Editor’s Note: John Montesi is joining Conscious Magazine as an Editorial Collaborator to introduce a new column called Life on Central Time. Through this column, John will use a region/mindset as the framing device for a collection of stories on people and organizations making a difference in the middle third of the country.

Q | John, where are you from? I am currently based out of Fort Worth, Texas, though that’s likely to change to Austin or San Antonio in the next 1-2 months.

Q | What Do You Currently Do? I am a copywriter for a handful of technology companies. Like all copywriters for technology companies, I’m also working on a couple of books and contribute pieces to magazines that reflect my true interests whenever I can.

Q | What do you love about conscious culture and what does it mean to you? I have lived consciously since long before I understood what it meant. I was a vegetarian as a kid in small-town Texas before I actually knew there was a name for people who loved animals and didn’t want to eat them, carried around a bicycle water bottle to avoid using plastic, and have always been fascinated by the invisible but powerful ways the things I do affect my brothers and sisters on the other side of the planet.

Conscious culture is the embodiment of that bumper sticker—Think globally, act locally. There are a million different ways to be conscious and there’s no reason that all of us shouldn’t try as many of them as possible. I’m interested in the ways that small things like where our hats are made or what material bottle we drink our water out of can have a profound impact on the planet and the people that live here.

Q | At Conscious Magazine, we’re all about changing the conversation, why is that important to you? I truly believe that everyone wants to live consciously. That means different things to different people, but we all want to feel like we’re participating in something good. For many people, it’s just a matter of whether they’ve been exposed to the right opportunities. Whether that’s a change in their consumer behavior or learning about a way that one of their passions can be used for the benefit of those around them, having a great conversation about everything it means to be conscious is the first step to being conscious.

We’re never going to change the basic things people want, but we can change the ways they talk about those things. Changing the conversation means that we’re empowering people to make informed decisions and to invest their time and resources wisely.

Q | You are about to launch a column on focusing on Life on Central Time – what should we expect and why is writing for Conscious important to you? There are several reasons why I chose to write about Life on Central Time—it’s my area of expertise (some pun intended), it’s an underserved area (a little more pun intended), and I’m a big believer in a good underdog story. We didn’t just love watching the Kansas City Royals in the MLB Playoffs because they’re scrappy, we loved watching them because it was a good story. The Giants had a similar record and similar path to the World Series, but San Francisco will never get called an underdog.

I think the same is true of all the great things people are doing in the middle section of the country. I grew up thinking California was the only place for me, went there, learned a lot, and ultimately ended up back in Texas. I hope to provide some of that hard-won perspective to readers from coast to coast and everywhere in between.

I want to share stories that are regionally focused but universally applicable. Mark Twain once wrote, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness,” and I’ve found that to be one of the truest things I’ve ever read. Not everyone wants to spend their few vacation days traveling to Texas or Kansas or Louisiana—and I get it!—but I want to show them some of the great things that are happening here that have the potential to reach far beyond their prairies and rivers. If one person makes a more informed decision about anything thanks to something I write, then my mission will be accomplished. And if someone decides to take a trip to one of the great places I spotlight, that’d be great, too!

Q | What’s your favorite cause and why? That’s a tough one… It definitely varies from season to season. My favorite cause is generally one that makes a tangible difference in its community and for all the right reasons.

Right now I’m big on Gramr Gratitude Co. and their mission to spread love in a way that benefits both the givers and receivers. Expressing gratitude is scientifically good for you, receiving mail is, too, and the extra-priced postage required to mail square envelopes keeps the US Postal Service going, which is one of my very favorite things. In the digital age, the impact of physical objects is growing, which makes this a great time for people to build real things that matter.

Q | What is your best piece of advice that we can share with our readers who are setting out to make a difference? Pick something that really matters to you. It’s easy to get inspired and latch on to the first cause you find, but the most important part of making a difference is commitment. I think sticking with a cause is always going to be the most powerful way to enact change. So many business statistics focus on the value of repeat business versus new customers, and the exact same is true with difference-making.

If you love bicycling, get involved with a charity that uses bikes as their vehicle for good. If you’re a fashionista, learn about companies that do good and support and promote those companies. Sometimes it only requires a subtle shift in something you’re already doing to make a huge difference—and it’s much easier to stick with something you’d be doing anyways.

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From the Editor
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