Just in Time “Magical” Insight

Many years ago, I interviewed for a regional management position.

I expected the pat questions.

Instead, the interview was, “Prepare your action plan and present it to our leaders.”


They gave me an hour to prepare. At minute 53, I was sweating profusely over a blank sheet of paper.

At minute 54, after a desperate prayer, I noticed their strategic vision statement on the wall.

At minute 60, I had crafted a presentation to match that statement. They offered me the job.

Often, the key to magical communication lies in understanding the audience.

In relationships, I often skip that step and my words skip over them like a well-thrown rock across a pond.

People listen when, before opening our mouth, we replace our…

  1. timing

  2. approach

  3. point of view

  4. preferences

  5. fears

…with theirs.

“Big Regret” Therapy

Image result for cutting for stone abraham verghese

“You live life forward, but understand it backward. It is only when you stop and look in the rear that you see the corpse caught under your wheel.” – Abraham Verghese

This quote craftily describes that sickening, sinking feeling that comes with the awareness (or the memory) of having made the wrong decision.

 If I had only…is the plague and the gaping wound of our human condition that will not heal…unless…we grab the tourniquet of today, wrap it tightly around the bleeding past, and step with resolve into tomorrow.

I can only do that when I remember:

  • It is no crime to be fallible.

  • Redemption dwells in strange places.

  • Power belongs to the present, and

  • If I have been given breath, there is hope for tomorrow


(Initially  posted in 2012. If you haven’t read the book, it is quite enlightening.)

The Rarest of Qualities

First meeting someone

I may be impressed with their intelligence

Beauty, talent, wealth, or power

But the one quality

That grabs and holds my attention is

A persons’ quality of seeing


It is so absolutely rare

To meet someone

Who sees me

Instead of their own agenda

Who listens instead of talks

About themselves

Who is open to learn

Instead of hopelessly in love

With their own thoughts


Wow, when I meet someone like this

I’m instantly in love

Outward appearances fall away

And I suddenly remember that

All the other qualities may burn me

(or dissolve away)

But this one quality of presence

Brings health, healing, hope

And heaven with it




Can You Relate?


Unfortunately, most of us have been there, and can painfully recall the desolate landscape.

Anne Lamott’s insightful quote reminds me of a story I once heard about former North Dakota Congresswoman, Rebecca Dunn. She was a powerful negotiator and public speaker, and when asked about the source of her power, she responded with this:

Rebecca Dunn

Her answer makes more sense when we keep in mind that everyone’s heart is breaking, or has broken, or will break.

It is good advice for any of us who want to add depth to our communications…

…with friends and foes.

Need a Lift? My Dog Thinks I’m an Idiot

Our dog thinks I’m an idiot.

When we come back from going out

He stands planted in the hall

Resisting the turn toward the elevator

Motioning me toward the door

(On the wrong floor)

“Why this unnecessary time in the box when our door is in sight?”

He says with his eyes

In an indecipherable explanation

I say, “We must go up”

He sighs

And reluctantly gets in

Much like I do

When the Universe asks me to get in the lift

Before I do my work

I sigh

Trying hard to remember

There’s a level of understanding

Beyond my own

That will get me to

The right door

And save me the time and inconvenience

Of the wrong

new level



It Will Flip on Us

To have great interest in the lives of those who suffer, and, in how we can alleviate (by any small act) the pain they endure, will always work to our benefit. The better we relate now to those whose circumstances are less fortunate than our own, the easier it will be to cope later when the roles of loss fall to us.

And they will.

The external pillars that support our current construct of certainty and happiness will inevitably crumble, leaving us exposed, with only the pillars of strength that we have built quietly and steadily within.

Build with compassion today, because roles will ultimately, and always, flip on us.

rate inside

Jack was referring to business, but the sentiment is universal.


Two-Minute Tune-Up 4.2.13 If Trees Are Just Trees

If trees are just trees to you

And not jaw-dropping edifices that rose out of dirt

(The freakin’ dirt!)

As inconspicuous as grass

Somehow spared by mower, herbivore, and weather

If they are not high-performance landscape

Original works of art

Treasured shade and succor for myriad versions of life

Housing super-highways of nutrients

Commanding leaves of every color in the spectrum

Blossoms, both dainty and strong

Geometrically modern and traditional

Nuts, cones, burrs, berries, fruit,

And all manner of other inventive offspring

(Oh! And don’t forget the bark!)


You won’t get it when I say

You are born of magic and have power beyond your wildest imagination.


Two-Minute Tune-Up 3.4.13 Gravitas

I just love this word because it perfectly describes what it feels like when I meet a person who has it.

The “gravity” of their suffering, their depth, their expanse…pulls me toward them. I effortlessly enter their orbit, drawn by open eyes that see, bent ears that hear, and knowing hands that reach out, momentarily embracing my world or revealing theirs.

I felt the gravitas last night, speaking with a man who painfully escaped death beside his not-so-lucky friend in the oil field, with a couple who had lost their business and fortune and had started over from the bottom, and with the reading of a Billy Collins poem, The First Dream.

The bonus of seeking out people with gravitas is the way we walk afterwards…our steps more firmly planted into the rich earth.

footprints fossilized


Two-Minute Tune-Up 2.27.13 Getting Over Ourselves

the sparrow

Mary Doria Russell, an anthropologist, wrote a great sci-fi book that demonstrates it wasn’t just foreign missionaries who messed up things with their intrusion into other cultures. Through the book we understand that even the most intelligent people with the best intentions  screw up royally.

I love this book because it has reminded me to forgive myself and others for serious stuff.

It also reminds me to stop the self-righteous condemnation of others that often expresses itself as, “I can’t believe they did that!” or “How dare they?” etc., as if I am surprised with human nature.

Accepting the glaring fallibility of others is easier when I stop sitting in judgement, pretending that I am any better.

This dark book gives light if we aren’t afraid of owning our kinship.







Two-Minute Tune-Up 8.22.12 Everyone Mattered? Really?

Fresh Minds Matter posted this image on Facebook. I wanted to share it since I had spent my morning meditating on this concept. If we believe it, this is how it should change the way we think:

  • When someone else loses, suffers, craters, etc…so do I.
  • Every single one of us is connected to each other.
  • “Do not ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.” – John Donne
  • It is to my benefit to treat all strangers as I want my loved ones to be treated.
  • Treating people like props on our stage is the essence of immaturity.
  • Even someone who has hurt me requires love.
  • All that is not love is a call for love.
  • Mercy triumphs over judgement. More mercy. Less criticism.