The Work of Many Hands

The Work of Many Hands

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:

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The Handoff

The Handoff

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.

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Lunch with Alice

Lunch with Alice

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.

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Leadership Development: “results are not immediate.”

Leadership Development: “results are not immediate.”

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.”

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Find and Know Your Why

Find and Know Your Why

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.

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Don't Go Changing

Don't Go Changing

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.

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The Trees Remain the Same

The Trees Remain the Same

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?

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Limbo or Transformation?

Limbo or Transformation?

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...).

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An Alive Conversation on End of Life Wishes

An Alive Conversation on End of Life Wishes

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.

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