(Issue #596) Caregiver or Care Taker?


Caregivers have clear boundaries and limits.
Care takers do not—and the results can be heartbreaking.

~~~~~

In his book, The Anger Solution: The Proven Method for Achieving Calm, and Developing Healthy, Long-Lasting Relationships, John Lee distinguishes between boundaries and limits. Two key concepts, if remembered and employed, will help us construct and maintain healthy personal and professional relationships. If forgotten, they can lead us down the road of regret, resentment, disappointment, and rage.

In short, boundaries show where we begin and end. When clearly constructed and articulated, they let others know how far they can go with us. Like a solid fence line. If, however, they are more like a picket fence (an example Lee uses) we may find ourselves too accommodating and let transgressions through our comfort zone. They can lead to ill feelings and behavior outbursts.

Limits tell others just how far you will go. Healthy and clear limits do not leave people guessing about what you will or will not do. That could lead them toward regret, resentment, disappointment, and rage.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

In the second half of his book, Lee makes an interesting distinction between caregivers and care takers. For instance. a son acting as a caregiver for his father provides comfort, shelter, a listening ear, and a helping hand. He enhances his father’s life and wellbeing assuming that he, the son, understands his own limits. That is, just how far he (the son) can go to help and remain healthy himself. As Lee states, “If we stay true to our rhythms, we know how long we can visit our parents without falling into odd, destructive conversations and patterns. We know when to seek solitude to recharge our batteries….” (p. 141).

If we do not pay attention to those limits we risk venturing moving toward resentment and rage. At that point we become care takers.  Again from Lee: “Care takers actually end up taking something out of those they are around—such as their integrity, energy, self-esteem….” (p. 140)

In short, caregivers have clear boundaries and limits. Care takers do not and, consequently, may find themselves overwhelmed with ill-will and seeking “payment” (emotional or otherwise) for their actions.

Rather than giving care and comfort to the person in need, that person is left a little less whole; a little more depleted.

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week.

A 60-second video reminding us of the difference between boundaries and limits.

~~~~~

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 accountability, boundaries and limits | 1 Comment

Community Bright Spots! Beaches Watch


For more on the mission of this page click here.

~~~~~

Past issues of “Community Bright Spots!” have focused on architecture, parks, nature, art, and recreation. Each post encouraged (hopefully) readers to pause and reflect on the beauty and positivity within their neighborhoods, on their daily walks, or the view from their window.

This post focuses on another type of bright spot: a long-time community organization dedicated to community enhancement through education and deliberative dialogues.

In January of 2004, Beaches Watch came into existence. Meeting at Fletcher Senior High School (another Community Bright Spot!), the organization was launched. Those gathered had a simple mission, “to monitor and improve the quality of life for the beaches.” (Minutes of January 28, 2004 meeting).

Today the mission reads:

Beaches Watch is a non-partisan nonprofit civic organization whose mission is to promote educated and productive citizen involvement in local and state government decisions that affect the future of our northeast Florida beaches communities. (See Beaches Watch.)

This organization continues to promote sharing and discussing factual information in a civil and uplifting format. In an era that witnesses yelling, booing, and shaming, Beaches Watch stands tall and continues to travel the high road. One might even make the point, that this organization’s membership supports the high road so that others may travel it, as well. Providing light rather than throwing shade.

Sunrise in Atlantic Beach. Photo by Steve Piscitelli ©2021

I have had the honor to serve on the Board of Directors for the past three years. (This year marks my final year on the Board.) I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn and serve my community.

~~~~~

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.

Posted in authenticity, change, Civility, Education | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

(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.

~~~~~

Been noodling around with cover tunes over the past few weeks. One I had played years ago with a band (The Hubcaps). The other I had forgotten about and never sang. Both songs remind us that no matter the circumstances, no matter the size, there is power in community. Sometimes to give. Other times to receive.

Written by Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber, and Mike Stoller, and released in 1961, “Stand By Me” remains an anthem of love and support. No matter how dark the night or overwhelming the surroundings, with someone standing by your side you will find strength. 

