(Issue #617) Appreciating in Front of Me


Too often we become distracted about what will be or what has been,
at the expense of what is now.
~~~~~

Posts on this blog have addressed the power of staycations. (Like here and here.) And before “virtual” became synonymous with workplace and community meetings, I had written an article for the Florida Times-Union (August 22, 1998; appeared in the Shorelines section of the paper) about how a virtual vacation can help us appreciate what we have in front of us.

You can tell the above article was written 24 years ago. Just look at all that dark hair!

Last week, Laurie and I checked out (and checked in) for another staycation. We threw our backpacks over our shoulders and walked southward on the beach. In fifteen minutes, we arrived at our location. No valet. No lines. No lost baggage. No delays. Just smiles, ocean breezes, and sunshine.

Later that evening, while enjoying a relaxing dinner at one of the Beaches Town Center restaurants, we both noted how we did feel as though we were on vacation. Less than a mile from our home.

For those who follow my Instagram posts, you know I start most of my days appreciating the sun rising over the ocean. A mantra has evolved for me:

Rising Sun
Soothing Sand
Rolling Waves
Comfort Where I Stand

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Too often we become distracted about what will be or what has been, at the expense of what is now. Dings, beeps, chimes, and earbuds draw our attention from what is in front of us.

The latest “stayca” reminded me (again) to appreciate what is in front of me. Now.

A home for thought, heart, and peace.

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week.

In the words of Jimmy Buffett,

The days drift by, they have no names.
None of the streets here look the same.
There are so many quiet places
And smiling eyes to match the smiling faces.
I have found me a home. I have found me a home.
You can take the rest of everything I own.
Because I have found me a home.

~~~~~

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 Appreciation, home, present-mindedness | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

(Issue #616) Create a Call-In Culture


On the way to clarity, we establish connections, and we enhance chances to establish
a “Call-In Culture.”

~~~~~

A previous post on this blog stated,

While simple dichotomies may be deceptively simplistic, they can provide a starting point for conversation and movement. Each day we can provide light or darkness. We provide direction or obfuscation. With every decision and interaction, we can choose various paths.

We can choose various paths.

Like making the choice between a call-out or a call-in. Times, people, and situations present themselves when a call-out­ might be needed; when no other way seems appropriate to the circumstance. But where does one draw the line? When might what seems appropriate be inappropriate? When is the call-out an excuse to belittle, ridicule, and demean someone with whom we disagree? Rather than discuss (and maybe learn), we degrade and yell.

Photo (c) by Steve Piscitelli

A call-in provides another option—another path. Consider it a reach-out. When we reach out to someone with a differing opinion, we seek conversation. Deliberative dialogues force us to listen, question (authentically), share, and, maybe, adjust our focus.

Perhaps our curiosity will help us gain clarity. On the way to clarity, we establish connections, and we enhance chances to establish a Call-In Culture.

The Greater Good MagazineMarch 2022 Happiness Calendar” reminds us to stay open and curious.

Finally, in a quote attributed to Jesse Jackson, “We must turn to each other and not on each other.

Reach out. Call in. Connect.

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week.

Reaching out can happened in various environments. Like a school cafeteria or a community meeting.

~~~~~

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 , , , , , | Leave a comment

(Issue #615) Have You Run Out Of Songs?


