The Power of the Pause

The Power of the Pause

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.  

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A Different Kind of Circus

A Different Kind of Circus

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.

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Listen To The Music

Listen To The Music

The dog with the ear-buds, eyes closed, in seeming ecstasy, absolutely stopped me in my tracks.  It was a picture on the cover of a journal (Heaven only knows I don’t need more journals—I have beautiful ones already, and I produce journals for other people).   I was on a mission getting ready for a program this coming week, cruising through Staples with a list of office supplies in my hand.  The dog with the ear-buds was not on the list. I couldn’t leave the store without the picture of that dog, eyes closed, completely engrossed in listening. 

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How Poetry Has Found Its Way Into My Life

How Poetry Has Found Its Way Into My Life

As a group of us are looking forward to a gathering in April focused on the renewing power of poetry, I’ve begun to think about how poetry has found its way into my life, and why it has turned out to be so handy, so practical, so useful.  As a practical, native Michigander from a farming family, poetry has often been far from my mind.  In fact, when a wonderful mentor of mine, John Gardner read my book

The Choice

and said it was a fine policy book on end of life decision-making, but that I was a poet and my poetry should be published, I remember being dismayed at the idea.

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Leading in Tough Times

The question of how to lead people through the uncertainties and fears of tough times has long fascinated me. It is an inquiry which I have carried across all sectors, many fields. So I particularly appreciate the invitation to share with leaders in the field of aging services, what seem to me to be a dozen critical leadership practices for such times.

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Welcoming the Feminine

Welcoming the Feminine
This writing is an invitation to explore territory that is tough, full of uncertainties, confusions

A friend tells me that when there are no words and still we know we must persist, we are in the presence of the transcendent. That is perfect territory for a poet, for whom words are at the heart of the matter, and yet for whom the act of writing is always, like following the tracks of a small animal in fresh snow, an effort to point toward the elusive, the paradoxical, the transcendent. 

I ask you to join me in that process.

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