Monday, April 14, 2014

Spotlight on 3P Business: Gulf Breeze Recovery

By Maureen Latta

Barnett Gilmer
A growing number of practitioners and students of the Three Principles are actively using their understanding of innate mental health to shape businesses, especially in the human services field. 
Barnett Gilmer’s 27-bed drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in Florida is one example of a successful start-up based on an understanding of the Principles. All of Gulf Breeze Recovery’s clinical, medical and support staffs are trained in the Principles, and clients are immersed in a Principles approach to addictions recovery.
“I felt like the traditional methods that are being used were not that effective,” says Gilmer, who worked in the addictions recovery field as an intake counselor before deciding to earn his master’s degree in healthcare administration and open up Gulf Breeze Recovery. “I’d witnessed how ineffective they were. I just thought there could be a better way.”
Gilmer feels that the usual approach to recovery focuses on telling recovering addicts things they already know, and therefore no fresh, new ideas come from the clients themselves. 
“I felt like there needed to be something that was generated from within the individual themselves so that it would be real to them, but I didn't know what method. I didn’t know at that time what to use. I just knew if I could find something that would help people to generate their own ideas concerning their addiction problem then that would be something that would be beneficial to the people in these programs and would obviously help their chances in overcoming addiction.”
Debbie Trent
During his search for a better method, he attended a Three Principles seminar at the Cypress Center for Well-Being and met licensed mental health counselor Debbie Trent, who was the Cypress Center’s executive director at the time. Gilmer then read Jack Pransky’s Somebody Should Have Told Us: Simple Truths for Living Well. [Pransky also authored Modello: A Story of Hope for the Inner City and Beyond, which chronicles an early Principles-based project led by Center for Sustainable Change co-founder Roger C. Mills.] Exposure to the Principles had a significant influence on Gilmer.
“I had this big insight, if you will, with my personal problems, and this insight was pretty profound,” Gilmer says. “I knew then that this is what I wanted to use for the rehabilitation program.”
Gulf Breeze Recovery’s “health recovery model” includes a two-week focus on physical health in the first half of each day, while the second half of each day is spent in Principles-based group sessions, followed by reflection and reading time with Three Principles books from the facility’s library. The following weeks focus on mental health recovery in a classroom type environment.
“The whole purpose is to help people to have their own fresh ideas about things, their own insights, and to develop their own way to handle their problems,” Gilmer says.
The road to success was not without its challenges. In January 2011, Gilmer had discovered the perfect place to establish his facility, a beautiful property on Santa Rosa Island. When Gilmer first saw the building overlooking Pensacola Beach his reaction was, Wow, this is it. But during the two years he worked on the building deal, there were many obstacles.

The Gulf Breeze Recovery facility
“At one time, I was being asked to start working on a ‘plan B,’ and in fact had gone in that direction,” Gilmer says. “But the plan B never felt right. I kept saying, I know we’ve got problems here, but it feels right, this feels like it’s going to work. I don’t know how to explain it except for the fact that I’ve just got this feeling that it’s going to work. We just have to keep working on it and find a way. And sure as anything, the way came, it wasn't because of any great, genius thing that we did, it was just — the way came.”
Gilmer says he had to rely on his own wisdom rather than logic. “It was about the inner wisdom, the feeling of it, and knowing that something was going to work out, because I never had that feeling of let’s give up.”
Joe Bailey
During that time, Gilmer was researching the best way to develop a Principles-based recovery program. He contacted psychologist Joe Bailey, author of The Serenity Principle: Finding Inner Peace in Recovery. Bailey agreed to help put together the program and is currently a cconsultant at Gulf Breeze Recovery. Happily, Debbie Trent agreed to join the team as Clinical Director.
Gilmer says marketing a non-12-step recovery program requires effective marketing language. “We use [the term] ’health recovery’ because we have to use something that resonates with the public, and the public is not going to understand what the Three Principles are unless we explain in detail. And someone who is in the initial stages of looking for a drug treatment program is usually not going to allow you to do that. They’re going to see what they want to see; if they don’t see what they want to see then they are going to move on. We’ve got to capture their attention so that when they read our website they’ll call us.”
Gulf Breeze Recovery has surpassed all Gilmer’s projections since opening in May 2013. “After our first six weeks of being open, the floodgates opened. We actually were inundated with people and were not prepared for it. We didn’t think it would be that fast. We had to make adjustments so obviously that’s a good problem.”
It’s too early for any statistical data on the effectiveness of the health recovery approach, but Gilmer says his goal is eventually to have data that can stand the test of peer review.
He has this advice for anyone thinking about starting a Principles-based business: “Keep it honest. Keep it real. The main thing is make it make sense to the public, because that’s the key. It’s got to make sense to somebody first, initially, reading about it, to capture their interest and make them want to take a step further.” 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Most-Asked Question at CSC

Message from Dave
We at Center for Sustainable Change are passionate about making the Three Principles understanding of Life available and accessible to everyone – particularly to those who typically have the least access. Broadening availability and access depends on you – you who have already been exposed to the transformative power of this truth about Life. 
Knowing you helps us serve you. We appreciate that so many of you responded to our recent survey. (If you missed that short survey, just send us an email at and tell us a little about yourself.)
“How do I...?” is the most often asked question we at CSC receive. People have been deeply touched personally by the Principles. Many have refocused their professional career toward sharing the Principles. It seems the more people are introduced to the Principles the more people seek ways to share this understanding with others – most often within their communities to more effectively impact social and cultural change.
We at CSC want so badly to be able to answer the “How To” question. However, at the deepest level we cannot. Wisdom is always accessible to you – to each one asking that question. We can’t answer the question. We can only point you in the direction of the answer – for you and for your community.
Beginning with this issue our newsletters are going to take on a new focus – pointing toward your innate ability to share your own wisdom. 
In this newsletter we are sharing with you two stories – not “How To” stories. Rather these stories are about two people who found unique answers to the “How To” question – answers found from within – from within themselves and within their communities. I hope you will enjoy these stories. I hope you’ll be inspired to trust wisdom to guide you to “reach out and touch someone.”
For those for whom community opportunities have begun to become clear, we have included in this newsletter “Introducing the Principles in Your Community: A Strategy Guide.” This is designed to provide access to resources which are available to support you in following your dreams for community change.
Finally, as we look forward, we’re letting you know that a new book will soon be available—a book which can help create an effective learning environment for our children. Started before he died, Roger Mills and his daughter, Ami, have written State of Mind in the Classroom. Check out the book cover. Look for the release announcements within a few weeks. Order it as soon as it is released.

(A special note to our European friends: Ami will be traveling in Europe this summer and will be scheduling events in various locations. Please be on the lookout for these opportunities.)

Enjoy – every day!

Dave Nichols
Executive Director, Center for Sustainable Change

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"Wisdom From Jail" : a Volunteer Practitioner's Story

[This transcript is an excerpt from the March 26, 2014, CSC Practitioner Conference Call. The comments were made by Bobbie Herron, "Volunteer Practitioner" in New Hampshire.]

Bobbie Herron
I want to share a story about what I'm enjoying so much at this phase of understanding the Principles and of being the age I am [62].
I recently returned to volunteering at the local county jail, this time sharing the Three Principles understanding once a week on Monday mornings. The program staff at the jail trust me, and know me from years of volunteering as a member of a recovery program, so they probably figured I would talk about addiction and traditional recovery and techniques and methods. I thought, great, let them think that's what I'm doing. I'll just kind of slide in on my 22-years-sober credentials.
Female inmate attendance to my 90-minute class was voluntary, and the first week I told them the Sydney Banks story. I was in storytelling mode, and said things like, “The 3 Principles are like a magic wand – you have owned one your whole life, you just forgot.” I felt excited and playful about this gift that I was talking about with them. Well, the ladies in orange knew I was crazy before, but now they were totally sure. Nothing I said made any sense at all. At the end of the session I said, “Well, I’ll be here again next Monday morning, and if you are still here then, I hope to see some of you.”  Some of them actually did come back. 
This isn't Working
The second week I thought, Okay. This isn't working. So I took Michael Neill's book that has this really cool cover: The Inside-Out Revolution. I thought, "Alright, I've got my tools with me this time, boy, oh boy. Not just stories, I've got tools." Otherwise known as props, right. So, I started telling them what little I knew about "feelings come from thoughts" and they’re all sitting there going "Yeah, but we're still incarcerated." "Yeah, but my boyfriend is trying to mess with my kids." "Yeah but, yeah but, yeah but."
So we get through the hour. I say, "Well, okay. Next week we’re going to do...." And something dawned on me. I remembered a speaker at the Minneapolis conference had said, "The most important thing to do when you share these Principles is you have to have a good time." It’s true, I had had a lot more fun looking forward to sharing the Principles at the jail than actually doing it. I was trying so hard, too hard. A little farther down the road I started laughing, because Wisdom reminded me of something else, of the Almond Joy/Mounds candy bar commercial that said, "Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't!" Well, that's what the Principles say too!

