March 9th, 2007

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Good Morning!

I find myself wanting to offer a pause as I look out on this gray day. 

Last night, I read the book "Putting the One Minute Manager to Work."   It seems so easy, something we naturally know and can use in organizing our own lives as well as motivating and directing others. 

The book begins with asking us to look into the faces of those we manage and realize that they are our most important resources.  Isn't that how we should view those around us?    Look into the faces of those you interact with today and feel what they mean to you.   How often do we view others as resources, and yet, they are.

Also, we need to have a plan, a goal.  We need to know our areas of responsibility and what good performance looks like.   Once activated, people perform.   Performance is what someone says or does, not what they think or feel.    Again, for each of us in our lives it is important to activate our thoughts and feelings, to say and do. 

The book also tells when to set goals and when to reprimand and to remember that reprimand is short, and then forgotten.  The rule of the reprimand is that you have about thirty seconds to share your feelings.  You end with praise.  If there is nothing to praise,  you let the person go.  Again, I look at this advice in terms of my life and how I work and achieve.   If I can't find a place to praise in what I do, perhaps I can let that activity go.  It is a way to sort and prioritize.  The books says "Only positive consequences encourage good future performance."   Again, I see. 

The book gives an example of a reprimand of a father to a child.  The reprimand is short and reinforces the love of the parents for the child and gives the child responsibility for their behavior.  It is a potent example of positive interaction.  I recommend the book for just that short little segment beginning on page 48.

The book says, "The American way of managing seems to be: When people perform well, their managers do nothing.  When they make a mistake, their managers "hit" them."    Again, I consider if I reward myself when I perform well.  Do I manage myself well?   Where, how, and when do I reward?   Do I tell others what they mean to me?   Could I do it more?

It is also important to pinpoint.  I know that.  I set small goals and attain them, rather than bogging down in some vague haze of hope.  You see, I am praising myself already.  : )

There is an interesting article in the SF Chronicle today that points out that when Ann Coulter called Al Gore a "total fag" a year ago, it caused barely a stir.  Now, a year later, there is a different response to her calling John Edwards "a faggot."

At least four newspapers have dropped her column and three corporations, including Verizon, stopped advertising on her website after she made the comment.   That is good news and quite a shift in a year.  
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Alicia -

I have spoken before of Alicia, the young woman who wrote for the SF Chronicle and then got cancer and wrote of her experience with it.

I somehow hadn't realized that she didn't allow chemo into her life as a possibility of a way to heal.  Now, she has and this is her column on it and also her announcement that she is going on disability and won't be writing for the Chronicle anymore, but will have a blog.

I sit with it  and wonder.   There is an article in the New Yorker this week on AIDS and how some healers in Africa are responding to the epidemic with their own herbal solutions.  The article made me wonder if I jumped too quickly to chemo, but I don't think so.  I am surprised that Alicia took so long to come to it and I hope it serves her well.

Here is her last column for now if you are interested.
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Healing -

I have been this week with the effects of treatment.  For the most part, I think it wasn't that bad but when I read these words of Alicia, I try and remember back.  I remember that at times I felt that Drano had been poured down my throat.  How am I affected by that now?  I want to put it all to rest but I think some of the trauma may still be there.

Alicia writes:
    After I started chemo on Jan. 26 in an attempt to stop the growth of cancer in my lungs and hip, I knew I didn't want to write a piece chronicling the experience. Everyone knows chemo can be awful.

    The difference was that no one expected my chemo experience to be awful. It was one of the "better" chemos, all the doctors and nurses said, and I shouldn't have much nausea or vomiting.

    So they were humble and guilt-ridden when I told them I had spent 48 hours bedridden -- not a moment up even to go to the bathroom -- because my head and stomach were swimming with nausea.

    I was so sick, so surprisingly sick, that Sally, my surrogate mother in Concord, was concerned she wouldn't be able to take care of me. She asked me to move to the Roseville area, where I'd grown up, to stay with the family of a friend, Kate, while receiving extra support from my dad, my church and other friends' parents. After being blindsided by the nausea and finding myself in critical need of support, I felt an internal push to organize my team: a group of people willing and prepared to step in and share the burden of helping me.

I read her words.  My experience wasn't that bad, but does saying that not honor what my experience was.  Have I tried to joke about what happened, to say that others,  and there are many others,  are much worst off than I?    Our first editor asked why I would write about something so horrible and I felt somehow it wasn't that horrible, that it was beautiful, that I was writing about all the love and care, but maybe there is a horror in there that I have not yet been able to fully feel.  

My brother almost died from Lyme disease and wrote to me today about how that felt to him.  That was probably four years ago now.  Does it take time to "feel," to integrate?    Have I had time this week to take more of last year in?   Jane has requested I not work on the book this week.   She is wanting to find her way into it as it exists now so I have had some "spare" time and I think that is good.  I needed it.

I am opening and gaining movement back.   I am learning new ways to gather, move, respond and I am fragile and vulnerable.  I stand perhaps as a weakened member of my tribe and I hope in that recognition that I am also strength, perhaps even guide.  

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Quotes from the past -


    Be kind to your sleeping heart.

    Take it out into the vast fields of light

    And let it breathe.

- Hafiz


We who lived in concentration camps can remember those who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread.  They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a person but one thing: the last of human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances - to choose one's own way.

    - Viktor Frankl


"Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold. For if you put on more clothes as the cold increases, it will have no power to hurt you. So in like manner you must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will then be powerless to vex your mind."

            - Leonardo da Vinci
                    (1452 - 1519)



"One word frees us from the weight and pain of life; that word is love."




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Checking in -

For those of you who don't read the comments, it seems there is a vast place somewhere in the Live Journal sky where people can check what is posted and choose to respond, so that is how interesting, interested individuals sometimes come to me.   I find it fascinating and know there is no longer time to comb through all the possibilities this world offers, and that is okay.  There is more than enough for all.  

Debra asked me today if agreeing not to write on the book this week is like having a daughter away at camp.  I love the image and idea of it.  I think it is.  I only have sons, but I do know what having my sons at camp was like, especially when my stamped postcards rarely returned except with the camper and disgustingly dirty laundry.

This is like having a daughter at camp.  I like thinking of the book as female, and there is a freedom in the gift of this time.  There is a playfulness to it and I do miss working on the book and yet I have this space and time for the new to enter.  I like it and I can't wait to get my hands back on the book.   We, the book and I,  are a team now so having it out of reach this week is a change for me, and I accept what comes in its place.
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Local politics -

Today I have been sorting through a vast array of emails pertaining to our local Tam Valley and affordable housing which means high density which means changing the current zoning.   Wow!   I have also listened to a talk on-line by my representative Charles McGlashan.  While it is hard to argue with what he says as to a need for a different form of transportation than cars and an awareness that Tam Valley will soon be under-water, it is also hard not to notice that he lives in Mill Valley and the proposals for affordable housing are in Tam Valley, Strawberry and Tiburon.

He says that if we were like the Netherlands with 46% of the people using bicycles for transportation we would not have the weekend gridlock in Tam Valley as people head out to the mountain and the beach.  He also says that in the Netherlands they deal with the low elevation.  This is true, but as I am out doing errands today I find it hard to believe we are going to get people out of their cars anytime soon.  I do many of my errands on foot, and I am one of the few.  I feel like an unarmored snail as I walk along continually passed by an array of metal.

Europe has consistently had high-density housing.  The model is the village, the neighborhood store.  Many people bike or walk to work.  It seems that the "low-income housing" would be for teachers, but only a beginning teacher's salary would qualify.  It is also for firefighters but it seems they are willing to drive and want their own house and a yard.  They don't want to be crammed into high-density housing.  Hmmm!   The point of all this is to save the environment by promoting less driving. 

McGlashan would like the railway accesses opened again and made into bike paths.  He says Marin is flat, flatter than the Netherlands.   I wonder if he has actually bicycled in Marin to make such a statement, but let's assume there is going to be some leveling out.  He visualizes us all bicycling along as people do in the Netherlands.  I like that idea and I wonder if it is going to happen.  Certainly it is worth a try, but it seems like people rarely walk or bike to do their errands or get to work.  Most of those I see are out there for recreation or exercise.  Can McGlashan change that mind-set?  I hope so, but I continue to think that building more housing in an area that floods every winter and is often grid-locked makes no sense. 

Anyway, I see that my email box will continue to fill with a flurry of comments as people debate this issue.  We are all on the same side, and we don't all agree, and I have read all I can find on it today trying to decide what I want to say.  It is letter-writing time and meeting-going time and there are some very angry people out there.   I am in fear my email box will go up in flames.