Today i got back in touch with my origins. Hiking in the rain, my tongue tasted the moisture which cradles and holds life. The rain, womb like in its warmth, blew onto my face, dripping from my chin. The rain sounded as a storm on the hood of my rain jacket.

Inside the rain jacket and pants sweat rolled down my back. Water, that which makes up 50-70 percent of the human body evaporates from the skin. Water, which covers over 70% of the globe, and evolutionarily the source of all human life, rained down on me and leaked out of  my skin.

I was overwhelmed with a sense of appreciation for life, a feeling that sometimes gets swallowed in the quotidian details of daily existence. I realized that much of my life I try to avoid getting out in the rain. I try to keep the water off me except when showering.  And when I do, I lose touch with the source of my  life.

As I hiked, one foot and then the other, I wanted to sing. Movies suggest that this is appropriate accompaniment for dancing in the rain. But, then I decided my singing would scare the squirrels and silence the birds. So, I simply walked, humming to myself.

I now have the rest of the day to return to my loves and my life. But, I am grateful for the moment of celebration of the origin of my life.


Caring for our bodies is about mental health.

The body remembers as much as the mind does—maybe more.  A therapist friend suggests that the body holds every wound it has ever received—not only physical wounds, but emotional wounds as well.  She believes that those wounds need to be identified with touch and released so that the flow of the body’s own rhythm can be free to be a healing presence.

The body holds all its sensations--pain and pleasure.  People who know child development suggest that the way a child is touched and cared for in the early days and years, maybe even in the uterus, profoundly affects the child’s emotional and psychological well-being the rest of the person’s life.  The body has a memory and it continues to know when it has been fed with sweet or sour touch.

So take care of the body. Nurture the five senses.  Diane Ackerman writes of human life as sensate.  She examines how the five senses function to form us.  She says, “The senses don’t just make sense of life in bold or subtle acts of clarity, they tear reality apart into vibrant morsels and reassemble them into a meaningful pattern. . . .The senses feed shards of information to the brain like microscopic pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.” (xvii)*  She goes on to says that we need to explore the textures of life because only “ghosts are pictured as literally being out of their senses.”  If we are alive and conscious, we are deeply present to our sensory selves.  In fact, we cannot be whole until and unless we operate fully present to our bodies.

Ackerman: “To understand, we have to ‘use our heads,’ meaning our minds.  Most people think of the mind as being located in the head, but the latest findings in physiology suggest that the mind doesn’t really dwell in the brain but travels the whole body on caravans of hormone and enzyme, busily making sense of the compound wonders we catalogue as touch, taste, smell, hearing, vision.”* (xix)

So, take care.

Diane Ackerman, The Natural History of the Senses



Once a week I can tell what day it is even without looking. As I sit early in the morning in my time of silence and meditation, I hear it. The growling in the far off distance. Then it gets closer. Banging gets louder. Oh, yes, it is Monday. The big blue garbage truck is slowly, methodically making its way around the neighborhood.

And each time I hear it, up from the silence I utter a “thank you”. Here is a truck with a person in it, in 100 degree heat or in sub-zero winter, driving by and picking up our garbage. Here is a person who faithfully comes by and takes away that which I have determined to be trash.

Now, this job isn’t one of the glamor jobs that people generally hope for when they are in high school on career day. Seldom do people like this come to the class room and tout the glory of stopping in front of each house, getting out of the truck and emptying the multiple cans of garbage that belongs to other people.

And yet, I give thanks because I count on it. I depend on someone coming and helping me keep some order in the house. I appreciate that someone faithfully comes by and gets rid of the left-overs of my life. (Even as I say this I am aware of my experience in poor countries of the world where there is no such thing as trash. Everything has value because there is so little. We in the part of the world in which I live are creating a problem for the planet because we have so much left-over.  But, this is another blog for another day.)

As I meditate each Monday, I know what day it is by the growling and banging in the neighborhood. And on this Labor Day weekend, I am grateful for the labor of those who are not celebrated but on whom much of my life’s comfort depends.



 I was talking with a friend recently. He was talking about something that mattered to him. I was listening—sort of.  When I was driving back home, I realized that I could not remember what he was saying. Was I paying attention?

When i think about it, there are times when I am with another person and I am listening to them.  Or at least I think I am. But, later I realize that sometimes I am paying more attention to what I am thinking rather than what they are saying. I am distracted by my own life even as I am listening to someone else share his life.

My distraction from the other person words is sometimes triggered by what they are saying. Sometimes other people’s passions, their “declarations of truth” are totally opposite of what I believe. So, when they say something like, “Religious people in their right minds can’t believe in . . . . (you fill in the blank). When that is said, I immediately go into my own defensive mode, wanting to convince the other person that I am in my right mind and don’t believe what they say religious people in their right mind believe.  I just stop listening to them and start listening to my own defense.

The problem with really listening to another is that to actually hear them might require that I rethink what I “know” to be true. To actually hear another share their understanding of what is happening may require that my understanding might be modified—I might have to give up the “truth” that has guided my thoughts and change the way I think. 

But, when I look back on my life, I have been way more blessed with a changing and expanding understanding than when I clung rigidly to the world the way I had constructed it in my own mind.  And most of the blessing has been because I have enriched my relationship and expanded my connection with the human family by actually listening to them.


One very important gift of a person who is a leader is that of seeing the invisible. Leaders take what is visible, what exists in an organization, and then mixes it with what isn’t, with what is not yet, and comes up with a vision of what might be.

And then a good leader takes what is invisible and with the use of words and images, helps others get a glimpse of a new future.  This requires careful attention to the language and the symbols that are used to evoke vision where there is not one. It requires thoughtful conversation with those who are trying to see the invisible that the leader sees.

Now a leader does this visioning with the purpose of helping to draw people into a future that the leader thinks is good for the organization.

But, there are couple of things that I have seen leaders do that works against the goal of getting others to join in the journey toward something unseen.  One of them is the leader’s forgetting that others see invisible futures and they don’t always want to give those up. The leader fails to help the follower name the losses that will result in the leader’s vision developing.

And because the leader doesn’t help others see the losses, she might lack empathy with those who don’t have the same vision of the invisible. When a leader does not seem to care that others pay the price of a lost vision, the leader will run into resistance and be less able to bring those people along as the organization moves forward.  The loss of energy then reduces the chance of the leader’s vision becoming visible.

When a leader recognizes the losses that others suffer and attends to those with sensitivity, others might be able to grieve their losses and open up to the new future with hope and action. Grieving is central to followers being able to be freed to move into the invisible future.