It’s the Jewish New Year, and I’m wondering what the new year will bring. Will some of my dreams come true? Or will this year be a nightmare? I want to know because I derive comfort when I know what’s ahead. But is that really true? When journaling about this topic I wrote, “You do better left in the dark.” Um, excuse me?

As I pondered it, I realized the statement is true. If I knew the future, I might not live it. There have been many instances in my life where if you told me what was before me, I would have laughed in your face and said, “Yeah, right,” or, “Nope. Not doing that.” If I knew what was in store ahead of time, it would feel too daunting. I only accomplish things when I do the next right action, and then the next, and then the next. When I have the full picture, I’m paralyzed.

road sign

You don’t always needs to know in advance. Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

As if to underscore this point about only focusing on what’s next, I pulled a goddess card and the message was, “Allowing the self to evolve as you go and discovering new things today sets the path for destiny to unfold. The power of the present and how you respond to life’s potential is the potent fertile seed of the future. In order to claim the future, you must attend to the now.”

I’m claiming the future by living in the now. This tracks with what my spiritual teacher says about destiny: “The stars do not control you; your original actions control you. And where the original action is not known to you, but the result is known to you, the result is experienced by you, you say it is fate.”

In other words, for every action, even one from a previous life, there is a reaction, and that reaction is often called fate. My teacher also said we think things are predestined but “destiny cannot be the absolute factor, for if you do not exist, if you do not act, destiny cannot exist either.”

Destiny requires action and actions change our destiny. About 10 years ago when my life was completely chaotic and I kept moving all over creation, I consulted psychic after psychic because I wanted comfort. I wanted to know when the drama would end and where I’d settle down. Not one of them was able to accurately predict what would happen more than six weeks out.

One psychic told me I’d move to Vancouver but then I visited Vancouver and discovered, no, I didn’t want to live there. Another psychic told me I’d be married with two elementary-age children by the time I was 35. That didn’t happen either. I kept putting my faith in psychics only to be let down over and over again.

Instead of focusing on the future, I’m better off attending to the present. Living in the present, taking the next right action, I live into the future, which is constantly changing anyway! For this Jewish New Year, I’m affirming I do better left in the dark, that the future will take care of itself, and life can be surprising in a good way.

I dream of a world where we understand destiny isn’t set in stone. A world where we recognize our actions create our destiny. A world where we remember if we knew everything in advance, we’d likely become overwhelmed. A world where we remember sometimes, we’re better off left in the dark.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Lately, I’m on a genealogy kick trying to suss out who I’m related to and how. It’s endlessly fascinating because it’s a puzzle but also a web. As you know, there are many offshoots of a family tree — aunts, uncles, cousins — who all have their own direct family lines. But what’s even more interesting is that we’re all related, literally.

If you go back far enough, you reach a date when family trees share not just one ancestor in common but every ancestor in common, which is called the genetic isopoint. In other words, the family trees of any two people on the earth now, no matter how distantly related they seem, trace back to the same set of individuals. Geneticist Adam Rutherford told Scientific American, “If you were alive at the genetic isopoint, then you are the ancestor of either everyone alive today or no one alive today.” The genetic isopoint occurred somewhere between 5300 and 2200 B.C., according to statistical calculations.

family on the beach

We’re all family! Truly! Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

“In relation to race, it absolutely, categorically demolishes the idea of lineage purity,” Rutherford added. That’s because no person has forebears from just one ethnic background or region of the world. Instead, we are all related. The poet Satyendra Dutta expresses this beautifully when he says, “There is only one race in the entire world, and the name of that race is the human race. We are bound together with the same breast milk of Mother Earth, and the same sun and moon are our common companions.”

Exactly! The same sun, moon, and stars are our common companions and we are all living on the same planet Earth. Yet somehow we forget that. We get caught up in dividing ourselves into this group or that. We say, “I’m not like you,” but is that really true? Don’t we all have the same feelings and needs? Aren’t we more alike than we are different? What do we get by focusing on differences, anyway?

