Tag Archives: Susan Clarke

HootSuite – Really?

With our new website, www.thriveinc.com, now up and running, I find myself much more interested in exploring the vast territory of social media.  I realize most of you reading this are far more advanced than me.  I admit I have only in the past six months spent any significant time on Facebook.  Yes, I have solid number of connections in LinkedIn – but honestly have not done a g4878039reat deal to really advance those connections.  It all seems so time consuming.

My good friend and CIC (Chick-in-Charge) of her own company VivoTeam Consulting, Renee Safrata, has tried to help me.  There have been various in person visits where she’s taught me to tweet, and it was Renee, who launched my blog site and got me moving in the online world.  However, her efforts were only sustainable when we got together.  I did not follow-through, and of course, after a bit of time away from Tweeter, Facebook, LinkedIn, any of these fast advancing mediums, I would lose my skills, forget my password, and soon I was back to email!  It is amazing my blog site has survived, though I often hear now that blogging is way out of date.  Still, I love it – so I will stay with it!

However, with the new launch of www.thriveinc.com I have a new drive, intention and commitment-to-action for diving further into the online world!

I have been getting some great new excellent advice from my coach, Jessica Steward.  The first bit was to pick one medium and get good at it.  Well, that left me to my own indecisive methods and resulted in no major progress.  There are many personality labels that might explain my inability to advance based on one focused activity – ADHD from the DSM IV, high INFP in Myers Briggs, and high Quick Start in the Kolbe Index – just to name a few.  Personality assessments are a bit like social media – lots to choose from – all have possibilities for adding value and some insight into my psyche – though none can really take away my own self-responsibility for how I interact with my world – which basically  does not involve focusing on only one thing at a time.  (even if it would be good for me!!)

So my friendly expert, Jessica, mentioned HootSuite – which I just thought was too funny!  The name alone was cause for a smile and giggle. So of course, I was willing to give it a try.  The interesting thing about HootSuite is that it offers one platform for many social mediums.  All you experts are likely about to say, there are many other platforms as good, worse, more personal or business-focused out there, that do the same thing.  Please don’t let me know that.  I have decided to try ONE, and since HootSuite generates a giggle in me – well, that’s where I am starting.

Even with this level of commitment, I am still far, far behind in my marketing campaign.  However, I am taking a stand and doing my best to lean-in to this new world.  Please note, I will try not to bug the hell out of folks.  I am hoping to discover ways to utilize HootSuite to share meaningful material.  It’s so difficult to know what works.  It seems the best option is to communicate in many different ways – blogs, articles and books (old school), hashtags, tweets and endorsements (a bit newer school), plus making sure there’s some time built in there somewhere for good old face-to-face (no not Skype or Facetime) – but real-live contact with someone.

My main purpose in life is about making connections and communications between people real and authentic, and like it or not, the internet has become a space that plays an important part in making that happen.  So I’m in – HootSuite here I come!

Also please check out the new pages on this website.  There’s one on Living Alive Phase I @ The Haven and Couples Alive @The Haven. (Did you notice I added the links so you only have to click on the link to go there? I know. Very cool, huh?!)  If you have friends or family who might find these links helpful, please pass along.  Also, if you have taken a Living Alive Phase and want to share your take on the value that added to your life, please write me back or even send a video of your own making!  Same with you couples out there who may get this and want to share how the Couples Alive Series helped you.

Living in this digital age does make relating all the more challenging, interesting and important – connected means so much more!

 

 

 

 

Celebrating The Haven!

Awesome Haven Cake!
Awesome Haven Cake!

What a wonderful weekend!! The Haven is celebrating it’s 30th Birthday, sort of all year, but this past weekend was the signature event. It was a celebration of the past, the present and the future of The Haven. Those that put the weekend together, Rachel, Louise, Morag and all of the Haven Staff, did an amazing job. This is their busiest time of year, Kids in The Spotlight ( a truly awesome experience for children – nothing else like it) a sellout each year for five weeks, finished it’s 2013 run on Friday morning. Plus, a wedding party on the island was taking all of the available rooms arriving Sunday afternoon. Not to mention, the start of Teens Alive and Come Alive on Monday. So even making this happen was a challenge. But not only did it happen, the weekend was a delightful experience and gathering of the old (folks who had 30 plus years of Ben and Jock programs and experience) and the newer, those who have become Haven folks under the Haven Foundation. It was wonderful.

