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 »

AND Let Children Be the Reminder of What Matters

August 14th, 2016

Every summer, the surf creates streams and pools of water that linger on the sand, after the tide has gone back out. These streams and pools show up in different places and are big enough and deep enough to entertain many small children. At any hour, you can walk by and watch little ones splashing away with great glee. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Share the Delight

August 7th, 2016

The sky had just opened and unleashed a powerful storm that swept people off a crowded beach. The rain and lighting were powerful. AND shortly thereafter the skies cleared. A wedding party appeared on the open beach to take pictures.

The men were dressed in military dress uniforms, the women in black gowns. The bride and groom were beaming. The photographers placed the party in different arrangements, as the pictures were staged for perfect shots against the ocean and sky. AND then she took off. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Choose to Hear and See

July 31st, 2016

I have been watching intently and listening carefully to the patterns of fear and angst, anger and judgment arising in our organizations, cities neighborhoods, and political arenas. The escalation of discontent and dismissal of others is inescapable.

The labels are quick. Whatever words are chosen, they classify and quickly allow us to stop looking and listening for what lies beyond, the person hidden by the labels. We use the labels to dismiss others who do not speak as we do, believe as we do, look as we do, marry as we do, and live as we do. We don’t see the people behind the uniforms, color of skin, gender, or religious garb. AND it has to stop. We are more than our labels.

Our unconscious expectations of others are nothing more than our need to feel good about ourselves and our own decisions. Self importance is a sign of insecurity and the unwillingness to look inside at our own vulnerabilities and frailness to see the higher version of ourselves that loves and wants to be loved, and that desperately wants to contribute.

Decades ago, as a naïve assistant professor at a public university, I became the only woman department chair on the campus. The former chair told me to dress more feminine. A man who had been hired the day I had been hired a few years earlier quit because he said he would never work for a woman. The provost refused to call me chair when I requested he not use chairman. I didn’t realize then that people did not see me. They saw a woman in a role and had expectations of her. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Focus On the Light

July 24th, 2016

During a time of political conventions, where the one held in the past week focused on galvanizing around fear and a common enemy, I am struck by the bullying behaviors that show up when people are scared. When fear is the emotion, we are often unable or unwilling to see our own light and the light in others.

Everyone has light somewhere. Some have abandoned their light and gotten caught in fear and anger, often misdirected at people and circumstances they perceive to be blocking the lives they want to lead. That doesn’t mean that the light is gone. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Remember the Intention

July 17th, 2016

This blog has been issued weekly for over seven years. As I reflected on the number of entries and changes in my life during that time, I decided that now would be a good time to reissue the first entry describing the purpose and intention for this blog.

Every so often, I find that if I step back and ask why I am doing something, what I want to get from the energy invested, or what good I might serve by investing energy, it becomes easier for me to let go of what no longer serves and also reenergize myself to invest in what I still value.

For the benefit of newcomers and those of you who have been reading this blog for years, I offer the first edition for your reflection on its usefulness in your life today. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Feed the Light

July 10th, 2016

Anything that happens in our world, at any point of the day or night, is nothing more than an invitation for us to consider investing our energy, dreams, and emotions. AND any unconscious investment of those dreams, emotions, or energy automatically amplifies whatever gets our attention.

Barrages of tweets, name calling, and portraits of a world in turmoil pervade our political dialogue and media today. They individually and collectively issue an invitation to invest our energy in fear and anger. If we accept the way situations are framed by politicians, pollsters, and media, then we, often unwittingly, make the situation more scary and make ourselves more fearful about how bad things are or will be.

Are there events calling attention to the treatment of members of our society that have been wrong for a long time? Absolutely. Will we solve them peaceably and wisely by feeling more scared and imagining how bad things could get? Absolutely not. Investing in fear, rather than in focused and thoughtful reflection about where we want to invest our energy only makes the situation worse. Responding with fear amplifies fear.

A clear-headed response with thoughtful insights about what we want to bring into the world amplifies light and inclusivity. We might ask ourselves, when issued the invitation to choose fear, how else we could respond that would add more light and love. Rather than musing and fussing about a world gone wrong, a political environment that disgusts us, and individual and community lives in turmoil, how might we invest the power of human creativity and light to create the world we want to live in?

As I was writing my blog entry, my friend Valerie sent the perfect illustration of responding to the darkness with human creativity invested in adding more light to this world. I am not the mother of a black son, wife of a black man, or leader dedicated to advancing black men, however, I can still lend the light that is mine to give to one who is all those things, AND one who invests her human creativity to create a better world for all.

I have, with her permission, copied it into this entry on feeding light. Perhaps it will cause you to consider where and how you will invest your light. Read the rest of this entry »

AND We Are Still Part of a Larger Picture

July 3rd, 2016

With July 4 approaching on the heels of Great Britain’s exit from the European Union, I find myself looking at both independence from a larger governing unit and interdependence with other entities. In the quest to grow into our own potential, we learn to stand independent of our families and society in our own values and beliefs. At the same time, we remain connected to the broader family unit, workplace, town, city, country, and world in which we live.

The desire for freedom to become all we can be often breeds a kind of courage that propels us to stand in the face of persecution for those beliefs and values we hold dear, to be misunderstood or worse for taking a stand against conventional wisdom. We are greater together than individually AND the way we choose to be with each other can take many forms and still be productive. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Tend the Garden

June 26th, 2016

In this season of growth, gardens are a beautiful metaphor for our lives, especially our emotional lives. What we water and prune tends to grow. Untended gardens are like unconscious lives. Because we are not paying attention, we may be watering the weeds and blocking the growth of the most beautiful flowers and plants.

One of the most beautiful flowers in the garden is gratitude. Once we choose to look for it in our lives, we find it. AND it grows. With a conscious focus on looking for the things and people in our lives to be grateful for, we recognize the many gifts growing and scattered throughout our lives. AND the gratitude multiplies. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Honor the Fathers In Our Lives

June 19th, 2016

A wise man came to visit me this week. He asked for nothing and appreciated everything. He shared stories and reflections. He basked in the beauty of whatever each moment presented. He relished a walk on the beach. He watched the sun set and the sailboat on the water.

He appreciated a great meal AND a good laugh. He would sit mesmerized at the table, watching the sun dance on the water. AND found just as much delight watching the birds fly in and out of the birdhouse.

He lives in the moment, with gratitude for all that is working in his life. He delights in sharing life with family and friends. He appreciates each special moment, person, or occasion for the unique gifts each brings. Read the rest of this entry »