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 grass seems greener inside the box sometimes

I’m very conscious these days of not fitting into any box. Which, as much as I accept & love that as part of me, it can be frustrating.

A box can be an easy point of entry… for conversations, new contacts, marketing, etc. It gives the person to whom you’re speaking a handle of stability. The conversation can open from there, of course, but it starts from a place of easily understood stable ground. A box you fit in.

I dread the “box” questions…

What do you do?
I’m an actor, a former stunt performer, an owner of 2 small businesses with a wide range of services (bookkeeping, consulting, organization, tech coaching, etc.), all of which started with me.

Where are you from?
I grew up in the American South with an Australian mum and a British dad. I am a citizen of all 3 countries. Depending on where I am or to whom I’m speaking, my accent and slang varies, and it’s nothing I “put on.” Often, I don’t even realize this until someone points it out. I’ve lived in many different regions in the US (South, Midwest, West Coast, East Coast, and Hawaii) and now hang my hat in London.

What are your interests?
Ballet to martial arts, quiet walking to motorcycles, choral music to hip hop, great literature to loud action movies. I’m not good at favorites.

I often find it difficult to connect with people because that box of solid ground from which to start doesn’t feel familiar to me. When they ask the box questions, I search for the answer most relevant to the moment and often don’t quite find it. I love every unique detail about my life experience, but there are times when I long for simplicity and a box that feels right.

So what I’m doing now… I’m keeping a mental list of some simple answers to the questions above, trying to have a little wiki in my brain that won’t leave me searching for answers in the moment. As I write this, if someone asks me what I do, I tend to steer towards my volunteer work at one of the city farms in London and the work I’m doing there with the animals and people who visit. It’s a tiny thing, but it genuinely excites me and is a door to further conversation if that comes up.

That’s just one thing, though. The search for more wiki entries for my brain continues. Any ideas? How do you like to answer the box questions?

patience is a virtue and a lion

Years ago, a woman who knew me as her personal assistant and the waitress at her brother’s restaurant made the comment, “You have the patience of Job.” This caught me off guard because I’d never thought of myself as particularly patient. Now well into adulthood, I’ve been reflecting lately on this patience of mine. Sure, it’s a virtue. But I am not convinced it’s always necessary nor is it always beneficial. There are some people and circumstances in my past that perhaps didn’t deserve my patience!

Aren’t there times when impatience is the virtue? Isn’t healthy boundary setting a form of impatience? Isn’t saying, “You can’t talk to me that way,” a form of impatience? Isn’t realizing what’s not working in your life sooner than later a form of impatience?

Walking along 5th Avenue in front of the main library in NYC recently, I took this photograph. It wasn’t until a few days later that I was reminded that the library lions are named “Patience” and “Fortitude.” I looked up online which lion was which. Sure enough, I had taken a picture of Patience.

I think that he is reminding me to be patient with myself as I examine my relationship to patience.


which life do you choose?

“Today. I’m in the exact place
in between two lives & you
may ask which I will choose,
unless you’ve been in the
in-between place before &
then you know to simply sit
quietly until your life
chooses you.”
– Brian Andreas

Not sure if there’s much more to say on this one. Whether your “lives” represent life paths, business projects, places to live, or any one of numerous other choices we all have, how can you listen more closely to see which one chooses you?

looking for that lazy summer

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”
– Sam Keen

Lazy is a bad word in our culture. It is not really considered “respectable”, is it? We have to earn the right to be lazy, by working incredibly hard for those few days of vacation. Or by getting sick and finally having an excuse to spend a day on the couch. But, truly, rest has its place. Rest of both the body and the mind can be nourishing, informative, even fun. If anything else, we owe it to our adrenal glands to be lazy on occasion. So… in the midst of your purposeful productivity, I challenge you to find some moments of respectable laziness.

Happy Summertime, all!

the evil word… budget

Of late, I’ve had many discussions with my bookkeeping clients about budgeting. But I almost always stay away from that word at the start.

Here’s my goal in terms of bookkeeping… I want my clients to be aware of money coming in and money going out. As the level of awareness increases, I want my clients to be more and more deliberate with their intentions. I want them to set their priorities for their lives in terms of what they need their money to do for them.

