AND Commence With the New

May 22nd, 2016

In this season of graduation and commencement ceremonies, we celebrate both completions and new beginnings. Though used synonymously, the terms focus differently on either the ending of something or the new beginning, both sides of the same coin.

So often in our lives we become accustomed to what is familiar. Even when a chapter in our lives is clearly complete, many of us try to hold on to what has become familiar. After we complete one grade of learning, we are promoted to the next, graduate to the new learnings and teachings of the new grade. Yet, some of us when faced with the new and unfamiliar, use our energy to resist the flow of life and run back to the familiar classroom and familiar teacher, if only metaphorically. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Recognize the Wise Teachers

May 15th, 2016

Recently, I spent a week with wise teachers. A group of women, individually successful in their careers, came from different places and cultures around the world to learn together. What I loved was watching the gifts of each one emerge at precisely the time those insights and questions were exactly what someone else in the group needed to hear.

As each stretched into her own questions and dreams, she offered points of insight that might be thought of as vulnerabilities, if she were trying to get others to see her in a controlled way. Instead, the value for discovering more about how to live the life of their dreams overcame the performance identity so often rewarded in our celebrity-centric world and shared insights, that might have been called vulnerabilities in another context, became precious gifts for others. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Thank You Moms Everywhere

May 8th, 2016

It’s that time of year again to pause and reflect on the gifts of those in our lives who have served as mom. Whether biological, adopted, or serving in a role that nurtures our growth and development, the women who guide our journeys and remind us to be the best we can be often work tirelessly and without recognition.

Any act of love, whether to bear a child, adopt a child, or give up a child because one is unable to raise that child, is an act of generosity, often selflessly given. Any child nurtured by loving guidance benefits. Whether mother, teacher, relative, godmother, mentor, coach, or other guiding light, the women behind these roles share their wisdom and kindness with each next generation of children, and younger adults. What a gift! Read the rest of this entry »

AND Make Some Beautiful Noise

May 1st, 2016

I had planned to write a blog about the unhealthy political environment invading our workplaces and national news. AND then I took a walk past the marsh to mail some letters…yes, something many of my readers would find foreign!

The sun shone bright. Winds were calm. The slight chill in the air was very comfortable for a walk. The gorgeous music of the songbirds along the path filled the air. I stopped to see whether I could determine which bird was providing the particularly beautiful song at each point on my walk. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Look Around

April 24th, 2016

Have you ever stopped to just notice your surroundings? How do you feel in the place you call home? Work?

I stopped to look at my home a number of years ago and noticed that in more than half of the rooms in the house I had a desk. Clearly my relationship with work was out of balance! Today I still have my favorite writing desk, separate from my office and plenty of space for artwork somewhere else, and I never use that writing desk for work. It holds a story and carries a beauty that makes me smile. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Defy Conventional Logic

April 17th, 2016

As I was walking past the marsh the other day, a beautiful blue heron flew in front of me. The huge wingspan and graceful flight put a smile on my face. Native American lore suggests that this amazing bird is a reminder about not getting stuck in conventional logic.

The blue heron has long spindly legs like an ostrich or dodo bird. Its wingspan can be many feet wide. It doesn’t look as if it is designed for flight, and neither the ostrich nor dodo bird was. AND yet the blue heron flies…and beautifully so.

In the pace of hectic lives, schedules, and multiple demands for our attention, we can quickly dismiss dreams as impossible because logically we don’t see how they could become real. Many people settle for less than fulfilling relationships, whether personal or professional, or less than fulfilling work because they tell themselves that what they want is not rational or logically possible. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Serve at the Highest Level

April 10th, 2016

In so many conversations with clients this week I have been struck by the levels of exhaustion and frustration with the pace and games they experience in their workplaces. Most, not all, of those I have been hearing from are professional women. Willis Harmon, decades ago, labeled women the canaries in organizational settings.

Coal miners have used canaries to tell them when the air in the mine was unsafe to breathe and they needed to get out before they died. When the canaries stopped singing, the men knew to get out.

At one point in the nineties, women started leaving their workplaces in droves and starting their own companies, built on different values, ways of managing, and treating people. They were signaling that ways of working in their workplaces were not healthy AND they were unwilling to serve values and practices they believed hurtful to themselves and other people. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Become New Again

April 3rd, 2016

It’s that time of year again when new birth shows up after the barren winter. The trees blossom with new leaves, brighter than the mature greens they will become. Despite the pollen that makes us sneeze, we bathe ourselves in the smells and colors that are spring, as we smile more and feel more alive in their beauty.

I love that my favorite little red songbirds have returned, although not with their regularity yet, as winter is still exerting its force to hold on, even as spring begins to take hold.

In a time of re-birth, re-growth, and re-turns, we are re-minded of the importance of pausing to ask ourselves where we want to grow. What do we want to devote our emotional energy, thinking, and hearts to, as the season of growth is upon us? Read the rest of this entry »

AND First Heal Thyself

March 27th, 2016

I was listening to a wonderful talk by author Rabbi Kushner. My favorite story that he told was of taking very young children on a tour of the synagogue. He told the children at the end of the tour that there was a wonderful surprise behind the curtain that he would show them when they came back at a later date. Sometime later, their teacher reported to the rabbi what several children thought was behind the curtain.

One thought, much like any good television give-away show, that there was a car behind the curtain. Another declared there was nothing behind the curtain. A third proclaimed that there were Holy Scriptures behind the curtain (accurate, of course). And the fourth children said there would be a mirror. Read the rest of this entry »

AND What Is Also Going Well

March 20th, 2016

If you turn on the news, lead stories are almost always about something not going well. Coverage of our political process seems to emphasize the sensational. The tone is negative. The pace is very fast, hooking us into fear and “ain’t it awful” kinds of scenarios. At the same time, workers report crazy levels of intensity, politics, and sheer pace required to keep up in their day-to-day work, feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.

In a climate of bombarding messages about all that is not going well, we still have a choice. We can pile on and join the negative, allowing the fear and anger to color our worlds. We can choose to resist it, fighting and defending an alternative point of view, denying that the anger and fear are present, while not realizing that we have become just as angry and fearful. AND we have another choice. Read the rest of this entry »