AND Find the Teachable Moment

October 23rd, 2016

As we near the end of a very long election cycle in this country, I am struck by the patterns that play out on a large and small scale, seeming to signal warnings for us to heed. One such observation comes from the third and last debate this past week. It is about our value for learning from those who think differently AND our willingness to stop seeking validation that we are right over discovering whether there is a better way.

We appear to be reinforcing polarized listening patterns in our government, workplaces, personal relationships, and wider society. AND I would submit that we do so because we are engaging them in our individual lives, while our technology feeds the bias. What I mean by this is we decide what we WANT to see and hear and that is what we listen for and that is what we listen to. So, of course, we find evidence to support what we want to hear, to a greater or lesser extent. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Action

October 16th, 2016

In these crazy times when so many things may feel upside down, I find myself thinking about the directives used in filmmaking… Lights! Camera! Action! And I wonder whether they might be helpful with our daily choices in living into the best of who we can be, regardless of the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Again

October 9th, 2016

Nature is such an amazing teacher…constant, present, and waiting for the ready student. What struck me, while driving on the back winding roads filled with trees is the importance of showing up in full splendor, whatever that means for each of us, to greet each day.

In an autumn when the lack of rain has hampered many trees from turning into their full, bold, and vivid colors, a few trees have managed to stand out in a landscape of muted rusts or crumpled brown leafed trees. After noticing the bold ones, I found that they actually create the space for appreciation of the muted ones as well. Perhaps it is also the muted rusts and golds that remind each of us to do the best with what we can and know that that is enough. The invitation is to show up fully and give whatever is ours to give, with no attachment to what anyone else thinks or does. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Welcome What Comes

October 2nd, 2016

It’s that time of year again when one season attempts to hold on, even as it is replaced by a new one. Such a great reminder to us not to resist what shows up in our lives. The warm summer sun is still high in the sky and the beachgoers continue to come to the beach to capture those last warm rays.

Even as the temperatures chill in the evening and early morning, some people arrive with their tents, jackets, and blankets, determined to soak up what remains of the season that is departing. I personally love the invitation of the crisp fall air to breathe in the refreshing newness of the season.

The shore birds gather and linger by the water, before the next season takes hold. I love that the seasons arrive like the tides, predictably showing up and yet showing up in ways that are not quite fully predictable. It is more fall than summer this week. Who knows whether summer will try to issue one last gasp before fading behind the cooler temperatures next week? Read the rest of this entry »

AND Focus on One

September 25th, 2016

I wonder whether we understand what we miss in life when we are so caught up in productivity and results that we miss the power of the individual thought, smile, sunset, or whatever. What would it take for us to make the space in our lives at least once a day to notice one of something?

While walking the beach this week, a single dragonfly fluttered around me and my colleague. When we stopped to notice, the dragonfly actually lit on her scarf and stayed there for a long enough period of time for us to really study this amazing blue insect. It sat less than eight inches from her face. We both had the opportunity to observe the insect’s color, eyes, and droplets of moisture on its wings before it took off. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Cherish the Gifts

September 18th, 2016

My Dad came to visit me for vacation. AND I was continually struck by the magic of moments shared, the beauty of the sunrise, a walk on the beach, and many more moments that remind me what a gift he is in my life.

Each moment stands out like an individual shell on the beach. No two moments were alike. The shared moments of silence were as special as any specific conversation or event.

Good friends visited and brought their own gifts, again in shared conversations, great homemade food, and laughter. Each one was special in its own way. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Tell the Human Story

September 11th, 2016

As I reflect on the fifteenth anniversary of 9-11 and the way the events of that day have changed us, I found some beautiful parallels and insights in the movie Sully. A film that tells the backstory that never really made the press account of the landing of the US Airways flight on the Hudson River, Sully allows us to hear and experience a story, as told from the point of view of those who experienced the events. Not framed by journalists, not accounted for in ways that make a dramatic story focus on heroics. Not interpreted by others telling us how to think about what happened. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Try Another Angle

September 4th, 2016

As I was walking on the road by the marsh, the winds were really strong. I found them to be comforting and refreshing. At the same time, kayakers paddling on the river were facing a challenge. Those same winds, that made walking more pleasurable, were less favorable for those paddling in the current.

I also noticed that the tide had come in and the beach shrank, as the waters crept farther inland. People crowded into a smaller patch of beach until the tides would shift. At the same time, the kayakers were reveling in moving waters, fed by the incoming high tide, able to paddle in the waters that would disappear when the tide goes out. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Trust Your Experience

August 28th, 2016

Can you imagine finding the documented archives of humans in several hundred years? We will have left pictures, videos, and all manner of technological footprint, as evidence of the lives we have lived. Really? Are these photos, videos, emails and the like that document our lives really the lives we are living?

One of the teachings I remember from a strong liberal arts education is the importance of reading the original source and drawing my own meaning from it, rather than running to interpretations and critical writing about the text. There is a big difference in directly experiencing anything and reading about it. Read the rest of this entry »

AND We Only Need to Wake Up

August 21st, 2016

I have long been fascinated by how we respond to loss. Why is it that a loss, whether a relationship, job, health, home, or life is what it takes to wake us up? Why don’t we choose to see the beauty in life while it is right in front of us? Why are we so unwilling to choose living from pure gratitude for what is working in our lives and recognizing the joy that that focus brings every day?

My Mom’s cousin passed away last week. She was a kind woman with an infectious laugh and welcoming way. She was also in her nineties and had lived with Alzheimer’s disease in later life. Her daughter-caregiver always acknowledged that her Mom continued to smile, laugh, and find the good in every day. While the disease may have robbed her of memories, she proved that the essential gift of who she was remained intact, upbeat, smiling, grateful. Read the rest of this entry »