For me, it truly was like seeing the many, many layers of my own transformation and the people I can only call my ‘human heroes’ – those that have embodied and invited me to discover the life possible through open, honest relating. Not always pretty and polite, but real, raw, authentic and alive!

It was so fun to participate in a ‘worldwide’ streamed visualization led by Ernie and Cathy McNally, and I giggled as various memories surfaced from my own 28 year Haven epic! Next, was an amazing artistic adventure and co-creative process designed and facilitated by the wonderful Marlyn Farrell. I was resistant to go and came away loving the experience. There were so many magical moments and this post could just be a blow-by-blow of the weekend. But really that isn’t my main point. Still I am reminded of just how special The Haven is and my wish that more people knew of the place and the people that have made it possible for so many to transform themselves, their relationships and the world around them!

The magic of being together for a Haven Sunset!
The magic of being together for a Haven Sunset!

Of course, that magic does exist elsewhere, I don’t mean to imply that only at The Haven can one be transformed. No, but it is a very special place. Possibly because there are so many different types of leaders and people who come. It is a a place for the odd duck and the average Joe. It welcomes the righteous and invites each of us who come with our own set of assumptions to consider being a bit more curious. There are often strong opinions and people on missions. Yet there is this space that opens and allows for the most defended and the most vulnerable to sit together in a circle and simply be, breath, feel and converse. If that doesn’t help, well there’s dancing and music and great food. Not everyone walks away happy and blissful. No, that is not the purpose. The Haven is a space for all to come, to be, to speak, to join and to discover. Without answers or a right or wrong, just people being together. It is amazing what that alone creates!!

That is what was being celebrated this weekend. The space, the literal space and the metaphoric space that allows for transformation. Indeed, over my 28 years here, I have rediscovered myself so many times. I have connected and seen worlds and universes well beyond my limited physical possibility, and I am deeply grateful!!

Sunday morning we journeyed into a possible future for The Haven. The story boards and designs were collaborative process of dreaming BIG and looking at the reality of a property on an island with limits and by-laws. Again creating that tension that comes and builds when there is an opening, a curiosity, and a dialogue, allowing for a leap of innovation to take place. Yes,  The Haven is now shaping itself, utilizing all of it’s magic. People coming together to dream, to wrestle with reality, to wrestle with assumptions and use that juice to move ahead. No decisions were made. But I saw the possibility and the folks that were going to be furthering the plans, and again I was amazed. I have no doubt magic is in the making. The Haven Institute isn’t a static, still point. It is growing and transforming, just as I am. I may or may not like all the directions The Haven moves, but I love, that much like me, the property, the place is living and breathing and carrying on!!  Happy Birthday Haven!!

Susan Clarke is a long standing faculty member at The Haven Institute. She leads The Living Alive Phase I, with CrisMarie Campbell, October 16-November 10, 2013 and Couples Alive I – Foundation, Communication and Boundaries, Oct. 7-10, 2013. Susan Clarke and CrisMarie Campbell are also founders of thrive! inc., a coaching and consulting firm helping teams, individuals and couples make the leap to better results in their relationships, work and lives.

Coming Out of the Closet

Over the weekend someone posted Ellen DeGeneres doing a commencement speech at Tulane in 2009.  If you haven’t heard this I highly recommend you listen.

Ellen’s Commencement Speech @ Tulane University from James Huang on Vimeo.

Ellen is awesome, real, funny and inspiring.  The speech is filled with her humor, but more importantly her message is one that is critical.  Success is being able to be who you truly are, to contribute, to live in integrity, with compassion and not define your success by the measures of others.

Her story really touched home for me at this point in my life. In some ways I am coming out of the closet.  No, I am not going to declare to the world through my blog that I am gay or lesbian.  I do think I have been openly clear that my business and life partner is a woman, CrisMarie.  However, the irony of my own personal coming out process is that it might be easier if I could just join one of the clubs – either as gay or straight.  However, I just can not.

Here’s why.  My loving has very little to do with my sexuality, and I am SO tired of having loving and sexuality be glued together.  I am in a committed, loving relationship with CrisMarie.  If I had to define my sexuality the best I could do is say bi-sexual.  Now that might seem easy, but let me tell you, I have had some very painful and mean comments thrown at me from both lesbians who think I am copping out and straight folks who simply define okay as man/woman sex, married with children.

It is beginning to really annoy me that our culture is so determined to make sexual orientation such a big deal.  I honestly do not get it.  Now if someone is forcing any type of sexual activity or their opinion about someone’s sexual orientation on others, I am totally against it.  Myself, I am not particularly fond of passionate physical expressions publicly by a man and woman, two men or two woman.  It just isn’t my thing.  But it isn’t about sexual orientation. Nor do I think people who do like public displays of affection are evil, bad or need to be corrected.  I think I just like my physical, sexual expression to be more private.

Sure I am following the current marriage laws and hoping that at some point our country can catch up with so many other countries that get that a loving relationship is not defined by sex or gender, nor should it be.  A loving committed relationship, a marriage is a union between two people who want to spend their lives, the highs, lows, pain and pleasure together. Sex is very likely to be a part of that, but sex is not necessarily loving or about love at all.  Sure it can be.  But really, loving and commitment to another person is so much more than that.

So I loved listening to Ellen and I want to come out of the closet.  Not as gay or straight but as a human being, loving and learning through being with an awesome human being who is interested in sharing this wild and crazy ride on planet earth. I want to contribute and model compassion through valuing our differences and accepting people as they are.

Boy does it feel good to be out!  So as Ellen’s concludes, “It’s going to be okay, Let’s Dance!!”

Fun Footnote: A number of people say I dance just like Ellen! Now that is a compliant I enjoy!

 

 

The Many Life Lessons of Golf!

“Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated. It satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening—it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.” ~Arnold Palmer

My friend, Jim Sellner, sent me this quote this morning.  I have no doubt because I have become a touch obsessed with golf.  Yes, the Ladies League Night has led to practicing, lessons and early morning golf tee times!  In many ways I am having a blast.  I am also fully realizing the maddening aspects of the game mentioned in the quote.

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May be I shouldn’t have taken the short cut!!

Just last night, I found myself having what I thought was one of my best games yet.  I was hitting the ball longer, straighter and indeed started off with far fewer shots on each hole.  However, in the end three very bad holes totally overtook all the good stuff in terms of my score card.  My brain was screaming, “loser”, but my soul was singing with the satisfaction of progress and a few wonderful shots!

I don’t know that I agree that golf is the greatest game, but I do totally get the rewarding and maddening aspects as well as satisfying the soul while frustrating the intellect.  Plus, I have come up with my own life lessons that a summer of golf is teaching me.  These lessons do go well beyond the fairway.

  1. Loosen my gripThat may be obvious for some, but honestly I never knew that was why I was topping the ball or more importantly ‘coming in a situation well over the top!’
  2. Don’t think to much about itIndeed another obvious one and still one of the hardest to break.  I am masterful at reliving, well re-thinking over and over something and it generally leads to trouble!
  3. One short putt is just as powerful as a 220 yard drive.  Those little things do count, even though to often the big things get way more focus and attention!
  4. Hitting over the trees (or water)  may be a short cut but only if I really can hit over them!  I love this one.  There are signs on the course encouraging golfers not to take the short cut – but honestly most of us over-confident drivers – go right for the straight line and must of us aren’t really skilled enough to get there.  Thus hacking our way out of the trees or worse hitting though a window of a house just on the other side!  (this explains two of my three horrible holes – no broken windows but water and lots of trees! )
  5. Be willing to shift your weight.  In any swing, except putting, there is a need to shift your weight from one foot to the other.  Too often I find myself either hacking with just my arms or getting stuck with my weight on one side.  This one may be even truer off the golf course:  I need to be willing to shift off my own fixed position!

So golf is teaching me many lessons!  Plus I am meeting new folks and enjoying some community building.  I doubt I’ll ever be good, but my soul is still singing with the satisfaction of making a few great shots!  Some short and some long!!

 

 

 

I Love Brene & I Fight for Feelings!!

Okay I had a few folks ask me if I was trying to take a shot at Brene Brown in my last post.  I want to clarify.  I love her work.  So I am not out to poke, other than it is the nature of my style, which some call contrarian or Myers Briggs refers to as my need to question, that may present as challenging.  Truthfully, I find I only rise to the challenge when I have total and complete respect for the idea or more clearly stated, the person presenting it.

That said, I do struggle when a feeling is getting a bad rap.  Feelings to me are like the breath and blood of being human.  Babies are the best example of this fluid relationship that we should be having with our emotions.  Babies can be crying and screaming one minute and laughing seconds later.  Their little bodies shake and vibrate freely with each surge of emotion – energy-in-motion.  Most of us as adults are are not nearly so fluid or expressive, actually we are quite the opposite.  Somewhere along the way we dampened our emotional range.  Mostly to conform or fit in to the expected path of maturing by using the mind more than the heart.

I believe feelings, all feelings are vital to a healthy heart and aliveness.  We breath, we feel.  Why are feelings so often something we wish to get rid of.  I believe people spend more time trying to rid themselves of uncomfortable feelings, like anger, jealousy or shame – than time spent working on shifting mental patterns of self-hate to self-compassion.  I will say again – the feeling isn’t the problem.  Feelings pass.  Feelings are in the moment.  Yes, unpredictable and less stable.  Still, in the moment, timeless and immediate.  Our thinking, can be quite stable, predictable and in all honestly – deadly.  However, we don’t seem quite so quick to get rid of a negative thought – instead we believe it , fondle it and prove it, giving it a permanent track for messing with our immediate experience.

As humans we are quite proud of our neocortex, that thinking part of the brain.  It is amazing that we are a species that can imagine, innovate and tell a story forward.  It is a gift.  Yet without the breath and blood of feelings our story-telling and innovation comes without empathy or connection.

Think of our great minds like the land that we walk on, solid and relatively easy to navigate.  Now think of the oceans, the waters that take up even more of this wonderful planet, the mystery and flow they offer.  To me that is the difference between my feelings and my stories.  The stories are the islands that I can at times get trapped living on, solid, predictable but not always interconnected.  Feelings like the water will move me, shape me and provide the incredible depth that connects those islands and ensures oneness, not a separate state.

I seriously doubt Brene Brown, meant to get rid of a feeling.  I think she was really trying to find a path for re-connecting.  Shame for me is the water, the ocean.  The island, that at times I allow my shame to create is one of self-hate and that is an island I wish not to stay trapped on.  Oddly it is only when I embrace the shame, the water and ride those waves, that I find my path back to connection.

You may be thinking I am someone who is comfortable and at ease with my feelings.  No, not at all.  I have lived on many islands, and stayed safe in the stories firmly crafted in my mind.  However, much like Brene Brown talks about her wrestling with vulnerability, I wrestle with my feelings.  I fight for them. I have stayed stuck and isolated too long without allowing them.  Of course there are those I particularly wish to stay away from, fear, rage, helplessness and shame – and yet, when I have let those feelings wash through me, I have discovered new territory, new connections and much greater depth and empathy for everything around me.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Blame Shame!

I do not like it when I am flooded with shame.  Having said that, those are some of the most profound and valuable choice points I have ever had to face.

Caught!
Caught!

Shame is a feeling – not a mental activity.  It is that flood of heat that comes when I am exposed, standing naked in whatever it is I have done.  Maybe I got caught in a lie or said something mean that clearly upset someone.  Yes, I am someone who can tell a ‘white’ lie (see, already I want to spin lying into something less severe, not so bad).  Yes, I am someone who blurts out defensively when upset not fully aware of the impact it might have.  In that moment, when someone catches me or I catch myself, I feel shame.  The raw rush of energy that erupts when I am faced with myself.  That feeling is a wonderful opportunity to choose.  I can either try to cover it up by saying, I am not the type of person who would do that, or I can be vulnerable and own up to what I have done.  In the former, I step away from my vulnerability and hide in guilt or denial.

So for me shame is never the problem.  The problem lies in the choice.  Do I try to control myself and the outcome, or do I step into that moment of exposure?  I want to be fair to all of the various articles, books and literature about shame.  Actually, I love Brene Brown‘s work on vulnerability in Daring Greatly. However, I disagree with her definition, and what sounds like her dislike, and blame of shame. I have to admit, I feel a touch of shame just saying that, and I will still “step into the arena” as she encourages us all to do.

I don’t believe she is talking about a feeling at all when she talks of shame.  No, I think she is talking about the mental pathway that can so easily be engaged once I recognize that I am someone who can do ….. (whatever that horrible thing is).  That mental process is what I call “self-hate” or “shaming myself.” Now, that is one bad-ass challenge. Not to mention that we, as people in our efforts to look better, cover up, take control, have learned ways of ‘shaming others.’  Though again this has very little to do  with the feeling of shame, much more to do with mental pathways that allow us to take down someone else so we feel okay.

Too many feelings get bad raps. Anger is another that gets all sorts of bad press.  Mainly because people associate angry with violence – two very different things.  Anger, the feeling, much like shame – is simply energy in motion.  Anger can be an amazing opportunity to step into aliveness. Again, it offers a rich moment of choice. There are definitely things I am glad I get angry about, such as, sexual violence, people bullying other people, people hating someone simply because they are different – these are things that stir up anger in me.  Now, if I lash out myself, well that simply isn’t the noble choice.  (And honestly, I have done just that and felt some particularly painful shame about it.)  But I don’t want to lose my anger.  When I know it and embrace it, I can use my anger for good. I have energy that drives and motives choices in my life to stop violence, stop prejudice or whatever cause gets me angry.

It’s the same with shame.  No one wants to say – I am a liar.  But frankly, most of us are at some point – actually many times a day.  That moment when we own all of who we are, the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful – well, we become whole, alive, real, authentic.  It won’t last forever.  We are human, not simply divine.  We make make mistakes and shame is actually a wonderful reminder that we can self-correct.  Stay in the shame as a feeling (meaning only seconds of a flood of energy) and say, “I am someone who lied, blew up at colleague, cheated on a spelling test in 3rd grade.”  Yes, I am that person.  I feel hot and a touch embarrassed writing this out on my blog; however, I also believe that as I become okay feeling my moments of shame – I am less likely to ‘shame’ someone else.  I am also much more likely to realize that I make mistakes, and feeling guilty or beating myself up about those mistakes simply takes me out of the game, the present and opportunity to choice vulnerability and more on.

When I choose to be vulnerable and reveal who I am, I can, in that moment, do something different.  I can ask for help. I can cry or say I regret what happened.  I can be present and possibly shift the outcome because I’m not controlling, denying or hiding.

So next time you feel shame welling up – don’t run, don’t hide – don’t blame shame.  Step into that feeling and find out who you really are, and then choose what you do next!  It isn’t comfortable, but shame also isn’t the problem – it is just a feeling, energy and an opening for you.  Step in, own and be vulnerable! It is amazing what can happen after that!

 

Home, Sweet Home

Home, sweet home.  I have been away since April 7.  Most of my time away was up at The Haven leading a Come Alive, followed by Couples Alive I & Couples Alive II.  It was a very full stretch.  Of course, I loved the work and the wonderful people I had the chance to meet and work with.  I am very fortunate that I get to do work I love.  We finished off the trip with a two day corporate client event down in Portland.

Couples Alive & On the Edge!
Here are just a few of the great couples having some fun!

There were many moments where I had some great ideas and/or experiences I wanted to share.  However, there wasn’t much free time so the imagined blog post were never completed. Now home, I have the time but not quite as inspired!

Currently, the biggest thing on my mind is my desire to create community and connections for myself here in Whitefish.  See, I found myself thinking about moving, and when I mentioned this to CrisMarie, she wisely pointed out that my solution might not really be solving my underlying dissatisfaction.  In the past six months I have been living on Gabriola Island BC more than I have been at home. Prior to that six month period there were some key changes in my connections here.  We finished our Masters program at Jwalan Muktika School for Illumination (JMSI) my term on the JMSI Board ended, my favorite hangout The Green Tea House closed, and we had a major break with some of our closest friends here in Whitefish.  Suddenly, Whitefish, though gorgeous and quite wonderful, seems more like a tourist stop than home.

After getting the first dose of wisdom from CrisMarie, she let that settle and delivered the second bit of input. Though she thought I thrived while engaged in a community, she didn’t think I was all that good at creating one.  Again, the feedback stung but had a lot of truth in it.  When I moved to Seattle, I did struggle to create the connections I wanted.  Mostly, I blamed that on traffic and too many choices.  Looking back more closely at my patterns, I noticed that I am great at jumping into groups and structures already in place, but may not be so great at building those connections myself.

So home again and this time without any long periods away for a while, I am hoping to break through and build the community I want here.  I know there are lots of possibilities. My first step is Whitefish Ladies Golf Night.  There are six of us who are game for being part of a team.  We play once a week on Tuesday evening.  I am not a great golfer, but the team agreed, this was for fun and connecting.  It’s okay if we lose or have big handicaps!

I would also like to start a monthly Body, Breath and Energy evening or Relational Health night in the Flathead Valley, bringing a bit of The Haven to Whitefish.  Of course, that will involve some marketing and may be more than I am up for.  Still, I would love to find some ways to do what I love right here at home.  Home, Sweet Home

I was happy to land back here in Montana.  Loved sleeping in my own bed and picking up Sooke, our most amazing dog.  Indeed, home is sweet. I just want to put a bit more effort into making it even better.  I’ll keep you posted along the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Richness in Couples Alive!

We are preparing to lead the next Couples Alive I & II, April 15-19 and April 19-23.  These programs are part of the Couples Alive Series that is offered up at The Haven.  We love leading these programs!! One, because we get to work together and two, because we can deeply engage with people who share our passion for relating, loving and living with a partner, friend and lover on this human experience journey.

In preparation for the Couples Alive I:  Foundations – Communication & Boundaries, I received a call from someone who was considering the program.  They shared that as individuals and a couple, they were deeply skilled in psychology and relationship skills and were wondering if this Foundation program would be the best choice.  The easy answer was to simply say it was required.  (Which is true – but I am never fond of getting a ‘rule’ thrown back at me. So I wanted a better response.)

When we were designing this series as a three couple team, CrisMarie & I, were quick to volunteer to take all of the series as participants when each program, I, II and III was launched.  We wanted to fully emerge ourselves in the material both as a way to prepare for leading and also to test our theory that the models and material is powerful and useful for couples at all stages of relationship.

Indeed, when we took each of the programs, we had no problem using the tools and experiences offered to explore the landscape of our relationship.  Though I have close to 30 years of experience teaching the communication model, I always find rich new depth in applying it to my own world and relationship.  That one model alone is the best tool I know for peeling back the layers of my life and bridging the gap between my world view and that of another.  Besides there really isn’t ever an end or finish-line when it comes to intimacy.  I know I am always evolving, involving, shifting and sticking and there’s enough discovery there for a lifetime.  As a couple there’s infinite possibility.

I also reflected on the couples who had been with us in the Couples Alive I, Foundations that we have led.  Again, I was struck by the variety and diversity.  We have had newlyweds to couples married for over 40 plus years. We have had same-sex, heterosexual, monogamous and poly-amorous couples all in the same group.  We have had couples who were thinking of separating, who live a part and one couple, that was separated but wanted to try again.  Yes, there has been an amazing scope and range in the couples who have been in the Couples Alive I, Foundations program.

It works because we designed it so that the couple gets to work on their issues, whatever they may be. Concepts and models are introduced (or refreshed). Then the truly rich possibilities come through applying these ideas within the container of each unique couple. The models are simple, universal and deep. They can be utilized at any stage in the life-cycle of a couple: from romance to power-struggle through to co-creation, over and over again.

Add to that, the opportunity for couples to learn from and share with other couples and the possibilities are endless. One of the richest parts of the series is watching couples learn and grow through simply knowing they are not alone, the the couple journey is really not a formula. It’s alive, organic and riddled with highs, lows and status quos.  Sometimes, the best learning is simply that there isn’t really something wrong!

Yes, the Couples Alive I is called Foundations but it isn’t simply for those Couples just starting the journey. Foundations are worth exploring anytime.  Come and join us!!

 

 

 

Doggy Facebook

sooke“World’s most awesome stick – take a right at the tree near the skunk trail – left it there for you!” – Dusty

“Long time – no word – you doing okay? Leave a trace – miss the chase!” – Nico

“Don’t even think of taking my treasure – deer bone is MINE!!” – anon

I am fairly certain now that this is what totally slows Sooke, my wonder dog, down when we are heading into the woods for a run.  She has to check Doggy Facebook.  The first 50 feet of trail are just like 6PM on Facebook.  Every dog has left some sort of post with details of their canine experience. Usually, once past the initial trail head, she settles in for the jog.  However, like my friends, she is not able to stay off Facebook for long.  I imagine much like the sound of an incoming new Facebook post on my cell phone, Sooke gets a strong hit of a recent doggy post through her nose, and off she goes. First, she checks out the latest news and then finds any reported treasures.

Sooke, unlike me, seems to enjoy posting as much as she does following her friends.  I have no doubt her frequent stops have less to do with need to relieve herself and much more to do with passing on important information to the rest of the canine world that frequents our woods.

I have never really given it much thought until I began to compare her need for gathering information and passing on her own personal notes, to my own current interest and experiences on Facebook.  I realize that dogs have been facebook’ing much longer than their human counterparts.  It’s clear that animals, and especially dogs, thrive on incoming input from their buddies, posting seems to be their way of life.

Often CrisMarie is bugging me to get off Facebook to chat with her or fix dinner.  I am thinking it really is no different than when I am yelling for Sooke to catch up.

“I want to run – hurry up, Sooke!”

“I want to post – you’ll have to wait!” – screams Sooke!

Facebook has definitely taken over the world and it seems the woods as well!

Bone Weary, Spirit Filled

I just returned from a wild, flurry of travel, work, family, friends and connection. I don’t know the miles covered but I did fly, drive, ferry and taxi – on either side of the country and across the border into Canada. I am bone weary. I am also spirit filled.

Baltimore, Vancouver, Nanaimo, Seattle, Lacey & Home!!
Baltimore, Vancouver, Nanaimo, Seattle, Lacey & Home!!

The trip was designed around a client event outside of Baltimore. It was a one day strategic session with a power company. What was best about the work event was that we got to witness and see the transformation from where we first met with them and now. The day was excellent and very full.

Baltimore was buzzing. With the Ravens playing for a spot in the Super Bowl and Obama just a short hop away signing on for another term. Celebrations and good cheer were easy to come by in the inner harbor area. We had planned a strategy session for Thrive! with a Boston colleague, Jessica Steward. The time spent was awesome. We dove into some great dialogue and I believe crafted a clear path towards our new refresh and Whole Person/ Whole Team approach to our business.

Aside from the work, we had great fun and deep dive discussions between sessions. When we got on our plane to Minnesota, we were both thrilled with the effort and excited about the next steps.

Our paths divided in Minnesota, CrisMarie came back to Whitefish for play rehearsals. I headed towards Nanaimo for a Faculty Steering Group meeting at the Haven. The ease and grace of the trip fell a part a bit at this point. My flight was redirected to Great Falls, MT for refueling due to some concerns about Vancouver weather and a possible diversion. We did make it, but two hours late. I still thought I would easily make the late night flight to Nanaimo but at the last minute the flight was cancelled due to FOG!! OMG! I was stunned. I found a bed and tried to pretend the fog would lift by morning.

No – when I woke at 4AM, I knew I had to make my meeting. I gathered my things and dashed downstairs and convinced a taxi to race to the ferry terminal across town. I just made the 5:15 AM ferry to Nanaimo. Me and ten other truckers. Two hours later, I arrived. Exhausted but ever so grateful to see Cathy, there to meet me and give me a big hug.

The meeting started quickly and we dove right in. I thought we had an awesome day. Mostly because we had the time to really have deeper dialogue and wrestle with our concerns and our direction. Sure, it wasn’t all easy but by the end of the day we had a strong plan for moving forward. So again I was fulfilled.

Next stop Seattle. But first a foggy drive south with another dear friend, Susa. It wasn’t an easy drive with all the fog and having had a long day.

Bone Weary, Spirit Filled
Bone Weary, Spirit Filled

But we had some great time to just chat and catch up. I landed at my sister’s totally wiped.

Normally, I would try to visit a bit but I was too tired. My plan was to get up the next day and drive down for a visit with my folks. My dad, 92, was under house arrest from his doctor – for two weeks. He was not thrilled. And honestly I think we were all a touch worried about how they were doing. I had a nice visit. Had the chance to fix lunch and take a walk with my mom. Mostly, I just liked the contact. At this point in their lives they live fully, and I think they are both aware that life isn’t a long- term guarantee. Each day and every hug a bit more important to stay in for.

I did get to visit with my sister and brother-in-law for dinner before catching a late flight home.

I’ve been home for a 24 hours now, and I am just very grateful for the trip. Bone weary from the travel, the distance and the effort but fulfilled by the wonderful connections and real, raw work that got done along the way. I call that spirit filled.