Setting priorities with intention and awareness. That’s what I mean by having a budget. And I believe that is a vital thing for every person to have.

How’s your budget coming?

animal lessons

I remember a teacher telling me that, when an animal walks on stage in a play, the audience will turn its attention to that animal. He said it’s because an animal on stage is real and present. There is no pretending, no putting on. The audience is deeply interested in that realness, that presence.

In Grand Central Terminal in NYC, hundreds of people bustle about with their thoughts on a train time, a meeting, a heavy backpack, a television show they watched the day before, the job interview later that afternoon, etc. I am one of those people. I bustle about, not always present to my surroundings.

One evening I saw this pigeon walking through GCT and, just as my teacher suggested, I became a rapt audience. He was a small, real, and present being walking among very preoccupied larger beings. Taking in the sight of him felt like waking up from a fog of thought into the real and present now.


the start of something?

This is a sculpture at The Eden Project in Cornwall. It’s a giant seed. The giant seed lives in its own room in a building called the Core.

Seed (good name, yes?) weighs 70 tonnes and was made from a single piece of granite.

An assignment for you right now… Go look up “seed” in the dictionary. Think about all those definitions. Now look back at this image.

I leave you with whatever thoughts you have. What will this giant seed be for you?


me trusting me

riffing with our readers…

The subject today, folks, is Trust. That’s a big subject so I’ve taken the liberty of capitalizing the first letter. Thoughts from Marina, a Bacana client:

“Contemplating Trust. That everything is always perfect and right. Practicing turning moments of self-judgment on their head to recognize, instead, my own brilliance.”

What’s so lovely to me about this contemplation (and with the anecdote she shared with Naomi and me) is that it’s specifically about self-trust. She witnessed the self-judgment, sat in it for a while, then lifted her head out of that mirky water and claimed self-trust instead.

What comes up for me when I think about self-trust are those times where I realized, “Uh-oh, I made a bad decision,” and then having to go through all the yucky after-effects of that bad decision while regret (a form of self-judgment) pulsated through my head and gut. Self-trust did almost always show up eventually, though sometimes it was years later. That sense of Trust said, “Wow. What a great lesson that ‘bad’ decision was for me. It was rough going through it but now I’m grateful for those lessons.”

How does the notion of moving from self-judgment to self-trust resonate with you?

not sure where you’re going? me neither

“Sometimes rejection is redirection.”
– Tavis Smiley, recalling a lesson to him from Maya Angelou

I feel like this is a bit of a companion piece to my post about laying foundations under your castle in the air. In that one, I wrote of dreaming big and then breaking down the action steps to achieve those goals.

But what happens when you encounter a gob-smacking “no” in the middle of your path. What if you are, in fact, rejected?

Does your castle crumble? Hardly. But it may be unclear for a while whether your thought-to-be Gothic castle actually wants to be a Norman stone castle. Harkening back to my previous post, “Castles in the air are designed to evolve.”

In those moments, there are piles of different stones here and there. It’s hard to know how to put those stones together, wondering if what you’re building has any semblance to the castle you dream of. This is a feeling I am acutely familiar with. To be honest, there are still a few stone piles around me as I write this.

But Maya’s words by way of Tavis resonate with me. My castle is still there; it’s just not as clear as it once was. So, in this moment, I am listening to and watching the world around me. I am giving my fullest attention to this moment right now. I am being patient, stacking one stone at a time and seeing the shape that’s supposed to be there reveal itself.

My redirection is happening. I may not know exactly what the shape or purpose is yet, but that’s ok.

a 95-year-old penny

I got this old penny in a handful of change and it sparked a great curiosity in me. So much in our modern day world would be unrecognizable to people who’ve gone before us. But this wheat penny branded with “1920” was a familiar sight to all the women who celebrated the passing of the 19th Amendment that same year. It was familiar to my great-grandmother when she was exactly my age. Amelia Earhart likely had one of these in her pocket the very first time she rode in an airplane!

I could go on and on. Instead I’ll just declare this to be a lucky penny and I shall treasure it.

Keep an eye out for your own lucky penny. You never know when it’ll turn up.