Nov 10, 2016

When you really need a leader

Sometimes even leaders really need leaders.

There are several levels of leaders, which is apparent in any organization. There's The Big Guy or Lady on Top, who leads a whole bunch of people, and there's the little guy or lady who has leadership potential, but only has a few folks around him or her who are following their lead. In between, there are various levels of folks who lead others, either directly or by being on a team with them, or just by being that person who people look up to.

Every one of those leaders needs a leader to follow. And when times are tough, in times of huge transition, and when they just feel totally at a loss--they need that leader to be there.

So, who is it? Who do they look to?

Sometimes, when they find themselves at a loss, a leader may look towards their past. Maybe they have a mom or a dad who was their first leader, and they're fortunate enough to still have that parent available to talk to. Maybe they look to history, because every tough situation has been encountered before--they may ask "How did my favorite leader from history respond?" Maybe this is always the first step: look to the past, get your bearings. Answer the question, "Where do I stand?"

Then, they look to the future. "Okay, I know where I came from--where do I go now?" For that, they need someone big, someone who has a vision for the future they themselves envision. Someone who can, either literally or figuratively, with words of encouragement, tell them how to get where we want to go, even when it seems impossible. When things have come unraveled, this person won't be a person above them in a chain of command. It also is not likely to be a person who they recently looked to for leadership, because that thinking is what led them to where they are now.

When a leader has found themselves at a loss, unraveled from what they held to be true, they need to look around hard for that new leader. Look until they find the right person to follow. And if you don't see that leader anywhere around you--if you don't see who you can follow into the future, then maybe that person is you. Be that leader. Be that person with the vision, with the hope, with the words of encouragement. If everyone is looking at you, be the person who can get them where they want to go.

Nov 9, 2016

Do you, Mister Jones?

Needed to get out of the world this morning, needed some words, wanted to hear words written awhile ago by somebody who had a bigger understanding than that of any present situations. So, I listened to Bob Dylan. I'd never heard these words quite the same as I heard them this morning... to Ballad of a Thin Man. I put in my earphones and typed them as I heard them. Here's what I got. I'm still wondering if I'll be able to concentrate on anything having to do with the real world today. But, I'm much better off now than I was a couple hours ago when I woke up.

you walk into the room
with your pencil in your hand
you see somebody naked
and you say, who is that man
you try so hard, but you
don't understand
just what you will say when you get home
because something is happening here but you don't know what it is
do you, Mister Jones?

you raise up your head
and you ask is this where it is
and somebody points to you and says it's his
and you say what's mine
and somebody else says what is
and you say oh my god am i here all alone?
but something is happening and you don't know what it is
do you, Mister Jones?

you hand in your ticket
and you go watch the geek
who immediately walks up to you
when he hears you speak
and says how does it feel
to be such a freak
and you say impossible, as he hands you a bone
and something is happening here but you don't know what it is
do you, Mister Jones?

you have many contacts
among the lumberjacks
to get you facts when someone attacks your imagination
but nobody has any respect anyway they already expect you all to
give you a check
to tax deductible charity organizations

you've been with the professors
and they've all liked your looks
with great lawyers you have discussed lepers and crooks
you've been through all of F Scott Fitzgerald's books
you're very well-read, it's well-known
but something is happening here and you don't know what it is
do you, Mister Jones?

well the sword swallower, he comes up to you and then he kneels
he crosses himself and then he clicks his high heals
and without further notice he asks you, how it feels
and he says here is your throat back thanks for the loan
and you know something is happening but you don't know what it is
do you, Mister Jones?

now you see this one-eyed midget
shouting the word NOW
and you say for what reason
and he says HOW
and you say what does this mean
and he screams back YOU'RE A COW
give me some milk or else go home
and you know something's happening but you don't know what it is
do you, Mister Jones?

well you walk into the room like a camel and then you frown
you put your eyes in your pocket and your nose on the ground
there outta be a law against you comin around
you should be made to wear earphones
cause something is happening and you don't know what it is
do you, Mister Jones?

Oct 27, 2016

I figured out this morning why my lacrimal glands tend to produce ample lubrication exactly the second right after I get a big drink of water. It is not how I thought (that the water somehow goes up through my head immediately and out my eyes). Instead, it's probably because of my pterygopalatine ganglion (a parasympathetic nerve, meaning it's in close proximity and close communication with its subject, the lacrimal glands). The pterygopalatine ganglion is connected right at the back of my face near the upper mandible back to the greater superficial petrosal nerve, which in turn is connected back to the maxillary nerve. The maxillary nerve transmits sensory fibers from the maxillary teeth and mouth out to these sister nerves. 

So, when I take a drink of water, Maxillary Nerve says (innervates) "Hey guys, there's cold wet stuff in here, probably WATER!" and Greater Petrosal Nerve says "Dude, Maxillary tells me there's water going in right NOW!" and Pterygopalatine Ganglion says "Thank GOD, because lacrimal's been hung over since all that beer was consumed last night! I'll tell him!" And boom, my eyes fill with delicious, refreshing lacrimal fluids. So cool. 

Oct 13, 2016

Be Timewise

I’ve very recently decided to start using my time more wisely. As many throughout forever have said in many different ways: you only get one life--live it. I want to make sure that, when I get old enough to not have to do anything for anyone or for society anymore, that I can look back at a life that I lived to the best of my ability. I want to have had fun, been productive, loved, taught, given my opinion, convinced that my opinion was the right one, and left a mark on this world that would be remembered. 

 So, it’s a tall order, really. It’s so much easier to spend my time getting through the work day, toting kids around to this and that, vacationing beyond its affordability, drinking alcohol whenever I feel like it, playing games, sleeping, getting fat, lying on couches… it’s harder to decide to use the 8 hours at work for being productive, usually in what they expect me to be doing, and sometimes for involving myself in other worldly endeavors, like helping my kids’ schools or extracurricular activities. It’s harder to retain my own identity in the face of motherhood, wifedom, as a friend, board member, president, or employee. It’s difficult to take the pay that you’ve earned and spend it on just what you need--and not to take money you’ve never earned to ‘get away, because we deserve it.’ It’s hard to spend time walking, reading, getting up early, feeling healthy, instead of staying up late, drinking, sleeping in, lying around. 

I said years ago, and I stick to it, that no one ever said it would be easy. While living the life you want sometimes feels just right--often, and most importantly--most de-railingly, it’s tough. As soon as it’s tough, you want to quit. That’s the point where you have to push on. On the other side of it you can look back and be glad you got through, but on the front side of the toughness, you just don’t have the energy. That desire, that need to just be and to not be great… it’s overwhelming. 

 So, what is my plan? Well first thing I did is write down a new little note to myself of what I want to be thinking about/focusing on, and put it in a place where I’ll see it several times per day. The word is “timewise.” Be wise with my time. Time will always plod on, and I know that every minute, every hour, every year will pass faster as my relative time in this world goes on--so I need to do the right thing with this incredible gift I’m given every day--time, and the freedom to choose what to do with it. I want to choose the best path, every day, every hour, every minute. Moreover, when I don’t choose the best path, I want to get right back onto it as soon as I can. 

Sep 14, 2016

A Matter of Facial Soap

Zene’s been obsessing over his face for a few days now, because this weekend after the use of much sunscreen, his face had little bumps all over it for a day or so. They are gone now, but he’s determined to now keep his face clean and presumably perfect.
Last night when I was tucking him into bed, he asked me to go to his closet and get his Playbills—they were in a large manila envelope labeled “Playbills,” and contained only the official Broadway (including touring shows) plays that we’ve been to. He looked through them quickly, found the one he was looking for, and turned to the middle page.
He showed me the Clinique ad on this page, and told me this was the facial soap he wanted me to get for him. It’s a green bottle with a pump lid.
As is not usually my custom when the kids request something more than $5 and it’s not a special occasion, I went to Elder Beerman today to look for the soap. I looked at all the soaps while the sales lady was busy, and started to get a little nervous because I figured I’d end up telling her my young son is looking for this soap, and he really is too young to be washing his face regularly, but he really wants to get in the habit—I would need to tell her this because I needed the gentlest soap available. Briefly, I looked at the men’s products, but decided against them—they weren’t what Zene was going for, and they were probably for rough man faces anyway. I’m sorry to say that also briefly, I imagined telling the sales lady I was looking for my daughter instead of son, because what the heck does she know, and it’s none of her business anyway. But I thought that would betray the cool, openness of our family—you like what you like, and your gender doesn’t matter.
When the lady inquired as to what I was looking for in a soap, I told her it was for my young son. She got all weird for a minute, and said “we have men’s soaps available…” I told her I wasn’t interested in them, my son was interested in this particular line, and plus his skin is very sensitive.

Anyway, I bought the soap. Spent way too much on facial soap for my 9 year old, but he is going to be SO excited. I can’t wait to give it to him!