Are you someone that needs time to think? Do you find yourself not saying much in meetings because you are thinking about all the things people are saying? Do you find yourself leaving a meeting and still thinking about the conversations later in the day? [Read more…]
I recently volunteered at a Festival of Lights Event at our local library. The goal of this event was to bring all the different faith groups of our community together to talk about the holiday season through different traditions. As I arrived, I shared with my fellow volunteers that one of my goals for volunteering was to ensure we were teaching people to respect differences and not fall into what I feared was a global trend of teaching people to hate.
I then happened to see Maya Angelou’s children’s book Amazing Peace sitting on one of the group’s tables. I flipped open the book and landed on the page that said…. [Read more…]
Have you ever walked a labyrinth?
This year, I have walked a labyrinth at the National Cathedral in Washington DC, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and Trinity Church in Santa Barbara. Each labyrinth is similar in that it has a place to begin and then circles along a series of walking paths as you move towards the center. There are rituals and practices associated with a labyrinths on how to prepare to enter, how to pause mid way, and how to conclude. Yet, most people just start walking, taking small reflective steps around the ancient tradition’s pathways.
I started getting curious about labyrinths when I began reading all the literature on leadership and mindfulness. I had heard from many leaders about the value of mindfulness practices and thought I might try to enter into a mindfulness practice. [Read more…]
In the last week, I’ve heard so many people asking powerful questions, tough questions, and questions without easy answers.
- At the World Climate Summit….How can we as a global community curb carbon emissions?
- Are we safe in San Bernadino? Are we safe in my neighborhood?
- How will we as a nation respond to the thousands of refugees seeking refuge?
- How can we build trust in our community? organization?
These big, challenging questions are not going to come with quick, easy solutions. We want to implement “technical solutions” but the reality is these challenges are what Ron Heifetz calls “adaptive challenges”. Technical difficulties are often those quick fix issues that can be solved by one person. Adaptive challenges require a change in values, require the minds and ideas of many people, and are slow to implement. [Read more…]
Do you listen to the Ted Radio Hour? On Sunday I listened to “Can Grandmothers Change the World?” This compelling piece blended the themes of leadership, environmental activism and women’s empowerment. I found myself wanting to learn more about how the Barefoot College is transforming women’ lives and their communities in rural Africa and Afghanistan.
“In 1972, Sanjit “Bunker” Roy founded the Barefoot College, in Rajasthan, India, with one mission: to provide basic services in rural communities to make them self-sufficient. These “barefoot solutions” include solar energy, water, education, health care, women’s empowerment and wasteland development. ” In this story, Bunker talks about helping grandmothers from Africa and the Himalayan region to be solar engineers so they can bring electricity to their remote villages. [Read more…]
Walking through a local farmers market is a wonderful experience of bounty. Fresh fruit and vegetables flow from every stall and the smells of peppers, apples, lemons, brussel sprouts, onions and cabbage fill the air. I am often struck by how much produce there is and how there seems to be more produce than anyone can consume. Who eats all the food? Does it get wasted? How do we know when we’ve planted enough? How do we know when we’ve bought enough? How much kale can I actually eat in a week! [Read more…]
Many leaders have been asked to take the MBTI. As noted on the website, the “purpose of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) personality inventory is to make the theory of psychological types described by C. G. Jung understandable and useful in people’s lives.” I’ve used it in my coaching and have found it a very powerful tool when helping people to reflect and appreciate their preferences and ways of being at work. [Read more…]
Once a year, Santa Barbara rolls out about 15 old pianos and places them on street corners on State Street, the main street in downtown, and invites everyone to play. It is an event I look forward to as all styles of music fill the air for a week. The pianos are painted festive colors and invite any and all to sit and play. I savor the opportunity to play the pianos at different times of day. There is something very indulgent about playing at 7am as part of my morning walk as the world wakes up and I am the only one on the street with my music.
One of the things I love most about “Pianos on State Street” is the range of abilities. While I must admit I get a little tired of Heart and Soul, Chop Sticks, and the one piece people play with their knuckles, for the most part it’s fascinating to see what music people play. It’s amazing how in the moment, people will sit down and just play. I rarely play for anyone but on State Street, I lose my inhibitions and sit down and play for the world.
I become the great pianist I’ve longed to be. For one week, everyone is a pianist! [Read more…]
Last summer I coined a term for myself: “be the cloud”. My goal in this rather silly expression was to leverage my adaptability strength and learn how to navigate life’s challenges with a little more fluidity, curiosity, and appreciation for differences.
When I am being the cloud, I am able to adapt to other people’s needs by simply forgoing my own needs for a while and honoring the needs and interests of others. This may sound rather simple but it actually requires great awareness, flexibility, curiosity and even grace. Being a cloud does not mean you are getting stomped on, it means you decide to take a look from above and see the whole. It means looking at something with new eyes and trying to understand the heart of the people and heart of an issue.
I grew up in Minnesota. The “Land of Ten Thousand Lakes” is actually an understatement; there are lakes in every corner of the state. Minnesota is also on Lake Superior, the largest great lake that actually holds more water than all other great lakes combined. It’s a wild, dangerous, cold, beautiful body of fresh water that feels and acts more like an ocean than a lake.
I’ve lived most of my adult life on the ocean or by lakes in New England. Abundant fresh water is a part of my life path. I grew up learning to care for our water but never did conservation mean so much as it does now.