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.

the thing with feathers

“Hope is the thing with feathers.”
– Emily Dickinson

Let’s always be on the lookout for hope.

hope_bird

mood ring turkey

Trevor is a Norfolk Bronze turkey. Trevor is also a living, breathing mood ring. When no one is watching, or when he’s just chilling by himself, the skin folds all around his head and neck are pale blue. His snood (the skin that hangs down over his beak) even shrinks up to look like a pale pink, soft unicorn horn.

When it’s time to show off, Trevor sends blood to the skin around his head, his snood lengthens and hangs over his beak, and everything turns bright red. It is definitely a sight to behold. And it’s very easy to actually see the message that Trevor is showing off and wants attention.

With us humans, we don’t have mood-ring-like folds of skin on our heads. (That’s an image, yes?) Our skin flushes or changes a bit when we get embarrassed, angry, excited, etc., but it’s relatively subtle. One of our responsibilities in interacting with other humans is to translate feelings into words. Which is not always so easy.

Maybe in those moments when I feel the blood rushing to my head or my skin flushing, I can think of Trevor, take a moment, and see if I can translate what my body is displaying subtly into words. And maybe that’s why communication is so massively important to me in both my personal & business interactions. So my listening and my words can take the place of the mood-ring-like folds of skin I sometimes wish I had (well, you know what I mean).

trevor1 trevor2

available for interruption

Recently, I took part in a walking funeral procession on a rainy morning in Manhattan. It began with dozens of us gathered on a little side street. One of the organizers had quieted us so she could speak about the man who’d died and let us know what route the procession would take. There was no traffic, so I stood in the street with a few others, behind the crowd on the sidewalk.

A woman on her way to work – with coffee in hand, walking at that busy New York City pace – had to go around our group in order to continue down the East Third Street sidewalk. Though this added a mere ten seconds to her commute, she was quite irritated. “You’re blocking the sidewalk!” she hollered as she rushed past, shaming us with a scowl.

I was reminded of a time when I was escorting a very elderly man on a busy sidewalk uptown. He was panting with exhaustion and leaning most of his weight onto me. I feared he was on the verge of collapse. People rushed past us, and I cried out to get their attention. “Hey! Someone help us! Go in that restaurant and bring a chair out here! He needs to sit down!” Some people heard me but didn’t stop to help. One man, with a panicked look, said, “They won’t let me take a chair!”

The connection between these two moments, for me, is that both of those people were unavailable for interruption. Not just interruption from whatever inner conversation was propelling them down the sidewalk, but interruption from what they had deemed rational.

That panicked man viewed my request for a chair as irrational. If he had, instead, recognized that it was a medical emergency and that a medical emergency took precedence over the proper location of a chair, he surely would have helped.

That woman on East Third Street viewed our group as irrational, crowding a city sidewalk, doing something wrong. If she had, instead, taken a moment to see that we were a love-filled group in mourning, that this was a very unique circumstance, she wouldn’t have been so quick to anger. Maybe she would’ve joined us!

I have surely been unavailable for countless interruptions, especially as I rush along New York City sidewalks on my fast, long legs. But I’m determined to be more available for them, more available to be taken off my guard when an occasion merits it. After all, life is full of interruptions. Life is irrational at times.

So… are you available?

you already have permission

“You don’t need anyone to give you permission to pursue a dream.”
– Chris Guillebeau, The $100 Startup

Here’s a variation on this that occurs to me… You don’t need anyone to give you permission for your dream to change course.

Dreams are amazing. And the essence of the dreams we have when we sleep is that they move, change, morph. Why is it that we expect our dreams in life (business, careers, vocations, etc.) to stay static?

Whatever your dream, however it changes, wherever your path leads… You already have permission to pursue all of it.

So what’s your next step?

good ol’ summertime

My nephew has this summer thing figured out: sprinkler & skivvies & squeals. Feel free to copy his ways. Children are experts when it comes to making joy happen. And we grown-ups sure admire the experts of anything, yes?

sprinkler

peek-a-boo from under a rabbit

Here’s what I know about this photo:
First & foremost, it brings me massive joy.
Pancake (the guinea pig) is snuggled underneath Misty (the English Giant rabbit).

Here’s what I don’t know about this photo:
Did Pancake snuggle under Misty as she was sitting there?
Or did Misty plop down, not seeing that Pancake was underneath her?

Either way, they were both perfectly content with the situation and stayed this way for quite a while.

And really, whether you’re snuggling under a giant rabbit blanket, or you’re cuddling around your guinea pig friend, it’s just all about being cozy, isn’t it?

What makes you feel cozy?

misty_pancake

acknowledge that box

“People who refer to out-of-the-box see the box… People who don’t know the box even exists are the innovative thinkers.”
― Lisa Goldenberg

I recently learned that, in some cities in Scotland and Japan, the street lights were changed to emit a soft blue color at night. And that, when the change was implemented, those cities had a notable reduction in suicide and crime rates. I consider this innovation to be attributed to out-of-the-box thinking.

Lisa Goldenberg says that innovative thinkers don’t know the box exists. Sure, that is true in some cases. And I believe that sometimes we’re not capable of out-of-the-box thinking until we first acknowledge the box in which we’ve been thinking. A single moment of insight can do wonders for seeing that metaphoric box.

Had any of those insights lately?

community profile: natasha patel

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

Introduce yourself.
I’m a career counselor, writer and teacher. Call it polymath or renaissance soul. But I thrive when I’m pushing more than one idea forward to execution.

What’s something making you happy right now?
Season 2 of UnReal, my 6 year-old niece, really balanced bourbon cocktails.

When was the last time you surprised yourself?
When someone (not a client) asked for advice, and I didn’t answer with what I really thought.

What’s something that brings ease into your life?
With my schedule, a simple evening at home with a movie.

What’s something you’ve seen or read recently that you want to share?
Attempting to conquer Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. It’s the 20th anniversary of the publication.

Anything else you’d like to share with the Bacana community?
I’m working with a new theater company in Atlanta that is focused on playwrights and production, called Onion Man Productions.

Where can people find you?
You can follow me on twitter at laRenSoul, or my website for career counseling is www.natashapatelcounseling.com.

standing on backs

My friend Michelle took this photo of one of the ewes in her flock with her 2 lambs. The ewe is quite literally protecting and supporting her children. It’s the most literal image of standing on the backs of those who have come before us that I’ve seen.

On whose back(s) do you stand?

wfwoodlands

show off

My Gramma planted flowers and colorful bushes along the front and sides of her house in rural North Dakota. She’d monitor their blooms carefully and eagerly. When the blooms finally came, she’d say, “Look! They’re putting on a show!”

I thought of Gram while crossing Park Avenue recently. The chorus of tulips were lined up so gorgeously in front of the fabulous diva tree. I had to stand in the median for a moment and watch the show.

Have you seen any good shows lately?

parkavetree