Episode 24: The New Green Family
Sean Daily, the host of Green Talk and CEO of Green Living Ideas tells us how he made the switch from the technology and publishing industry, to working from home, home schooling his children and teaching martial arts at his home based school.
If you're looking for the next step in creating more intimacy with your family, home schooling options for your children and making a living doing what you love, this is the show for you!
Listen to stories that inspire you and your family to take to live a greener lifestyle, consider the challenges facing parents today in educating children and how families can incorporate a spiritual practice into their lifestyle.
Announcer: This program is brought to you by personallifemedia.com.
Meredith Medland: Welcome to Living Green - effortless ecology for everyday people. My name's Meredith Medland, and I'm your host. Today we'll be talking about green living ideas, Realtime Publishers, what happens when a window guru starts living green, green talk podcasts, Kung Fu, praying mantis, big deep breaths, home schooling, experiential learning, and much, much more. In today's show, you will hear the inspiring story of one of one of our listeners - Sean Daily, the CEO of Green Living Ideas. We'll learn how he made the switch from the corporate world of technology writing and publishing to working from home, home schooling his children, and teaching martial arts in his home-based school. At the end of our show today, I promise you that you will be inspired by this man's transformation, his sincere desire to be president, as well as his warm heart and his healing words. If you're looking for the next step in creating more intimacy within your family, or if you're interested in home schooling options for your children. And if you're interested in making a living doing what you love, this is the show for you. Welcome to Living Green, this is episode number 24, "The New Green Family." Home schooling, web-commuting, and martial artistry. Today, our guest is Sean Daily. Sean is a San Francisco Bay area entrepreneur with a strong background in technology, marketing, and publishing, as well as being an internationally-recognized expert on information technology. Sean was the original founder of realtimepublishers.com, the web-based technology publishing company producing books, community portals, videos, and other media in the health and lifestyle as well as technology industries. After successfully selling Real Time Publishers in 2004 to work on other pursuits, Sean founded and now serves as CEO of Green Living Ideas, a media company dedicated to educating individuals about green and sustainable living.
Sean Daily: My wife teases me, she says, 'you're like Madonna you have to reinvent yourself every five to ten years because you get bored' and I'm like, well I don't know if that's exactly the comparison that I wanna hear, but yeah. It was about 3 months into it we went to builder shows and started the website and the website was really cool I had fun building the site but about three months into it I said, I don't know anything about the building industry! What am I doing? Well, what am I passionate about right now because you keep doing again you're sort of echoing shadows of the past, you think you're still where you were and I think there's this ten-year evolution that happens. I wanna have all these different categories of information. Literally over 200 hundred categories green living, so. Because I'm into it all, I'm into alternative energy, fuels and transportation, health, exercise, I'm just into all of it. Organic, bio-dynamic farming, whatever it is, so. I'm like, let's go for it! This all started with solar panels on the roof and energy efficiency at home and changing the lightbulbs to CFLs and all this other stuff that a lot of people do, but then that becomes, then it's like sell the gas-guzzling automobiles and all of that, it just becomes more exciting, it builds energy.
Meredith Medland: Sean, welcome to our show.
Sean Daily: Meredith, thanks for having me. It's a sincere pleasure. Alright. You know, I did that whole sort of famous magazine guy speaker personality thing, and some of it was for the money some of it was for ego, and whatever. And I got to travel all over the world, which was really cool, and speaking and keynoting at conferences, but eventually that got really old and certainly once I started a family I was like 'I'm really done with this, I've played that out'. And that doesn't really do it for me anymore. So I started a publishing company called Realtime Publishers back in late 1999 and that was all about, really empowering, but what I wanted to do was to empower other writers to start their own, to be able to write and not get screwed. The thing about writers, I think in all industries and not just technology, you get these advances on your royalties and it's hardly anything, and then you're totally dependent on the marketing department of whatever big publishing house you're working with. And I saw this happening to a lot of my friends that I wrote with at the magazine and spoke with at conferences and things and so I created a company to solve that problem, and also to stop people from having to pay fifty dollars in order to get good books on technology, and so I gave the books away for free, I got my buddies to write them, and I basically got corporate sponsors to sponsor the books, but they couldn't have any say on what was in the books. They had to sign that, contractually. And I was like, well, listen, let's fly this up a flagpole and see if anyone salutes and sure enough we got people.
Meredith Medland: The new American Dream, I love it.
