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.

letting go of things you value

“Let it go.”
– Elsa, Frozen

As I’m writing this, I’m preparing for a period later in the year during which I will be feeding my nomadic self (aka, more or less homeless) for 6 months or more. As a self-proclaimed nomad who likes to nest, I must emphasize that I do love my nest, complete with the home comforts I allow myself. Home comforts some of which don’t travel well.

I’m in the process of making an inventory of my home. What will get recycled, donated, or sold (aka, “the shedding 2016”); what will potentially get shipped to my next nesting location (Australia); and what few items get to travel with me as a nomad.

I am by no means an expert packer. Far from it. I read the postings from those non-nesting nomads out there about how to travel full-time with just a backpack’s worth of stuff. I already know that won’t be me. At least not this time.

After my previous shedding (selling / donating / recycling many of my things before moving from Hawaii to the UK), I found that I have become less and less attached to material goods. I like simplifying & letting go. What that also means is that, when a material good makes its landing in my little nest, it is appreciated and valued in a deep way. So this shedding is a new level of letting go.

Elsa was singing more about ideas & emotions, all of which can be embedded in material items that we’ve come to value. Here’s to seeing how much I can let it go.

that bird watcher stillness

“In order to see birds, it is necessary to become a part of the silence.”
– Robert Lynd

When I see a bird out my window, perched on the deck or fire escape, my instinct is to move closer so that I can see it more clearly. But, most of the time, when I make that move, even if it’s a slight one, the bird flies away. I’ve learned to be still and silent when doing my bird watching.

This little guy has his beak open. Best to watch in silence so I can listen to what he has to say.

Are you a bird watcher, too?

bird on chimney

how do you feel about who you are?

“Who we are matters immeasurably more than what we know or who we want to be.”
– Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

My life at the moment is full of questions. How can I best contribute to this world? Where is my path leading? And so many others about my life, my work, my place in the world. I don’t have the answers to any of these questions. I just don’t know. So I try to be present in each moment and listen. And then take the next step forward and listen some more.

What feels a bit clearer is who I am. The person that hopes, fears, rejoices, worries, gives, & receives. It’s probably one reason I love getting older. I learn more and more about these things every day, and I feel more peace with the person I am than I ever have in my life.

When I first read this quote from Brené Brown, there was a moment when all the questions took a breath. This hasn’t been a constant. Those questions are with me always. But sometimes, I think about just being this person who I am, someone I have come to regard as a pretty damn good person, and, in those moments, it’s ok that all the other questions aren’t answered just yet.

the poignancy of cracking up

“Laughter can bring a new perspective.”
– Christopher Durang

I grew up around a lot of laughter. My parents are rather hilarious and so are my sibs. Wit and whimsy have helped me to get by in the world. “Cracking up” on a regular basis keeps me feeling light. It’s a release of tension, I suppose.

Durang’s remark is a thoughtful one. Humor gets people’s attention. When we’re laughing, we’re listening. And when we’re listening, new perspectives find their way in.

Have you had a good laugh lately?

a really cool door

Every now and again, I’ll be walking along, and some random object will strike me. On this particular day in Oxford, the object was this door.

It’s just really, really cool.

There are so many stories that rush in about who might have lived or worked behind it, what events may have unfolded over the years on the street in front of it, and who was it that added that brush at the bottom?

Doors open onto a world of possibilities. And the physical ones remind me of the virtual “doors” (opportunities) scattered throughout our lives.

Passed any cool doors lately? Opened any?


the red bench beckons

Due to my many years of living in New York City, I tend to think of a bench as a temporary resting place that may or may not be sanitary. It’s a place to wait for a subway, to eat a quick snack, to check my phone messages, or to have a chat with a friend. Rarely do I sit for any significant length of time on a NYC bench.

Recently, I came upon this red bench in a remote area of my little river town. The placement of it caught my attention. It seemed to be beckoning me, the passerby, to sit and simply take in the view. “Hey there, please stop walking. Sit down, look around, and really take this in.”

So I did.


what’s your gravitational pull?

“Gravitate toward those who like you to be powerful.”
– Rob Breszny, Free Will Astrology, Dec 2-8 2009

I wrote this down in my notebook back in 2009, when I was still reading this horoscope column. I glance at it every now and again as a reminder. It’s a variation on a fairly common saying, but I like the wording of it. It’s like I’m in my orbit, and I can turn the dials on my gravity settings to choose what I gravitate towards and what I steer away from. It’s not an exclusion or a hard line; it’s a subtle shift about where I want my orbit to take me, and the people I want circling my planet (and whose planet(s) I want to circle in return).

Also, powerful can mean lots of different things. I’ve certainly gone through some shifts related to this as well and now find power in much gentler, kinder things than I did 10 or 15 years ago.

Where does your orbit take you? Is it time to shift your gravitational pull? And how are you powerful?


“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”
– Dr. Seuss

There’s a lot of competition out there, a lot of comparing oneself to others. Sometimes we need a simple reminder that each of us is on her own time clock, living life at her own pace, accomplishing things in her due time, doing her unique work, seeing the world through her unique lens.

Thanks, Dr. Seuss, for the simple reminder.

the joys of blending in

Say hello to my friends the degus. They’re cozy in their bed and still paying attention to the strange thing approaching (aka, me).

We live in a world that praises people for standing out, for being different. That is awesome. I fully support that. But there are also times when blending in, camouflaging, gives someone a better vantage point to observe, to listen, to learn.

Or even just to snuggle up away from the strange thing approaching.

By all means, take the stage when the spotlight is on you. I certainly do. (And I also switch metaphors mid-stream apparently.)

Outside of those moments, are there ways that you like to blend in to observe & listen?


hearing a pin drop

A six-day trip was canceled the day before it was to happen. I suddenly had this breadth of time in front of me. Rather than fill the time with scheduled activity, I opted to dedicate it to an “at-home retreat.” I was incredibly productive (I do, after all, work from home most of the time), but in a calmer and steadier way than usual. And I gave myself moments to sit in quiet. I didn’t literally hear a pin drop but I did appreciate the ticking of my kitchen clock.

What do you enjoy about a home retreat?