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.

sky high branches

I fell in love with the song “Cactus Tree” by Joni Mitchell soon after college graduation, during the time I was adjusting to adulthood. (Perhaps it was the lyric “she’s so busy being free” that got to me.) But I never truly accepted that a cactus could be a tree. Having been raised in the East, I couldn’t imagine a cactus having roots and height and longevity. That is, until I met this one. It’s in the yard of the place I rent in Los Angeles. A century old, I’m told. Its branches brush telephone wires, and it houses a squirrels’ nest. A tree indeed!

Funny that something I couldn’t imagine is the very something I now see every day. Has that ever happened to you?

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?

the corridors of emily d

“One need not be a Chamber — to be Haunted —
One need not be a House —
The Brain has Corridors — surpassing
Material Place —”
― Emily Dickinson

I had the honor and delight of visiting Emily Dickinson’s house this past summer. It’s where she wrote nearly all of her poetry. It’s where her brain was haunted by the world, by the human experience. It’s where she was free to discover herself and her work.

Thousands and thousands of people traipse through the corridors of this house each year in a quest to understand Emily better. But it was the corridors of her brain (as the poem suggests) that actually housed her singular brilliance. And she was the only one to ever traipse there.

What is uniquely housed in your brain?

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?

none of my business

I’ve had a few intense experiences lately of being proved wrong. And they’ve been fantastic. I was assuming people had certain (negative) thoughts about me. But those same people ended up offering me amazing opportunities, clearly having very positive thoughts about me instead. The negative thoughts I’d assigned to them were completely imagined on my part.

I totally appreciate the old adage “what someone thinks about you is none of your business”. But that’s easier said than done. The truth is that I do care what certain people think about me. It’s my responsibility, then, to watch what assumptions I make about what they’re thinking. I have to know when I’m projecting, inferring, or just plain making stuff up. I also have to ask myself why I care so much and what’s the cost of that to my well-being. Making all of it “none of my business” would certainly be liberating.

What opinions of others have you made your business lately?

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.)

the comfort of not there yet

“Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see further.”
– Thomas Carlyle

When my life feels particularly in flux and I get to worrying about the future, I feel better when I remember that I don’t have all the information yet. There are opportunities and vistas up ahead that I can’t possibly know about now. And worrying will not bring me any closer to them. I can only see what I can see on this very day, in this very moment. What a comfort that is.

How far can you see today?

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.

double whammy

The first color photograph of Earth from space was taken in 1959. What an awesome experience that must have been… to see our planet’s blues & greens for the first time.

Though I grew up with the view of Earth from space as commonplace, there is an incredible sight that I am brand new to beholding. And it is much much smaller than the Earth. It is the flapping wing of a hummingbird.

I took this photo with my phone. My phone! It was a double whammy of awe… the easy ability to capture the image and, of course, the hummingbird herself.

Have you had a double whammy of awe lately?

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.