Sean Daily: Yeah, we put it out there to see what happens and sure enough we got three companies - I leveraged my relationships from being a magazine author with Windows IT Pro Magazine, and for sure that helped, but that only helped for the first few and then it sort of caught its own momentum. It was great, I mean, we got over five years we got over fifty different customers doing these books and we also did everything we did, actually, some podcasting at the end, community sites, whitepaper. All kinds of this stuff, and it was really cool because we never, and to this day never charged a person a dime who read a book. And people just write in with like an embarrassment of riches kind of attitude like, 'thank you so much... why are you doing this? what's the deal? I'm expecting habertorials and things and I'm not getting them.' And it was really cool to have people react that way to it, so it was kind of a - we invented corporate sponsored publishing but objective publishing with Realtime. I sold that, I get bored. My wife teases me, she says, 'you're like Madonna you have to reinvent yourself every five to ten years because you get bored' and I'm like, well I don't know if that's exactly the comparison that I wanna hear, but yeah. I do need to change it up, so after five years or so I sold it to a guy who I knew would take it over and not fundamentally change it. A guy named Bailey Sorrey and he's done a great job with it and it continues on to this day very successfully, and then I took about a year and a half off and, literally, I played with my kids.
Meredith Medland: How old are your kids?
Sean Daily: Six and four. I have a six year old boy and a four year old girl.
Meredith Medland: What are their names?
Sean Daily: Zack and Sara.
Meredith Medland: Zack and Sara. And, how old are you?
Sean Daily: I'm 39, I'm on 40's doorstep.
Meredith Medland: So, you took a year and a half off to play with your kids.
Sean Daily: Yeah, cause I've been working since I was 15, hardcore. I've always been type A, oldest child sort of thing. And enjoying it, definitely not begrudging it or feeling the victim, but kind of just burning at that bright sort of amp-on-11 level for so long and I obviously didn't have a family earlier so I got to the point where - oh, you know I made a little bit of money in the sale of Realtime Publishers and so I said, well, the best value of this money, I'm not gonna be greedy and say 'oh, how do I make more now' I'm gonna, like, camp out for a while and go hang out with my kids and get to them at a level that I hadn't been able to very well. But obviously there's a level of intimacy that I can achieve where instead of work every day my kids would be my work. So, literally, I walked them to school every day back and forth. We went on bike rides - well, not bike rides at that time, but we went on walks together and we traveled, we actually spent a month in Mexico, we went totally off the grid. Spent a month in Mexico, like bohemian Mexico, really cool place. About an hour from Puerto Vallarta Cote Solita, which is just awesome and we just hung out on the beach and ate fish tacos and we just hung out together. We spent time, we read books, we just didn't do anything technological. We were just really off the grid in terms of communications. It's just... wow, I mean, it was unbelieveable. But then the problem was, after a year and a half of this, of being a completely active parent and totally falling in love with my kids at an even deeper level that I didn't think was possible, I was like, 'uh... money's starting to run a little thin, time to go back to work, oh crap. What am I going to do?' And then it's like, so who am I now? And how do I reintegrate this change, this fundamental change that's happening at my very core, back into my work? And all that, and so basically at that point it was, I had a few false starts, I started, I went back and you kinda go back to what you did before because that's the default knee-jerk reaction and so I did that and my heart wasn't in it. I was doing technology things and like these start-up sort of web 2.0 websites and I was like hmm, sort of halfway into forming the corporation or setting up the website and I was like 'I'm not believing it, it's just not happening for me' and my wife did the same thing with a vacation website, so it was a little frustrating actually because I've never had that problem before where I -- usually it was very clear for me I've always been very clearly focused, and so it was difficult. So. Sensing my vulnerability, two of my friends, my business contacts and associates that I've known for some time cornered me at a restaurant one night at dinner and said, 'hey, we've got this great idea, we're doing these podcasts in the builder industry' because they're both involved in the building industry and CRM and they're like, 'we've got this company that wants us to do podcasts for them and we've been doing podcasts for like a year just for fun and would you like to start this builder website where there will be podcasts and you can run it and we know you know the web and publishing, blah blah blah' and I was like, I got stars in my eyes like, 'cool, they want me, I'll do it, that sounds great' and so without thinking much and in complete desperation for something to do at that point I jumped into it just without even thinking, almost. It was about 3 months into it we went to builder shows and started the website and the website was really cool I had fun building the site but three months into it I said, I don't know anything about the building industry! What am I doing? This is totally not me! And so I was able to sort of cherry pick the parts of it and building the business that I knew - I knew how to build a business, the infrastructure, publishing, creating a website, blah blah blah, all that I could do, but at its fundamental core I just, again, it was not aligned with my values or my beliefs, I mean the building industry is a great industry but it's not who I am. So, once again I sort of had this moment of, okay, now who am - because we had a sit-down, a meeting, and it turned out that one of my partners was feeling the same way for different reasons. He was saying 'you guys, I am tired,' he's a contractor's consultant, he's like, 'I'm tired of being part of the problem and helping people build these McMansions and helping contractors help people build these McMansions in the bay area and I don't want our website to support that, so... you know, I'm really into green building' I said, 'well, you know what? I'm really into green living. And green building and all that, so what a coincidence' so we decided at that moment, I suggested Green Living Ideas and that we would carry over the green building aspect but just completely go in a different direction. Not address builders, address consumers, and talk about sustainable living, so it was a total radical from where the company started at Builder Community, which was the name of the website. And so we all just kind of went 'okay, so what do we do now?' and it was really starting from scratch, so. That's the inception of Green Living Ideas, so thank you, by the way, for putting up with that very roundabout, long answer.
