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Posts tagged ‘reflect’

Inked. Day 13 | Godin, Linchpin, Tribes, V is for Vulnerable

I’m not sure how I encountered Seth Godin. I think it was something to do with his book, Tribes. I do know Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?arrived in March 2010, and I spent the next two months digesting his brilliant guidance. Godin, “writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything.”

13 Seth GodinIn 2010 I was telecommuting from home, working as an independent contractor with Spiritual Directors International, and a freelancing editor, retreat leader, speaker, and spiritual guide, offering spiritual direction in person and via telephone. I also assisted with our family lodge business. Godins’s book affirmed everything I believed about art, collaboration, connection, and gift in business, and he provided a framework that resonated profoundly with me.

A year later, I was single, with a pile of debt from my divorce, and financially needed to open myself to a new expression of work in the world. Within a month I faced deliberate discernment with five choices: continue what I was doing, accept a position at a local church, or as a communication specialist for a K-12 school district, or manage our family lodge business, or move to Bellevue, Washington to work in the home office of Spiritual Directors International. What choices! Of all the insights in Linchpin, one phrase in particular guided me, and is still sticky. I promised myself I would not do this.

“If you need to conceal your true nature to get in the door, understand that you’ll probably have to conceal your true nature just to keep that job” (79).

Godin inspires and guides me daily with a short, pithy email from his blog that lands in my inbox. It’s one of the few subscriptions that I read daily. His brilliance shows up through his perspective and insight that consistently invites a choice, or pokes new awareness not only in business, but all of life. He reminds, “amplify little thoughts” (148), and … “Most of all, art involves labor. Not the labor of lifting a brush or typing a sentence, but the emotional labor of doing something difficult, taking a risk, and extending yourself” (86). “Linchpins don’t need authority. It’s not part of the deal. Authority only matters in the factory, not in your world. … Real change happens when someone who cares steps up and takes what feels like a risk. People follow because they want to, not because you can order them to” (201). His book, V is for Vulnerable: Life Outside the Comfort Zone stands up, propped open on a shelf in my office at the school district. It reminds me about authenticity, and that 2011 promise to myself.

Next on my list, and already in my book stack, is The Icarus Deception, in which Godin, “argues that we’ve been brainwashed by industrial propaganda, and pushes us to stand out, not to fit in.”

Check out Seth Godin’s books, blog, free downloads, and perspective. I’m curious, what is evoked in you? Whatcha gonna do with your ducks?

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Stand Still. Appreciate a Tree.

Wilderness is a powerful teacher. In Alaska, the landscape is sturdy. Rugged. Every day a thousand trees remind me to stand still. Trees teach me tenacity. Trees teach me to grow roots, offer support, move without snapping, let go, and to hold onto myself. I live in a log home built of tree trunks. Burning branches provide wood stove heat, protecting me from bitter cold.

A Jewish friend told me that today is  Tu B’shvat–a holiday called New Year For Trees. I recalled a favorite poem, and want to share it with you. Lost reminds me to pause, be present and embodied in the here and now of time–where ever that may be. Perhaps it will speak to you, too.

Lost
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
— David Wagoner

Reflection
Please make time to appreciate your outer landscape. Look closely at a tree, go to a park,  take a walk. Then, stand still. Where are you? Really, where are you? Give thanks for life–however it lives in you today.

Please offer your thoughts and comments. What do you discover?

The line between good and evil is in …

Today amazon.com sent me “The Gulag Archipelago” by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. He’s the man who wrote,

“Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts.”

I believe this is true. Nearly twenty years ago I first pondered Solzhenitsyn’s insight. Again and again I need to revisit how I live, what I believe, how I speak.


The instigation for reading “The Gulag Archipelago” comes from the recent shooting in Arizona. I am aware that this is a lie: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.” Words–and names–do hurt, or heal. Words console, uplift, and inspire. Words instigate condemnation, contempt,  and violence. Physical violence always begins with words, first. So I ask:

  • What words do you choose to use?
  • How do your actions amplify your thoughts?
  • You are powerful–how can your personal power be life-giving?
  • Where is the line between good and evil drawn in your heart?

These are questions worth pondering. Please join me in asking them. Seek healing and wholeness, dignity and integrity. Right now, today.

Please offer a prayer for all victims of violence in our world–and all perpetrators. “May there be peace on earth, and may it begin with me.”

A Dog Teaches Me To Trust Love, Trust Myself


Around ten pm, a few days before Christmas,  I sat cross-legged gazing through the burnished glass of a wood stove. Heat rippled toward my face. Flicking flames evoked emotions and memories: a needlepoint Santa stocking for a boy who no longer lives, the ending of a marriage I held precious, decisions that tangle and untangle a life. My two–outdoor only–dogs snoozed nearby. A few weeks earlier I decided to bring them inside with me. It was the best present I’ve given them–and myself.

Kenai, the five year old Chesapeake Bay Retriever came over, prodding my forearm, seeking attention. I stretched out on the carpet; he laid full length next to me.  I stroked the groove between his eyes with my thumb. Tears prickled my nose and eyes, unbidden. Something melted in me. I want to learn to love this fiercely again. I want to share radical unconditional love. I blinked unexpected tears, continuing to pet his fur.  While wood crackled and popped, I realized how defended and sheltered my heart is. Kenai stayed still, simply present.

Dogs teach us. This was not the first time Kenai had been my companion. I think he is an angel in disguise.

He went missing in the wilds of Granite Canon, Wyoming, for nine months. Only a pup, his loss came three months after the death of my only child. That was nearly five years ago. Then a miracle occurred.

It was New Year’s Day, 2007.  I’d returned to northern Colorado from a visit to Alaska, and welcomed the new year,  standing on a snowy ridge top in Wyoming. I called to my lost pup–the only visible movement  in a vast horizon. Kenai bolted through snowdrifts  into my arms, with whimpers and cries. I buried my hands in his fur that day too–later realizing no human hands had touched him for nine months.  Our story “Lost and Found” was printed a Chicken Soup book.

I remember the miracle, and share my 2011 happy new year wish: May we learn to live with fierce tenderness and unmeasured mutuality.

This is an excerpt from Lost and Found followed by a link to the full story. May peace be with you, and me.

…A new year

January 1 dawned clear and sunny. We drove to Wyoming. Entering the ranch, we stopped to scan the landscape with binoculars. On a distant ridge we saw him. There was no doubt now. My stomach started to churn. Within a few minutes, we met Brenda. I could barely breathe. There was only room for one of us in her tractor cab. Jim stared at me and whispered, “Go.”

Maneuvering to the ridge top seemed longer than ten minutes. Cows followed as we lurched through icy snow drifts. The sun radiated brilliance against snow and rock. We stopped where Brenda had left food for Kenai. Heart pounding, I stepped from the cab.

Brenda backed the tractor away. I walked forward. Suddenly I saw a flash of brown on the other ridge. Clapping my hands, I called, “Kenai, Kenai, Kenaiii,” over and over and over. Could he hear me, would he remember?

Kenai stopped and sniffed the air. Instantly wiggling with recognition from nose to tail, he raced through snowdrifts toward me. Whimpers and cries erupted from both of us. I fell to my knees in the snow, arms wide open, calling him. I could see his puppy collar! A solid, furry hay-smelling body launched into my embrace. He was undersized, but unharmed. We jumped up, tumbled around each other, playing, touching, petting, tears pouring forth. I can’t believe he remembers! He’s safe!

When Jim was within one hundred yards of us, I knelt, presenting to him Kenai. Kenai looked to me, then rushed to Jim as I watched, sobbing with joy.

Oh yes, I hope. I believe.

– (c) Pegge Bernecker, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living Catholic Faith, 2008

Links
Read the full story: “Lost and Found.” See photos of Kenai and the Wyoming landscape where he lived.