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.

community profile: vivian polak

We have always been very proud of having a massively cool community of Bacana clients. And we’d like to start showing them off! Like all of our notions, we’ll do short & sweet profile snapshots. So let’s get the ball rolling with Bacana client number 1, Vivian Polak.

Introduce yourself.
I’m a NYC-based artist, activist, entrepreneur, co-founder of an awesome philanthropic coffee company (Red Thread Good), and lawyer.

What’s something making you happy right now?
Doing my bit to help change the world by creating a new type of business model.

When was the last time you surprised yourself?
18 months ago, when I agreed to work on a start-up company after I thought I’d be hanging up my cleats.

What’s something that brings ease into your life?
Meditation, spending time with good friends, cooking, creating art (sometimes), looking at art (always), laughter, walking Pip the pup.

What’s something you’ve seen or read recently that you want to share?
Untethered Soul by Michael Singer

Where can people find you?
vpolak23 at Instagram

a nomad who likes to nest

Since starting The Bacana Plan in 2007, I have lived in (and run the company from) New York, Los Angeles, the Big Island of Hawaii, and now London. By the end of 2016, I will add Australia to that list.

I am a nomad. But I am a slow nomad. And a nomad who likes to nest.

I like my daily routines and my home space arranged just so. And then I like to lean into the unknown, change the venue, and find how my routines fit (or don’t) in the new locale.

It’s an exercise in balancing routines & habits with constant change. Embracing those things that bring me comfort while opening my arms wide to things that may test that comfort.

Is it any wonder that one of my personal favorite words is dichotomy?

I’m a nomad who likes to nest. What’s the contradiction in your life? And how do you balance it?

(If the “i” in my name were a “d”, it’d be the perfect anagram for this post!)

toothpaste cave art

“Ads are the cave art of the twentieth century.”
– Marshall McLuhan

So much advertising of today irritates and / or amuses me. (Like when oranges are described as “fat free.” I mean, come on.) This toothpaste ad, though, is fascinating. Just looking at it sparks my imagination and sends me back to a time long ago. It isn’t an advertisement anymore. It’s become something else, a relic from the past.

Have you noticed any cave art lately?


on your mark…

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
– Mother Teresa

You know that thing that lives in your dreams? That project or plan for your life or big idea or little inkling?

How will you begin on that today? A beginning doesn’t have to be massive. So what’s yours?

found a notion on a sidewalk

I walk really fast in New York. Really fast. My long legs are a good substitute for an automobile. Sometimes, though, even when I’m walking fast and it’s raining, I come upon something that stops me in my tracks. Like Muriel Rukeyser’s words etched into a 41st Street sidewalk. “The universe is made of stories.” Hmmm…

What’s your story?


the forest and the trees

Try something for me…

Open this photo to full size in your browser.
Close your eyes.
Open them and focus on the large stones in the curved part of the structure.
Close your eyes.
Open them and focus on the small stones in between.
Close your eyes and sit further back in your chair.
Open your eyes and see the large and small stones together, how they play and interact and form a cohesive whole.

Now try that with a project. Or a decision. Or, heck, with life.

It’s your choice in any given moment whether to focus on the large puzzle pieces, the small details, or the interplay of them both. All the perspectives are useful at different times. How can you make each perspective work for you?


open your inner eyes – it’s gonna be a year of discovery

“Self-love is a good thing, but self-awareness is more important.”
– Louis CK

“Awareness is the greatest agent for change.”
– Eckhart Tolle

As we enter this New Year, I challenge you (and me) to make it one of ever-growing awareness and discovery with real, true honesty. There are wonders inside you. Out they come.

sympathy for a tugboat

I saw this little guy pulling a barge upstream, and I couldn’t help but wish it would release its load. Talk about projection.

I need to figure out what I’m dragging behind me and then let it go. Sometimes easier said than done, yes. But I think we could all stand to lighten our loads. Just letting go of a belief or habit that has become a hindrance can be incredibly liberating.

Is there a piece of the load you’re carrying that can be left behind?


next stop… music

When was the last time your bus stopped at a place all about a bit of music in the world? Maybe it should stop there today. Would love to hear about your music.


taking a turn with the torch

“Outstanding leaders pass the torch with fire blazing. Mediocre leaders pass a dimly lit torch. Poor leaders drop the torch, making it difficult, if not impossible, to pick up again.”
– Reed Markham

I attended a powerful workshop for women six years ago that absolutely knocked me out. The two older women leading the workshop had created it themselves and had led several versions of it over 20+ years. I remember sitting in that room thinking, “I want to apprentice them. I want to lead this workshop one day.” But I didn’t speak up because it didn’t feel like the right time to do so. It was clear they weren’t yet ready to pass the torch.

A few years went by and, through a series of serendipitous events, I ended up as the co-leader of this biannual workshop. Another participant and I had asked one of the creators to please hold the workshop again. She said that she was not available and suggested, having seen our passion and dedication, that we lead it instead.

Like that, the torch was passed.

My fellow co-leader and I have met with the creators on many occasions. They have provided us with various papers and notes gathered throughout the years. They’ve given us guidance, advice, and encouragement. The creators are incredibly moved that we have taken their blazing torch and are carrying it on. It is an honor to have the responsibility of a torch lit by others! I hope to one day pass it on with its fire still blazing.

Do you have a torch to pass on? Or another’s torch to carry for awhile?