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.

human rush hour

These commuters walking into Grand Central from track 39 are living their 2015 lives, but that sign is older than all of them. I admit to sometimes cursing when stuck in a crowd such as this, but, after taking the picture, I walked up the exit ramp with a grin, excited to be in that day’s bustle. I was one of millions who’d crossed under that exit ramp threshold over many years.

Thoughts like that take the pressure off somehow, reminding me that I’m a small part of a much larger whole.


how not checking my email has improved my health

This is a companion to my post about my email / social media routine. And one I’m actually a bit nervous to write because I don’t want to jinx anything!

My whole life, I’ve had major issues with my sleep patterns and with fatigue. I have varied between not getting very much sleep at all (younger years) to getting more sleep but at very vampire / night owl hours. Regardless of when or how much I sleep, I have never felt rested. I have struggled so much with being constantly tired, and my doctor not long ago handed me the label of chronic fatigue syndrome.


When I intentionally said “no” to the FOMO (fear of missing out — see the post linked above)… When I decided to hold myself to living in the moment of my life without constantly checking to see what was happening in someone else’s life on email or social media… Something else very profound appears to have begun.

There is starting to be a shift in my sleep patterns. It is subtle, but, for me, revelatory. I have certainly been exploring other methods of self-care & healing, so this could certainly be a mixture of various efforts. But I actually noticed a marked shift truly based around me holding myself to my rules for email & social media.

I don’t know if I have a full answer for the “why” of this. It could be that, with allowing my mind to focus on the present each evening after work, with not allowing messages from others to start new gears spinning in my head, my mind is able to calm a bit more easily, allowing for more restful sleep when it comes. It may be that, without going down the rabbit hole of social media & email, I’m simply shifting to going to bed a bit earlier, an action that has eluded me for years. The only thing I know for sure is that the tipping point for this change starting came with me holding myself to my email / social media rules as mentioned above.

This is by no means a done deal (one reason I don’t want to jinx it by writing about it!!). I’m still tired most of the time, and I still have difficulty with aspects of sleep. But change is happening, and I’m feeling it. And I want more!

As I write this, I’m a few months in, and perhaps I’ll post something in the future about progress (or, hopefully not, lack thereof). But, for now, I’m seeing intense benefits from allowing myself to stay focused & present in my life and work and not permitting the constant fracturing distraction that can be email and social media.

Powerful communication tools are just that — powerful. If we use them in focused and intentional ways, they are amazing. If we allow the tools to call the shots, well, that’s what I’m beginning to see can be extraordinarily detrimental.

Now, to get all those 24/7 connected businesses out there to take a breath. :-)

baby stepping

“It doesn’t all have to work. It doesn’t all have to have magnitude. All it has to do is be in motion.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert

There are some goals & dreams of mine that have long taken up residence on the back shelf. Meaning: I’ll get to them later. I’ll get to them some day. Perhaps what my fellow Elizabeth is saying is that putting a “some day” goal or dream in motion… even in some little way… is vital to its eventual fruition. Taking baby steps would be better than taking no steps at all, yes?

books & covers, but what about the story?

Did you know that the Scots pine is native to Ireland? Or that Polish chickens (meet Elvis below!) are likely from The Netherlands (though there is debate on that front)?

And that “sweating like a pig” is a bit ironic as pigs don’t sweat?

Labels don’t tell you everything you need to know. But if you allow yourself to be curious and find the story behind the label, oh, what a treat! (And you have 3 stories above to google now.) :-)


where the time goes

I have embarked on a creative project that will require hundreds of hours of my time in order to reach a completion point. Some days, it is easy for me to devote hours to it. Other days, however, things “come up” and this creative project is first to get pushed aside.

I am sitting here contemplating how to address this problem. Because…
A) this project is and has to be completely self-motivated
B) things will always come up.

I’m thinking goal posts would help. With deadlines. Yes, goal posts with deadlines. So, instead of “this project will be completed in six months,” it becomes “phase A will be completed by the end of the month, phase B by the end of the following month, etc.” And if I have to make sacrifices (and not be available for the things that “come up”) in order to reach those goal posts, so be it.

I know it would also help if I shared my goal post deadlines with a friend to hold me accountable to the dates I set. And perhaps I could reward myself in some way after each goal post is met.

It’s really all about priorities, isn’t it?

a broken down, grand castle

This is Roscommon Castle in Ireland. Though once a grand structure that has been worn down by the events of time, it is somehow still grand.

Breaking down does not have to equal diminution.


construction up ahead

“The road to success is always under construction.”
– Lily Tomlin

“Sometimes your view of things is under construction also.”
– Liz Morton


is that you, charlotte?  a message in a web

I was almost home after a long day of volunteering at the farm. As I passed a neighbor’s house, a small movement caught my eye. A small brown spider was just starting a new web. I don’t know how long I stood there watching — it must have been at least 30-45 minutes. All of a sudden, I was in a meditation, watching this creature create something so intricate & delicate yet so simple & strong. My feet & I were still very tired, but the fascination of the moment was far more important.

And when she was done, she went straight to the center of the web and was still. Waiting for the web to do it’s job. Allowing time for the incredible amount of work that she had put in to pay off.

Stopping to watch the web creation felt like a luxury, but it also felt incredibly necessary. In this world in which busy-ness is often praised, in which one is often expected to be “plugged in” all the time, I can’t forget the value of the pause. And the pause is becoming more and more necessary to me. Do my job, yes. And then allow a pause to take in the world. Allow my work to pay off.

upkeep versus buildup

A thought about staying organized:

Most of us have an “I’ll get to that later” pile somewhere in the home. It usually consists of things like unopened mail, random notes written on scraps of paper, a few articles torn out of magazines, the phone number for a dentist a friend jotted down a few months ago, the instruction manual to an appliance, etc.

This pile often outgrows its space. It leaks into drawers and glove compartments, onto dining room tables and stairwells, and perhaps a few pieces even get tucked into a book on a shelf.

At some point, the pile becomes overwhelming. Its contents lump together into one big “I don’t know how to deal with this” thing. The more overwhelming it is, the more one wants to ignore it. The longer one ignores it, the more overwhelming it becomes. Ah… the vicious cycle.

When it gets to that point, I propose setting aside a chunk of hours, putting on some great music, pouring a delicious beverage, and sorting through it all. Dive right in. Toss, recycle, shred, mail, call, file… do what has to get done until that pile is no more.

That’s what is required when the pile has built up. It doesn’t, however, have to get to that point. Just a half hour a week could be sufficient for good upkeep. Clean out those purses, wallets, cars, desks, and briefcases on a regular basis. Sort through that pile before it even becomes one. When it’s just a not-so-intimidating little stack. Make it a habit, a routine. Change the “I’ll get to that later” pile to “my Thursday afternoon” stack or the “while I listen to NPR” stack – whatever floats your boat.

Upkeep is in line with Bacana’s three favorite words which is why, I suppose, I am partial to it.

Do you have any helpful hints for upkeep? Or for handling what has built up to the point of overwhelm?

duck, duck, run!

Indian Runner ducks are awesome. Unlike most other ducks, they stand straight up like a shot. So, rather than waddling like Daffy, they run. (Makes sense with the name, yes?)

They like swimming. And they like running around in grassy meadows even better. In the vein of Mr. Miyagi, they’re even adept at catching flies.

Watching the Indian Runners makes me smile. There’s a sense of being tall and proud and going for whatever they want. There’s a sense of wonder at a duck that runs! Perhaps a bit anthropomorphizing of me, but still a great lesson.

Stand tall and run for what you want. Better yet, surprise everyone with what you can do!

runner ducks