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What Do Handmade Soap, Recycled Tires, And Yoga Have In Common With Coca Cola And Walmart?

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A shift is now taking place in the way we live that is affecting us all. It asks us to reconsider what our priorities are, who we want to share our life with, what we can do without, and what is really important and meaningful to us. As a result of our current recession, we are all going through such a time. "If my self worth is as good as my stock worth and I just saw my stock portfolio drop 60%, then does my self worth also drop 60%?" Ted Ning, Director of LOHAS, said to us. "But is this what I want?"

Although difficult times can be challenging, such challenges can also bring great rewards. For instance, in England during World War 11, children -- such as Deb's mother -- were shipped out of the cities to be cared for by those living in the countryside. Community spirit was at its highest, with families all helping each other, sharing rations, and caring for their neighbors. This sense of community was lost when life returned to its normal 'keeping up with Jones's.'

Individually, we can be very uncomfortable with the unknown. And right now we are all facing a huge unknown such as, what will happen to our mortgages, our pensions, or our local food stores? Such a challenge does not apply to just the individual, but also to businesses.

LOHAS means Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability, and brings together businesses and consumers from every area, to focus on health and fitness, the environment, personal development, sustainable living, and social justice. For 13 years it has had top-level business leaders from multinational corporations, mid-sized companies, entrepreneurs, as well as celebrities and executives of non-profit organizations active in the areas of health and wellness products, sustainable business and social consciousness.

We were speakers at the last LOHAS Conference. It was an eclectic gathering of fascinating people, including Ed Begley Jr., and Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks; enthused teenage girls talked about their honey company, Hives for Lives; while Endangered Species Chocolate filled us with acres of rainforest-flavored chocolate. This year, however, given the recession, the conference (June 17-19) will be of extra-special importance.

Although many businesses are now failing all around us, it is also a time for reinvention, a chance for us all to rise from the ashes. The old paradigms are no longer working, such as banking and the economy, so it is a time to reevaluate how we interact with each other. During the War, when cash was short, consumers had to get creative. Apart from growing more of their own food, they would exchange nylon stockings for cigarettes or butter and cheese. Perhaps we have to do something similar, such as what we are seeing in the news about the rise of local currencies.

Generally speaking, businesses are about selling things, whether it is a service or a commodity. But now consumers are buying less: what they need rather than what they want, such as toilet paper versus a new grill. So at the upcoming Conference, LOHAS is asking businesses what this means. Does it work to have a Starbucks on every street corner, whether for the consumer or for Starbucks? No. So what does Starbucks do?

They will be at the conference to share what they are doing and to discuss this with other businesses, such as recycling, health spas, yoga, purified water and handmade soap companies. The same with Coca Cola and Wal-mart. They are there to say, "We don't have all the answers. What do you have to help us? And how can we help you? We may not speak the same language but we are all involved in the change that is now taking place."

LOHAS is a meeting of minds. It encapsulates many different aspects of business and gives the participants a chance to network, share, and bounce off each other. Panels and discussions will revolve around issues such as reinvention, sustainability, and igniting inspiration. There will be cutting edge discussions with thought leaders and trendsetters, such as international yoga teacher Rodney Yee, Wade Davies from National Geographic, and Andrew Cohen, editor-in-chief of EnlightenNext.

It looks like it will be a fabulous event. We will be there to enter into the discussion, June 17-19, in Boulder, Colorado. Come join us!

How are you coping with the changes? Do leave us a comment. You can receive notice of our blogs every Thursday by checking Become a Fan at the top.

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Ed and Deb Shapiro's new book, BE THE CHANGE, How Meditation Can Transform You And The World, Forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors such as Marianne Williamson, Michael Beckwith, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jane Fonda, Jack Kornfield, Byron Katie, Ed Begley Jr., Ellen Burstyn, astronaut Edgar Mitchell, Russell Bishop, Dean Ornish, Andrew Cohen, Dan Millman and others, will be published November 3rd 2009 by Sterling Ethos. Deb is the author of the award-winning book YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND. Ed and Deb are the authors of over 15 books, and lead meditation retreats and workshops. They are corporate consultants, and the creators of Chillout daily inspirational text messages on Sprint cell phones. See: www.EdandDebShapiro.com.

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