Remembering Prince in Minneapolis ★ My Story

Before I turned on any media today I got in the car and the words popped in my head; “Prince is Dead. OMG, I just can’t believe it.” As a home-grown Minnesotan whose stomping grounds used to be downtown Minneapolis, my heart dropped at the reality, then I started the car and turned on the radio. Every-single-station is playing his music and talking about him. Later, I return home and turned on the Remembering Prince In Minneapolis - My StoryTV to see the “Let’s Go Crazy” song from the movie Purple Rain and BOOM, I briefly see myself on National TV.

In 1983 my friend Holly and I went to a casting call to try out for Purple Rain as extras. The line was long, they took our pictures and information. After a few month
s it was out of sight, out of mind.

Then the call came one evening in November somewhere between 10-11:30 P.M. asking if we could be downtown by 5:30 A.M. “Um……YES!” (No hesitation whatsoever.) So the next morning we arrived, exhausted because of the time spent freaking out about what to wear, how to fix our hair, make-up application, etc. We stood around much of the day at First Avenue between scene takes and Prince’s wardrobe changes. I chatted with his body-guard big Jake, who always made sure people respected Prince’s space. Jake was kind and would talk with us every time we saw him.

Back then in Minneapolis it was not unusual to run into Prince out on the town, body-guards in tow, or to see him hop into or emerge from a cool sports car with a beautiful woman, orThe Purple Skyline of Downtown Minneapolis even attend impromptu concerts at First Avenue, The Fine Line, Glam Slam (later called “The Quest” nightclub.) He rarely spoke to people. Minnesotans respected his privacy and for the most part, knew not to approach him.  One night I was out with my cousin, Stacey, who had recently moved to Minneapolis from Omaha Nebraska. After a few cocktails I triple-dog-double-dared her to try to talk to him (knowing what would happen). Of course, she did, and he didn’t speak. Yes, I set her up and to this day we still laugh about it. But I digress.

Between takes, the movie directors passed out free packs of cigarettes, telling everyone to smoke up the bar. We were front and center stage as he sang Let’s Get Crazy, Baby I’m a Star, I Would Die 4 U, Little Red Corvette, The Beautiful Ones, etc. Feeling reflective, I went online today and watched those performances again and found myself in another crowd scene shot I didn’t know I was in. Technology sure has made some things easier, it would have been too hard to find it using fast-forward and rewind on a VHS tape.

In 19
84, Prince performed here on Christmas Eve and I went with my sisters, it was my youngest sister’s first concert ever. My grandpa had rented out a YMCA that night for a family celebration, so we headed there after the show. I remember hearing someone say; “What kind of person has a concert on Christmas Eve?” followed by a sarcastic; “What kind people attend a concert on Christmas Eve?”

Prince was a die-hard, born and raised Minnesotan. Looking back, now, if I were to put myself in his shoes, of course it makes sense. This is and always has been his home, he wanted to celebrate with his people, who he loved – us.

We listened to Prince and The Time (Now called The Original 7ven) before it was “C-O-O-L” to listen to them. Was that because we were all from Minneapolis? Most definitely. 

Prince was a brilliant, creative, compassionate talented artist and fellow community member who cared about humanity. Music will never be the same because of him, he profoundly changed the landscape. I’m grateful for the memories the old songs bring; smiles. friendships, laughter, tears, flirting, after parties, connection, dancing and more.

Prince’s untimely death is a reminder that we need to take care of ourselves when we are ill and that in this world obsessed with the glorification of “busy-ness,” life is short. In the distraction, we forget to slow down and pay attention to this moment.

Today my prayer is that more of us figure out how to “be here now,” fully present for others in fellowship and as servant leaders. May we discover all that comes along with remembering to be mindful and grateful for how blessed we are.

Do you have any thoughts or memories related that you would like to share?

If so, please leave a comment below. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Appreciation as Fuel

Fire at Kidani VillageSo I was staring at my computer screen and had an epiphany. The only thing I was processing was a blank stare, and I knew I had to get out to clear my mind. This month Minnesota is on target to experience the warmest December in history and on this day, it was just 31 degrees. I knew feeling the fresh air on my face was just what I needed because I do my best critical thinking when I am walking outside. I grabbed my walking shoes and was quickly out the door.

Feeling the crisp, cool wind on my face, set the tone for this stroll and got me thinking about gratitude. A simple thank you goes such a long way and can be a ritual that begins a chain reaction which may surprise you. Appreciation is fuel that warms people, inspires them to pay it forward and doesn’t take much extra effort.

Research has shown that expressing thankfulness increases confidence, connection and feelings of competency. Engagement matters and when we find little ways to express appreciation it sends the message  “I see you” and it promotes team work and improves the sense of community. I like to think of gratitude as a multiplier because it increases emotional well-being and improves productivity. That, in turn, leads to innovation and creativity, which is when we do our best work.

I have a board on Pinterest called “Appreciation, which has some thoughtful ideas for expressing gratitude.

Take a look and let me know what you think. I want to hear from you. How do you show appreciation?

Please share your response below and thank upi for visiting my blog!

Refracting Light Life | Kakie’s Corner

These pictures are from one of our first “free” nights in South East Asia, for the Global Business Systems Executive MBA Global Studies Course, Singaporecourse in the Executive MBA program. This evening four of us opted for dinner on the rooftop in Little India. I heard a calming sound of flapping water, came around the corner and this beautiful scenery, was what I encountered.

This week’s photo challenge asks that we show what “refraction” means to us. Refraction occurs when a ray of light is indirectly deflected by a wave of energy that passes from one medium to another, which causes the illumination to bend and become distorted. For example: water to light, air to glass etc.

I interpret “Refraction” as a metaphor for life. Read more of this post

Quantum Creativity and the Power of Intention

The window of intention

I’ve been thinking about intention lately. How often do we find ourselves slipping into “automatic thinking” ? What does our window of aspiration look like and how do we frame it?

Doing vs. Being | Acting vs. Reacting | Ideal vs. Real |

Intention leads to quantum creativity because for many people, creativity restores order. Some of the most important things that we do in life come from our creativity, which invokes possibilities of new beginnings.

The human condition causes individuals to make flawed assumptions that people do not change. But those of us have done deep self-exploration, know that we get to make a choice to be even better today than the day before.

I am not who I was five or ten years ago because of my curiosity and creativity. They have shown me the excitement to learn and grow that exists around each corner. The good news is that this world is full of random variables that can help us reach and exceed our potential every day, and we have the privilege of being able to share that with others.

Intention – Creativity – Restoration

Thanks for visiting my blog, feel free to leave a comment! Below are some quotes about intention, enjoy!_

Read more of this post

Out in the Cold, But No Thin Ice Here – Twinkle Lights

Out in the cold, but not on thin ice - Twinkle Lights

 

I took this picture in Rice Park at the 2014 St. Paul Winter Carnival on January 31st and the temperature was well below zero. There was a live band outside that evening complete with an ice bar and ice sculptures. We didn’t stay long, but we did get some great pictures.

The lights are so beautiful and remind me of a quote by Brené Brown from her book called “The Gifts of Imperfection.” A while back I posted one of her TED Talks videos that went viral about the power of vulnerability. In the book; The Gifts of Imperfection; Brené writes;

I think the beauty of twinkle lights is a perfect metaphor for joy. Read more of this post

A Random Act of Kindness for Wordless Wednesday

When was the last time someone reached out to you and performed a random act of kindness? I was pleasantly surprised when a complete stranger recently did something thoughtful for me just when I needed it most. As a result of her good-hearted deed, I plan to honor her by paying it forward.

WholeHeartedThankYou

As thought leaders, we sometimes forget the view, taking a moment to acknowledge the people around us via random acts of kindness can go a long way. We get so caught up in our calendars, goals and tasks and only see the road ahead. But when we slow down a little to enjoy, pleasant surprises seem to come out of the woodwork.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, this past Monday, has been deemed a day to encourage making a difference in communities. As I wrote in a previous post called: Servant Leadership: Facts about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. King was a strong proponent of servant leadership, so whether or not you took action this week, I would like to propose a challenge.

What can you do to make a difference for someone this week? Please make the effort, then come back here and share your story below. I’d like to hear what you did, the response you got and how it made you feel. I look forward to hearing from you.

Tradition, Legacy and New Beginnings

These ornaments are hanging on my tree right next to one another and they both have significance. The one on the left Ornamentswas painted in November by my son as a way to create a memory, celebrate new beginnings, life and family. He did a beautiful job.

The ornament on the right was painted by my grandmother, Dode Jandric, in 1992. It was a tradition she created that has left a great legacy. For a number of years she painted and fired one for each of her 22 grandchildren and countless great-grandchildren. On the back of this ornament she hand painted a biblical quote from Isaiah 66:12 that reads:

Now towards her I will send flowing peace like a river” and on the bottom; “Merry Christmas Kakie” along with her name and the year.

This year she passed away at the age of 92. Both my son and I had the honor of spending mothers day with her, knowing it was our last. It was meaningful time well spent and a blessing words can’t begin to describe.

Here is wishing you a wonderful holiday and a year filled with new beginnings. Family and good friends are priceless. Life is a gift, may yours be bursting with gratitude and love.

Thanks for visiting my blog, keep coming back and feel free to comment below.

Six Simple Ways to Multiply Gratitude

CraneLake3This morning to start the Thanksgiving holiday, I got together with about 100 friends and each of us took a minute to share a bit of gratitude. It’s a tradition that has been going for a little over 21 years. Sometimes when I think about all I have to be grateful for, it’s like a new beginning because somehow it manages to realign my perspective. It reminds me to focus on being positive and present for the people in my life.

To honor that, I wanted to share some suggestions to multiply gratitude in your life.

  1. Keep an ongoing gratitude list on a magnetic whiteboard on your refrigerator or at work
  2. Celebrate your journey and how far you have come, treat yourself, you deserve it!
  3. Pay it forward – performing random acts of kindness multiplies gratitude
  4. If you have a loved one who lives out-of-state, call them and give them a hug over the phone
  5. Buy the kit called “A year of Gratitude” for yourself
  6. Discover new ways to say thank you to others by looking at my “appreciation board” on Pinterest.

Do you have other suggestions? Please share them below!!

You’ve Got the Power | My Law Starts Here

If I could enact a single law, it might read something like this:

Holding Hand

Compassion over judgement – Act thoughtfully and approach every human being, including yourself, with loving kindness. Acknowledge your own bias and seek to understand before jumping to conclusions. Everyone has a story to tell and asking someone about theirs may be really insightful.

Love your family in word and action – Family consists of those we choose to involve in our lives. Life is short, time slips away quickly and living with regret is daunting. The good news is every person has the gift of this very moment, so step forward, make a choice and seize the day!

Let go of the anger  In every life situation, have the courage to take a step back and ask;

  • What is really going on here?
  • How am I feeling right now?
  • What is my role in this situation?
  • Who or what do I need to forgive?

Practice Gratitude each day and sprinkle in a little fun.

Be kind to yourself – Cliche I know, – treat others the way you want to be treated. But how about this:

Treat yourself  the way you want to be treated.

What would that look like and if you had the power to enact a single law, what would it be? Please comment below.

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This post was inspired by The Daily Prompt: You have the power to enact a single law. What would it be? Photographers, artists, poets: show us RULES.

The Road….

Unconditional Love

There are people who will say Valentines Day is a novelty, but I think it’s an opportunity to reflect, create a memory or perform a random act of kindness, because sometimes even the smallest gesture can go a long way.

My mom never forgets a Valentines Day. Last night she came over with the tulips you see in the background of the picture, made dinner and then did some religion homework with my son.

She gave me the red heart ornament in the picture years ago on a February 14th. It says “Kakie” and on the back Love, Mom.  Time has worn the ink from changing the oil in the decanter.

The faded letters on the ornament and the flowers are both signals for me. One, a gentle reminder about being present, new life, spring and what lies ahead. The other is to pause, step back, appreciate those around me and celebrate the journey. We didn’t get here alone and couldn’t have accomplished all that has been without others. Look how far we’ve come. For many of us it can seem quite remarkable.

Life puts gifts at our feet which we don’t recognize at first. Sometimes we stumble over them or we get in our own way. It’s okay because we are all flawed and I think there is beauty in that. Somehow we always manage to get back up, brush ourselves off and move ahead.

We are exactly where we are meant to be at any given moment and we have all of the tools we need. Today, give yourself permission to slow down, take a deep breath, find gratitude and share it with someone.

I would love to hear stories about small gestures that meant a great deal to you  Share them below and thanks for stopping by. Happy Valentines Day.

Honor, Dignity and Acknowledging the Unseen… #Volunteerism

“Homeless” courtesy of creative commonsBy Audra Jones

When I was younger, I belonged to a club that did community service work. There was one specific event that was memorable for me. We spent three or four hours handing out warm dinner to the homeless out in the streets. After that we went to a homeless shelter not far from the Bay Bridge.

I was in high school and at the time and my sister was too young to participate. She wanted to help, so she made four or five dozen chocolate chip cookies for us to take and hand out to people. When we got to the homeless shelter we passed out the remaining meals we had left. Next, we began making sandwiches and pairing them with other goodies and shared them with the crowd. I had the tins with my sister’s cookies in them and began to walk around, offering them to anyone near me.

I approached this older gentleman and said “Sir, would you like a cookie?” He stopped and turned around, looked me right in the eyes and said, “What did you say? Did you call me sir?” And I told him I had, and his eyes watered a little bit and he said, “No one has ever called me sir. Never.” He was completely taken back.

It struck me to my core.

I explained I had been raised that regardless of anything, color, creed, social status, everyone deserved respect It saddened me to think that just because he was homeless, no one afforded him the honor to which every human being should be entitled. It broke my heart, and I couldn’t help but cry. I just didn’t understand why no one ever called him sir? Just because he didn’t have money or a place to live…did that really give anyone any right to be disrespectful to him? I had never thought that anyone was below me because I wasn’t raised that way. Every single person deserves to be treated with dignity and I never realized how ignorant some people can be. Years later, I still carry that memory and the lessons it taught me. Sometimes, what we take for granted as simple gestures can really make a difference in someone’s life.

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A note from Kakie:  I often say when we give, we get. Everyone deserves to be treated with honor and dignity.  Everyone deserves compassion. At the core, we all have the need to be acknowledged. Whether it is through our words or being of service to others, there is so much power when we look another human being in the eye and say; “You Matter.”

Please, share information about a time you have experienced something similar or witnessed a person who made a difference. How have you seen the action of others impact an individual, a community, the world? If you feel moved by this story, pass it along. Every good deed counts. I am grateful you are here and look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for visiting.

Four Simple Ways to Be More Grateful

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.  – Melody Beattie

 Want to know benefits to living thankfully?

A Psychology Today article called; “The Benefits of Being Thankful,” explains focusing on gratitude promotes well-being, motivating pro-social  and moral behavior.

Psychologists asked a group of people to spend just a few minutes a day for 13 days in a row thinking about and listing the things for which they were thankful. Compared to other control participants, these gratitude-focused folks experienced:

  •         Higher optimism
  •         Increased positive mood
  •         Greater feelings of belonging
  •         Less physical illness
  •         Lower levels of negativity
  •         Higher likelihood to be of service to others in need
  •         More likely to exercise (Suggesting gratitude promotes healthy living.)
  •         Improved and better quality sleep
The list above doesn’t even cover how gratefulness improves relationships,  enriches the emotional climate of family life, makes us more valued within the workplace and lays the foundation for a life well lived. Isn’t that exciting? Are you looking for ways to be more grateful? Below are a few things to take into consideration.

Day 14: Poetry, Letter to a Younger Self – Maya Angelou’s Birthday

21 days to happiness: My story and 3 things I am thankful for:

Art. Not sure when or how I came to appreciate it, but I do know I have always had a fascination for learning from every experience life has brought my way. I love expressing creativity through the craft of writing and was in 8th grade the first time I wrote a poem that was published by my English teacher. Just a few years later, another poem, published in our high school year book and I remember the feeling of accomplishment. Now, years later I am writing on my blog and am a grateful and accomplished award winning author. It was a lot of work and learning along the way. But I didn’t get there by myself. I could not have gone through the journey without the gifts, talents and passion of those who worked with us.

Today was Maya Angelou’s birthday, she has aged gracefully and I hope I will be able to do the same as the years pass. She is beautiful and in rare poetic form, she writes a letter to her 15 year old self.

If you were doing the same, what would your words look like? Please share below.

Three things I am grateful for today:

  1. The people I stay in touch with that I have worked with over the years
  2. My gift, the craft of writing and that I am perfectly a human being
  3. Miracles. because I am a living witness they do happen every day

More about Kakie Fitzsimmons

Day 10: Turning to Community: Asking for Help in Times of Need

21 days to happiness: My story and 3 things I am thankful for: 

Why don’t we lean on one another more and ask for help? My experience as a project manager, coach, mentor and trainer has always been to get people to step outside of their comfort zones by using leadership development strategies to confirm their thoughts, feelings and actions are in congruence with principles, beliefs, values and goals. When we understand what is important to others, we can use that as a tool bring out the best in them. People have shared some of the following reasons with me about why they don’t ask for help:

  1. It will make me look too needy
  2. I am too busy to ask for help and haven’t had the time
  3. Requesting help is a sign of weakness
  4. People will assume I am not as smart as someone else because I can’t do it myself
  5. Rejection
  6. What is the cost?
Experience has taught me that the only valid reason for not asking for help above is number 6. What is the cost? Not financially, but mentally, emotionally, professionally and spiritually. The real reason for not asking for help is about one thing.
.
F.E.A.R (Feelings and Expectations that Aren’t Real).
.
Emotional competence comes when we challenge ourselves to shift our paradigms towards a new way of thinking, which uncovers an alternate perspective. I have never had one business partner say they regretted being pushed to grow. Humility is an important quality in leadership.  So are relationships and being connected. Communities exist for a reason, we need one another. Sometimes when we ask for help, we are giving a gift to someone who wants to make a difference.
So what are you waiting for? Who do you need to reach out to today?
.
Three things I am grateful for today:
  1. There is power when we adjust our assumption points to expand our horizons, I am growing and learning
  2. I get to rely on the community of other brilliant people around me and ask for help
  3. My experiences that helped me write this blog post. I hope it will make a difference to someone

Day 9: Then is Now: Letting Go of Resentment

21 days to happiness: My story and 3 things I am thankful for: 

Years ago I attended personal growth and leadership seminars by Earnie Larsen, who used the analogy of “Who is driving your bus?” to illustrate how people hold on to resentments and that often, “then is now.” So let me give you an example of what he meant by that.

When Johnny was 7 years old, his parents were constantly at odds and one day, while they were fighting, he began screaming at them to stop, started sobbing and ran outside. No one came to console him, apologize or explain the argument was not about him.

It broke a part of his spirit and sample messages he could have carried from that might be “love hurts, nobody listens to me anyway, I will never allow others to be that much in control again,” etc.

Now, what if we put that seven-year old’s outdated lie in charge of driving his life (aka bus) for 50 years? Who is behind the wheel? That is an awful lot of years of pain and false data from which he establishes his viewpoint. The reality is, his parents were probably young and just trying to figure things out themselves, but that was not what he took from the experience.

Examples like this play out every day at home and at work. As leaders,we manage people with various backgrounds and social styles. Perhaps if we keep stories like the one above in mind, it can help us incorporate emotional intelligence and compassion into our professional environments in ways that are healthy. Intent, usually comes from the right place and situations are not always as they seem at first glance.

Hanging on to resentment is a painful form of abuse that prevents us from having self-compassion, but all too often, we may not even realize we are clinging to a given injustice. That resistance gets us emotionally jammed and a majority of people do not have any idea how to get unstuck.

One solution? “And acceptance is the answer to all of my problems today.”  Someone once told me there are four stages that shine in the face of love. They are:

  1. Allowing
  2. Acceptance
  3. Approval
  4. Appreciation

These four things are at the core of who we are when we are born. What if we made it our goal to live these principles in every aspect of our lives daily as a way to get back to our core being? Including loving all of our resentments and saying yes, accepting the things we can’t control. What if this was your personal growth homework? What have you got to lose? Try it for a few days and let me know how it works for you. Who is driving your bus today?

Three things I am grateful for today:

  1. The process of allowing, acceptance, approval and appreciation.
  2. The idea that “If you don’t give yourself any options, you don’t have any choices.” There is always another way, we get to seek the counsel of others to help us with that.
  3. That I have learned how to give myself permission to let go of old resentments and lies
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