My spiritual teacher said, “The opportunists tried in the past, are trying at present, and will try even in the future to fulfill their narrow desires by keeping the human race disunited. By severely reproaching this opportunistic craftiness through your noble deeds, you draw nigh the unknown strangers living far away and build a healthy world-based human family. Ignoring the brute forces, the sky-kissing arrogance, hypocrisy, immorality, and glib outbursts of the conceited people, go ahead towards your cherished goal.”

The cherished goal isn’t to become a billionaire, by the way. As you likely guessed, it’s to feel the sweet union between yourself and something greater than yourself. This is a quote from my spiritual teacher, after all.

Learning about genealogy reminds me we’re a universal family, quite literally. We are like a garden filled with numerous flowers, but ultimately all a part of the same garden. Like flowers, on the surface, we have different petals, different leaves. Some of us require more water and some of us require less, but we are all flowers. In other words, we’re all humans a part of the same race.

I dream of a world where we treat each other like family. A world where we extend care and appreciation to strangers because we recognize, they, too, are our siblings. A world where we understand there’s only one race, the human race. A world where we embrace the idea of a literal universal family.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Changing in Cycles

Right now I’m migrating old pictures from my phone to my computer. In part, it’s to create more space but it’s also because I’m in the mood to clean and clear. In other words, I’m acting very much in line with Mercury retrograde, which is the time to reflect, reassess, and remove. Anything that begins with “re” is an appropriate Mercury retrograde activity.

What’s interesting is that instead of looking at the photos with wistfulness and nostalgia like I usually do, I’m struck with the parallels between then and now. My pictures from 2015 and 2016 show me with friends, visiting beautiful places in nature, flying to different states to attend weddings, and smiling with my meditation community. You might say, “That’s always what your pictures show. That’s nothing new,” and while there is consistency, 2015 and 2016 also held an excitement, a verve to my life that I haven’t felt in many years.

In the ensuing eight years, the community I built broke apart, people moved away, relationships changed, and I didn’t have excitement or verve anymore. I was in a different cycle of life. But here I am, with a resurgence of verve and excitement. I’m meeting new people left and right, I’m building community, and there’s more energy. It’s as if the wheel of life turned once more and I’m re-experiencing a similar pattern.


Sometimes change is like a spiral. Photo by Li Zhang on Unsplash

As if to underscore my point, while writing this, an enormous dragonfly whizzed by my window. I haven’t seen a dragonfly where I live for years and I regularly stare out the window. According to animal shamanism, “Dragonfly reminds you that change is the only constant in life. When dragonflies surround you, change is on the horizon …. Dragonfly can also be a positive omen indicating you are ready for a change to take shape in your life. Be flexible and adapt to evolving circumstances and you can progress in ways you haven’t imagined.”

So often when I think of change, I think of linear progress, of transporting me somewhere I’ve never been before. But today I’m realizing change is cyclical, just like everything in nature. We have day becoming night, spring becoming summer, and the moon waxing and waning. Human beings are embedded in nature, we are not separate from it so it makes sense that our changes would also be cyclical.

Change is the only constant in life, which is why my spiritual teacher says, “Here in the universe, nothing is stationary, nothing is fixed. Everything moves; that’s why this universe is called jagat. Movement is its dharma; movement is its innate characteristic.”

We are also moving and sometimes that movement is a spiral. It seems like we’re in the same place, but as with a spiral staircase, we aren’t exactly. We’re approaching the situation with a new perspective from a similar place. And it wasn’t until today that I realized the spiral is also a part of a bigger cycle. In fact, it could be said that we change in cycles.

I dream of a world where we recognize we are always moving and changing. A world where we understand just as nature has its cycles, we do too. A world where we realize change isn’t linear, progressing in a straight line, but more like a spiral shifting us to a similar, but slightly different place every time. A world we understand that we change in cycles.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Sometimes I put my happiness on layaway. I think about how amazing it will feel when I move somewhere big enough for a dedicated office space. When I have a house with a lush backyard illuminated with twinkling fairy lights. In the interim though, I’m in a one-bedroom apartment with no green space. Yes, I have plants in containers, but it’s not the same as a true backyard. Does that mean I’m doomed to be unhappy?

I’m currently reading the Artist’s Way and one of the exercises is to write out your ideal day. My ideal day includes, you guessed it, eating outside in a lush backyard illuminated with fairy lights. The author, Julia Cameron, asks, “What festive elements of your ideal day can you have right now?” Well, that certainly isn’t a question I ever asked myself.

I don’t have a backyard, but I do have a walkway that serves as a porch so on impulse, I purchased fairy lights to string along the railing and a camp chair to sit in. I’m still waiting for the fairy lights to arrive but tada! For less than $20 I gave myself something I’ve been dreaming of for years, or at least a small taste of it. I don’t have to earn more money to move to a bigger place, and then find the perfect place, and then live there. I can give myself what I want right here, right now.

fairy lights

My happiness includes fairy lights. Photo by muhammad asif on Unsplash

It begs the question, “Why was I waiting?” I was waiting because I wanted things to be “perfect” first. I wanted my ideal and not the less-than-ideal, as if only the ideal could make me happy. But is that really true? Psychology professor Robert Emmons says:

Research on emotion shows that positive emotions wear off quickly. Our emotional systems like newness. They like novelty . . . . But gratitude makes us appreciate the value of something, and when we appreciate the value of something, we extract more benefits from it; we’re less likely to take it for granted.

In effect, I think gratitude allows us to participate more in life. We notice the positives more, and that magnifies the pleasures you get from life. Instead of adapting to goodness, we celebrate goodness.

In other words, I can be happier, right now, by celebrating goodness. By enjoying that I have a porch to sit on, that the fairy lights will twinkle in dusky light, and that a breeze ruffles my hair. I don’t need to wait to feel pleasure. I can feel content right here, right now. It reminds me of Mary Oliver’s famous poem “The Summer Day.” She writes:

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

As for me, I plan on creating my ideal life before everything is perfectly in place. I plan on giving myself the simple things I yearn for, sometimes for years, before it looks exactly how I think it should. Instead of adapting to goodness, I plan on celebrating goodness.

I dream of a world where we stop waiting to give ourselves the simple pleasures we long for. A world where we make our dreams come true before they are perfect, before they are ideal. A world where we recognize positive emotions wear off quickly but we can cultivate contentment right here, right now.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

What follows is a post from five years ago about dreams and delusions that is relevant as I continue to chase my own dreams. Enjoy.

I read an article in my university’s alumni magazine the other day about Andre Ingram, who at 32 became a rookie for the LA Lakers. Reading his story, I teared up because the whole thing seems so surreal, so unlikely.

Since he was 8 years old, Andre dreamed of playing for the NBA. He played in high school and then at our university. Once he graduated, he toiled for years in the NBA’s minor league. And I mean toiled – he made $13,000 for the entire season in the minor leagues, which is less than what NBA players make for a couple of games. He tutored kids in math while his wife also worked. He says he thought about quitting several times, and some friends advised the same, or to find a better payday overseas. But he persisted.

“Every time I was ready to jump off that ledge something pulled me back,” he said. “Whether it was in training, when I’m hitting every shot I take, or in the weight room getting encouraged by the guys. My story is to let that voice, let that encouragement, pull you back in.”


Sometimes a dream seems unlikely but then it happens. Photo by Edgar Chaparro on Unsplash

Andre is the oldest American rookie in the NBA since 1964. His story fascinates me because at what point does a person give up on their dream? Sometimes a dream is a delusion. We’ve all seen those auditions on TV where someone thinks they’re an amazing singer or dancer and they have zero talent. To the rest of the world, it’s obvious the person will never be a star, but they can’t believe it.

At what point is it harmful to keep believing in a dream? At what point is it better to let it go? I don’t have the answers to those questions. I’m sure many people told Andre it was unlikely he’d ever play in the NBA. A 32-year-old with gray hairs competing against people 10 years his junior? What are the odds he could share the court with them? But it happened.