Meredith Medland: Oh, I think it's really important to understand where we've come from and how our past beautifully, beautifully weaves into our present and of course into our future, but knowing where you came from makes it all make sense, and so I think that for our listeners who might be either struggling or looking for some metaphor of how life can get better when you follow your passion. That's really what I hear from you. So, thank you so much for sharing all the details. And the thing that I heard more there, more than anything, is that you learned how to follow through on what you can do when you were doing something that had passion for you.
Sean Daily: Yeah, that's it, Meredith. And it's funny because you can espouse those values and tell people, and even live it, but it doesn't mean that you're guaranteed not to forget that lesson later and I think that's what happened for me, is I didn't necessarily forget that I need to live completely -- well, 'do nothing without passion' really is the summation. But what I think happens sometimes is that you lose... well, what am I passionate about right now because you keep doing again you're sort of echoing shadows of the past, you think you're still where you were and I think there's this ten-year evolution that happens around the decade mark. You know, where we shed a shell of our former selves, or our skin, or whatever metaphor you want to use, and it's hard. That's the midlife crisis or the 25-year-old crisis or wherever it happens for you. You know, you have this moment both, either personally and/or professionally where you just go, 'god, the old stuff's not doing it for me anymore, now what do I do? And how do I handle that?' So, that's really what happened for me is I had to really slap myself in the face and say, 'okay' and soul search and say, 'Sean, what do you care about now, and can you sort of say, 'I'm gonna live one way, I'm gonna work another'' and so the answer for me was, no longer can that be the case. I have to completely 100% believe that my work contribution makes sense with my personal values in every possible way. And that's a personal decision for me, it's not necessarily anything that I would project onto other people, but I was unhappy in not doing it.
Meredith Medland: Mm-hm. An NLP coach that's on the Personal Life Media Network, Jason McClain, called that "Spiritual Capitalism".
Sean Daily: Cool.
Meredith Medland: And I just call that, you started living green and the more you did that and tapped into green consciousness, your passion was right there and you couldn't not do anything else, and all of a sudden there you go. There it is.
Sean Daily: Yeah, and it's like I have these, whatever abilities, I mean we all know something about something, right, we all have our talents and our special focus and what we're interested in I thought, well, how can I use these tools that I've accumulated in a new way rather than using them in the old ways. And so that was what Green Living Ideas was saying. Okay, so you have to go back and go, well, what do I know? Starting from complete scratch can be a long process, so I'd like to leverage something here and so what I said from Realtime Publishers is that, and the way that Realtime Publishers really helped me with this was that I understood, I think, what readers want in content. I think I have some sense of that. Because I'm also the person that, you know, you have to be the person on the other side. So, you know, if I was going to the site, so I went out to all the green living sites out there - I was doing it anyway - and I was saying, okay, so what am I looking for? And what do I value? So, I had a sense of that from RTP as well. And, also, on the pragmatic side is, how are we going to fund this so that we can produce all this content for people and continue to do this in the future? So on advertisers' side I carried over elements of the model that I built there, which was very successful. And hoped that it would be equally successful in terms of the Green Living Ideas site in the LOHAS industry, and so. I had some sense of that. Again, a plan, but as they say in the martial arts world, everybody's got a plan until you get punched in the face.
Meredith Medland: But at least you were prepared! I want to make sure our listeners know that LOHAS is an acronym for Lifestyles Of Health And Sustainability. And that is a term that denotes the category to a business. LOHAS is kind of who you are as a listener, and 'cultural creatives' is another term that sort of wraps in with that. We're gonna take a break in just a moment, Sean, but before we do, would you be willing to tell us about what you do that you do in a cycle? So, it's the things that you produce over and over that you've learned about yourself that help you make Green Talk? And also different components of your website? So that we can learn about that model. Especially, you learned how to create a cycle and do what you're best at over and over again.
Sean Daily: Right, so the question is, what things do I do?
Meredith Medland: Yeah, what does it take to really do what you do, and what cycles are you reproducing, as it relates to Green Talk, and to Green Living Ideas?
Sean Daily: Right, well that's a good question. I love that question. Let me think. Well, I would say that the first thing is getting other people involved, knowing that you can't do it all is really important. Or if you try to do it all yourself you're probably going to have a lot of problems or have no life. So, balance is important. So, the first thing for me is bringing in equally excited, passionate, smart people who really have something that they want to share. And then you get this sort of - I hate to use these words - paradigm, that synergistic effect, that cumulative sort of thing happening where you sit back and go, wow, all I did was lit the match. And this is not an extension of my ego, this is getting all these wonderful people together that were just looking for a place to do this. So, I'd say that's a recurring element for me, is creating the team, and that's another thing that I got good at before. And then really just not micromanaging them. Just going back and guiding them and what they're really looking for is guidance and support and encouragement. And so doing that over and over again and then on the more logistic side with Green Talk and doing the podcasts, I think really what a lot of, I notice what you do, is really taking the time to try to listen to what people are saying and really make it hit the core questions. Don't go around in the fluff. Hit the things that really matter, because in the time that we have, which is always short, we've got to talk down to the things that are most important. I'm not so interested in what Paris Hilton is doing, though I understand that people like distractions, but it's I think really hitting the nail on the head wherever possible. So, hopefully that answers your question.
Meredith Medland: Thank you. Thank you, it does. We're gonna go take a break. When we come back from the break, we'll talk about the steps you and your family have taken to live a greener lifestyle, we'll talk briefly about your views on green activism, and most importantly we're going to talk about your home school co-op.
Sean Daily: Sounds good.
Meredith Medland: Awesome. Thanks again for listening to Living Green, effortless ecology for everyday people. I hope you'll find Sean's attitudes, beliefs, and values, bringing you effortless ecology all throughout your day. You're listening to episode number 24, entitled "The New Green Family". Homeschooling, web commuting, and martial artistry. I'm your host, Meredith Medland, and we'll be back right after this.
Meredith Medland: Welcome back from the break. I would love to let you know that I have a call-in number. So, if anyone is listening and wants to give any comments to Sean or to post them on the blog, there's two ways to do that. The first is to call the hotline, and that number is 206.350.5333. That's 206.350.5333, or you can email me at [email protected], as well as post to the blog at personallifemedia.com. So, Sean, we're going to talk a little bit more about your website and then I'm really excited to hear about the steps you've taken to live a greener lifestyle.
Sean Daily: Okay!
Meredith Medland: Alright! So, the first thing that I want to say is that I like your podcast, I love your podcast, and I know it's really important for anyone who's listening to write consumer reviews in iTunes so that iTunes continues to bring green content to the front of the iTunes page so that there can be more of it exposed in the mainstream.
Sean Daily: Yeah, definitely, that is really important and we're a relatively new podcast, we've been productive during the three months that we've been out there, but we would also love to... no matter what somebody thinks, that feedback is so critical, both getting it out, and getting it up in the rankings in the front page so that people can see these podcasts because there are so many podcasts out there in the sea of information. So, yeah, and also in terms of being a podcaster, or a content producer, just out of understanding what people want to see and getting reaffirmation on the things that are good and corrections on the things that aren't, so.
Meredith Medland: What would you like to direct our community of listeners to on your shows? Are there some specific ones you can earmark for us?
