(Issue #609) Never Stop Looking for What’s Not There


As you look down the road, what don’t you see?
What confounds you?
What is absent that, once present, will make your community a more compassionate space.

~~~~~

His words made me sit up in my chair and write a post-it note to myself.

Never stop looking for what’s not there.

Monte Wildhorn, an aging and disgruntled novelist, begins his first lesson on imagination for Finnegan O’Neil, an elementary-school-aged neighbor in The Magic of Belle Isle.

Never stop looking for what’s not there.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

At first blush it sounds counter intuitive. How do we see what is not there? Shouldn’t we look at what is in front of us—what is there—and then describe it?

Well, that may help to establish context, but it doesn’t move the story along—on the page or in real life. When we look for what is not there, I believe, we can then begin the journey of creating a better story, a better world. In our mind’s eye we can see what a better scene looks like, a better vision of our community.

What should we never stop looking for when it’s not there? A short list could include:

  • Accessible and affordable healthcare
  • Critical thinking
  • Deliberative dialogues about difficult issues
  • Civility
  • Complete streets for a community
  • Supportive relationships
  • Personal purpose
  • Age, gender, and racial equity
  • A living wage
  • Justice
  • Peace
  • No more homeless people
  • No more homeless pets
  • Mindfulness
  • Mentors
  • Love

In the opening pages of his novel Mr g, Alan Lightman states,

Sometimes, the absence of a thing is not noticed until it is present.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Indeed.

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week.

In this scene (https://youtu.be/2haHRRfKLJ0) from The Magic of Belle Isle, Wildhorn asks Finnegan to look down the road and tell him what she does not see. It confounds her.

As you look down the road, what don’t you see? What confounds you? What is absent that, once present, will make your community a more compassionate space.

~~~~~

Make it a wonderful week and HTRB has needed.

You will find my latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 
here.

My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.

You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.


©2022. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida

Posted in Life lessons | 2 Comments

(Issue #608) Interconnections  


Not sure where the words came from but there they sat in my consciousness.

~~~~~

In the Spring of 2015, Laurie and I made reservations to celebrate our 40th anniversary (February 2016) in Jamaica. A few months later she was diagnosed with breast cancer and our plans, obviously, changed. Rather than toasting our anniversary on a Caribbean island, we were thankful when Laurie completed her final chemotherapy treatment two days after our anniversary in February of 2016.

But we never lost site of the future—ever. Laurie’s resilience and focus kept both of us centered and grounded. We rescheduled our trip and arrived in Negril, Jamaica in December of 2016 to celebrate our anniversary. Ten months late—but still in the same year!

During that trip, I began in earnest my daily meditation practice. Sitting on our balcony before sunrise, I recited quietly to myself a Deepak Chopra mantra:

Peace. Harmony. Laughter. Love.

It, too, helped ground me.

During a mediation this past week, a new mantra of interconnectedness popped into my mind:

Healthy Outlook

Healthy Mind

Healthy Actions

Healthy Body

Not sure where the words came from but there they sat in my consciousness. Guess it is part of the mindfulness process. And they took me back to 2015-2016. And they resonate today and what we all face daily.

Our outlook and actions affect our mind and our body. And all will affect our dreams. Which brings me back to Jamaica in 2016.

On one of my early morning beach walks I came across a boat anchored just off shore. On its canopy three words:

Live Your Dreams

Our outlook and our actions not only impact our dreams, I take the position that they create our dreams.

Interconnectedness.

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week.

A short, guided meditation with Deepak Chopra on Peace, Harmony, Laughter, and Love.

~~~~~

Make it a wonderful week and HTRB has needed.

You will find my latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 
here.

My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.

You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.


©2022. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida

Posted in action, awareness, laughter, love | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

(Issue #607) Who Are Your  Coffee-Cup People?  


We have to be mindful and reach out to those whose values and virtues help build a nurturing, dependable, responsible, friendly, brotherly (sisterly), courageous,
hopeful community with high expectations.

~~~~~

In the fall of 2002, I traveled to San Antonio, Texas to participate in a student success symposium. Among the speakers my editor, Sande, had lined up that day was Clifton Taulbert. His luncheon keynote drew on his book Eight Habits of the Heart: Embracing the Values that Build Strong Families and Communities.

Taulbert helped us understand how the eight habits that he came to know and embrace as a young African American growing up in the Mississippi Delta region are the basis for any functioning, caring, compassionate, and growing community. As he states in the beginning of his book, neighbors and family came together

On their porches, which were their principal meeting places, to shield us from segregation’s woes by building a good community for our dreams. They, ‘the porch people’ of the Mississippi Delta, knew how to build such community because their parents had built community for them. (p. 3)

Their community was built upon the habits of

            Nurturing Attitude

            Dependability

            Responsibility

            Friendship

            Brotherhood

            High Expectations

            Courage

            Hope

Inspired by Taulbert’s lessons and encouraged by my college campus president, I developed an interactive workshop for my campus colleagues titled Who Are Your Coffee-Cup People?

Each participant received this card as reminder.

I helped them examine who provided the support and encouragement critical to their development both as individuals and as a group. These “coffee-cup people” watched out for, encouraged, admonished, and celebrated with them and cried with them.  The people with whom they would gladly sit and share a cup of coffee.  During times of trial and tribulation these people are invaluable. (Years later I fleshed out the importance of each of us developing our own Board of Directors.)

Whether we call them Coffee-Cup People or our Board of Directors or, as Taulbert did, the Porch People, these people help us grow and, as a result, help build a sense of community. They share wisdom and hold us to high standards. They question. The listen. They cheer. They raise the bar for what we and those around us can become. They foster nutritious relationships.

Sometimes we end up in places that (and with people who) do not help build community.  In fact, these energy vampires suck community right out of the room. We have to be mindful and reach out to those whose values and virtues help build a nurturing, dependable, responsible, friendly, brotherly (sisterly), courageous, hopeful community with high expectations.

One of my 2022 goals is to connect with at least one coffee-cup person per week.

Who is on your list of Coffee-Cup People? When will you connect (or reconnect) with these beacons of light?

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week.

Listen to Clifton Taulbert in this short video clip (https://youtu.be/D6U2UM9xPHg).

~~~~~

Make it a wonderful week and HTRB has needed.

You will find my latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 
here.

My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.

You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.


©2022. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida

Posted in Life lessons | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

(Issue #606) Renew or Release?


If you are able to forgive, does that mean you have renewed your connection with that person?

~~~~~

A plethora of accolades, news stories, and television spots paid homage to the life and accomplishments of Archbishop Desmond Tutu (died December 26, 2021) this past week. His leadership of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission received attention.

Coincidentally, a few days before Tutu’s passing I read The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World (by Desmond and his daughter Mpho Tutu).

The fourfold path of forgiveness starts with telling your story of pain/injury/suffering, identifying your hurt associated with the story, and offering forgiveness to the perpetrator(s).   The last step (#4) is labeled as Renew or Release. The Tutus offered the following metaphor as one way to understand the challenge of renew or release.

  • Take a beautiful breakable item (like a cup) or a picture, photo or piece of fabric.
  • Break it.
  • Then, using the pieces construct something beautiful. It could be a rebuilt cup, for instance.

As you view the reconstructed item, the authors ask you to consider the following questions:  

  • Was it possible to make something beautiful from the pieces?
  • Was the reconstruction difficult or easy?
  • How much did the reconstructed item you created resemble the old (original) item you had?
  • Will this item (the refurbished item) be able to serve the same function as the old and beautiful item?
  • “What did you learn about renewing and releasing as you engaged in this exercise?” (see pages 161-162)

Now, instead of the reconstructed broken cup, consider a relationship, career, community team, or a political party. Consider someone who has injured you (emotionally, financially, spiritually, occupationally, or physically).  Let’s say you completed the first three steps in the fourfold path and you are able to forgive. Does that mean you have renewed your connection with that person?

Not necessarily.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

The Tutus state, “Renewing a relationship is not restoring a relationship. We do not go back to where we were before the hurt happened and pretend it never happened. We create a new relationship….a relationship transformed….Releasing a relationship is how you free yourself from the victimhood and trauma…releasing is refusing to let an experience or a person occupy space in your head or heart any longer…” (155; emphasis added)

Someone may ask, “Why forgive, then, if you do not plan on renewing the old relationship?” Or “How can I renew anything with that person with the suffering I hold in my heart?”

In her book The Dance of Connections, Harriet Lerner says, “The fact that you’re the only one suffering may be the best argument for stepping back from a negative argument.”

For me, this was a reinforcement of Tutu’s call for forgiveness. It does not exonerate the perpetrator but it can relieve a burden from one’s heart. It helps release the suffering. And it may lead to releasing the relationship.

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week.

Desmond Tutu explains forgiveness in this short (4:25) interview with Bill Moyers.

~~~~~

Make it a wonderful week and HTRB has needed.

You will find my latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 
here.

My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.

You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.


©2022. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida

Posted in Life lessons | Leave a comment

(Issue #605) A Blogger’s Retrospective for 2021


May you create, share, and savor powerful moments in the coming year and beyond.

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week:

A short gratitude video from me to all of you who have read, shared, and commented on my blog posts.  I appreciate you.  May you have a healthy, prosperous, and meaningful 2022.

~~~~~

While sitting in an Austin hotel room at the end of May 2010, I wrote my first post for this blog. At that time, I had three goals:

  • Experience a new (for me) aspect of social media (remember, it was 2010).
  • Develop and flesh out new ideas.
  • Provide something of value—not just another cyber rant.

I believe I have accomplished the first and the second. It is up to you whether I have accomplished the third. My blog posts contain videos, book recommendations and summaries, questions to ponder, and always a takeaway to apply immediately to life.  I have remained true to my commitment to publish one blog post per week.

This post marks the 605th consecutive week— a little more than 11½ years.

And I know that I am #alwayslearning!

Since that first post (May 31, 2010 on Blogger), this blog evolved into www.thegrowthandresiliencenetwork.net

Thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing. 

I would love to hear what you find of value on this blog. And, please feel free to share any ideas you have for future posts.

Over the life of this blog, I have had the honor of close to 100,000 views from nearly 300 followers. Thank you for your interest and comments. And this year I added a new page: “Community Bright Spots!” And don’t forget Roxie’s blog—wisdom from a dog. It moves into its third year. I remain grateful for this opportunity.

As has become tradition, this last-of-the-year offering lists each of the posts I added this year. See the listings and links below. Along with each title, you will find a teaser. Perhaps a nugget or two will provide inspiration. I have linked each title to the actual blog should you want to read it, re-read it, or share it. Thank you for your continued support and comments.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

*Top Six All-Time Posts by Views on this Blog (Since 2010)* 

(#194) Honor the Past. Celebrate the Present. Embrace the Future.
(#86) A Model for Critical Thinking
#18 Crab Pot Mentality!
(#93) SQ4R: Strategic Reading Strategies for the Classroom and Beyond
(#219) The First Day of Class: People Before Paper! (#134) Marshmallows, Teaching, and Learning

*The 2021 Blog Posts in Chronological Order from January through December*

  1. (Issue #554) Active Listening: A Refresher * We move from collective monologues to authentic dialogues through active listening.
  2. (Issue #555) Tags And Quotes To Ponder * Ten concepts that help guide us.
  3. (Issue #556) Gratitude. Pride. Lessons * A quick strategy to acknowledge thanks, achievement, and growth. All of which help with resilience.
  4. (Issue #557) Agree to Disagree: A Conversational Fire Extinguisher? * “We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace.” ~Amanda Gorman
  5. (Issue #558) Curiosity as a Literacy Skill * Curiosity stimulates basic literacy skills, nurtures conversations, builds collaboration, and opens our minds to what could be.
  6. (Issue #559) Who Me? Write a Book? * Why not you?
  7. (Issue #560) Renewal of Vows * A reminder that it can become too easy to say, “Oh, I said that. She/He knows it.”
  8. (Issue #561) Age and Wisdom: Questions for Your Consideration * Circumstances change. Does wisdom and the vessel of that wisdom change as well?
  9. (Issue #562) Sacrificing Self for Space? * Do we have encouragement to be bigger, bolder, brighter, and better?
  10. (Issue #563) Your Future Self * What do you want to say to your Future Self?
  11. (Issue #564) Perspective * A change in perspective might help us see variety, beauty, glory, and hope.
  12. (Issue #565) Offering a Hand or an Opinion? * At that moment they might not need to know how much I know but, rather, how much I care.
  13. (Issue #566) I Will * Seventy years ago, Marie and Dominic had dreams. One reaching beyond and the other attempting to create a comfort zone.
  14. (Issue #567) Purpose: Collecting or Connecting Dots * None of us knows for sure where we will be in 10 years or 10 days. Are you marking time or making a difference with your time?
  15. (Issue #568) Community As a Pathway to Dreams * One’s dreams, goals, desires, and vision, connect to one’s overall journey.
  16. (Issue #569) Stayca * On August 22, 1998, The Florida Times-Union (Shorelines) published an article of mine titled “Best Vacations Are Those At Comfortable, Easy-to-Reach Sites.”
  17. (Issue #570) Purpose and Meaning * Teaching was the how of my why?
  18. (Issue #571) Determining Relevance: Three Words * Consider three words—three questions—when determining the relevance of your actions.
