AND Find the Courage to Pursue Your Dreams

March 19th, 2017

I have spoken with several women, in the past weeks, who have either left or are in the process of leaving big jobs. All of them are primary breadwinners. Some have been at their companies for more than a decade. All talked about the pain of leaving unrealized dreams at their companies.

I have also talked with many who are underpaid, passed over for promotions after making major contributions, and working more hours than their health will support. AND as I reflect on the dreams and dilemmas, the words courage and devotion keep appearing. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Sing Your Song

March 12th, 2017

One recent chilly morning, I looked out the window to find four of my favorite little birds sitting on the deck rails singing. Oblivious to the lingering winter that periodically dumps the big storm and then vanishes, these little birds took their place on the railings and caused me to smile and stop what I was doing.

Their red heads and pinkish-red breasts add color to an otherwise unremarkable grey plumage. AND their song is just beautiful. No matter what thoughts or worries about shoulda, coulda, and woulda beens might have been in my mind, I was pulled back to the present. AND in that moment I celebrated with gratitude for the humble little finches that chose to grace me with their presence. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Rise to the Occasion

March 5th, 2017

I was thinking of the expression rise to the occasion recently. Watching contestants on The Voice give the best they have, pouring their dreams into their performances, and listening to them declare the music profession to be their ultimate dream caused me to think about what we mean by the phrase rise to the occasion.

It is easy to get buried in the moment of overwhelming workloads or immediate personal pain, whether emotional or physical. The moment can be overwhelming, as we tell ourselves a story about our pain or troubles, and then look for immediate consolation or relief. As powerful as the pain of any given situation may be, and as powerful as the desire of immediate relief in whatever form is available, we are also invited to rise above the pain by asking ourselves and what else is true? Read the rest of this entry »

AND Trust Your Direct Experience

February 26th, 2017

A week after shoveling snow and finding the plow had piled it way over my head, I looked outside to find a beautiful blue, cloudless sky. The weather reports were for temperatures in the high 40’s and low 50’s F, which I took to be quite mild for winter. My car registered 55 degrees F. So I decided to go for a walk.

Based on outside guidance, I abandoned my winter jacket for a lighter fall jacket over a wool sweater. I wore no hat or mittens. AND when I walked, I was cold! The air was cold. My hands were cold. I buttoned my jacket to the top and turned my collar up. I walked more briskly. AND still I was chilled. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Stop for a Moment

February 19th, 2017

Two different streams of thought from two wildly different sources came together for me. In one case, during the course of a conversation with a client, I was struck by her description of a group of people who “have more money than time.”

The description brought me back to how we choose to invest our precious life force. In the willingness to work hard and do well, we may get caught in seductive thinking that causes us to lose touch with how much is enough. And when we do, we unwittingly delegate the activities of maintaining our lives to others.

Now while there is no inherent problem with having others wash our cars, clean our homes, landscape our lawns, paint our houses, shovel our snow and the like, I am struck by how much we lose touch with physical activities that are a part of the lives we choose for ourselves. And the ability to delegate these things usually takes money. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Feed the World Some Love

February 12th, 2017

Valentine’s Day is a good reminder to send flowers, chocolate, and make time to let others know you love them. For that matter, any day is a good time to let others know that you love them. (I would also vote for the chocolate being sent every day.)

The beauty of love is that all of us have it encoded in our hearts. The question is whether we will feed the love instead of the fear. Will we stop our routines to love and serve the vulnerable and rejected? Will we feed the hungry and overlooked members of our communities? Will we choose to celebrate the pure love in the face of each new baby, and remember that that is who we once were? Read the rest of this entry »

AND Invest Your Energy Well

February 5th, 2017

I came across the following quote by Mary Schmich last week that says,

Families are ecosystems. Each life grows in response to the lives around it.

As I was reflecting on what is going on in our country in terms of leadership decisions at the federal and local levels and in our large corporations, this quote took on more importance. Families refers to more than our biological families. It may help to think more broadly of the term, as it also refers to colleagues at work, neighbors in our communities, and more extended networks. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Honor the Man

January 29th, 2017

This week I want to pause to introduce you to a man I honor and celebrate. He is a man who lives from his heart. He has helped countless numbers of people in all kinds of ways, and he continues to look for the best in people, no matter the circumstances.

He is a wise man, who loves nature and its beauty. He is at home in his garden and may need to be reminded that the sun has set and he needs to leave the yard and garden for the next day, when it is light again.

He hasn’t used his oven since his wife passed away, instead preferring to store small bags of chips in it, as treats for neighborhood kids. He makes homemade soup, having taught himself to cook. AND he doesn’t make one quart. He makes six or seven or more to share with neighbors. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Celebrate Excellence in Its Many Forms

January 22nd, 2017

The Connecticut Women Huskies basketball team surpassed a record last week that no other basketball team, men’s or women’s, has ever surpassed. AND they then surpassed the record again in the next game. AND the major radio and television networks never covered the games, talking instead about the upcoming, not-yet-occurring men’s sporting events.

Are we afraid of excellence in this country? Do we prefer the come-from-behind victories where the best team is toppled by the underdog over the continuous wins of an excellent team? Why are the Cubs a feel-good team and their win deservedly celebrated for days when the number one women’s basketball team is pushed aside and not given the same attention? Read the rest of this entry »

AND When You See, Share the Gift

January 15th, 2017

In support of making 2017 a year to find ways to transform darkness into light and shine light wherever we find ourselves, I was particular struck by something that happened at The Golden Globes last week. If you missed the show, there is a wonderful thirteen minute piece on YouTube documenting what I write about below.

Meryl Streep was selected to receive a Life Achievement Award for her brilliance as an actress over the course of her career to date. AND the person who presented her to those in attendance was the actress, Viola Davis. Davis told a story of working with Streep on a film, of admiring her while being simultaneously intimidated by her talent, and of wanting to say something to Streep at the time and of not doing so. AND she chose to use the Golden Globes’ moment to share the Meryl Streep that she had seen then and sees today. Read the rest of this entry »