Author Archive

musings on the corner of Guatemala & Mexico

I was walking in Brazil, passing the corner of Guatemala & Mexico. I’d just left my tattoo appointment without a tattoo.

I have a fair number of tattoos, all but one of them quite large. They mean a great deal to me — markers on my journey, if you will.

They are also a conversation between me and the artist. My story mixed with their art carried around on my portable art gallery.

Zulu, my first artist, used to say that his job wasn’t to put art on me. It was to pull the art out from inside me that was already there.

On this day, though, there was something about the conversation, something about the collaboration, that wasn’t quite lining up.

At many other points in my life, I would have gone through with it anyway. I had traveled here for this particular artist. I had planned this for months. I was excited about it. And saying no is, by definition, a rejection. I didn’t want to reject her.

None of those thoughts changes that, in the moment, the conversation wasn’t lining up. So, as gracefully as I could under the circumstances (which wasn’t terribly graceful), I called it off and left.

It didn’t feel good to say no. I have sadness as I write this. But I know without a doubt that it was the right call, for both my story and her art.

The right call is not always the joyful one in the moment. That doesn’t make it any less right.

(I was also thinking about this for at least a day or two afterwards. She drew designs on me in sharpie!)

glimpse of a story

A bit of older artwork peeks through from behind the grey cover-up paint. I can’t tell from this if it was just a random tag or a portrait or landscape or any number of other possibilities. What I can tell is that someone, at some time, was telling some aspect of their story. And that their story continues to peek out from behind the grey.

I know I cover or downplay my own story a fair bit. This image is a reminder to me. Our stories endure. We just need to lay off the grey paint sometimes and let them.

rail against the world… and then build it up

“It is one thing to critique the world; it’s another thing to build the world.”
– DeRay Mckesson

Critique is necessary. It is an examination of what is and what might not be working as well as it could be.

It is equally necessary to not get stuck in the mode of being critical. To move from critique to building. How do you take your observations of what is not working and build something that is? Is there one step you can take right now to add to the building?

don’t with the don’ts

This image hangs on the wall just before entering the women’s locker room at a gym I have used along my journeys. I don’t know if it hangs there ironically or sincerely.

Human experience tells us that “don’t” commands inevitably lead us to do (or at least to contemplate) whatever it is we’re told not to. What you resist persists and all that. So, if the goal is to discourage negativity, this is not the way to achieve that goal.

What is something that you are telling yourself not to do? How can you flip that around to find something to encourage rather than discourage?

the start of your journey

In Taumarunui, New Zealand, there is a small pedestrian underpass to take you past the railroad tracks into town. Each day I walk this path, I am greeted with this message.

We all have larger journeys in life. Along that journey, each day, each moment, is a smaller journey as well.

Don’t like how your journey is shaping up? Begin again!!

(Side note: If any of you know the children’s song / nursery rhyme about Michael Finnegan, just typing “begin again” will now have that song stuck in my head all day. And you just joined me. You’re welcome.)

voyeur for the climb

This gecko has no idea I’m watching him through the bathroom window, but I’m cheering him (or her!) on for the climb.

I bet there’s someone cheering you on, too.

chasing communication

There are times when I’m trying to get an answer from someone, and I have to chase them for an answer. I find this to be extraordinarily frustrating. What it boils down to is this… my priority for getting an answer is higher than their priority for giving one.

In this situation, I have a choice amongst 3 paths:
(1) Feed the frustration and keep chasing and chasing the answer.
(2) Match my priority to theirs and potentially let the item fall by the wayside.
(3) Find some sort of middle road that has me sending periodic reminders but puts the ball for action in their court. Whenever their priority rises to the level that giving an answer is important enough, I’ll get that and be able to move forward.

Path 1 is not healthy. Path 2 is honestly an option to be considered sometimes. Path 3 is what I try for most often.

To be transparent, I still experience some frustration on path 3, but I also have clearer boundaries in terms of my responsibility. I have communicated what I need, and I can’t move on to the next step until you respond.

Clear communication, delineation of responsibilities, and taking ownership of my own actions. That’s what I can do. I have no control over someone else’s priorities or actions.

It’s one of those combo platters of taking control and letting go. Sometimes they just have to work together.

amplification or distraction?

“So part of the discernment that we need as creators is to tell the difference between someone who will take our time and someone who will amplify our time.”
— Seth Godin

The quote above refers to people. That resonates with me a great deal.

That said, in the moment that I’m writing this, I’m finding more resonance by replacing “someone who” with “projects that”. So many of us have a notebook of ideas. Things that we want to create when we have the time or the resources or any number of other triggering factors.

I’m feeling called to pursue one of the projects in my notebook. But I’ve also been on a journey the past few years of trying to simplify. Adding a new project to my workload is a step away from simplifying. What I had to sit with before deciding to pursue this new project or not is whether that step away from simplification might also be an amplification of my time, or if it might just be a distraction.

Do you have any questions like that (about people or projects) in your life?

community profile: gloria wong tritasavit

We’re so pleased to introduce you to another member of our massively cool community of Bacana clients. Welcome to Gloria Wong Tritasavit!

Introduce yourself.
My name is Gloria Wong Tritasavit. I’m a San Francisco native. Co-founder and creative director for Harlow & Grey – a line of modern party goods that I created with my cousin Jeanne. I’m happily married with three crazy kids – a 7 year old and 4 year old twins. Busy family life! Instilling values of love, compassion, empathy, and equality in my kids on a daily basis is and will always be one of my highest priorities.

What’s something making you happy right now?
My bed. Sleep can be scarce with three kids who are either waking up from nightmares, talking in their sleep, or are sick. I really love when I get to rest peacefully in my comfy bed!

When was the last time you surprised yourself?
I’m the least athletic person I know. I was throwing around a toy basketball with my son the other day and surprised myself by making a shot in the hoop.

What’s something that brings ease into your life?

What’s something you’ve seen or read recently that you want to share?
The documentary Happy! Its message is not profound by any means, but it’s such a good reminder (especially for all of us who live near Silicon Valley) that money, image, status, and power account for very little of what actually makes people happy. Yet it’s what many spend most of their time chasing after.

Where can people find you?
Instagram @harlowandgrey


just missed a big bird

Some people might see a couple of arrows pointing to an area that needs attention from a work crew.

Me? I wonder when the big bird passed through and marvel at the long middle toe.

Have you ever changed the mundane into something a bit magical?