Sean Daily: Actually, that's a great question. And, actually, really the way that I designed the site is the idea was I didn't want to leave anyone out. I have a very inclusive nature and so I said, well, this is going to be difficult because I want to go... I wanna have all these different categories of information. Literally over 200 hundred categories green living, so. Because I'm into it all, I'm into alternative energy, fuels and transportation, health, exercise, I'm just into all of it. Organic, bio-dynamic farming, whatever it is, so. I'm like, let's go for it! Because I'm pretty fearless when it comes to stuff like that, so. I'm like, this is going to be crazy, but let's just dive in! Really, what I want, and the experience I'm hoping people have is that they go to the site, and it's divided by category, in the menu so, whatever you're interested in, I encourage people to go to the site and I hope that you'll find at least something on the site that speaks to what your interests are. Among the things I mentioned, literally, there's dozens or even hundreds more. I mean, obviously some parts of the site are built out more than others, but we're really trying to make sure that there is something for everybody. Both in terms of the type of content or what you're interested in, but also in terms of level of greenness. Are you somebody who's just watched "An Inconvenient Truth" and is disturbed or is excited on the positive side to do something? Or are you somebody who's been doing this for 20 or 30 years but you still are interested in learning more and taking it farther and keeping it up to date? Anyway, that's the way we designed the site was on purpose to hopefully have something for everybody there.
Meredith Medland: And if you go to the episode page of this show, which you can find at livinggreenshow.com, go to episode number 24 and we have links to the right of Sean's picture and bio on the right-hand rail and there's links there that will take you to different places that Sean prepared in advance, so that you can just link through to some of those sites. And I mentioned that of course I loved your podcast number 22, "Telecommuting with Citrics Online" and I also loved the podcast about Yerba Mate, and one of the things that's unique and different about your show compared to my show is, you talk to a lot of vendors, so you've got water-saving fixtures with Cohler, or green home-building products with Home Depot. You've done an amazing job. Organic foods and products with Whole Foods. Solar installation products with Sun Technics. So, this is a great opportunity for people who are building homes, starting new properties, doing remodeling, there's a lot of vendor-based information in your podcast that is both real and trustworthy because you bring this level of expertise about really living the experience. So, there's no selling or BSing, you're getting it really straight, but it's also from the production source, people right at the company.
Sean Daily: Yeah, well thank you for saying that because that's really, that's what we're going for. It's interesting, because we try to balance, we try to have at least 1/3, about 33% independent experts and organizations, non-profits, things like that. And the rest of it is vendors, and, you know, one of the things that we definitely do - and I learned how to do this at Realtime Publishers - is how to walk this line of never pandering to them, and not support - the last thing we want to do is support anyone who's doing any kind of greenwashing, or anything like that, we're quite the opposite. But I didn't want to avoid vendors because consumerism and the way we vote with our dollars is so critical, so what I want to do is make sure that we're talking to these vendors who are really significant players in the market, or even new players in the market who have disruptive technologies, disruptive in a good way, that they're going to potentially change our lives and hopefully help reverse problems with the environment and some of the problems that have been happening in the world. And so, we get those people on the show, and we don't want them to feel grilled, defensive, because we want them to talk freely, but at the same time we really want to hear the truth and we want to cut through the BS and get down to brass packs about, well, why do you think your products are green? And let them talk about it, because it's their opportunity to make or break their argument that they're making for their product. I don't really want to be the one sitting there in judgement, but I'm also not going to throw them softballs and say, "How wonderful are you?" That's not me. But at the same time I'm also not going to try to put them up against the wall and make them feel defensive so that they clam up and don't share. So, that's the line we try to walk, but a lot of this comes down to products. For example, or services, or things like that, and facilitating people, and that happens through, in many cases, purchasing goods or products and things like that and so in acknowledging that reality, we do try to have the vendors that are relevant in whatever it might be. Whether it's electric motorcycles and talking to Brammo, who's an electric motorcycle vendor. I'm really into motorcycles, so I was excited about that one. You know, in talking to green building vendors, whether they're making dual-flush toilets, or whatever it might be, talking about not just their products, and usually we only talk about products as part of the conversation, but the main part of the conversation, which is the topic itself, what's the lay of the land in your industry right now, what's going on in your corner of the world? What do we as consumers need to be caring about? Where can we make a difference with these products, whether it's yours or anyone else's? I try to keep the vendors focused on that.
Meredith Medland: Yeah, I really like the way you do that. That was the best part of what attracted me to you was the truth you bring out in your guests.
Sean Daily: Thank you.