I Just Want to Talk to You
This past Monday I went in for the third time and I said, "You know, guys, I just want to talk to you. I just want to give you an hour and a half that you're off the unit. We're going to pretend that this is your 'Get out of jail free' card because we get to go to the classroom area in the jail. So let's just talk about whatever is going on with you. Something will come up. If nothing else we'll just have a good time, okay? We'll just talk about things."
I found one opportunity after another to tell them how brilliant they were. As soon as they knew they weren't learning anything – they didn't have to remember anything, they didn't have to write a book report on what this crazy woman was doing – they kept coming up with their own wisdom and their own solutions and articulating it in a place that for them felt a lot safer than talking that way on the unit, because you've got to do the posturing and all that, I guess, when they are with the other ladies. But when it was just us sitting together, it was almost like we came out of the 'tough' closet together. Some confessed they were OK about being incarcerated, and saw it could even be a healthy “time-out” to clear their minds from the patterns of their previously self-destructive lives. I had fun that morning and they did too and it showed. We had a good time together secretly.

In Case They Forgot
I realized I had been trying so hard as a not-trained professional to do it the right way. And then, who knows what I will do next week? I just wanted to share that my taking myself so seriously – even as a volunteer practitioner – was getting in the way of having a good time. I don't know. I'll keep doing it. I may not talk about the Principles at all but just talk to the women about how wonderful they are – in case they forgot. I am winging it, but I just loved it. I am not a trained professional, but I keep reminding myself that we are all eligible for wisdom. 

Are you a practitioner of the Three Principles? For registration information to join CSC Practitioner Conference Calls and Grounding Calls, visit the CSC Live Events webpage.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Introducing the Principles in Your Community: A Strategy Guide

You’ve been using the Three Principles in your own life and experiencing the benefits of a more peaceful state of mind. 
Now you want to introduce the Principles to others to help solve challenges in your community, whether that be in schools, jails, human service agencies or elsewhere. 
As a national non-profit organization, Center for Sustainable Change (CSC) partners with local individuals and organizations to collaboratively design and deliver Principles-based projects in their local area. CSC’s community work is based on the understanding that wisdom resides within the local people, and each project will have its own unique developmental process. However, based on our 30 years of experience working with communities to bring the Principles to local institutions and agencies, we can share with you our strategies for introducing this transformative approach to others. 
Typically, the first “milestone” in any community project is developing an introductory 3P workshop that serves to galvanize support for a community-based project. 
We've developed this handy checklist to assist those who are new to CSC and may want to partner with us.

Identify a Local Concern or an Issue that Needs Addressing
You are identifying a community need that matches with your own particular interests. Is your community concerned with stress in the workplace, bullying in schools, addiction and mental health?

Set Up Your Free Consultation with CSC
Schedule a free, one-hour consultation call with CSC by emailing to help you access your inner wisdom, focus on what you can do, and start to determine what process might be most effective for you and your community. Community projects typically form as part of a process of community engagement that begins with a workshop in which the Principles and its community applications are introduced to local audiences. From that initial introduction, local momentum builds to develop locally funded projects.

Decide on a Form for Introducing the Principles
Decide whether you want to start by hosting an informal drop-in or organize a more formal one- or two-day workshop. Decide who can best lead the process of presenting. You might already know someone local or you might need CSC to help identify presenters appropriate to your needs. CSC works with some of the best and most experienced presenters in the United States. 

Join with Like-Minded Individuals
Join together with one or more people locally who are passionate about assisting you in your goal. 

Meet with CSC 
Decide when you need CSC to assist you in sharing the Principles with your target audience. At that point, arrange an online meeting between your group and CSC. Executive Director Dave Nichols and experienced CSC community presenters will engage in a discussion to gain clarity as to how CSC can best be of service to you in reaching your goal. CSC offers statistical data, outcome reports, participant testimonials from past projects nationally, web-based audio and video sources, proposal writing support, and project design consultation. (There is no cost to you. Once the community development process has reached a stage where a project is formed, CSC builds its fees into the project budget.)  

Identify Event Costs
In consultation with CSC, identify the financial costs related to hosting a workshop and contracting the presenter most appropriate to your needs and determine his/her schedule of availability. 

Identify Your Market 
Who might be interested in attending the workshop? Do you have resources to reach them, such as email lists, and organizations who might be willing to promote the event for you?

Rally Support for Your Event
Talk it up. Identify potential supporters such as community foundations, businesses and churches who might be willing to provide funding contributions, scholarships for low income participants, meeting space, snacks, supplies, etc.

Make a Budget
Develop a detailed budget to determine the cost per participant. Formalize a contract with CSC presenter(s) outlining the event date, fees, payment schedule, accommodation and travel arrangements.

With a solid budget in hand, many decisions will have been made. You can now begin organizing your event!

Serious about starting a community project where you live? You can contact Center for Sustainable Change by emailing

Book Release -- Coming Soon!

State of Mind in the Classroom: 
Thought, Consciousness and the Essential Curriculum 
for Healthy Learning 

Click on image to enlarge
Watch for upcoming promotions. We'll tell you how to order this essential text for educators.
"Not only have Ami Chen Mills-Naim and her late father, Roger Mills, captured the essence of what it truly means to change hearts and minds with research-validated principles and practices, they have managed to do so with a powerful personal message. This message will guide others to trust their own intuition about how to work with young people and children who are ignored or unloved..."
-- Barbara L. McCombs, Ph.D.

Seven years in the making, State of Mind in the Classroom incorporates the wisdom and experience of Center for Sustainable Change co-founders Dr. Roger C. Mills, Ph.D. and Ami Chen Mills-Naim with relevant, up-to-date research into the application of a Principles-based approach in educational environments.

Watch your inbox for book release details, or Like our Facebook page and receive notifications.

Hartford Project: The Long Road to Project Initiation

by Maureen Latta

Lori Carpenos went from being a student of the Three Principles to Project Coordinator of the very first Principles-based school program in her city of Hartford, Connecticut. 
And it only took 30 years. 

Lori Carpenos, LMFT
Well, that’s if you reach back to 1985 when Lori first met Sydney Banks and Dr. Roger C. Mills and learned about the remarkable transformations that were happening in Dr. Mills’ community projects. 
We at Center for Sustainable Change (CSC) are thrilled to be part of this new project in Hartford Public Schools, which will introduce the “inside-out” approach to 35 student leaders, 35 parent leaders and to school district leadership personnel. We wanted to share with you a timeline of crucial events along the way, as a means of demystifying the process of creating a community-based project. Often, we field inquiries from individuals who want to make a change in their communities, but don’t know where to start.
“When the timing is right, things fall into place. You just talk about what you know, that’s all you can do,” says Lori, who works as a Licenced Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in Hartford.
Although Lori first learned of the Principles back in 1985 and moved to Hartford in 1994, it wasn’t until October 2012 when things really started moving in Hartford. That was when Lori decided to organize a seminar and bring in respected Three Principles trainer Judy Sedgeman from Florida to facilitate. There happened to be someone in the audience who heard the message of hope and was in a position to connect with school district leadership. Lori brought Center for Sustainable Change into the mix and things took off from there.
“You can’t make something happen. It doesn’t go that way," Lori says. "The fact that I had something I cherished and I wanted to share with everyone I could share it with — that was the spirit that  moved it forward. In that spirit of sharing, someone is going to get struck somewhere along the line. It’s inevitable that someone will hear something profound because of the power of the Principles, and you can never tell when that will occur.”
One and a half years later, in March 2014, the Superintendent of Schools approved a contract with CSC for “Nurturing and Recognizing Hope,” a Principles-based program. And Lori took on a new job: Project Coordinator. This project of the Center for Sustainable Change will begin this month and continue into the next school year in Hartford.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Audio Technician Wanted

Volunteer or Student Intern Needed

Do you want media experience in a challenging and supportive environment? Do you want to learn more about the Three Principles while helping to develop CSC’s global learning programs?
The nonprofit Center for Sustainable Change is in need of a volunteer to assist with global webinars.

This position requires a commitment of approximately 4 hours per week for the next 6 months. The tasks can be performed from any geographic location. The volunteer is required to use his/her own computer and have access to sufficient bandwidth. The position requires the volunteer to be available during the scheduled webinar times and to do both pre-call and follow-up tasks.
We work with some of the best Three Principles trainers in the world and are proud of our educational offerings. By volunteering in this role with the Center, you will have the benefit of attending, free of charge, all CSC webinars.

If you have the skills and interest, please contact Executive Director Dave Nichols at or 650-424-0705. 
To learn more about the Center for Sustainable Change, visit our website: