Clarity First Newsletter,
July 19, 2019

“It is my experience that the world itself has a role to play in our liberation. Its very pressures, pains, and risks can wake us up — release us from the bonds of ego and guide us home to our vast, true nature.” — Joanna Macy

Clarity First

A notebook about how we work, and learn, and love and live.

This week I conducted dialog interviews with stakeholders of the Creation Care ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, one of the church’s responses to climate change. One parishioner said something that stopped me in my tracks: “Sometimes we have to stop and grieve first. We can’t make positive change until we first acknowledge and accept the pain we feel.”

Her words echoed in my mind later in the week as I reeled from racist taunts by our president. Ouch. Yes, I can always find plenty of good and inspiring news to share in this letter. But today I need to acknowledge that it is often done while enduring profound pain and fear. Divisiveness, ignorance of science and mistrust of people who don’t look like you hurts so much.

Circular Economy

What if every act of design and production made the world a better place?

Bureo works with local fishing communities in Chile to pull cast-off fishing nets out of the water, clean them, grind them into plastic pellets, and then manufacture them into high quality consumer goods using a manufacturing process powered by 100% renewable energy. 

“Each product is a tool by which we can re-imagine business, manufacturing and how we relate to each other as a society. Each product can be proof that a new way of doing business is possible if we shift our mindset and our values. The Living Product Challenge is not just a certification program; it is an idea for how we can re-organize ourselves as a society, to regenerate people and the planet. There is no limit to what businesses can achieve when we work together.”

Article: Products With Purpose: Reimagining Commerce With the Living Product Challenge

Futures Thinking

“The point is to be provocative in terms of expanding our thinking and understanding about the future.”

Meet Thomas Frey, IBM engineer turned futurist. Some of his predications:

And he’s just getting started. This is a mind stretching interview about future trends that seem obvious when you look.

Article: Visiting the Future with Thomas Frey of the DaVinci Institute

Graphic Design

National Geographic tells refugees’ stories with borderless design.

“The August issue of National Geographic is packed with features that shine a light on global migration patterns. And to help get its message across, the magazine has created a batch of powerful editorial designs that roam beyond borders themselves.”

Article: National Geographic Drops Its Borders to Highlight Migration Crisis.


“We listen every day (more or less), and yet we often don’t really know what actually happens.”

“Talking AV” by quinn.anya is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

“Listening has these aspects: How I listen to you, how you listen to me, and what happens between us in the relational space.

“When I tune in to you and at the same time, I tune in to myself, do I have enough inner space and resonance to feel and contain you? I should be aware of this.

“The next question is, on what basis do you listen to me? Do you have free inner space, or are you busy with your inner process of what is happening in your life?

“We should be aware of the space – the inner readiness from which we hear. If we have little inner availability for listening in the moment, we can communicate this in dialogue. By doing that we already create more space and make transparent to the other what is going on in us right now. This often avoids tension and friction in contact.”

Article: Listening

Identity Design

The purpose of a brand guidelines is consistency. 

“Many parties will be touching the brand—both internal and external—so it’s very important to define a set of rules for all of them. Customers are more savvy these days, and expect a brand to show up in a cohesive manner. A brand lives on mobile screens, in social, on the web, in the streets, in TV and film, and even the traditional business card. All touch-points matter.” This is a go-to survey article.

Article: How do You Make Brand Guidelines?


Search with precision, find additional sites of interest, and more.

“You’re probably not getting as much out of Google as you should. Sure, it’s the go-to for finding stuff on the web, but there are plenty of tips, tricks, and features that can help you find what you’re looking for better and faster.”

Article: These Five Google Pro Tips Are a Short Course in Power Searching.

Personal Development

How to stop sabotaging what you most deeply desire in life.

“Neurologically, when we get something we really want, we just start to want more. New research in the nature of the chemical dopamine — which was previously believed to be the driving force behind desire, lust and acquisition—proves that it is more complex than previously thought.”

“…So the big, huge goal that you’re working toward? You’ll get there, and then there will be another mountain to scale.

“This is one of the many reasons that we deeply sabotage what we truly want. We know, instinctively, that “arriving” won’t really give us the ability to abstain from life, it will only make us hungrier for more. Sometimes, we don’t feel up to that challenge.”

Article: Your Brain Is Secretly Wired To Resist What You Want Most


“Drum goddess Janet Weiss announced she’s leaving Sleater-Kinney — surprising news for fans, given that the band is on the verge of releasing their excellent new album and tickets have already gone on sale for their upcoming tour.”

“…It’s a sad moment because for some of us, Janet Weiss is the greatest rock drummer on Earth. She’s elevated all the bands she’s played with — but her long-running musical bond with Sleater-Kinney over the years has been the stuff of legend. She’s been the heartbeat that makes the Portland trio the greatest of American punk bands. ‘I’m a pretty individual drummer,’ Weiss told me in 2003, for a Rolling Stone profile of Sleater-Kinney. ‘I like to kind of make things sound like me.'”

“She played off the guitars and vocals of Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein, driving them to hit the emotional heights of ‘One More Hour’ or ‘Get Up’ or ‘A New Wave.‘ And if you love watching a drummer rip it up live, there’s nothing like witnessing Weiss’ intensity on ‘Entertain’ or ‘Youth Decay.’

Article: Janet Weiss: Why the Drum Goddess Was the Heartbeat of Sleater-Kinney

Image of the Week

The image of the week is titled, Georgia O’Keeffe with Pelvis Series, Red with Yellow, 1960, by Tony Vaccaro.  It will be hung starting tomorrow in a show in Reno. But the show isn’t just about her art. It’s about her carefully crafted and managed persona, as that persona relates to her art.

“Known in the context of her self-crafted public persona, Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern invites us to view how the artist’s wardrobe, shown for the first time alongside key paintings and photographs, demonstrates her identity and artistic values. Organized by the Brooklyn MuseumGeorgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern will be on view in downtown Reno, Nevada, from July 20th through October 20, 2019.

Eight Wrap Dresses. Left to right: Black cotton, c. 1960s–70s; White cotton, Carol Sarkisian, c. 1970s; Blue-gray cotton, c. 1960s; Pink cotton, Neiman Marcus, c. late 1950s; Blue cotton, Neiman Marcus, c. late 1950s; Brown cotton, Sidran, Inc., c. late 1950s; Green synthetic velvet, Carol Sarkisian, c. 1970s; Black cotton, c. 1960s– 70s.  (Photo © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum)

Bruce Weber (American, born 1946). Georgia O’Keeffe, Abiquiu, N.M., 1984. Bruce Weber and Nan Bush Collection, New York. © Bruce Weber

Article: Georgia O’Keeffe is Living Modern @ the Nevada Museum of Art

What’s Clarity First?

If you’re new to Clarity First, it’s the weekly newsletter by me, Mitch Anthony. I help people use their brand – their purpose, values, and stories – as a pedagogy and toolbox for transformation. Learn more.

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