Connect

I’ve been part of a number of in-depth conversations over the last couple of weeks about how important community is, and how it can be so hard to grasp these days. The topic came up at work, in a book group, in an Eldering discussion group, at the Democracy Cafe, and among a circle of friends. Have you ever noticed when an idea bubbles up in your life that you hear it over and over?

Here’s the core of the thinking. Humans are tribal. We evolved to live and work in tight communities with shared experiences and shared work. But we live in crazy times where few of us live near family or old friends. Many of us live in houses or apartments that are tucked away from everyone. We drive in cars by ourselves. And many of us put on a face when we’re at work or school. Do people even know us? Continue reading

Make Time

I’m always on the lookout for new ways to get and stay organized. My latest inspiration is Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky. These two Silicon Valley fellows found themselves swamped with work and while they had interesting careers, were unhappy with the amount of time they had left in the day to do work they loved. Part of the work they loved, of course, was writing a book about doing the work they loved… :).

Here are their four big take-aways: Continue reading

Two Old Women

A friend at the library recommended I read Two Old Women by Velma Wallis. This is a tiny book and a quick read, so I picked up a copy and settled in for a bit of time travel back to ancient Alaska. The cool thing about working in a library is that you’re exposed to so much knowledge on a daily basis. Here’s some of what I learned from this gem of a book. Continue reading

Are you a Stranger in the Woods?

I just finished listening to The Stranger in the Woods; the Extraordinary Life of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel. This is a non-fiction account of Christopher Knight. At age 20, Chris ditched his car and walked away from an apartment and a dead-end job, preferring to live by himself in the Maine woods rather than conform to the demands of a society he did not feel part of. When Chris fled to the woods it was out of a desperate need to be alone. To have the quiet to contemplate. To be outside. Twenty-seven years later, he was arrested for burglary and sent to jail.

There is so much interesting thinking here for anyone trying to craft a life that fits with who you are. And the book reminds us that we are all different, that what works for one person does not work for all. This includes a conventional education path, climbing a ladder, to-do lists, and that ever-present push to “succeed.” If that makes you happy, great. But if it doesn’t, what then? Continue reading

Creating a vision of the future

I wrote this post last Wednesday. Then we had a massive wind storm and lost power for two days! I have a generator but we had no internet so I just did art stuff for two days. Sometimes it’s fun to be forced offline. But now back to my previously planned thoughts… :).

If you’re looking to make a change in your life, it helps to be very specific about what you’re looking for. At times in my life, I’ve desperately wanted someone else to make a decision for me to help me head off in a new direction. And you know what? That never happened. When I’ve made big changes it’s because I pondered them at length and then came up with an action plan. Continue reading

Regrets of the dying

Getting organized isn’t just about being efficient with your time, following up on details, and doing a great job. Although that’s all really good stuff, getting organized is also about finding an inner calm, an inner peace knowing that you’re doing work that is true to who you are and that shares your unique gifts with the world.

In The Power of Moments, Chip and Dan Heath write about Bonnie Ware, a palliative care nurse who served patients in their final weeks of life. Here’s what Bonnie heard as her patients’ five most common regrets. Continue reading

Creating an inspiring work environment

Ideas need a healthy environment to thrive. Organizational skills need a strong environment to thrive. YOU need a healthy environment to thrive!

If you’re struggling bringing your cool ideas to life, take a look at your work environment to see if that’s an issue.

Ideas are kind of like the DNA in your body. Each of the 37 trillion cells in your body has a little road map of DNA in it. But DNA is triggered by the environment the cell lives in; the DNA by itself can’t take action. In a healthy environment, a cell thrives. In a toxic environment, a cell dies.

If you want to avoid catastrophic illness, you strive to create an environment where your cells thrive. You eat well, watch your weight, exercise, meditate, and you’re happy. Healthy living isn’t a guarantee you won’t have to deal with illness, but it gives you the best shot at keeping cellular proteins wrapped tightly around potential DNA triggers that can harm you. Continue reading