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.

growing somewhere new

“The finest flowers are those transplanted, for transplanting means difficulty, a readjusting to new conditions, and through the effort put forth to find adjustment does the plant progress.”
– Elbert Hubbard

During a visit to Chicago in early summer, I inherited clippings of a jade plant from my cousin. I transported them home in a little plastic bag tucked into a shoe in my suitcase. I planted the clippings into two pots and am pleased to see that they are growing strong. Transplanting success!

It got me thinking about the times in my life when I was uprooted and transplanted somewhere new. Almost without exception, each of those times provided me with an opportunity to expand myself in some way. I was forced out of my comfort zone and inspired to create new routines, meet new people, welcome new perspectives, and look upon new vistas.

I generally feel sadness when I leave a place that’s been a home to me. The process of transplanting my life is usually accompanied by a period of grief. Thankfully, I know the grief is only a temporary growing pain. Knowing that helps tremendously.

Those little plant clippings must have been rather irritated when stuffed inside a plastic bag inside a shoe inside a suitcase and bounced around an airplane, but look at them now.

Have you ever been transplanted? How did you grow?


will you get lost with me?

“We find our way by getting lost. Anything other than that is called reading a map.”
– Seth Godin

I went for a walk recently with no path planned out. Just deciding to follow whatever caught my fancy. It ended up being a wonderful walk with lovely views, but I was also prepared for it to not be very exciting at the outset. It was all about, on that day, finding the path that was right for that moment without prescribing in advance what that would be. About being ok with maybe getting a bit lost and then finding my way back.

This quote, of course, isn’t just about literal paths. It’s also about finding your trajectory in life, in work, in relationships.

I wish you good cheer in getting lost, and I’ll be right there with you.

art in the sky

Walking around a rundown section of Louisville, my hometown, I looked up and saw “hope.” Who knows who’s responsible for that piece of urban art. Who knows the effort and the risk taken to accomplish it. But it certainly makes a change to the landscape and a change (however small) inside every person looking up.

Have you taken in any urban art lately?


ride the waves

“We can’t control the sea, but we can learn how to surf the waves.”
– Headspace app

I remember going into the ocean as a kid and getting smacked full in the face with many a wave. Mouth full of salt water, rubbing my eyes, there was always a feeling of being against some huge force and not being strong enough. And then I learned to play with the waves. To dive into them as they came. To ride on the swells. Though I’ve never been a surfer, I found myself riding the waves in other ways. To listen to what the ocean is telling me and to feel part of it rather then in opposition to it.

As I write this, there is an ocean of changes swirling in other ways as well. The recent EU referendum in the UK and the Australian double dissolution election caused some waves, and there are also some gathering on the horizon with the election in the US. On a more personal level, I am embracing a very nomadic lifestyle (for a while anyway), and there are waves of fear and excitement around that.

With all these figurative waves around me, I’m trying to take a lesson from the literal ones and ride them, dive into them, listen to them, preferably reducing the number of times one of them smacks me in the face!

What waves are you surfing these days?

the thing with feathers

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

Let’s always be on the lookout for hope.


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?


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?