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 »

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 »