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.

caterpillar identity crisis

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly.” 
– Richard Bach

I was trying to remember when I stopped thinking of myself as a girl and began to think of myself as a young woman. And when I stopped thinking of myself as a young woman and began to think of myself as a woman. Those shifts took place but were gradual and so can’t be locked into a moment. And, honestly, I’ve forgotten at times that the shifts were made. The identity of “young woman” still hangs on me occasionally, perhaps because I have no kids, perhaps because I have a young face, perhaps because I have a youthful energy, perhaps because I have close friends who are older than me. But I am 41 years old. That is not young.

I wonder if that butterfly forgets it has wings sometimes. I wonder if other creatures it’s known all its life still expect it to crawl.

What does it mean to truly (and completely) change how you think of yourself?

a pattern of burning

At the base of Uluru in the heart of Australia stands a tree which reminds of a not-too-distant fire while the surrounding areas are rich with grasses and other plants. The traditional caretakers of Uluru, the Anangu people, have known for thousands of years that, to properly care for the land, you have to do controlled burns in a patchwork pattern. You don’t burn everything at once or in very large areas because that leaves no shelter or food for the animals seeking it. You also can’t stop burning altogether, because that leaves the land vulnerable to wildfire, which can be devastating.

I wonder if this would be a good metaphor for taking stock of my life. Are there some areas that are ready for renewal & regrowth? Can you burn just those parts away?

exotic and a pigeon

I don’t think I ever would have put the words “exotic” and “pigeon” together. But that’s the exact description the nice lady at the zoo used to describe these birds. The actual name is the Nicobar pigeon, and, fun fact, they’re the closest living relative to the extinct dodo. The lady at the zoo told me the fun fact, but I had to look up the actual name. I just spent the rest of my time in the exhibit thinking “exotic pigeons… huh… cool!”

When was the last time you discovered that something you considered to be common had a touch of the magical about it?

the end of the aqueduct

The Old Croton Aqueduct Trail cuts across many Westchester towns, including my own. I’ve taken visitors on my neighborhood’s section of it many times saying, “The aqueduct underneath us was the water source for Manhattan in the 1800s. The water from up north in the mountains was routed there.”

Recently, I was walking briskly to a restaurant on 120th Street in Manhattan, 15 miles south of my town. I caught sight of this sign and gasped. The aqueduct really did have an underground destination, and I found it. It was like finding the end of the rainbow!

When something shifts from an anecdote to a reality, my first reaction is often to laugh, like I’m a kid who is witnessing magic before my eyes.

When was the last time you saw something you couldn’t quite believe?

that’s what I said

I was doing my lesson in Swedish, translating the sentence in the screenshot below. The little ding & the green banner said I had answered correctly, but the message in the green banner said I was wrong and had used the wrong word. The correction was word for word what I had written. (Yes, I left off the period; the app really doesn’t care about punctuation at all.)

This is certainly just a glitch in the coding. No worries at all.

But have you ever experienced one of these conversations:
Person A says xyz.
Person B says, no, that’s wrong, it’s xyz.
Person A says that’s what I said.

When have you been person A? And is it possible that you were person B sometimes, too? I’ll raise my hand to having experienced both roles.

It might be a bug in my language app, but, with us humans, it all comes down to listening in a real way.

It really is the dogs’ water. I promise.

time travel by ship

“If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever.”
– Thomas Aquinas

I recently went on board a ship built in 1885 that was docked in Lower Manhattan. For whatever reason, this ship outlasted others that were built at that same time. It was weathered and worn but clearly cared for. Volunteers at the South Street Seaport Museum were painting and scrubbing on the day I strolled the deck.

A ship is made to be sailed… Just as a car is made to be driven, a meal is made to be eaten, a home is made to be lived in, and clothes are made to be worn. Sometimes we protect a cherished something so much that we don’t allow it to be what it’s supposed to be.

The dents, the stains, and the weathered floor of this ship show that it’s a well-traveled ship. I hope that it will sail again some day.

found in translation

In Hawaii, this is a plumeria blossom. In Australia, it’s a frangipani.
In the US, I might have arugula in my salad. In the UK, it will be rocket.

Same base language, different words. And this can expand to a much larger metaphor.

If someone says something that is unfamiliar or that we don’t quite understand (a specific word, a concept, whatever), before we say that’s wrong or incorrect or irrelevant and dismiss it, perhaps we take a moment to consider context, to ask for more details around what is meant.

Getting on the same page is a concept that is so helpful in so many situations. We express ourselves so differently based on experiences, background, culture, etc. It’s often easy to forget that the need for translation isn’t limited to people literally speaking different languages.

stop and smell the lilacs

A pleasant odor drifting into my nose in Midtown Manhattan is a shock to the system. All the more reason to appreciate it. And all the more reason to wonder… if I’ve become so adjusted to the odors of the urban jungle that a little purple flower stops me in my tracks on 5th Avenue, what other unpleasantness have I become adjusted to?

Has anything lovely stopped you in your tracks lately?

twinkle twinkle in the sidewalk

Walking along the sidewalk, a glint caught my eye. It was one of those super fast things that can easily come in and go out of your consciousness in less than a blink. I’m not sure what made me take a step back and look, but I’m glad I did.

Where can you find the stars peeking out at you? And do you give yourself a breath to take them in?

jump, kid

“Jump high and hard with intention and heart.”
– Cheryl Strayed

I’m guessing Cheryl doesn’t mean to literally jump, though my 8 year-old friend here does a terrific job of it. I appreciate the jumping metaphor as well as this image to accompany it. I see from him that to jump into something is a bold act of surrender.

How does a metaphor help you understand something on a different level?