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 »

AND Look Up

January 18th, 2015

I was on my way to work last week. The air was clear and crisp. As I looked up, I stopped in my tracks. A beautiful pink and blue sky filled all the space above my head. A half-moon was beginning to fade, leaving a white silhouette against this gorgeous backdrop. AND I stopped to appreciate the beauty.

Against the outline of dark pines in the distance, this morning sky greeted me. In the moment of pausing to appreciate the spectacular colors filling the sky, I was filled with peace and gratitude. AND I was reminded, yet again, of the beauty in our world. All that was going on in the news would have never predicted such beauty. AND still, here it was. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Know What You Measure

January 11th, 2015

A frigid air mass covered a large portion of the northern and central states of the US last week. I looked out the window on a day where the weather reports indicated below zero temperatures without the wind chill effects and double digit below zero temperatures with the wind chill factor considered.

At low tide, a considerable swath of sand was covered with ice from where the surf had been when the tide was high. The steam came off the ocean and headed straight up to the clouds, another signal of frigid temperatures. And then I read the outdoor thermometer, placed directly in the path of the sun’s rays. It read 82 degrees! Read the rest of this entry »

AND Every Light Matters

January 4th, 2015

I was reading a book on Maya Angelou’s wisdom that I received as a gift. AND what struck me was the willingness of a gifted writer and teacher to accept her calling and stand in her light.

Each of us is invited, and called, to do the same. The circumstances and events in our lives need not be the fabric that defines our lives. Rather, they are more powerfully the context in which, by which, and through which we are invited to shine. They are the backdrop against which our light has the capacity to do its work in the world, if we choose to stand tall in who we are at the core. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Happy New Day

December 28th, 2014

We really are a fascinating species. Some people worry about aliens visiting our planet. I think if they came and watched us for any period, they would shake their heads and leave!

As we close out the year we call 2014 and ring in 2015, I find myself listening to many people who look forward to the rest they will allow themselves after the holidays. Holidays have become, for many, something to get through, a task list to be managed, something after which rest is possible. We miss the joy of the lights and laughter, special moments shared, and memories created.

We reflect on years as we end one and mark a date on the calendar to start anew. Expecting old patterns to somehow change, we start the exercise and weight loss programs, or other activities associated with health and sanity, only to abandon them as “more important things” distract us from keeping the focus on what we say is really important to us. Read the rest of this entry »