Scaffolding @F-L-O-W
the book @F-L-O-W

Scaffolding @F-L-O-W

We all need Help from time to time

Living @ F-L-O-W is about living your life on your terms and in the process experiencing greater happiness.  In Mike’s recent mid-year forecast, he gave some personal examples of how his shift from the Blank Slate mindset to Living @ F-L-O-W has brought him greater happiness.

He has given up most of his coaching for the big bucks and is focusing on living his life on his terms and helping others to have the opportunity to do the same.

One of the corner stones of Living @ F-L-O-W is the concept of scaffolding, which refers to receiving help from others in areas where you are not good at, not able to do, or just plain don’t like to do.

From time to time, Mike needs scaffolding himself in terms of the efforts that create emergencies and require special off-budget funding.

Mike is engaged in a process of scaffolding "worthy" families in the Philippines–families that are committed to do whatever it takes to give their family a chance to escape poverty and it’s deleterious effects on health and lack of opportunity.

At this point, we have two families who we are trying to help with "extraordinary" needs for external scaffolding, one to deal with a jailed family member, and the other with an untimely death of a child.
Mike is asking for some additional support from any of you in the form of a $25, or more donation, as he is trying to raise the funds to help them over the hump in these two cases, and the money and support is required immediately.
In exchange, Mike is offering to exchange a digital copy of our Workbook @F-L-O-W, for a $25 donation and anyone donating more to this special cause now, will receive the audio recordings Mike made to accompany the Workbook @F-L-O-W process.  Since I mentioned his mid-year forecast, you will also receive access to the recording, which you will agree is much more than just a forecast of future events, when you donate more than $25.
There is a sense of urgency in the process as there are a number of children’s lives who will be affected, and those who are trying to help them remain in school, or reach peace in their family through burial. Thanks for your consideration,


Below are dialogues from Mike and some of our Individual @F-L-OW members, which will give you a greater perspective of why we are asking for your support.

Date: Tue, 9 Jul 2013 16:01:10 -0400

I have two urgent needs you can help with:

Send any amount of money through PayPal [instructions on how to do this are located at] to

1) A MyPAL child (9) years old, just died of pneumonia, pretty freak thing, mom pretty tough shape, needs about 50k [Note: monies mentioned in Mike’s notes are in pesos and not dollars, unless preceded by the $ sign.], to transport her child (dead) back to her burying place (this mypal lost a sister and mother last year, very sad), and I told her we would help her, otherwise, it’s a mess for her…she’s having a real hard time, had to make a tough decision last year about continuing a pregnancy and asked me what I would do, and I told her I would help her so she could save the child, and she did, little healthy cute boy, only to have her daughter die unexpectedly while visiting her grandmother…grandmother didn’t want to worry her and didn’t tell her child sick for 4 days, when she finally did, they couldn’t save her–very sad, sweet little girl, used to always text me and say thanks for helping them.

2) Another MyPAL’s brother has been in jail, she was the Easter MyPAL I told you about living in pedicab [Note: see below for a picture of a pedicab]… and she has managed to get all of her 3 sisters and brothers into school, buy them uniforms, books, and pay tuition, but she’s drowning faster as a result…

***Side Note from Gary – When I first read Mike’s note I thought "no one will donate money to get someone out of jail."  Then I learned more about the boy’s plight and it reminded me of the Middle Ages when someone stole a loaf of bread to feed their family and is locked up until they can pay a fine.  How does one pay an outrageous fine when not given the opportunity to earn the money?  Below is more of the story:

The boy snatched a cell phone to give to his sister so she would not be alone on the street late at night while working…
That was the story I got.  I have no reason to not believe its true…although anything in the Philippines COULD be a lie.
He’s been in jail since last September.  I saw the paperwork.  They wanted 100k to let him go.  He was a minor when he snatched the phone at 17.  They offered to let him go with 18k.  He is out now btw.  I don’t know if he is driving yet, that is my hope, as they LIVE in the pedicab he owns (a foreigner gave to him to help the family)…and it needs a lot of work my people told me…
This is a heart wrenching story.  I helped her and her family after meeting her Easter morning early…
Then they did some small white lies which we don’t permit, so I cut them off for two months…
When she re-engaged because another street girl (success story sort of) we helped found out she knew me, allowed her to use her cell phone, she contacted me and asked for forgiveness and pledged Never to lie again…
So she said, "I will show you that I put the 3 kids in school" and they all came to my place in their school uniforms with their things after school.  I was amazed that this girl was able to feed them, clothe them and get them in school…
So I couldn’t NOT help them because this is the kind of outright commitment we are asking them to make…
I know that getting the brother out of jail was the right thing.  So all in all it’s cost about 25k, 18k for him and the rest for birth certificates, permits, licenses, omg, a lot of bureaucracy to pay to get someone out…
I figured to let him co-drive for one month with my driver (another success story sort of<G>)…and then look at the pedicab to see what we could do to repair his…
I borrowed the money at 30% to get him out of jail, prior to appealing to the group for help because I’m just too overloaded right now…with school just passing and us putting a few dozen in school, high school and college…
But I figure to get him out and let him fish for the family (as she promised he would), and we made him promise while he was in jail as well (as far as promises go in the Philippines)…rather than to give them fish…
The real problem with the Philippines is creating systems which cycle them out of poverty and often it takes a lot of scaffolding, and that is the hard part…as they all have so many depending on them…
In any case, that’s a bit of their story…

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She needs help so I had her research what it would take to get her brother out of jail so he could drive pedicab to pay their food needs, and still remain all sleeping in the street, so they are not asking for the good life, just some help. I found out right before we left that we could get the 100k (about $2.5k US) reduced to 18k if we paid the city office as they are over-populated with this simple cases of underage (he’s 17 at time of snatching a cp for his sister who worked on the street)…

I just bought a pedicab for a driver who needs a co-driver and he fits the bill, which means immediate income f or their family for good, and to take some of the pressure off the MyPAL.

If all of you could send 25-50 to me at, I’ll perform these two miracles quickly, can you please help now?




Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2013 13:12:58 -0400

Thank you to Mo, Mark, and Glenn for your immediate help, I forwarded funds to help with the formalin and transport of her child to be buried with her mom, but I still need help for the burial at the cemetery and getting our MyPAL’s brother out of jail and working to help support this family, whose mother and father have abandoned the children, the oldest of which has taken charge–and placed herself on the street–to get these kids in better shape than she is…if we can get the brother out, he can provide the food money each day the kids need for school and transport…

Please help if you can, even small amount will be very helpful to me, as these folks need immediate help

Thank you very much for your gift of scaffolding for two people who are motivated to help themselves…

Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2013 01:57:13 -0400

I want to thank Herb and Jim for donating funds today, these funds are critical and will go directly to those in need.

I told them to start processing the papers for the brother to get out of jail, he was originally supposed to pay 100k in damages (for 2k cell phone, btw), but they told me if we pay now, it’s 18k, and we already have a pedicab operating at night with an open day shift for him to immediately begin working, so thanks for your help.

We still need help to bury the daughter, she is on her way back to be with her grandmother now.

I hope more of you will see this request and give small money to help us, if more give small, we live big together, thanks so much for answering this call to help, it’s really important to these two families.

Just login to your account, or login into PayPal and select SEND MONEY, and send it to I have a card with my assistant in the Philippines who can draw the money directly and save all conversion and transfer fees, so 99% gets to them(there are bank fees for the PayPal ATM), but this is really effective way to get money to them without skimming it off for admin.

Thanks again for your attention to this, as both of these have to be done now,



To donate $100 and receive 1 year membership to Individual @F-L-O-W, click below:

Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2013 17:02:42 -0400

I want to thank Tim and David for contributing to this emergency fund drive, we are just short of half-way, I’d like to raise 55k = $1300 US…

I’ve already transferred enough money to get the brother out of jail and I was told a few minutes ago, he has been released now, so that is part of our goal to get some money into the hands of this family each day for food and transport to school, as i’m waiting now to see if he has started driving the day shift of the pedicab.

