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.

same name different place

When I studied abroad at age 19, I got to spend a week in Italy with my classmates. A few days in Rome, a few days in Florence, then a few days in Venice. A pretty remarkable opportunity for us midwesterners. It certainly sounds glamorous.

Recently, during a visit to Venice, California (pictured here), memories surfaced of the other Venice and of my time there. Here’s what I remember: My clothes weren’t warm enough. It was freezing. It hailed every day, so there was not a gondola in sight. I wrapped plastic bags around my feet inside my shoes to keep them dry. Pigeons landed on my head and arms as I traipsed through the city shivering. And I really missed home. It was the week before Christmas, and I’d been away from my family and my country for 4 months. I was a cold, exhausted, sad kid when I was in Venice, Italy.

Perhaps I’ll visit there again (when it’s warmer!) and make new memories. Or perhaps not. There’s no requirement that I have an experience of that city that equates with its “magical,” “charming,” “extraordinary” reputation. For now, Venice, California, will suffice. And I’m 100% sure it will never hail there.

What places are on your mind lately?

life and feedback and life and feedback and

“The things you do often create the things you believe.”
– David McRaney

I’ve written before about taking dreams and ideas and then breaking them into action steps to build to them. Having actions support the dreams.

This quote from David McRaney fascinates me, though. The idea of my actions today in this moment creating dreams, not just supporting existing dreams. It actually lines up brilliantly with one of my very first Notions posts with one of my all-time favorite quotes from Eckhart Tolle. In Tolle’s quote, one of the distilled ideas is that the quality of your achieved goal depends on the quality of the step you are taking in this moment.

Life is a fluid thing. It is very often rigidity that causes discomfort or pain. How fascinating to muse on dreams and a life’s path as also being fluid. Have the dreams. Take actions towards them. But also be present with the actions in this moment and allow space for inspiration that may well change the dreams.

A fluid, awesome feedback loop.

gull gaze

“As I watched the seagulls, I thought, that’s the road to take; find the absolute rhythm and follow it with absolute trust.”
– Nikos Kazantzakis

On the occasion of this photograph, I was watching the seagull, and the seagull was also watching me. Maybe he was hoping that my phone was actually a sandwich. Or maybe he trusted me to venture into his “absolute rhythm” for a moment. In either case, I appreciated that this creature of flight was standing still.

All of us creatures need to do that sometimes.

the river change

“You could not step twice into the same river.”
– Heraclitus

These photos were taken about 10 days apart in Sweden in Jan 2018. Mother Nature is constantly displaying her changeability. This is in very sharp relief in many areas of the world with the effects of climate change, but it has always been true in some form.

In the town where I used to live in Hawaii, there was a wet side and a dry side. And a saying — if you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes or go 5 minutes down the road.

With the only true constant in this world being change, it is up to us to ride with the river and steer our boat as best we can, or to fight against it. The latter often only causes discomfort for ourselves. Change will happen. It is happening. It is a force greater than any person can control.

So how does your river look at the moment? And how do you feel about your steering?

purple potato

Apparently, purple has been deemed “the color of 2018” by Pantone. The Executive Director, Leatrice Eiseman, says “We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination,” and “a blue-based purple takes our awareness and potential to a higher level.”

I now have a pair of purple pants and have perfected my purple potato recipe.

How will you honor this purple year?

disturbing diver of festivity

In Copenhagen, there is an amusement park that has been around since 1843. Inside that amusement park is a very small aquarium. Inside the main tank in that small aquarium is this gem of a decoration.

I received hits of festive cheer and something somewhat disturbing at the same time when I saw this.

Looking back on holiday seasons, this actually seems pretty apt. There is much to be celebrated, but also much to be viewed with care and empathy. It is not a simple time.

I think that taking those lessons of complexity and carrying them forward into the non-holiday season, the day-to-day, can only be beneficial. At any given moment, I or the people around me might be experiencing conflicting thoughts or emotions about a life event, a business decision, a conversation, etc.

Is it possible that I can listen for the nuance and hold off the urge to make assumptions? That is what I would like to work on. How about you?

Still not sure about the diver decoration, though. Just as long as the fish like it…

tasting flight

“For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.”
– Leonardo da Vinci

I came upon this quote recently and became fascinated by it. Da Vinci lived long before humans experienced flight. Did he get a taste of it in his visions, in his imagination? Did he imagine the longings of a bird? Did he foresee a time when humans would experience flight? Surely, his drawings implied that he did.

There is much we take for granted now. The experience of flight is ordinary to us, sometimes even a hassle. Da Vinci could imagine many things, and he imagined flight to such an extent that he even tasted it. What do you taste in your imaginings?

field & trails

I am standing in a quiet field in the remote Italian countryside. I look up and see the trails of many people going somewhere else. I wonder about their destinations, about the trails criss-crossing in moments of asynchronous connection. In not too much time, I will be aboard one of those trails in the sky. In this moment, I am here in this field.

There is always movement. There is always somewhere else. But what’s happening in the stillness of here?

Just as fascinating if you let it be.

a slithery happenstance

“Every great story seems to begin with a snake.”
– Nicholas Cage

I was recently on an epic uphill hike in Los Angeles with a longtime friend. During our descent, we happened upon a snake in our path. I immediately had a sense of joy and wonder, so, thankfully, I was walking ahead of my friend because she stopped suddenly, frozen in fear, unwilling to continue on the path as long as the snake remained an obstacle.

I approached the snake, pretty sure it was a harmless garter but still keeping a safe distance. I kindly asked it to move away. The snake did so! I encouraged my friend to come closer and marvel at the gold flecks of its skin and the grace of its movement. She did. She even thanked the snake before we continued our downhill journey. I saw that this interaction empowered her somehow.

The snake was certainly a marvel to behold but, what delighted me more, was my friend’s change of perspective… from fear to gratitude, from fear to power.

Have you had a significant change of perspective recently?

mountain explorer

If you look at the part of this photo that is further away, you might think you are looking at some small rock formations. As you allow your gaze to move closer to the area in the foreground, you see that those small rock formations are simply the tips of the mountains poking out above the clouds. They’re that tall. And that deep.

As are we all. At any given moment, we are showing a fraction of ourselves to the world. But, like these mountains, we have vast additional territory. In order to function healthfully in our lives & work, that vast territory that isn’t always seen needs to be cared for just as much as the fraction that is.

Explore every mountain, folks.