Showing posts from May, 2010

Powerful patterns

In my business, I see a lot of hype about specific patterns: learn this pattern and you have the key to success. Most of it is nonsense based on a fundamental (often buried deep) truth. Patterns are powerful. Not this pattern or that pattern. Any pattern has some power.
Here's what wikipedia says about patterns:
A pattern, from the Frenchpatron, is a type of theme of recurring events or objects, sometimes referred to as elements of a set. These elements repeat in a predictable manner. It can be a template or model which can be used to generate things or parts of a thing, especially if the things that are created have enough in common for the underlying pattern to be inferred, in which case the things are said to exhibit the unique pattern. Pattern matching is the act of checking for the presence of the constituents of a pattern, where as the detecting for underlying patterns is referred to as pattern recognition. The question of how a pattern emerges is accomplished through the …

Writing is hard work

I've spent the last two days training managers to write better emails. I'm always impressed by how deeply people want to express themselves effectively and how frustrated they get by the difficulty of writing. Writing means squeezing complicated, changing experience into one word at a time. It's like turning sand into diamonds. It takes time and it takes pressure.
When I was quite young, I was surprised that people found it so hard to be clear and correct. Now that I have had a few years to experience a wider range of perceptions and priorities, I am surprised that writing works as well as it does as often as it does. Just a few words open doors to new connections and they open windows on whole new perspectives. I have always been grateful for the experiences I was given through literature. Now I am also humbled by how often we mangle language and yet still get what we need through it.
Imagine being slow and limited and only able to do one thing at a time. Imagine t…

Walking in the waves

It seems a little tame as a follow up to my last post, but that's the best part of what I have been doing this week. On the really warm days, I walk up to my waist and practice going with the flow. On the not-quite-so-warm days, I walk along the water's edge, sometimes in and sometimes out.

I am learning.
It doesn't look like learning from the outside. It looks like wandering or zoning out or just relaxing. And it is all those things.
From the inside, it doesn't feel like learning. It feels like walking, exploring, shell-seeking and splashing. And it is all those thing too.
Neither the inside or the outside holds the whole of the experience. Even when we put them together, we are missing something. We are missing the meaning of the experience, the patterns that I am walking into mind and body. The patterns at the edge of the water are the patterns at the edges of the world, at the edges of the mind. They are the patterns of negotiating change and identity.
The beach …

Bad luck. Good luck. It's hard to tell sometimes.

Tonight, my husband and I arrived at our vacation destination. It was hot and humid and we headed straight for the beach. We bought groceries and went out for music and nachos and margaritas. It was a perfect start to a relaxing week.
Until we went to bed. We teased each other about the extra pillow. I turned out the light. There was a loud exploding sound. My husband told me - quite urgently - to turn the light on. It took a second or two to figure out the switch in the unfamiliar room. When the lights came on, Rob was sitting up and it took a few seconds to be sure he was okay. Scratched on the wrist and stomach, but okay.
There were large splinters of wood in the middle of the bed. It seemed to take a long time to put the splinters together with the round hole in the headboard. Even then, I looked for another more reasonable explanation. I called security. He called the police. People came in and out. We met five or six police officers. They were all polite and helpful an…

After an absence, it's good to be back

It's been a month since my last post, and it has been one of those months that feels like at least a season. A month ago, winter lingered in our minds. Now, it is exuberantly spring.
I told a friend who was struggling with writing to write to find out what he had to say. Increasingly, this seems like wise advice to me. The very young me always had a plan and a statement. At the time, that seemed hard-headed and practical. Now it strikes me as hopeful and idealistic. Very little works out exactly as planned and quite often that's a good thing.
So if we don't start with a plan, how do we start? It's like decorating our homes: we start with what we think will work and add and adjust and negotiate and accommodate as we go. Some treasures are too good to pass up just because they don't - exactly - fit into our existing style. Some treasures (other people's) are relics that we would love to let go, but can't. We learn to work around them.
I have come to d…