Meredith Medland: You're welcome. I want to transition here back to what I'm most interested in, here, in this whole conversation is your homeschooling and your martial artistry. And it really just speaks to me at a personal level, so how are you integrating living a green life with your family, and then with your children while they're being home schooled? What's happening? We're not running out of time but we've just got a short amount of time here, and I would like to get to the sacred nugget in all of this. Because this is so fascinating.
Sean Daily: Well, you know, it's amazing the changes, it's like a tidal wave. It starts small and then it gets huge and you're like wow, where did this come from and so all these pieces have been clicking together and we feel like we've really been in the groove in our lives, and so one of the things that happened was - one of the things I don't want to do is pass myself off as this all-knowing expert in this industry. I am far from it, in fact I am more like the average listener on the show, who is enthusiastic and concerned and wants to make change, but wants the guidance, and so it's great that I get to talk to all these experts in the industry because I get smarter and I get to share that with the audience. Because that's going on, I started with-- this all started with solar panels on the roof and energy efficiency at home and changing the lightbulbs to CFLs and all this other stuff that a lot of people do, but then that becomes, then it's like sell the gas-guzzling automobiles and all of that, it just becomes more exciting, it builds energy. But then you realize that really that's all happening because of the fundamental core of who you are and that starts to extend itself in other areas. And sometimes it's not so comfortable! Sometimes it's not easy! So, one of the fundamental problems was the public education schooling that both my wife and I had issues with the public education system at various times in our life, and so our kids, our oldest, our son was in kindergarten and we were talking to parents in walking my kids to school every day, I'm talking to these other parents at the school and we're talking, 'what are you going to do next year?' Well, this school's no good, this school's no good, I heard these teachers are horrible, and we're sort of looking going, uh-oh, these are our children and this is their education and we care so much and so we started saying, well, what if we just started our own thing? What if we just started our own co-op because we talked about home schooling in terms of an individual setting and we're all like, wow, that must be really hard and we don't quite know how to do that. Well, what if we pooled our resources? And then it got exciting, like, well, wait a minute, wait a minute, I speak French! You speak Spanish! Your husband's an architect, your husbands a... you know, everybody, going back to my earlier statement, everybody knows a little bit of something, and they have passion, so we started creating this bigger idea of what if we're all in there with our kids, sharing our passions and being guided by one teacher who really knows what they're doing but who is guiding us and allowing us to bring those passions into the classroom? And then it just kept going from there, so then we started saying, well, what did you really value? And we got together over I think it was ten sessions with these I think a total of 18 parents, it just grew quickly in the school. We basically took the entire montessori elementary, or the montessori preschool and got about nine different couples that were interested in participating in this and it was really great because the kids were already friends and they got to keep going to school with the same kids they have gotten to know for the last two or three years. And so it got really exciting because it was like oh wow we can create something that just is going to blow everybody away. And it's way bigger than we originally envisioned. And so what's happened now is we realized that. Actually my mom, who has been a teacher my whole life, and really into progressive education and starting independent schools and she started a school back on the east coast, where I was originally from, and she actually was out on Kauai doing independent tutoring for these three really famous surfer kids, three brothers, I can't remember their names but they're world famous top surfers and she was doing tutoring for them and other people on Kauai for ten years, and so I said, 'hey mom, what do you think about coming over and helping us start this school? Because we have no idea what the heck we're doing. And so we pulled her in and so the next thing we knew, we're doing experiencial learning, we're taking these kids on field trips out to Bodega Bay, the marine observation center, I'm going in once a week in character as a French guy named Jean-Pierre and teaching them French.
Meredith Medland: Oh, give us the character! Can we have the character?
Sean Daily: Oh, yes. Jean-Pierre, il ne pas parle anglais. Il formait dais avec l'anglais parce que... So, they have to teach me English. So, it's actually a reverse thing where they actually, I come in, I wear my little beret, I've got my red jacket on, and so they're all like, but it's really funny because that 'we know you're Zack's dad!' so they usually start for five or ten minutes on that.
Meredith Medland: Oh, well you give us that character and tell us what the most important piece of information is that parents need to know about teaching green living to their children.
Sean Daily: Yeah. I think, you know what...
Meredith Medland: In your character!
Sean Daily: Oh, in my character, huh? In French?
Meredith Medland: Well... maybe a French accent.
Sean Daily: Okay, well, Jean-Pierre would say, you must walk zee walk! You must not just talk zee talk! Children will learn from you because you have lived this life and you are living this and they see this in you and so they will naturally want to be like you, and so you do not just tell them with your words, you must tell them with... I'm switching into some other accent, there, but it's basically...
Meredith Medland: Oh, no, that was awesome! That was great, thank you so much for playing. We're gonna take a short break to thank our sponsors. When we come back we're gonna wrap up the show, we're going to talk to you just real briefly about green activism and martial artistry and how the dojo, which is the place where you do your practice, is now in your home and you've got students and you've incorporated more green living practices. Thank you so much, I'm with Sean Daily, my name is Meredith Medland, and I'm your host of Living Green - effortless ecology for everyday people.
Meredith Medland: Welcome back from the break! My name's Meredith Medland and we're here with Sean Daily. Hi, Sean!
Sean Daily: Hi, there!
Meredith Medland: Alright! So. Voting with your dollars. If your children are taking advice here, and they watch the way you spend your money, how does green activism or voting with your dollars, make a difference in your life?
Sean Daily: Yeah, we talked about that earlier in the show about voting with dollars and I just really believe most strongly in that because I think that money, especially in this country, well, I think it's everywhere, but especially in this country, that's what makes change, that's what affects change the most. And so I believe in activism, personally, being a parent and having all the obligations that I have, it's hard for me to go marching through the streets as much as maybe sometimes I'd like to. So, for me, where I want to have leverage or help create leverage is in terms of both my own life and the way I spend money and the way that I help educate other people, hopefully objectively, educate people about the ways that they can spend their own money affect change, a positive change, and send a very clear message to business, to government, because all of them respond to money. And we know this, and so...
Meredith Medland: What's this, I want to just jump in because we're kind of short on time, what's the most effective place where you're spending your money right now as it relates to green living?
Sean Daily: Yeah, well, you mean personally?
Meredith Medland: Yeah.
Sean Daily: The way I'm spending my money? Well, I would say that it's everything. We took the whole nut, we looked at how much we spend on a monthly basis and we changed everything. I mean, in terms of, again, the energy, converted everything to - we're almost completely off the grid with solar power, so the PG&E bill, so that was a huge part of it, I mean we were spending almost 1,000 dollars a month because we were running businesses out of the house and...
Meredith Medland: Yeah, I mean you probably never leave your house! I mean, you're doing this show from your home phone live, you've got your website from your computer, you've got different parents coming into your home and home schooling the children in your community as well as your own two children, and then you're doing martial arts. What's going on here? Are you a university?
Sean Daily: I know, it sounds like I'm holed up in this shack in the woods, but we're actually not. We actually get out quite a bit. Because of all those activities, we have to get the heck out of dodge. So, we actually go out quite a bit, we're big outdoors people. We have a very active social life with friends, always getting out, but it's really nice because, again, it's not necessarily done as much for greenness but it is very green to stay at home and not get in your car a lot and have to drive everywhere and consolidating your life. But, you know, quite frankly, for us it's building community that's a lot of why we do that is we love as a couple and as a family to bring community to us and one of the things that I think we're missing in this society is we've lost family, we've lost community, we're all on the rat race, the treadmill, and a friend of mine said recently that the thing about the rat race is that even if you win you're still a rat. And so I was kind of like, wow, that's really true. So, I think it's really about quality of life, and there's an opportunity to do that in every part of your life. Your work, and martial arts school, and maybe that's not for everybody but for us what that's done is it's really created a community around ourselves that makes us feel more attached to the world, to our community. I think it's created a richness in our life that we've never had before.
Meredith Medland: You have people depending on you, and naturally you've created deep intimacy around you.
Sean Daily: Yeah, definitely, I mean, it's so cool and it's so diverse. You talked about, you mentioned the martial arts thing, you're a martial artist, I believe, you do have Qui Do, right?
Meredith Medland: I do, yes, thank you.
Sean Daily: That's a very, very cool art. And, yeah, so that's just one of the things, again, not necessarily connected to the green living thing, but it's a very big part of my own life is my best friend introduced me a very rare form of Chinese martial arts called Praying Mantis Kung Fu, that I've been learning for eight years now and now have been teaching for the last two years. His school shut down because he started another business and he's a phenomenal martial artist...
Meredith Medland: What's his name?
Sean Daily: His name is Wess Hardy. And he is a phenomenal martial artist, but at the time, he's actually gotten a lot better now, he was having some struggles. It's hard to run a martial arts school successfully, especially if you're just a passionate person and not trying to make money, so the school kind of had some trouble financially, shut down, and so I said, hey, listen, we're doing a remodel, I'm just going to build the studio above my garage because the community can't die. There's all these people. So, we did that and -- I see a lot of people with exercise gyms in their house and I think 'oh, that's so extravagant for two people!' What we did, the only reason we were willing to do it, we did do it, is there were going to be all of these people coming over and getting the use out of it because we would've felt very selfish about creating a space like that where we just tried to use it for ourselves. So, for us it was keeping community together. And, hey, don't get me wrong, I love having a commute of 20 steps to go to go out, especially at 5:30 in the morning, when we practice this, to walk out the door and go upstairs and have this community be right there with me. So, it's been really cool...
Meredith Medland: Aww. Thank you for that. It's time for us to wrap up the show, but before we do that I wanted to see if you would be willing to teach me and my guests, our listeners, something from your practice. And then I'll give the tag for the show and then we can kinda relax and go on with our day. Would you be willing to do that?
Sean Daily: Absolutely, and it's funny that you use the word 'relax and go on with our day' because at the core if I was to sort of pick one thing in terms of the values for myself, one of the most fundamental things in martial arts is that it teaches freeing the mind and relaxing the body and learning how to breathe. So, we see this in Yoga and we see this in other things which, by the way, same roots, if you look back, and so it would be the exercise of being completely present in the current moment, emptying your mind completely to the point of no thoughts, shutting off the internal dialoge, to the point where that little monkey mind that's talking to you all the time is gone, and that takes a long time but if you can master that, and you can master full, deep breaths...
Meredith Medland: Will you guide us in that right now? Will you actually give us the exercise?
Sean Daily: Yeah, absolutely. So, normally we do this in horse stance, so if you'd like to squat down into a low stance as you're doing this it will be more like the Kung Fu way, because this is done with physical distress, to strengthen your body at the same time you're strengthening your mind. But the core doesn't change, which is to...
Meredith Medland: I'm in horse stance right now!
Sean Daily: There you go.
Meredith Medland: I've got my right knee over my left-- my right heel, knees are right to the toes. Come on, listeners! Get up! You can do this!
Sean Daily: You can do it! We should put a link to the posture on the site so that...
Meredith Medland: Yeah! But it's real simple. It's just like, put your legs in a V and then bend your knees and sit down and bend down a little bit and support yourself by putting your energy through your heels. Okay, now, tell us what to do next.
Sean Daily: Okay, the next thing is to take deep, full breaths that start in the bottom of your lungs and fill to the top. So, it's complete circular breathing. So it's: (sounds of breathing) So, it's very, very - and without even externalizing the voice, in the breath, but it's so deep that you're completely relaxed and you can breathe more deeply. Most people only breathe very shallowly and they don't realize it and so it's stopping everything, completely relaxing your body, and breathing in a way you've probably never breathed before for most people.
Meredith Medland: Oh! My god, it feels good!
Sean Daily: And for two minutes, do that in horse stance. If you're not in horse stance, of course, you can do this for an hour, half hour, whatever you can do. And, again, as you're doing this, and you're going to really, this is just meditation - that's right! This is really what this is, but it's a recurrent theme in so many different arts and disciplines, this idea of being connected with this moment now and emptying your mind, and clearing your thoughts and gaining mastery over that because that becomes a doorway to, for me at least, better living, better control over your thoughts and emotions, and a fuller, richer experience of every moment in your day. Rather than, I think we feel like we're on this treadmill, everything's moving so quickly all the time, and we're never going to get caught up and there's just that insanity and all you can really do in reaction to that, and the best thing to do in my opinion, is just to stop the madness.
Meredith Medland: Stop the madness and take a deep breath! We've got to do that now because we've run out of time! Sean Daily, thank you so much, go ahead and check out the website, the podcasts, this is great, thank you, you're listening to Living Green, my name is Meredith Medland, I'm your host, we'll be back next week for texts and transcripts of this show and other shows on the Personal Life Media.com network, just go ahead and check out personallifemedia.com. Sean, thank you so much.
Sean Daily: Meredith, thank you. It was a pleasure.
Meredith: Alright, big, deep breaths. (breathing sounds) And continue on with your meditation.
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