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Carol Adrienne

Your Unfolding Path
April 2003

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by Carol Adrienne, Ph.D.

Carol Adrienne's work and teachings have been a great inspiration to me!  In August of 1998, about four months after my father passed away, I read about one of Carol's workshops in a Learning Annex catalog and synchronistically found her book on a bookshelf at the bookstore.  The themes of her teachings were familiar and comforting, as they confirmed the thoughts and ideas my father had shared with me shortly before his passing.  Her books and workshops ignited my spiritual curiosity, setting me on my soulful life path, which led to the very creation of SoulfulLiving.com!  Carol's participation has been an integral part of SoulfulLiving.com, at its soul level!  Thank you, Carol, with all my heart!
~Valerie, Founder and Soul, SoulfulLiving.com

The Trickle Up Effect: Change the World—From Your Living Room

Are you craving to have a more fulfilling life? Is the world situation motivating you to make a difference somewhere, somehow? Last month Women of Vision organized an international focus on women. All over the world, women gathered together for celebrations, meditations, and festivities. At one such gathering—Gather the Women—in Oakland, California, I met Carmel Jud. She had a booth featuring beautiful jewelry, crafts and textiles from around the world. Even more impressive was her personal story.

Carmel and her husband Brian have an advertising research and production company called Carmel Jud Creative Group. Carmel told me that in the past two years, her life has undergone a complete change of focus. She feels she has found a fulfilling purpose. Her epiphany began with books, of course!

Carmel told me, "There were three key books that played a role in the big changes in my life. The first was Deepak Chopra’s, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. I opened the book to the place where he asks, ‘If you had all the time and the money in the world, what would you do?’ and ‘How are you best suited to serve humanity?’ I was shocked to realize that, even though I felt successful in my business, I couldn’t answer those questions. Suddenly, I had a burning desire to have the answers. This began a two-year quest. During that time I read your book, Find Your Purpose, Change Your Life. The exercises helped me identify my values and priorities. I knew that I needed to do something people-oriented. I wanted to help in a hands-on way. And I wanted to be part of something big.

"After the events of 911, I was drawn to the plight of Afghani women. I researched online and found Mavis Leno’s (comedian Jay Leno’s wife) organization, which sells crafts made by Afghani women in refugee camps. I volunteered to sell the crafts at home parties.

"Shortly after I started doing the parties I found my third inspirational book, which is called In Her Hands: Craftswomen Changing the World by Paola Gianturco and Toby Tuttle. This book opened my eyes even further. I learned that poverty has a woman’s face. 1.3 billion people in the world survive on less than a dollar a day. Seventy percent are women. It isn’t just Afghani women, but women all over the world who suffer needlessly. The book showed me that many of these women are rising above their circumstances by creating and selling beautiful crafts imbued with the heart and soul of their lives and cultures.

"One part of this book that really struck me" Carmel says, "is the information on what they call ‘the sequence of results’ when women earn money and educate children. A 1995-1999 United Nations research study revealed that when women in developing countries earn an income, it triggers an incredible sequence of events. For example:

  • birth rates drop
  • infant and maternal mortality are reduced
  • family planning increases
  • nutrition, health, and life expectancy are enhanced
  • housing and sanitation improve
  • the gross domestic product grows.

"This was a revelation. I suddenly realized that real change in the world can happen. We can change the world by giving women the opportunity to make money for themselves and for their families. We can reduce population and world hunger, increase health, sanitation, and education by assisting the entrepreneurial endeavors of women!

"I suddenly had the elements I needed to pursue my original goal of working with people, doing it in a hands-on way, and being part of something really big!"

The Cultural Creatives

Carmel’s story is a perfect example of following the subtle calling of one’s life purpose, and changing the world by becoming one of the new forces of influence—defined as the Cultural Creatives by Paul Ray, Ph.D. and Sherry Ruth Anderson, Ph.D., in their fascinating book The Cultural Creatives.

If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it as way to understand the cultural revolution going on in the US. In brief, the authors describe three distinct streams of influence in America: the Traditionalists (exemplified by leaders such as Jimmy Carter, Pope John Paul II), the Modernists (people like George H.W. Bush, Ted Kennedy, Trent Lott), and the Cultural Creatives (Barbara Boxer, Vaclav Havel, Martin Luther King, Jr.). The authors claim there are at least 50 million Cultural Creatives in the US. Their characteristics are detailed in the book, and my hunch is that most of you reading this article are part of this subculture. Cultural Creatives are defined by their values and buying choices. They value a lifestyle that is a reflection of their interests in alternative medicine, healthy nutrition, other cultures and educational travel, the environment, ecology and recycling, books, authenticity, and personal and spiritual growth. Ray and Anderson write,

"Cultural Creatives are at the leading edge of some of the most interesting developments in American culture…There can be no step-by-step description about how to become a Cultural Creative. It is a process of culture-making with tens of millions of people doing it in their own ways….They want a ‘new deal,’ a chance to remake their lives and our institutions around deeper values. By doing so, they may be developing a culture that will sustain us and our children’s children over the long term."

First Step: An Inner Departure

You may have already taken the first step in becoming a Cultural Creative. Ray and Anderson call this first step an "inner departure" from the entrancement of the dominant culture. This happened for Carmel when something inside prompted another look at Chopra’s book, where she is transfixed by two questions (not unlike the archetype of the Hero(ine's) mythic quest.

Second Step: Setting Out

Off she goes into the world to find her answers. This is the second step in a Cultural Creative’s journey, what Ray and Anderson term "setting out." The catalyzing awakening of 911 and her attraction to the plight of Afghani women (which was widely dispersed through Internet messages and public focus by other Cultural Creatives doing their thing) led her to follow through with research, synchronistically finding a way to get more involved. At this point she is working on blind intuition and feeling her way into a deeper commitment, which will come later. The path of Cultural Creatives is fraught with not-knowingness and uncertainty. You are a pioneer and are creating new solutions.

Third Step: Confronting the Critic(s)

Interestingly, when Carmel wrote down a list of options that appealed to her, working with women’s crafts was at the top of the list, but she didn’t start working on it right away. Carmel says, "At first, I resisted the idea of the crafts business because it was my first idea, and it seemed to come too easily. I sort of thought, ‘This can’t be it since finding my life work will take a lot more searching. I pursued several other ideas like doing corporate team building, doing a non-profit flower delivery, and setting up a greeting card line. But nothing clicked. I kept being haunted by the craft idea, and I continued to host the Afghani parties." Part of this resistance may be a form of the third step outlined by Ray and Anderson, called Confronting the Critics. Our dreams and vision may seem too radical or impractical, either by people we share it with, or by our own initial fears and ego reaction. We experience resistance during a testing period to see what works and what doesn’t.

Fourth Step: Turning Your Values Into a New Way of Life

When the fourth step occurs, it’s time for the Cultural Creative to do what Ray and Anderson call, "turning your values into a new way of life." Carmel says, "One day I told my husband, ‘I have to launch this idea. On May 11, 2002 I formed an organization called Rising International."

Carmel’s goal is to promote economic development for impoverished women and families around the world by sharing their stories and selling their handmade crafts at home parties. By doing this she feels she is nurturing the spirit of connection between all people and cultures while actively supporting Fair Trade. She says, "There is a sense that these women have reached out over mountains and oceans to share their story with us."

When It’s Right, Synchronicities Support Action

How does she find the craft items? I asked. Carmel recounts the amazing flow of synchronicities that occurred once she became truly committed to her new direction. "The connections just seemed to fall my way. For instance, I met various Peace Corps volunteers at trade shows and at my home parties who helped connect us to women in different countries. We find people from developing countries in our communities in the San Francisco Bay Area, and invite them to speak for a fee at our parties. For example, we’ve had local people from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal come into living rooms and share their stories and experiences in their home countries. The impact their stories have on people is so powerful. When a complete stranger shares his or her life story, people begin to soften and let down their guard. They begin to care. When more and more people begin to care about all the people in the world, that’s when transformation happens in ripples."

New Values and Creativity

How do Carmel and her husband support themselves and fund her new business? I asked. "I am still working in advertising, but I’m more selective. Even though my income has dropped drastically, I’ve reduced my living expenses so that I can put more time and energy into RISING. Brian and I were renting a house for $3,000 a month. A friend heard about our new company and gave us a free place to live in a remodeled barn. We have a smaller house but I’m happier. We have everything we need, and we are blessed with a lot of volunteers who help us with RISING. My happiness doesn’t come just from how much money I’m making. When you really believe in something, it seems like resources appear just when you need them. There have been a lot of big and little financial miracles that happened, almost mysteriously, to smooth the way.

"I look at money and spending very differently now. For example, in my previous life I wouldn’t have thought twice about spending $200 on dinner. Now, I look at that amount and think, ‘how far could $200 go in buying materials for women to create their handicrafts—like jewelry, textiles, tablecloths, wall hangings, pillow cases, baby booties, shawls, scarves, and purses. Or how could I use that money to pay someone to speak?"

So far, Carmel has done little traveling to find handicrafts, as some artisans now have access to email. For example, in Indonesia she orders goods from a German woman who organizes a women’s co-op. Carmel emphasizes that all crafts are bought by fair trade importers. Fair trade insures that the artisan is paid a fair wage, that they are paid in advance, and that there is a long-term trade relationship to avoid exploitation. So far her fair trade home parties have been in California, but plans are underway to expand nationwide.

Opportunities to Get Involved

How can others get involved? She says, "I invite anyone to call me if they are interested in putting together a gathering in their area. I am also looking for funding to create a catalog and collect enough inventory so that we can expand nationwide. I’d love to have volunteers with expertise in catalog design. Our website is under development, but I need someone like a project manager to design, print, and distribute the catalog. The next phase is collecting, organizing, and storing inventory that can be shipped to home party representatives. Our plan is to offer women in the US the opportunity to have their own business selling these crafts. We’re doing a pilot program right now that’s working very well.

Keep the Vision

Carmel says, "I know this organization is going to develop widely because even though we are brand-new and do no advertising, people keep calling me every day to find out how they can get involved. We are currently working with a non-profit De Solay Daywa (Afghani for Torch of Peace) to send over 100 containers filled with much-needed supplies collected from all over the San Francisco Bay Area—items such as warm clothing, tents, buckets, cooking utensils, and medical supplies for the people of Afghanistan, because they have nothing. It’s hard to start a business when your children are starving and dying in the snow. We are planning to be there when containers arrive to oversee distributions.

"Every day is so exciting. I continue to hear about new women’s groups. Yesterday I picked up crafts from Lithuania—darling little baby booties. Tomorrow I’ll be picking up jewelry from Nepal. Then I’ll meet with a fair trade importer involved with Hungarian women living in Romania who are making pillow cases out of cotton and hemp with hand-woven thread.

If You Have A Dream, Take Action to Make It Real

Carmel encourages others to follow their heart. "I’ve talked to a lot of people who hear about what I’m doing, and share with me their own dreams, but are afraid to take that first step. They say they are confused or in the dark, but when I ask them what they think would be one first step, there usually is something they’ve been thinking about doing. I’ve come to believe that the worst thing about the first step is not taking it. I tell them to trust that idea and do it."

Carmel reflects, "I like to think that if three million women can sell Avon, imagine what three million women could do by selling crafts to improve the lives of the poorest women in the world."

Contact Carmel Jud at (831) 722-2141 or email carmel@risinginternational.com. Coming soon www.risinginternational.com.

© Copyright 2003 Carol Adrienne, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.

Carol Adrienne, Ph.D., is an internationally-known workshop facilitator and author whose books have been translated into over fifteen languages. . Her latest book is When Life Changes, or You Wish It Would. Oprah hailed, The Purpose of Your Life: Finding Your Place in the World Using Synchronicity, Intuition, and Uncommon Sense a must-read. She is also the author of The Numerology Kit. An electronic copy of Your Child’s Destiny—a numerological guide for parents is now available at www.CarolAdrienne.comm. Carol is available to for keynotes, workshops, and seminars and can be reached at Carol22@sonic.net or (510) 528-2226 weekdays 10 am to 6 pm PST.



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