Bird by bird

I have a lot going on that’s pushing me to the limits of my organizational skills. I got divorced in December, we’re selling the house this month, and I moved my stuff out last weekend to store it at my daughter’s house while I travel through next October. Oh, and I quit my job. Things that have been in place for a long time are very much out of place and I feel chaos looming around every corner.

Then, at a Songwriting Workshop last week, our leader Jud Caswell, talked about taking small steps to get started on something new, and mentioned Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird. The title comes from a time when Anne’s brother was procrastinating writing a big report on birds. The dad’s advice was to go bird by bird. And finally the report was done. Continue reading

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

The planet’s health is your health

A key component of being organized in a Zen way is to maintain good health. If you’re healthy, you can do anything. If you aren’t healthy, don’t expect to be organized! You have a bigger task at hand.

You might think about your health in terms of a doctor’s visit. Or maybe relate it to what you eat. But how important is the health of the planet to your health? It’s vital! And yet it’s so easy to ignore. 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

Share what you know

How much do you know of your family history?

You most likely know back one generation to your parents. Maybe you knew your grandparents. And maybe you were lucky enough to know your great grandparents. After that, things usually get a little fuzzy. But how much do you know about any of them – even those who have been part of your life? Continue reading

5 tips to be a successful leader

When I was working my way up through the business world, I had very few bosses I emulated. It appeared to me that to “make it” to the top, you had to work 100 hours a week and expect your employees to do the same. You had to be somewhat cut-throat and keenly competitive with others at your level within the organization. And it didn’t appear that empathy had anything to do with business.

I know a lot of that still goes on but was encouraged to read an article today in The Washington Post by Aaron Gregg and Thomas Heath about three executives from the DC area who were rated “the highest” by their employees. These are bosses you can look up for who they are – as well as for what they accomplish.

What’s cool is that these principles apply whether you’re running a small, medium, or large company. And they apply if you aren’t running a company at all! They’re simply great life ideas. Continue reading