elephant’s exit plan.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jun 15, 2011
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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.

Waylon Lewis
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:


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


3 Responses to “elephant’s exit plan.”

  1. Diane says:

    "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." Right ON! Go Way Go!

  2. elephantjournal says:

    Carol Koenigsknecht
    I couldn't agree more…maybe that's why I moved to GA 14 years ago when the American South was the LAST place I thought I'd ever want to live…yet, I felt very drawn here and I have met some very interesting folks with a lot of very inter…esting ideas and they have taught me a lot about my own prejudices and hypocrisies. I have friends from all kinds of political, religious and socio-economic backgrounds and I embrace this diversity, even when I disagree a lot with many of them about a lot of things…I find that we all have much more in common with each other than not. Love is our unifying force…

  3. jacinta says:

    …having a moment here in Toronto as I read the post, and listened to Peter Gabriel 🙂 I’m not sure exactly how to explain my response thoughts, but it reminds me of this: if there were an announcement that cancer (for example), could be treated without so many drugs, pharmaceutical companies would lose money. And maybe there’s just a lot of magazines out here that society have accepted, like drugs in the same way, that fixes or anethsetizes. But there are investors out there who are interested in funding new ways to cure disease, just as there are those interested in investing $ to save endangered species.