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.

is that you, charlotte?  a message in a web

I was almost home after a long day of volunteering at the farm. As I passed a neighbor’s house, a small movement caught my eye. A small brown spider was just starting a new web. I don’t know how long I stood there watching — it must have been at least 30-45 minutes. All of a sudden, I was in a meditation, watching this creature create something so intricate & delicate yet so simple & strong. My feet & I were still very tired, but the fascination of the moment was far more important.

And when she was done, she went straight to the center of the web and was still. Waiting for the web to do it’s job. Allowing time for the incredible amount of work that she had put in to pay off.

Stopping to watch the web creation felt like a luxury, but it also felt incredibly necessary. In this world in which busy-ness is often praised, in which one is often expected to be “plugged in” all the time, I can’t forget the value of the pause. And the pause is becoming more and more necessary to me. Do my job, yes. And then allow a pause to take in the world. Allow my work to pay off.

upkeep versus buildup

A thought about staying organized:

Most of us have an “I’ll get to that later” pile somewhere in the home. It usually consists of things like unopened mail, random notes written on scraps of paper, a few articles torn out of magazines, the phone number for a dentist a friend jotted down a few months ago, the instruction manual to an appliance, etc.

This pile often outgrows its space. It leaks into drawers and glove compartments, onto dining room tables and stairwells, and perhaps a few pieces even get tucked into a book on a shelf.

At some point, the pile becomes overwhelming. Its contents lump together into one big “I don’t know how to deal with this” thing. The more overwhelming it is, the more one wants to ignore it. The longer one ignores it, the more overwhelming it becomes. Ah… the vicious cycle.

When it gets to that point, I propose setting aside a chunk of hours, putting on some great music, pouring a delicious beverage, and sorting through it all. Dive right in. Toss, recycle, shred, mail, call, file… do what has to get done until that pile is no more.

That’s what is required when the pile has built up. It doesn’t, however, have to get to that point. Just a half hour a week could be sufficient for good upkeep. Clean out those purses, wallets, cars, desks, and briefcases on a regular basis. Sort through that pile before it even becomes one. When it’s just a not-so-intimidating little stack. Make it a habit, a routine. Change the “I’ll get to that later” pile to “my Thursday afternoon” stack or the “while I listen to NPR” stack – whatever floats your boat.

Upkeep is in line with Bacana’s three favorite words which is why, I suppose, I am partial to it.

Do you have any helpful hints for upkeep? Or for handling what has built up to the point of overwhelm?

duck, duck, run!

Indian Runner ducks are awesome. Unlike most other ducks, they stand straight up like a shot. So, rather than waddling like Daffy, they run. (Makes sense with the name, yes?)

They like swimming. And they like running around in grassy meadows even better. In the vein of Mr. Miyagi, they’re even adept at catching flies.

Watching the Indian Runners makes me smile. There’s a sense of being tall and proud and going for whatever they want. There’s a sense of wonder at a duck that runs! Perhaps a bit anthropomorphizing of me, but still a great lesson.

Stand tall and run for what you want. Better yet, surprise everyone with what you can do!

runner ducks

preparation is a gift

Two elderly sisters who I considered my chosen family died recently, within thirteen days of one another, at ages 89 and 94. I was Health Care Proxy and had to make crucial end-of-life decisions for both. I was also named the chief Executor for both of their Estates. And, during their last years, I served as Power of Attorney for both, overseeing property sales, taxes, and payroll for their caregivers. I have done and will continue to do an extensive amount for these ladies.

I share all of this here to point out the simple fact that they legally assigned these roles to me years before they became necessary. I am the one who, lovingly, had “the big talk” with each of them. They resisted discussing the inevitable, yes. But, ultimately, they were relieved to have the conversation, and so was I.

For you and for your loved ones – talk about it all! Now! When it can be a calm and thoughtful conversation!

Who will make medical decisions on your behalf?
Would you like extreme measures to be taken or are you a DNR/DNI?
Cremation or burial? Where would you like your remains to be placed?
What are important elements to any memorial service or funeral given in your honor?
Is your Will updated to your liking?
Who have you named Power of Attorney?

The two sisters preparing for the inevitable was a wonderful gift that they gave to me and to themselves. In the midst of grief, in the midst of tough decision-making, in the midst of tasks galore – there was a sense of ease. Everything that needed to be done, every duty that needed to be assigned – had been planned for long ago.

No matter your age, no matter your health, no matter your marital status – NOW is the time.

Preparation is a gift.

anything new in the inbox? why i don’t want to ask that question.

This is my stated routine for handling email:

  • When I start my workday, I skim through the list of email subject lines in my inbox just to make sure there are no actual urgent items that need to be handled. (If there are, of course, they get handled!)
  • At the end of my workday, the last thing on my calendar is a time block of 1-2 hours. This is when I go through all of my email and other communications, handling what needs to be handled in the moment, and scheduling everything else.
  • Outside of the one skim in the morning and the focused time block at the end of the day, I don’t read email. Period.
  • And no notifications.

So that’s the stated routine. But, for quite a while, I wasn’t very good at sticking to it. I’d sneak a peek now and again, just to see if anything new or exciting had come in. I’d do a subsequent check and clearance of my inbox after dinner. And maybe before bed.

The result? An increase in FOMO (fear of missing out) — whether a business-related matter or something personal. That’s it. Not something real; just a fear. I didn’t see increased efficiency or happier clients or experience a sense of productivity. In fact, it was the opposite of that last one. It felt fractured and like there was always an impending distraction. FOMO.

So I ran an experiment. What would happen if I actually held myself to what I tell everyone is my routine? Pot / kettle — I called myself out. And I added social media into the mix. In my time block at the end of the day, after going through emails, I get a few minutes to check in on Facebook, look at messages, posts, notifications, etc. Outside the time block, no Facebook, either. The routine is the law of the land.

Guess what happened? I was more focused during my client work. I was actually more productive across the board. And I was a bit calmer all around. By not allowing myself to automatically switch to social media or email when I had a few moments of downtime, I’d take care of some small task that had been waiting forever. Or read something interesting that had been on my list. Or just breathe and look at the world around me. More frequently, I felt myself being present in my life at that moment.

I struggled to resist FOMO for a while. That struggle continues, but it has faded significantly.

I don’t want to go back in time to the days before easy communication (email, social media, texts, etc.). I just don’t want the availability of easy communication to turn into an obligation of availability that ends up detracting from the quality of my work and the quality of my life.

Do you have a routine for email & the like? And do you actually stick to it? Maybe give that a try. I’d love to hear how you get on.

treasure in the eye of the beholder

My mother found these buttons in a box in her basement. To her, they are junk. To me, they are treasure. I remember proudly pinning them to the strap of my denim purse in 3rd grade. I was new to appreciating rock ’n roll, new to carrying a purse and feeling grown-up because of it, and new to expressing myself as a unique individual. I look at these buttons three decades later, and they still bring a smile to my face. Treasure indeed.

Do you have something that is uniquely considered treasure by you?


shift fear into curiosity

When I was a kid, I was curious about a nest of wasps and mud daubers inside a tire swing. Curiosity led me to getting stung just below my right eye. In that moment, I learned to be afraid of wasps.

Today, I still feel a slight twinge of caution when a wasp flies near. However, I’ve also re-trained myself to be curious again… with boundaries. Those boundaries are a healthy respect for the wasp and an understanding that that wasp may not know my intentions are to just look. There is a trigger on the wasp’s end of feeling threatened and needing to defend. Understanding that allows me to move my fear back to curiosity, combined with respect.

This applies to so many things in my life. And what I’ve come to understand is this…

Curiosity is innate. Fear is learned.
Sometimes what comes first is the thing to hold onto.

slow down before making the turn

Do you feel absolutely inundated with information, ideas, and inspiration?

Do you feel like big changes need to be made in your life but you can’t quite articulate them much less set them into motion?

If the answer is “Yes” to both of those questions, than perhaps it is time for you – in whatever way that you can – to slow down. Take time to digest all those ideas. Take time to reflect on all that inspiration. Take time to gather all the information that is needed. Take time to understand the changes that are occurring and the role you play in activating those changes.

As we all learned when Mom or Dad gave us a driving lesson: you have to slow down before making the turn.

take a moment

In the midst of a busy day or a busy week or a busy month, sometimes it’s good to just stop for a moment and look at the world around you. Give yourself a moment to just breathe.

There’s so much possibility in that moment.


imagination is genius

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”

– Albert Einstein

The society in which I was formed preaches that knowledge and logic trump anything creative. “You have such an imagination” is a phrase that, at times, has been used to shame or silence children and adults alike.

Einstein knew firsthand that logic and knowledge only got him so far. It was his imagination that made him a genius.

Sometimes making an imaginative choice in life is a risk, particularly when others view it as illogical. We must remember to embrace imagination for the special intelligence that it is.