Like my hunt for an agent, if I stop listening and creating,
I doubt the muse will start typing the next manuscript for me.

~~~~~

Ever feel like your creativity well has gone dry? It could be creativity for dinner menus at home. Or TV shows to watch after dinner. Or planning impactful community programs. Or your workout regimen.

I run into it from time to time with my writing. When I’m on, the words and images flow. At other times, crickets.

Case in point.  For more than a year, I have been shopping the manuscript for my first novel. Sent out more than sixty queries to agents across the nation. To date, I am 0 for 60+. Not a nibble. In fact, other than one response, the others have been either passive rejections (that is, their websites say something like, “If you don’t hear from us in 6-12 weeks consider that we have passed on your submission.”) or they have been robotic email rejections.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

While I have expected that kind of response/lack of response, the constant flow of rejection has had an adverse impact on my creativity. I still get my blog post out every week, yet, at times, I struggle with larger projects. Has the muse left me? Or have I left the muse?

I wonder how the prolific writers do it. Luck, talent, discipline, a combination of all?

Last week, I re-visited Lodi. Not the actual California town but, rather, the lyrics by John Fogarty and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Specifically, the third verse.

The man from the magazine said I was on my way.
Somewhere I lost connections, ran out of songs to play.
I came into town, a one-night stand. Looks like my plans fell through.

Oh Lord. Stuck in Lodi again.

Have I run out of songs to play? Has my creativity dried up? Should I just close the laptop and move on to some other venture? No muse, no words, no product.

While that might be the easy thing to do for some, quitting on my creativity does not work for me. Perhaps the challenge resides with the discipline required to create, write, and produce. In a quote attributed to Chilean author Isabel Allende, I was reminded that if I stop showing up, the muse might never show itself.

“Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.”

In his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King said something similar,

“Don’t wait for the muse. As I’ve said, he’s a hardheaded guy who’s not susceptible to a lot of creative fluttering. This isn’t the Ouija board or the spirit-world we’re talking about here, but just another job like laying pipe or driving long-haul trucks. Your job is to make sure the muse knows where you’re going to be every day from nine ’til noon. Or seven ’til three. If he does know, I assure you that sooner or later he’ll start showing up.”

Like my hunt for an agent, if I stop listening and creating, I doubt the muse will start typing the next manuscript for me.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

If we face the blank page, we could draw the conclusion that we lack the skill or passion for what we are doing. We could wait for a miracle to intervene. We, also, could be more proactive and seek out mentors to guide us. Perhaps, as needed, take a well-deserved break, and regroup our cognitive, emotional, and writing skills. And we can keep showing up.

One thing I have found for certain, if I stop showing up—if I am not ready to listen to the muse and dedicate effort—I will lose connection and run out songs to play. To have songs to play—my songs, my creativity—I must do the work of writing.

I. Must. Do. The. Work.

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week.

Creedence Clearwater Revival sings Lodi.

~~~~~

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 perseverance, resilience | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

(Issue #614) Personal Mantras


Reflective Skies

Placid Seas

Inner Voice

Quiet, Please!

~~~~~

At a friend’s suggestion, I read about finding and/or creating a personal mantras. One site suggested one hundred mantras—and a four-point strategy to develop your own. You can check it out here.

According to the article,

A mantra is something that you repeat either aloud or in your mind to focus your thoughts and energy…A mantra – the focus of this article – is a word or phrase designed to help you change your thinking in the present moment. A mantra is used when your mind has drifted off course and you want to steer it back to more positive waters.

We’ve all been in that space where our thoughts have been captured, hijacked, and convoluted by that voice in your ear. The voice may be well-meaning, yet it still sends us down rabbit holes.

As I developed my personal mantras, it was not surprising to me that most involved the beach. That is where I draw my deepest breath and quiet my mind. Especially at sunrise. That experience always reminds me of the present moment.

Below you will find six personal mantras I crafted. I hope the visual of the photos and the words will inspire. I do not claim any authority or pedigree at all in mantra development. (I have none.) This is a work in progress for me. These words and images came to my mind and work for me. I will continue to fine-tune.

Perhaps you have found a mantra you use and would like to share.

Clouds of White

Birds in Flight

Helps Me Focus on Inner Light

~~~~

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Rising Sun

Soothing Sand

Rolling Waves

Comforting Where I Stand

~~~~

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Like the New Day

My Life has Promise

~~~~

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Reflective Skies

Placid Seas

Inner Voice

Quiet, Please!

~~~~

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Behind the Fog, Beauty

~~~~~

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Purpose

Responsibility

Integrity

Discipline

Equilibrium

Video recommendation for the week.

His young son saved his life with a three-word mantra.

We all have the power to overcome what seem like insurmountable obstacles, Bhava Rham tells us in this TEDx talk.

~~~~~

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 Mindfulness | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

(Issue #613) Tao Te Ching: Perspective on Life with Integrity


Even the down times—those times when we seem confused and falling short of our goals—
have lessons to teach.

~~~~~

Reading a translation (by Stephen Mitchell) of Tao Te Ching I was taken by seeming contradictions (to my mind) that Lao-tzu used to teach about a life lived with integrity.  Such as:

…Being and non-being create each other.

Difficult and easy support each other.

Long and short define each other.

High and low depend on each other.

Before and after follow each other…. (Verse #2)

As I explored other verses, the lessons began to take shape in my mind and offer a path—a way—to think about a life lived with purpose. The Tao’s meaning was getting through to me. Perhaps as we work with head down, we lose sight of what is in us, in front of us, above us, beneath us, and behind us. We lose perspective.

Fill your bowl to the brim

And it will spill.

Keep sharpening your knife

And it will blunt.

Chase after money and security

And your heart will never unclench.

Care about people’s approval

And you will be their prisoner.

Do your work, then step back.

Then only path to serenity. (Verse #9)

Even the down times—those times when we seem confused and falling short of our goals—have lessons to teach. Times we feel behind, exhausted, and/or in danger present themselves for contemplation and growth. Because if we mindlessly sharpen, sharpen, and sharpen some more (see Verse #9 above), we could end up dulling our senses, emotions, morality, and perspective. A light guides us-if we heed it.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

…There is a time for being ahead,

A time for being behind;

A time for being in motion,

I time for being at rest;

A time for being vigorous,

A time for being exhausted;

A time for being safe,

A time for being in danger…. (#29)

The way to ourselves requires us to pause and listen to others and ourselves.

Knowing others is intelligence;

Knowing yourself is true wisdom.

Mastering others is strength;

Mastering yourself is true power…. (#33)

And…

Those who know don’t talk.

Those who talk don’t know…. (#56)

Or as Mitchell states in his Foreword, we need to move toward doing not-doing. Less and less do you need to force things…

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week.

In his nod to the Tao, Willie Nelson sings (Live at Farm Aid 1993) “Still is Still Moving to Me”.

~~~~~

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 , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(Issue #612) Five Stand-Out Team Member Behaviors


Look at each of the five behaviors and notice a connecting thread:
An on-going sense of curiosity .

~~~~~

An article in Fast Company. “Employee Engagement is Out. Here’s a Better Metric”,(February 8, 2022) describes “five key behaviors that employees who produce great work demonstrate.”

As you read the workplace behaviors described below, consider the carryover for other teamwork environments (community committees, HOAs, neighborhood athletic leagues, church groups, or local governing bodies). Those producing “great work” do the following:

  • “Ask the right questions, like How might this task/process/problem be made easier/faster/safer/better?
  • “Go and see, which may mean standing on an assembly line or watching users interact with a product.
  • “Talk to an outer circle, gathering information and insight from a broad array of experts.
  • “Improve the mix, continually fine-tuning and improving upon their work.
  • “Deliver the difference, remaining laser-focused on positive outcomes.”

The bottom line, according to the company that conducted the study, was that the difference-making employees went beyond engagement with colleagues (which is important), to demonstratable and quantifiable outcomes. Engagement has its place, but it does not always equate with mission or output.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Look at each of the five behaviors above and notice a connecting thread: An on-going sense of curiosity by the team members doing great work. Questioning. Exploring. Conversing. Fine-tuning. And, finally, delivering a product based on the authentic path of curiosity.

Building on the five behaviors for great work, five employee archetypes present themselves: Socializers, Builders, Achievers, Taskers and Coasters.

Which one of the archetypes do you think ranks the most productive and which one the least? Check out the article…and see what application there might be for the teams with whom you engage.

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week.

Elizabeth Gilbert reduces the archetypes to two: Jackhammers and Hummingbirds.

~~~~~

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 curiosity, teamwork | Tagged | Leave a comment

(Issue #611) Who You Hang With Makes A Difference


Whether we call this a pod, social circle, monthly book club, or exercise group, this tribe knows and demonstrates the importance of developing authentic connections.

~~~~~

Dan Buettner’s Blue Zones focus on the Power 9® model evolved from research into what made for longevity of life in certain locales around the world. Nine interconnected “common denominators” showed themselves to be key to healthy living:

  1. Move Naturally (the environment creates/promotes opportunities to move)
  2. Purpose (passion for what you do)
  3. Down Shift (stress reduction)
  4. 80% Rule (eating to only 80% full)
  5. Plant Slant (healthy diet)
  6. Wine at 5 (moderate alcohol consumption with friends and/or meals)
  7. Belong (faith-based community)
  8. Loved ones first (importance of family)
  9. Right Tribe (social circle that continually supports healthy habits)
Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Many previous posts on this blog have looked at purpose and interconnectedness. (Like this and this.) Today let’s remind ourselves of the importance of #9 above, the Right Tribe.

Whether we call this a pod, social circle, monthly book club, or exercise group, this tribe knows and demonstrates the importance of developing authentic connections. Not transitory. Not exploitive. Not me-centered. Consider:

  • Years ago, Richard Leider wrote about nutritious people. They are the antidote to energy vampires. Leider encouraged us to surround ourselves with “people [who] have three primary characteristics: their face lights up when you come in the room, they listen to you, and they have few (i.e., no) plans for your improvement!” The opposite? People who show no enthusiasm for your presence, do not listen to you, and constantly tell you how you could be/should be better. The right tribe vs. the wrong tribe.
  • The right tribe is not a grouping of strangers. It  consists of committed friends (close and intimate) who know about you, care about, and are there for you. Likewise, you do the same for them. Again, the right tribe.

Buettner’s work found that the Right Tribe, also, connects with mealtime and what you do to make a difference in the world. And if you delve further into the Power 9®, you will see how all can impact each other.

Who do you hang with–and how does it impact your health and wellbeing?

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week.

This TED talk, Dan Buettner talks about the importance of healthy lifestyle.

~~~~~

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 #610) Taking Ownership of Your Self-Care


“Taking care of yourself” does not have to equate with
a “lack of character, responsibility, and
commitment.”

~~~~~

A quote I posted this week on my Facebook page (with one of my morning sunrise beach photos) conjured up two memories: one from the classroom and one from a professional meeting.

First, the quote attributed to Eleanor Brownn:

“Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”

I have read similar words and sentiments over the last two decades. Hal Urban, for instance, speaks of taking ownership of your self-care in Choices that Change Lives. Borrowing from Urban, I often asked my students to draw a line down the center of a piece of paper. On the left side, I asked them to write the five things, people, tasks that they valued the most. On the other side of the page, they wrote the five things, people, tasks that took most of their time each week.

An interesting thing (almost) always happened when the students looked at their two columns:

What they say they valued was not what they did each week.

The conversation went deeper when I asked how many listed themselves in the top five value list. Again, almost no one did. I remember one student, a single mom, saying that she could not put herself in the top five because she had kids to care for. “How can I put myself before my kids?” she asked.

Good point. Her children represented non-negotiables in her life. No question about that. And they need their mother (father). So, I questioned, “If you don’t take care of yourself and you get sick or end up in the hospital or die, what happens to your children?” In other words, the vessel (using Brownn’s word above) needs to be replenished if it is to continue to sustain others. It does not denigrate the children’s value. It recognizes the importance of the caregiver in the equation.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

One of my first posts on this blog dealt with the same issue of self-care. At the time I had spoken to a professional group. I conducted the same Value-Time activity. It was followed by an interesting email exchange with one of the audience members. That person called me out on the self-care issue saying it lacked character and integrity for someone to “bail” on their responsibilities.  Here is a little of that exchange:

This audience member wrote to me: “I believe what bothers me is the ‘taking care of me.’ This ‘taking care of yourself’ philosophy is being interpreted into ‘It is totally ok for you to be selfish at whatever costs.’  We make choices in life.  Choices to have a family. Choices to own a home. Choices to work outside the home. Choices to strive for a particular income level. All these choices come with it responsibility of time and demands on oneself.  To bail on any of it because ‘you deserve to take care of yourself’ shows lack of character and responsibility and commitment to something you made a choice to do.”

Again, good points.  But I do not believe that “taking care of yourself” has to equate with a “lack of character, responsibility, and commitment.” [It seemed then—as well as today—to be a false equivalency.]

What I am suggesting is that we take care of ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  I am NOT saying we should shirk responsibilities because I deserve “it” (whatever “it” may be). Yes, we do make choices—and we must live with those choices. 

We all have a lot of stuff to take care of each day. A problem can present itself if we keep putting off the stuff that addresses our own health and wellbeing. And that could have an impact on the health and wellbeing of others in our families and in our communities.

Interconnections.

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week.

At times, our old nemesis of procrastination can play havoc with what we say we value and what we do. Enjoy this oldie-but-goodie 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.


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

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

(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 , , | 2 Comments