~~~~~

Video recommendation #1 for the week.

While John Lennon released his version of the song, there is nothing quite like Ben E. King belting out the lyrics.

~~~~~

Released in 1979, J.D. Souther’s “You’re Only Lonely” brings chills with phrases like

…when you’re feeling lonely and small and you need somebody there to hold you…

and

…I was there when you were a queen and I’ll be the last one there beside you…

and

…Don’t ever be ashamed because you’re only lonely…

No matter how small you may feel, how far you have fallen, or how alone you may feel, having that someone to reach out to

~~~~~

Video recommendation #2 for the week.

Turn up the volume and sing along. Remember, if you need me all you gotta do is call me.

~~~~~

One song from the perspective of a care taker. The other from that of the care giver. We are fortunate when we have some we can call on. Others are fortunate when they can call on us.

Community

~~~~~

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.

All photos on this site, unless otherwise noted, ©2021 Steve Piscitelli.


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

Posted in Friendship | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

(Issue #594) The Sunrise is the Experience


Color. Texture. Sound. Feel. Location. Sea Life. Energy. Self.

~~~~~

Heard it again. About sunrise and redundancy.

“I don’t get it. Sunrise, again? Why bother? They all look the same!”

Were to begin?

First, I’ll offer that one may prefer the crunch of leaves beneath hiking boots in the mountain to bare feet on the beach. Or the hustle and bustle of an urban venue. Personal preferences for surroundings and exercise. But would I be accurate saying, “What? Another morning mountain hike? Aren’t they all the same?” Of course not. Same for the sunrise—especially viewed from the beach.

I’ve written on this blog about the importance of perspective. Each day brings something new. Sometimes we have to search a bit harder to find that offering. We have to pause and switch our gaze. And it is there. Something different. Something new. Something that is anything but the same.

Each sunrise is different because of what it brings. Like:

*Color. I have found arriving at the beach (about) twenty minutes before sunrise allows me to see the most vibrant colors the dawn will bring. Scientists speak of scattering. Particles in the air cause a scattering of light. When low in the sky (sunrise time) this phenomenon shows off the color spectrum in full force.

*Texture. Add floating cumulus, stratus, cumulonimbus, and cirrus and you will have a light show to take away your breathe. And there is a different texture to the water each day that ranges from flat and glassy to choppy and bumpy.

*Sound. The ocean provides a symphony of sounds each morning. Depending on the size and force of the swell coming ashore, you will hear anything from a lapping of the water as it bushes the sand to the crash and splash of a breaker. The rhythm creates its own meditative ambience.

*Feel. I kick off my slides as soon as Roxie and I hit the sand.  Walking or simply standing in place provides a connection to the earth. Depending on the tide (low, high, ebbing) and where we stand, the sand feels different each day.

*Location. Taking a cue from Roxie, I often will sit on the sand and watch the sunrise. Other mornings will find me standing in the water as it ebbs and flows from the shoreline. And then there are the special days when I paddle out toward the horizon in my kayak. Different vantage points each time.

*Living Beings. Some days a pod of dolphin will greet us as it breaks the surface of the water. Bait fish will create a ripple. Pelicans glide just above the waves while gulls will search and dive for a snack. At times we will see just the birds; some days all present themselves. And don’t forget the surfers, paddle boarders, and kayakers.

*Energy. All of the above creates a different feel (energy) each day. Physical, emotional, and spiritual. And each day as Roxie and I leave the beach, the feeling is one of calming gratitude for a new day. A different day.

*Combination. One of the regular sunrise appreciators told me, for her, it is all about the combination of the above. No two days have the same collection of ingredients. A different mix each morning. Such as when the water catches the sun’s glow like a Monet painting.

*Anticipation. Another “sunriser” told me the experience is about the anticipation. What will it look and feel like that day?

*You. In a way, you, the watcher, create the experience. Each day I bring a different me to the beach. Calm or cranky or confused or compassionate or concerned or confident or … My internal view colors the day’s dawn. And the day’s dawn helps me get in touch with a sense of quiet.

Each day different.

Anything but the same.

All photos by Steve Piscitelli ©2021.

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week:

Watch as the dolphin surface off my bow around the :50 point in the video. I filmed this in Atlantic Beach, Florida.

