circle supports a whole.  We talk about the circle or life, or our community circle because the circle innately supports interdependence.

Experience has taught me that, just as the circle is the fundamental blueprint to nature, it is also the definitive blueprint for a well functioning community based on sustainability, which, of course, includes businesses.

Business is how we exchange with one another in our community circle.

The Santa Fe Farmer’s Market is a great example of a circle-based approach that helps the local community thrives.  It involves community, interdependence and sustenance on the most basic level.  Local, organically grown food only appears more expensive.  In fact, it is simply reflecting the real cost of growing in a sustainable manner.
By supporting sustainable-based local business, we strengthen our own circle.  Wealth that stays in our local community creates an upward spiral, strengthening our relationship with each other and our bio-region, instead of a downward spiral which concentrates wealth at the expense of economy and community.

These same principals can be carried through in resources that we import from outside of our community.  Commerce is based on equitable exchange, or fair trade.
In the circle, all parts have a radical equality.  As a business person, if I am to honor that basic truth that every person is a brother or sister walking on their own spiritual journey, this goal of fair trade needs to extend through out the entire circle of my supply chain, from mine to market.  We all have the same basic needs and depend upon clean air, healthy food and water.

In deep reverence to the natural world, I call this great movement of interdependent circles building creative synergy “The Circle Manifesto.”

In Action

The movement from our current state of fragmentation to a circle based economy is a process.  We have to heal thousands of years of patriarchal power systems and empires based on straight lines.  Commerce based on sustainability is both a goal and a process.  We also have to act within the context of sound economics.

Yet no matter where we are or what we are doing, we can find our community, strengthen our circles and make a difference.

In my circle-based company, we continually look for opportunities to create relationships based on our core values.   Purchasing carbon offsets and producing jewelry in house with fair wages and recycled precious metal was a natural step.  Internationally fabrication with recycled precious metal in a fair trade factory, which is starting this August, took us twelve years.  We might be the first in the vast jewelry sector to achieve this.
Our current direction includes educating the trade and public through our blog and building a set of relationships with marginalized small scale artisan miners based on fair trade.  I am trying to build a connection, a circle, between some small producer in the developing world and my customer by telling a universal story.

Right now, the movement for ethical jewelry is very small. Yet if just five percent of the public were to ask for fair trade or locally made recycled metal jewelry, it would tip an industry ignoring this wonderful emerging market.

For me, the balance between how I work with money, my humanity and passion for sustainability is a testing ground.  I ask myself whether my decisions are going to altruistically strengthen interdependent circle or not, factoring in the survival of our company circle in the market.

Ultimately, each time I spend, it is expresses core values, my spiritual path.  For better or worse, spending money is gifting back to the world.  You can make a huge difference by aligning your money and your values.

I used to feel than an individual such as me could not change things very much in the vast jewelry sector.  Trade shows were depressing affairs.   But over the last two years, I am witnessing how a few people, a circle of passionate colleagues, are shifting the entire paradigm.

Regardless of the results, supporting life giving circles has huge benefits.  Connections become profound. I live in thankfulness for the work I do, which roots my daily existence in regenerative joy.

But I am merely a student of these ideas and greater mysteries– a mad man in the mucky bottom of a real and metaphoric swamp.  To find balance, each fall, I back pack up to 11,000 feet and hunt for elk.

The experience is a kind of medicine.  By having my hands in blood, hauling down a hundred pound back pack, eating the meat all year, I know my debt to existence—to the elk, to the trees, mountain, clouds and sky.

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