AND Just One Is Enough to Light the Way

August 13th, 2017

The monarch butterflies used to alight on the ocean and stop at my house on their migration path. A few years ago that all changed. Something changed in their migration path and we are lucky, in any given year, to get one to return.

Yesterday, I noticed two beautiful monarchs in the garden next door. They each lingered on a tall flower long enough for me to pause and watch them. Their beauty is undeniable and the smile they bring unmistakable.

AND I found myself thinking about how each of us can do the same thing wherever we find ourselves in any given moment. We don’t need a crowd to make someone’s day or bring a smile to another’s face. One shining light is enough to bring hope to any dark circumstances. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Also Bring Kindness

August 6th, 2017

I have been thinking recently about what is required to be true to oneself AND live in diverse communities. In a world where anger and blame are levied at those who disagree or say “no” to something another wants, we will need to be clear and at peace with where we want to focus our energy. Being willing to take a stand for those values or beliefs we hold AND accepting that others do not see or experience the world the same way can be a challenge.

What strikes me is that with clarity of intention about who we want to be in the world, a commitment to being the best version of ourselves that we know how to be, and an ability to accept what is, the three things we will need are voice, acceptance, AND kindness. Voice is about standing for who we are and what is important to us, sometimes confronting others who violate those values, and sometimes engaging in uncomfortable conversations so that we are true to what we value. Courage may be required. Clarity certainly is. Read the rest of this entry »

AND We Can Together Create Ourstory

July 30th, 2017

I was sitting with a twelve year old recently. She was telling me of her goal of being elected historian of her middle school class. The word history stuck in my head. I was thinking about the history I studied in school.

The successful flight of John Glenn around the earth did not contain the important facts about how that flight came to be successful. It left out the part about the contributions of African American women, called computers, who enabled the flight. It was their calculations that got the astronaut both in and out of earth’s orbit. It was their talent and contribution that gave the astronaut the confidence that his mission would be successful. A more accurate telling of the story would be about what they and others did together. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Cool Off

July 23rd, 2017

On a blistery hot day at the beach, I noticed the variety of activities going on. There were children digging in the sand, people riding boogie boards in the surf, games of catch and Frisbee, and many adults either walking the beach, reading, or playing bocce. AND it was quiet.

People were happy. They moved around each other with nods, smiles, and ease. Any adult walking close to the surf knew to keep eyes peeled for running children who would otherwise drench them on the way in or out of the water. All simply moved around each other gently, often laughing and smiling as they passed. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Choose What to Feed Carefully

July 16th, 2017

Despite a forecast of hot and sticky weather for the day, I found the early morning air to be quite cool. The fog hung heavy at the shore, blocking views from one end of the beach to the other. The sky was a gorgeous configuration of clouds with the sun peeking out at times.

It is quiet and peaceful early in the morning, where the only sounds are made by the sea and the shorebirds. People either greet each with a silent nod of acknowledgment, some form of verbal “good morning” or no connection at all. Lost in their own worlds, many appear deep in thought. Others appear to walk in wonder and awe at the beauty of the surroundings. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Listen for Intent

July 9th, 2017

With so much upheaval in the political landscape, changing business practices and priorities, and life itself bringing its welcome or unwelcome changes, I find myself watching and listening for positive intent. AND with the intention to find positive intent behind seemingly less than desirable behaviors, all of us will find that others and we are often doing the best we have with what we have.

Medical systems in this country can be slow, cumbersome, unwelcoming, and ineffective. AND even within these systems, there are people trying to make a difference, trying to offer care and support. AND while they may be awkward or distant at times, we can recognize a good heart being constrained by the rules of the system. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Choose Freedom Consciously

July 2nd, 2017

With the celebration of United States independence coming up this week, I have been reflecting on the themes of independence and freedom on both a collective and personal level.

Freedom or independence from tyrannical thoughts, repressive behaviors and the like is as important these days on a personal level as on a collective or geopolitical level. The willingness to seek freedom, to look inward courageously at ways we hold ourselves hostage to others’ approvals and judgments, shrinking the brilliance and light we are here to bring is as critical as it has ever been.

Hundreds of years ago the immigrants in this country sought to separate themselves from a regime in England they found imposing. They banded together to create a set of principles and laws for how they would treat each other in this new land, in effect specifying the ethics by which they would live together. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »