Unusual? or Not? You Decide: Weekly Photo Challenge

Last week the theme for the weekly photo challenge was “Unusual.” I got around to posting this theme with “unusually” late timing, but that’s okay, I’m posting it anyway. 🙂 This photo consists of brightly colored balloons at a parade. I used the “Ocean Ripple” filter effect in Photoshop to create something I think looks delightful.

I love words. The ability to choose one, think about what it means and the different ways it gets used. With this week’s theme it occurred to me that, often, what seems unusual to one person, could be perfectly normal to someone else.

That is how it is meant to be, because even in the flaws, there is detail and beauty we often overlook. Think about a world where everyone, openly and unconditionally accepted the unusual in others. How often do we intentionally seek to understand another perspective without judgement? How often do we encourage others to do the same?

Years ago I had a friend who said he believed he finally found the answer to defining ‘normal.’  “Normal is the setting on your dryer,” he would say.

Exactly…..

Something to think about.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with others. Have a great week and thanks for reading my blog. Feel free to leave a thought, question or note below.

 

 

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A Prayer and a Poem for #PhilandoCastile & Family: Look Up: What Was Entrusted To You? Pay Attention

Philando Castile The System Is BrokenLook up and see those who are coming from the north. Where is the flock that was entrusted to you, the sheep of which you boasted?” -Jeremiah 3.2

Look up and notice

with open minds and open hearts
Put yourself in the shoes of an opposing view
Pay attention and listen to those sharing their reality
They have something to say. Their experiences are real.
Their voices matter. They are suffering in despair
They deserve to feel heard. To be heard.

Are you listening?

Because when someone says “I am hurting
The only appropriate response is; “Tell me more, I am listening
Be patient; consider that the first story may not be the whole picture
Be open to new information, in a world full of endless possibilities
These things together will expand minds, hearts and our world

Look up and look around

We continue to see repeated patterns we know exist
Minimizing them torments our intelligence
The idea “if we don’t name it, it can’t exist” is excruciating denial
Inaction leaves us feeling stuck in perpetual wait
What are these patterns trying to tell us?
They are saying that idly standing by is no longer enough
They are directing us to take a stand and to do something
They are making it clear that we have so much more to learn from one another
When different views come together, they merge to create new knowledge, and that is a good thing. I have never known a time when we didn’t need ideas to continue to evolve

 

Entrust: to give someone the responsibility of doing something or of caring for someone or something  (Merriam-Webster)

  • Police officers are given the responsibility of protecting people, property and the law
  • Humanity is given the responsibility of being kind and compassionate to one another

Look Up2Look up:  Today, Philando Castile, who was killed last week in Minnesota by a police officer, will be laid to rest. Say his name. He is not the first and sadly, will not be the last. Let’s work towards coming together and leaving our differences behind.

Pray for these families, because they are our families. Our families are hurting.

Pray for parents of young black men and women, who are faced with presenting a balanced view about systemic injustice, because the dialogue is very complicated. May they be given the words to adequately conduct constructive discourse in a loving manner so that it leads all of us towards the right solution, together. It is time to set our differences aside because we owe it to ourselves, and one another.

I want to hear from you. Thank you for visiting my blog, please feel free to leave a comment below, or, if you prefer to ask some questions confidentially, let me know and I will be happy to respect your privacy and respond one to one.

Sparkles, S’mores and Land that I Love | Happy 4th of July

Smores Fourth of July NostalgiaI love the Fourth of July (or Fourch of Guly as I said when I was little), it makes me feel a bit nostalgic. One of my first 4th of July parades I remember being sad because I wasn’t fast enough at getting candy and I’m sure there were one or two thoughtful kids & parents who saw that and walked over to make sure I had some. Then there was the first parade I was in with my sister where we both wore costumes and tap shoes from dance lessons. My mom told us to march holding our batons with one hand lifting them straight up and down with each step and of course, we thought it was a great idea.

As we grew older, we were blessed enough to spend the first two weeks of July up north with my dad and dear friends at Crane Lake in Voyageurs National Park on the Canadian Border. The only way to get to the cabin was by boat. Imagine hauling 3-5 adults, 5-7 kids and a dog, 2 weeks worth of food, clothing  and fresh water for drinking. Sometimes it would take 2-3 trips and the boat would be so heavy the waterline was about a foot below the top. While we did have a short wave radio to hear the closest weather reports and listen to the international time, we did not have phones or television and we actually learned to appreciate that.

It was there we explored the chain of lakes where water is so clear you can look 15+ feet straight down and see the bottom. We learned how to water ski, responsibly shoot guns at targets, become great fishers and use a filet knife to clean and prepare our catch. At night, my dad would bring Crane Lakeout his guitar and we sang songs together around the fire, roasted marshmallows for S’mores and later hear the cracking and snapping of the fresh burning wood. Some evenings we would go out “on the rock” and enjoy the sunset, seen in the picture to the right. I would close my eyes and take in the fresh smell of the Norway Pine trees and burning fire. I would listen to the water lapping up on the shore, loons, seagulls or a boat humming in the distance. It was heaven on earth.

After fourth of July celebrations in the small town across the water, we would take the boat to the middle of the lake, cut the engine, watch the fireworks and have rich conversations about freedom, life or whatever was on our minds. It was there we discovered breathtaking views where stars are so clear you could see them sparkle right down to the horizon. In a good year, we could see the northern lights dance, displaying colors of green, blue and red.

I’m grateful for the people and all of those memories we created together. It shaped me in growing a deeper appreciation for this land where we live. Today, I think about so many people around the world who don’t have the same choices we do. At the same time,  we can not forget those who have gone before us and those still fighting for our freedom because they have laid much of the ground work for us.

I also will not forget that there is still more work that needs to be done.

Regardless, I celebrate the fact that we are so fortunate to be citizens in a country where we have freedom to express ourselves, choose to practice our faith, celebrate diversity, practice servant leadership,  be educated and to make a difference in the lives of others.

Wishing you a very happy Fourth of July. I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences about how this day has shaped you. Please share below and thanks for visiting my blog!

“I AM” and “SPIRIT” In Sync With One Another #FierceForward

Fierce Forward - I AM and Spirit = Parters

I AM – two of the most powerful words you could ever declare to yourself. This is your declaration, your choice to stand in your power and allow your vision to come to reality/ #FierceForward

SPIRIT – Your truth. Freedom is found when you live you truth and let your spirit live out loud. Do not hide. Do not deny your truth. Do not let her stay quiet. Go forward, fiercely and let your SPIRIT lead the way. #FierceForward

Knowing who we are and being grounded in our truth are at the core of what teaches us to be great leaders and even better human beings.

These bracelets are handmade using African Trade Beads to support women in Africa. They are special because they support a worthy cause and they were an authentic gift from someone whose friendship means a great deal to me.

This post is inspired by The Weekly Photo Challenge themed: Partners: Whether two of a kind, or ten, give us subjects that are in sync with one another – show us partnerships.

Learn more about #FierceForward at fierceforwardforlife.com

Time: Stop, Travel, Escape, Feel, Release | Weekly Photo Challenge


|  How to stop time:  kiss.  |  How to travel in time:  read.  

|  How to escape time:  music.  |  How to feel time:  write.

| How to release time:  breathe.


 MATT HAIG; REASONS TO STAY ALIVE

 How to stop time: Kiss

AKiss

anotherkiss copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to travel in time: Read

A-book_edited-1

READ

 

 

 How to escape time: Music

piano2_edited-1

Dance

Piano2.1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to feel time: Write

Write_edited-1

   How to release time: Breathe

Breathe copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This post was inspired by Lignum Graco who asks us to show him time as part of The Weekly Photo Challenge over at The Daily Post. Please feel free to leave any comments below and thanks for visiting my blog!

A Vibrant Picture – Weekly Photo Challenge

Today over at The Daily Post, Jen H asks us to share a photo of something vibrant as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge. Here, I show my interpretation of “before” and “after.”

A Vibrant Picture - Before

A Vibrant Picture – Before

A few years back on a whim, I purchased Photoshop because I was curious and wanted to see how I could get creative with it and what I could learn, so I began the process of exploring. One of the things I like best about it is I can take an image I am not crazy about and turn it into art.

I took this picture a few years ago at the Orchid Gardens in Singapore. It was extremely hot that day and as a result, orchids in some of the photos appear more wilted than I would have liked. In this picture, I used the impressionist brush tool to blur out the people in the upper left-hand corner and over to the right where we could see the sidewalk through the greenery. Next, in the filter gallery, I used the brush strokes and the cross hatch option to give it this look.Vibrant_edited-1

  • Stroke length =  12
  • Sharpness = 3
  • Strength =1

That is it. No sharpening or highlighting. I like it. It is definitely something that could be blown up and put on a wall. What do you think? Please share below and thanks for visiting my blog.

 

Circles of Meaning

Once in a while, I like participating in the “Weekly Photo Challenge” over at The Daily Post. A new meme comes out each Friday and I think about the proposed topic. I wonder what I could say about it and what my readers will be interested in as well. This week, Cheri asks us to let a shape, a circle, inspire us.

Circles Change Management Business TimeI took this picture at the James J. Hill Business Library because it had a certain old world charm that grabbed my attention. I like the concept of time as it relates to the evolution of knowledge throughout the ages.

Circles have been used metaphorically since the beginning of history. In many cultures, they represent unity, enlightenment, divinity and protection. At first glance, a circle can seem simple, yet they are one of the most common and universal signs used throughout history of the world.

Circles have symbolic use in divinity: For example, with Taoism the Yin Yang image embodies two forces in the universe that are opposites that balance one another. Hinduism uses the Dharma Chakra to represent the wheel of law that leads to enlightenment. Artists have used halos in Christianity and Buddhism to symbolize light and holiness. Paganism circles exemplified supernatural forces, and in ancient times Celtics stood inside of circles for protection.

Circles are symbols of inclusiveness, wholeness and eternity because the continuous line characterizes something with no beginning and no end.  They also represent completion or “coming full circle,” as in starting where one began. Circles often remind us about the cycles of life, years, seasons, days, minutes, hours and of course, TIME.

In business we use circles in many ways. In meetings, we sit in circles, in flow charts, circles show beginning or ending of processes, we move in cycles from centralizing to decentralizing something away from or to something else. We also assume many things in business happen in linear patterns, which is not the case. A circle could be a way to make the case for this.

In change management, we can think about circles as cycles of behavior. We evaluate and measure individual change differently than organizational change because successful organizational change happens when individuals deliver and sustain the new behavior.  Our focus is to change old ways of thinking by providing various levels of coaching guides and tools for leadership, Circles of Concern Influence Change Controlstakeholder and sponsors during different stages of projects.

We provide assessments to mitigate resistance to change because we understand that behaviors happen in cycles or patterns. One example of many, might be to leverage Steven Covey’s “Circles of Influence” model (where appropriate) for conversation about what we control, influence and have concerns about.

When we integrate change management with project management, studies have proven it leads to higher levels of success such as increased in adoption rates and sustaining of new behaviors.

Are there other ways you see circles used as symbols in business, project and change management? I’m looking forward to having you join the conversation.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with others. Thanks for visiting my blog!

 

Gathering

GatheringOver at The Daily Post, the theme for this week’s weekly photo challenge is posed by Krista, who asks us to document a gathering and share our interpretation of it.

Consider the different ways we can think about the word; Gathering as in material things we can see and touch. Gathering as in knowledge or information we get from various sources. Gathering as in symbolic ritual like celebrations or at places of worship. Gathering as in shared experiences like school plays or concerts. Gathering as in complex systems, where everything is related to everything else. Many may argue that there are interdependencies and that  we can’t refer to one type of gathering without taking into account all the others.

Regardless of the kind of “gathering” we refer to, each person gets to decide which definition (singularly and collectively) is the most important to them.

In life we gather things that we don’t get to take with us when we leave this world.

At work, we gather reports and data. We gather at meetings or to network.

In change management, gatherings are significant because they are considered as a type of symbolic ritual that can help bring a group of people together and move them through transition, from one stage to another.

In communities, we gather to celebrate, to educate, to worship, to grieve, and to share experiences.

Mentally we gather knowledge and information.

Emotionally we gather our thoughts.

At home, we gather as families to make sense of this world. We come together to teach, learn, share, grieve, grow, pray, laugh and to love. We create memories and meaningful experiences that leave legacies.

Do your organizations use the concept of “gathering” as a symbolic tool to move people through change? My wish for you; may your gatherings bring significance to whatever is important in your personal and professional lives.

Please feel free to share your thoughts below and thanks for visiting my blog!

Monochromatic – Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge - Monochromatic

Monochromatic tints and tones reflecting a single hue.

Optical visions and a seeming distant view.

How is it that simplicity and complexity can co-exist?

Because the beauty of an image will continue to persist.

Over at the Daily Post, Jen Hooks writes; “This week, share with us your monochromatic images. Be calculating and creative in choosing your subject and focal point; resist the urge to simply take a photo of something with a single color range.”

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

Nighttime Web – Not of the Interactive Kind

As long as I can remember, I have loved the art of photography. Taking photos at night doesn’t come easy for many.  In this example, I think the complexity and structure of how a spiderweb is constructed is fascinating. Below is the original photo I took the other night on a tree in my back yard, using my Android. Someday I would love to get a professional digital camera, which has been added to my bucket list!.

I have been working with Photoshop Elements 10 for a couple of years now and thought it would be fun to take this version of The Weekly Photo Challenge Theme; “Nighttime” and see how I could transpose the same image to get different effects.

The only thing that will make it interactive is if you share comments, thoughts and questions below. Here are my results;

Nighttime web original photo

Nighttime web original photo – Android

Adjusted color variation to add one hue of green

Adjusted color variation to add one hue of green

Nighttime web converted to black and white

Nighttime web converted to black and white

Nighttime web black and white diffused glow

Nighttime web black and white diffused glow filter

Nighttime web black and white using the photocopy filter

Nighttime web black and white using the photocopy filter

View from another angle

View from another angle

Thanks for stopping by, I’d love to hear from you!

Through Eyes of “Endurance”

The Meaning of Endurance

Embracing uncertainty knowing there is no “around, over or under.”

Having the audacity to do something unconventional, telling ourselves;

“I can, I will, I am, I believe, I trust it is time for something new and it is necessary. I will practice this until it feels normal.

Walking into the unknown with persistent fearlessness and a resilient spirit.

Forging ahead with integrity, courage, bravery, wholeheartedness and guts.

Past those who cast stones of judgement, unkind words and misunderstanding.

They will not define us.

For we know the only way out, is through, and that something better is in store.

Our self-assuredness will take us there,

because it always has.

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This post was inspired by The Weekly Photo Challenge: “Endurance. Show us what endurance means to you.

Read more of this post

Interpreting “Humanity” in a Click

As part of the weekly photo challenge, Thirdeyemom asks us to decipher the theme “humanityInterpreting

So thinking about what it means to be human, poses more questions than answers.

The plural definition; “humanities” takes on more complexity.

Merriam-Webster defines humanities as;

…”the branches of learning (as philosophy, arts, or languages) that investigate human constructs and concerns as opposed to natural processes (as in physics or chemistry) and social relations (as in anthropology or economics)“[1]

This photograph taken at the National Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington DC is great metaphor for this week’s assignment. A young man’s image reflected in front of the wall etched with more than 58,286 names of soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the Vietnam war for the sake of freedom. My challenge to you is to look at this picture, ponder its meaning and ask yourself the following questions:

  • How did we get here?
  • What makes us who we are today?
  • What was life like for those who went before us?
  • How did they live?
  • How did they die?
  • How did they want to be remembered?
  • In what ways can we translate these questions to look inward and ask how we can be of service to others?
  • What is our purpose and how can we make an impact?

It only takes one person to make a difference. So reflect, and ask yourself how you will make yours?

And while you are at it, if you know someone who served, reach out and thank them.

I appreciate you visiting my blog, please feel free to make comments below.

Transition – Defining “Between”

Transitions - Adapting to ChangeToday’s post is about “between,” which comes in many forms. It made me consider the various ways we process and deal with change. Regardless of its application (professional, emotional or personal), the techniques for recognizing and approaching transition differs for each of us.

Sometimes it flows and feels natural, as captured in the photo for this post. A young man who is between testing for his next belt level in karate and receiving a new status because he is ready and has done the work. He has practiced to learn the movement and techniques with precision and accuracy, and he knows that along with his sense of accomplishment come confidence and the long term rewards that follow.

In graduate school, we are taught that we should expect resistance when it comes to change in the workplace. Opposition is a natural part of the process during transformation and frequently rears its head when people do not understand why change is necessary, or there is not consistent support, repetition and communication of the messaging.

OD experts explain there are symbolic rituals necessary for organizational change that brings everyone along, so they feel as though they are part of the process and have input to the outcome. It is a blueprint that incorporates the right guidance systems so human capital can collectively take a step back, acknowledge their current reality, say goodbye to the old way of doing things while working together to build a future. [1] (Kanter, 2008) The change will be more successful when all stakeholders understand their roles, contribution and call to action.

In our personal lives, navigating transition is more complex because not everyone is given the coping mechanisms for recognizing and dealing with change in healthy ways.

When it comes to how we work through transformation as individuals, there are times when we need to sit with discomfort and uncertainty for a bit as part of our reflection. Often our experience can provide answers and this world is one full of endless possibilities. Although there is a school of thought that might agree it is easier to give help than to ask for it, leveraging our support system is a resource we cannot ignore.

Discomfort is healthy when it motivates us to use our courage and move towards something better. Transition can be the beginning of something exciting and new that will provide opportunities to grow, learn, unlearn, re-think, re-learn, heal, innovate and re-invent.

Awareness of our own resistance to change could come in the form of anxiety, physical discomfort, fear, anger, sadness, insecurities, etc. In time, we learn the best way to overcome any of that is to get input, learn from it and then practice new behaviors until they feel normal.

Someone I know spent a great deal of time trying to work through a process like this. He shared what worked for him while he was struggling. His solutions are below.

Write down the following and reflect on the questions below, one at a time:

  1. “Yes, this change is hard.” (Make a list of what makes it hard for you)
  2. “How can I objectively examine the pros and cons of this situation?
  3. What part of my fear is getting in the way?
  4. How can this experience be my teacher?
  5. What can I do to move forward?

Once those issues had been examined, he found a trusted source to share it with that we will call “his people.” The ones he knew would not judge, give uninvited advice, or try to fix him or the situation. A trusted resource who would just listen. “His people” are the ones who have earned the right to hear his stories. It took practice, but it was amazing to see how the consistency of repeating the action over and over helped him grow.

So if you are finding yourself “between” something and are feeling in transition, perhaps his process could work for you as well. And who knows, you just may be happy you did. Thanks for visiting my blog, share your story or ask questions below, I’d love to hear from you!

[1] Kanter, R.M. (2008). Transforming giants. Harvard Business Review, 86(1), 43-52.

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The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Prompt. Danielle Hark of Broken Light Collective challenges us to photograph between. This week, capture something between two things, reflect on the process of transition, or interpret this word in your own way.

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