AND Play

March 29th, 2015

I love when a theme emerges from seemingly disparate contexts. The theme that emerged this week is how important it is to choose to play. It is so amazing what can arise from that simple choice and how it can benefit all of us.

I have been watching some of the women’s NCAA basketball tournament games. The North vs. South Carolina game and any game played by the UCONN Huskies stand out for me. In the first, I watched two teams play with heart to the final seconds. Changing leads, going ahead by a few points, only to watch the opposing team make great shots and shift the lead, cheers, teammates jumping up from the bench to celebrate, and great creativity in passes and shots pointed out the level of play possible when the women played together with heart. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Look Inside For the Resources

March 22nd, 2015

Sometimes insights occur in a singular moment with a quiet whisper that awakens our attention. Other times, we wait so long as to be hit over the head. Any attempt to listen to the news today will be met with stories of violence against women and ethnic or religious minorities. Two particular versions of the stories caught my attention.

One concerns an interview with one of the students from the fraternity in PA that took nude photos of women without their consent or awareness and published them on line. The reason this particular interview stood out for me was that the young man, granted anonymity by the interviewer for the story, proclaimed that he didn’t know what the big deal was because this sort of thing has been going on for years.

Much as the behaviors of Donald Sterling were not new, behaviors that oppress and demean are not new. Women’s voices have long been silenced, as have minority voices, in virtually every powerful mainstream system—politics, governments, organized religions, workplaces—the list goes on. What is new is that there is a groundswell today so loud as to awaken our attention. That something has been going on for a long time does not excuse it. It does not justify it. And it does not forgive those who sit silently by and watch it. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Follow the Feeling

March 15th, 2015

I love the way we talk about spring fever. The term itself connotes some kind of disorder. Then again it may signal heat and passion, perhaps a more apt interpretation for a connection to beauty. Whatever we call it, the gift is to notice the impulse to play hooky from adult responsibilities—and follow it.

As I walked the beach, the wind howled. The sand looked like some kind of desert storm. And above it, still piled feet-high, sits the snow. One footbridge to the beach is still so covered in snow as to hide all the stairs. Another has people sinking to their knees in snow to make it to the beach. Yet, the snow prints of determined walkers mark what will emerge again in spring as access points to the sandy beach. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Stay Alert to Small Signs

March 8th, 2015

Amidst feet of snow much taller than I am, an early sign of changes to come presented itself. And even though it had snowed several hours earlier, the temperatures rose and the sun peeked through the clouds. The thaw was beginning, as snow began to puddle and roads melted to the pavement. And I like to think that spring is whispering its eventual arrival in colder climates, even as it does so more loudly in warmer ones.

This wonderful whisper got me thinking about whispers in our lives that we sometimes ignore until they become a kick in the seat of the pants or state of illness that finally gets our attention. Early changes usually, in my experience, whisper their arrival. They don’t yell. If we want to hear the whisper, we will need to be present, alert, and open. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Experience the Real Thing to Know

March 1st, 2015

Much of the US has been dealing with a barrage of snowstorms this month. Whatever your response to the weather, for me there is an element of beauty, or at least awe, involved. Even in the case of destructive forces, there is something awesome in their power and force.

Today I went for a brief walk. The snow looked so gorgeous from inside. Before I went for a walk, I shoveled the last remnants of snow on the stairs and chopped what ice was amenable to being chopped. Shoveling and chopping ice are deceptive activities, if you are dressed appropriately, because the temperature can feel warmer than it really is.

The cold hit my face and my eyes began to run (which is more than I can say for the pace I was keeping, as I walked). It was still beautiful. And though my initial thought was to give up on the walk and go back inside, I kept going for a brief walk. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Go Beyond to See Anew

February 22nd, 2015

I was listening to a talk by Jill Bolte Taylor, the Harvard brain scientist who suffered a stroke and wrote a book about her experience. She describes, with great excitement and enthusiasm, the experience of watching her brain, as it underwent a stroke. With the fascination of an explorer, she was caught up in what she was hearing and seeing, as the stroke was happening. And today she suggests that her training as a brain scientist probably did not advantage her over others who experience a stroke because she was so fascinated that it took a while for her to call for help.

One of the things that I found fascinating was the word choice she used to describe her experience. When the host of the show referred to her experience of watching herself have a stroke as “terrifying”, she quickly dismissed his description and replaced it with “remarkable.” Her level of insight and learning coupled with her sheer fascination with the whole experience fulfilled her dreams, as a scientist. And she readily admits that if she had the choice to have the stroke or not, knowing what she learned from it and despite eight years of recovery, she would choose to have had the stroke. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Choose the Graceful Act

February 15th, 2015

This past week a disgraced governor and news anchor left their positions, if only temporarily in one case, indicted and convicted by the media. AND we learned about their actions on the news.

Another so-called story appearing under the heading of the news was that Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, was photographed sleeping during the President’s address to the nation. Why is such information considered newsworthy? AND what does it say that NBC news chose to put it on the evening news where less than thirty minutes is meant to highlight what the public needs to know—or otherwise find entertaining? Read the rest of this entry »

AND Live Your Truth with Love

February 8th, 2015

A theme emerged from several events during the past week. The first was that my Dad celebrated his eighty eighth birthday. The second was a sermon I heard preached on living the good life without fame or wide recognition. The third was a TED talk on keeping secrets.

My Dad is a humble and wise man. He has always known that life is about sharing love and what one has to give with others. It’s not about posting events, taking pictures of food and other sources of documenting a life on the internet, or otherwise striving for the now famous “five minutes of fame” Andy Warhol acknowledged as the ambition of many. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Look Beyond the Storm

February 1st, 2015

The Northeast Coast of the US, as well as some inland areas, were visited this past week by a blizzard so powerful, it earned a name—Juno. Juno barreled up the coast causing coastal flooding in some areas, wind speeds close to hurricane level, and snow amounts from approximately eight to thirty inches in targeted areas. Snowdrifts were in multiple feet amounts. It lasted, in some cases, in excess of twenty-four hours. Mother Nature, in all her fury, announced her presence and commanded we humans obey travel limitations, and common sense for venturing outside in temperatures whose wind chills were below zero. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Listen Carefully

January 25th, 2015

I recently met a number of fabulous women at an international conference held in Atlanta for women leaders of women’s colleges. What struck me was the genuine desire to connect and share, the interest in learning from each other, and the diversity of perspectives. Cultural differences lead to tremendous insights, if we are open to truly listen and hear not only the message, but also the context from which people speak.

I loved the lessons on reframing offered by a woman from Ireland, who stood out as the only non-American on a panel. And while the panel was diverse by age and race, it was the cultural component most fascinated me. The panel inspired reflections from a very accomplished leader from India about the issues faced by women in her country and what she has been doing to address them. The desire to support the panel’s information with yet more cultural insights and texture yielded increased richness to the discussion. Read the rest of this entry »