Bacana Notions is the name of our short ‘n sweet weekly blog.  We aspire to have each Notion in some way capture the essence of the Bacana vision statement.

no·tion noun \ˈnō-shən\ an impression, a concept,
a theory, a whim, or a belief held by a person or group

A Bacana Notion could spark a new thought or give you a grin in the middle of a long day.  It may even provide you with that helpful advice you’ve been waiting for.

animal trees

Sometimes I personify objects. We all did it in childhood, I suppose, with dolls and stuffed animals and such. Even now, my car has a name. Heck, even the GPS in my car has a name. And there’s a statue that I inherited from a loved one that I simply couldn’t put in my storage unit so I asked my sister to take care of her for awhile. So, yes, I’m capable of the occasional personifying of objects.

What was a new experience for me recently was animifying. (Is that a word?) I looked up at these palm trees at sunset and could only see giraffes.

Have you ever animified anything?

making the common word a proper name

This is one of the cats that I took care of in Italy. He’s an outdoor neighbourhood cat who gets his breakfast and supper at the home where I was staying as I wrote this. The owners introduced him to me as Micio. That is his name. What I came to learn, however, is that “micio” in Italian means pussycat or tomcat. So we have a cat named Cat, more or less.

A word in one language is a commonality. That same word used in the context of another language becomes a proper name. Same thing seen through different views.

This seems to me to be the cornerstone of mindfulness or of living and working with intention. The small details which we all tick off without thinking — the exercise becomes to actually focus on and enjoy those small details. Do them with intention. Own them. It doesn’t take any longer, but it does make the whole experience of your day just a bit deeper.

Whether it’s a task or an experience or anything else, do you have a micio that can become a Micio in your life?

needy world

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”  
– Howard Thurman

I am one of 7+ billion people on the planet at the moment. What I know is… that the planet is greatly in need of TLC. What I don’t know is… what the world needs of me. I truly have no idea. How could I? I’m one of 7+ billion.

Howard Thurman’s words reframe this sense of helplessness. His words provide a challenge. His words empower. Because, when it really comes down to it, I am the only one, the only one… the only one among the 7+ billion who knows what makes me come alive.

Same goes for you.

night owl in the early morning

I am a night owl by nature. If I had my druthers, it would be late to bed & late to rise all the time.

I am also a nomad, currently wandering the world (taking care of all of my wonderful clients with the help of strong internet connections). As part of my wanderings, I’m doing a lot of pet and house sitting. Due to the needs of many of the animals I care for, I have to get up early. (In some cases, very early!)

I may never shift to being an early riser when I’m on my own, but there is something about doing it for some other living creature that makes it ok. Having the need come from outside myself makes a massive difference.

And sometimes, you see an arrow in the sky pointing your direction on your early morning dog walk in rural Italy. 🙂

Have you ever done something for someone else that you wouldn’t normally do yourself?

a short long journey

I’d walked labyrinths and mazes, always appreciatively, but it wasn’t until I was 27 that I received specific instruction. “Before you enter, name the question that is on your mind and heart. Walk slowly and carefully to the center of the labyrinth. Sit there. Take whatever time you need. Then walk slowly and carefully out of the labyrinth. You will return to the place where you entered with an answer.”

I’m quite a fast walker. I could zip through a labyrinth in a few minutes if I attempted to do so. But fast walking is for exercise or for reaching a geographic destination. Labyrinth walking is for changing perspective. It’s for pondering. It’s for welcoming the possibility of an epiphany or clear inner guidance. It’s for returning to the place you started with a willingness to be changed.

Perhaps just the physical presence (or image!) of any labyrinth, whether walked carefully or not, serves as a reminder that a new perspective is always available. The new perspective reminder in the photo is in Jackson, Wyoming.

What question would you ask if you were to step into a labyrinth today?

a snail’s pace is just fine

Snails seem to love crossing the sidewalk in places where they risk getting stepped on. (To be fair, there aren’t many places without that risk for the snail!)

And yet they move ever forward.

Slowly & steadily forward despite the imminent risk of being crushed.

I need to remember that the next time I’m scared to move forward on something. There will always be the risk of defeat. But, if I don’t move forward like the snail, I’m already defeating myself.

I don’t see the snail stepping on him or herself, so why should I?

boredom is a curious thing

“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.”
– Dorothy Parker

I don’t remember the last time I was bored. I seriously cannot recall a moment of boredom in the past many years. Is it because I’m such an active person? Is it because I almost always have a phone, computer, book, or TV nearby to me? Is it because, like my Dad, I can nap just about anywhere?

I wonder what would happen if I created a space for boredom. A few hours with no activity, no audio stimulation, with nothing in particular to look at, nothing in particular to accomplish. I’d be curious to see what I’d get curious about.

Have you ever tried that?

community profile: doug kirkpatrick

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

Introduce yourself.
I’m a husband, father, Kiwi-American, environmentalist, and chief investment officer of AlphaGlider, a US-based investment adviser.

What’s something making you happy right now?
Following the adventures of my oldest son while he works and explores his way through Taiwan and New Zealand on a gap year between high school and college.

When was the last time you surprised yourself?
Last year my wife and I moved back into a college dorm at age 48. While my wife was busy working on a masters in education at Stanford, I crashed lectures and presentations on science, history, international relations, and business, and more than a few sporting events. It was awesome!

What’s something that brings ease into your life?
1Password, a password manager for laptops, phones, and tablets, that protects me and my family from online bad guys. Best. Software. Ever.

What’s something you’ve seen or read recently that you want to share?
I’ve been reading a lot to try to understand the current political environment in the United States. White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America, by Joan C. Williams, is probably the best piece I’ve read on the subject.

Anything else you’d like to share with the Bacana community?
I think the most insightful piece of advice I got when I started my own business was to focus on what you enjoy most, and on what you do best — and outsource the rest.

Where can people find you?
On my personal finance-themed blog, www.alphaglider.com/blog, and on Twitter, @KirkpatrickDoug.

fruity newness

“Taste every fruit of every tree in the garden at least once. It is an insult to creation not to experience it fully.”
– Stephen Fry

I didn’t know that cacti produced edible fruit until I moved west. An exciting discovery! This thing looked like a dry white kiwi on the inside. It tasted rather bland to me, but perhaps I didn’t try it at its ripest moment. Or perhaps I was stuck in my kiwi comparison. My delight did not come from the actual texture or taste but from the newness of it. I’ll definitely be going back for seconds.

When was the last time you tried something new?

a cloudy sunset

The sun sets every day, and it’s beautiful. But, when there are clouds in the sky to reflect the colors, it can be stunning.

When you have clouds pop up in your life, are you just trying to move through them? Or are you taking a moment to see what they’re reflecting?