~~~~~

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.

My podcasts (all fifty episodes) can be found here.

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


©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

Posted in Appreciation, awareness, Balance, beach life, health | Tagged | 1 Comment

(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?

~~~~~

This past week I reviewed a chapter for a forthcoming book on transformational leadership and community development.  Midway through the piece, I found this quote attributed to physicist Richard Feynman:

Place your focus on what you want to do rather than what you want to be.

I thought of:

  • The students who have difficulty choosing a major. OR they enter college pushed by someone else’s vision of what they should be. They come to college looking to be a certain something (doctor, nurse, teacher, writer, entrepreneur, or …) and along the way to their degrees they get tripped up by what they really want to do.
  • Former colleagues who made a switch from faculty ranks to be an administrator and found out that was not what they had a passion to do.
  • Committees I wanted to be a part of and eventually determined it was not what I wanted to do.

Feynman’s quote may be a reminder that on our way to settling on what we want to be it would healthy to examine if that end result leads to what we want to do with our lives. True, at times, we don’t have a clear understanding of what a to be will require us to do. But it is a nudge to keep our eyes, ears, and hearts open to what is connecting with our souls as we invest our life energy in a project, relationship, or career.

The to be maybe the title. The to do is the purpose.

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?

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week:

Parker Palmer speaks about The Divided Life.

~~~~~

Make it a great 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.

My podcasts (all 50 episodes) can be found here.

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


©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

Posted in Life's purpose, Purpose | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Community Bright Spots! Music as Social Capital


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

In 2003, the Atlantic Beach Cultural Arts and Recreation committee supported an idea that led to the founding of two music events: Acoustic Night and Songwriters Night.

Acoustic Night takes place on the lawn of Bull Memorial Park (on the grounds of the Adele Grage Cultural Arts Center). Amateurs and pros sign up to perform a few songs for the gathered audience. Songwriters Night transforms the theater of Gulliford Hall (also on the Adele Grage grounds) into a venue for original music.

For 18 years the events have taken place. They have transformed to virtual at different points during the pandemic. But with the support of the City of Atlantic Beach, a musical host (Mike Shackelford), and talented residents sharing their songs and hearts, these events have become Community Bright Spots! They bring people together to share, listen, support…and repeat. They represent social capital in a community. A way to bring people together for good. (You can read more about this event in my book Community as a Safe Place to Land, pp. 85-87.)

All photos ©Steve Piscitelli. 2021.

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.

Posted in Community, community development | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

(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.

~~~~~

Energy practitioners believe the fifth energy chakra—the Throat chakra—connects to a clear voice; integrity of message. It is associated with the sense of hearing. To have a clear and authentic message, we need to hear what the other person, group, and ideologues say. That requires acts of listening, not commissions of me-centered statements. (Community as a Safe Place to Land)

We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community. Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others,
for their sakes and for our own. 
(Attributed to Cesar Chavez)

The above quotes share a basic concept of community and community building: Recognizing and respecting the other people in the room. Of course, in turn, the others need to see and hear you. A community replaces the discordant self-centered cacophony with the positive energy of recognition and listening.

We replace my with ours, me with us.

That does not mean our needs should be ignored or belittled. It does mean that our needs are part of a broader community dialogue. Just because something is convenient or best for us does not make it in the community interest.

Maya Angelou reminded us, “We are not our brother’s keeper; we are our brother and we are our sister. We must look past complexion and see community.”

And we need to judge ideological positions on whether they are rational, fact-based, and community-minded. That would take, however, questioning not just the other ideology but also our  dogmas.

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.

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week:

Enjoy these short podcast clips featuring community advocates and their views about the core values that help build a community that recognizes the worth of each member.

