A Cultivated-Taste for Failure and Chaos

I don’ t normally read the Harvard Business Review, but a colleague at work brought the current issue to my attention because the cover said Reading Google’s Mind, and she knew of my fascination with innovation and with Google. The actual article is called Reverse Engineering Google’s Innovation Machine; it’s a pretty good read and fits in well with some of the ideas I’ve been exploring lately.

In the article, the model we might follow was called A Cultivated-Taste for Failure and Chaos. I love it!

Google's Innovation Ecosystem

A few weeks ago I was asked to come and speak to the marketing team of Laurel Springs School in Ojai, California because of some of the things we’ve been trying out in our library at Santa Barbara City College. I’ve taken some ideas from Google, and other successful companies, by trying to be nimble, exciting, and innovative. Of course, a library is a little different from a company but we can certainly take some queues from business. Continue reading “A Cultivated-Taste for Failure and Chaos”

Summer in March



We have been experiencing some warm weather the last few days and the flowers are all blooming. The mountains look great. The sky is blue. And a full moon has greeted us at night. Today was in the upper 80s and we hung out around the pool with family for an Easter lunch. Jasper and Mazzy had a blast searching for eggs and then taking a swim in the pool. Of course, the sugar rush was a bit much.

Ironically, tonight is our last night at the Ojai Valley Family Shelter because it closes for the warmer season. Jasper and I have spent the past two seasons staying in a church kitchen with 15-20 homeless. Our night is Sunday and we usually arrive around 6:30pm, eat some dinner, put out the mats, and then serve breakfast around 6:00am.

One person, James, is in 5th grade in a local elementary school and Jasper has enjoyed playing with him. On our last visit Jasper realized that James doesn’t have a home to go to like him. That he doesn’t have a room with toys and his own bed. James’ mom has a few other children, but she only comes to the shelter with two of them. Most people are pretty regular and I have gotten to know names and experiences over the past two seasons. Some are in transition, others have mental health issues, many have day jobs but simply can’t afford to cover rent (much less first and last month). My hope was gain a better understanding of this community and generate more compassion in the world. They are good people with real stories. Bill, for example, sleeps with an oxygen machine and yet he continues to smoke. His friend/partner, Joyce, takes him to the hospital, cares for him, and wishes he’d quit smoking.

We are very fortunate, and that in itself, creates separation. How to remain real and to remain compassionate knowing that I have a home, a job, a savings account. There is so much poverty, so much suffering, so much injustice. It brings me back to the 5th Mindfulness Training where it says, “I am committed to living simply and sharing my time, energy and material resources with those in real need.” Are we doing this? What more can we do?

Joy, friendships, and love all exist, even here in the shelter.

What’s in a name?

Is it possible to bring together all my disparate interests into one place for the edification of friends, family, colleagues, and new friends? I have significant interests in Buddhism, librarianship, social justice, technology, peace and politics in addition to the joys of family life. For the past couple of years I have been blogging for the Ojai Post and also launched a blog for my library at Santa Barbara City College that has allowed me to touch on some of these themes. The time seems ripe to explore further, and so we have this new blog.

What to call a blog with so many different themes? As I rode my motorcycle home from work on Friday evening, my mind spun through many ideas. In 2005, I was ordained by Thich Nhat Hanh into the Order of Interbeing and given the name True Recollection of Joy and I wanted to find a way to include this here. The name can provide inspiration, guidance and aspiration for the rest of my life and so it will also function as guide on this blog. As I write posts, whether it is about the latest library trend or about a deep spiritual encounter, I will find a way to make it joyous.

And so, welcome to you my friend, on this new journey of exploration.