November 10, 2009

How to Eat an Elephant, Part 3: Getting beyond “Naked yoga.”

Cameron Burgess is a commercialization & marketing consultant for sustainable / LOHAS/green enterprises.

If you’ve read either of my other two posts regarding this project regarding elephant’s future, you’ll know that months ago I offered to assist elephant turn itself around on a pro bono basis.

Yet, for a whole bunch of reasons—despite confirming availability—the meeting never happened.

As much as elephant excites me, and as much as I genuinely believe it holds a place in the blogosphere that (generally) operates in service to all beings…I’m also keenly aware that I only get one crack at this life, with this consciousness (no apologies to the rebirthers, reincarnationers or rapturers out there)—and I want to know that I genuinely did everything I could to contribute toward a safer, saner, fairer and healthier world for all.

Sitting on my hands waiting for somebody else to take action just doesn’t fit with this way of being.

So I surrendered to Waylon (the founder’s) no-shows, the fragmented conversations, the insistence that there really wasn’t any time, and pointed my attention toward other projects (paid and unpaid) that are striving to really make a difference.


Fast forward six weeks.

I’m sitting at The Laughing Goat cafe enjoying the fact that in the absence of my beloved wife, their double espresso is probably the most stimulating thing to touch my lips in almost four months (and as much as I like to joke that I like my coffee like I like my women—ice cold, white and bitter—it’s not really true), and lo and behold, up comes Waylon.

Not the Waylon Lewis of running for Boulder City Council, nor the Waylon Lewis man-about-town—no, somehow, at that point in time, this appeared to be the most Authentic Waylon Lewis that Waylon Lewis could be.

Bedraggled, unshaven, slightly bleary-eyed. No coterie of believers, no expansive jocularity, just a guy looking like he has seen to the core of his immediate reality, and hasn’t been overly inspired by what he’s seen (!).

I’m sure you know the look—I do, I’ve practiced it on and off for more than 25 years (ever since I got booted out of leading a Christian youthgroup for suggesting that “personal relationship with God” was the point, and that all religion would ultimately collapse in service to this…but I digress).

So he sits, he talks, I listen—I talk, he listens…and I keep on talking.

And I tell him that the simple fact of the matter is, as much as I like Waylon, and as much as I enjoy elephant and all that it not only is, but could be, at the end of the day, it’s not my house that’s on the line, it’s not my sleep that is interrupted by the thought of imminent failure, it’s not my personal brand that has been called into question for how I choose to operate my business and present myself to the world.

Boulder, it seems, has a love-hate relationship with Waylon and elephant. In the time that I’ve been here, I’ve heard more about him and his rather large pet (not Redford, his dog—I mean elephant itself) than any other business in town. I’ve not gone looking for it, it just seems as if everyone has an opinion (it also seems as if there have been many offers and providers of unpaid support and that despite all this, nothing much has changed).

Somehow, it seems, some of these most ardent proponents of living the mindful life have checked their compassion at the door, abandoned their interest in the existential and ephemeral, and simply given this guy a good drubbing.


So this morning, I’m sitting at the bus stop waiting for the vehicle that will deliver me to the house of elephant, and I do so with a great measure of respect for this guy who has expressed a willingness to so completely expose himself to the world.

Through me.

Because our agreement was that I could blog about this process, unedited, in the hope that it will provide value to the readers of elephant everywhere.

So I’m opening the door, because I really want to know, unfiltered, unedited, unabridged, what you think about Waylon and elephant—within the very specific parameters of how you see him and her either being in service to all beings— or not.

If you just want to have a bitch or give the guy a hard time, I strongly suggest you go back to the mat until the feeling passes and then come back with something substantive, generative and supportive (be as critical as you like, but offer a critique as opposed to a criticism).

It feels to me as if we are at the beginning of a transformation, one where the true essence of this man and his mission is going to come forth in a way that serves him, his community (and his dog) and humanity at large.

And if you can’t get on board with that, then search top-right for “naked yoga” and accept that spaciousness and vacuousness are truly separated by only the thinnest of margins.


Cameron Burgess is a recent Australian addition to the Boulderverse.

He is the CEO of a group of companies incorporating uncompromise, icologi & wellnessconnect that provide commercialization, strategic development, marketing & digital services purely to the health and sustainability market.

Cameron is also a core-team member of w1sd0m – a global network that helps organize the flow of intellectual, social, human, & financial capital to strengthen Global Social Enterprise.

A speaker, workshop facilitator and agent provocateur, Cameron can be found on twitter @uncompromise

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