Sidewalk adornment

natures confetti

I am only 9 days into this 100 challenge to create and share something artistic everyday (I chose 3 line poems), and already it has changed my default thoughts completely. I now find myself looking at the world with keener eyes, and thinking in poetic phrases that might express my experience.

Quite a shift from the defaults of judgement, assessing threat, creating strategies for doing, insufficiency and “shouldn’t be-ness” that are the default flavor of thoughts in the playground of my mind.

Now instead, I take the dog for a walk and think of things like this. Blending what I learned at a recent retreat, with this practice of daily poems, I can hardly wait to see what gifts unfold over the remaining 100 days.

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Guru in my shoe – #100Daysof3LinePoems Day 5

Every pebble is my teacher

Guru in my shoe

Each step enlightenment


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Life and business on a human scale

The scene

I’m at a conference center near Denver. It’s the last day. I know a fellow attendee and I are on the same flight and she has reserved the shuttle, with her as the sole passenger. I call to add myself to the reservation, same van, same time, same location, same destination. Expected cost $60+.

The action

The agent is asking about how much luggage and how many are checked. I just happen to mention I have skis.

Her: “Actual skis? Any you are going to check them?”

Me: “Yes, it’s fine. The airline doesn’t mind. I checked them on the way down, and will check them on the way back.”

Her: “Well, with skis we have to send a special van, so that will be $279.”

Me: laugh “That’s absurd.” “You have a van coming and only one other passenger. The skis are in a bag, and will easily fit in the van. I’m not traveling with a whole ski team.”

Her: “I’m sorry, that’s the policy.”

Me: “So I can’t ride with my friend in the nearly empty van you are already sending?”

Her: “No.” Me: “That’s absurd.” (I didn’t bother with goodbye).

Of course it worked out, and I got a better ride that cost me nothing.

Policy vs people

Business owners and managers, I understand the need for “policy”, I really do. But when you don’t hire people who you can train and trust to empower them for real-life circumstances, you are creating a less workable, less kind, less human world. And, you are losing business. For good. And in the changing landscape of transportation options with Uber, Lyft and the rest, can you really afford to be so dogmatic in your business model? That’s retorhical – I think not.


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You know when Life starts changing on you?

And not in directions that you have charted or would have consciously chosen?

And you feel all drifty, like in a row boat in the ocean, except you never really intended to being doing a solo circumnavigation of the globe, even in a well-equipped yacht, let alone some rickety thing barely fit for a pond?

So you forgot the charts, compass, survival suit, and emergency rations; and everything else you have always relied on is really just a memory, nowhere closer than the moon?

And the sea may be calm, but you know it could change drastically, dramatically in an instant?

And when it does, all you will have to face it is you; your wits, your heart, your will?

Ya. Me. Now. Like that.

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On Longing

long·ing [lawng-ing, long-]
1. strong, persistent desire or craving, especially for something unattainable or distant: filled with longing for home.

This, my time of longing
This, my time of growth
This, my time of expanse and insight
This, my time of connection
with truth of me and why

This, my time of longing
This, my time of freedom
repreave from fear and doubt
This is my time of Spirit moving
unburdened by distraction within, without

Breathe deep this time of longing
Feel full this expanse of time
Live complete this moment of ache and solace
Exist whole in every and each universe
Anchor firm the allness and isness of now

Abandon absolute
one moment of now, and now, and now

This, my foundation
This, my root
This, my ground

From this ground, expanse
From this moment, eternity
From this longing, fulfillment

This, my time of longing

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Meet the Multitudinous Andrea – One Word Wednesday

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes. ~ Walt Whitman

Andrea is one of those amazing people that were it not for Twitter, I would never have met, even though she lives nearby –  just a few miles South of my home in Seattle.

How we made our exact connection is fuzzy. But what’s clear is this: I saw a few of her tweets, and followed. I was intrigued by her grace and wisdom. I clicked and read further, and I was hooked. I reached out, we chatted, we met. And suddenly I was delighted and blessed to have a new friend.

In a world of blogging and business that’s constantly giving the message that in order to succeed one must focus, define your message and your market, and speak very specifically to one topic, one segment, Andrea’s blog – A Multitude of Things – is delightfully, unabashedly multitudinous.

When I think of Andrea, I’m reminded of this quote:

To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
~  e e cummings

Andrea is most assuredly herself. And if she’s fighting, she makes it look effortless.

What’s the one thing you know about words?

Words are amazing.
They travel in our consciousness and stick there. If you don’t agree, just think back to the last time your mother’s voice came out of your mouth! Words have the ability to shift perspectives and change lives. They can pick you up or drag you down. They can paint incredible pictures. They can describe you and your innermost self. I speak two languages and am always surprised when I find a word in one language that captures feelings or concepts that are almost impossible to translate directly in the other language. Simply amazing.

What one word describes you and why?

I am happiest when I am playing with ideas – either on my own behalf or for others. I am especially delighted when my ideas are able to inspire others or give them a fresh view on something that has been troubling them. My friends are used to getting emails from me that start with, “hey, what do you think about this idea?”

What one word describes your mission, or your message (and why)?

Too often, we seem to choose a path of struggle, divisiveness, or negativity in our lives when it would be just as easy to choose joy. Joy can be found in a moment. Why not choose it? After a while, all those joyful moments add up to a lifetime of joy.

What one word would you give to your audience – like a superpower (and why)?

I believe in the power of dreaming. Dreams are the messengers that allow us to consider different possibilities for ourselves and can send us on delicious journeys of discovery. I strongly recommend having at least good “dreaming” session a day. It only takes a moment and can be done while waiting at the doctor’s office, standing in line to pick the mail, or, savoring a cup of coffee.

What’s your “go to” word? The one that you can always count on to rock your day, or to turn the moment around if you are not on your game?

It’s all good.
I suppose that’s really three words but, when I hear them or say them, I am re-invigorated and soothed at the same time.

Say a little bit about the role that words and language play in your life and your work.

Being bilingual, words have always fascinated me. Their ability to express different thoughts and emotions. Their ability to tell stories. From the moment I learned to read, words became my constant companions. As a child, I often got in trouble in school because I was so engrossed in what I was reading that I completely missed that the teacher had moved on to a different subject. I love words.

Any last words about the power of words?

Choose wisely.
There are so many words out there that we can put in our mouths. Pick the best ones. The ones that will lift you up. The ones that will give others wings.

Andrea helps people fuel their creativity in a multitude of ways. You can follow her on Twitter. Learn more about Andrea and her work at her blog.


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Meet Denese and Get Thoughtful – One Word Wednesday

Denese and I “met” online a few months back when we both participated in a 31 Days to a Better Blog challenge sponsored by Lisbeth Tanz.

Sharing a common love of words, good content and conversation, we hit it off immediately and have been twitter-buds ever since.

On her blog, Thoughtful Content, Denese weaves her knowledge of design, architecture, marketing, yoga, and social media into a delightful mix of information and insights that always leaves me uplifted, enlightened and wanting more.

In this interview, we had the chance to sit back and get thoughtful about words.

What’s one thing you know about words?

I believe that if we really understood how much power words have, we’d pay a lot more attention to what we say, write and think.

What one word describes you (and why)?

I’ve been called optimistic… But, I’d like to think that has more to do with being open to possibilities and other perspectives than always seeing the bright side.  A friend can come to me with pretty much any problem.  I go immediately into “let’s look at all the possibilities here… let’s make peace with best-case and worse-case scenario…let’s get to the heart of the issue…  then let’s think about next steps…”

What one word describes your mission, or your message (and why)?

I’d like to encourage people to embrace their creativity, to find their unique voice (or communication platform) and live their life, build their business from that place.  One of the things I love about blogging is that it’s given us a worldwide exercise for finding your point of differentiation. Whether you’re blogging for personal or business reasons, the relationship building aspect of it only works when you’re connecting naturally, as you are, listening, truly caring. The best relationships are formed when you’re yourself, not who you think you should be. Any exercise that encourages that is okay in my book.

What one word would you give to your audience – like a superpower (and why)?

Awareness that they have a superpower within them already…  one they can tap into whenever they’re wondering who they are, what direction to take, what decision to make. One that knows exactly what it takes to make them happy, what they were meant to do in this life.  I don’t want them to struggle to find it anymore.   I want them to simply tap into the power they already have and let it create the happy life they were meant to have.

What’s your ‘go to’ word? The one that you can always count on to rock your day, or turn to the moment around if you are not on your game?

Yoga has given me a whole new appreciation for dancers and athletes who can make something so physically difficult look so easy. Through my practice, I’ve learned that strength comes first, then lightness and flexibility – which has been a helpful mantra whenever I’m uncertain or feeling clumsy about life in general. I try to gather strength by staying grounded in gratitude for everything I already have… while staying open to the possibilities and lessons life is throwing at me. Typically you’re naturally strong, or naturally flexible…the challenge is cultivating and balancing both. It’s not easy and I’m not always successful, but I feel better considering everything that happens as an opportunity to practice grace.

Say a little about the role that words and language play in your life and your work.

Our words shape our perspective and experiences, not just in what we write or say, but in our thoughts about ourselves and others. I think The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz sums it up nicely. If we can strive to 1) be impeccable with our word, 2) not take things personally, 3) not make assumptions, and 4) always do our best, we’d prevent a lot of heartache and produce a lot more happiness.

Any last words about the power of words?

My 13-year old niece wanted to write a list of “64 Things I Love about Grandma.” We got to #6 and she said, “It’s hard to find the words to describe what I’m feeling.”

It’s important to recognize that finding the right words is hard.  Acknowledging this takes some of the pressure off… Having a practice, or a way that helps you get to the heart of you want to say is essential. Going for a walk helps me. I’m also intrigued by the exercise. I like the online format vs writing in my journal.  I can crank out 750 words of random thoughts, ideas, lists in about 25 minutes.

It’s kind of magical how it works. Getting all of that out of my head, first thing in the morning, really does help me find the right words when I sit down to write something more “productive” later in the day.

Dense helps companies get thoughtful and create meaningful marketing content at Thoughtful Content. You can follow her on Twitter @Denese_Bottrell.


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