Creating a Better World
If the body-mind-spirit industry relies on consumers being awake and aware, how can we reach more people and expand our market? One way is through organizations such as the Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment (GATE, www.gatecommunity.org). The founder and CEO of GATE, John Raatz, defines the organization as “an evolving community of creative, business, and technical professionals in entertainment, media, and the arts, who realize the vital and expanding role media and entertainment play in creating our lives, and who aspire to consciously transform those domains for the benefit of all.”
GATE 2 and GATE Transformational Story Conference, an exciting, all-day event held February 4, 2012, at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, Calif., featured such luminaries as Eckhart Tolle, Jim Carrey, Don Miguel Ruiz, Marianne Williamson, Edward James Olmos, and many more. I was honored to be among those speaking, and following is the speech I gave to an audience inspired by a desire to change the world for the better.
It’s my job tonight to convince you there is a large, paying audience for transformational entertainment and media. But, at this point in the program, you’re no doubt fully primed by the incredible energy in this room, so my job is going to be very easy.
The heart of the matter is this: There is an audience for film and media that speaks to our better selves. We all know it … most of us here are it … and the audience wants this kind of material. If it’s available to them, they will pay to see it, and to hear it, and when they’re done, they’ll just want more of it.
I have a publishing company and we’ve been in the body, mind, and spirit market for a long time—25 years. We publish retail trade magazines for shop owners in cities and towns all across the U.S. and in British Columbia. Essentially, we’re in the business of keeping tabs on the retail triumvirate: wholesalers, retailers, and consumers. For me to be successful in my work, it comes down to knowing what people are looking for. What do they want to do and what do they want to buy? And why?
Twenty-five years ago, when we started, the body, mind, and spirit market was a small and specific alternative niche. Now, it’s a huge mainstream movement. What was considered alternative then doesn’t even raise an eyebrow now. Today it’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t participate in this market in some way, whether they buy organic or they see an acupuncturist, maybe they go to yoga class, or they practice their spirituality by watching a sunrise on a cold December morning. People are waking up, and they’re making very conscious choices about how they want to live in our world.
Patricia Aburdene is a trend forecaster and author who in the 1980’s predicted the information economy and the high-tech era we’re all navigating today. The new economy emerging now, she says, is one based on ethics and values and spiritual awareness. She says that consumers who lead with their values when they go shopping are a “basic economic reality” today. These are the people who do more than talk a good game; they put their money where their hearts are.
The Cultural Creatives that Dr. Paul Ray has identified, and Conscious Consumers, which is another term you’ve probably heard, may sound like catchy marketing labels, but actually these labels are real people, and these real people want to “act out” their better values, and they have money to spend—by some estimates, as much as $200 billion. And that’s very important because not much happens in our world without money to back it up.
Entertainment and media are big business. They don’t run on altruism. If we’re going to have the privilege of experiencing great transformational entertainment and media, a paying audience is the key.
The interesting thing is, as more of us open to a new vision for ourselves and our work in the world, we begin to spend our money differently. If that shift in our spending funds more of the entertainment and media we would rather experience than the kind we too often do experience, we’re more than halfway home.
At the inaugural GATE evening a couple of years ago, Jim Carrey used the term “condensed negativity” to describe what generally passes as news and entertainment today. I like that term, condensed negativity. It feels heavy … and it sounds just like what it is: something we should avoid, if we can. But beyond avoiding a lot of today’s movies and our televisions and the internet and our crankiest relatives, maybe there’s something more we can do. That’s why we’re all here tonight, to talk about how we can support more balanced, positive news and entertainment.
And there’s one more little reason we’re here tonight. We want to change the world. I’m convinced we can do it.
The truth is, we live in a beautiful world that suffers from a beautiful wound. You can call that wound a longing for God—that’s what Saint Teresa of Avila called it centuries ago—or you can call it our failure to understand each other. You can call it war. Or intolerance. It has many names. But the enlightened among us say, from that wound, in the midst of that wound, even because of that wound, transformation becomes possible. We’ve all seen that happen. We may not understand how or why, but we know transformation when we see it. It’s more than just changing something. Transformation is creating something that’s altogether new. It’s the phoenix, not just better ashes.
I’ll tell you a truth: Not everyone feels a responsibility to help the world become a better place. They just don’t. But many, many people do. Our thoughts on what makes a better world may differ, but there’s some basic agreement, like stop killing each other, that’s a really good place to start. Get to know your neighbor. Stop and think about your actions. And, just for fun, give your ego Sundays off.
We’ve all heard the term “the silent majority.” I’m not sure anyone is actually silent anymore, but certainly there’s a quiet majority. These are people who live out their values with very little fanfare. And these people do feel a strong responsibility to live in ways that actively contribute to a peaceful and healthy world.
And the thing I came here to tell you tonight is this: These people are everywhere. The audience is ready.
GATE is a nonprofit organization open to everyone. To become a member, visit www.gatecommunity.org
First published in Vol. 26 No. 2 of Retailing Insight. © 2012 Continuity Publishing Inc. All rights reserved.