For those who don’t know what a pedicab is, I’ve attached a picture, fyi.

I have a picture of this family (without the brother) on my cell phone, but I left it in the hotel in LA and it hasn’t found me yet, when it arrives, I’ll send the picture so you can see this family, who the older sister (age 20) is keeping together for the past 4 years, working the street and sleeping in the street.

The other MyPAL has brought her deceased daughter back to where her grandmother is buried and is waiting additional funds (she is actively soliciting money from relatives, friends and others, so she is not sitting on her hands)…

I need to raise a little over 600 to meet these needs, so any of you who can help, please try to help yet this week if you can.

Gary sent along the instructions for paypal, and please send your donations to and thanks a lot for responding! []


Gesendet: Freitag, 12. Juli 2013 07:11

Just quick acknowledgement of Lori’s contribution to my emergency fund drive, which has now crossed the midpoint and headed to my own stated goal of 1300 us.

Gary is going to send out a message to our membership about the opportunity to scaffold our work with these folks, and even though it’s only directed to two families, is really going to affect the lives of many people.

I always hate to concentrate support in a few, which is why I push money and scaffolding to so many, which is hard for many of them to understand, but we’re not here to solve people’s problems, but to scaffold them, and that support has to be accompanied with a real commitment which can be observed to rise up to whatever level necessary to keep their families afloat.

On another note:

I just received word today about another special problem that has emerged, and this is with a very long-term my pal who has made a serious mistake and signed up with some of her friends to go to Korea under the guise of entertainment (and big opportunity)…and they have found out that they are actually being fronted as part of what will become an involuntary sex process.

The country is ablaze with this kind of machination, and it’s clearly a part of what happens to people when they get desperate and the sound of fast money occludes judgment, something which most of us are protected from, but these young people without real life experience are not.

Here is part of her note this morning:

"i dont know how to start,

yes its my fault, i dont know what i am doing, i thought its just a band,
we all thought its just a band who will perform on stage ..
we all dont know that we also have to drink and sit beside every man :((
we just knew about that wen we go t o batangas and experience bad things ..
and then they say its worse on korea :((

now we want to quit ..
but the visa are soon to delivered and we also signed a contract ..
and as we decided to back out we have to pay the contract and all the expenses
they spent for me/us 🙁

mike, can u help me again with this big problems ..
i need to pay my boss so i can back out 🙁
i dont want to work on korea, they say band is just a front work on applying but really its not ..
they say they force filipina there to have sex with different man, and the salary not ok too :((
pls help me to back out ..
we have to pay 37,000 :((

i dont know wer i can find that money ..
have to pay until 17th day of this month 🙁

While millions of philippinos go offshore every year, a larger number than the government will admit, fall victim to these kinds of things, they sound good, they choose gullible people who are desperate, and wind them into contracts and agreements they can’t free themselves from, all legal by the way."

As you know, I am already committed this month to giving aid to two of our mypals, along with the already large number we provide some form of scaffolding for…this is going to be a real problem for this person, as I know what is going to happen to her…and in part, the only way some people will learn is to make big mistakes, but, in this case, this kind of mistake is one she won’t recover from…as I bailed them out of their "batangas" experience where they found that part of being hired by the club was not just to ‘entertain’ on stage, but to become companions for the people who paid the ‘club’ fees…

Of course this experience, enlightened them about the real contract in Korea and in Korea, it will in fact be a sex slavery (legal btw) condition.

I’m hesitant in writing to you because I have just asked for funding, and I don’t really have the funding to bail this MyPAL out…she is doing this because she has a family of six (+ her own child) to support, and she grew up without anything, including never taking a field trip in high school because the family couldn’t afford (she is oldest), or having electricity growing up…for the past 4 years since she’s been in our program, she has struggled including one year of college making above 95% grades, but decided to give way and try to work to support her family’s school and process of living.

This was one of the original families whose roof was damaged in 2009 with ondoy, in fact there house w as largely destroyed and this was actually the second family I helped after learning about their problems online.

Part of me is frustrated with her and her family because they keep going for the big win, and that’s part of why she made this error…but does anyone deserve to pay the price she will pay if they go through with this?

That’s the dilemma I have now….

I’d be interested in hearing some of your opinions on this, and if you feel we should try to help this person by next week, when they pay out of play, as these kinds of contractual agreements result in jailing–>unfortunately…

In my hard of hearts, I ask myself, do I allow this to go forward and teach a lesson…and is this too big a lesson to learn, too big a mistake to allow to happen, as I know EXACTLY–and now she does too–what’s going to happen to her.

For the record, she will be 23 this October, has a child who will be three on 12-11-10 (easy to remember), a child which was just treated for TB, which I did help with the past six months, so the child was not impaired.

Anyone have any comments, or suggestions, or help to offer?


Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2013 08:43:25 +0200

The girl’s account is heart wrenching and sickening. She’s caught up in a globally very lucrative racket that goes under the heading of human trafficking. It’s certainly not legal by our standards. But that doesn’t count in these circumstances because a) girl of that class has no chance to question the legality of this deal or even get protection from the law b) this racket works with the cloak of legality that finds (even “legal”) protection from higher classes that profit from this business in various manners.

So however you turn it, the girl is in a fix she cannot get out without help from the outside be it massive legal help or somebody to bail her out and pay the ransom (or else she goes to jail or is cut up or…)

I see two tracks:

a) raise the $850 (37000 PHP) and pay (knowing that there are and will be thousands others just like her in the grip of this mafia/trade)

b) maybe there is some Philippine NGO working on this topic that can give advice (?)

I don’t see how you can scaffold these people to get and stay out of this system.


To donate $100 and receive 1 year membership to Individual @F-L-O-W, click below:

More on Individual @F-L-O-W:

Mike keeps you abreast of his global Living @F-L-O-W, along with ideas in adult development, leadership, economics, and how the world is changing in ways you won’t imagine.  You are able to share your own thoughts with Mike and other members.

Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2013 03:11:21 -0400

The biggest problem is naiveté

If you look at her note, she thinks, they think (the band they formed because they love to sing), that its an opportunity to do something they love, and it is, BUT…and this is always what makes a con, a con, they willingly go along until they find out that there are "catches"…

When she texted me last month about their experience in Batangas, they were all shocked to find what they had to "do" to meet the terms of the contract…I bailed them out by paying off the club owner for their transport (a small fee of $50 us at the time)…and only then did they realize what they had in process was far more "involved"…

These people are very gullible and the people who do this do it for the same reasons, money…anything to keep from facing the destitute poverty of these people…

Once you’ve seen this kind of poverty, you realize why they do these things…

MANY sacrifice THEIR lives, or what would be like one, to provide for the rest of the family, such as the Easter MyPAL, who is willing to do WHATEVER she has too, in order to make sure the other three don’t have too…

You have to ask yourself about this dilemma, NONE of us has ever experienced poverty like this, the destitute nature of seeing one family member after another fall victim to the vacuum of poverty in this manner…and then you realize why they are both gullible and desperate and why no one in the system is to blame as they are all in various parts of it to avoid this poverty demon…

So, it’s hard to assign blame, and easy to find fault with their decision-making until you have faced their situations…

This is most difficult for the sacrifice of self types…

We can’t help many, but like I have said from the beginning, we can help a few…and if only helping one or two, or a dozen escape, then it’s money, effort and time well spent…or so I feel…

These kinds of problems make our seemingly complex and difficult lives…a bit of a laugh…which has been my hardest awakening…


Gesendet: Freitag, 12. Juli 2013 09:22

Just one note…

This is probably a mode 5 person, they are rare, a few of these mypals, I have a lot of data on, this is one, that is why we bent over backwards to put her in school for one year…it costs about 150k to 250k when they have a child…

She did her part, she held a 95+ average for the entire year…but I couldn’t afford to keep concentrating the funds, I’ve had to let a lot of these mypals fend for themselves, switching them back into a rice-only subsidy in a lot of cases…so I let this girl work and experience the real world, which she is now getting more than a good dose of and I’m not sure she can recover, she told me to give her college money we were saving to her younger sister who just graduated from high school at age 15 (this is equal to sophomore in high school in developed countries), as they are in K-10, starting 2014, they go to K-12, which is going to create a nightmare, because these families can’t make it through k-10!

In any case, her younger sister, is enrolled in her first year of college because of her, and managed the last four years in high school, because we helped her help this family…their is a special needs child thrown in there too…

I shifted some of her college money to another who had received a mayor’s scholarship and could NOT have attended her travel and tourism curriculum without support, she also is maintaining almost a perfect grade average and received her scholarship again for her second year and my commitment to scaffold her in exchange for her agreeing to work off the debt when she graduates in Camotes where we are assembling an Oceanside resort…

It’s a very difficult process, we have so many needy/good people but I can’t help them all, I’m committed to helping as many as I can and moving the money in a chessboard match to scaffold those who can swim on their own…

This girl we’re discussing just got caught in her own naiveté and desire to help her family…and the "small print"…all of us have gotten caught in that before, but it didn’t mean we would have to perform involuntary sex with strangers to cover up our mistakes…!

Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2013 10:06:01 +0200

I throw in some for her. I help because I am touched not because I believe I can change the world. For this I am often said to be naïve (as making use of naivety is good business for many). But who knows what you change with this? J

Best regards



Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2013 04:18

She has asked me what she can do to get my help…
My thinking is that I will make an agreement where she must go back to school and get her degree, the problem is, how do I fund this almost 1 million pesos it will take for 3 more years…
She is MOST valuable to her family in the long run, not in the short run, even though in the short run, the complete horizon of poverty runs…
There is no long term (the problem/dilemma) I have discovered and why people automatically develop short-term thinking, because their bellies and the immune systems of those who think long term, never make it that far…


Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2013 04:57

Thanks Mark for the donation.  I will earmark it for her, her family, her child, depending on if I can raise enough to help buy her out of her agreement by next week.


Please go to and help us help them.  We can’t save everyone.  Yet like the little girl at the ocean who was throwing star fish back into the sea, it does make a difference to the ones she saves.

To donate $100 and receive 1 year membership to Individual @F-L-O-W, click below:

More on Individual @F-L-O-W:

Mike keeps you abreast of his global Living @F-L-O-W, along with ideas in adult development, leadership, economics, and how the world is changing in ways you won’t imagine.  You are able to share your own thoughts with Mike and other members.

More comments about Mike’s reaching out – a dialogue with a supporter:

Date: Sat, 13 Jul 2013 02:43

I know.  I can hear your heart when you speak of their need

And desperation.  It moves me to give sacrificially–not that I give that much in relation to the need.

Mike, your ________(you say I/we may mistake your motivation) so I will leave the motivation blank, moves and encourages us.

However, I often hear the words of Jesus and Paul "but the greatest of these is love."



On 07/13/13,

Its not love for me.
Its closer to disgust…that society roars on turning its heads on the super poor and people with no net or option.
In the USA, you can’t be too poor, there is help everywhere.
In the Philippines, there is NO HELP, NONE…if you are super poor, your life revolves around food, simple things.
I just loaned 5k (about $120) to a girl who begged me money for her father to return to his birthplace to see his own mother, who was nearing death and had not seen her son for a long time.
One of my assistant’s Marie’s mother doesn’t know if her parents are alive because she left upon marriage some 25 years ago and has never been able to go back…
These are the kinds of things that don’t inspire love for me, but anger and disgust that some people have such bad situations…
The girl with the brother in jail, they live on the street…
The girl whose daughter died and wanted to kill herself because she feels she is bad mother…and that is the reason her daughter died.
The silly girl who signed herself into a sex ring…
These are disgusting and anger me, and so, it’s not love…hehe
it’s almost outrage…



Date: Sat, 13 Jul 2013 15:22


That is powerful.