What struck me the most about Andre’s story is that quote about how something kept pulling him back. Every time he wanted to quit something kept him from doing it. That to me reeks of intuition, which my spiritual teacher says “establishes the link between the crude world and the subtle world. And as a result of a closer link being established between the subtle and spiritual worlds, and as a result of its closer acquaintance with the sweetness of the spiritual world, this intuition guides human beings along the path of spirituality.”

It seems to me that if something keeps coming up over and over again, it’s intuition, guiding a person on their behalf. We don’t know how that journey will unfold, and it likely won’t look the way we want it to, but I have to believe if some dreams don’t disappear, then they are meant to become reality.

I dream of a world where we pursue our dreams if something keeps pulling us back in. A world where we recognize the fruition of that dream likely won’t follow the route we intended. A world where we understand something may seem out of reach, but that doesn’t always mean it is.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

After a long day of staring at my computer screen, I walked outside to my apartment complex’s terrace where something caught my eye. Leaning against the far wall beneath an overhang is a bag of detritus. It’s filled with dirt and pine needles and everything workmen scooped out of our gutters from at least eight months ago, if not longer. Do you know what was spilling out of that bag?

A well-developed nasturtium vine. There are so many things about this that are astounding. Number one, I’m on that terrace every few days watering my plants. How did I not notice it before? And number two, it hasn’t rained here in MONTHS. How did that nasturtium vine survive?!? It’s not like any of my neighbors were watering a bag of soil in an attempt to keep a plant alive. And yet, not only did it survive, it thrived as you can see in the picture.

nasturtium vine

The vine in question. Look at how big it is!

When I saw this plant, I literally laughed out loud because it was so unexpected and also miraculous. It reminded me that miracles are everywhere if we look for them. Miracles often have the connotation of being something big and obvious, but they can also be small and discreet, like this nasturtium vine.

I could use more miracles in my life. It’s easy for me to become disheartened by the ever-present pessimism in the news. Fires leveling towns. Floods. Famines. It’s a lot. And yet, if I look around, I also see evidence of miracles. Back in November, scientists captured footage of the black-naped pheasant-pigeon, which hadn’t been seen since 1882! In Brazil, the Golden Lion Tamarin used to be on the brink of extinction with about 200 animals in the wild, but the population has rebounded to around 4,800, according to a recent study.

Miracles happen every day with people surviving deathly car crashes, or getting pregnant when they thought they were infertile, or walking again when they were told it was impossible. It’s easy to think, “Well, that wouldn’t happen to me,” but what if it could? What if you could also receive a miracle? And like me with the nasturtium plant, what if miracles are all around and we’re just not noticing them?

Given the choice between a world where we’re all doomed and one where miracles take place, I vote for the latter. It reminds me of a concept we have in my spiritual tradition called madhuvidyá, which literally means “honey knowledge.” It requires seeing everything as an expression of an infinite loving consciousness, also known as Brahma. My spiritual teacher says, “This madhuvidyá will pervade your exterior and interior with … [ecstasy] and will permanently alleviate all your afflictions. Then the ferocious jaws of [degeneration] cannot come and devour you. The glory of one and only one benign entity will shine forth to you from one and all objects.”

That may not seem relevant but for me, practicing madhuvidyá means remembering God is here, there, and everywhere. And because everything is Brahma, everything is a manifestation of that infinite loving consciousness, then OF COURSE miracles are everywhere. How could they not be?

I dream of a world where we recognize the strange and the unlikely occurs all the time. A world where we make room for magic and mystery. A world where we understand this entire universe is composed of an infinite loving consciousness and from that place, we recognize miracles are everywhere.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

For the past almost two weeks I’ve had pain in the spot where my shoulder and neck meet. My chiropractor characterized it as a drum beneath her fingertips. It’s pulsing, it’s intense, and as much as I would like to think it’s only from sleeping weird, I know that’s not the case. The mind and body are connected with the body acting as a roadmap for my life. It marks the terrain.

When I shared with my close friend what’s happening with my body, they said it sounds like I’m in the in-between place of “I’m stuck,” and “I take my power back.” In the chiropractic model I use, network spinal analysis, there are 12 stages of healing. The stages are fluid and not hierarchal, meaning I could cycle from stage 12 to stage three to stage nine all in the same day.

Stage three is “I’m stuck,” and stage four is, “I take my power back.” I struggle with making that jump. I’m really good at being stuck. I repeat patterns over and over again. I find myself in places where I can’t seem to escape from. Taking my power back? Not an easy thing for me. I’d much rather give my power away to someone else. Someone else has all the answers. Someone else knows what I should do. Someone else is the key to my healing. And sometimes that’s true but there’s a difference between saying, “I’m choosing to see this person or take this course/class because it feels in alignment” and “Aaaaaah! I’m stuck, I’m stuck, I’m stuck, let’s try this thing and that thing and that thing. Throw spaghetti at the wall!”

standing on a wall. Taking your power back

Not a spaghetti picture but a powerful one! Photo by Ameer Basheer on Unsplash

I usually throw spaghetti at the wall. I’m really good at trying random things from a disempowered place. It’s easy for me to take action. It’s not so easy for me to believe in myself. And yet, that’s what I’m here to do. The two tenets of my spiritual practice are self-realization and service to the universe. What is self-realization?

According to my spiritual teacher, “[I]t is the natural wont of each and every living being to see others, not to see [themselves]. That is, whenever one becomes a subjective entity, [they take] others as an objective counterpart, but never the self as an objective counterpart. One’s subjectivity never merges with objectivity and that is the trouble. You want to know so many things but you never want to know yourself. Your ‘self’ is your nearest entity but you never want to know yourself. That is the pity, that is the trouble.”

By knowing the self, I don’t mean just what my favorite color is, or even what my hot-button issues are. Knowing the self means knowing my true self, the self that’s always here, witnessing everything. The calm, quiet, inner voice within that’s ready and willing to help me if I let it. My recovery mentor tells me frequently, “Higher Power is very polite and only goes where invited.” When I invite my Higher Power into my life, that is a form of taking my power back. It’s me saying, “I can trust my self. I can trust my self to lead me where I need to go, to show me what actions to take.”

Knowing the self doesn’t mean becoming egotistical, that you shut out other people and say, “I already know everything.” Instead, knowing the self and taking your power back means being an active participant in your life and recognizing that not only is life happening to you, but you are happening to life. Both are true. There are circumstances outside of our control but some things are not. How are we showing up for life? I, for one, want to take my power back.

I dream of a world where we recognize the wisdom in knowing the self. A world where we understand that doesn’t mean arrogance but rather a recognition that a force within us guides us, shows us, and inspires us when we’re willing to listen. A world where instead of being blown about like a leaf, we take our power back.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

I had a very extreme week. I’m working on an article about a public housing project in San Francisco beset with problems. It has rats, squatters, mold, and more. And at the same time, I’m also working on an article about a dream home in Carmel that has two outdoor kitchens, a custom six-hole putting green, and nine fireplaces.

It would be easy to say the wealthy homeowners have a better life than the people living in public housing but life is never simple like that. When I visited the housing project, I witnessed a community coming together to support one another and look out for each other. It was filled with kindness and care. Things weren’t all bad or all good.

I didn’t visit the luxury home in Carmel, nor meet the homeowners, but as we know, money doesn’t inoculate you from problems. For instance, actor Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in his 20s. As a result of the disease, he’s broken his shoulder, elbow, hand, and even his face. He told Variety, “I have aides around me quite a bit of the time in case I fall, and that lack of privacy is hard to deal with. I lost family members, I lost my dog, I lost freedom, I lost health. I hesitate to use the term ‘depression,’ because I’m not qualified to diagnose myself, but all the signs were there.”

happy and sad

Sweetness and sorrow can be present at the same time. Photo by Ángel López on Unsplash

Money for sure makes some things easier but nobody gets an easy, breezy life. We all experience sweetness and we all experience sorrow. I think we all want more happiness but it’s interesting to me what we do to try to achieve it. Research shows us our brains are wrong about what we think will cause happiness. We think it’s money, career success, and material objects. But it’s not. Yet, despite the lie, why do we keep heading down that track? I’m not a neuroscientist but I can tell you from a spiritual perspective that there are two forces at work in the world, vidyá and avidyá.

