Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The falling from the staircase thing and landing on your feet. No matter what.

"True vision is never an arrangement or rearrangement of solutions that have worked in previous circumstances, but springs from the immediacy of today."

~Timothy Butler

You'd think that the old woman would take it easy; would long to eat, sleep and bask in the sun; would avoid taking any unnecessary risks.

You'd think she would, being almost 21 years old, arthritic and no longer able to lick herself clean.

When we block off the top of the second floor stairwell so Beatrice won't tumble down the stairs, we block direct access to the stairs to Chelsea, our pretty old cat.

For the past few months she's been walking around the gate along the edge of the stairway to get to the stairs. That's a pretty big risk for such an old cat.

But it's what she has to do if she wants to get downstairs to her food, water and cat box; to hang out with the family and get pets and love.

Dozens of times she's done this -- a highly repeatable process without err.

Until the other day. She fell. From over 12 feet in the air.

And landed on her feet.

We freaked but she's fine. The historic cliché of cats always landing on their feet comes to mind here, but for goodness sake she's as old as the hills and twice as dusty (with dander).

She should've snapped in half, but she didn't. And she'll keep on walking that stairway like a tightrope to get to where she's going.

A lesson for me as I stand on the precipice of change.

But life isn't a repeatable process without err. If I fall fail their are consequences that will affect me and my family for who knows how long.

However, if when I succeed and land on my feet...

I've read a lot of late about the inspiration and motivation of doing your own thing; the one thing; the right thing; the passionate thing that moves you; the game-changing thing that grooves you.

The falling from the staircase thing and landing on your feet. No matter what.

I can do this thing. I can. Mama believes and is the loving safety line no matter what.

Reading these two posts this morning also helped me inch along the edge:

- The “H” word for leaders – History
- Meaningful Work: A Love Letter


"Take a deep breath, count to ten, and tackle each task one step at a time."

~Linda Shalaway


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Brought to you by all the letters, all over the floor, all the time.

Although Mama spends most of the time with Beatrice, and Beatrice would prefer to spend most of her time with Mama, this morning I had the sweet opportunity to tend to baby while Mama slept in.

Because did we tell you there's another girl on the way? Holy moly.

So me and Bea snuggled in our cuddle chair and had the usual warm milk.

We read Princess Baby. I am not a giggly goose.

We played with the safari animal hand puppet.

Bea baby babbled, "A-da, a-da, a-da -- dat?"

Translation: "What's that?"

"I am a tiger and a lion and a rhinocericitious and an elephant and a giraffe."

A rhinocericitious? Hey, I was groggy.

Hand puppet tickle *giggle* tickle *giggle*.

We played with her letter puzzle and she knew J and Z and U and B and C and --

Then all the letters and the board were all over the floor, as they are most of the time.

I wouldn't want it any other way, baby.

Until we spill again...


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fatherhood was birthed from patient love, besting failures, and endlessly rocking.


It's a dream for the waking

It's a flower touched by flame

It's a gift for the giving

It's a power with a hundred names



Surge of energy, spark of inspiration

The breath of love is electricity

Maybe time is bird in flight


Endlessly mocking

Here we come out of the cradle

Endlessly rocking

Endlessly rocking


~Neil Peart

From Dante's muse to my Mama muse to our first born muse with the Beatrice namesake.

From the spark of elegant inspiration to rustic spans of geological time with the Bryce namesake.

For me fatherhood was birthed from patient love and the lifelong task of besting my failures and bettering my life for my wife and my daughters.

And endlessly rocking.

Always endlessly rocking.

My dad may not like my music, but he taught me to be personally responsible and to lead myself with integrity, honesty and directness.

Elevate and own the day -- you're less likely to fall that way.

But if you do like I've done, get that butt off the ground and get back to endlessly rocking.

Thank you, Dad. I love you.

Happy Father's Day to you and all the rockin' dads out there.

(Thank you for the NFL Dads Dedicated to Daughters Mama!)


video

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

We can be passionate sans the violence, kids. Personal leadership starts at home in the mirror.

In 1999 I was on a business trip in Paris. Seriously. I remember the morning before we left for Barcelona, the second leg of the business trip (seriously), I looked out my hotel room window and five floors below I witnessed an unsettling scene.

A man and a woman were arguing. They stood on the sidewalk, hands and arms gesticulating, and I caught bits and pieces of shrill French swirling in the air around me like hot ash.

The man grabbed the woman's arm and shook her. She wrenched herself free and got in a small white car.

The man continued yelling at her through the closed car window. I expected her to peel out and away from the curb, but she didn't. He kept yelling.

