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FLOW w/ John Mackey

This past Monday John Mackey came to our NYC FLOW meeting at Susan’s home. A group of 15-20 of us sat down with John to discuss the state of conscious capitalism in the world and our potential to be the change we feel is needed.

For a while now I have been attending FLOW meetings ( FLOW is a group that was started by John Mackey (CEO and co-founder of Whole Foods) and innovative educator Michael Strong. FLOW’s goal is ‘liberating the entrepreneurial spirit for good’. The idea here, as I understand it, is that we are changing the world with our businesses. Often times business is seen as the enemy. I would call this a short sited and potentially disastrous stance to take. At the very least this view is partial. The FLOW perspectice recognizes the impact that business has on the world as a potential for good, all that is needed is a desire to increase the degree of consciousness in our actions. Small steps are better than no steps, and the number of steps that some have already taken is heartening to say the least.

At this meeting there was a woman who is a ‘joyologist’, her Buddhist monk turned Objectivist husband, Frankie, who is starting surf camps in third world countries, Adam, the ideation guru I spoke of earlier, Amy, a music therapist, Zak, co-founder of Kripali Organics (sold at Whole Foods), educators, Integral geeks, Keith our resident Futurist and a number of other brilliant and caring people. (I’m wondering what the hell I’m doing there too)

If we are going to turn this great ship around it seems apparent to me that those with power must have our best interests at heart and also that those with our best interests at heart should have some power. I see myself as part of the well intentioned who is trying to figure out his influence on this hunk of rock. Part of what I am looking for in FLOW is inspiration through example from the people I have mentioned above, especially John.

John is a surprisingly beautiful human being. He spoke often of the need for each of us to ‘follow our heart song’ and said that he is not special other than perhaps for the fact that he is good at seeing the beauty in others. He struck me as a deeply spiritual man who truly holds the worlds best interest in his heart and mind as often as possible. He spoke briefly about thost who criticize him (and Whole Foods) for not doing enough to save the world. He said that he some times feels as if he is out in the jungle, swinging a machete, creating a road one chop at a time when from behind someone comes driving up in their SUV with the AC blasting saying ‘What? That’s it? That’s as far as the road goes?!” It reminded me of people beating up on Bono for his efforts. Sure, there’s more to do and there are things that they do wrong, but what the hell am I doing? Why aren’t people picking on me more?

John said at the end of the night that he would like to schedule his future trips to NYC around our FLOW meetings. He said quite clearly that he is not a leader of this movement (FLOW), he is a co-creator. He also made it quite clear at a number of times throughout the night that he had no interest in telling us how to create change in the world as FLOW. He seemed to have an unwavering confidence in us to be the change that any given situation calls for. I beginning to feel that way myself.


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