The Month in Review, May-June 2022: At Home & Work, Debut Book Update and Writing & Blogging, Freedom of Choice, Book Reviews, and A Poem

Home & Work

It’s been a couple of months since I’ve created a month in review, and, as you know, it’s been busy in all aspects of my life. Life is like that, it comes, it goes, both the painful and the pleasurable, and today, I accept all aspects, even when it’s really difficult.

It’s summer time here in Oregon, which means the sun will be out more often, and the temperatures will rise, which I always enjoy. 

I didn’t spend much time in the community garden until last weekend, and I made a lot of progress, as you can see from the pre and post pictures above. I’m going smaller this year, only planting tomatoes, peppers, and some herbs. I also planted some lavender, which I love.

This summer I will get out on some hikes, and may also travel down to see my mom and sisters in Los Angeles.

The team is doing well, creating new personal enrichment classes, new leadership training opportunities, training new teenage drivers, getting people ready for new jobs in the workforce, and advising our local small business on how they can grow and gain traction in their businesses.

It’s a wonderful department to belong to, and serving our local communities is a blessing each day. Here is a look at our summer schedule of classes

Debut Book Update and Writing & Blogging

This month, I sent my book manuscript to Ingrid Wilson, and we are now in the editing phase, which is not my favorite part, yet, as we all know, it’s one of the most important. 

I am hopeful to reveal the cover and title in the next month, though I am in no hurry at all, so we shall see.

I’ve had a poem accepted and published at Spillwords Press almost every month this year, which included being voted Author of the Month for Jan/Feb and three nominations for publication of the month. Such an honor to have my poetry so well received and read. 

I was also part of the #1 Amazon Bestselling Poetry Anthology Wounds I Healed: The Poetry of Strong Women. Every part of this experience has been a blessing to me.

Additionally, I am still submitting two poems a month to MasticadoresIndia & MasticadoresUSA, and will continue to do so for the remainder of this year. 

Photo by ractapopulous, Pixabay

The blog just had its two year anniversary, and we have now surpassed 3,400 readers. I am so honored and grateful to each of you for being here. Some of you have been here from the beginning, and some of you just joined recently. Either way, I honor and appreciate each of you for your participation in this blog and your engagement with me. Thank you!

I’ve iterated my posting schedule on this blog many, many times. There was a time when I posted about 10 to 11 times a week, and now I am posting 2 to 4 times a week, which is perfect for my life today. 

I am also now going to iterate how I read, which means that I will not read every single day as I do now, rather, I will read every other day. This is a change that will be hard for me, as I love reading all of your poetry and posts each day, yet because I am resistant to it, it means it is needed. All that it means is that I will read more on the days I read, and then have a couple of nights each week, where I can write and focus on other things.

Overall the first half of this year has been one of continuous growth in every aspect of my life, as I am stretched at home, work, and in my writing. It’s exactly how I like it. When we are challenged each day, we get to grow, and we get to experience the many emotions we have as human beings. It’s the experience of true aliveness when we get to experience all that life has gifted us, even in the most painful moments. A blessing.

Freedom of Choice

Photo by 10302144, Pixabay

It’s taken me a couple of weeks to work through my emotions about the recent overturn of Roe v. Wade, and I am still processing.

Though I love this country, and wish everyone that celebrates today a very happy Independence Day, I recently responded to a poem on Yard Sale of Thoughts, by K Kartless, and wrote that I’d never been so embarrassed to be a US citizen as I am right now. A paradoxical truth.

The bottom line? The United States has tremendous wealth, and yet people go hungry, have to fight for the rights to choose about their bodies, while systematic and structural oppression continues in this country every day. 

Though this angers and saddens me, I know that continuing to take my actions each day, however small or large they are, to mitigate and eliminate these horrible injustices will continue. 

For, it’s not the size of the action we take in life, it’s that we take our action, and then take another, and continue to do so, working toward, in this case, a better version of this country, which, collectively, I believe we can achieve. 

Speaking of a better version, I was elated when I read about the new addition to the Supreme Court, Ketanji Brown Jackson, on I didn’t have my glasses on, by Beth. How wonderful for the Supreme Court, and for this country.

Book Reviews

Photo by Myriams-Fotos, Pixabay

Lightning Rhymes, by Navin Manik

Lightening Rhymes, by Navin Manik, is a tour de force of poems that enter into the reader’s heart, blossoming like wildflowers stretching towards the sun of spiritual transcendence. Navin’s poetry is raw and powerful, connecting spiritual experiences to nature in a way that leaves the reader breathless, and in want of more.

The feelings Navin evokes throughout the book are stunningly descriptive and can resonate with any human being on this planet, for we’ve all been to places Navin describes. Deep pain, trauma, heartache, anxiety, depression, etc., are woven into the language inside of these beautiful poems with an expert hand. Likewise, Navin expresses deep love, hope, and the beauty of human connection throughout his verse. I highly recommend Lightening Rhymes, it is a book that will resonate in your heart and mind.

Woman: Splendor and Sorrow: | Love Poems and Poetic Prose, by Gabriela Marie Milton

In the book, Woman: Splendor and Sorrow, Love Poems and Poetic Prose, Gabriela Marie Milton creates contexts that spark the imagination, while inviting the reader to take a deep dive within themselves. The poems and prose are full of vibrant imagery, evoking a multiplicity of worlds, which seem far away, and paradoxically right next door; for we have all felt the deep sorrow and splendor of being in love with another human being.

Gabriela’s language is stunning, continuously creating juxtapositions between nature and the self, reimagining what it means to be in love as a human being. What does it mean to feel deep sorrow; to feel the elation of delight and splendor? Gabriela shows us through a language of love that entices the senses. (You can read more of my review of Woman: Splendor and Sorrow: | Love Poems and Poetic Prose on Amazon).

A Poem

Alright, that’s all for this month. Sending you all my love and blessings for a wonderful July.


#book-reviews, #community-garden, #debut-poetry-book-update, #development, #freedom, #home-work, #ketanjj-brown-jackson, #leadership, #masticadoresindia, #masticadoresusa, #month-in-review, #nominations, #spillwords, #systematic-oppression, #writing-blogging

A Few Reflections on 2021, Contemplations on 2022, and a Twitter Poem

As I reflect upon 2021 and contemplate 2022, there are so many wonderful things to write about. Choosing among them is difficult, yet worthwhile. Let’s take a quick look at this past year.

2021

Living Alone

Personally, this past year was one in which I learned about living alone. Now that the boys are grown, and I am recently divorced, after being married for over 20 years, living alone has been painful and beautiful. Both, wouldn’t you know.

It’s been a time of great reflection for me, contemplating my life up to this point. A time of grieving, and a time of great joy. I’ve learned more about myself as a human being on this planet this past year than I have in the past 20 years. Solitude is like that. A gift.

I am looking forward to more time alone, and to the learning that comes as the days, weeks, and months unfold this next year. I look forward to all of it.

The Team

The team is healthy and well, and is, quite frankly, one of the best noncredit education teams in the State of Oregon. Some would argue in the Nation; and, I wouldn’t argue, as it is quite possibly true.

We’ve been through a lot as a team these past 4.5 years, and the resiliency, innovation, and heart this team has displayed and continues to display is astonishing.

We are currently working on many new projects, the output of which will continue to increase access to education for many populations that face barriers to education in this country. That we continue to create bridges to education for our local community, and across the state, nation, and globe through our new remote program models fills my heart with joy.

The Blog

Well, if someone would have told me in the summer of 2020 that at the close of 2021 the blog would have acquired almost 2,400 followers, which it has, I would have listened carefully, yet would have set a more realistic goal, which I did.

My goal to close this year was 1,600 followers, and we have surpassed this number quite substantially, and I owe that to each of you. You have built this blog and the wonderfully thriving space we share together, and I honor and appreciate each of you for being here.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me, and for creating a space full of love, light, and compassion.

Writing

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that I would be writing poetry at the rate I am today. Writing poetry began in the summer of 2020 as a way to continue to process my own internal work, which is a part of my spiritual practice.

It started with a poem I wrote in response to another blog, I think, and from there began to blossom in my mind and heart, and today, I write poetry all day. Seriously. You should see the post-it’s I have laid out everywhere. It’s quite comical, and lovely.

This year I was blessed to be a part of our beloved Astha’s Anthology, Utmost Feelings, and several other Anthologies through True Dreamster. I was also blessed to have been published at Spillwords Press three times, at Word Weavings, and at MasticadoresUSA, and MasticadoresIndia, several times each. As you know, I am now a regular monthly contributor to MasticadoresIndia, which is a dream come true.

I am grateful to each of these wonderful editors for believing in my work, and for supporting me. They are amazingly talented people, and I am lucky to know them and to have my work published in their respective publications.

2022

I look forward to this coming year and know that there will be challenges, just as there will be many blessings. I’ve learned a lot this year, and I am grateful for each lesson.

I plan to continue to learn more about myself this year, continuing to dive deep within, uncovering more aspects of my human beingness, and the love I have for everyone and everything on this planet.

The team will continue to thrive and grow this year, as we set our sights on making 2022 another year of exceeding service capacities to our local community, by making noncredit education available to everyone, everywhere.

The blog will see a lot more poetry this coming year, and will likely see the Blogger’s Diary post continue, yet I am reflecting upon iterating the latter. I’ve not yet had the insight needed to do so, however, so we will see.

I am currently looking for new publications to submit poetry to this next year, and have already happened upon one, which I will submit to soon. I was planning to compile a book over this winter break, alas, that is not going to happen. Thus, it may be in 2022 that a debut book is forthcoming. All I can write now is that I will know when the time is right.

I am closing this 2021 reflection and 2022 contemplation with a Twitter poem.

as the earth swallows me whole
it is our love to
behold

a spotlight drowned

like
in the east
the sun rising &
the love deep within me
arising

a destiny ground
as mind & heart
are brokered with peace
no sound

needed
for it is in this display
of love where we are
found

You can see the original Twitter poem here, amongst other poems, and follow me on Twitter here.

I want to thank each of you again for being a part of my life. Being here is a blessing, and I cherish each interaction I have with you. You are appreciated immensely.

Alright, that’s all for now.

May the New Year bring you joy, peace, love, and many blessings.

Sending you all my love.


Photo by Tumisu, Pixabay

Photo by MAKY_OREL, Pixabay


#poetry, #2021, #2022, #blogging, #contemplations, #development, #leadership, #life, #love, #masticadoresindia, #masticadoresusa, #noncrediteducation, #poems, #publications, #reflections, #spillwords, #wordweavings, #writing, #year-in-review

A Blogger’s Diary 10/3/21: On the Week, Writing and Reflecting, Publications and A Poem, WordPress, and Self-expression

The week

Over the past couple of weeks, the team has been preparing for school to begin, which means the registration team has been, is, well, super duper busy, which is awesome. Instructors are prepping for classes, as the rest of the staff are doing things like, getting computers out to in-person locations for late registrations, and supporting instructors as and where needed. 

It’s been an amazing couple of weeks, filled with registration numbers the likes of which we haven’t seen since prior to the pandemic. Amazing.

The past couple of weeks, I’ve also been reflecting upon the concept of self-expression in relation to human beingness; and, then in relation to leadership more specifically. I’ll have a little more to write about that in a moment. First, let’s take a quick look at some writing reflections from the past couple of weeks.

Writing and Reflecting

About two months ago now, I switched my blogging schedule. Previous to that time, I was posting every day, which just became too much to manage. Now, I am posting an average of 4 to 5 times a week, and that is working well for now. 

I’ve been thinking of possibly reducing it to 3 to 4 times a week, yet, we will see.

I’ve been writing a lot, as I always do; sometimes that means I write a poem each day, sometimes 3 or 4. It depends. 

Most of my poems over the past couple of weeks have taken love at their center, which is, well, quite wonderful. I never really know what is going to come from my heart, through my fingers, and onto the page you’re reading; really, I never really do.

I usually begin with a concept, or more likely, a sentence or two, and go from there. It is so much fun. 

For instance, the poem heart-related centeredness was a response to the WDYS photo prompt, hosted by Sadje, from Keep it Alive. I love to participate in this prompt, as I am able. The photo, to me, sparked an immediate response about the connectedness of all that we see, sky, clouds, sea, and, well, you; and me, of course. It just works that way for me today; it is what I see and feel.

And, the poem referenced above, from my heart, and through my fingers, was literally a reflection on the process of writing from my heart; and how it feels to me. Is simple, and quite beautiful to me. 

I’ve also been blessed with another publishing opportunity, and have just heard back from Spillwords Press on one other submission. How fun!

Publications and A Poem

I’m super excited about being a part of the first ever Word Weaving – A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse, the kindle version of which is available now. You can access it from the link above. If you are interested, you can also learn more at the word weaving blog.

I also just learned that my poem, Smoulder Now and Forever, has been accepted by Spillwords Press. Excited. When the poem is scheduled for publication, I will let you all know.

I also have a few more pieces coming up in both MasticadoresUSA, and MasticadoresIndia. When those are scheduled for publication, I will also let you know. 

If you’ve not yet checked out these cool publication houses, please do so when you have time. Amazing people, and talented writers. Much fun!

Oh, before I forget, here is one of the poems that wasn’t accepted recently. I am including it here, well, because it reminds me of some of my recent reflections on the moon, which has been so beautiful in the night sky recently.

Dazzling delight

the moon

dazzling delight

transformed ages of night

called on by gods and goddesses

alike

WordPress

Alright, in my last diary entry, several of us had a conversation about blogs that we follow not showing up in our reader. I did contact WP, after some coaching from our friend Cindy, from Unique Times with Cindy, thank you, dear Cindy, and here is what I learned.

There is no solution at WP for this issue. Their suggestion was to do, well, what most of us already know how to do, which is unfollow, and then refollow. Usually this will work, and the blog posts will once again begin to show in our reader.

Therefore, I will be unfollowing and refollowing some of you. We will see how that works.

Self Expression

The past couple of weeks, I’ve also been reflecting upon self-expression. As a human being on this planet, it is so important to be fully self-expressed. I know this, as I spent some years not being fully self-expressed.

When we are fully self-expressed, we get out all of the ideas, concepts, and love we have for life. We experience aliveness, through the difficulty and ease that comes with life. And, for me, it’s inside of this aliveness, through all that we receive from life, where the beauty for and of life lives. 

It is interesting to write about self-expression within a beautiful community that self-expresses continuously; yet, what I also know about being a human being on this planet, is that even those of us who are fully self-expressed, have times when we feel not fully self-expressed.

In those moments, I usually take a walk, sit quietly, and just detach myself from all things. Inside of this space lives the possibility of reconnecting within, which for me, means insights will arise, and self-expression will follow.

Alright, that’s all for this entry.

Have a beautifully blessed week, everyone.


#poetry, #abloggersdiary, #blogging, #diary, #education, #leadership, #poems, #publications, #reflecting, #selfexpression, #wordpress, #writing

Servant Leadership: A Diamond in Theory and Practice

It occurred to me recently that it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on leadership; and, considering I spend a large portion of my week, nay, my life, conducting leadership activities, conversations, and collaborations, it seemed like just the time to create a new conversation.

In lieu of a diary entry this week, I’m going back to a previous post about servant leadership, and picking up from there, with new eyes, as it were. Meaning, it’s been almost a year since the last post on servant leadership, and I’ve learned a lot about, well, everything in the last year. Update needed.

Ready? Good. Here we go.

What is servant leadership? Good question. Here is the definition.

“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.” 

Robert E Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership

I like to think about servant leadership as a leadership style that upends traditional notions of what leadership looks, sounds, and feels like. It is, thus, quite different. It is also harder.

Harder because servant leadership incorporates subtle elements of leadership. For instance, the emotional well-being of the self, and each person in the organization, business, and or team are of utmost importance. These more subtle elements of leadership are not always captured in other, more traditional leadership styles.

In order to fully grasp the distinction between traditional leadership, and servant leadership, let’s first take a quick look at organizational hierarchies.

Organizational Hierarchies

In traditional conversations and discussions about servant leadership, it is common to see, read, and hear about the concept of flipping the traditional leadership hierarchy.

Traditional Leadership Hierarchy

Distribution Property Solutions, Inc.

Servant Leadership Hierarchy

Distribution Property Solutions, Inc.

The concept of the inverted triangle, seen above, is common, and while I agree with this concept, in practice, servant leadership actually plays out a little differently.

It plays out in practice differently, because the flow of information happens between everyone all the time, and does not occur in a one-way directionality, as the above example illustrates.

Let’s take a look at what I am pointing to here.

Servant Leadership and Traditional Leadership

In my previous article on servant leadership, I elaborated on the distinction between a traditional approach to leadership, and a servant leadership approach to leadership.

Simply, in many traditional leadership theories, the leader is charged with distilling information, sending it out, and then holding people accountable.

In servant leadership, however, there is a dynamic context created through leadership of the self, of which all members of the team are responsible, creating a synergy of relationships and communication.

And, yet, even in the inverted servant leadership triangle, we see that the flow of information is distinguished with arrows, which still have a one-way directionality. As we will see in the next section, this concept is inadequate to fully describe how servant leadership is practiced.

Servant Leadership in Practice: A Diamond in Theory and Practice

In a context where servant leadership is practiced, information and communication is free flowing, collaborative, authentic, vulnerable, safe, and accountable. All of these things are true.

Information and Communication

Information does not flow from the top alone, as in a traditional leadership hierarchical model, nor does it only flow from the bottom, as in a servant leadership hierarchical model. 

Rather, information and communication flow all throughout the organization, business, and or team, in such a way that at all times, each person is leading their portions of work, and is in continual communication about their progress and barriers.

It is then up to the CEO or Director to ensure that the flow of information and communication is continually moving throughout the entire organization, business, and or team.

Here is a simple diagram of how I see and experience servant leadership actually being practiced.

As you can see from the three-dimensional pyramid diagram, both traditional leadership and servant leadership hierarchies are disrupted, and replaced by a nonhierarchical model.

The implementation of a nonhierarchical model ensures that each person in the organization, business, and or on the team has a voice in all matters, including the vision, mission, values, and the future direction of the organization, business, and or team.

Though the servant leadership diamond diagram is not inclusive of all of the possible communication flows, many are outlined, which gives us the basis of the conceptual framework.

The servant leadership diamond diagram, and associated conceptual framework are also practical. Meaning, it is entirely possible to implement the servant leadership diamond conceptual framework into any organization, business, and or team.

In fact, it has been done, and is done every day by the team I work on and with; and, though harder at times, it is a beautiful experience.

In the next post on the Servant Leadership Diamond Framework, we will explore several concepts that leaders will need to understand to create the appropriate context for the successful implementation of a leadership framework that disrupts all hierarchies in favor of a nonhierarchical model; creating more voice and empowerment for everyone in the organization, business, and or team.

Have a wonderfully beautiful week, everyone.


#collaboration, #communication, #information, #leadership, #organizationaldevelopment, #professionaldevelopment, #servantleadership, #servantleadershipdiamond, #teamdevelopment, #theoryandpractice, #traditionalleadership