They could be translated into good and evil but that’s not quite right. Really, they’re about the movement toward subtlety or crudeness. Avidyá seeks to drag the mind toward crude objects and bind us to the things of this world like cars, homes, and luxury goods. It has us believing that greed, selfishness, and narrowmindedness are the best way to operate in the world. Avidyá has us forgetting that nothing comes into this world forever.

Vidyá, on the other hand, is the opposite of all that. Through intuitional practices such as prayer and meditation, we come to understand that life is better when we are generous, when we care about others, and when we try to expand our minds beyond narrow sentiments. It’s the reminder that finite objects do not bestow us with the permanent happiness we seek and instead, that’s an inside job. Vidyá reminds us that only the Divine Beloved is eternal.

Going back to sorrow and sweetness, when I turn toward a Higher Power, I understand there can be sweetness amidst sorrow and sorrow amidst sweetness. I remember that neither is in my control, not really, and they’re passing fancies. What I want, what I really, really want, only God can give me.

I dream of a world where we remember there will always be sorrow and there will always be sweetness. A world where we understand neither state is permanent. A world where we recognize we always have a choice of moving toward subtlety or toward crudity. A world where we understand it’s only in subtlety that we’ll experience the bliss that we seek.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

I heard a line from Leonard Cohen’s poem Good Advice for Someone Like Me the other day: “If you don’t become the ocean, you’ll be seasick every day.” Wow. I’m pretty sure I can end this post right there and let you meditate on his idea.

I can confidently say most of the time I’m metaphorically seasick. I’m worried about an upcoming potluck, getting more clients, or if I’ll ever figure out what’s happening with my health. I wouldn’t classify myself as anxious anymore but I also wouldn’t say I’m serene. I have moments of going with the flow but most of the time I’m cussing out God and proclaiming how much I hate It because things aren’t going my way.

Cohen’s line reminds me of surrender, which means to stop fighting. It’s when I’m fighting life on life’s terms that I get into a tizzy and metaphorically seasick. It’s when I’m not accepting what is that I feel anxious. There are some things I don’t think anyone should accept – injustice, inequality, and any of the -isms such as racism and sexism – but the smaller things, the reality of my life, I’d be better off leaning into.

hand holding shells

The peace! The tranquility! Photo by Biel Morro on Unsplash

I often joke that someone should make me the general manager of the universe because I have some GREAT ideas but alas, that’s not my role in this lifetime. In this lifetime I’m learning trust and surrender. I’m learning that the universe loves me and wants me to be happy, joyous, and free. I’m learning to let go of my attachment to how things should go and accept how things are going. Does that bring grief from time to time? Yes, it does. Am I feeling my feelings about it? Yes, I am.

What I’m learning here, in essence, is how to dissolve my ego, my little self, and merge it with the big Self. My spiritual teacher says, “If a salt doll goes to measure the sea, it will melt into it. Neither can it measure the sea, nor will it ever return; its existence will merge into the vastness of the sea, releasing it from all cares and worries. If one wishes to take the form of the sea, one will have to become the sea itself; there is no other way.”

I am becoming the sea, I am becoming the ocean. I’m recognizing not only does a higher power exist outside of me in the form of energy pervading the universe, but it also exists inside of me as me. From that framework, it’s easier for me to trust and surrender because um, hi, of course my deeper self wants things to work out for me. Of course my greater self sees a broader perspective and understands why it’s better for me to turn left when I thought I should have turned right.

When the Divine Beloved exists within me, as me, it’s easier for me to surrender and let myself become the ocean instead of bobbing along the surface and getting seasick.

