U1 and the Power of Sunlight

U1 is about our potential.

You’ve won the opportunity to be who you are and I have too. This website is about finding ways to help us shine the light inwards and about how technology and our lives can intertwine in positive ways.

U1 has been my life over the past year, and in fact, it was the number of my first apartment in New York City. This 200-square-foot studio, nestled between the laundry room and garbage chute, was the greatest penthouse imaginable to me. I took the “Q” subway into Manhattan and through the train window could see the Statue of Liberty and many of the city’s famous skyscrapers, a reminder of the immense challenge and opportunity, turbulence and inequality, that abounds in our world and that I was discovering day-by-day.

When a neighbor named Angela asked me where I lived, I responded that I lived in apartment “U1”. She said with a smile and joy: “You won!”

Some of the walls in my apartment have different charts pinned up, describing findings and discoveries. For example, some are helpful messages, like this one from my mentor Rich:

Other charts remind me that we are living in unprecedented and turbulent times. There are massive divides in wealth; racism abounds in ugly, ugly ways; and there are tectonic shifts based on technology. Not being able to provide for yourself or your family is a terrible feeling. I have felt it. You don’t have to go far. Look locally. Count the number of people you find on the subway or on the street asking for your help. Go to your city’s bus station at midnight and look at ‘Photos of the Day’ from around the world. Pictures do tell a thousand words. Children and youth of the world are a particular barometer for me, and in the words of the timeless and soulful song: “These are Tryin’ Times”.

I am optimistic. I’ve learned that there is one common denominator and massive x-factor in play; and that is each one of us. Nobody else has your fingerprint (or mine), nobody has the exact experiences you’ve had, nobody has the same potential to do precisely what you can do.

But we gotta get to work and shine the light inside.

A question that I’ve discovered as a powerful one is:

“What is it about the unease inside of me that contributes to the unease (and dis-ease) of our world outside?”

If we each asked ourselves this question and worked towards understanding and dissipating whatever may create unease inside, I believe that many of our problems would melt away. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant” and as I’ve been taught, we often see and treat the world as we see and treat ourselves.

Along the journey, I believe we find helpful connections with those around us and see how we are truly alike. Also we see how our creation of the “other” is our greatest detractor. I hope that U1 – in discovering our true identity, getting in touch with our hearts (and not our heads), and using ubiquitous technologies in life-affirming ways – can help us to make these connections and learn what makes each of us great, unique and of equal potential. I also hope that U1 can help to remind us, like I sometimes remind myself, that every moment is a new moment for practice and learning. Every moment, no matter how “bad” or “good” the previous one was, is a new opportunity.

In times of turbulence, when everyone is looking around and when head-fakes may abound, there is an opportunity to Think Globally, to Double Down Locally and to Triple Down Inside. Regardless of who you are, where you live, what you do, or what you have – you have won the opportunity to discover and develop your unique tools, radiating locally and radiating globally. I believe this is how we can solve some of our day-to-day challenges and how we will solve some of our world’s seemingly most intractable problems.

Take care, be well, and become who you were always meant to be.