I subscribe to a daily poetry post created by Joe Riley. It’s called Panhala. Because the poems he selects, so often speak to me personally, I find it a good way to start my day. And yesterday to my amazement, the poem to start my day was one of my own about my brother David who builds and rebuilds wooden boats:Read More
This poem was shared on the One Spirit Learning Alliance website yesterday. So, while it appears in The Art and Spirit of Leadership, it also appeared in my inbox. I realize that almost all of my work these days is a relay race, marked by baton passing. And in this handing off of the baton--something greater than the original has the opportunity to blossom. Others can often see the power/value/use in something we've created--a value we ourselves might overlook.Read More
The year's end is often a time of reflection coinciding with the gift of a new year-- full of possibility. So, it is a time of both looking back and looking forward. I came by this poem, looking back through my journal. It is in someways a reflection on the circle conversation that many of us have been involved in over the years. It seemed like the right time to share it with you.Read More
Years back I wrote a poem prompted by something the Dean of our Public Policy school said to me in passing.
Poems have a habit of showing up that way, popping up out of a conversation in the hallway.
But this one was unusual--it had a specific name in the title--"Lunch with Alice." And I thought of it as a love story, and also a story of wisdom about how we choose to spend our moments.
Last week a group of non-profit leaders from elder-serving organizations met here, and one thread that ran through our conversations, was begun by my colleague Audrey, who said that she was increasingly aware in leadership development work that “results are not immediate.” Results come in their own time.
Her words have stayed with me, particularly after watching the closing ceremony of the Rio Olympics. How long people trained to compete at that level! The amount of practice to develop that level of mastery. The quality of coaching. The support of family, friends. “The results are not immediate.”Read More
I realize I am more likely to be orienting to my true north when I take time to breathe, to step back from my sense of rush and urgency, and to consider a long view of what seems like a momentary crisis. To step back and check my compass rather than racing by my clock.Read More
Gifts have been on my mind--both literal giving and receiving but, also natural gifts that we share with the world in a sometimes less obvious way. I am reminded of Michael Jr's Know Your Why and share that video below. I also, share a video of my thoughts on what this means for me and a story of a gift that was given to me.Read More
Sometimes songs go through my head. And stay around, circle around, repeating themselves. Sometimes it's just the melody, and I can't even recall the lyrics. I end up having to hum whatever it is to my musically talented husband. And he comes up with the name of the song, and searches out the lyrics.
I've learned over time to pay attention to those lyrics, just as I have learned to pay attention to a line of poetry that circles around in my mind. To take the words seriously. To mull them over. To be curious about what they might have to teach me. Now.Read More
Here are questions that occur to me after sitting with this morning's poem.
1) life has its ups and downs. Am I able to see the darker seasons as a natural consequence of changes in the "weather" of my life?
2) the Quaker tradition talks of the Light within, that of the Divine within. Whatever my spiritual tradition, Am I able to sustain access to that Light?
I love this season of the transformation of trees. They go through remarkable changes. This picture of River Tree (I have named her that) reminds me of the transformation and how unpredictable is the unfolding of things. River Tree could be described as the offshoot of a tree long gone, that has grown over the creek, and looks most days as if it is about to fall in the water. But never does. Some limbs are leafy. Some bare. The trunk has shoots growing straight up--suckers are what tree people call them. Usually they get trimmed off. But not with River Tree. She is this wild mix of limbs and shoots and sprouts. Hanging out over the water. Yet how powerful, how spectacular the effect of the light of sunset last night on this tree (however you want to think about the Light as a metaphor in our lives...).Read More
Though written in the aftermath of my father's choice to end his life, now twenty years ago, when he was in the late stages of pancreatic cancer, I hope this personal reflection can help and support others as they engage in courageous conversations about what people hope for as they approach the end of life.
The experience and the writing of the book happened a decade before, by chance and good fortune, I began creating leadership development programs for nonprofit organizations that serve elders. So what was a family story for me, now is a much larger society-wide dialogue.Read More
I've been thinking a lot about the work of Carol Dweck about two contrasting mindsets-- the first is the growth mindset where we think that intelligence and other ability is malleable. And if we keep working at it we will do better.
The second is what she calls a fixed mindset--where we think talents and intelligence are pretty much a given. Fixed. And when I hit a setback it means I'm not as smart as they tell me.Read More
Events in recent days--friends mourning losses of parents, conversations about living life to its fullest in the presence of health challenges, and conversations about end of life decisions--all bring back memories of my dad's passing, which I wrote about in my first book, The Choice.
That book was about Dad's decision to end his life with the help of Dr Kevorkian, a choice that my brother and I supported. But rereading the book now, I realize the book is also about the gift, as a daughter, of being included in the conversation about what Dad wanted--which was to die at home.Read More
One of life’s gifts is crossing paths with remarkable people and whether we will see them again or not is always a mystery. Here is a poem that muses about the mystery of the connection and the memories that stay with us.Read More
A few days ago, working with leaders from nonprofits who serve elders, I opened with a poem. When we took a break, one of the executives whose leadership experience before entering eldercare was in the military, asked me "Why don't you leave a moment of silence after you read a poem?"
I was startled. And appreciative of his question. I'm a great proponent of the power of silence--as you can see in the poem of mine that follows--but with poems, especially my own, I have a hard time practicing what I preach.Read More
The first time I saw a Cirque de Soleil performance I was blown away. The beauty of it. The gymnastic skill. The use of colors. The silk ropes. A whole new world.
The second time I saw them I was in Las Vegas for work and saw a performance of Love, a spectacular enthralling experience built around music by the Beatles. It was so amazing I knew it would be worth a second trip to Las Vegas (a city I don't enjoy) just to see it again.
These circus performers were different than those in the traditional circus. And it brought to mind the Greenhouse movement in the field of care for frail elders. The Greenhouses look unlike a traditional nursing home. They are managed by a Shabazim, a person whose role that breaks all the traditions of the older care models--by creating a small homelike setting with a "homemaker" who provides care and connection.Read More
Greetings from the Washington DC's snowstorm's path. It began to snow about an hour ago. We have a fire going in the wood stove, and lots of soup. Flights cancelled. My work trip to San Antonio has been postponed to Monday. And I feel like a kid who doesn't have to go to school.