Ryland Engelhart is a philanthropist. He’s a lover of people and of life. Ryland co-founded Kiss the Ground in his living room with a friend ten years ago. It’s a nonprofit organization that he leads today as executive director. Ryland is also the producer of The Kiss the Ground documentary and the co-creator of the documentary film “May I Be Frank?” He’s also co-owner and formerly served as Mission Fulfillment Officer of the nationally recognized plant-based restaurants Café Gratitude and Gracias Madre, located in Southern California.
In this interview, Ryland joins me to discuss sacred commerce, using business as a force for good, the possibility of restoration and regeneration, and gaining a sense of optimism toward the future of the Earth and humanity. We also discuss one of Ryland’s strategies to deal with challenging moments and to avoid closing down or shrinking from difficulties. We talk about finding our thing, whatever it may be, and creating ways to express what we value. We also talk about building and solidifying habits related to creativity and writing, and a lot about Ryland’s sustainability efforts.
“Regeneration is playing a role in reversing or balancing the climate.”
This week on the School for Good Living Podcast:
- Gaining a sense of optimism towards the future of the Earth and of humanity
- Finding our thing and creating ways to express what we value
- Striking inspiration and turning it into something that can grow
- Ryland’s sustainability efforts through “Regenerate America”
- Building and solidifying writing habits
Brilliant Miller [00:00:17] Ryland. Welcome to the School for Good Living.
Ryland Engelhart [00:00:21] Thank you, Brilliant I’m grateful to be here and grateful to be on the School for Good Living Podcast. In this present moment, it feels like there’s a rich space for learning and discovery, and sharing. So really grateful.
Brilliant Miller [00:00:39] Yes. Will you tell me, please, what is life about?
Ryland Engelhart [00:00:45] Yeah. This is going to sound crazy. Yeah. It’s about praising God. I mean like, it’s about like I’ve had that explicitly, like, those whispers come into my mind, but I don’t normally articulate it that but praising like being in gratitude for existence, for life, for those we love, for the elements of nature, for being able to experience the beauty of this creation and allowing ourselves to feel the bigness of that. And so, yeah, what life is about is connecting to the indwelling presence of love and being in the glory of praise of life that is being seen through the eyes of the heart. And I’ve never said that before. Yeah. So thanks for. Thanks for bringing the school to me and inviting the questions. Yeah.
Brilliant Miller [00:02:18] I think I’m moved by your sharing. And how do you go about that? How do you endeavor to live something that big?
Ryland Engelhart [00:02:33] You know, I would say mostly it’s not that big. Mostly it’s not that explicit. But I think, you know, my practice for almost 24 years has been to show up and to remember that we are all a source of something. What are we going to be a source of? And remembering that I can be a source of love wherever I go. And that is how I endeavor to do that. To show up and look at how I can contribute. Look at how I can serve. Look at what I can acknowledge. Look at what I can be grateful for. Express affection and kindness. And yeah, it’s not always easy, and sometimes I know that I have amnesia, as to what life is about. Many times a day. And, you know, me and my dad got tattoos on her arm that say be love. And that was maybe we got him maybe 18 or 20 years ago together in San Francisco after going to a retreat in the Santa Monica mountains called the New Warrior Training. And, you know, the experience was sort of initiatic going from this initiation of boyhood into manhood and taking that process in an intentional way, you know, sort of from lineages of indigenous views and ways of being and schools of thought and you know, part of that was these vision quests of envisioning what animal spirit sounds silly, but what animal spirit is there with you or is in the beginning, there is this in the beginning, there is this spirit of the squirrel energy and oak squirrel. And then at the end, there is this image of this shining bear. And that was the spirit of, you know, being the shining bear. And kind of the inquiry of the conversation was you know, inside of this initiation, what is the masculine way of being that you are going to bring to the world? And it was in that moment that this idea of being love became really crystallized and distilled and sort of clear and at the commitment as a way of being. And, you know, we oftentimes think of love more as feminine nurturing. And yet there was this clear distinction of a masculine expression of love being, you know, being able to walk through the world as an embodiment and a source of that presence of love. And I even saw the tattoos on my arm and I knew that was what I was supposed to do. And that there was sort of like reminding me what life is about because I knew that, like, memento, we’d have a fishbowl and a quick amnesia of what the important things are and so how could I remind myself perennially to walk remembering? And so, you know, that became really, you know, my dad’s farm became beloved farm. You know, it became the culture of café gratitude in the early days was, you know, being loved. That was sort of the business culture of how we were serving our guests and how we were serving as an organization was a culture of being loved. And, you know, there were even talks of, you know, we were a cult and you had to get the beloved tattoo to get to it. And, you know, I can see how people could see that sometimes. But, you know, from where I was looking, it wasn’t. But so yeah. So that’s great.
Brilliant Miller [00:07:21] I understand that tattoo was something that you basically gave as a gift at a wedding, too. Is that right?
Ryland Engelhart [00:07:27] Yeah, I got that part. Yeah. So me and my wife got married 12 years ago on Be Love Farm and which is in Northern California in Pleasant Valley, near Vacaville between Sacramento and San Francisco. And it’s a regenerative, organic fruit and vegetable farm that my dad and stepmom had been running for 20 years.
Brilliant Miller [00:07:54] And just jump in and ask, can people visit? Do you do tours?
Ryland Engelhart [00:07:58] Yeah, it’s actually it. You can do tours. My dad loves doing tours. It’s one of his favorite joys to sort of tour people around the farm and give them the awakening of what is possible with regenerative agriculture. But actually, beginning of next year, they’re moving to Idaho. And so they’ve transitioned the property. They’ve sold the property to some new owners who are doing some other beautiful work and will maintain that as Be Love Farm. So but people can check out belovefarm.com. You can go and check out the farm store. You can go get a tour. Yeah, it’s an amazing, amazing gem of creation.
Brilliant Miller [00:08:45] Right on. Well, thanks for letting me interject. But okay. So back to the story. 12 years ago, your wife.
Ryland Engelhart [00:08:50] No. Yeah. Oh, yeah. So we’re getting married. And be love farm, you know, is a big sort of community wedding, probably 300 people under, you know, under a tent, because my parents lived in a yurt for the first ten years on the property, they had an outdoor kitchen because every meal outside, they lived in a year. And so we had a 300-person wedding without a house to support that. We ended up doing the dishes for 300 people the next day. That’s another story. But the tattoos, I had a friend who was an amazing tattoo artist and graffiti artist named Chaz One. And I asked him, we just had the insight, like instead of having a chintzy, you know, kind of like shampoo bottle with, like, Sarah and Rayland’s love forever, you know, we thought why don’t we have where people can have a memory and a commitment of this way of being loved. And we could initiate this sort of cultural commitment to a way of being as a collective, as a community. And so we were giving free tattoos as the party favor at the wedding for our wedding. I still think it was a brilliant idea, my wife approved of it, but anyways, it was, I think like probably 70 or 80 people signed up to be on the list. I think we only got maybe 25 or 30 people who ended up getting the tattoos. We had two tattoo artists working for maybe 6 hours.
Brilliant Miller [00:10:29] That’s pretty cool.
Ryland Engelhart [00:10:31] Yeah.
Brilliant Miller [00:10:32] That reminds me of that being about the breakfast of the pigs and the chickens, they contribute differently, right? What is it that the chickens contribute? But the pig is committed.
Ryland Engelhart [00:10:41] Oh, I’ve never heard that story.
Brilliant Miller [00:10:43] Anybody who comes to a wedding and leaves with a tattoo like, that’s a commitment right there.
Ryland Engelhart [00:10:50] Yeah, it’s super, super commitment.
Brilliant Miller [00:10:52] That’s cool. Well, good. Well, right before that, before we hit record, we were talking a little bit about what you’re up to and a lot about your life journey. I hope to explore a bit of that here. But you used a couple of words that I might need to go look up a trophic cascade of something. Tell me about what is this? And I suspect it probably connects very directly to regenerate America. Maybe we can jump in there.
Ryland Engelhart [00:11:19] Yeah. No, I think maybe before we generate America, kiss the ground because I think. Okay. Yeah. So Kiss the Ground is a nonprofit that I founded with a good, dear friend about ten years ago in my living room in Venice when we were opening the café. Gratitude there. And really what it is was I at the time was, you know, living in Los Angeles, running a plant-based vegan restaurant, felt like I was on the cutting edge of sustainability, you know, paper straws and compostable cups and, you know, plastic bottles and our grab and go and, you know, compost and, you know, organic food and that this was the apex of sort of the Northstar of where we needed to go as a society and as a civilization if we wanted a habitable planet in the future. And I was invited to go to New Zealand to speak at a conference called the Healthy Living Conference in Auckland. And basically, I gave a talk on Sacred Commerce, which was the business philosophy of Cafe Gratitude, and my folks wrote a couple of books and they created some workshops and I was sort of the next-gen of leading those workshops and sharing those distinctions with, you know, community, with our employees, with the culture that was built, built around cafe gratitude. And so when I was there, I found myself in an audience of a panel discussion called Can Human Beings Sustain Life on Planet Earth? And basically, five of the six experts said, no, that we can’t, that we’re heading into the Anthropocene, we’re heading into the sixth mass extinction. And it’s much worse than most people let on, too. And, you know, it was a very sobering conversation and it was like a sort of like lightning bolt of attention. But then what came right after that sort of conversation of hopelessness and despair and sort of apathy was a conversation that I’d never heard before. And that was one about soil and just the profound life, the web of life that is in soil, and that the essential soil is this remarkable sponge, this skin of the earth. It’s called the ecstatic skin of the earth, because it’s this 25% of all the biodiversity on the planet lives in the top 6 to 12 inches of topsoil, you know, that covers the planet. And, you know, essentially, again, I thought I knew all about organic agriculture, the reasons for it. But what was connected at that moment was the way that we manage land, agriculture, for the most part, to go from arguably the most destructive system on the planet, which is what we know, like chemicals, waterways, tillage, you know, destroying biodiversity, you know, fungicides, herbicides, pesticides, all these things that have all these downstream effects. And yet we had never seen the picture in front of us. That soil is this beautiful storage shed that could actually hold all the excess carbon that’s in the atmosphere, and the way we could harness that carbon back into the ground could actually be the way that we’re landscaping and managing and doing agriculture around the planet. And that essentially every leaf blade of grass, every tree could play a role in slipping that carbon out of the atmosphere, putting it safely down the soil. And by doing so, we could glue the soil back together, make healthier, more productive farming systems with less inputs, make farmers have more money, and be able to sell clean, healthy, nutrient-dense food. And I was like, Wait, how am I? The health, food, raw food, health nut evangelist? And I have no idea about this opportunity of soil and agriculture being a restoration economy, a regeneration economy that we can actually go from, not just like slowing the car down, going off the cliff slowly. We can actually turn the car around and create more life, more productivity, more natural beauty on the planet in seven generations forward than is today and like and in a framework but to actually see that that’s possible. Being that I was just in the framework of total apathy, total hopelessness, total like we’re f-ed yeah. And, I was like, oh my God. Like it was, it was literally, you know, I can tell that you, you’ve been around the block a few times as far as like in sort of environments where you have these awakening moments of clarity. And it was literally like a sudden explosion of, you know, my third eye where you got the mosquito bite this show on your third eye. And essentially it was like, oh, my God, like I saw and I said this earlier, you know, the more beautiful world our hearts know possible, I could see the way forward. I could see something that there was a new distinction that made life in the future better healing and restored. And there was no framework in my mind with all the sustainability, language and application, and practice. It didn’t see a future where healing and restoration and regeneration was possible. And so when I saw that for the first time, I mean it was huge. Like, it was like, oh, it was like you could say it. You could say it was like somebody going from an atheist or not having any idea, like having an experience of, you know, the divine being like, oh, this is oh my God, this is what it’s all about. And so this guy, Graham said, I just glommed onto him and it was like, tell me more like, what do you know? And so I approached him. I went to his talk the next day. I then ended up inviting him to come to Los Angeles. And I started just putting him in front of audiences, like the most influential audiences that I could find and started to build this awakening around regenerative agriculture. So that ended up turning into a working group that turned into a nonprofit with a mission of how do we awaken the world to that? Regeneration is possible. Our mission is: people are awakened to the possibilities of regeneration. And then back to your point of trophic cascade, you know, I know you mostly have authors on here and I sort of somehow got through the crack. But, you know, I would say that my role has been a creative catalyst. I’m a catalyst for ideas to become crystallized and turned into stories that touch people. And I’ve done that through movies and I’ve done that through a restaurant and bring a restaurant, and bring community into spaces and events. So essentially a trophic cascade is a term that is in an ecosystem. You have keystone species, sharks to coral reefs, bison to prairie grasslands, wolves also to prairie grasslands, beavers to, you know, watersheds and rivers. So you have these certain creatures that if they’re playing their role in an ecosystem, their role doesn’t just create improvements for them. They create a trophic cascade. All through the ecosystem, there becomes this life-giving ripple that goes out through the ecosystem, and that creates a continuum of more life potential. And so regeneration is a concept that’s based on trophic cascades and human beings. Regenerative agriculture and human beings can actually play a role in shifting the paradigm of what’s happening on a piece of land based on how it’s being managed, such that you have these actions that then create more ripple effect actions of this trophic cascade.
Brilliant Miller [00:21:05] Well, thank you for taking me back to the kiss the ground and, you know, this kind of awakening. And I can tell you, I think anyone watching or anyone listening can tell that, you know, the depth of this for you at the truth, not only in how animated and passionate you are now, but the fact that you know, ten years later you’re still doing it as you organize your life around it, you know, and it’s a beautiful possibility. And this thing that you’re saying about, you know, kind of these five pessimists, these five experts, that’s all you need to say, who are saying, nope, we’re all screwed, it’s too late, nothing can be done yet. I think that is the prevailing worldview for many people now is that we’re all screwed and there’s nothing we can do about it. Right. And so it’s this, I think, this sense of learned helplessness. But aside from this kind of conversion experience, this awakening experience that I would say you are fortunate to have now granted, you put yourself in a situation to do it and you’ve acted on it, and so forth. What can we do? Like, what can we as individuals do to combat this creeping sense I think many people have of we’re all screwed and it’s hopeless?
Ryland Engelhart [00:22:19] Yeah. Yeah. I don’t know. So many days I’m right there with you. But, you know, I think for me, it’s in conversations that I become alive. It’s sharing some transformation, some new possibility that we intimately experience, that we know in our bones, because when we share it, we know it. You know, I can tell in some of your language that you’ve done some of the landmark education curriculum, I’m guessing. Yeah, but you know, there is something so real about, you know, when we share an experience of transformation with another, that experience becomes enlivened and real for us. Yeah. And so, you know, I think that, yeah, I’m just present to it now and I’m becoming more animated and more excited about the mission that I was 3 hours ago. And given the opportunity that I’m sharing about it versus just thinking about it or, you know, delegating tasks about it. But so yeah, I would say, you know, continuing to do things that bring transformation and, have us pushing up against our discomfort and breaking through. Have you ever interviewed Colin O’brady?
Brilliant Miller [00:24:10] No, I don’t know. Colin.
Ryland Engelhart [00:24:12] Have you heard his name?
Brilliant Miller [00:24:13] No, no, I’m not familiar.
Ryland Engelhart [00:24:15] He’s an amazing kind of explorer of human potential who like climbs Mount Everest, then finds the next mountain next to it. You know, he’s like, he’s done the most. He’s rowed across, you know, between Antarctica and South Africa unassisted. He’s walked solo across Antarctica on a solo ascent. And he just wrote a book called The 12-Hour Walk. And it’s basically about when we can put ourselves in situations where we confront our fears and lean into the discomfort we experience aliveness and breakthrough. And I recently did the 12-hour walk up Sesame Creek, and it was beautiful. I really saw how as I’m getting older, I’m 42 years old and I’m starting to sort of bolster myself from fear or threat or, you know, discomfort. And this was like me breaking out of that, you know, walking 12 hours unassisted up a stream bed, up into the wilderness and knowing that, you know, there was something at risk, I could sprain my ankle and fall or, you know, and there was just all these layers of fear that I had to push up against. And I just really saw for myself that ultimately, you know, we are going to be afraid of life and what’s coming at us. And we can either sort of position ourselves so we don’t have to face it and we can live in, you know, the discomfort of avoiding those things, which just ultimately creates a subtle anxiety. And we just live in that state of subtle anxiety and sort of numbness or the only other option is to lean into the discomfort and kind of feel the grating edge of that. But ultimately, that’s where we find the aliveness of this life. And so, yeah, I can’t remember the question that you had asked.
Brilliant Miller [00:26:56] So yes, I’ll bring us back to that, because I want to kind of double-click on some of what you’re saying, So the question that led to that was about how can we as individuals kind of live in this world? Yeah. And kind of overcome this sense of we’re all screwed, right? This stuff is way too big for me. I’m powerless. Maybe it doesn’t matter anyway. And so what I was hearing you say, number one, was this about connecting. Well, what I was hearing was this about aliveness, like finding in conversation and sharing like with other people and being addressed. Right? So there’s this sense of connection and we might call that finding your tribe or sharing your truth or something, right? Yeah. There’s not a simple prescription for that, but we all can do it. And then this other thing that I’m hearing is basically like leaning into discomfort, accepting challenge, accepting maybe even seeking out adversity, not just kind of getting in the fetal position when life gets hard and things seem overwhelming. But actually facing the challenge that life presents.
Ryland Engelhart [00:28:03] Yeah and pulling those towards you, putting yourself in those challenging, you know, having challenging conversations like pulling that towards you because ultimately otherwise, we’re just going to become sort of wrapped in the sort of safety and the stagnation of the other, which ultimately I’ve experienced as just subtle lived anxiety and then anxiety with sort of cynicism and resignation and then, you know, apathy. And so, yeah, I think today, you know, today was the difficult day I shared a little bit earlier. But, you know, I went for a run. I put myself in a movement. I was like, all right, I got to move my body, get in action to allow for me to not sort of close down and continue the shrinking that can oftentimes come when we’re confronted by challenging moments and fear. Yeah. And so seeking those things out, stepping into those, you know, challenging moments and, you know, and also being honest and asking for help, you know? And I think that’s another one that’s so difficult is asking for help. And, you know, whether it’s intimately asking for help and asking for answers within our own being or asking for help from, you know, those around us. And then, you know, I think when we’re in service to something other than ourselves and, you know, obviously we’ve heard this a thousand times, but when we’re contributing something, so find a way to serve. Find a way to contribute, find a way to be creatively self-expressed, you know, singing for instance, like, you know, when me and my wife sing, I can be in a terrible, terrible kind of, you know, kind of stuck, can’t articulate my challenge, can’t articulate where I’m at and to be able to sing back to the question of singing praise, songs of praise. You know, that’s an amazing, amazing thing that has come as a lifeline at moments of just being able to sing and harmonize. But I think just to that, to the topic at hand of regeneration and sort of the condition of the world, um, you know, I think to have a picture and a vision of something else possible is important. So we need to find, you know, we need to find writers, movies, poems, poems that actually can have us go beyond what we’re seeing in our view so that we can see a different view, so that we can live into that future that we’re living into versus, you know, the doom and gloom, you know, reality that is oftentimes closing in upon us, coming from many places of communication, you know, whether it’s media or Instagram feed, whatever that is. So, again, not to be shamelessly self-promoting, but Kiss the Ground. The film that I produced was like, how do I give that hopeful, optimistic awakening to the most people? Because if we all knew there was a horizon of hope, we’d start creatively aligning and creatively organizing around that. And so that’s why, you know, I’m still so excited about Regeneration and Kiss the Ground because, you know, we’re all about awakening people to this new vision of what’s possible and then allowing for the ingenuity of the human spirit to start to organize and create. And again, there’s, you know, we’re one little, you know, grain of, you know, we’re one sprout that’s expressing this and, you know, hoping that our sprout can touch more. Sprouts are one candle lighting. There are many people that are expressing similar messages. I think we even connected originally through the Sadhguru Connection and Save Soil Initiative, which was like, you know, I’ve been connected with him through different moments over the last maybe eight years. And, you know, I knew he was doing the rally for rivers thing and tree planting in India, but I didn’t see the super focus on soil. And then to see him sort of taking that on and so huge was like, oh my God, this is this. You know, this is again, the, you know, the many flares of like the message coming out in different ways, but confirming a similar problem, but also solution of of of regeneration.
Brilliant Miller [00:33:51] Yeah. Now that’s awesome. One of the things that I want to ask you about here is how because again, like what? So the kind of behind the scenes on the interview strategy here was both hearing your story and learning from you, which personally I’m interested in. Listeners will get, I hope, but simultaneously having a little bit of instruction or even advice for people listening who are maybe not as clear on what is their cause, and what is their message. And there’s so much need in the world and so many things we could add ourselves to, and devote our time and energy, and resources to suffering. So one of the things that I heard you say in your interview with Rich Roll that I thought was really beautiful. And I might not have this word exact, but you said something about I think you were talking about when you and your dad opened a restaurant. Right. And I think you used the words we wanted to find a way to be who we said we were in the world. And the restaurant was like a vehicle. That was a way that you were clear you had done enough introspection and whatever reflection to know what you valued and what you were committed to. But then you went and opened a restaurant as a means of being who you said you were. So that’s where I want to check in with you and see if I’ve got that right. And have you talk a little bit about that. But as you do, if you will, see if there’s like something you could offer the listener and how they might find their equivalent of that.
Ryland Engelhart [00:35:27] It’s a great question. So the first part was. And I don’t actually exactly remember saying, I appreciate what I may have said, but I don’t exactly remember it that way. But you know that the restaurants were, you know, we had a mission and a way of being that we were. And we wanted to express that mission through something that the world could experience. And people could come through a door and feel our values, feel our love. You know, the premise of Café Gratitude was this premise of sacred commerce. Can we create the awakening of love in an enterprise, in a business?
Brilliant Miller [00:36:32] Just our intent is to jump in. Yes. I love the power of a question, right. To focus you and direct you in a certain way. And that’s just beautiful that you actually had that as a conscious inquiry and then you acted the answer into reality.
Ryland Engelhart [00:36:51] Yes. So that I mean, it’s been a 20-year experiment of, you know, gratitude. Sacred commerce has gone through many iterations. And, you know, I think your question was, you know, there are many things we could be doing. How do we find our thing? How do we find our calling? How do we find our thing to serve? And yeah, again, I don’t I don’t have a prescription for that other than. You know, the way that I’ve gone about it is is is fully committing to things. And in experiencing like jumping full on in the pool with something and seeing if this is it. And because I know that we can kind of toe dip and sort of want to just all I can’t think life and in turn, I think I’ve experienced this myself, we never become fully enveloped in something so we never feel the aliveness and the all in on something, which in turn, you know, we don’t know if it’s it. So, you know, I have a distinction. I married my wife and the distinction that emerged that had me marry my wife was the search is over.
Brilliant Miller [00:38:44] Wow. That’s powerful. Right. And there’s like something that I might call an awareness. Was it like you met this woman and then this was something you knew and became aware of? Or was it a declaration you made to yourself like I mean, tell me a little bit more about that distinction.
Ryland Engelhart [00:39:02] Yeah. You know. It actually came in and I’m guessing you probably have had these kinds of conversations on this podcast, but it came in a plant medicine ceremony of drinking, you know, ayahuasca. And she was laying next to me and it was her 24th birthday. And, you know, we had been together for probably a year as boyfriend and girlfriend. And I wasn’t like, I didn’t go into the ceremony like give me an answer on if this should really what was communicated through the communication of the inner worlds of that medicine was seeing that the journey of separation to oneness and unity, experience, consciousness could be experienced and found through the masculine or through to people, in this case, masculine and feminine, coming together in union. And essentially to becoming one within marriage was the modeling, the metaphor, and the architecture of this practice in the world experience of becoming one and not just like marriage, but to becoming one like individual individuation and individuality into unity. And that was being called as sort of the spiritual journey of being asked to step into that journey of unity consciousness through the practice of surrendering to this experience of partnership in marriage. And so the experience was even visually in the experience where I was in an ocean of eternal space that was this experience of love. And I was there in the water of this experience, and I was inviting her to join me. And the beautiful thing there was a complete nonattachment because I was already in love, I was already in the experience of love and I was inviting her to experience the love with me. In fact, this expanded state of consciousness experience. But there was a total attachment. And so I actually leaned over to her. So the experience, what I heard was the search is over. Like you’re already in a sea of love. There is no like surface mind idea that will have a surety that this is going to work forever. If it was just like you are in the sea of love and you can commit to bringing that sea of love to this relationship that can be part of your spiritual journey. And the search is over touching and tasting and experiencing that presence of eternal love and then that commitment was to know that our journey together of practicing living in that unified state was going to be the journey forward in life. And so I leaned over to her and said, you know, would you marry me? And she was like, you know, in a totally different state. And I was, you know, I was cognizant. And I was like, I know you think I’m trippin because I am, but I’m clear about this. And so that was the theme of our wedding. The search is over love. And, you know, we’ve just celebrated our 12 years and it’s again, you know, I’m present to the beauty and the commitment and the journey. And it’s even more alive and real in having this conversation, sharing it with you. I’m present to my love for my wife, more so maybe than I was, you know, 2 hours ago, because I wasn’t in the sharing of the richness of that experience, in that commitment.
Brilliant Miller [00:44:24] Now, that’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing that. And, you know, again, remembering that we got on that thread of conversation from the question of how can people find their calling or create a vehicle for them to do the work they’re meant to do or something like that in a way that you have done with your, you know, with Catholic gratitude and so forth. And what I was hearing you say was this about this thing about commitment, that you’re not a dabbler. I mean, you might try many things, but what you give yourself to, you’re committed to like your marriage here and making a declaration that any one of us can do that any moment that we can declare a possibility or a purpose for our lives and live into it. And I think maybe I’m complicating this, but what I was really hoping to highlight, because I thought, you know, I think your life might be this example of where many people will get advice, like follow your passion. And if you have a family, just try a bunch of things until you do. And maybe that’s good advice for some people, but for others it’s like, now that’s not it. But instead recognizing that we can actually create something. Like it might be an organization, it might be a startup, it might be a nonprofit, you know, it might be a religion. Who knows if we can create something we don’t just need to, like, try a bunch of things, trial and error. We can actually create something as a vehicle for the expression of what we value, because that’s what I see you’ve done through the film, you know, through what you’re now doing with Regenerate America, which I want to be sure to ask you about before we end. And maybe you can respond to that about if there’s anything there that comes up.
Ryland Engelhart [00:46:06] Yeah. I mean, again, it’s not something that I typically give advice on, but I’m just in this presence of the now moment. And the question I can see where in anything that I’ve had success in it really has been. Yeah. Where I’ve I’ve given a long term committed effort and you know, I, you know, whether it was the film I made. May I be frank? I don’t know if you’ve heard of that. I mean, come to be frank, but that took seven years to make. So I think for me, it’s, you know, when you have a strike of inspiration. Like here’s the perfect metaphor. I’ve never said this before. So basically, imagine that you are in the wilderness for the first time, and you need to survive. And it’s cold and you don’t have matches, but you have essentially flint and steel to make the spark. And essentially what I’m seeing is the thing that I’ve been blessed and had the fortitude or whatever gave me the insight to do. This was like when you have a strike of inspiration, you know, put the right kindling. Like like when you feel something that is like, wow, like that is real. That needs to happen. I’m inspired. Like, make sure that you get your community, your family, you know, people around you to support that vision because it can go out as quickly as it turned on. But if we if we put the right easily burnable, supportive things around that spark, we can capture that spark and turn it into something that can grow and grow and grow. But I think, you know, that’s what, you know, like that’s been kind of whatever my genius is, like when I have an idea, I let everyone know about it and get everyone excited about it so that I know it might go out with a need within the 24 hours. But if I got 12 people around me that are excited about it, it essentially will reflect back to me in a moment when I have amnesia and I’m forgetting that it was a good idea or it was the thing to do. And so I think that really has been if I look at the film, may I be frank, never having any experience making a film, spending seven years doing that to getting that to fruition, you know, bringing cafe gratitude from the Bay Area sort of, you know, 1.0 version, hippie-dippy style to like, you know, a major institution in Southern California with, you know, seven locations and, you know, millions of meals served. You know, it was like enrolling a community around the idea, because me as an individual, I’d get snuffed out, I’d get uninspired. But having enough people reflecting that that luminosity of that idea and the conviction of that idea so that, you know, it could grow and it could cultivate and turn into something real.
Brilliant Miller [00:50:04] Wow. That’s really cool. Thank you for sharing that, because that was not an answer I was expecting. But I think it’s both practical and it’s wise, you know, and it’s something people can do. Like it goes back to what you were saying about asking for help. I mean, people might not that may not occur for people is asking for help, but basically like sharing with people or enrolling them, hey, tell me what you think about this and would you be willing to take on some part of it, or do you want to get involved in some way? And yeah, I can see that. That’s cool.
Ryland Engelhart [00:50:35] Yeah, I think people know the sort of talking point of, you know, teaching the thing you want to learn, right? We’ve heard that a thousand times, or maybe we haven’t. But essentially, you know, when we’re sharing an idea, we articulate it more, we refine it more. It gets sharpened. And so again, it gets more kindling, gets more creativity. And so it has greater volume and it has greater momentum. So yeah, I think that if I look at it, I can see that that is how anything that I’ve created has been through that catalyzing the community around an idea that then has enough stability within the community. It’s just not living with me to where it can actually grow into something real.