And then he kicked the side of the door. Full force.

And he kicked it again.

And again.

And then he broke the window.

That's when the thought finally slapped my mind across its face that I should do something:

A) Call the police.
B) Call the lobby to call the police.
C) Go downstairs and help her.

I looked up in this split-second decision-making haze, and when I Iooked down again, the car and the man were gone.

The one other thing I noticed during this violent exchange was the fact that no one stopped, no one paid any attention.

Mercy me. There's the cultural cliché that Parisians and other romantic language folk are passionate to the point of the rational breaking down and physical restraint becoming mired in emotional reactivity.

But no one even paid attention.

According to the Family Violence Prevention Fund site:

The United Nations Development Fund for Women estimates that at least one of every three women globally will be beaten, raped or otherwise abused during her lifetime. In most cases, the abuser is a member of her own family.

And then closer to home:

Nearly one in four women in the United States reports experiencing violence by a current or former spouse or boyfriend at some point in her life.

Two of those four could be my daughters someday, but not without me raising Cain along the way.

We can be passionate sans the violence, kids. Personal leadership starts at home in the mirror.

If you're interested, you can read a post I did at the TalentCulture titled Taking A Look Into The Leadership Mirror:

Oh, vanity.

We look in the mirror and just want to look great. Looking great makes us feel great and ready to face the world.

But as we linger over our reflection a little longer, we begin to notice blemishes, scars, discolorations, imperfections of the tiniest kind that initially only we can see.

That perception of our own imperfect reflection bleeds inward; what kind of a person are we? What kind of a husband, wife, family, friend, employee, manager, business owner, or CEO are we? What is our state of being?

We try. We fail. We learn. Or we don’t.

Linger long enough in front of that mirror and you ask yourself: How responsible am I today for me and my role in today’s highly integrated personal and professional miasmic universe?

Hopefully the answer is “very responsible.” We are leaders of self first, and there can be no in-between or settling for marginal personal responsibility, imperfections and all...

Read more here.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Brought to you by the word ap-py, the Journey medley on Glee and feeling funky

Oh, the joy!

Watching Bea smile and squeal and clap and wiggle dance on the couch while we all watched the Journey medley rock out on the season finale of Glee this week.

Lucky for Bea old school MTV plays 24/7 in Daddy's head -- a constant big ol' rock opera collective. And because both me and Mama love music so much, Beatrice is genetically bound to the beat. (And Mama can tell that Bryce is too as she rolls, bumps and grooves in the belly.)

These are moments that glisten in the sun while the earth underneath tickled softly as you lay still and the sky above morphed to your giddy liking of whatever.

Remember those?

It's like that. Feeling super fly in the back yard with your face soaking dirty wet.

Bea started saying the word happy this week, although she pronounces it "ap-py".

"Ap-py!"

"Ap-py!"

"Ap-py!"

*sigh*

But it won't always be this way. Life can be soaking dirty wet and falling down is inevitable.

Thankfully for my girls the funk has a double-back beat.

Now back to our regularly scheduled mind groove...

Ow, we want the funk
Give up the funk
Ow, we need the funk
We gotta have that funk...


Sunday, June 6, 2010

That the dots on my page are about to boogie down.

"Time is a spiral; space is a curve. I know you get dizzy but try not to lose your nerve."

~Neil Peart

***

I used to love connecting dots. As a child it was more about validating what was on the page and guessing what the image was even before I connected them all.

Filling in what wasn't there.

I still love connecting dots, but this time figuratively transformed to the page-like synchronicities flying around me moment to moment.

Filling in the multiplicity of there from what wasn't.

We did do that as a child as well, beyond the drawing and coloring number-dotted page. I see it in Beatrice; the wonder of connecting life to itself -- one cat, tree, bird and blue sky at a time...

***

We went to my nephew's high school graduation on Friday. He's one smart young man who's going to UC Berkeley in the fall. We couldn't be prouder.

Watching both my niece and nephew yesterday, both now young adults, made me long for not filling in what wasn't there. Meaning as parents, don't connect ahead in the Bea and Bryce dot book.

Right Mama?

***

Change is constant. The dots on our pages are excited and dance, our lives encased within in interconnected particle accelerators.

Stars are born; stars implode; stars rebirth.

And when I wrote this last week:

While "Waiting for Godot", you must learn to let go. It's the only way you can move on. Because resentment won't. Life is absurd that way.

And then I came across a Samuel Beckett quote:

"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better."

I came to grips with a fact that I already knew:

That the dots on my page are about to boogie down.

***

"In a world where I feel so small, I can't stop thinking big."

~Neil Peart