I dream of a world where we let ourselves become the ocean. A world where we dissolve our little egos and surrender to something vaster than we can comprehend. A world where we accept life on life’s terms when appropriate and stop making ourselves seasick.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

I’ve loosely been following the Writers Guild of America strike, which has now been joined by the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. I feel like I’m watching a dystopian movie but here’s the kicker, it’s all really happening.

The CEO of Disney, Bob Iger, said during an interview at the Sun Valley annual conference, which has been touted as a “summer camp for billionaires,” that he thinks those on strike are “unrealistic.”

“There’s a level of expectation that they have, that is just not realistic,” he told CNBC. “And they are adding to the set of the challenges that this business is already facing that is, quite frankly, very disruptive.” He added that while he respects the right of the unions to “get as much as they possibly can in compensation for their people,” they must “be realistic about the business environment, and what this business can deliver.”


Maybe Bob Iger should be realistic. Photo by Blogging Guide on Unsplash

How about some context? Iger recently took over again at Disney and he has the potential to earn up to $27 million in 2023, his first full year as returned CEO. Let’s break that down a bit further. He is paid $74,175 per day whereas Hollywood writers earn on average $69,510 a year. Abigail Disney, a documentary producer who is also the daughter of Roy E. Disney said in a tweet, “You can only call your workers and partners ‘unrealistic’ if you cannot see beyond the confines of the very narrow and morally bankrupt business ideology that has set your company on this long track toward exploitation and injustice.”

Amen! Actor Sean Gunn had this to say about Iger’s comments: “I think when Bob Iger talks about, ‘What a shame it is,’ he needs to remember that in the 1980s, CEOs like him made 30 times more than what the lowest worker was making. Now Bob Iger makes 400 times what his lowest worker is and I think that’s a f***ing shame, Bob. Maybe you should take a look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, ‘Why is that?’ and not only why is that, is it okay? Is it morally okay? Is it ethically okay that you make much more than your lowest worker?”

Apparently, we as a society think it is. Iger isn’t the only CEO to make hundreds of times more than the lowest-paid worker. An article in the Guardian from a year ago found that in the top 300 U.S. companies, the wage gap is 670 to 1. CEOs are making an average of $10.6 million while the median worker is getting $23,968.

I can’t really conceptualize a million because it just sounds like a really big number. To break it down into something more understandable, 1 million seconds is approximately 11 days. How much do you think 1 billion seconds is? It’s more than 31 years. Years. Billionaires can’t possibly spend all the money they have – and you can try using the calculator Billionaires can purchase multiple mansions, make multiple movies, buy multiple yachts, purchase the Mona Lisa, and still have a lot of money left over. A LOT.


We don’t have to be so inequal. Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

No one person should have that much wealth and that’s why we need a maximum wage. We have a minimum wage, why don’t we have a maximum on how much one person can earn? I know, I know, everyone in the U.S. thinks they are temporarily embarrassed millionaires so fine, put the cap at a million dollars and make sure the lowest-paid worker is earning more too. In cooperative business models, the wage gap is much smaller. The highest-paid executive at Mondragon Corporation makes six times that of its lowest-paid employee.

Lest you think this is some kind of mom-and-pop operation, Mondragon employs around 80,000 people and its businesses include schools, a large grocery chain, a catering company, 14 technology R&D centers, and a McKinsey-like consulting firm. In 2021, the network brought in more than 11 billion euros in revenue.

You can succeed in business while also being more equitable and Mondragon is an example of that. To bring it back to the writers’ and actors’ strike, what I fear will happen is the studio execs will raise prices for consumers in order to keep lining their greedy pockets. But what I would like to happen is for our country’s artists to say, “No, Bob, you don’t get to make 400 times more than I do,” and then force a maximum wage on him. Stranger things can happen. This is Hollywood we’re talking about after all.

I dream of a world where there’s a cap on wealth. A world where one person isn’t allowed to accumulate billions while others must work multiple jobs just to survive. A world where the highest-paid worker makes no more than 10 times the lowest-paid one. A world where we remember there’s enough for everyone’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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