Cosmic Cow Pie: Connecting the Dots


Glocal #7 What Is Up With Your Orange?

 Glocal Lesson #7  What is up with your orange?


Welcome to Day one on the voyage for “Connecting The Dots Around The World.”

“How can this be?” you may be asking as today is actually the 52nd day of travel on the MV Explorer.  Mental transformation proceeds on different paths with each individual and it has taken me this much time to process the information and share it in a way that makes sense and will have a positive impact as we “Think Global and Act Local”  going “Glocal.”  To prepare for a mid-voyage review I took a step back to review where we came from and compare where we are, setting the first day stage:

“Anxious whispers filled the room in the student union as voyagers anticipated the key note address for the Spring 2011 voyage of Semester At Sea. The thought of 104 days on the open seas, engaging with people in communities all over the world was daunting.  How would I know what messages to listen to? How would I decipher all the visual and audio stimulation I which I would experience and use it as a learning tool?  How will I know if I “Get It?”  What will I feel?  Will the dots connect?  Will the puzzle pieces fit?  These are questions swimming through the minds of many on the ship so the importance of the initial message was one that would set the tone and expectations for the passage.”

C.Y. Tung,  one of the visionaries behind Semester At Sea said, “Ships can carry more than cargo. They can carry ideas.” 

To that end I embarked upon a global path with no obligations, no stress and a total open mind to absorb and engage in stimulating conversation to help connect the dots around the world. Completely void of any ties or worries, produced an environment perfect for a type of “scientific research” where were no external factors that could obscure the message. My mind was an open book ready to write the chapters after each port or life changing event.  The bar of expectations for the experience on the ship was at the very top level.  The marketing “hooks” had me ready, hook, line and sinker for somewhat of a utopia in travel and education.  The superiority of the instructors, the course selections, the student body composition, the quality of the ship itself all were framed in marketing perfection.  I drank the Kool-Aid and was ready for the ride to become “grounded at sea.”

Rosalyn Berne, Vice President of Academic Affairs for the Institute for Shipboard Education and Semester at Sea, spoke to the Spring 2011 voyage participants about embracing the newness of everything and what we were about to experience. She asked us to close our eyes and visualize.......

“Pretend you have one orange and there is one orphan child looking at you on a bench, you start to open orphan in Brazilthe orange...... what are you going to do with the orange?  Now 7 orphan children appear…  again the question arises, what are you going to do with the orange… as you break off one section.. a hundred orphans show up… what will you do?"

Pregnant pause…. that was it, she was done and the next speaker was walking to the stage.   

“What is up with your orange?” will be the theme and deep question to ponder throughout the voyage for me.  The sensation in my stomach after her speech was something I was not prepared for as I had no clue what I would do with my orange.  Originally thoughts of sharing the orange popped into my head but once the 100 orphans came out I became uncomfortable in my thoughts as the reality of world hunger started to set in. The question then arose about my one orange and what I could do to help.  We have encountered hundreds of hungry children on this voyage so far and the answer to the questions seems to change or evolve after each port.  It will be interesting to compare ideas on how to “Connect The Dots Around The World” once the voyage is totally complete.

Going back to the orientation event, potent information was provided by Dean Dan Garvey describing the hypothesis of why some of us were on the ship.  

  • Some are here to meet people and travel. 
  • Some people see life as a great charm bracelet and want the charm that says “I sailed around the world.”
  • Some are just getting out of relationships and some want in a relationship.
  • Some are here because their sorority or fraternity said it was a good thing to do.
  • Some are trying to answer “WHO AM I?” and where do I fit in.

Out of nowhere we hear the clear sound of one note ringing in the auditorium.  The addition of a second note peaks our interest, then many notes just hap hazard are being played with no association.  The notes then evolve into a beautiful melody, setting the tone of “harmony” which is ultimately one of the goals for the voyage according to Dean Dan. 

“Take aways” from the orientation included the fact responsibility comes along with this adventure if we accept it. We are the custodians of our stories both the successes and the regrets.

 I created the Dean Dan Top Ten list from the ship orientation speech.   

  1. Traveling around the world is an opportunity to be one of the most transformational times of life.
  2. It can also be an opportunity for huge regret if one misses doing things or experiences for growth in exchange for momentary instant gratification.
  3. Let the experience to light a fire to become a positive influence on the world.
  4. Become a citizen of this planet without regret. 
  5. Never say, I wish I had listened, I wish I had spent a little less time at the Hilton.
  6. Adults have been coaching you since you were little, you know what to do, just do it.  
  7. Make sure you have no regrets.
  8. Look forward to the unknown opportunities.
  9. Don’t be a distraction to others who want to learn.
  10. Honor everyone else who is here.

The orange messed with my mind or should I describe it as “stimulated contemplation.”  The orange has been the topic of many conversations on the voyage as we individually figure out what to do with that fruit.  The door of thought was opened but no directions were given or alluded to including what could potentially happen if you turn right or left in thought so it is up to the “thinker” to figure out how all the dots connect and the ultimate outcome for the orange. The ship is filled with "serious thinkers in the form of both students and educators" which gives a good cross section of some of the most brilliant minds in the country. The voyage has turned out to be more of an "independent study" instead of a community project. Having access to the intellectual resources is making the journey an easy place to learn.  Each individual is learning or absorbing the lessons from around the world at their own pace and under their own terms. 

Several insightful ideas came from posting the orange question on facebook:

  • Eat the orange and plant the seeds. 
  • Take the orphans to the orange tree itself. 
  • Pray, like the loaves, fishes and wine to feed the multitude.
  • Eat the orange and run. 
  • Make juice.
  • Teach the orphans how to plant an orchard.

Contemplating the orange, opened thought for new ideas like, connecting the dash in life with specific purpose. Could it be the “dash” on the tombstone showing the material start and end of a life answers what you did with your orange?  Does discovering passion in your dash evolve into “Who Am I” and what did I do to make the world a better place?

Is there a right or wrong answer? Do you share the orange, give it all to one, eat the orange, plant the seeds, graft a tree, create juice or run away?  There are certainly many choices of what to do with the one orange. What is right for one individual might not be right for another.  It really does not matter what your answer is because, your dash, is your dash and you have control over what you do in life to make a difference in the world.

Connecting the dots around the world with global ideas that can be implemented at the local levels is what “Glocal” lessons are all about.

What are you going to do with your orange?

Can we make a difference in local communities with one orange?  How can we encourage others to help with local issues?  The world is a big place but the backyard is a step away.

What's up with the dash?

Carra Signature Large


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Cosmic Cow Pie

Carra Riley

Comment balloon 21 commentsCarra Riley & Declan Kenyon • March 05 2011 12:02PM


Carra - A very thought provoking and stimulating post.  I'm glad you are sharing your deep thoughts with those of us not with you.  That's a great way to share your orange with the masses and plant ripples of action and hope.

Posted by Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities, Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A. (Charlemagne International Properties) over 9 years ago

This is going to make an amazing book, Carra.  What an experience!

Posted by Jane Peters, Los Angeles real estate concierge services (Home Jane Realty) over 9 years ago

Norma ~  So happy to have you along on the journey.. it really is lonely out here... yes, we have 600 people on the ship.. but there is something special about your comments when I share from the heart... thank you.

Jane, Jane, Jane ~  I needed that.  It has been hard to connect the dots because of the questions I had form the beginning.. it is starting to come to gether and so happy that you see it and think it could be of value..  Thanks for your comments... sincerely appreciated!

Posted by Carra Riley & Declan Kenyon, Helping people Transition at all ages! (Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd) over 9 years ago

March 5th and you are half way around the world on your journey.

Carra, Again, I have just read each and every captivating word you wrote. What a powerful question, "What is up with your orange?"

and this is even more powerful

It really does not matter what your answer is because, your dash, is your dash and you have control over what you do in life to make a difference in the world.

I am still thinking about that one orange!!

Continue to travel safe, my friend.


Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 9 years ago

Margaret ~  It is so very special to have you on the journey and cheering me on.  Thanks so much for sharing.. need your good thoughts on the India stay, we start today.. this afternoon at 5 p.m we fly to Dehli then to Agra and Varanasi.  We will ride on the river Ganges and travel to the center of civilation.  Will be back online by Thursday!  Thank you my friend! 

Posted by Carra Riley & Declan Kenyon, Helping people Transition at all ages! (Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd) over 9 years ago

I hated philosophy in college, and after reading your post, I’m thinking I still don’t like it. J I might be one of those eat-the-orange-and-run people. L

Posted by Jim Frimmer, Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist (HomeSmart Realty West) over 9 years ago

Carra--What a journey!  Thanks for sharing with us along the way.  As others have said you have given me much 'food' for thought.  Can't wait to read more.

Be safe, my friend.

Posted by Mary Yonkers, Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor (Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Cara, ditto what Mary just said! 

Just an hour ago, I had seen a news story about the Semester At Sea Program.  I was very impressed.  And, now to get the opportunity to read about your thoughts and experience! 

I look forward to learning more about this "Glocal" concept from you and your future posts.  I suspect my mind isn't fully grasping exactly how it works at the moment. 

I pray that you stay safe on your journey. 


Posted by Sondra Meyer:, See It. Experience It. Live It. (Star View Real Estate ) over 9 years ago

Carra .... sometimes there are answers to timeless questions ... and sometimes there are questions for timeless answers.

It is not necessary to find an answer for every question .... but it is rare that such a thought provoking question, while perhaps unanswered ... will at least generate of lot of introspective thought.  The result can be life changing ... and perhaps the action was the answer after-all.

Thanks for sharing ... and continue your sojourn in safety!



Posted by Jack Mossman - The Nines Team at Keller Williams in Stockton, The Nines Team at Keller Williams in Stockton (The Nines Team At Keller Williams) over 9 years ago

Carra, Looking forward to hearing about all your experiences. I am missing you and can't wait til you are back on line Thursday.


Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 9 years ago

Cara, I wish you well on your journey. thank you for sharing these insights. I'll be back to see what else you discover.

Posted by Retired Notworking over 9 years ago

Jim ~  eating the orange and running is a very acceptable answer... each and everyone of us will have a different answer and the is perfectly ok... creating an environment of respect for one another is the bottom line in connecting the dots around the world....implementing that balance and acceptance could create world peace.... you never know!

Mary ~ love it... "Food for thought"  I will use that with your permission!  I have posted some other glocal lesson.. going to get to work on 8 more... processing all the information has been a REAL JOB for me... then trying to make it useful to others.... thanks for your comment!

Sondra~ Thank you for your kindness.  I have found it very hard to switch gears when running full speed with work so don't be hard on yourself!

Jack ~  a friend on facebook said something similar when I was talking about just looking at the people... like looking at a fish bowl and trying to figure out a deeper meaning.. it's just a fish!  So thanks for the insight and look forward to sharing! 

Margaret ~  Back online today.. catching up a little... going out tomorrow for a final day in Chennai... the mental exhaustion in keeping alert is something that can hardly be shared.... you just have to feel it.  India is something one must EXPERIENCE... words cannot do it justice.. I have great photos but again.. it will never share the smells, sounds and feelings one gets while being here in India. Thanks for being there!


Posted by Carra Riley & Declan Kenyon, Helping people Transition at all ages! (Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd) over 9 years ago

Colleen ~  thank you for your comment.. it is fun sharing with you.  Hope you enjoy Glocal 1 to 6.... I am working on more.. it just takes me some time to get it all processed right with some much to absorb! 

Posted by Carra Riley & Declan Kenyon, Helping people Transition at all ages! (Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd) over 9 years ago

Carra--You have my permission since I don't think I was the first to use "Food for thought.'  See you later.

Posted by Mary Yonkers, Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor (Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Carra, I am looking forward to Number 8 and your special words...even though you say  '',,,,,. you just have to feel it.  India is something one must EXPERIENCE... words cannot do it justice..''

Your words are as close as I am going to get with the experience. Thank you, my friend. Continue to enjoy this incredible journey.


Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 9 years ago

As for the orange- I think the answer has something to do with sharing it and teaching the rest to plant the seeds?? Hmmm... I am still so envious of your amazing trip-enjoy!

Posted by Kristi DeFazio, Colorado Springs Rea lEstate 719-459-5468 (RE/MAX Advantage) over 9 years ago

Howdy and evening to you Carra

Carra, I sure do hope you had a mighty fine St. Patrick's Day!

Have a good one
Dale in New Hampshire

Posted by Dale Baker, New Hampshire Relocation Real Estate Information (Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections) over 9 years ago

WOW you are on some wild life changing adventure! Congratulations to you for stepping out of your comfort zone and opening your eyes to the way the rest of the world lives.  I have a lot of catching up to do in the way of reading your blog.... so much going on!  Keep it up and don't forget to post some more insights.

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) over 9 years ago

You’re either having way too much fun, or your ship has fallen off the ends of the Earth. We miss you. When you come back, be sure to check out my 3/22/11 Pay It Forward post; you have a shout-out!

Posted by Not a real person over 9 years ago

Isn't it amazing how nature can provide us with so much to contemplate, if we just take the time to look and listen?   I find when I leave the metro area to return to Michigan, despite all of the glitz and glitter of Phoenix, my body and mind transitions to an entirely different mode when I go back there.

I breath better, sleep better, and even move differently.  Nature takes over.  Looking at what God has created is so much better than what man often creates.

Local UP waterfall

The commercials you see on TV about "Pure Michigan" are very accurate.  Unlike the waterfront coasts of Florida and California, you often do not get the opportunity to be alone.  We all need a place or something that allows us to think.  For me it's the water and shorelines, but I do like the taste of oranges.

Posted by Liz Murray, Professional Home Stager (Renaissance Home Staging & Redesign) over 9 years ago

Carra - I don't even know what to say here. I can completely understand how you would feel mentally exhausted. I am now stuck on the thought provoking "what would you do with your orange?" question. I agree with Jane, there is a book (or two) that could come from this experience. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Posted by Judy Jennings, Tap into Judy's real estate expertise & resources. (Top Agent Plus) over 9 years ago