Musings

Tags >> Personal Development

Spaciousness

Posted by: heather

While we're at it, why don't we also...? Before I leave for the next meeting, let me do just one more thing. I'll skip the gym/art class/music performance/time with family and friends because I need to get these next three things done. Sure, I can do that too, it won't take that long. I can't say no at work, they are counting on me. There's just so much to do, if I stay late I can make some headway.


Small Changes, Big Differences

Posted by: heather

I’d been feeling swamped and adrift with too much to do and not a clear sense of accomplishment. I know I’m not alone. I know too many leaders who feel they are the ball in the pinball machine. What to do?


How shall I be a citizen? What will I do to participate in the democracy I believe in?


The second in a series of musings about what Dr. King has to say to us in this moment--Create True Community.


The inauguration of a minority president coincided with remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., so I seek inspiration from the great spiritual warrior. Our times are at least as perilous as he describes in the preface to his 1963 Strength to Love: “In these turbulent days of uncertainty the evils of war and of economic and racial injustice threaten the very survival of the human race. Indeed, we live in a day of grave crisis.” Given our own grave crisis, I return to a few touchstones—deal with reality, create true community, take wise action. I discuss each in turn


Seriously, Have Fun in 2015

Posted by: heather

The calendar tells us it is 2015. Another year of striving for and realizing freedom, justice, love, sustenance, and general well being. I am fortunate to support individuals and organizations be life affirming in their ends and means.


Seriously, Have Fun in 2015

Posted by: heather

The calendar tells us it is 2015. Another year of striving for and realizing freedom, justice, love, sustenance, and general well being. I am fortunate to support individuals and organizations be life affirming in their ends and means.


What’s a body to do?

Posted by: heather

“My body exists to carry my head around.” I used to think this. Moreover, I acted on it. I prized what I could do mentally but didn’t give much thought to my physical self. Sadly, too many people believe the same and act accordingly. I see people who prize their strategic thinking, their people skills, their caring for others, and their activism on behalf of issues big and small with little time or attention paid to the body doing all the work. Little do they know they are far less effective than they might be.


Giving Thanks

Posted by: heather

Each morning I have my cup of tea on my back porch and give thanks—for the porch, the tea, the house, the life I’ve lived and the prospects before me. Sometimes I see a souvenir and remember a special trip. When I hike I’m thankful for nature in all its glory and for the people who save sections of wilderness so I and others can enjoy it. I’m deeply appreciative of the support I got—and get—from family and friends. I’m thankful that people with talents very different than mine create things I use every day. The food I eat was grown by someone else. I have no idea how to fix my car or my indoor plumbing but someone else does and I’m glad. Oh yes, I have indoor plumbing AND electricity. More gratitude.


Crisis and Scarcity

Posted by: heather

My clients take on big issues—homelessness, genocide, poverty, liberty, workers rights, workplace democracy, environmental and economic sustainability, and justice. In all cases, the need is great. The forces for the status quo are well-entrenched and well-heeled. The sense of enormity and urgency can be overwhelming. At the same time, these organizations typically work with budgets that are tiny relative to the challenges. There is just not enough—money, people, time, attention, skill—to address the issues.


Starved for Appreciation

Posted by: heather

I showed appreciation for someone and he cried. As I told him about the qualities that make him a valued part of the team, he welled up. As I moved on to discuss acts and products that he contributed to our program, the tears spilled out. He didn’t ask me to stop but sat for more as the tears continued.


Another year has ended and the new one is hurrying along. It’s barely three weeks old and we’ve had a new Congress, the shooting in Arizona, snow across the entire country, and the iphone on Verizon. With that as an opening, there’s no telling where 2011 might go.


Leadership and Accountability

Posted by: heather

Who holds the top accountable? As a leader, whether of a unit or an organization, it’s easy to get trapped by the illusions of the office. Check the news for accounts of people who used their offices unethically. The leader’s role is fraught with many opportunities to misstep. Leader of cause organizations need to be especially vigilant as effectiveness is often measured obliquely and in the long-term, even as there’s pressure to show immediate results. The current elections


I used to study martial arts. I loved it. It was the ballast to my activist life. It was where I discovered my athletic self. Then, after about 18 years, I fell while hiking and hurt my back. There went my martial arts career. No more jumping, kicking, punching hard. After about a year of a modified schedule, I gave it up.

 

I decided to take yoga classes. For a few years, I moped. I went to yoga because I couldn’t go to karate. Yoga was just OK. I know many people love it with the enthusiasm I had for karate but for me it was a poor consolation prize. Now several years on,


Nature Lover

Posted by: heather

Ah! There is nothing like the feeling after exertion in nature. The day was cool, crisp even, but warm when the sun was out and I was getting myself uphill.

 

I am thankful for all the people over the years who had the foresight to preserve such great spaces. I benefit greatly whether from a local walk and ride path (Sligo Creek Park is my nearest greenway) or larger tracts like Catoctin Mountains or Shenandoah National Park or Red Rock Country. It’s one thing to see these spaces on National Geographic or Nature. It’s another to experience them firsthand. I am grateful that I have the wherewithal—physical, financial, time—to enjoy these places and I marvel at my luck. I feel fortunate to take advantage of them.


Welcome to 2010, already in progress and already challenging in so many ways. Now, more than ever, I feel called to engage with community for peace and justice.


Not long ago, a colleague described her four-year-old Blackberry as "ancient". In organizations, campaigns and projects come one after another and often overlap. There are changes in structure, technology, policies, and personnel, plus new demands from the environment. Leaders and managers are expected to produce results and people. It seems there's hardly time to run from one meeting to the next, let alone reflect. 


Back to School

Posted by: heather

Actually, it’s after Labor Day, which always meant back to school for me. Although it’s been a while since I was in school, my internal rhythm is still set by that calendar. So, it’s a time of new supplies including blank notebooks and sharpened pencils, new teachers, subjects, and schedules. And let’s not forget, new school clothes.


My Intentions

    • I intend to share ideas about organizational processes that support the effective functioning of justice seeking organizations.
    • I will share lessons about the life of organizations and provide tools that can support organizational performance.
    • Because I'm also committed to the issues that my clients work on, I'll discuss current events, justice, and the larger implications of news stories or community events.
    • Part of that discussion will include publicizing the issues, campaigns, and thoughtful work of clients.
    • As a colleague to other OD consultants, I hope to spark conversations among those of us who do this work.