AND We Are Stronger Together

October 1st, 2017

I have been watching what appears to be growing divisiveness in our country and the world. Last week’s news in the US focused on athletes taking a knee during the national anthem and related tweets on social media. While some people became angry on either side of that issue, there was another issue that divided us at the same time. And that was the question of why the news focused on this story when other prominent national and international stories, such as storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, received less prominent coverage.

The BBC published a story about hackers from Russia who had been feeding both sides of the standing vs. kneeling during the anthem story with fake news on social media to feed the divisiveness. AND after I read the story I got to thinking about where and when I have seen the same patterns of divisiveness created by or stoked by third parties and what the results have been. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Trust the Inner Barometer to Light the Way

September 24th, 2017

So many of our large systems today are collapsing or failing under the weight of old leadership styles and lack of diversity at the top. From businesses and universities to health systems, the Equifax breech, and others, we can see the cost of not thinking together about complex problems and allowing ourselves to create new ways of operating in the world.

In an atmosphere of unconscious standards where bigger is better and money rules the bottom line, many people are lost trying to find a place where they feel seen, valued, and able to contribute in meaningful ways. When fear rules, we default to control, the old familiar ways, and conventional thinking about what matters.

AND nothing could threaten our vitality, joy, creativity, and ease with whatever life presents us than giving our power to outside voices to tell us who we are and what is special about us. These times might be just the impetus needed to cause us to ask what really matters to us. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Look to the Heart for Courage

September 17th, 2017

I was thinking about what it takes to live with courage in our times. The word courage comes from the French word coeur, meaning heart. Living from the heart would require us to respond to people and situations in our world with compassion, rather than judgment.

We would need to pause to connect with love and light, rather than judging others harshly. We would be willing to see the pain and suffering of those fleeing their countries and homes of abuse and tyranny, or dealing with the devastation of homes and communities after storms and earthquakes. And we would actually want to reach out and help where we could, with empathy and kindness. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Welcome the New

September 10th, 2017

On a recent drive through the back roads, I noticed a few bright red leaves appearing on the trees. Early harbingers of autumn, they signal the change of seasons in progress. AND I marvel at the consistency of Mother Nature.

As the long summer days begin to decline and the nights grow longer, the temperatures begin to shift. The warm sunny days are often followed by the cooler nights that characterize a New England autumn. They began to appear in the past few weeks and grow stronger each week.

The birds began swarming on the beach last week, as they prepare to leave colder climates for warmer winters in more southern locales. AND I paused to notice how nature signals the changes to come. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Celebrate Those Who Labor

September 3rd, 2017

I love this time of year when the beaches go quiet, the shore birds run freely, and the warm days give way to cool nights. As we greet the new season, Labor Day presents itself as a kind of unofficial mark of the end of summer and the beginning of fall. AND Labor Day is a good time to reflect on those who labor daily to provide for their families, care for others, teach a new generation of future leaders, and generally make life special for those they serve.

One of the people who stands out for me is a wonderful woman who works very early hours at a bakery in a local seaside town. She is always smiling, and willing to play with me by joking about the calories in the delicious goods and the miles needed to walk them off. People like her remind all of us that we build communities together with warm greetings, playful banter, and an appreciation for what each other does to make the day a little more fun, and the connection more personal. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Make Each Moment Special

August 27th, 2017

The convergence of the solar eclipse with market opportunities to sell glasses and memorabilia and people’s desperation to share in something special with people we love created the perfect storm for us to celebrate something positive together. The opportunity presented itself. People saw what the opportunity could be, prioritized it in their calendars, and made the moment special.

AND the solar eclipse was going to occur whether we paused to notice it or not. So… Now might be a good time to pause. What would we create together if we devoted the same kind of attention to looking for and finding what is special every day? In every shared “hello”? In every conversation? In every sunrise? Read the rest of this entry »

AND Choose Wonder

August 20th, 2017

Again this week, I was struck by the power of one single monarch butterfly to issue the invitation to get out of my head and any heavy thoughts and follow the beauty and wonder of this tiny gift in our world. The feeling of glee that comes from joining in the butterfly’s freedom and dance is magical. Children know this.

The child’s wonder and awe connect us with the beauty and joy that exist in our world. They don’t usually make the evening news, although reporting on wonder would do more good for our world than what we report on today. AND we all have access to states of wonder and awe. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »