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

A Developmental Moment #7: A Conversation About Connection and Compassion

How Deep Connections Increase Our Compassion

A couple of weeks ago I gave a talk about connection. More specifically, it was titled, the Year of Continued Connection. The talk was delivered at our Community Education Instructor Forum. An event we’ve been planning and delivering for, well, almost three years now.

After the talk, I continued to reflect upon the conversation with the instructors, and the concepts they brought up, and just how important connection is in our lives. In many ways, it is the bedrock of many concepts we cherish, such as relationships, engagement, an open heart, kindness, care, and yes, compassion.

When we are deeply connected to our own humanity, we get a larger picture of our shared humanity, which increases the humility and compassion we have for ourselves, and everyone else.

In this post, I would like to elaborate on a few of the concepts outlined above as I understand them in their relation to connection. Ready? Good. Here we go.

Connection

Photo by Uriel SC on Unsplash
  • Relationships – as I’ve written about many times, all of our relationships start with the relationship we have with ourselves. The connection we have with ourselves is the same connection we will have with the people in our lives. It just works that way. There was a time when I wondered why it was that my relationships weren’t as strong as I would have liked them to be; bottom line? The relationship I had with myself was not strong. Simple.
  • Engagement – when we are in relationship with ourselves, and then the people we surround ourselves with, it means that we are engaged. Engagement in this context means we have easy and difficult conversations. Both. When we hold ourselves accountable, we will do the same for everyone else, which makes navigating our relationships harder. Though harder, when we hold ourselves accountable, we get back relationships that have a deeper connection. Why? Because we are real, we are speaking our truth. That’s it.
  • Open Heartedness – when we are in engaged relationships there will be difficult times. For us, and for the people we love. However, when we are engaged, we won’t run, we will stand by their side, and stand for those we love, just as we stand for ourselves. And, when we are standing, we are being open to all that life gives us. We don’t pick and choose the times we are engaged and willing to stand for ourselves and the people we love. We do it all the time. Without thinking. It just happens. We create more openness within ourselves because we are living through experiences that we may have run from before; and, when we stand through all of the stormy times, our connection to ourselves and the people we love deepens even further.
  • Kindness – with our hearts more open in these engaged relationships, we develop more kindness for ourselves and everyone else. It happens as a result of continuing to navigate all of life’s triumphs and challenges. In essence, we become a kinder human being, because we’ve been through more challenges. We’ve become more vulnerable; and, when we become more vulnerable, yes, we get stronger, and we get kinder. All of which also creates a more intense connection with ourselves and the people we love.
  • Care – when we are kind, engaged, and open-hearted in our relationships, we develop more care. We have a better understanding of the human condition, and what it takes to stand for ourselves and the people we love. Every day. And, as we do this work, a deeper awareness develops within ourselves, which includes a deeper connection of care to everyone and everything.

The 3 S’s of Connection

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

I also like to think about connection in regard to three other concepts. Here they are.

  • Safety – when we stand for ourselves and other human beings, we stay engaged, regardless of the situation. A result of increased engagement is safety. When we know we won’t run at the first sight of trouble, people feel safe. And, when people feel safe with you, they will be much more connected.
  • Security – as a sense of safety develops in your relationships, a sense of security also develops. It has to. When we feel safe, we also feel secure. Secure in the knowledge that our relationships are a place where we don’t have to worry or create anxiety over people leaving us, or being upset with us. Now, that doesn’t mean there will never be disagreements, or even arguments; what it does mean is that people will respect each other, and speak their truth, without fear of reprisal. That’s security.
  • Stability – and, when we feel safe and secure, we also feel stable. The relationship we have with ourselves is more stable, which means all of our relationships are more stable.

When we have safety, security, and stability in our relationships, we have a deeper connection to those we love. It also means that we know when a relationship is not going to work. Whereas this is difficult, we stay true to our truth. The knowing we have of the kind of relationship we are creating, and want to have. Therefore, we are much more clear on the people we allow into our lives. In fact, we have much more clarity about humanity in general. Beautiful.

Connection and Compassion

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

With more clarity about our own humanity, we are much more clear on all humanity. I’ve written this sentence differently many times. Yet, it is such an important part of deepening our connection with ourselves and the people we love.

When we have authentic relationships, we are working hard on them all the time. And, as we do the hard work, we go through many challenges. These challenging times show us more about our own humanity, and then our collective humanity.

For instance, we can read every book ever writte