AND Look Again

June 25th, 2017

I have fun coloring the daily calendar on my desk. With an artist’s box of colored markers, I color whatever print is in front of me, if I like it. Recently I paused to notice what coloring teaches me that is different from what I experience when I draw or doodle freestyle.

Coloring in someone else’s picture offers me the chance to decide whether I like others’ lines or not. Sometimes I ignore the picture or coloring-opportunity altogether. If I do decide to color, doing so consciously also reminds me to create me own patterns within the broadest lines possible, and not be trapped by all the details someone else thought would be fun. I get to decide what gets my focus, attention, and creativity.

Ignoring some of the lines reminds me not to just respond unconsciously to what is presented in life. I get to consciously choose what colors I want to add and where I wish to put them. I think of coloring as a metaphor for how we use our energy, insights, and gifts. We are presented many situations to which we may respond and we get to decide how much energy to give to which thoughts, situations, and people. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Celebrate Dads Everywhere

June 18th, 2017

He’s been a dad for over six decades, nearly two thirds of his life. The little boy who rode on the handlebars of his older brother’s bike to get rations during WWII to feed the family, the young man who played and coached baseball, himself pitching a no hitter, the veteran who served in the army during WWII, the firefighter who saved many lives and was a leader in making and fixing toys for children at Christmas, became a dad who worked three jobs to provide for his wife and three daughters.

He’s the man who could not take my telephone call one day because he was on the floor having a tea party with his two year old granddaughter. And he’s the same man who took his grandson with him to fix things on his workbench and learn how to use the tools. He taught his own kids to be thankful for all we had, help others when we could, and find the humor in life. And we were always relieved when Mom told us, after misbehaving, to wait until Dad got home from work for our punishment because we knew he could never keep a straight face. We would get him laughing and that was the end of punishment. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Plug into What Is Life Giving

June 11th, 2017

The greatest gift and contribution any of us might make in a lifetime requires each of us to become the highest version of who we can be AND to invest our thoughts, intentions, and energy in what is life giving. While this may sound a bit like motherhood and apple pie on one hand and out of reach on the other, I believe it is exactly the invitation before each of us every moment of every day. AND I further believe that saying yes to the call produces a life of impact, contribution, inner peace, and joy. AND the invitation is open to all, without exception.

What does this mean? Well, for starters, it means that we must know what thoughts, dreams, conversations, people, and causes fill us up. What causes us to feel connected to inner joy? What makes us feel alive and filled with energy? The answer can be anything from the kind gesture and smile extended to all we meet all the way up to supporting world peace and beyond. Whatever puts a smile on your face, warms your heart, and gives you life is where to focus your energy. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Say It Again

June 4th, 2017

It’s been just over eight years of writing this blog every week. I usually sit down and wait to see what appears. I am laughing because I originally wrote an entry for this week, read it to my friend who gives the thumbs up or down to publish what I write each week, and she told me I had written the same essential message two weeks ago.

So I stepped back to see what wanted expression this week. AND then I realized that rather than writing a new AND, I was being reminded to do something that I have done at least once each year for the past eight years. AND that is, to pause to reprint my first entry from 2009 which explains why this blog is called, “And.” So here it is: Read the rest of this entry »

AND Remember With Kindness

May 28th, 2017

On this Memorial Day, when we pause to remember the sacrifices of those who have fought for the values of freedom and equality, may we also remember those who have returned from war with emotional and physical scars. For those of us who get to live in a country with many rights and freedoms, may we also remember the obligation to participate in creating the conditions at home that embrace and include those who need our help today.

Each of us is in a position to pause to see the person behind the uniform. Who carries the scars underneath? Who might need food, medical care, or a home? Are we creating the society, communities, neighborhoods at home that live the values for which others have given their lives? Read the rest of this entry »

AND Bring Your Inner Sunshine to the World

May 21st, 2017

All week long, as I talked with clients on this coast or the other, I could hear the smiles in their voices. No matter how crazy their worlds, how fearful they are about their organization or bigger political and social issues, they were smiling. Why? Because for the first time in awhile, the sun was out and the temperatures were warmer than they have been for most of the spring.

Think about it! If one day of sunshine can change a life view, produce a level of hope and optimism in a world of hurt, just imagine what a smile, warm greeting, or hug could do to the hopefulness and optimism of people feeling burdened by illness, or less than generous political decisions, corporate behaviors, or family dynamics…every day. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Thank You Mom

May 14th, 2017

Just one Sunday in May to recognize the role of Mom played by women at home, at work, and in virtually every context we can imagine.

Just one full day to pause, prioritize Mom, and acknowledge the sacrifice, love, and challenges she faced when she said yes to serving as Mom.

Just three small letters M-O-M, containing a world of emotion, expectation, and memories.

Our times are desperate for the feminine values of inclusion, deep listening, compassion, and the capacity to hold the long view while dealing with whatever life presents in the moment. AND although the role of mother has been defined by society, religions, and media, each woman, who chooses to serve as a mom, brings her own gifts, perspectives and expectations. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Behold the Beauty of the Moment

May 7th, 2017

Our worlds are always unfolding moment by moment. In our busyness, we often miss the moments because we are so distracted by the voices in our heads yammering at us. Yet, when we consciously choose to breathe and pause to see what is going on in any given moment, we make ourselves present to receive the gift of that moment.

One evening last week, while washing the dishes at the kitchen sink, I peeked out the window to see a gorgeous rainbow emerging through the clouds, lingering over the horizon and appearing to hide behind the ocean where it met the sky. Leaving the windows when the colors faded, I retreated to the living room. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Each Light Has a Role in Lighting the Way

April 30th, 2017

The fog was dense. Trees looked like shadows, vaguely outlined against the thick soupy background. I noticed that the thick fog caused me to drive more slowly and pay more attention to the space immediately in front of the car, since I could not see far ahead of me on the road.

In that moment, I was struck by how life can sometimes be like driving through fog. The headlights are not really much use for navigating in fog. Fog lights, which focus on the pavement immediately ahead, offer the needed clarity to continue, as they light the road just ahead…much like moving forward in life one step at a time. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Look to Nature for Insight

April 23rd, 2017

On a walk past the marsh last week, I could see the beautiful blue heron, as it blended in with the colors of early spring. The grasses are still more brown than green in the marsh and everything is only slightly more colorful than a painting done in sepia ink. Yet with conscious focus, I could make out the majestic profile of the heron against the distant sky.

AND I found myself wondering what this wonderful bird had to teach. The lesson of blending in with surroundings, not standing out while still standing strong seemed a worthy insight from this beautiful bird. Often associated with unconventional logic, since its structure might suggest this bird would have difficulty flying, the blue heron is, indeed, a magnificent sight when it spreads its wings and flies. Yet, it blends in so well with the colors of its habitat, it is free to roam about without much fanfare. Read the rest of this entry »