Ideas and tips to get along and get stuff done------------ -February 7, 2024

Helping others. For fun.

What makes me smile looking back on my day? It’s not the $5 I spent on a that new thing, or the $5 I saved with that special coupon; it’s the $5 that I gave to Tom the bottle guy. (Here in Maine we have a bottle law so people collect empties for money). When I ran into Tom on the street I didn’t have any empties to give him, or time to go get some from my office, and then it occurred to me: “I could just give him $5.” What a fun idea!

“But he didn’t earn it,” says a voice in my head. There’s another voice that says, “If you give people money they will just use it for drugs or alcohol.” And another voice says, “You’re creating dependency. Tom should get a job.” I used to listen to these voices. Today I don’t. Today I listen to the voice that says, “If a fellow human is in dire straits, help them if you can.”

My decision whether or not to hand someone a $5 bill doesn’t need to be a whole big statement about my political principles. In that moment I don’t need to be all thoughtful or righteous or care what people think. What’s gonna make me feel good? I make it a heart thing not a head thing.

And today, I don’t give with strings. I used to say, “Now you’re gonna spend this on food, right?” Or, “I won’t give you money but I’ll buy you a meal.” And I would feel so righteous about applying my big morality in this little situation. Today I honor the dignity of the asker. I don’t impose my views about how they should spend their money. I try to treat them as an equal, walking along with me, a lateral transfer.

Lately I’ve been helping to deliver furniture to asylum seekers. No big deal, just a couple deliveries here and there. Yet look at this family and how happy they are with their new couch. This family had been sitting on the floor of their living room. And eating on the floor of their kitchen. And sleeping on the floor with no mattresses. Now at least they have a couch. How fun is that!

Just because I give to you doesn’t mean less for me. That’s an old voice in my head. Today when I give to you my heart gets full. I make fun for myself by doing stuff for others. The needs can seem so great and the world can seem so heavy. That doesn’t mean we have to be sad and forlorn and give up on joy. Just do whatever you can wherever you can and have fun with it. That’s what I say. That’s the voice I listen for today.

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Please share with your favorite meeting leader

Whether you lead meetings all the time or just once in awhile, this session will offer basic tips and tricks for facilitating COLLABORATIVE MEETINGS where everyone gets heard, the best ideas get blended, and the results are better than anyone could have imagined on their own.

In addition to some basic theory about different types of meetings, I will explain the four essential functions of high quality meeting facilitation. And I'll explain how to address common challenges, such as handling the "dominant talker" and how to move through an agenda on time.

And I’m going to ask you to share YOUR strategies. It’s a TALK Show; so we’re gonna talk about this. We’re going to learn from each other. And support each other. And after the session I will provide each participant with Highlight Notes from what we discussed, including links to resources.

My Training Talk Shows are always free. Always interactive. Just 50 minutes online.

WEDNESDAY, February 28, 2024, 1pm MaineTime Register Here

A Fundraiser

for Immigrants

Here’s me having fun and helping others at the same time.

Join the fun!

I have been playing Neil Young songs in my kitchen for years. Now I’m stepping out and trying something new. I’m gonna play a whole little show of Neil Young songs. Just me and my guitar and my harmonica. All acoustic.

Details here

If you can’t come to the show you can still donate to the cause. The need is great and money is needed right now.

Make a donation

On social media I got some harsh criticism about this. Basically, “You should be helping homeless vets!” Of course I care about homeless vets. I help them on other days in other ways. Let’s not judge each other for the charities we choose, but rather support each other for being charitable at all.

If you would like to support me stepping out, or support this cause on this day,

please come to the show or make a donation.

Maine initiative teaches high school students how to 'agree-to-disagree' on political issues

The Augusta Civic Center was aptly named as some 250 high school students from more than a dozen schools across Maine gathered on Dec. 14. They came prepared to discuss some of the political issues they cared most about at the latest session of The Can We? Project. Learn all about it here.

Free Film: What makes us American?


Join Better Angels on February 15 at 8 pm ET to talk about "American Creed," a documentary that profiles people from all around the country who describe the values they believe make them American and how they keep those values alive. The underlying question: What holds us together in turbulent times?

Watch the film for free right now at

Sign up here for the discussion on February 15 at 8pm ET.

Questions? Contact Ivan Kaisan at [email protected] 

Bring your small imperfect stone

“It has become a common feeling, I believe, as we have watched our heroes falling over the years, that our own small stone of activism, which might not seem to measure up to the rugged boulders of heroism we have so admired, is a paltry offering toward the building of an edifice of hope. Many who believe this choose to withhold their offerings out of shame.

This is the tragedy of our world.

For we can do nothing substantial toward changing our course on the planet, a destructive one, without rousing ourselves, individual by individual, and bringing our small, imperfect stones to the pile."

- Alice Walker, Anything We Love Can Be Saved --------------- (thanks Catherine)

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