I have to admit, after reading this I feel anger and outrage.

I guess love can be a motive and response toward people who are affected by those circumstances that leave them feeling hopeless and without options and choices.



Yes, the problem is that many people feel love and do nothing, anger and outrage always seem to produce action, go figure…
Do you realize only 2% of our USA GDP is donated every year, and that only 60 million of that makes it into the hands of the poor…
Now we do have many social nets here, and people ask me, why you take money to the Philippines? Well, they have NO social nets there, and a little goes a long way, unlike in the USA, where a little is basically sneered at…
I’m not saying the poor in the Philippines deserve it more than the poor in the USA; but the money goes to a different kind of poor, where poor in USA doesn’t mean poor per se compared to those in emerging countries…
It’s really hard to justify anything anymore, but that’s my justification and choice for helping them, at least I am doing something…hehe



Date: July 15, 2013 3:26

I’ll make one more update to let you know if we saved the girl from Korea…pretty tough call this one, it makes me sick to my stomach sometimes when I think about all the ones we don’t know about:(
We raised $1145.50 from 15 donors, thanks so much for your support.
The brother is out of jail, and the 9 year-old girl is going to be buried.
We don’t have enough to free our MyPAL from her Korea contract at this time, we have 24 hours, more or less.
If you want to donate more, please do so immediately, as Tuesday will be too late to help her, and if you’re reading this after Tuesday, please donate anyway to help offset the money I will have to borrow from future MyPALs.
Just some background which is very difficult to read, btw…
This article is dated and I can’t vouch for it’s authenticity or it’s factual correctness, I just know it is happening daily, and these SUPER NAIVE people fall victim to it, the same as you or I fall victim to the cons we participate in daily about what we believe about our future and the sacrifice needed by us–>for them.
Sometimes, moving in the direction of what you love causes us to lose site of the reality on the ground….
Hard for us in the developed world to imagine these people are so…"naïve" but trust me, they are, and this particular girl has scored well on our measures of complexity…which also help us understand that decoupling horizontal, vertical and oblique complexity in a scaffolded environment to counteract one’s intelligence can increase suffering.
Her note to me earlier today:

"no, I dont read about news 🙁
im so sorry im stupid :((

I dont know what to do ,
I dont want to go to korea 🙁

mike pls ?"

My problem every month is that I am overwhelmed with requests for needy people. I’ve already drawn next month’s budgeted funds to help with school issues, which are critical as June is back to school month, unlike North America and Europe, which is why I asked for help for the two we started with at the onset of this campaign.

This request finds me in a gut-wrenching situation, where the person deserves to learn a hard lesson…but this hard? 

If I can get half of what we need, or about $425, I’ll borrow the rest from my next budget in September.  That’s all I can think to do at this point… This may be too hard a lesson for anyone to learn, and there is no telling, after they run up the room and board, and travel expenses, which the group is paying to bring them, they may NEVER pay off their debt, which legally keeps them enslaved even if they are doing what they are asked to do–all the better for this "legal" services business.

THIS IS THE UGLY PART about stepping in…and why most people don’t, as most of these are UNSOLVABLE problems, emergent in layers of "emotional" complexity that have no moral right answer–perplexing and deeply disturbing as they are…. 

It’s easier just to turn away…I promise not to share too many of these difficult problems with you, as there is just so much people can actually take before one has to turn away…and we all have those limits…  I’m pushed up against mine the past few years.


Please go to and help us help them.  We can’t save everyone.  Yet like the little girl at the ocean who was throwing star fish back into the sea, it does make a difference to the ones she saves.

To donate $100 and receive 1 year membership to Individual @F-L-O-W, click below:

More on Individual @F-L-O-W:

Mike keeps you abreast of his global Living @F-L-O-W, along with ideas in adult development, leadership, economics, and how the world is changing in ways you won’t imagine.  You are able to share your own thoughts with Mike and other members.

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