A Blogger’s Diary 4/4/21: On Writing, Reflecting, Travel, and Connection

This past week, I’ve been reflecting upon connection. How we are all connected to each other, yes, and to everything else we see. All of it. Quite beautiful. 

Before I write more about connection, let’s take a look at a couple reflections from this past week, and a few ideas I have for next week. Sound good? Okay, here we go.

Writing

This past week, I’ve continued to write quite a bit of poetry. It just happens like that sometimes; and, of late, there’s been much more poetry within me. Fun.

Tanka #9

The Tanka #9 poem, occurred to me one day after meditation. Well, in fact, the concepts found in the poem occur to me all the time these days. That is, existence, and the connection we all have to each other and all that surrounds us. 

We have the idea that we are separate, due to socialization and the creation of the ego-self. The separateness we feel, however, is illusory. Not real. Reality lives behind and beyond the concepts we hold of ourselves and all that we see. Beautiful.

Heed

The poem Heed, is a reflection, in part, on my sensitivity; which I’ve written about before, in the post, The Paradox and Gift of Being A Highly Sensitive Person: Clear and Strong, Not Hurt and Damaged.

I didn’t understand my own sensitivity for most of my life. In fact, my sensitivity was something I ran from in many ways. When you are a highly sensitive person and unaware, the world feels more frightening and incomprehensible. The paradox?

When you are a highly sensitive person and aware, the world feels more, well, like you, beautiful, strong, and very comprehensible. Being a highly sensitive person is a true gift.

Travel

Well, in my diary entry last week, I wrote about being on the waitlist for the vaccine; and, I now have an appointment next Friday, which means I will be fully vaccinated by early May.

Now, as many of you know, my whole family lives in Los Angeles, California, where I lived the majority of my life; and, I have a niece graduating from high school this year. The question? Yep, you guessed it; do I travel? Not sure? Me either.

Instead of thinking about the choice, I looked at flights, and found that the quarantine policy for traveling into LA County is still in place, which means that when you are traveling into the County from out of state you must quarantine for 10 days. 

I could not find a single resource on the flight booking site, nor on the CDC website about traveling once fully vaccinated. So? I called the LA County Public Health Department. The person that answered the phone was super nice, and, to my question, replied, that’s a good question. They didn’t know the answer either. 

The LA County employee that helped me is going to do some research and call me back. Thus, my choice on traveling to LA remains, for now, on hold.

Connection

This past week, we had our remote Spring Instructor Forum. These forum’s are a chance for our Community Education Instructors to get to see each other, and to interact with us. In the Community Education program we have over 200 instructors, and they live all over the area, so this is one way we stay connected.

As I prepared my small talk with the Instructors, I pondered this past year, the current year, and the upcoming year. And? What occurred to me was that, yes, so much has changed this past year, and more changes will come.

Yet, one thing that will not change is the connection we have with each other, which is why I am calling next fiscal year (2021/22), The Year of Continued Connection.

There will always be change, and, in many ways, change is wonderful. Terribly hard at times, yes, and also beautiful. 


Though we have no idea what the rest of this year will bring, we know that our relationships are strong, and that they will endure through whatever change comes our way. We have proven this this past year.

I’ve written many posts about relationships and connection. I always say, there’s nothing more important than the relationship we have with ourselves, and with those people we surround ourselves with. 

Everything starts with us. And, when you have a quality connection with yourself, you will have quality connections with others. 

I’ll leave you this week, with two quotes I shared with the Community Education Instructors this past week, as I think they speak very well to the value of connection.

“I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be… This is the interrelated structure of reality.” Martin Luther King Jr

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” Brené Brown

habits for well being

Alright, that’s all for now.

Have a beautiful coming week.

#poetry, #blogger, #bloggers-diary, #blogging, #brene-brown, #connection, #covid-19, #diary, #life, #martin-luther-king-jr, #pandemic, #poem, #poems, #reality, #reflecting, #relationships, #self-awareness, #travel, #vaccination, #writing

My One Thing This Spring: Gardening Part 2

Readying the Soil and Planning the Garden Plot

Photo by Massimo Virgilio on Unsplash

In my last entry on gardening, I wrote about getting a community garden plot for this first time in a long time. It’s been 4 or 5 years since I’ve been a part of a community garden.


The community garden is just down the street from where I live, and has only been in existence for 4 years or so.

The plot I have is 20’x10’, which is a little large for me, yet I’ve managed to work the entire plot and ready it for planting.


Here is what it looks like after a month of working the soil.

Corvallis, OR April, 2021

Yep, it’s ready. Excited.

Now, in this part of the United States, it rains a lot. A lot, a lot. Which means that you have to wait to sow the seeds directly into the ground until the winter frost has mostly dwindled. Yet, you can also start seeds indoors, which I will also be doing, and will write more about next time.

Once I made my vegetable choices, I started to plan out the garden space. At that same time, I read an article about planning a garden plot. I learned a lot. There are actually applications and software programs you can use today, which make planning much easier.

Many of the applications and software programs are not free, yet I did manage to find one on the Old Farmer’s Almanac that had a free 7 day trial. The software program is amazing.

Here is the garden plot plan I created with the software program.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac Garden Planner

Pretty fun, yes? Yep, it’s pretty cool.

I am excited to begin to plant. I will start the planting process this weekend, and continue it over the next couple of weeks. I should have all of the seeds into the ground by late April. 

Alright, that’s this week’s installment of My One Thing This Spring: Gardening Part 2, Readying the Soil and Planning the Garden Plot. Next time, I hope to have some sprouting veggies to show you. 

Until then, be well, and have a lovely weekend.

#community, #community-garden, #garden-plot, #gardening, #life, #my-one-thing, #planning, #sustenance, #vegetables

The Reflection Series Part 9: The Power of Silence

In Leadership and Life

Photo by Tim Hüfner on Unsplash

This past week, I’ve been reflecting upon the power of silence; and, maybe more importantly how in that absence of sound and other stimuli there lives a very powerful reservoir. One that, as many of you know, I was not in touch with for many years.

In my reflection this past week, I’ve also been pondering how in today’s fast-paced, go, go, go, culture, I do have the United States in mind here, accessing silence is even more important. The paradox? It’s harder to access. Though not for the reason you may be thinking.

It’s harder to access, not because there is less silence available in the US. In fact, accessing silence has nothing to do with spaces and places. The reason that it is harder in the US to access silence is actually rather simple. It’s not valued, nor taught. In fact, one could argue that the opposite is valued.

Fast-paced, loud, go, go, go. Right? These may be horrible generalizations, yet take a look around any metropolitan city in this country, and what do you see? People moving fast, cars driving fast, animals moving fast. Habituation to a lifestyle that proceeds all of us, yet we also help to continue to perpetuate this lifestyle. Interesting.

In this post, I want to create a space to discuss some practices that anyone, no matter where you live, can take up to secure themselves a little silence each day. These practices are common sense. No great mysteries here. Yet, it’s the planning and doing and repeating that matter most in this conversation. (Re)habituation.

(Re)habituation

Photo by Omar Flores on Unsplash

Well, I’ve not defined a word in a while in a post, so let’s do that, shall we? Good. Here we go.

habituation

noun /həˌbɪtʃuˈeɪʃn/ /həˌbɪtʃuˈeɪʃn/[uncountable] (formal)

  1. habituation (of somebody/something) (to something) the action or condition of becoming used to something

There we go.

So, what then is (re)habituation? It simply means the process of habituating ourselves to a different set of stimuli, actions or conditions, while letting go of the ones we are currently habituated to. Simple. Yet, when we are habituated to an action or a particular set of conditions, it can be difficult to (re)habituate ourselves to something new.

I’ve written on this topic before, and think, especially right now, it is important for everyone to consider how they can get at least a few moments of silence in their lives each day.

Just a short 4 years ago, I never created silence for myself. In fact, I thought reading and watching television was, in their own way, silent time. And, when you don’t know how to access silence, and, in fact, are quite afraid of it, then watching TV or reading a book can seem like silent time.

Yet, accessing real silence takes practice. And, guess what? Once you’ve created a new habit to access silence, and you’ve done so for some time, you begin to realize that silence is always available. Even when you are busy. A paradox? Yes, and no.

Here are a couple things you can do on a regular basis to begin to access silence.

  1. Stop – when you are super busy. Stop. Stop, and set an alarm on your phone for 2 minutes and just sit there and focus on your breath. The way the air is inhaled into your lungs and the way it is exhaled out. Just 2 minutes. Do that periodically throughout your day. You will find that in just 2 minutes of silence, you can quiet your mind a little, and gain more focus. As you practice this 2-minute silence break, increase it after a couple of weeks to 3 minutes, then 5 minutes. It is amazing how much focus and mental equilibrium can be created out of just a few minutes of real silence.
  2. Walk – calendar yourself for regular walks. You can start with a 5-minute walk. If you’re at work, maybe it’s just around the area you work, inside or out, it matters not. What matters is to focus on your breath as you walk. As you take a step, inhale in, and as you take another step, exhale out. You can even count the steps as you take them. I still do this today without even thinking about it. Habituation.
  3. Listen – when you are super busy, stop what you are doing, and listen to your mind and body. How do they feel? Are you tense? Is your mind super active? If so, stop and breathe for a few minutes, or take a walk, as described above.
  4. Repeat – the most important thing about creating a new habit, or (re)habituating ourselves out of our current habits and into new ones is repetition. Daily is best. Yet, it is also important to set a schedule you can work with and that will feel good. So, if that’s every other day, so be it. Getting started is key, and then continuing as you are able will create more workability for you inside of creating a new habit.

Alright, there are a couple of things you can do to habituate yourself into a new habit, which will help you gain access to silent time everyday. Remember, if you forget, which will happen, or feel you don’t have time so choose not to access silent time one day, it’s okay.

There are no demerits here. It’s about creating more workability by increasing your focus, attention, and mental wellness, something everyone needs, and leaders must have.

Leadership and Silence

I’ve found accessing silence one of the most powerful concepts and practices of my entire life; and, remember, the person writing this post did know how to access even one minute of real silence until about 4 years ago. True.

Yet, when we create the time to be silent, to quiet our minds, to listen to our bodies, and to just be, what we get back is so much more. We get more focus, attention, and mental wellness, and we also get more insights. Insights into our own humanity. A sacred and beautiful experience.

Here are five few ways that silence has impacted my life and leadership.

  1. Mental Flexibility – when we are mentally flexible, we are open and willing to listen and learn.
  2. Calmness – remaining calm under great pressure and stress is key to keeping yourself and your team on track and in alignment.
  3. Clarity – developing clarity means that your communications will be more clear and understandable. Communication is one of the most important functions in leadership, so being clear, concise, and understandable is key.
  4. Patience – the ability to demonstrate patience shows your team that even under extreme pressure, you will remain open and flexible. Demonstrating patience will give your team more confidence in you as a leader.
  5. Deeper Understanding – to lead, you must understand yourself well; and, you must be able to relate to all people, staff, peers, customers, clients, everyone. Developing a deeper understanding of your own humanity, means that you develop a deeper understanding of all humanity, which makes you more relatable, empathetic, and compassionate.

There are many more ways that silence has impacted my life and leadership, yet these are important for all of us, and for leaders they are critical. The ability to be mentally flexible, remain calm, have clarity, demonstrate patience, and create a deeper understanding of yourself are skills that every leader needs.

Remember, then, the next time you feel overwhelmed at work or in life, create silent time for yourself. It can even be 1 minute to start. What matters most is getting started.

It’s about accessing the silence that is always within you; and, watching that grow over time, as you continue to practice the act of creating silent time for yourself.

#clarity, #creatingnewhabits, #creatingsilence, #deeperunderstanding, #habituation, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #life, #mentalflexibility, #mindfulness, #patience, #personaldevelopment, #professionaldevelopment, #reflection, #selfdevelopment, #silence

Heed

Photo by Forrest Moreland on Unsplash

At times I am filled with such deep
Emotion, it’s like my body has stopped
Working and the commotion running through
Me isn’t being sifted, instead I’m being through the
Heavens lifted.

An entirely different plane fills me, and I wonder
What it all means. Just for a second though,
as the tide turns, and the emotion that’s run through me
Is turning the corner, looking for more stormy weather
Out at sea.

The clouds open up, the lightning flashes, and
The thunder rumbles, and the depths pull at me
With such vigor, I become perplexed, and do not
Dither.

Instead I move with the dance, allowing it to cast
Me as is willed. Knowing that the play’s still playing,
And the last act’s not retiring, nay, still moving onto
Another scene, and I start praying.

Softly, silently, asking for guidance, knowing that
It’s always been there, and will forevermore be clear.
Even on stormy days, when the weather continues
On it’s own way, and we continue to play, and, to not
Be led astray.

Be all that you may, my dear, and let life fill you
As needed. It’s all we can do at times, just be, and let
Your soul heed it.

#poetry, #contemplation, #emotions, #heed, #introspection, #life, #love, #nature, #poems, #reflection, #stormyweather

Stability

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

What lives inside the expected,
Is a river of gold so long for the road,
People often mistake it for their own abode.

When we think we know, we wander into
The scene with a predisposition toward
Contriteness, and not so much politeness.

We get stuck inside our own heads, leaving
Our heart in another’s hands. Walking away from
Heart is sure to give you a start, and a prodding
So don’t be beguiled, nay, keep trotting.

Movement is key, even when we are not
In the scene. We set our course with intention
Of course, and then let loose the heart we’ve been
Waiting for, which is our Source.

Times at an end, my friend, unleash all that is inside
You. Be not afraid of the things lurking in the dark,
For they’re not going to persuade you from your mark.

Even if for a time they chance a succession of events
That causes your mind to spin, be sure to let go
And untether your grin.

And, be at peace with the unexpected. Around every
Twist and turn know there’s a chance for more
Connected pieces. We pick them up as we go, don’t wait
Just recalibrate, and walk into the scene with a fresh
Sense of humility.

For it’s inside of the unexpected, where we can
find tranquility and our own sense
of pliability and stability.

In response to the Saturday RDP Unexpected, by Punam.

#poetry, #heart, #humility, #life, #love, #poem, #poems, #rdp, #stability, #unexpected

Haiku #15

Photo by Yousef Espanioly on Unsplash

sun rises slow, I
breathe in the last of night, and
wait, the sky aflame.

Photo by Amanda Phung on Unsplash

#poetry, #breathe, #haiku, #life, #love, #nature, #night, #poem, #sky, #sun

Unseen

Image credit; Jasmin Chew @ Unsplash

As I close my eyes to the sky,
and breathe in deep, it occurs to me
that time as we understand it has stopped
belaboring me, while the vastness before me
unfolds and expands with a specialness that will
withstand all contrivances that the mind has planned.

Disrupting the pattern created over millennia,
I watch silently, as the breath moves in and out of
my body, and my heart slows down, to match the
hidden, and ever so mysterious criteria.

Listen and believe in the unseen, for even when
in doubt you can be sure that there is clout and
integrity in the system of stars and constellations that
remains, at times, hidden, yet always smitten.

And at others, it’s all we can do to catch a glimpse
of that magical consideration, and watch
as the dance of the cosmos plays out,
and all our dreams come about.

Believe, I say, in the unseen, and dream big right
into that emptiness, knowing all the while that
that vastness is where all of life’s
greatest gifts are awaiting your
focused attention, and future
dissemination.

In response to the WDYS #75 prompt from Keep it Alive, by Sadje.

#poetry, #contemplation, #cosmos, #introspection, #life, #love, #nature, #poem, #poems, #prayer, #silence, #universe, #unseen, #vastness, #wdys75

Tanka #9

ponder existence,
contemplate and meditate
on the nature that
surrounds you, while moving in
the silent dance of intrigue
and one imagination.

#poetry, #contemplation, #imagination, #introspection, #meditation, #nature, #oneness, #poem, #ponder, #tanka

A Blogger’s Diary 3/28/21: On Writing, Reflecting, Vaccinations, and Emotions

This past week, I’ve been reflecting upon my emotions, as you might have noticed and/or read about in some of my poems. As we continue to move forward with vaccinations, it occurs to me that there will be emotions about the pandemic that will arise for all of us. Some we will see coming, some we will not.

Before we discuss this topic more, let’s take a look at the writing that occured this week, and the writing slated for next week.

Writing

This past week, I found myself drawn more to poetry. In fact, in the past two weeks, I’ve written about 10 new poems. All of which, I will share in the coming weeks. I’ve been feeling moved this week by several concepts, which did make their way into the following pieces.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-1.jpg
Image credit; Eric Muhr @ Unsplash

Keeps

The poem Keeps was initially inspired by the WDYS #74 prompt from Keep it Alive, by Sadje. The prompt this week reminded me of my hikes in the local area in which I live. Hikes where I am present to only my footing, the scenery, such as the earth, the foliage, the beautiful sky, and any wildlife that comes by. Beautiful.

As thoughts enter my mind, I let them pass through, and remain in that moment, just walking along the trail being one with the Nature that surrounds me.

It is quite meditative to walk, practice your breathing, and just listen and watch. There is healing in each foot step, each breath, and in each moment. If you’ve not tried meditative walking/hiking, I suggest giving it a try.

Elixir

The poem Elixir was an acknowledgement to the present moment and the illusion of time. I’ve written several times about the social construction of time, and when you really understand that time, in fact, is illusory, you are freed from self-imposed limits bound in time.

We all live outside of time, yet also live in it, as we choose. A paradox, and not.

Next Week

As I mentioned previously, I’ve created a bunch of new poems, and am excited to get them scheduled. I feel more poetry coming, so will continue to write and reflect on new concepts and insights as they come.

I am also continuing to work on a post on silence. I had an insight this week about a post on communication, and will probably start that sometime in the next week or two.

Alas, I’ve not made much progress on the Leadership from Within series. Though I’ve not made much progress yet, I will continue to endeavor to write this series. I see it as a possible book in the future, and have a lot of thinking and feeling about the topic to share.

Photo by Mat Napo on Unsplash

Vaccinations

Vaccinations are opening up more here locally. In fact, I am pleased to report that I am on an official waitlist for my first dose. I was told I should get a call in the next week or two.

Though I am pleased about this progress, both as a State and a Country, I realize that there is much work to do across this country and the world to ensure that everyone that wants a vaccination has access.

I will not pretend to know the answers to this issue. I will say, however, that I look forward to a day when those in legislative positions and positions of power in this country and around the globe think more collectively and collaboratively about serving the common good, which includes all of humanity. Everyone, everywhere.

Photo by Diana H on Unsplash

Emotions

With anticipation and excitement also comes apprehension, fear, and indifference. It’s just how it works. Which means that whereas some people will feel the former, some will feel the latter, and many of us will feel both.

When I was told that I would be put on a waiting list for my first dose of the vaccine, I was excited and anxious. Excited about the movement, and anxious about the unknown.

It is important for me to stay grounded in the current reality, which, yes, includes the vaccination being distributed to more and more people across the State. The current reality also includes, however, the fact that some people will not want to get the vaccine and some will not have access to the vaccine due to systematic inequalities in this country and around the world.

The latter of which fills me with sadness.

It also occurs to me that the landscape of how the pandemic, and respective responses to it from a systems and organizational perspective, are still completely unknown. Which simply means taking things as they come, developing plans and iterating those plans as needed, to ensure we continue to serve as many people as possible with educational options that fit their needs. Important.

The invitation I will send out to the team this week will be to recognize the emotions as they come for what they are. Responses to stimuli in your environment, and in your mind. Meaning, emotions are something we get and feel, they are not who we are.

Emotions, like our thoughts, do not define us. We choose.

Alright, that’s all for this week.

Have a wonderful week and please stay healthy and well.

#poetry, #blogger, #bloggers-diary, #blogging, #communication, #contemplation, #covid-19-vaccination, #diary, #emotionalintelligence, #emotions, #leadership, #meditation, #pandemic, #poem, #poems, #reflections, #silence, #writing

Consider

As I walk, I always wonder.

Wonder about the path underfoot,
gravely in spots, wet and muddy like another,
and semi-solid in some others.

Ponder the present, all that I see,
yes, beneath me, and also out in front in that lea.
Tall grass swaying in the wind, brushing each other,
like kith and kin, a dance of the neighborly ties that bring
us together in every kind of weather.

Fascinated by all that I hear, off in the distance,
and more close with such persistence. Overwhelming
at times, just like a nursery rhyme read aloud to the young.
All grown up now, lost in the brilliance of each moment
together under the sun.

Astonished by all that I feel, a gentle breeze, cold
and prickly on the skin, rustling goose bumps from
their slumber, as I along lumber.

Amazed at all that I smell, that flower off yonder,
and the fresh fragrance of the tiled blue mosaic,
encapsulating the essence of herbs and spices,
as I continue to wander.

Senses are interesting to figure,
as they continue to flitter.
All of the above bring joy to my being,
filling me with a knowing of all
that’s bigger.

A moment and an eternity,
all wrapped up in one precious instant, so
when you’re next out and about,
please don’t forget to consider.

#poetry, #brilliance, #consider, #fascination, #humanity, #life, #love, #nature, #poem, #poems, #reality, #senses, #time