~~~~~

Make it a great 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.

My podcasts (all 50 episodes) can be found here.

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


©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

Posted in resilience | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

(Issue #591) Offering a Question or a Judgment?


We do not start the dialogue discounting the other person….

I’ve written before about the importance of authentic questions and the power of epistemic curiosity. They inextricably connect to one another and lead to sustained cognitive effort to learn and expand our worldview.

Perhaps you’ve heard of rhetorical questions. Such inquiries do not seek an answer or conversation. More than likely the questioner wants to make a point rather than begin a dialogue. Or the so-called (inauthentic) question has been tossed so that the speaker can judge the audience in front of her. Questions like:

  • You wouldn’t think of doing that, would you?
  • Did you eat inside the restaurant? I’m sure you didn’t because you know that isn’t wise currently!
  • You didn’t vote for that candidate, did you? I never would!
  • So why is that your college major? Do you really want to do that with your life?

You can add others that you have heard—and that you have asked of someone else.

The eloquence of well-thought out and authentic questions is that they can lead to conscious-raising conversations. One with give-and-take. One that may bring about a change in mindset. One that helps us grow.  Sure, we more than likely have an opinion entering the conversation. But we do not start the dialogue discounting the other person by offering a question that is really our staunch opinion that immediately throws the other person under the rhetorical bus.

You wouldn’t want to do that—would you?

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week:

This video pokes a little fun at rhetorical questions. You may have seen a few on Geico commercials.

~~~~~

Make it a great 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.

My podcasts (all 50 episodes) can be found here.

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


©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

Posted in authenticity, Communication, listening | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Community Bright Spots! Skate Parks


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

Atlantic Beach (FL) and Jacksonville Beach (FL) each offer a space for the skate enthusiasts.

First, Atlantic Beach and its Oceanside Rotary Skate Park located in Jack Russell Park.

And a few shots from the South Beach Skate Park in Jacksonville Beach.

All photos ©Steve Piscitelli. 2021.

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.

Posted in Life lessons | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

(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.

Among the memorabilia at thee Fernandina Beach Schoolhouse Inn is a photo of the a 1924 high school class. If these smiling faces were 18-year-old seniors at the time the shutterbug posed them, that puts their birth year in 1906.

115 years ago.

A year before they entered high school, World War I ended.

They were leaving high school during the Roaring 20s. The Wrigley Building was just completed in Chicago. The Washington Senators won the World Series. Two US Army planes flew around the world. (It only took them 175 days.) France held the first winter Olympics. It was a Leap Year. Our nation implemented the 1924 Immigration Act which established a quota system for immigrants based on national origins.

Framed photo hanging in the Schoolhouse Inn

Looking at the faces I thought of the dreams these students might have had moving into their post-high school life. What would the future hold for them and their families? What future would they create for themselves and their communities? What surprises, twists and turns awaited them? Were they hopeful or resigned? What would be their bright spots and not-so-bright spots to come? Would they recognize weak signals around them?

Just five years after that photo, our nation would begin the Great Depression which lasted twelve years. That was followed by World War II; another four years.

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. Almost as long as they had been alive to that point of the photo.

I thought of my parents who lived during those sixteen years of sacrifice. I heard of the bread lines, ration stamps, neighbors not returning from war. My father dropped out of school in the 8th grade to help support his family. Not an uncommon story as I came to learn. Neighbors helped neighbors. The New Deal came into existence. Government programs proliferated to help citizens. Young people volunteered to fight for freedom. More than 116,000 would not return home to the USA.

Individual sacrifice for the family and community good.

115 years ago.

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week:

When we look back, do we regret not doing what we wanted to do? Do we put off life until tomorrow? In 1924, those students were looking forward to their tomorrows. Did they get there? Will we? Here is a reminder.

~~~~~

Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, can be found 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.

My podcasts (all 50 episodes) can be found here.

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


©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

Posted in Life lessons | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment