Deepak Chopra said that what we call coincidence is a sign of being "on path." If so, this is a story about path.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.
I came away from last week's poetry gathering at Kirkridge--Bread for the Journey--thinking of the power of encouragement in the lives of those who love poetry and those who write it.
Eighty-four of us gathered for four days--listening to poets and poetry. And to stories about poets and their poetry. And everywhere were stories of encouragement.Read More
This picture of my rangy blooming cactus servers as a reminder to me that things take time and all natures critters bloom at their own speed. Including you and me.
I can't remember where the cactus came from. Maybe a gift years back. It seems to survive long periods without much water or attention. But it's a gangly thing growing in strange directions with some branches that seem almost broken.Read More
After worrying about not having enough time for everything our group had planned for our agenda--and finding that the retired Methodist missionary women, who knew nothing about the time bind, had gifted me three packets of Thyme seeds (enough thyme/time, you think?)--I began wondering about gifts.
Where do gifts come from? Can we recognize them for what they are? Does the giver understand the power of the gift? And do we realize what we have been given? Especially when we are stressed, or anxious, or rushing about.Read More
Lately I've been thinking about what helps us have a strong voice and a clear perspective about as Oprah says, "what we know for sure". Solitude helps. Time to think. Conversations with wise friends help.Read More
I was in the midst of a recent leadership development program, where we were juggling a complex time schedule and wondering if we had enough time for everything we had planned. We visited a home for retired Methodist missionaries and in the gift bag they gave each of us were three packets of thyme seeds. I loved the pun: plenty of thyme/time. And almost immediately my longtime friend Diane Cory sent me this story. It seemed apt, and I wanted to share it with you.Read More
These past few days I've been at Case Western Reserve University for a huge gathering focused on human and environmental flourishing. It was a celebrational time as the focus was our new book Flourishing Enterprise; the new spirit of business.
The remarkable synchronicity of chance meetings and the joy of seeing old friends was huge for me.
I met wonderful people through my work with poetry and sat with strangers only to find we had heart connections and good friends in common.
Toward the end of the time there I was thanking Bruce Cryer, former CEO of HeartMath, for wonderful comments about the power of the arts as a force for health. He handed me his card and there was the name of his latest venture: What makes your heart sing?