Brilliant Miller [00:51:41] Yeah, that’s awesome. Well, maybe then the perfect segway to what you’re doing with Regenerate America, because, you know, I don’t pay much attention to legislation or what’s going on with agricultural policy, you know, yet I know it. Some abstract level. It affects my life probably more than I know, you know, and this kind of thing. And I’m sure I’m not atypical. This is most people probably. But you’ve gotten involved in a pretty big way. Tell me what you’re doing.
Ryland Engelhart [00:52:08] Yeah. So. You know, I think I spoke about some pretty abstract and sort of philosophical layers of regeneration. I’m actually wearing a shirt that says degeneration sustainability crossed out. We need regeneration. So essentially, regenerative agriculture is an agriculture that goes beyond just organic or sustainable. It’s about a way that we’re growing food, fiber or fuel in a way where the ecosystem, the soil, the ground, the land, the farm, the ranch is actually getting more productive, more healthy, more organic matter in the soil, more biodiversity of species of life. Water can infiltrate. Carbon has been sequestered. So it’s essentially producing things. Well, the land that produced those things is actually increasing its carrying capacity, increasing its ecosystem services. So and that’s a sort of a big concept to get because we mostly think of, you know, the standard thinking is you grow a crop, you’ve taken something from that system that’s going to market. And essentially, at a certain point, that land will need to be put back and so that it can recover. And so regeneration is thinking about, you know, the beginning and the end at the same time of like, how do we have this system get healthier? Well, we’re producing something that can go to market.
Brilliant Miller [00:53:53] And so if I just jump in right there, I just want to point out, as you’re talking like as I’m hearing what you’re saying now, this is almost a foreign concept, like what I’m hearing you say about like our entire economy basically is built on extraction and consumption. And the idea that that act of production could actually generate more life than it took is like not even, I think, an idea, not even in the realm of possibility for most of us.
Ryland Engelhart [00:54:23] That’s right. It really is a paradigm-shifting idea that really changes the game of again, back to that apathy of well, if we’re growing in population, we’re extracting more resources, ultimately there is just an end in sight. It’s just there’s no way around that.
Brilliant Miller [00:54:46] And it’s a zero-sum game.
Ryland Engelhart [00:54:49] Yes. Yes. So, again, why I’m so excited about the concept of regeneration is it really is a new paradigm and not a new because there is many, you know, historical indigenous place-based, land-based cultures that understood a relationship of reciprocity, a relationship of they are part of a system where their participation creates more productivity, whether it was here in California, and how there would be intentional burning of, you know, the lower story in, you know, these grasslands or these forests and to create clear it clearing so more animal life and moss, more small grasses could come up so much there was more productivity for the deer. And ultimately, you know, there’s this total web of life that, you know, certain key actions that humans could do that would create, again, more life, more potential in this environment could take place based on a few key actions. So there is like this historical reference point for regeneration, and then there is modern science, holistic management pioneer and farmers and ranchers, permaculture, you know, all these different, you know, approaches that are sort of converging on similar ideas that, you know, how do we manage? You know, it’s like the idea that more cows on less land moved more frequently, could create more forage, such that you could have more cows the next year. Like, you know, it’s almost like that doesn’t make sense. But on some level, again, there’s this, you know, dynamic of nature where you have herds of grass-eating animals that are being moved intentionally around landscapes. And the more of them that you have, you have more poop and pee, you have more of prints and you have more integration of their poop and pee and that igniting late in seed beds such that you can have more and more forage or more and more grass coverage year after year, which in turn leads to more and more calories and more and more consumption for more cows to be able to be managed on that on that plot of land. So I know we got kind of in the grass, in the weeds with regeneration, but it is definitely a paradigm shift for the majority of people that we that there is this potential of regeneration that is before us and that the agriculture and soil and ecosystems being, you know, a clear place to apply and start learning this these philosophical principles and practices. But, you know, for those that haven’t seen the kiss the ground film highly recommend it. I think there are 10 million views on this documentary on Netflix. You know it’s won over 50 film festivals. It’s being used all around the world to communicate, you know, what is regenerative agriculture and why is it relevant when it comes to human health, climate, health, you know, playing a role in reversing or balancing the climate, pulling carbon out of the atmosphere, putting it back into the soils. And so, you know, again, kiss the ground. We’ve been an advocacy in education and storytelling nonprofit. We’ve created over 60 short forms, pieces of media, then, you know, leading with the spearhead of the kiss the ground film on Netflix. And, you know, over ten years, we’ve seen a tremendous adoption of the understanding of regeneration from the early adopters. We think probably maybe 5% of the population is understanding or has heard of and understands regenerative agriculture as a term, maybe at a pretty surface level understanding. But, you know, we see that there’s an opportunity to go further to take us to a tipping point, because we see that really there’s what I learned in that first moment. There’s not a more profound solution than having nature. Work on behalf of balancing nature. And, you know, the most economical there is 500 million years of research and development that nature technic nature technology has been designing of how to how to create a balancing act. Because we’ve had, you know, whether it’s volcanoes erupting or comets hitting, we’ve had moments where there was way too much greenhouse gases to where the planet was unlivable and it was photosynthesis. That was the driver that brought life back into homeostasis, a balance to where life can happen in the way that we know it. So it’s not some new idea. It’s literally the thing that’s made life in a balanced way. It’s just humans intentionally serving that function versus going against nature and sort of destroying that function. So anyways, we’ve, we’ve, we’ve made some headway in awareness around regeneration, regenerative agriculture, and we thought, well, what’s the most helpful or helpful thing that we could do as an organization? And really what we came up with, based on my partner’s been, you know, since the beginning, of course, the ground opinion piece has been really passionate about how do we change policy because, you know, that ultimately changes, you know, the fabric, the systems of how everything is done, you know, whether it’s our seatbelts put being put on certain speed limits that we abide by, you know, those are all kind of background things that we don’t think about. But yet, you know, they uphold a certain layer of architecture, infrastructure, and dictation of how things get done. And so, you know, the thought was, can we create you know, we’ve created a lot of momentum and awareness. Could we specifically take our storytelling and our sort of community building to put a large group of organizations and brands together in a coalition and use that collective voice and strength to essentially communicate strategically as well as, you know, getting this coalition to use their ability to gather all of their audiences together, to put enough pressure and enough awareness to congressional leaders to change policy at 2020 in the 2023 Farm Bill, which ultimately, to those that don’t know, essentially the farm bill happens every 5 to 7 years. And it’s a bundle of legislation that goes from, you know, food stamps and food nutrition programs, which about 44 million homes depend on nutritional support programs. I think it’s now it’s called SNAP. So it’s about 80% dollars, $850 billion goes to that. And then about 20% goes to agriculture, ag subsidies, crop insurance incentives, conservation programs, and grants to farmers. And so, you know, within that total sum, our thought is if we could move 1%, 1% of the budget to support soil health, that could be 800, and know that could be $8.5 billion. If we move 5%, that could be, you know, $25 billion being invested into soil health. And so essentially, our big idea was can we move the public’s perception to that? The more beautiful world that our hearts know as possible can come through regenerative agriculture, through regeneration. It can be a solution to climate. It can be a solution to our human health epidemics. You know, we’ve been sick and in turn unhealthy, which makes us vulnerable to, you know, things like the, you know, the pandemic because, you know, because we don’t have a strong immune system. Many of us are not healthy and well. So we’re just much more susceptible to things such as that. So that is a way that we can unify. And that, again, we’re also in a moment of total polarization of right and left. And could soil be our common ground? Could we see that regenerative agriculture? Rural economies are food systems, healthy nutrition, clean air, and clean water. Can be a place that we can find some unity on and that we can actually invest our tax dollars into. And so, you know, we’ve been working on this for a year and a half. The farm bill goes into effect in September of 2023. And we’ve got about 10,000 people supporting the campaign, including 2000 farmers and ranchers. We have the Farmer Leadership Council of Farmers from different regions, and agricultural districts across the country. We’re kind of elevating their voices and having them be the spokespeople of this campaign. You know, we’re showing up at Farm Bill listening sessions and kind of a big historic moment for regenerative America was about three weeks ago. We brought together some experts for the first-ever congressional hearing on regenerative agriculture in Congress, where David Scott, who’s the chair of the House AG Committee, acknowledged that kiss the ground was his awakening of the importance of soil health and regenerative agriculture, and why that needs to be a priority. And it was a pretty cool moment to be, you know, having this idea in my living room with three friends seven years ago and then seeing, you know, my co-founder Vinny and sitting behind the chairman, you know, as he acknowledges that kiss the ground is the thing that’s really awakened and had him take this path and the prioritization of soil health and regenerative agriculture.
Brilliant Miller [01:06:14] How come? Congratulations on that. I mean, I know that’s only a step in the journey, but that’s really cool.
Ryland Engelhart [01:06:20] Yeah. So you know, the way that people can get involved is we’re building a coalition. We have 95 organizations that are part of this coalition. So if you have an organization that you think is thinking that is invested in changing our food system to make more nutritious, healthy food or are also interested in climate solutions or farmer prosperity. We’re definitely building this coalition. So if you’re an organization or brand that would want to be a part of that, please email us at info at Kiss the ground dot com and please check out RegenerateAmerica.com. And to everyone listening you know we’re hoping to get a million plus signatures to support this campaign such that we can show there’s big citizen support around this message. In the same way that Sadhguru, you know, is getting lots of people to sign on and be a voice for healthy soil, safe soil, hashtagging that getting. I think they got somewhere between a billion and 3 billion impressions around that message, which again, is just remarkable.
Brilliant Miller [01:07:42] How can people add their signature? Where do they go? How do they do it?
Ryland Engelhart [01:07:47] Yeah so go to regenerateAmerica.com. Check out our campaign video and sign on to support the campaign. Join the 10,000 people that have already signed on. But yeah, I mean, we’re calling for the Choir of Voices to really sing the song of regeneration together such that we can have the confidence and strength to push these. You know, we’re at the table with the highest folks at the USDA as well as, you know, the Congressional House AG Committee and decision-makers there. But they need to know that there’s constituent support. And so that’s the way that everyone listening can get involved and, you know, use their voice to strengthen the party that is behind this bipartisan initiative.
Brilliant Miller [01:08:39] That’s awesome. You know, as I hear you share something that comes to mind, this is many years ago I did a program, a coaching program. And in one of the small group shares there, I don’t remember the instructions, but this woman shared, they were like two, two or three of us. And she said, you know, every morning when I wake up, I say a prayer that God will put someone in my path that I can help. And I was like, people do that? Like, it never even occurred to me that there are people out there who are, like, oriented toward service so much that they’re praying for opportunities to help.
Ryland Engelhart [01:09:20] That’s powerful.
Brilliant Miller [01:09:22] Yeah, I was like, that was so cool. And she was just this humble, you know, woman. And I always remember this. Natalie. But the reason I think that comes to mind is I’m sitting here listening to what you’re doing. I’m so glad to hear that you’re waking up in the morning looking for the opportunity to serve in this way. Because again, for me, before I encountered you, this was like, oh, I didn’t know there was a farm bill was like every 5 to 7 years or what it contained or how it might impact my life. But I’m glad that you are, and I’m glad you’re enrolling me and other people in this. So I think it’s pretty cool.
Ryland Engelhart [01:09:58] Yeah. I mean, if we think about, you know, our food system is the nexus of everything. It’s the nexus of our environmental health because the majority of the way we manage our land is through agriculture. So it’s the nexus of environmental health and then it’s also everything we produce from that land. Much of it goes into our mouths, so it becomes the environment of our bodies. And so, you know, if we don’t go upstream and have healing and regeneration happen there, it’s definitely not going to happen downstream in our bodies as the environment that captures that. And so I think it really is the place where we can make a big difference in taking care of our land. And it’s you know, it’s the most fundamental, essential thing for all of us is our food and where it comes from.
Brilliant Miller [01:10:55] Absolutely. Well, call running. I know we’re coming down the stretch on our time here. And we’ve covered a lot. And I want to go ahead and transition us to a portion of the interview I call the Enlightening Lightning Round. It’s a series of questions on a variety of topics, mostly unrelated to what we’ve been discussing.
Brilliant Miller [01:11:16] Let’s go.
Brilliant Miller [01:11:18] All right. So question number one, please complete the following sentence with something other than a box of chocolates. Life is like a.
Ryland Engelhart [01:11:34] Beautiful gift.
Brilliant Miller [01:11:36] Okay. Question number two What is something about which you have changed your mind in recent years?
Ryland Engelhart [01:11:45] I ate my first hamburger at 35.
Brilliant Miller [01:11:49] Wow. Okay. I might come back to that. I’m curious. Question number three. How was it, by the way?
Ryland Engelhart [01:11:58] I made it all the way through.
Brilliant Miller [01:12:00] I understand it was a cow that you slaughtered. Is that right? Or was on your property or something?
Ryland Engelhart [01:12:05] Yeah, it was two cows that me and my dad took ourselves through the process of on-farm slaughter because we really started to see the essential nature of animals being part of a living ecosystem that was thriving and that to be part of that living ecosystem that was thriving, life and death was part of the architecture and that was inescapable. And so we wanted to participate in that in the most present way and walk ourselves through that humble process. And it was yeah, it was deeply moving and sad and, and beautiful to just be that present with life and death and with the intention of stewarding a piece of land in a way that ultimately. A bigger life, knowing that we were taking up a part of the life, but that life became part of the bigger life and that, you know, there’s a beautiful Wendell Berry quote, who’s one of my idols and just an amazing poet and writer who said, every day we break the body and spill the blood of creation. If we do it knowingly, carefully, and reverently, it is a sacrament. If we do it with greed, carelessness, and greed. Carelessness and gluttony, it’s a desecration. Yeah. You know when we can. Yeah. When we can participate in life and death. And what I said when I first started in this presence of gratitude for thank you for your life becoming my life and for giving life to others, you know, the consciousness of taking life, knowing that it is the succession of a continuum of life and being in the state of gratitude is something so beautiful. And I think, yeah, that is something that is not a converse situation or a way of being that many people in contemporary times have connected.
Brilliant Miller [01:14:48] Yeah, I’m totally with you. And I know we could have started our conversation here. Right. But there’s so much to this and a thing, too. You were saying earlier. I didn’t explore it with you. But this idea, someone told me, you know, part of what it means to be indigenous is to have a connection to the land, like to have a historical one, but to preserve it and have a relationship with it. And, you know, I heard if we go back far enough, we’re all indigenous. But, you know, we’re so mobile now and disconnected that we don’t I think by and large have that connection to the land and the connection to the life that the land, you know, gives rise to and so forth. And what you’re saying and how life seems to be so fast also and about accumulation and consumption. Right, we don’t see this. I’m waxing philosophical here and it’s not even necessarily a question, but it’s just amazing. This is this whole thing comes to me, you know, comes up from this. I ate a hamburger and that was the thing. And then the reverence for life and the connection to the land. And it’s really moving to me, man. And I wish I wish we could I wish I could get it myself. Like, you talk about having amnesia a few times. You’ve mentioned that, and that really resonates with me. But I want to live in that space of remembrance about the sacredness of life.
Ryland Engelhart [01:16:12] Right? Yes. Me too. Yeah. And I’m present to it and shit. I’m not always present to it. And it’s like I’m sharing it and now I’m hearing you share it back with me. And it’s becoming a real experience that sacredness. And, you know, I can tell from what you’ve shared like yeah. That experience of ceremony coming together in a circle before the creator or before a Mother Earth or before, you know, the however we want to articulate the life of this greater intelligence that we’re a part of. And, and remember our smallness and our insignificance and yet also are to use your name, our brilliance, and our beauty. And, you know, the most beautiful thing in life is being so humbled and humbled to where we’re just flat and. Yeah, and then and then at some moment there is a little whisper, rise, rise up and rise up and be the beauty that you are in. You know, in, my image and likeness, in my glory. And however, you know, whether it’s Mother Earth, whatever sort of archetype is sort of calling us up to stand after we’ve been humble is, you know, is in architecture. And I’ve always I’ve oftentimes thought that like, oh my God, the idea of having ceremony as part of regular life, of course, because that’s the tattoo. That’s the thing that comes it brings us back to remember that we know we’re again, the design is that we’re going to forget. So unless you have an architecture to be humbled and humbled to remember who we belong to and who we serve and then and then be in that space of reverence, you know, we’re going to forget and we’re going to live in forgetfulness. And so the design of having a coming back to or a way that we can recenter that is is important. And I certainly haven’t found it as like the answer, but just that I’m just present to it now and seeing the opportunity of having that as part of a life design because. It’s so important. It’s everything.
Brilliant Miller [01:18:58] Yeah, I agree. And that. Yeah, you can keep us moving. I know there are more conversations to come, so I’ll meet her myself here. Okay. I’m going to get us back in the Enlightening lightning round. Here we go. Yes. Question number three. So if you required every day for the rest of your life to wear a t-shirt with a slogan on it, or phrase or saying or quote or quip. What would this juror say?
Ryland Engelhart [01:19:25] Believe.
Brilliant Miller [01:19:26] Okay. As a gimme.
Ryland Engelhart [01:19:29] That was easy.
Brilliant Miller [01:19:30] Number four. So what book have you gifted or recommended most after?
Ryland Engelhart [01:19:51] I’m going to go with Autobiography of a Yogi.
Brilliant Miller [01:19:57] Oh, yeah. That book changed my life.
Ryland Engelhart [01:20:02] Yeah, I’ve read it a couple of times. Yeah, I think I’m going to go with that one.
Brilliant Miller [01:20:10] How did it come into your life?
Ryland Engelhart [01:20:13] Uh. I actually think it came into my life after going to the center and sitting at a lake shrine off Sunset Strip and sitting in meditation and service from that. And I actually, you know, I, I went through with a friend. He bought me the book. He bought me some photos. I had a moment where I went and looked in, you know, Yogananda’s eyes and just, you know, bawled my eyes out. And what was present was just like like I just got like, oh, my God, this guy loves, like, this guy is.
Brilliant Miller [01:20:59] It’s just he’s.
Ryland Engelhart [01:21:00] Just like, he’s only there to just pure love. I was just like, oh, my God. Like the degree to which that purity of love that was peering out of those eyes in still photography. I mean, I know people have had those experiences with like a photo, but I had that experience. And so, yeah, that was and then it kind of also ties into my sort of family lineage. Like, I think my dad tells the story that he read it when he was like 16 or 17. And so it was kind of the thing that started him on a spiritual journey. And so it also kind of has a, a. Yeah. A little family lineage of. Of thread.
Brilliant Miller [01:21:51] Wow. Right on. That’s fairly cool. Okay, question number eight. I’m so eight. I’m jumping ahead of her five. So you travel a lot. You’ve traveled a lot in your life. What’s one travel hack? Meaning something you do or something you take with you when you travel to make your travel less painful or more enjoyable.
Ryland Engelhart [01:22:13] This is such a lame answer. Can I get a window seat? I, I mean, basically, I sleep. I’m really good at sleeping on planes, so I basically can just fall asleep. Do you know? But I’ll say, you know, always take off your shoes if you’re on a flight. Allow your feet to swell. And, you know, not and not wrapped up in. So. Yeah. Take off your shoes and. Yeah. That’s all I got.
Brilliant Miller [01:22:51] Good afternoon. Little things. And what’s that saying? It’s better to travel well than to arrive in peace. Okay, question number six. What’s one thing you’ve started or stopped doing in order to live or well?
Ryland Engelhart [01:23:06] Very good question. Stopped or started to age well. Physically. I just hit 100 push-ups for the first time ever in a row, 100 push-ups. So I’ve been you know, I’ve been consistently in my body pushing my body to small limits, not like, you know, major things. But, you know, I got 220 pull-ups this year and 100 push-ups this year. And so staying in my body has in it in a consistent way, has definitely allowed me to be. And then I just yeah, doing flexibility, stretching, you know, doing some yoga. I can also see that just like my mind can start to contract and kind of get smaller as I get older our body so how to just continue to keep open, flexible, gentle, and willing.
Brilliant Miller [01:24:28] I love that. Okay. Question number seven. What’s one thing you wish every American knew?
Ryland Engelhart [01:24:38] One American knew.
Brilliant Miller [01:24:41] Every American. What’s one thing you wish every American or every U.S. citizen knew?
Ryland Engelhart [01:24:49] That their health comes that human health comes from soil health.
Brilliant Miller [01:24:59] Okay. Question number eight. What is the most important or useful thing you’ve learned about making relationships work?
Ryland Engelhart [01:25:09] Apologize a lot.
Brilliant Miller [01:25:14] Okay. And question number nine, aside from compound interest, what’s the most important or useful thing you’ve learned about money?
Ryland Engelhart [01:25:28] I mean, do. Yeah. I think this is embarrassing to say because it’s the thing that I’ve learned about money is. There’s how much you make, and how much you spend. And if there’s if there is if you spend all that you make, there’s ultimately you’re going to have to work forever. Otherwise, you’re not going to be able to exist. So. Consider that you can’t spend just what you make, because ultimately, at a certain point, you’re not going to want to work as hard and make as much to sustain life. So yeah, you’ve got to see there’s, you’ve got to, you’ve got to make sure your make and your spend creates profitability and a surplus to save. Otherwise, we’re going to be in a tough place at some point.
Brilliant Miller [01:26:37] Well said. All right. Well, congratulations. You survived the enlightening lightning round, so you did great. And speaking of money, one thing I want to let you know is something I have done in an attempt to share my gratitude to you for making time to share with me your experiences and your wisdom and with everyone listening as I have gone on Kiva dot org the micro-lending site and I have made a $100 microloan to a group of entrepreneurs in Guatemala who will use this money to buy a cow and thread. This seems like a non sequitur, but at any rate, as a group of women, they’re called the Roses de Tanaka. And so this group of young women will have some livestock as a result of this and use that to improve the quality of life for them themselves in their communities. So thanks for giving me a reason to do that.
Ryland Engelhart [01:27:32] Hallelujah. Thank you. Thanks for and thanks for that expression of thanks for that trophic cascade of generosity.
Brilliant Miller [01:27:42] My pleasure. Just got part of it. Well, with that, that really brings us to the last part of the interview. And as you acknowledged, usually I interview authors. So this is the part where I ask about writing and the creative process, which we can still talk about. But I just have just a couple of last questions for you, beautiful. If you’re open about creativity and about your creative process and about how you take an idea from like in a tactical way, and if there are any tools, if there are any frameworks, if there’s any processes, software like what do you use to keep an idea? We talked about how you keep an idea in existence with a community and so forth, but in a practical way of project management, time management, research, and curation, like what is useful to you as a creator? It’s kind of a big question, but is there anything related to that?
Ryland Engelhart [01:28:37] Yeah, you know, I think that the honest truth is, you know, we didn’t really get into this, but I have massive learning disabilities now and, you know, dyslexic and read at a very slow level. My writing is not that great. And, you know, so I oftentimes think that sort of like I didn’t go to college and, you know, one of the things that I sort of carry with me is that I’m, you know, ill-prepared to be in the position or doing the things that I’m doing. And, you know, so I actually, you know, my sort of the structures of creativity and being a creator, you know, I’m still in the early days of seeing that I need some help in how to. How to really guide and focus creative energy to be, you know, fruitful and expansive. You know, I have some of the things that I’ve shared. But as far as sort of techniques. You know. I don’t, you know. Yeah, I don’t have a lot to share in that. Yeah. And maybe, maybe I’ll just allow you to share some that you’ve actually learned with me as far as I can. Yeah. And maybe your audience can get some value from that, so. Sure. Yeah. So I’d love to be that, you know, in the spirit of reciprocity, be great for me and the School of Living, you know, what have been some of the tools and techniques for you to time management to create focus on creative projects and bring those forward?
Brilliant Miller [01:30:47] Yeah, no, I’m happy to explore that a bit and share some of what I’ve learned and what I’ve heard people say that they use. And it runs the gamut, right, from philosophies and the ways of thinking of things to some specific practices. And I would say that as a framework, one of the biggest things is, is having a routine, having some kind of routine for one’s life. Right. And while it’s not a prescription for everyone and it and it’s highly adaptable, I personally know there’s almost a cult following in some ways around David Allen and David Allen’s work of getting things done. You know, that’s yeah, he’s a kind of time management and productivity guru and he wrote this book probably 20 years ago or something, but he has some really practical things that at the heart of them is it is routine and it’s processed. And the calendar is really the central thing. And it’s I forget what Tony Robbins, he has a saying that I think is just great when he’s like, what’s talked about is a dream. You know, I’m going to Google this real quick because I think it’s useful and maybe the editor can chop this out.
Ryland Engelhart [01:32:01] Yeah, I mean, definitely, you know, having things on the calendar, if they’re not in existence in time and space, they’re not going to happen. So, yeah, that’s definitely something that I’m, you know, present to. You know, I’ve been reading the book. What’s something about atomic habits? Have you had that author there? Yeah. And you know, stacking, doing, doing, doing new things, newer habits attached to habits that are already happening such that, you know, that, that you can. So I’ve been doing that with meditation and then physical exercise and then even some reading or some journaling. So stacking those things together versus doing them separately at different times. So that’s been something that has been newly explored and has been effective, huh? Yeah. Another one is I’ve heard this before, but I’ve taken it on this year, making my bed every morning before I start everything else. That’s it. That’s right. Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, that’s been really it’s it creates this completion of like, you know, tucking something, making something complete before starting the next thing. It’s kind of that integrity. Yeah. You know, touching it, completing it such that you can have that clear headspace and move.
Brilliant Miller [01:33:33] Forward and the momentum. Right. As silly as it can sound of like, okay, great, I made my bed. But there’s this sense of like, all right, I’m mastering this day and I’m building some forward momentum for myself.
Ryland Engelhart [01:33:46] That’s right. That’s right. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, journaling, writing things out. You know, I definitely found that helpful and sort of I haven’t gotten into what I could consider and could consider like a level of mastery in and practice in sort of the, you know, creative articulation of an idea. Writing it out, and having some process with that is still kind of hit or miss and happens and doesn’t happen sometimes in my process. How about you as far as ideas? Where do you put them first and how do you move them forward from sort of a concept.
Brilliant Miller [01:34:36] Yeah. So I’ve got a couple of places and one of them is Evernote. You know, I have a little file that I’ll call things to write about, and then if it’s solder or it’s something, I do have a separate place for quotations. I’m a huge lover of quotations, and it’s how I discover a lot of people’s work is I’ll hear one quote and then, you know, inspire me to go look at an entire book or at least read their Wikipedia page or something. So I’ll have an Evernote file for ideas to develop at a later time, possibly another one for quotations. I have a place in Trello. I don’t know if you ever use Trello. I think it’s a pretty cool tool and I have one there for links, you know that none that I necessarily want to read later, but I actually have a little place. I have a weekly newsletter that I park things that I might include in that. Hmm. So that’s one thing. And then ultimately, again, as we were discussing just a minute ago, a few minutes ago, about the calendar, and this was the thing that Tony Robbins had said. I love the way he describes it as he says, if you talk about it, it’s a dream. If you envision it, it’s possible. But if you schedule it, it’s real, right? So I tend to think of this. I tend to think of like your life or any creative project as really keeping one’s word in existence and then being in integrity with that. And if I can have a system to do that, whether that’s on an action list for a future time or a place to delegate or it is my own calendar, there’s more likely to get done. But I realize that maybe the practicality of this is in your work is with the kiss, the ground production process, right? Like if you had weekly meetings or you know, you had certain teams, if it was researchers and then there were writers and, you know, maybe there’s of course, there’s whole marketing, you know, thing like that. But what did you guys do to get that done?
Ryland Engelhart [01:36:25] Well, that was, again, a collaborative process over seven years with two filmmakers that were not in the Kiss, the Ground, the organization. They were a separate entity. So it was you know, it was lots of meetings and essentially brainstorms and creative sessions that led to up. And then, you know, again, because I’m kind of like, I have an idea and I want to get I get in communication. So there’s it’s kind of like back to that idea of like have an idea, get in communication and get it captured with someone who can maybe hold that idea in existence, in a calendar, in a process, and schedule a meeting around it. Yeah. So that because oftentimes my sort of learning disability, you know, can, can lead to not feeling like I’m going to be able to build the agenda and hold the whole thing and to work it all out. So it’s kind of like finding the person who can hold the idea and then schedule the time and the creative people around it to sort of unlock it and make it grow. But I’m realizing that I’m getting calls from both my co-founder and my new CEO going, Where are you? Okay.
Brilliant Miller [01:37:56] Well, let’s go ahead and wrap them with this. I will just say I’ll invite you if you look back on the 105 minutes or so that we’ve we said together, now it feels like a journey, doesn’t it?
Ryland Engelhart [01:38:09] Wholly, yes. Yeah, it does.
Brilliant Miller [01:38:11] What would you leave people listening with? What advice would encouragement, what requests, what, anything? What at the end of this time together feels appropriate to leave as the final thoughts, final words.
Ryland Engelhart [01:38:26] Yeah. So. Yeah. Final thoughts, final words. Yeah. If we really nurture the inspiration that’s in your heart and create a community around that inspiration, such that that inspiration can grow into things that serve our Mother Earth and serve each other, serve our community. And, you know, if you’re inspired by regeneration and you heard something there, please check out Just the ground, the movie, and check out Kiss the ground icon. Check out our work there. And also, you know, if you want to use your voice for a healthy food system that is healing our bodies and also healing Mother Earth, please send your signatory and your your your collaboration within the community of people supporting regenerate America and sign on that coalition and pledge would be my ask and thanks for listening and I hope something that came from my heart touched your heart.
Brilliant Miller [01:39:49] Thank you. I have loved this. I’m super grateful that we connected. And I’m grateful for the work you’re doing. So thank you.