June 15, 2011

elephant’s exit plan.

The below is Waylon Lewis’ weekly editor’s letter. Subscribe, free, to our Top Ten blogs of the Week email newsletter.

The author asking Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche if he could take the Bodhisattva Vow at Shambhala Mountain Center, 1985.

It’s getting real…

in the Whole Foods Parking Lot.

It’s also getting real in daily life: while my personal life has been humbling, being alone has been good for work. elephant is at close to 600,000 readers a month, we’re breaking even, and I’m 10,000 emails behind. We’ve got three talks shows this month, and my dishes need doing, my dog wants to go pee, and I haven’t sold an ad in weeks.

Lindsey, elephant’s better half professionally-speaking, has been in Ecuador for a month off with her bf Dylan. Without her, our newsletter’s been put together by Emily the Intern, and while I appreciate her effort, it’s (a little) effed up.

That we can live with, I guess. In fact, I’d suggest that that’s what I love about elephant, and hope you do, too: we’re imperfect. We’re real, for better and worse. Our articles aren’t always edited and our fonts are the wrong color and we repeat images. Why? We don’t have money. We don’t have staff. Why? We don’t have investment. We haven’t yet figured out how to monetize our popularity—though some four months ago I launched our (3 articles every day free or subscribe for $1/month for unlimited reading) paygate (as opposed to a paywall), which anticipated the NY Times’ plan and saved elephant from going >poof<. Just tonight, having dinner with Steve Fenberg of New Era Colorado at The Kitchen [Next Door], two techies asked me what my exit plan is. I don’t have one.

What I can promise is that, unless tragedy befalls me, elephant can become a household name able to share the good news globally—beyond any bubble, clique or choir. We’ll offer meditation instruction, commentary on news, and share the joys of biking to work. We’ll help expose greed and remind our friends that happiness doesn’t come from gated communities, but from community. It’s important to remember that elephant isn’t about religion or yoga or organics or eco-responsibility or adventure or fashion or politics or any one thing. We’re about life. We’re not about agreeing, we’re about dialogue—about retraining ourselves to speak (and listen) respectfully with those we disagree with.

Because we won’t create enlightened society by hangin’ with those we’re already comfortable with. Change will come when SUV-drivers and cyclists, tea partiers and environmentalists, corporations and farmers, developers and animal activists, feminists and The Man, vegans and hunters sit together at a table and break gluten-free, non-gmo bread.

PS: This Peter Gabriel song’s been in my head all day, because of this video (worth watching if you’re a romantic-at-heart), via Alden Wicker. I’ve been mournfully/joyfully biking around singing it slightly too loudly all day, and thought I’d share it with you. I love it when you read to me:
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