AND Make It Personal

December 10th, 2017

In this day of everything fast and convenient, I am wondering whether we have stopped truly seeing people as they are, and not as we want or expect them to be. When we reach out to communicate with others, do we really pause to see, acknowledge, and think about the method we use to make a deeply personal connection with another person?

How often do we pick up the telephone or use a live video connection to offer help, support, or a listening ear? Do we still prioritize the human connection through voice, when we cannot be there in person, or are we more inclined to send a quick text or email? The thoughtful art of letter writing, sending cards with heartfelt messages, and enclosing notes with packages or lunches appears to be fading or disappearing entirely. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Stand in Your Light

December 3rd, 2017

As the seasons transition from fall to winter, the bright gold and red leaves wither and fall from the trees. The once glorious colors of fall fade. Some lament their loss. Others wait with wonder for what the coming season will present. Either way, the same patterns repeat themselves continuously, as the seasons change.

In the season of now, whatever life is supported, flourishes. AND so, as we enter a time of barren trees and colorless bushes, the balsam, evergreen, stands out. Ever present the fir trees remain green. Yet, in their season of spotlight, they seem to shine brighter and smell even better.

The pine tree is chosen for its greenery to host myriad lights, garland, and other decorations in celebration of Christmas. This tree, that stands tall, provides shade in the summer, branches for birds’ nests in spring and fall, and color in a sometimes-bleak canvas, in the winter.

Like the evergreen, we have the opportunity to stand tall in our light in every season of life. This doesn’t mean that all seasons bring spotlight and celebration. Sometimes we become a quiet place for reflection of others’ gifts. At other times, we stand out. The seasons of our life bring out different strengths and gifts.

All we are asked to do is to bring the best of who we are to the season of now AND stand in our light. AND now is the season to turn on the lights and shine.

AND Really Notice

November 26th, 2017

Recently, I had the opportunity to spend a few days in the company of a brilliant group of women. They came from different backgrounds and countries. They spanned five decades in age and life experience. They came together in a space that used to be the home of a newspaper. AND they created an experience that went beyond words.

What I am particularly intrigued and delighted by, as I reflect on those days together, are the insights and creativity offered in different ways by different women, at exactly the time someone else in the group needed insight. AND I am struck by the different packages that carried the wisdom. Sometimes quiet, other times hysterically funny, sometimes bold, and at other points awkward. All offered gifts. Read the rest of this entry »

AND May We Offer Thanks

November 19th, 2017

As we begin the week of Thanksgiving, one of the least commercial and most deeply appreciated holidays in the American calendar, may we pause to mindfully inventory all for which we are grateful. The pause in our daily lives on this one day reminds us to reflect deeply on the people, experiences, and other sources of nourishment that give our lives meaning.

Nourishment can come in many forms. Food for the soul may be kind words, a shared greeting, beautiful sunrise, or moment of stillness. Light, love, and gentle embrace all nourish the heart. The absence of nourishment may cause anything from food insecurity and starvation on a physical level to emptiness, loneliness, and shrinking of the brilliant light in each of us. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Go with the Flow

November 12th, 2017

A friend of mine once ordered her son a flute to be made by a Native American. The flute was to be a Christmas present. When the gift still hadn’t arrived and the holiday was approaching, she made a call to the artisan making the flute. The flute arrived on time for the holiday.

The son, upon receiving the gift, immediately began to play. Not long after, the flute cracked and my friend again called the artisan. Upon explaining the crack in the flute to the Native American, my friend was told, “I guess the wood did not want to be a flute.” Read the rest of this entry »

AND Then Let Go

November 5th, 2017

Have you ever stopped to notice the number of times you make the same choice on the same issue before acting? And then replay the same topic after acting, questioning whether…?

I have noticed that when looking backward in order to make a decision about how to move forward, my vision gets cloudy. It’s a little like trying to drive into the future by only looking in the rear view mirrors. We could probably move the car forward with great effort. Most assuredly, our brilliance, delight, and perspective are clouded when we look to the past to choose the path to the future. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Celebrate the Mystery

October 29th, 2017

Have you ever stopped to notice the parallels between Halloween and the times in which we live? I was playing with the connections and offer a few to get you started here:

Halloween is celebrated in the dark of night. The whole concept of the holiday is about everything spooky. Definite parallel to our world today and the challenges we face, no?

Trick or treating happens in neighborhoods where children seek something sweet. The people in the house visited either offer a treat or turn off its lights to signal they don’t want to play. One parallel we might draw from this situation is that people who want to give something to others, want to share in a child’s delight, and want to play, have their lights on. We all have the opportunity to find fun and share in special moments when we shine our lights. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Spend Your Energy Wisely

October 22nd, 2017

Have you noticed how important AND is these days?  Remembering to live from and and not but is critical to tapping into a healthy perspective on life itself and our place in it. What I mean by this is simply that our news is no longer much about news or what many of us deem important. As correspondents chase every distraction without thoughtfully asking about relevance to people and the world, as we also learn of weather-related and other human disasters, we find ourselves distracted and barraged with negativity.

AND as we focus on stories of harassment, terrorism, pain and suffering, and the like our ability to remember the goodness and kindness so many experience on a daily basis gets buried. The stories that we find in our social media, television, internet, and other means of digital connection reflect only some of what is going on. Where are the stories of people helping one another after the wildfires and hurricanes? Read the rest of this entry »

AND Look Beyond the Label

October 15th, 2017

I was listening to a podcast that suggested stubbornness might be a critical asset in creating change. That idea got me thinking about what we call stubbornness.

In my experience, the label of stubborn is levied by the one who feels unsuccessful in getting someone else to change her mind or behavior to accommodate the one who wants her to change. In times of shifting priorities or changes to the status quo, whether personal, organizational, or societal, the early leaders are challenged to hold strong when others pressure them to return to conventionally specified roles and behaviors. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Choose to Support Brilliance

October 8th, 2017

I love the autumn colors. The trees show up in their most beautiful colors, much to the delight of leaf peepers. The onset of cool crisp nights, after warm sunny days, supports the changing showcase of color each day.

One other critical nutrient in the process is rain. Without enough rain, the leaves fade and wither before they can show up in their full splendor. They are still beautiful, although understated in their brilliance and boldness. This is one of those years when we have not have had enough rain to feed the leaves in their process. AND the resulting muting of potentially brilliant color has me thinking. Read the rest of this entry »