Feeling Thankfully Reflective

As the year closes in on another turning of the calendar pages, 2014 is a fantastic year. We are blessed with a healthy family, great friends, wonderful colleagues and lots of great wine.

Our two granddaughters continue to grow, develop and amaze.

Alice Hazel and friends

Alice and Hazel with their friends

I encountered amazing learning opportunities this year as I discovered new colleagues and re-engaged with long time collaborators.  The highlight of the year was discovering the wonderful team at the TAI Group who somehow managed to teach this old dog new tricks. Through the joys of reciprocal learning, the executive coaching team at TAI continually teach me how to lead and communicate with Power and Presence. I enjoy helping them with a few things I’ve learned about business.

An exciting addition to my professional life is Scott Parris who collaborates with me in helping SaLTBOX “bend the curve” of their entrepreneurial journey. As Russ Ackoff shared many years ago, the best information retrieval and knowledge management system in the world is one’s colleagues and students. Scott pointed me to the TEDxRainier event on November 22, 2014.

The TEDx Rainier organizers curated a fabulous array of speakers as they explored the topic of the KNOWN/UNKNOWN.

“What do we know about our world? How do we know what we don’t know? The theme of TEDxRainier 2014 is The Known and the Unknown. Our talks will explore knowledge and the lack thereof, going to the edges of what we know and think we know, and beyond.”

Each of the speakers had an important message to share from the reaches of outer space to the day to day travails of our everyday world.  Rex Hohlbein deeply captured the spirit of the event with his very low key sharing of the faces of homelessness.

Rex Hohlbein - Putting a face on homelessness

Rex Hohlbein – Putting a face on homelessness

By the end of his talk, there was not a dry eye in the Seattle Opera House and we all jumped up to thank Rex with a standing ovation. His talk was a timely reminder of how lucky so many of us are AND how many are in need of our conscious awareness. This talk (at about the 7 hour and 18 minute point in the Live Stream) along with all the other talks can be found at the TEDx home page with the video live stream.

A few days after the event, one of the regular TED email blasts showed up with a pointer to Louie Schwartzberg’s “Nature. Beauty. Gratitude.” TEDx San Francisco talk illustrating with examples from his many years of time-lapse photography the beauty of nature.

Louie Schwartzberg - Nature. Beauty. Gratitude.

Louie Schwartzberg – Nature. Beauty. Gratitude.

The images from the talk are awe inspiring. I particularly loved the voice over from an elderly man with the poetic wisdom of an ancient voice:

Elderly Man:

You think this is just another day in your life? It’s not just another day. It’s the one day that is given to you today. It’s given to you. It’s a gift. It’s the only gift that you have right now, and the only appropriate response is gratefulness. If you do nothing else but to cultivate that response to the great gift that this unique day is, if you learn to respond as if it were the first day in your life and the very last day, then you will have spent this day very well.

Begin by opening your eyes and be surprised that you have eyes you can open, that incredible array of colors that is constantly offered to us for pure enjoyment. Look at the sky. We so rarely look at the sky. We so rarely note how different it is from moment to moment, with clouds coming and going. We just think of the weather, and even with the weather, we don’t think of all the many nuances of weather. We just think of good weather and bad weather. This day, right now, has unique weather, maybe a kind that will never exactly in that form come again. That formation of clouds in the sky will never be the same as it is right now. Open your eyes. Look at that.

Look at the faces of people whom you meet. Each one has an incredible story behind their face, a story that you could never fully fathom, not only their own story, but the story of their ancestors. We all go back so far, and in this present moment, on this day, all the people you meet, all that life from generations and from so many places all over the world flows together and meets you here like a life-giving water, if you only open your heart and drink.

Open your heart to the incredible gifts that civilization gives to us. You flip a switch and there is electric light. You turn a faucet and there is warm water and cold water, and drinkable water. It’s a gift that millions and millions in the world will never experience.

As I watch young Alice run around the house this Thanksgiving and help us cheer on the Seattle Seahawks, I am deeply grateful this day as I celebrate the joys and beauty of everyday life.

Little Alice Seahawk

Little Alice Seahawk

Peace to all as we navigate this tumultuous world of ours.


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