Saturday, December 31, 2011

T= Time teller

In the book Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, they talk about two different kinds of leaders who build great companies. A time teller is someone who builds a great company through the sheer power of will. They tend to be charismatic and demanding and although they create a great company, the company generally flounders upon their exit or death.

The other kind of leader is a clock maker. They build companies with a good solid base of principles. They can be charismatic but often are not. The companies they build are resilient and can bounce back from years of not doing very well.

I could not help but start to form the idea that families function in this same way as well. It got me wondering if I as a parent am a time teller or a clock maker. And, if I am a time teller, how do I shift over to being a clock maker instead? What attitudes would I need to change, what choices would have to be made differently? Am I building a principle based life that can bring our children a greater possibility of success long after their father and I are gone?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

S=Stepping through...

This article from Discovery News relates some of the research being done on memory. Not surprisingly, research has found that moving from one space to another results in a loss of memory about what a person was doing or looking at in the previous room. I have thought about this article a lot since I first read it. What may seem like a vexing human challenge at first glance, might be an incredible boon for forgetting things all of us want to leave behind.

The research explains that even walking through a virtual door had this effect of clearing memory. It seems to me that a person could actively choose to use doorways as a way of clearing memory of unuseful things like ideas or events that have been fully processed and serve no good purpose but to hang out and drag a person back in to the muck. A person might be able to use an imagined doorway to leave behind what no longer serves them.

An end of a year could also be an important symbolic doorway. What if we chose to leave some things on the other side as we walk through that door? Each new day could be a doorway. An opportunity to glean the important lessons from the day and then walk through to a brand new one.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I have thought a lot in the past couple of weeks about the Occupy movement. I know very little about the movement and have not really been interested in seeking further information. Last week, driving in the car alone past the park in our city that housed the occupiers I realized something. So much of the life our family is living is a protest.

For years, I have known people who around this time of year choose a word of focus for the next year, without ever feeling compelled to do so myself. This time, the word JOY found me and I knew it would be my focus for my choices in the coming months.

Everything came together when I found this quote: "The greatest expression of rebellion is joy." Joss Whedon. My personal occupy movement is to own and live JOY.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


If I am lucky enough to be up before the kids and I am also so fortunate as to still have dark outside, the only thing I want to do is stand in the kitchen or sit on the floor and stare at this...

Friday, December 23, 2011

P= Past, present, and perspective

Up until 2 years ago I remembered very little of my childhood. When I first started to remember things, I wanted to stop. The memories were mostly bad. Then other memories started to rise up too. Happy ones. Ones that would make me giggle. Memories that would transport me back to my grandpa's farm, or the creek we played in near our house, or my brother taking me for rides on his bike. Then, the bad memories did not have such a powerful affect, because there was something to balance them with.

I really have no control over when a memory will arise. Last week, I had a very powerful memory from a past Christmas. One that knocked me on my ass for a bit. A memory that made me weep and one that explained so many of the things that I often feel this time of year. Around the same time a friend on Facebook posted a quote the gist of which is "You can't control whether or not winter comes but you can control what you plant in the spring". This gave me an idea.

I started to think of life, my life, like a movie. This is my movie and I get to choose. Not every scene that is shot makes it in to the final movie. That does not mean it was never shot, it just means that somehow it did not fit in to the final product and ended up on the cutting room floor to be discarded. I decided that I would much rather remember Mina toasting marshmallows over a candle, or Ari jumping up and down for joy over a new discovery. I decided that I now have so many good scenes to replace these other ones with, even the ones that have not risen out of my memory yet. And that once I feel the memory and look at the pattern it may have to show me, I am going to replace it.

This does not mean I am going to start denying the material facts of where I have been. I actually have lived in that reality and it is not a better place. It means, I am going to focus my energy on elevating my own perspective. On actively choosing to stop seeing the world through the lens that was created in my head so long ago and to move in to a frame of mind where any scene can be cut and replaced with something more beneficial to living a better life.