FINDING GRATITUDE IN HOPE.

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Leela ‘the Actor’ GSD & Mowgli the ‘Director’ ISD (Indian Street Dog)

TIMING

Today is Sunday. Two days until the turn of a new year. It is sunny this morning north of Seattle. Just me in a quiet house in a quiet neighborhood and two sleeping dogs. One that looks ‘wolfy’ and one that Embark said is 1.5x more wolfy than most dogs. Naturally he is the smaller one. We are peaceful. We have trust in our safety in a well insulated house, crisp with recent sheets of rain. We are as warm as we wish to be. We are fed and have water. 

As the dogs sleep, I laurel in the open calendar and free time to write. To create a report that recounts months of work into digestible chunks that are also palatable. I am enthused while also overwhelmed. A normal feeling that goes with the time of year, the day of the week and generally post any large project.

Yet I would be diverted. There it is the open page of the dog-eared must-read article, albeit from October. Waiting patiently since early last week for me to opt in during a bio break. (This, my latest tactic to try and get through my favorite magazines and it is working quite well.)

“Hope is a sometimes cranky optimism, trust, and confidence that those I love will be OK—that they will come through, whatever life holds in store. Hope is the belief that no matter how dire things look or how long rescue or healing takes, modern science in tandem with people’s goodness and caring will boggle our minds, in the best way.”Anne Lamott, Oct 2018 Nat Geo

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National Geographic open to an important diversion (en mi baño.)

With my self-assurance off the charts, unreasonable optimism and constant energy forward, I feel like I have a fair amount of hope. It is part of the ‘there isn’t anything I can’t tackle’ mantra. I’m often times bewildered, a little irritated  and even dismissive when people in my life express sky-is-falling impressions. ‘Of course the sky is going to fall someday but it isn’t falling yet.’ Or ‘What are you doing to help the sky not fall?’ Or ‘What about this Joe? His sky is falling much faster than yours is and he is still pushing upward and forward.’

HOPE LIST

This year my optimism and hope have been challenged and I have seen others’ challenged as well, even for those of us self-assured and positivity-driven. Anne’s listing of hopeful events stirred thoughts about my own observations of hopefulness. If only to intentionally recognize them. To be hopeful and as a result also grateful. Here are some that have me especially hopeful: 

  • People are living with cancer. My Dad is one of them. Years of battling Non-hodgkins Lymphoma including nearly a year of C-Diff, he remains humble, kind, caring and as ever, more concerned about others. He has no anger about the likely chemical-based culprit that caused his illness during his many ranching years. He knows that what is unknown is his reality. Yet he hopes. He loves his work of running a commercial-sized excavator. He keeps his average up in bowling and is faithful participant in two local lodges. He loves his partner of many years and he loves the dog he shares with her. His hope is keeping him positively going one day at a time. 
  • Cancer doctors are patiently and compassionately working with puzzles of options. They are hopeful in how they address the commonly occurring patterns to uniquely presented symptoms and responses. Dr. Bociek at UNMC and Dr. Bjorling at Regional West Health have hope and give Dad hope. They aren’t without realities but as seasoned oncologists are here to keep things in balance while also moving them forward. They are irritatingly patient. They like my Dad too. 
  • Social Impact endeavors and innovation in civic governance are emerging all around the communities in which I live and work. This gives me hope that awareness, call to action and optimistic change is happening. The Social Enterprise Alliance and the organizations it collaboratively elevates as new models of intersecting social with business, gives me hope. Leaders across these hybrid business models redefined business-as-usual during my time on the local board. They are humbly crafting solutions that empower those lost to a traditional system of systems – the blind, the incarcerated, the homeless and the differently-abled. And have been doing so for decades.
  • Empowering people at risk or those teetering in the gap between success and loss, define some of the most innovative solutions in our community. Sue and Roz at What’s Next Washington are building a system to support the formerly incarcerated. One that educates and advances a talent pool completely overlooked by a system constrained by archaic human resource practices. They are giving hope to those at complete dead ends to reinvent themselves – by rewiring the constructs so we can enable talent that has grit, humility, determination and gratitude. How does a young spirit retain the innocent hope they are born with if they don’t have a warm home? Washington Kids in Transition gives homeless kids hope and that gives me piles of hope. This organization is helping to keep hope alive.
  • Teaching Business Strategy at Presidio infused me with hope. It was the change-making students that challenge everything about everything that gave me hope. Their hunger to hear. Their hunger to learn. Their willingness to develop a growth mindset amidst a sometimes naive but immensely hopeful future view of the world that is vastly different than the one they are living in. The trust they have that they can change the word, the belief they have in themselves all give me hope. I remain hopeful that the three core foundational roots of Pinchot’s legacy will eventually infuse the long-term strategy of the school. Roots of:  deep diversity of thought including strategy for conscious impact, bold approaches to learning models, and intensive investment in leadership development.
  • Business leaders in non-profit and for-profit organizations who refuse to accept the status quo associated with past models and practices give me hope. As partners to them we can shift the lens on what success means to new sources of value and new measures of value. I have hope that business for good is slowly surpassing business as usual. Our partners in our consulting and their measures of impact give me hope. The potential impact we are on the hook to help our client partners realize, gives me hope.
  • Organizations that are integrating this new movement collectively and catalyzing faster connections and more meaningful change give me hope. Conscious Capitalism where my business partner Kori has invested time and leadership and Nation Swell a new space for me to engage in, are both examples of public/private intersections of innovative change.
  • The animals in my life ground me in the moment. In their appreciation and joy for life. They give me hope that at the end of the day we can chose to just appreciate those we are with. 
  • International organizations like OI Pejeta Conservancy, that create awareness, advocacy and conservation for the earth’s animals, many endangered, give me hope.  Sudan, the last northern white rhino has left a legacy of daughters and the possibility of raising more in the future. National Geographic is part of this final point of hopefulness I see today. Creating awareness about how people and animals live, thrive, suffer and evolve in all parts of the world.

TENSION OF POSITION

Having hope doesn’t reduce or ignore the crimes on human and animal existence. These are all complicated issues or wicked problems. Projects of possibility and hope create a parallel way forward amidst harsh and heart-breaking realities.

There is a place for protest, for anger, for putting a stake in the ground. It is also crucial we carve a path forward amidst the harsh realities. I’m often in the minority group that wants to innovate the next action, to challenge for all perspectives and to bring light to see the other side so we can more quickly realize shared understanding. Am rarely if ever in the group that is calling out the inaction or the bad action. Spending any time in that critical space depletes my ‘self-assured’ way-forward energy. From this forward energy, hope is released creating connections, possibilities and eventually solutions.

“Shared understanding means that the stakeholders understand each other’s positions well enough to have intelligent dialogue about their different interpretations of the problem, and to exercise collective intelligence about how to solve it. The best way to grasp shared understanding is to consider what happens when it is missing.” – Jeff Conklin, CogNexus Institute

CHANGING VIEW

My reader glasses remain at a +1.50 and have for the past decade. I am hopeful this slow pace of decline continues as I can handle incremental increases. Should things continue without life-alteration, I begin a new decade of life on earth this May. As with my readers, I hope to continue to refine and hone my view on living life, incrementally adding a half plus every so often. That the decline is in my pace – to take pause in what gives me hope. To use that path to reconcile all that there is to be grateful for.  This list gives me focus for this new year. Maybe you will make your list and continue Anne’s inspiration. 

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.  – Robert Fulghum

 

PostScript #1: While there is always so much to be done, to take time to think, to make connections, to write about those, means that we get time back. We get grounded and that informs all that work that is still there waiting. Make your ideas a priority and your tasks secondary to that. I have struggled with this awaiting the perfect time or the clear calendar. Those two will never arrive and certainly not together! 

PostScript #2: I love NatGeo more than ever. The reporting of human and animal life. The stories embedded in the reporting and the photography that brings us closer to every story. Consider sharing a subscription with a neighbor. Or maybe the library is convenient for you. This is a magazine that gives me hope. I can see why there is alignment to Anne’s perspectives she brings the world.

Mutt Mornings in Mountain Air

With yelps of anticipation, we approach the park.

The one for canines. And with a beach.

Morning duties are the first order of business. It’s ‘my’ park this morning. Too early, too cold for the ‘General Joe’! However, we hear barks in the distance. Just off the coast.

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Never mind that water-based dog. Let’s get this frisbee swimming business started!

The Sounder trundles by carrying our other human family member to his city. Wonder if he sees us playing? Wonder if he sees the sea dogs?

 

It is peaceful again. The waves, the water barks, the land barks demanding the next toss. The snowy covered mountains. The sun rising from the normal spot.

 

Crisp. Small. Wet. Life. Breath.

Synchronicity of Spring

Last Thursday the apple blossoms bloomed on 3rd Avenue. The same morning the birds were singing about 15 minutes before dawn of day. 

Giggs, Morguefile.com

This week we finally reach the 50’s during the day with some consistency. The sun-breaks are more frequent and the chill in the air is less so. 

After one of the wettest February’s on record, March has continued with a competitive and name-sake spirit. Downpours without notice. That make me reconsider the decided brilliance in adding skylights to our MBR during our remodel this past Fall. 

The push to go to validate the monthly gym membership 3-4 days a week seems to be less of a push. In fact, my opposition to even set foot in a gym after work has been challenged with two evening classes in row this week. Albeit they are only 30 minutes so the incentive is there.  (Each have kicked my ass properly.) 

The inclination to shed the extra 6-8 pounds I have only once ever lost, has resurfaced with a newfound belief in possibility. 

So the blossoms, the birds, the extra sun all bring a new energy. Optimism. Hope. Possibility. Happiness. 

Anne.

The first song played on my shuffle today.

Grew up listening to Anne Murray. Could sing every word of every song. As a teen I got to see her at Vegas dinner show with my parents. She is a brilliant and self-deprecating entertainer. I remember learning about how expecting a singer to just sing was a silly notion. She made us laugh and think.

I hope you take a listen to Anne’s rendition of this legendary song by Bill Withers.

“I write and sing about whatever I am able to understand and feel. I feel that it is healthier to look out at the world through a window than through a mirror. Otherwise, all you see is yourself and whatever is behind you.”
— B.W.

LEAN ON ME Lyrics

Sometimes in our lives
We all have pain, we all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow

Lean on me when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need somebody to lean on

Please, swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you won’t let show

You just call on me, brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need somebody to lean on

You just call on me, brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

If there is a load
You have to bear that you can’t carry
I’m right up the road, I’ll share your load
If you just call me

Call me (If you need a friend)
Call me (Call me uh-huh)
Call me (When you need a friend)
Call me (If you ever need a friend)
Call me (Call me)
Call me (Call me)
Call me (Call me)
Call me (Call me)
Call me (If you need a friend)
Call me (Call me)
Call me (Call me)
Call me (Call me)
Call me (Call me)
Call me

Food. Appreciated.

I walked through PCC Market (a 1%’er grocery store) today feeling a bit pouty about all of the things that are not on my ‘Ludwig’ low-carb plan. I was hoping to find some new, cutting edge organic products made from beans or vegetables to fulfill my craving for the carbs that I am trying to forget.

Almost as quickly as I felt remorse I felt happiness and deep sadness at the same time. I was reminded of my Mother’s deep appreciation for food. How she would watch the Food Network with complete joy. This while she was unable to eat any food at all. With hope that she might someday eat again. The virtual recollection of tastes, textures, and smells of cooking and baking. We used to shake our heads and suggest a channel change while tending to her TPN and changing abdominal dressings. She would chuckle and ask for her notebook to jot down recipe ideas or a chef’s name.

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Mom. Billie.

There is so much to share about my Mother’s life and her death. In time. For now, I am thankful that I have the access to quality food and that I have my health to choose what I eat when I desire. I am most thankful for the appreciation for cooking and baking that she instilled in me as a young girl.

My first allowance was as a pre-teen helping her prepare 3 meals a day for our hired crew on the ranch. A full breakfast every morning at 6am. A proper mid-day dinner when the cutting of meadow hay was at the ‘home place’. Proper = a meat of some sort (if beef or chicken – home raised, and grass fed/free range), potatoes of some sort (often garden produced), vegetables (fresh or canned from garden) of some sort, salad of some sort and a made from scratch dessert of some sort. And of course a proper supper. (No left overs and same item categories as dinner.)

Tonight I was more humble about what I prepared. It also seemed like the flavors were stronger than they have been in the past. Might be my carb-dependent taste buds are finding a new normal. Might also be my mind was focused on Mom and how she taught me that food centers our health and well-being. She gave me a virtual reminder today and I am appreciative.

Day 3 Began Today. A Food Addiction Unravels.

I have a home office. With access to my kitchen therefore. We didn’t hide/toss the kettle chips, kind bars or Pumpkin Spice Almonds. We did fill our fridge and pantry with good protein (some less good), good fat (some less good), fruits (non tropical) and veggies (non starch.) So everything I grabbed yesterday fit the new bill.

After lunch I learned that my good carbs were a bit higher than the goal of 25% so I had Feb1-AHto adjust my snack in the afternoon and consider my fruit for the balance of the day. Veggies would have to be my ‘go to’ snack and satisfier.

Definitely I had cravings. For the things I am so used to having. Even the small quantities of items I have come to rely on, have had a place in my needs.

It is a bit more difficult for me to go to sleep. Typically I am asleep within 10 minutes. Once asleep however, the past two nights have been restful (according to my Hello sleep pill.) Last night I felt a bit of hunger (low blood sugar) and significant RLS (restless leg syndrome) which used to be common for me and now is only when I am dehydrated or out of whack. Likely I am out of whack. Tonight I’ll eat a bit more for dinner. I am happy to be patient with this ‘reset’. Overall I feel lighter – less ‘heavy’ and I know that as this proceeds, I need to consider what I won’t eat again. Ever. I like that part of this process and approach to this ‘project’.

Those Pumpkin Pie Spice Almonds from CostCo really are beginning to lose their luster.

Day 1: My New Relationship With Carbs

Today I had only fruit and vegetable derived carbohydrates. Yesterday I had mostly only fruit and vegetable derived carbs. I’m certain I eat too may ‘bad’ carbs.

I can’t remember a time when I haven’t had an unhealthy relationship with carbs. Even after becoming gluten (15 years ago) and soy (5 years ago) intolerant, I have only replaced what I used to eat with new starchy, sugary inventions by our consumer-based food marketplace. I absolutely do crave grains, potatoes and breads. I would not have admitted it however. I eat reasonable amounts, I manage moderation and am only about 5 pounds over-weight. I never eat more than about 10 potato chips to accompany my tuna salad or 14 corn chips to make my aged cheddar nachos, or 1 slice of my ancient grains gluten free bread with sunflower butter. As part of my intolerances, I have come to justify gluten free carb-heavy happiness! French fries are at the top of that list. (With an abnormally low cholesterol level to add some reinforcement.)

As with any food we enjoy with ‘staple’ consumption, we tend to realize our addiction only when we consider not having it. I have been caffeine free for 3 out of the 5 years we have lived in Seattle and regularly take chunks of time out from regular alcohol consumption. These things compare as easy relative to my cutting out the non-fruit/veg carbs. File_004

My husband heard Dr. Ludwig speak on a podcast and so I read his book: ‘Always Hungry‘. Today, we started his plan – an eating reset. Not a diet in my take as you adjust to what works for your body. Forever. Your intent is to manage sugars, stave off diabetes if that is of concern, and achieve what is a normal weight for you. By design you allow fat cells to do what they were intended to. Not find refuge in your body. This isn’t Adkins or SouthBeach and he speaks to the similarities and differences.

The first two weeks of the Ludwig Food Reset: 50% fat, 25% protein and 25% carbs, daily. No sugar. (With the exception of a small amount of 70% or higher dark chocolate.) No alcohol. No grains. No high starch vegetables. We are retraining our fat cells to do what they are supposed to do. File_002File_003

Tonight we had an eggplant parmesan lasagne with chicken, fresh basil and zucchini. I substituted chicken for soy and romano for ricotta. Strawberries for me for dessert and grapes for my husband. Lots of water today and a cup of tea and a cup of decaf.

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It was a bit of a challenge for me today. Day 1 is done. I am ready for a good nights sleep. I  know the next 13 days will be a reset that won’t hurt anything and certainly will help me be a more conscious and balanced eater without my ‘staple’. I expect I’ll confirm a ‘zone’ of dependency that I thought was comfortable but it reality is was anything but.

 

 

To Tidy. Vision, Why, Best Take-aways.

The Lifechanging Magic of  Tidying Up by Marie Kondo was the most influential book I read in 2015. 

Vision

Marie asks you to set a ‘vision’ for your process of tidying. Here is mine (shared mostly for me and my record:)

  • Zero house work to do – when I arrive home or on the weekends. 
  • Inviting living space of quality, meaning-filled items. 
  • Foster intellectual-based or quality interactions with others, including the dogs and cat.
  • Place for relaxing, for peace, for being present; a place of calm.
  • Chairs, books, plants, carpets; ease to just be. 

Why

Marie asks you to answer ‘why’ you want to tidy your home and life? Some of this is similar to the vision: 

  • Zero work to always be doing. 
  • Free from pulling and procrastination that tidying creates and fulfills. 
  • Always ready to have people ‘in’ or invite folks over. 
  • Enjoy company of others because proud of surrounding environment.
  • Enjoy interaction with spouse and pets because clutter and pressure of mess is not present. 
  • Can relax because there is not a house to clean or tidy. 

Best Take-always

These are the best takes always from the book. Most of them are focused on preparing to tidy. 

  1. Consider the ‘things’ you truly cherish. The things that bring you joy. Those that speak to your heart. 
  2. I held onto things thinking that I was wasteful getting rid of them. 
  3. Make decisions by category, not ever by room. Put everything in that category in the same place on the floor. 
  4. You choose what to KEEP vs. what to THROW. This is a difficult one to remember. 
  5. Handle each and every item. Does it give you a thrill of pleasure when you hold it? If no, then you do not keep.
  6. There is a sequence of big categories – 1. Clothes, 2. Books, 3. Papers, 4. Miscellany, and 5. Mementos. 
  7. There is a sequence to sub-categories: Clothes – a) tops, b) bottoms, c) hanging (with the goal of reducing these to only dresses and suits!), d) socks, e) underwear; Books – a) general, b) practical, c) visual, d) magazines; Misc – a) bags, b) accessories, c) specific function items and d) shoes last. 
  8. Papers – there should be none or minimal need for papers; create a spot where they MUST be dealt with, one spot only; create a small vertical file for – a) currently in use, b) limited need, c) must be kept. 
  9. Greet your house. This seemed a little hokey to me at first but it creates a connection to your ‘things’ and forces acknowledgement of your connection and lack of to your home. If you are not connected, then there is a problem? So now I am all for making the inanimate, antimate! 

Parts of the book were a bit radical in expectations and points. However, I can appreciate that Marie has come from a lifetime of working with people in this realm of living life. So didn’t let that distract my ability to improve my own tendency, mostly learned, to be a saver and a nook user. 

The ingrained scripts of ‘you might need that someday’ or the feelings of emotions to things that I don’t really necessarily love but feel like I should, we’re all challenged by this process. We got rid of bags of clothes, boxes of books and many more boxes of other things. I don’t miss any of them

I do feel this is multiple phase process. I think it is good to give yourself permission to go back through your things and do this again. To practice being tidy. 

This has changed the way I think about other aspects of my life – not just my things but my decisions, my investment and use of time. There is a clear link to purpose and passion for living life. There is reconciliation of your past – the ways that your parents influenced you or that having certain things but maybe not others that you do now influences you. There is also the anxiety about the future and how decisions are made about purchases. 

My husband read this book right after I did. I appreciate his reminders of accountability and his support for decision-making that doesn’t harness us in things that make us messy. And at times, I do the same for him. 

What we surround ourselves with is at one time noted as a need or a desire or a comfort. When those things become a barrier to comfort, it is a good exercise to ‘liberate’ them to a new home and space. Consider where you get rid of things mindfully and then consider how they affect your quality of life, giving and space by holding onto them.

Music, McCall, Mannheim and Memories

I grew up listening to C.W. McCall. I also grew up listening to Mannheim Steamroller. In very unique ways they ‘take me back’ to the days of my youth.

“Ah, breaker one-nine, this here’s the Rubber Duck. You gotta copy on me, Pig Pen, c’mon? Ah, yeah, 10-4, Pig Pen, fer shure, fer shure. By golly, it’s clean clear to Flag Town, c’mon. Yeah, that’s a big 10-4 there, Pig Pen, yeah, we definitely got the front door, good buddy. Mercy sakes alive, looks like we got us a convoy.” C.W. McCall, Convoy

We used to sing along in the best raspy voices we could muster. All of his songs were catchy stories. 1975 was a year of simple ranch living and fun country songs.

While the style of music wasn’t always so rockin’ (with the exception of Elvis and there was a lot of Elvis) the volume of music was frequently rockin’. Mom wanted to hear it throughout the long, stucco ranch home. Dad just liked to feel the music pound into every part of him and the living room. This became especially easy with the invention of the cassette and eventually the compact disc. Finding a song on an LP or worse an 8-track and playing it was not a quick event and once you did get it playing, there was a commitment to hear the entire thing.

A year earlier another iconic style of music would come to define the weeks leading up to the Christmas holiday.’Joy to the World‘ had never been so modernized and maybe had never been so moving as it was when Mannheim Steamroller released their version. Mom loved their music. I can smell the baking dinner rolls, taste the ho

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Mannheim Steamroller, Everett WA 2015

me made caramel and feel the warmth of our wood burning stove as Mannheim rolled through Christmas song after Christmas song – all defining the holiday for years to come.

It’s been 40 years since Mannheim introduced to a contemporary version of Christmas hymns.As a Nebraska ‘company’ they always play in Omaha on Christmas Eve. When I am far far away in western Nebraska’s Sandhills. Mannheim tours the country during the weeks leading up to Christmas. For the first time, I was able to go to a live concert in a town near our Seattle Suburb. And we did. To prepare my husband for what we were about to hear, I shared some information about Chip Davis. A fascinating career journey, Chip Davis worked with C.W. McCall. Well, he wrote the music and co-wrote some lyrics for this invented character that was part of an ad agency marketing jingle effort. This character became famous and took on a life of it’s own. The music Chip made to create these jingles and the music for Mannheim were going on at the same time. Yet were so opposing in style. Truly creative. While the concert this year was a bit of disappointment (Chip wasn’t there and the heavy promotional messaging took away from the purity and specialness of the music) I enjoyed seeing the orchestral musicians perform this music I grew up with.

It’s been 10 Christmas’ since Mom was with us. Frankly it isn’t really Christmas without her. She made Christmas. But we do have our memories. Our very very fond memories and ability to bring them up, reflect and connect. Through music, through each other.

Thank goodness my nephew will never have to live with music via an 8-track! He has parents that like music too. The access he has and the memories he is making through that music will also be those he can hold dear. As I have from mine.

Mindset Present – A Life Journey

“The time is now! We must act now! We are responsible to initiate, foster and develop the required paths to change, now!” This was my ‘purpose-based’ summation of my personal synthesis following a strategy group session focused on the future of Pinchot University. The session was brilliantly designed and facilitated by UJ and his team from the Blue Earth Network. My thoughts were influenced by a collective of people who all think very uniquely but who bring a shared interest in making the world of business and the world generally, better.

As I parked and walked in the Seattle Pioneer Square morning sun to begin day two of this second session, I was thinking about little. The little that was on my mind included a bit of concern about how I was going to ‘catch up’ after being in day-long sessions that were ‘volunteer’ in nature. Catch up with my obligations to business, house and other .

  “Good morning” said the kind-faced black man in a quiet voice as he crossed South Washington Street. I was waiting to cross Second Avenue to join the group at the 220&Change building.    I said “Good morning.”    “That is a very nice shirt and you have have your dress shoes packed in your bag I see. You are holding on to things. Have you read Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now?”    “What?” Quickly processing what his quiet voice had asked. “Oh yes, I have. But maybe it is time I read it again?!”  The walk light had already signaled and I scurried across the street.

I realized within the next hour of the likely non-coincidental connection of this kind man’s comments and my purpose-based discoveries from the day prior.

In an earlier 2-day session Sheri in our group had shared that in order to show more love, we have to be able to engage with humanity, to hug the homeless. That really made me think about how we draw invisible lines based on what we have or what others do not have. We form a class system. Keerat and I have supported homelessness, mental illness and related efforts for many years. However, we have supported the programs, in hopes and belief they support the individuals. Why not support the individuals directly? Why not engage in human-based and equal interaction of communication and sharing?

During this same period of time in Summer, Keerat attended an engagement hosted by the INSP (International Network of Street Papers.) Rex Holbein spoke about turning his shed into a workspace for a homeless man who liked to paint. And how that individual is now selling his art through Facebook. We carry high quality granola or protein bars with us and whenever we engage or are engaged by a homeless individual, we say hello, we smile, we offer one of our bars. Sometimes they are unhappy with this option. Most times they are gracious and say thank you. Mostly we are more aware of our opportunity to interact with another human. Humanly. On one busy street corner on a Friday, I received a hug just for saying hello and offering a smile.

I think I’ll read The Power of Now now. Maybe if we can slowly create greater mindfulness in our walking about the community, we will have more connections, more meaning in our lives and more non-coincidences.

November 1, 2009 – blog post in my draft folder

This Summer I read A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. In starting the book I had to realize that I live little of my life truly present in the each and every moment. That I have spent my life, which is likely at it’s half-way point, analyzing the past, and obsessing about the future.

In practicing, and it is a practice like anything we attempt to wire into our daily living, I have experienced moments of true depth and connection in small things that I would have otherwise not noticed, let alone experienced.
It is my hope that with every day/week/year, I can be more and more present. Maybe this is what we all figure out, eventually, and then by the time we are 80, we are hanging out present in the most simple our life has been since childhood. With the simple goal of being more present, I am often not present by achieving or pushing to be “more” of something. …quite a challenge.