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 listening lady in cornwall

Have a seat. Tell me your thoughts. I’m listening.

This placid lady in Cornwall seems to be indicating just this. Her posture reads as confidant and mostly casual (with a touch of proper at the knees). But there’s no need to prove that. She just is.

And she’s open to listen. To be a receptacle for whatever it is in that moment that I need to speak forth.

This lady is who I aspire to be much of the time. Someone who has no need to prove who she is and who can be open to receive whatever needs to be spoken. To be a ready ear of support without needing to necessarily “fix.” I hope this lady continues to guide me as I sometimes do and sometimes don’t hit that mark.

And I hope the raven over her shoulder enjoys the flight about to happen.


looking down or out

“May I never miss a sunset or rainbow because I am looking down.”
– Sara June Parker

Since moving to a Hudson river town, I have become rather obsessed with sunsets. My Mom tells me that looking at them is healing for the mind and eyes. I must say that I believe her.

We humans look down a lot. We look at computers and phones. We look into our preoccupied minds.

Rainbows come around only every so often, but a sunset… well, there’s one every single day! An everyday reminder to lift our heads and look out.

How cool is that?


do you have a castle?

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
– Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Dreaming & imagining are super important. I love envisioning my castle in the air.

What comes next is vital. Once you have the imagining, work backwards and break it into action steps for how to get there.

Be present on each step, and don’t be angry if the route shifts a bit as you progress. Castles in the air are designed to evolve.

Basically, you have a vision for where you’re going, and you also get to revel in the wonder & surprise as your vision presents you with new variations on each step. Best of both worlds!

when nostalgia is a comforting reminder

Two friends of mine were in a shop together recently and spotted a journal made out of an old Nancy Drew book. They immediately thought of me (due to my love of both Nancy and journaling) and bought me this gift.

Remaking an old object into a new one is especially important during this era of recycle / refurbish / reuse. But having these older images and items around serve a greater purpose as well. They are comforting reminders of the many journeys within a lifetime.

I look at this Nancy Drew journal cover, and I remember going to the library with my grandmother. I remember falling in love with reading. I remember racing to finish my homework so that I could read the books not assigned by a teacher. I remember my delight at following the adventures of a smart, independent young woman, knowing that I would be one of those someday, too.

We sometimes need those items of nostalgia around to reconnect us to an innocence, a hope, a perspective from the past that helps to renew the present.


rain & sun

A pretty heavy rain just stopped, and I headed out for an appointment. Stepping onto the sidewalk, I was met with blinding reflections of the sun. Everything was shiny, and the sun was having a bouncy field day. Almost as if to remind me “Look, the rain is necessary. It’s part of this whole natural order thing. But don’t forget I’m always part of the package, too.”

Shall we break into a refrain from Annie??

springtime reminder

“Your time as a caterpillar has expired. Your wings are ready.”
– Anonymous

Happy Spring!

boundaries to expand compassion

“The most connected and compassionate people of those I’ve interviewed set and respect boundaries.”
– Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

When I first read this sentence, it resonated deeply. Many times, if I am asked for something (my time, my skills, my ear), if I say no, it feels inherently selfish. Like I’m not giving enough.

And yet when I look to the people I respect and admire, people like my colleague Alex and my partner-in-crime here at Notions, Liz, I see people who stay firm with their boundaries in the most loving and compassionate way possible. And I don’t begrudge them for it. In fact, I respect them more. And I know that, when I have that person’s attention, the focus will be completely present and engaged.

Boundaries are very hard for me. If I can be of use, I want to say yes. But I feel the too many yeses draining me. I want to be the most connected and compassionate version of myself possible. So continuing on my path to set and respect boundaries has to be a priority.


a tombstone from 1798 is talking to me

My friend Barbara lives across the street from an old cemetery, a place that never ceases to fascinate me. This grave stone became particularly vivid jutting out of the snow with its 1776 Revolutionary War soldier star and flag beside it. It reads,

“In memory of Mr. Nathan Gilbert
who departed this Life
Sept 1st 1798 Aged 71 Years.
Hark from the tombs a dolefull sound
My ears attend the cry
Ye living men come view the grave
Where you must shortly lie.”

I am one of the “living men” whom these words address. I am in awe of that and of the words themselves, so pristine despite having faced weather like this for 217 years.

It’s such a challenge and a delight to stand in a place and imagine what it looked like long ago. Places tell us secrets if only we will listen. There is an inn with a tavern just down the street from the cemetery that claims to have opened in 1749. I bet Mr. Gilbert threw back more than a few pints of ale in that tavern, perhaps discussing General Washington or the burial of someone in his church’s cemetery or the coming of another cold winter.

It’s strange… just taking the time to think about this one person, to imagine who he was… I feel like I made a new friend today.


will you join us?

I admit to being rather lost for words.

I suppose that’s a notion in itself. That sometimes it’s really alright to just listen.

You know what Liz & I love? Engaging. Conversation. Brainstorming. Bouncing thoughts & ideas back & forth.

We’d love to invite you into this.

Throw out an idea, a thought, a quote, a question, anything. Send us a photo of something inspiring. We’d love to riff on them for Notions and then engage further in the comments thread with you.

So that’s our collective Notion for today. Will you join in with us?

translating tone in these days of email and texting

Sometimes when I read a text or email from a friend or colleague, I find myself getting defensive and paranoid. I assume brevity or certain punctuation to mean that they are irritated with me in some way. Allow me to give examples of how my brain works:

I send an email or text that contains a decent amount of information because I am a communicator who is obsessed with detail.

1) I receive “OK” as a response and I translate that to mean that the person is yelling at me because it’s in all caps, not taking into account that OK is technically an abbreviation and should be in all caps.


2) I receive “ok” as a response and I translate that to mean that the person is annoyed with me and is being passive aggressive.


3) I receive “okay!” as a response and I translate that to mean that the person loves me forever and ever.

Now all of these translations are completely my own and have nothing to do with any person’s intention when he/she sent me that one single word. But I know I’m not alone! We all have our own brain filters through which we read the hundreds of messages we get every day. I try to catch myself when I start making up things that aren’t there in black and white.

Less paranoid when reading and more careful when writing, that’s the way to go these days.