You know that old story of a successful criminal defense lawyer who quits practicing law to start a bean to bar chocolate factory? Yeah...it’s a new story for me too. But that is the story of Shawn Askinosie. Shawn is a remarkable human being. Not because Oprah Magazine named him “One of 15 Guys Who Are Saving the World” or because Forbes named his small batch, award winning chocolate factory, Askinosie Chocolate ‘One of the 25 Best Small Companies in America’ (both of which are true by the way). It’s because Shawn holds a contemplative vision for his life and business to create a more just and loving world.
Askinosie Chocolate is a direct trade business that profit shares with their partners, the cocoa farmers, from around the world. Shawn and his team are recasting how a profitable business can operate in the world with integrity, passion and humility. In this conversation you will get a taste for Shawn’s values as he shares about his experience as a Family Brother at Assumption Abbey, how he recognizes the relationship between joy and sorrow, the lasting impact of his 6th grade teacher, why he wanted Askinosie Chocolate to be direct trade, profit sharing and open book management from its inception,... and what the hell he means by the phrase, ‘It not about the chocolate, it’s about the chocolate.
This is just a taste of Shawn’s deeply empowering book, Meaningful Work: A Quest to Do Great Business, Find Your Calling, and Feed Your Soul. You can buy the book, Meaningful Work, wherever beautiful books are sold.
To learn more about Shawn visit (and order chocolate) at askinosie.com.
“The Sunday Letters are always a thoughtful and welcome stop during my week. You get a moment to pause, to consider and to reflect … and Jana often leaves you with a question to keep you thinking long after you’ve finished reading. I love these letters and find myself forwarding them regularly to friends and family.”
- Reader, The Sunday Letters
Have you ever wanted to be a writer? Maybe the type of writer with an acute eye for detail that maintains a deep connection with your readers. This is how I would describe the curator and writer of The Sunday Letters, Jana Marie. The Sunday Letters is a weekly newsletter on contemplative thinking. I don’t know about you, but Sundays continue to hold the air of naps, spiritual questions, and Swedish pancakes.This is how Jana describes Sundays - ‘In their characteristically gentle way, Sundays present us with what is so often a much-needed opportunity for stillness. A time to reconnect and re-center, they allow us the space to check in with both ourselves and others.’ It is from this still space that The Sunday Letters have been written by Jana these past 3 years. She has readers spanning the globe, one of which is this lowly podcast host.
In this exchange you were learn how Jana dropped out of business school to discover a path that felt more akin to her way of being in the world, how the Stoic philosopher Seneca has been shaping her view of reality, and how The Sunday Letters came to be in the world.
You can sign up for The Sunday Letters at thesundayletters.com.
Thich Nhat Hahn is a world renowned Zen Master, author of more than a 100 books and in my opinion, a winsome meditative stroller. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr nominated him for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1967. Then in 1982, Thich Nhat Hahn founded a community called Plum Village in the south of France. In 2008, a young man was ordained a monk at Plum Village. The young man’s brother is a filmmaker, Max Pugh, who was in attendance reflected upon this experience of bearing witness to his brother’s ordination as a Buddhist monk.
Later, Max Pugh would Direct and Produce the film Walk With Me: A Journey Into Mindfulness Featuring Thich Nhat Hahn. Max has crafted a remarkably meditative film about the Plum Village that his brother joined. In our conversation, Max shares how he was asked to make a rock and roll road documentary about Plum Village without the sex and drugs, how the ringing of chimes can break the unconscious noise, and what Thich Nhat Hahn taught him about being a parent. You can learn more about Max at maxpugh.com, walkwithmefilm.com or on Instagram @maxpugh1