  19. (Issue #572) Determining Relevance: Three Words * Consider three words—three questions—when determining the relevance of your actions.
  20. (Issue #573) Minding Your “To Don’ts”  *  What do you have on your “To-Don’t” list? What would you like to add?
  21. (Issue #574) Did You Really See That? * What we know we saw, we may not have seen at all.
  22. (Issue #575) Eleven Years Ago * As you look at the titles and snippets below, has the past informed the present? What have we learned and what do we still need to master—or at least face?
  23. (Issue #576) Imagine the Karma of Nobody Told Me * Or maybe we chose—and choose—to imagine that what we heard and saw would be a passing thing with no immediate consequences.
  24. (Issue #577) The Legacy of a Legend * Recognizing the talent in yourself to help another find the talent within them. What a way to celebrate and give back.
  25. (Issue #578) That Was The Longest Twenty Minutes Of My Life! * When I put the audience first, I succeeded.
  26. (Issue #579) Awakening * As I read these seven habits I could see how they interrelated and supported each other.
  27. (Issue #580) What If Teachers… *  It comes down to seeing the person as someone in need of what you have to offer. And finding a respectful many in which to connect with that individual.
  28. (Issue #581) Curiosity * Without curiosity we become a little duller and a little dimmer.
  29. (Issue #582) When Strangers Become Friends and Friends Become Strangers * “A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.” ~attributed to Donna Roberts
  30. (Issue #583) The 7Rs and Public Health * Public health is a community good that connects each of The 7 Rs. How can we remain good stewards for our community?
  31. (Issue #584) Wisdom of the Ages * Do you think a twenty-something and a seventy-something,
    for instance, share life lessons, questions and advice?
  32. (Issue #585) Sharing Wisdom Across the Ages * “Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.” ~attributed to Immanuel Kant~
  33. (Issue #586) Good, Not-So Good, and Why * Go beyond listing a goal statement. Before acting, make sure you understand the why of your what.
  34. (Issue #587) Serendipity, Beshert, and The Red Thread * Does serendipity lead to destiny or create destiny?
  35. (Issue #588) A Different Kind of Principal’s Office  *  Got me thinking of the good-natured fun you could have naming drinks in your workspace or community group. Maybe even for a family get-together.
  36. (Issue #589) Fill the Gap * When we reach out to fill a gap in our community (large or small) what we do is see a need, acknowledge that need, and act to address that need.
  37. (Issue #590) 115 Years Ago * Little did they know in 1924 that, in about the time it took them to finish high school, they would enter sixteen years of sacrifice.
  38. (Issue #591) Offering a Question or a Judgment? * We do not start the dialogue discounting the other person….
  39. (Issue #592) Me or Us? * A functioning community provides a safe place for its members to explore, learn, fail, and grow. That requires the community members to make room for aspirations beyond their own (self-centered?) biases.
  40. (Issue #593) What You Want to Be or What You Want to Do? * Remain curious as you connect your passion, purpose, and pursuits. What might you be denying? What is your true self? What is your true identity and what is a mask? Where is the thin place that may help you gain perspective?
  41. (Issue #594) The Sunrise is the Experience * Color. Texture. Sound. Feel. Location. Sea Life. EnergySelf.
  42. (Issue #595) Just Call My Name * We are fortunate when we have some we can call on. Others are fortunate when they can call on us.
  43. (Issue #596) Caregiver or Care Taker? * Caregivers have clear boundaries and limits. Care takers do not—and the results can be heartbreaking.
  44. (Issue #597) Whackin’ Your Thinkin’ * We let go of cherished ideas and begin to seek new ways of thinking, listening, collaborating, and doing.
  45. (Issue #598) Spirituality and the Ocean * The ocean does not judge. It is. And the is provides a sense of now and the future.
  46. (Issue #599) A Reminder About Our Non-Negotiables * Do not allow your non-negotiables to become negotiable.
  47. (Issue #600) A Thankfulness Alphabet *  May you give yourself time to reflect on your list of thanks and appreciation.
  48. (Issue #601) The Hypothesis of Generosity * So, I pulled myself off the too-often-climbed-on ledge of self-righteous upset and took a deep breath and waited.
  49. (Issue #602) What is Your Story? * Establish who you are as a person; boundaries and all.
  50. (Issue #603) Counting Things That Matter * Rather than counting why you’re right and I’m wrong, or I’m up and your down, or they’re out of bounds and we’re right on target, can we count on the times/things/topics on which we agree?
  51. (Issue #6044) Identifying What You Love * Enhance your community bright spots because you ARE one of those bright spots!
  52. (Issue #605) A Blogger’s Retrospective for 2021 (This post.) * May you create, share, and savor powerful moments in the coming year and beyond.
Photo by Steve Piscitelli.

~~~~~

Make it a wonderful week and HTRB has needed.

You will find my latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 
here.

My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019, print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.

You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.

All photos (uness otherwise noted) ©Steve Piscitelli. 2021


©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida

Posted in Gratitude | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

(Issue #604) Identifying What You Love


Enhance your community bright spots because you ARE one of those bright spots!

~~~~~

In the spring of this year I wrote a post about Ikigai. The model consists of four points of intersection that lead (hopefully) to life’s purpose: Love, Talent, Community, Remuneration.

Rather than write a typical piece about setting goals and New Year’s resolutions, I encourage you to focus on the four intersection points, especially the first three.

*What you love

*What you are good at (your talent)

*What the world (your community) needs.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli ©2021

These remain vital ingredients for any goal statement. They can help us all find our purpose in life. Or if we have found it, we can then renew it, embrace it, and appreciate it.

Love + Talent + Community = Purpose

Remember that goal setting might make us feel good but the result–goal achievement–is what you want. Or at the least, goal modification—and then achievement. Stay true to you and the greater good of your community. And you can benefit from the talents of other community members.

Enhance your community bright spots because you ARE one of those bright spots!

Next week I will post my annual “A Blogger’s Retrospective” in which I will provide a quick summary of and link to each of my 2020 blog posts.  Look for my year-end video—a moment of gratitude from the beach to you.

I appreciate you.

~~~~

Video recommendation for the week.

