Friday, January 3, 2014

Small Stone Jan 3

"Shoot bullets at me, Mom!" he entreated, and then blocked every one with his imaginary feminum bracelets. "Now do machine gun!" and his arms moved fast, almost flailing, as he blocked 'em all again. The toddler got in on the act, both making the piw piw piws of the machine gun bullets and also simultaneously blocking every single one of them with impressively precise movements. They danced in front of me with their smiling delighted sweetness. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Small Stone for January 2

A very good meeting--laughter, coffee, greetings, the right agenda items, smart ideas, insights from all around the table, disagreements and discussions, decisions about next steps, and a plan to advance toward victory. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

make the spiral by walking

I took a walk on Christmas Day. Sky of white and blue. When the sun shone between the clouds the snow sparkled beautifully. I got past the barns and the expanse of field stretched out toward the horizon. All that open space gives me peace inside. Farm girl self loves the feeling of open space.  

I missed a recent spiral service, and I regretted that as I walked. But my life doesn't lend itself to evening engagements right now!

I realized I could position myself as missing out, or I could position myself as someone with choice. If I had choice, liked walking spiral meditations, and was standing in a field of snow, what choices could I create?

I began to make my own spiral in the snow, and it was so satisfying to feel it take shape, and to feel how its shape in turned shaped my walking. 

I focused on shaping it. I went in to the middle, got a bit dizzy as I turned around, and stepped back out with my feet close together. I went in again, and wondered if I should focus on a question as I walked. Instead I said, "I open myself to what arises."

I walked in and out many times. What arose is this: they way out is the same as the way in, but opposite. Things I'd like to be different in key relationships got this way through small daily steps, and the way I can choose to transform my dance moves in those patterns is also through small daily steps that are consistent in new ways. 

I made the spiral as I walked, and the spiral shaped my walk. 

Small Stone January 1

I'm doing this Mindful Writing Challenge this month. I'm going to write a "small stone" every day of January and post them here, and that way I'll practice writing and blogging! I'm excited. Here's my first small stone:

Small Stone January 1
New Year's Day walk all by myself... out past the barns, up and down over little hills I can't see til they're right in front of me. Grey sky, white and brown speckled fields, even the pine trees seem grey today. The only sound my feet trudging through snow. When I am still, I can hear the mmmmmm and hhhhhhhhh of far away cars. My mind can wander with no one to call Mama and summon me back to my duties of love.  Ten minutes of footsteps take me far away.  

Monday, December 31, 2012

Seven gloss-free ways to be happier in 2013

In the grocery store I was drawn to my favorite glossy women's magazine, which promised advice on “ways to be happier” in the coming year. I didn't buy it. At this point I know that this magazine consists almost exclusively of lists of lists, with the same advice over and over in different permutations.

I'm pretty sure I'm just as qualified to offer advice as anyone who publishes them on glossy paper. So, here you are: my advice to myself and the three other people who might read this, looking ahead to the new year.

Muddle through. 

Deal with stuff directly, even--especially--the stuff that scares you. Have those conversations you dread or feel anxious--and don't expect yourself to do it perfectly. Too many hours of preparation can just increase your anxiety or mean that you never get around to the actual conversation! And don't expect yourself to take a sharp turn in a relationship or fix it all in that one conversation. Just take one little step to deal with what's in front of you.

Know your bottom lines and be honest, but start with questions and listening. This, I think, is the basic advice of a book recommended to me by a friend who knows some of the challenges I had this year, Difficult Conversations. I think this is the advice because I haven't gotten past the first chapter yet. But it's my advice to myself anyway, for quick prep.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Four Teaching Tips & Techniques for Fantastic Workshops

Here are some simple methods to put adult education and popular education techniques to work in order to build skills and increase retention.

The first thing to know is this: Adults retain only 20% of new information they hear. Adults retain 10% of new information they see. Adults retain 30% if they see and hear new information. However, if adults hear and see new information as well as discuss it and practice using it, retention goes all the way up to 90%.

Use your time well.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Will the last investigative journalist out please turn off the light?

Last night I read Tim Connor's really fascinating interview with the last investigative reporter the Spokesman-Review had: Karen Dorn Steele, who took an early retirement in March, as did her cohort Bill Morlin.

I read Karen Dorn Steele's newspaper stories on Hanford radiation experiments when I was in college. I have a thyroid disorder, and Spokane is in the shadow of the giant cloud(s) of radioactive iodine purposely released there. She made that story public in spite of, as she details, an unsupportive editor, a visit from the FBI, and an atmosphere of mandatory support for government operations at Hanford.

We were just trying to find out what the history of accidents was and the history of environmental pollution had been at Hanford. And so, I’m a stubborn Norwegian. I just kind of got my back up really. First of all I didn’t think an FBI agent should be sauntering into a newsroom. That’s not proper. It sends a chilling message. And secondly, it made me angry.