Back for More: Thoughts from 3 Regular Attendees on the International Forum on Consciousness

The International Forum on Consciousness offers a lively two days of information sharing and discussion regarding important—and often challenging—topics. Over the years, we have been guided through a range of topics, including creativity, near death, entheogens, intelligence in nature, business evolution and the effects of sensory inputs.  This year, we’re tackling Means and Metrics for Detecting and Measuring Consciousness.  You can find out more here: https://www.btci.org/events-symposia-2018/international-forum-on-consciousness/ .

As we work on the final details for this year and registrations flow in, I took a moment to pause and reflect on the fact that several of the registrants have joined us for many, if not all, of our past events. It’s gratifying to see that they are taking time out of their normal routines to make their way to the Promega campus again this spring.  So, I asked a few of them to share their thoughts for this post and this is what they had to say: Continue reading

Announcing the 2016 International Forum on Consciousness

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Examine how businesses are evolving and changing the way we think about the world around us at the 2016 International Forum on Consciousness. This year’s theme, Awakened Consciousness and the Evolution of Business, brings together a diverse group of presenters including Chip Conley (Airbnb), Martin Kalungu-Banda (Presencing Institute), Gunnar Lovelac, John Roulac (Nutiva Corporation),  Mike Mears (Mears Consulting), Betsy Myers (Center for Women & Business) and Raj Sisodia, Ph.D. (Conscious Capitalism Inc.), among others. The forum will be held May 5–6, 2016, in Madison, Wisconsin. An event schedule, presenter biographies and presentation abstracts are available at https://www.btci.org/.

Each year, the International Forum on Consciousness explores a different—and often challenging—topic related to the exploration of consciousness. Awakened Consciousness and the Evolution of Business is an invitation to envision businesses of the 21st century. The 2016 forum will showcase how today’s business leaders are enriching employees, communities and the health of our planet. Key questions to be addressed include:

  • How have business practices historically shaped society?
  • What does it mean to awaken to the potential for workplace and broader business practices to transform our view of self, others and society—to focus on purpose and meaning through the work we do?
  • What work-based opportunities for personal and professional development contribute most effectively to this shift?
  • How does the self-actualized business become a model and advocate for change?

The forum is co-hosted by the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute (BTC Institute) and Promega Corporation, who are also Platinum sponsors along with Michael Best & Friedrich, LLP, Perkins Coie, Thrive Market and Usona Institute.

Held at the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center on the Promega Campus (5445 East Cheryl Parkway, Fitchburg, WI 53711), the International Forum on Consciousness is open to the general public but limited to 350 participants. Forum registrants have the opportunity to join a presenter for a small group discussion over dinner on Thursday evening, May 5. Registration is now open. For more information or to register, visit: https://www.btci.org/.

In the Moment with Promega Software Designer, Dave Romanin

26062334-portrait-WEBWhen Dave Romanin came to work for Promega he was fresh out of school with a degree in bacteriology. His plan was to work for a year in manufacturing and then go back to graduate school. But in the end, he didn’t go. There was no incentive, he explains, for him to spend five years in graduate school making little to no money. He didn’t want to write grants or run his own lab, and he enjoyed what he was doing.

Twenty‐four years later, Dave is still here. He’s moved around a bit, first manufacturing, then dispensing, kit packaging and then on to software development with Lou Mezei. Their first software project was a quality control software to capture data from the scales weighing bottles to ensure they were filled correctly. His experience in manufacturing helped him understand what the program needed to do and helped him define the specifications for the software for the programmer. He has been designing software for the last 10 years, and has worked on projects for everyone from marketing to manufacturing.

He describes his job, in part, as a game of cat and mouse. Dave spends hours testing the software, trying to find the weaknesses the developer didn’t anticipate—in essence, trying to break it. When he finds something that throws the software off or causes it to crash, he and the programmer decide on the next steps. Sometimes it is an easy fix, and sometimes they have to decide if it is worth what it would take to fix it. Would a user be likely to ever do what Dave did? Continue reading

To Meditate Perchance to Dream

First the disclosure: this blog is of course about Me.

But it’s also about You. And yours. Because as you know, we’ve become a culture that does not sleep.

Why don’t we sleep? I like to think that it is an evolutionary adaptation; not sleeping, after all, allows us more time for Facebook.

Or Etsy for you makers. Or Amazon for you shoppers. And let’s not forget our middle, high school and college students. Do they even have classrooms anymore, or are lectures all online (on screens)?

One tired pony. By Rachel C from Scotland (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

One tired pony. By Rachel C from Scotland (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Honestly, the evolutionary adaptation idea comes from how we live and work today. And no, this is not another rant/lecture on the color of light emitted by whatever non-cathode ray tubes are in our phones or tablet-like devices.

It’s just that just working in our very busy online/wired world, jumping from web page to project management software, to big-screens in meetings has us adapted to being  on: capital “O” capital “N”.

This multi-multitasking has grown (for me) a new type of neurons that are not happy unless they are gleaning new information from a screen, all the time. And these neurons don’t stop working when the screen is gone; no, they continue seeking and trying to process. For me, if there’s no screen to look at, the neurons ping-pong around behind my eyeballs, looking and searching, as if to say, “Input missing! Input missing!”

The result can be hours in bed sans sleep; it seems the racket these neurons make keeps all the other neurons up. Continue reading

ProMindful

35988076_lMindfulness is all over the news these days, with people touting research-backed benefits like stress reduction, better grades, improved emotional regulation and even boosting you towards your weight loss goals. Here at Promega we have offered yoga classes and meditation sessions for years, and we just finished an 8 week internally developed mindfulness training program.

The approach was to present mindfulness techniques in a “profoundly lighthearted” way. As participants, we were encouraged to be our own test subjects and experiment. In the 30-minute Friday group sessions we learned about a new aspect of mindfulness through teachings, stories and practice and were then encouraged to practice throughout the week. The results were nothing less than life-changing for some participants. Here are a few techniques you can experiment with incorporating into your life.
Continue reading

When Being Dense is Good: Mindfulness, Meditation and Increasing Gray Matter

When my my Mother’s sister, Pat, was seven years old, she was in a car-bicycle accident that resulted in some very serious brain trauma. She spent better than a year learning to walk and talk again, and although there were some lasting personality changes, she went on to earn a nursing degree and live an independent life. When I think of My Aunt Pat, I can’t help but marvel at what the human brain can do. Damaged brain tissue does not re-grow, but still the brain can find a way to rewire itself to circumvent damaged areas.

Fortunately, it doesn’t take trauma to the brain for it to demonstrate its plasticity. Our neural structures can be modified with the right training. Studies have shown task-specific increases in gray matter as a result of things such as learning an abstract skill or increasing aerobic activity. Cross-sectional studies have established that differences in performance abilities are associated with differences in regional gray matter. To me this begs the question: Can we consciously increase gray matter in specific regions of the brain?  Continue reading