Archive for May 2020

A reason to reconnect

May 26, 2020

COVID-19 is keeping us apart, and it is also bringing us closer together.


Children are leaving messages of aloha on sidewalks, creating mahalo posters, and brain-storming about how they can raise money to distribute face masks and food to people who need them. We’re starting lemonade stands and fundraising for first responders.


People who are still employed and still working may feel more gratitude for their jobs, and may receive gratitude from others who appreciate the work they are doing. We’re thanking each other more, practicing patience, and showing more courtesy.


Families are writing, emailing, Skyping, Zooming, FaceTiming, and Duoing family members and friends to check in, check up, and share information. We’re sharing resources for face masks and, if we’re going to the store, asking if there’s anything they need.


State and local governments are hosting more information briefings and sharing more information online. We’re learning about who is leading, who is taking action, and who we can trust.


Businesses are communicating more than ever, telling us how they are keeping us safe and their employees safe. We’re focusing on customers and employees, and working together to share best practices.


Places of worship are reaching out to people who may stopped attending services or gatherings, and welcoming more people to their online services. We’re reflecting more on what is important to us, and sometimes we’re re-connecting with a faith that sustains us.


Social services organizations and nonprofits are reaching out to people they may not have served before. We’re reaching beyond current customers and expanding our missions.


Are keeping in touch with people more frequently? Have you reached out to someone you lost touch with? How are you strengthening your family and social connections?

“Am I There Yet?” By Mari Andrew

May 19, 2020

Mari Andrew’s life is a new world for me – it seems urban middle-class/upper class, with vacations, coffee, and wine, overseas vacations hinting at wealth. Or maybe it’s her focus on living in the now – with an appreciation for good food, alcohol, nightlife, that drew me in.

“Am I There Yet? The Loop-de-Loop, Zigzagging Journey to Adulthood” (2018) is an autobiography and a guide to growing pains and growing up, by an illustrator, writer, and Instagram creator. I enjoyed the charming illustrations and humorous map (maybe I could relate because I have a poor sense of direction).

“The essays in this book are notes from the scenic route to adulthood,” Andrews says. “We are doing our best and figuring it out as we go…”

Andrew’s journey takes her from an oppressive law firm in Chicago, to a love interest in San Francisco, moving to Washington DC, enjoying life in Berlin and visiting Lisben after a break-up, being single and open to romance, coping with her father’s death, visiting Mexico City, visiting Granada, and living in New York.

Along the way, she shares some tips about finding your personal style (hint: you already have one), steps to becoming an adult (“You are the artist of your own life”), and lessons on adulthood. The second lesson is especially meaningful: “Step up in a time of turmoil. It’s never wrong to do something kind.”

One of the things that struck me is how Andrew constantly looks at the other side of setback, from travel expectations to romantic break-ups.

My favorite life lesson is to make a decision to impress only these two people: your 85-year old self and your 5-year old self.

Andrew makes an interesting observation about mental health: “When you see someone in a cast, you know to give up your seat and perhaps even open a door for them. Shouldn’t people going through mental or emotional health upsets have their own version of a cast, so that others know to take care?”

What really struck me is Andrew’s insight that we are not becoming the person we really are – we are creating the person we want to be.

Poetry: Come sit with me

May 12, 2020

Come sit with me
by RLC

Come sit with me a while beside the shore;

We’ll talk a thing or two before we’re done,

Sitting with the sun bright overhead.

I haven’t come for years, since I was young

And liked to sit beside a stream and fish.

My dad would take me on a rare weekend,

Carrying our bamboo fishing poles

Strung with chord, and at the end, a hook –

We’d fasten bread crumbs or some crust…

I never cared if I caught anything,

But I loved to sit beside my dad and fish

In the shade, in the quiet, sitting side by side.

And afterwards we’d drive for lunch someplace,

And I could walk with my dad and just belong.

But the fishing was better, I had him to myself

By stream or shore for half a day or more.

I don’t come fishing now, but when I do

I like to sit and not catch anything.

Come sit with me a little while;

I don’t often get to be with you.

Learning new things: two webinars and a video

May 5, 2020

If you’re like me, you’ve been signing up for a lot of webinars recently. Many organizations and leaders are providing free training about new legislation, leading in times of crisis, coping with stress, parenting, working remotely, and more.

Webinars are a good way to feel connected to other people, learn something useful, and add meaning to my day. Sometimes I need that reminder that we are all facing the same challenges.

I’ve found that learning something new, or re-learning something I’ve stopped practicing, is a good way to start the day. It makes me feel prepared for any challenges that might come up.

Here are two webinars and a video that I found particularly compelling:

Appealing to my business side, VitalSmarts hosted a series of five webinars about “Crucial Skills for Crucial Times” with Joseph Grenny, Justin Hale, and Emily Gregory. Three highlights:

  1. Be Safe/Feel Safe. Especially in these uncertain times, customers and employees need to be safe physically and feel safe mentally and emotionally.
  2. Have the right conversation. To have honest conversations, we need to make people feel safe by communicating mutual respect and mutual purpose. This struck me because I am witnessing a mediation at work, and I could see that we were having the wrong conversations.
  3. Regain control of your job. For every action, choose to DO, DECLINE, or RENEGOTIATE. Otherwise, you may end up being busy without being productive.


For times of stress and overwhelm, certified life coach Deborah Shannon offered a free webinar “Tame the Stress Beast: How to Inoculate Yourself Against Stress.” Three truths about stress:

  1. Stress is a natural reaction to a perceived threat. It’s a neurochemical response. Physiologically, we experience stress the same way as if we were escaping a lion on the savannah.
  2. Stress is a formula, which means you formulate it! Stress is when pressure exceeds resources. Most stress is self-generated.
  3. Stress is a tool and a weapon. It is an evolutionary survival mechanism, it’s part of a healthy sense of urgency, and it’s part of the creative process (creative tension).


And something particularly helpful when most of us are wearing face masks outside our homes, Vanessa Van Edwards has a 14-minute video, “How to Read Faces… Even When Everyone is Wearing a Mask.” She gives tips us and tricks for decoding microexpressions in other people’s eyebrows, eyelids, and upper checks (and made me think about my own microexpressions under the mask).

If you are working at home, how do you keep active – physically and mentally? Have you decided to learn a new skill or take up an old hobby? What webinars have motivated, compelled, or entertained you?