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.

wishing on a little moon

“Most of the dandelions had changed from suns into moons.”
– Vladimir Nabokov

This year on my birthday, I didn’t have cake. But I did blow out a single candle that was sticking out of a chocolate-drizzled coconut macaroon. (Better than cake!) And, of course, I made a wish on that candle.

The candle-blowing wish-making opportunity reliably comes along once a year. It’s the other opportunities that are more haphazard, so it’s good to keep a look-out for them.

People make wishes on the night’s first star, on an outlier eyelash, on four-leaf clovers, and on dandelions. The dandelions are the most special because, at certain times of year, they are so very plentiful. And because, when you make a wish and blow, you get to see your wish explode out into the world.

Have you made a wish lately?

what lies beneath…

This is a rather full day for this river. On a not full day, you can see the shopping carts lodged in the mud from where I’m assuming people have thrown them in. (There’s a shopping center a very short distance off to the right.) And yet, at the moment of this photo, there is no thought of shopping carts languishing & rusting away. There is just a bit of serene English countryside.

In this age of social media image curation, we all need to remember that we’re not getting full stories. We’re seeing the image on the surface. The same goes when meeting someone on the street or having a passing interaction with someone. Whether the exchange is pleasant or sour, we see that moment’s snapshot, but not the full story.

Reminding myself of that very often changes my reactions. How about you?

new eyes on a palm

“I suddenly realized I was in California. Warm, palmy air – air you can kiss – and palms.”
– Jack Kerouac

When I first visited California, I found the site of palm trees to be hilarious. They looked so goofy to me, like pretend trees in a Dr. Seuss book. But now, having lived in CA for a year and a half, I’ve gotten rather attached to them… these tall, strong, confident, exotic trees. The goofiness has simply gone away.

Perhaps it was when I mistook them for giraffes that I gleaned this new perspective. Giraffes, to me, are not at all goofy. They are tall, strong, confident, and exotic… the words I now use to describe the palms.

Funny how we can shift a perspective so easily and just when we least expect it.

What are you seeing with new eyes these days?

floating on the wind

This photo was taken on a day of great emotional turbulence for me. And it is a photo to me of such peace and joy.

A reminder that the latter does not stop existing when the former is present.

new wave

It occurred to me, on the very afternoon I took this photo, that I have never in my life been on a sailboat.

It also occurred to me that I must remedy that.

What new experience is calling to you?

the definition of myself

When I was 5, I spent a very brief time in kindergarten before I was moved up to first grade. (I missed playing with shaving cream sculptures on wax paper — I remember that!)

All through grade school (elementary, middle, & high school), I was the youngest in my class, and I was at the top of the class. I graduated from high school, having just turned 17, as valedictorian with not only a 4.0 GPA but also a 100.8% average. (Someone did some extra credit along the way. 100% wasn’t enough.)

At university, I was still the youngest in my department (not sure about the whole university — probably not), but it was now a bit of a bigger pond. I was still near the top, but I graduated magna cum laude, not summa cum laude.

In graduate school, there was actually one person in my class who was younger than me! And grades weren’t really a thing. They were there, sort of. (It was an MFA in acting, so it was more about the faculty verbal & written evaluations than the letter grades.) But I did get some feedback during my evaluations from one of the faculty members, someone who had taught many of the super elite alums, that again gave me a stamp of approval of being at the top.

As I write this, I am in my early 40s. I am proud of the life I have and the person I am. But I have not risen to the top of my first chosen profession. I am no longer the youngest, or the smartest, or the best. And, in my moments of reflection, I ponder if that was ever really the case in my younger years, or if it was just a bit of a false perception.

I spent so many years being defined by the combo of youngest & smartest. It has been (and still is) a very interesting, sometimes easy, sometimes difficult path to letting go of that definition and listening for what defines me now. Which is also changeable. At the moment, I feel a great kinship to the labels of listener & seeker. We’ll see where that stands in another 40 years.

How do you define yourself? Has that changed since you were younger? Liz has had some thoughts on this as well.

fig tree patience

“Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

I can get really restless in the winter. There’s the fresh start of a new year in January followed by the fresh start of a new age in February (my birth month). And fresh starts get me fired up! Even though, damn it, it’s wintertime… so things are slow and forming underground and I can’t see them yet.

But then I ponder this tree and know, without a doubt, that the summer bounty of figs will arrive at just the right time. And that it’ll be worth the wait.

How’s your wintertime patience?

the only thing constant…

As a nomad, it may surprise you to know that I am not always comfortable with change. Don’t get me wrong… There are also aspects of change that I love. It’s why I live the way I do. But there are pockets of discomfort with me much of the time.

Two small examples…

As someone with a somewhat unadventurous palate, if I am in a place with cuisines very different from my preferences, I carry that bit of discomfort while I’m there. I admire the foodies; I unfortunately am not one.

Because communication is of the utmost importance to me, if I’m in a place where I don’t speak the language, I have to stay in the uneasy feeling of not being able to understand others or express myself easily.

My challenge to myself is to sit into that discomfort and ask why. Within my love of change lives the discomfort of change. I rather revel in exploring both.

What is your relationship to change?

the art of gambling

“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run”
– Kenny Rogers

Sometimes people gamble money, and sometimes people gamble time. Artists do both.

The vast majority of artists passionately do their work with very little pay for years and years and years. In hopes that, one day, “it’ll pay off”. But no matter if they walk away or if they run, if they hold ‘em or if they fold ‘em, how marvelous that they put their chips in at all! Our society celebrates the successful, the famous, the wealthy, and the winners. I’m opting to celebrate all those who were / are gutsy enough to sit at the table and play the artist game.

Have you ever gambled?

la paz

“Nada vale tanto como la paz.”
(Nothing is worth as much as peace.)
– José Mujica

The former president of Uruguay (fascinating man — please Google) spoke these words, and they touched a street artist in Colombia who painted them on this wall in Medellín.

In times of turbulence, we recognize the value of tranquility. Which leads me to wonder how much we long for something to happen when we are in the midst of calm times. Is the pendulum always set to swing away from where we are?

I certainly don’t have answers to these questions. In the present day, I can only agree with Mujica & the artist.

What do you long for in this moment?