Archive for June, 2018

Find it faster. That thing which makes you happy. It’s not as far away or as deep down as you might imagine. Let your mind go fast, flip through the images that come to it. Let your mind land and arrive. Then act.

I realized tonight that one thing that brings me happy is cartoons from the New Yorker. Also, collecting things: leaves, stamps, cards for send friends, books.

A walk outside near food trucks and a colorful swap meet. A stranger asking me if I thought lemonade or caffeine were worse for you. And wanting to hear my answer. A familiar game where you have to find people who look like the cast of your favorite TV show, even if they actually don’t look like them at all. These things bring me happy. And saying happy not happiness, also brought me happy.

A new friend on Facebook shared a poem with me today, the kind you fall into, the kind that turns your body into a brass bell and it beats inside you with sounds pouring from the deep reverberations within.  Here’s the poem below from this website: 

How long does a man live, after all?
Does he live a thousand days, or one only?

A week, or several centuries?
How long does a man spend dying?
What does it mean to say ‘for ever’?

Lost in these preoccupation
I set myself to clear things up.

I sought out knowledgeable priests.
I waited for them after their rituals,
I watched them when they went their ways
to visit God and the Devil.

They wearied of my questions.
They on their part knew very little;
they were no more than administrators.

Medical men received me
in between consultations,
a scalpel in each hand,
saturated in aureomycin,
busier each day.
As far as I could tell from their talk,
the problem was as follows:
it was not so much the death of a microbe —
they went down by the ton —
-but the few which survived
showeds signs of perversity.

They left me so startled
that I sought out the gravediggers.
I went to the rivers where they burn
enormous painted corpses,
tiny bony bodies,
emperors with an aura
of terrible curses,
women snuffed out at a stroke
by a wave of cholera.
There were whole beaches of dead
and ashy specialists.

When I got the chance
I asked them a slew of questions.
They offered to burn me;
it was the only thing they knew.

In my own country the undertakers
answered me, between drinks:
‘Get yourself a good woman
and give up this nonsense.’

I never saw people so happy.

Raising their glasses they sang,
toasting health and death.
They were huge fornicators.

I returned home, much older
after crossing the world.

Now I question nobody.

But I know less every day.


Pablo Neruda
Translation by Alastair Reid

Read Full Post »

If you gather

If you gather people, regularly, I will share a gift for you that a dear friend shared with me: Better Conversations: A Starter Guide. 

This elegant resources reminds us of how to listen and how to lead. It offers this  meaningful reflection, which I know you’ll love:


“Listening is an everyday art and virtue, but it’s an art we have lost and must learn anew. Listening is more than being quiet while others have their say. It is about presence as much as receiving;

it is about connection more than observing. Real listening is powered by curiosity. It involves vulnerability — a willingness to be surprised, to let go of assumptions and take in ambiguity. It is never in “gotcha” mode. The generous listener wants to understand the humanity behind the words of the other, and patiently summons one’s own best self and one’s own most generous words and questions.”

Read Full Post »


Intuition: a knowledge of instincts, the gut’s recognition that it has been here before, in this life or another. You don’t get it by studying more, thinking more, or even doing more; you get more even it by recognizing the signals sent by the body and felt by the body: the impulses that start in the eye’s green center and travel to each of the toes.

This feeling, which occurs before thought or desire, reminds us that we’re animals. And animals have blessings and freedoms: freedom from excessive thought or reflection, and the abundance of action. The more we learn, the more we are at risk of forgetting our true nature…all these heady things remind me to get back to what matters, these feelings and thoughts, in now order, creating a tapestry of ideas and emotions:

  1. The smell of the earth after the rains
  2. Rickshaws and bright colored umbrellas
  3. The music and cadence of soft speech
  4. Library reading rooms
  5. Textures: of leaves, bark, dry skin
  6. The repeat inhale and exhale of an animal sleeping on your toes
  7. Finding a book with writing in it, notes from an ancestor
  8. This American Life on Saturday afternoons
  9. A true barber shop and remembering what Pablo Neruda once said.
  10. Rediscovering song, especially beat
  11. Pulling grass and organizing the blades into piles
  12. The lighting bolt of recognition seeing in a stranger all that you value in yourself
  13. Saints. The words itself. The old European buildings it brings up; the laughing and colorful gods smiling from far away places
  14. Rivers. Charles here. Charles in Prague.
  15. Discovering the truth behind gestures

Thank you for indulging as I feed the soundtrack of my instincts.



Read Full Post »