Smile

I lay in bed trying to fall asleep, my mind struggling to process the hour of bad news I had just watched.  At a loss, I wondered what would happen if I just forced myself to smile. I imagine if anyone had seen me, it would have looked quite ridiculous, as I stared at the ceiling trying to hold a forced smile as long as I could.

The first five seconds were legitimately challenging, perhaps evidence that these muscles had atrophied a bit during these last several months. Eventually, as…


Results

I find “results” to be a perplexing word.  

When you see “results’ in print is your instinct to read it as a noun?  As in “I want results.”  Or do you read it as a verb — “when I do this, it results in that?”

Its origins date back to the French “resilire” which means “to rebound” and is the root word for resilience.  There is a looseness and flexibility in its original meaning that I admire.…


“We are the flood and we are the ark.”

The last paragraph on page 194 read, “The most hopeless conditions can inspire the most hopeful actions. We have found ways to restore life on Earth in the event of a total collapse because we have found ways to cause a total collapse of life on Earth. We are the flood, and we are the ark.” 

I paused before moving on to the next chapter and looked up at my oldest daughter finishing breakfast.…


First Day Back

For many, today will be their first day back to work after a long holiday break. Perhaps you traveled, spent time with family, enjoyed some much needed rest and relaxation.

The tendency might be to rush back into work, making up for lost time by sending out a flurry of emails, reminding people of what they owe you, requesting meetings, and trying to get everything “back on track.”…


Healthy people’s problems

I’m sure you’ve heard the term or made a joke about  “first world problems”, “rich people’s problems” or “white people’s problems”.  All are used, sometimes offensively, to diminish the seemingly insignificant issues that more privileged groups face.
 
My guess is that you’ve never heard or used the term “healthy people’s problems” – unless perhaps you or a family member has suffered through an all consuming health issue. …


“Lift me up!”

I was on a roll.  After weeks of having task after task pile up and doing my best to just stay above water, I was now laying waste to a to do list and email box that had seemed hopelessly out of control.
 
I felt like a castaway who was adrift at sea for weeks but could finally see paradise on the horizon.
 
Just then, my eleven-year-old daughter came bounding into my room demanding playfully “Lift me up!”…


What kind of ancestor do you want to be?

This powerful question comes from Rom Mokak,  Australia’s first Indigenous Policy Evaluation Commissioner.  It is a question that the Yawuru people ask when a major decision is to be made for their community.

When I first heard this question, it made me think of what kind of steward I am for not just my children’s future but for their children and their children and so on. I…


“And losing him was like losing the rain.”

When he plays Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out in concert, Bruce Springsteen pauses in the middle of the song, where his friend, the late Clarence Clemons, sax solo used to be.  He does so to honor a man that he was not embarrassed to say he loved or kiss publicly.
 
When he played the song during Springsteen on Broadway, he went one step further, pausing longer to explain his deep affection for the person he called, “The Big Man.”…


Is the force with you?

On a recent flight, I decided to watch the movie, The Last Jedi.

During one scene, Luke Skywalker dispels a long held myth about “the force.”  Over many films the assumption was that the force was something that one possessed, an internal feeling or power that was universally good.  Here Luke explains to the young Rey that the force is actually a connection we have with our world and with each other.…


What’s on that post-it note?

In the corner of the sixth grade classroom, there was a chart with twenty or thirty hand written post-it notes attached. Each represented a student’s recommendation for their non-fiction essay. 
 
Approximately half were about global warming, several more about hurricanes.  A few would write about inequality or racism. By my estimate at least 80% of the suggested topics were about large societal problems.
 
My initial thought was how conscientious and social minded these students must be – which was admirable.