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 »

AND Cool Off

July 23rd, 2017

On a blistery hot day at the beach, I noticed the variety of activities going on. There were children digging in the sand, people riding boogie boards in the surf, games of catch and Frisbee, and many adults either walking the beach, reading, or playing bocce. AND it was quiet.

People were happy. They moved around each other with nods, smiles, and ease. Any adult walking close to the surf knew to keep eyes peeled for running children who would otherwise drench them on the way in or out of the water. All simply moved around each other gently, often laughing and smiling as they passed. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Choose What to Feed Carefully

July 16th, 2017

Despite a forecast of hot and sticky weather for the day, I found the early morning air to be quite cool. The fog hung heavy at the shore, blocking views from one end of the beach to the other. The sky was a gorgeous configuration of clouds with the sun peeking out at times.

It is quiet and peaceful early in the morning, where the only sounds are made by the sea and the shorebirds. People either greet each with a silent nod of acknowledgment, some form of verbal “good morning” or no connection at all. Lost in their own worlds, many appear deep in thought. Others appear to walk in wonder and awe at the beauty of the surroundings. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Listen for Intent

July 9th, 2017

With so much upheaval in the political landscape, changing business practices and priorities, and life itself bringing its welcome or unwelcome changes, I find myself watching and listening for positive intent. AND with the intention to find positive intent behind seemingly less than desirable behaviors, all of us will find that others and we are often doing the best we have with what we have.

Medical systems in this country can be slow, cumbersome, unwelcoming, and ineffective. AND even within these systems, there are people trying to make a difference, trying to offer care and support. AND while they may be awkward or distant at times, we can recognize a good heart being constrained by the rules of the system. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Choose Freedom Consciously

July 2nd, 2017

With the celebration of United States independence coming up this week, I have been reflecting on the themes of independence and freedom on both a collective and personal level.

Freedom or independence from tyrannical thoughts, repressive behaviors and the like is as important these days on a personal level as on a collective or geopolitical level. The willingness to seek freedom, to look inward courageously at ways we hold ourselves hostage to others’ approvals and judgments, shrinking the brilliance and light we are here to bring is as critical as it has ever been.

Hundreds of years ago the immigrants in this country sought to separate themselves from a regime in England they found imposing. They banded together to create a set of principles and laws for how they would treat each other in this new land, in effect specifying the ethics by which they would live together. Read the rest of this entry »