Find your one thing.

~~~~~

Make it a wonderful week and HTRB has needed.

You will find my latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 
here.

My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.

You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.


©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida

Posted in Life lessons | 1 Comment

Community Bright Spots! Deck the Chairs


NOTE: You can find more information about the mission of this page here

This beaches holiday tradition (since 2013) has become home to many bright spots. You can find more information here.

Enjoy your week. And remember to stop and appreciate your Community Bright Spots!

And if you’d like to hear about bright spots from the mouth of a dog, check out Roxie’s bi-weekly blog. WOOF!

My weekly blog can be found here.

©Steve Piscitelli. 2021. The Growth and Resilience Network®

Posted in awareness, Community, joy, neighborhood | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

(Issue #603) Counting Things That Matter


Rather than counting why you’re right and I’m wrong, or I’m up and your down,
or they’re out of bounds and we’re right on target,
can we count on the times/things/topics on which we agree?

~~~~~

Information overload. We all experience it multiple times and in multiple forms each day. Like the coupon your local store gives to you. Looks good until you read the lengthy list (in very small type) of the exceptions.

Or the sporting events that must list every conceivable bit of minutiae concerning a simple play in a game. Like exit velocity. A baseball player hits a homerun. That used to be good enough. A run or runs score. Yeah! Now we have to get the exit velocity and launch angle. Huh? The team doesn’t get any more runs added to the scoreboard for an exploding exit velocity or the angle it left the bat. But we have to listen to it. Ad nauseum.

And you can think of much more.

We are inundated, buried, and overwhelmed with information. At times it is good. Other times we become numb as everyone counts the tally marks.

From likes and views on social media to dollars in the donation pot to the last-minute emails imploring more money because “the goal” is in sight to the probability of your team making the playoffs to the % increase of crime or infections rates to counting the differences rather than the similarities.

Everybody is counting. But are they counting the right things?

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

As I sing in one of my songs, “Everybody’s countin/countin everything/countin their fears/coiled like a spring….countin the tatters/countin the tears/just ain’t countin what matters…” (©2021. Steve Piscitelli)

No doubt that we need to be aware of, say, infections and variants. Or that crime is up in the community.

But can’t we concentrate (even lead with) more on counting the good stuff that is up. Like the high percentage of neighborhoods without a crime increase (or even with a decrease). Or the number of meals delivered to isolated senior citizens. Or mentors working with students.

Rather than counting why you’re right and I’m wrong, or I’m up and your down, or they’re out of bounds and we’re right on target, can we count on the times/things/topics on which we agree–and build from there?

Can we count on building a bond? Can we count on appreciating achievements without belittling those who came up short?

Counting things we share and counting things that matter.

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week.

As we count we can end up counting people into boxes and creating separations. Take a look at this short video.

~~~~~

Make it a wonderful week and HTRB has needed.

You will find my latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 
here.

My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.

You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.


©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida

Posted in acceptance, awareness, Community, Integrity, resilience, Social responsibility | Tagged | Leave a comment

(Issue #602) What is Your Story?


Establish who you are as a person; boundaries and all.

 ~~~~~

Speakers often rely on stories to drive a point home; to resonate and connect with the audience in front of them. Watch a presidential state of the union address and you will, no doubt, find the president at some point pointing to the upstairs gallery and recognizing a person to highlight an existing need or new policy. Or a charity will tell the story of a family to demonstrate why it (the charity and the family) needs your donation.

Hearing (and understanding) the stories of others helps us connect to issues we might not otherwise comprehend or feel.

Yet, there is another story that resonates and needs to be shared. Your story in your voice. When we can authentically share in a deliberative dialogue our stories with one another we stand a better chance of connecting and bonding.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Three books I checked out from the local public library highlighted, in different ways, this important point of finding your voice.

Brené Brown’s Rising Strong addresses reckoning with a difficult situation and understanding the story behind the circumstances—and how you fit and why you react as you do. It’s difficult to solve a conflict if the specifics are not in place. You must understand the story—your story and how others fit into the story.

The Book of Forgiving by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu offers a four-step path to embracing forgiveness. Before the hurt we feel can be reconciled, they maintain, we must first tell the story—what happened, how it happened, why it happened, who was involved and so on. Tutu maintains before we can name the hurt, we first must understand the story—our story and that of the others involved in the story.

Harriet Lerner says before can connect with anyone else we first must find our voice. In The Dance of Connection she states, “We are all in this soup together” and must “speak wisely and well” in order to find our voice.

A recent online article offered advice on “how to make friends as an adult.” It presented important tips and strategies like be a good listener, volunteer in your community to meet new contacts, and engage in social meetups. All good points. Yet, there is, I believe, another critical step.

You have to make sure you tell people your story. Not a blow by blow account of all the ups, downs, and stalls. Not a doctoral thesis. Not a collective monologue. Rather, establish who you are as a person; boundaries and all.

As Lerner stated, we must “know our bottom line. That is, the values, beliefs, and priorities that are so crucial to preserving and protecting the self that we will not compromise them in any relationship.” (p. 3) That bottom line underscores a major part of our story.

What is your story—and how do you share it appropriately and authentically?

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week.

Of course, there is another piece to this story about your story: Sometimes our stories are incomplete–just like those of others. In this TED Talk, therapist Lori Gottlieb reminds us that the freedom to tell our stories comes with a catch: We have to take responsibility for our story.

~~~~~

Make it a wonderful week and HTRB has needed.

You will find my latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 
here.

My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.

You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.


©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida

Posted in collective monolgues, listening, resilience, your story | Tagged | 1 Comment

(Issue #601) The Hypothesis of Generosity


So, I pulled myself off the too-often-climbed-on ledge of self-righteous upset
and took a deep
breath and waited.

 ~~~~~

“Where are they?”

Like most craftsmen and service people, when I made the appointment I was given a two-hour block as to when they would arrive at our front door. In this case, between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. It was now 4:15 p.m.—and no knock on the door or phone message indicating a late arrival.

“Great, another company I cannot trust.” My thoughts starting taking me down an unfortunately too-often-traveled rabbit hole.

I called the contractor’s office and was told the service techs had gotten tied up at a previous appointment and were now on their way to our location. Which, given the traffic, meant they would not arrive until after 5 p.m. I almost canceled the appointment.

Then I remembered the hypothesis of generosity I had recently read about in Brené Brown’s book Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution.

The gist: “What is the most generous assumption you can make about this person’s intentions or what this person said?” Or in my case, what the person did not do—show up on time.

So, I pulled myself off the too-often-climbed-on ledge of self-righteous upset and thought, “OK. Perhaps the last job for these service people was more than they were told. Maybe somebody got injured. Let me give them the benefit of the doubt.” I took a deep breath and waited. (Not easy for me.)

When they arrived (about an hour late), I noticed the journeyman limping as he walked to the door. He apologized and we reviewed what he was to do in our home. The apprentice brought in the tools and they went about the repair.

Rather than grill them or give them a stony-faced reception, I thanked them for coming and extended generosity: “Sounds like a tough day for you.”

The response, “You have no idea. It seems that all the jobs today escalated. What was supposed to be two or three tasks turned into eight or ten.”  I listened. Did not judge. And did not minimize what he and his helper had been through.

That led to my acknowledgement of the limp and then to an explanation about a significant injury to his ankle years ago that, on this particular day, was acting up on him. More listening. Generosity.

They finished the job in a respectful, competent, and polite manner. Cleaned up and departed with tired yet authentic smiles and a thank you for my business to their company.

Extending generosity does not give license to people to crap on us and disrespect us. In fact, Brown states, “We could all stand to be more generous, but we also need to maintain our integrity and our boundaries.” (page 122)

I maintained my boundaries in the above example. I expected quality work, respectful behavior, and follow-up information about the job. The two men did their part. There was no escalation of ill will or the lingering emotions of a trying day. What, after all, would that have accomplished other than self-righteous posturing?

The hypothesis of generosity helped lead to a healthy and cortisol-lowering end to the day.

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week.

Listen to Brené Brown speak about the importance of empathy and connection in this short video clip.

~~~~~

Make it a wonderful week and HTRB has needed.

You will find my latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 
here.

My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.

You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.


©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida

Posted in empathy, generosity | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment