Channel of Peace

“Make me a channel of your peace… Where there is hatred let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness joy.” – St. Francis of Assisi 

“Your screen time was up 39% last week.” Just 39%?  What a week!  The events in the United States made me feel overwhelmed and numb. Like many of you, I became fixated on the news.  How will we survive and overcome this?  I remember feeling the same way after 9/11, but for different reasons.  The external threat has become internal. The insurrection is testing our core, our democracy and our ability to peaceably pursue happiness together.  The backdrop of all of that is the devastating impact of the pandemic, now claiming more lives per day than all of the souls lost on 9/11.  I need a hug, how about you?

I recognize that many of you, like me, are impacted by the events over the past week and will most likely continue into the weeks to come.  Make sure you are taking care of yourself, your loved ones and each other.  I need to constantly remind myself of that.  We are all being affected by this new stress and grief.  It can have a negative impact on how we think, work and relate to others.  We need to give ourselves time to decompress and heal.  “Breathe.”  Soak in the positive goodness as well as the negative news.

In the darkest hour, light becomes the brightest.  Ask yourself what you can do today to sow some light.  Embrace extra consideration, empathy, truth and kindness.  And that for yourself and for others.  We will get through this.  

Our work matters.  YOUR work matters.  Let’s do our best to keep bringing unity, peace and happiness to our human family that so desperately needs it.  

A New Year, A New Start

Forward

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Dan Millman

My home office is in our dining room, specifically on our dining room table.  Like many of you, I built up my home office area to best accommodate work.  I have an office chair, large monitor and plenty of accessories.  However, for the holidays, I needed to vacate the area.  As is our tradition, our dining room hosts all of our holiday treats and Christmas dinners.  We sit around the table, enjoy the feast and pop Christmas crackers.  Yes, we even read the corny jokes and wear the paper crown.  The pandemic limited our ability to gather with our extended family, but we still had a delightful Christmas holiday.

As I re-assembled my “office” this past weekend, I was struck by the amount of stuff I had accumulated.  At first, I blindly started to stack it all back onto the table.  It occurred to me that this was the perfect time to apply lean principles and deploy only what is needed, when needed.  There is an incredible satisfaction when you can thin the clutter and start fresh.  To me, that is what a New Year is all about.  Sure, it is just another revolution around the sun, but there can be a human significance. It is an opportunity to mentally restart.  It is a chance for us to reduce the clutter and begin again on a new canvas.  

As a young art student, I had just been introduced to oil painting.  I had been struggling with a landscape I had been working on for weeks.  I expressed my frustration with my art teacher.  She said she knew what needed to be done.  To my horror she grabbed a tube of Titanium white and with a large brush, quickly whited out all but the outline on my scene.  Shock became relief as new possibilities began to explode in my head.  With the constraints of my past mistakes gone, I could begin anew.  I could focus my energies forward, projecting my imagination and crafting a new world. It was a great lesson to a young artist… Don’t be afraid to start over.

What is important?  What should we start doing?  What should we stop?  What new thing should we build?  What should we leave behind?  These are all great questions to ask as we embark on this new year.  

I’m excited to dream into where we are going!  I’m looking forward to the things we will build, the investments we will make in ourselves and others, and the outcomes we will achieve.  Let’s celebrate the new adventure!  Welcome to 2021.  

Happy New Year!  Let’s make the best of this new slate.

Painting note: “Into the Dawn” by Julia R. Cox.