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.

an open letter to the fox outside my window

Dear Mr. Fox —
(Or Ms. Fox. I’m really not close enough to tell for sure.)

I don’t want to interrupt your frolicking, but you make me happy. Maybe it’s the red. Maybe it’s the complete non sequitur hilarity of the viral music video.

Mainly, I think I just like to watch you run around and do your thing. You’re so inquisitive. And when your friend joins you, you’re inquisitive and frolicking together.

You remind me to be more curious about everything. In my day-to-day routine, I often forget that. Curiosity makes life so very much more wonder-filled.

But I really like the red, too.

The woman in the flat upstairs

creativity in the every day

“Creative thinking – in terms of idea creativity – is not a mystical talent. It is a skill that can be practiced and nurtured.”
– Edward de Bono

I bought a cool old chair for my office from a lady up the road. Then I inherited a back pillow from a friend. But the pillow kept slipping down the back of the chair, not resting in that comfort lower-back zone. Using a needle and thread, two binder ring clips, and three ribbons, I attached the back pillow to the metal rods of the chair. Then, because it was quite odd looking, I slipped a brown (my fave color) pillow case over the whole thing.

This task may sound bizarre and tedious but I enjoyed it because it gave me the opportunity to be creative. Those opportunities are everywhere, if we will only look around. Even the mundane every day tasks – the dish washing, the cooking, the laundering of clothes, the getting dressed for work, the writing of an email – are opportunities to be creative.

How have you been creative today?

will you be in my opera?

I would like to write an opera about this tree. A woman singing an aria, spreading one arm wide while the other holds her baby tightly to her. Or a witch cackling over a cauldron while the wind blows her cape behind her. Or a disturbing human rabbit hybrid… OK, I won’t go there.

There are so many stories all around us. I spend so much time looking at and listening to the stories in the world that I sometimes forget to tell my own. I forget to ask for what I want, and I keep my story to myself.

Telling my story or asking for what I need is not about being selfish. It’s about being clear on my path and asking for the help I need to continue on that path, to affect the world as I am supposed to.

I’m not quite sure how to shift that in a massive way. The first step is to be aware of this. And next to make a commitment to myself (and you) to start asking more when I need to. I’m totally fine if the answer is no when it needs to be. But if I don’t ask, I’m telling myself no every time. I’m shutting down the story before it even begins.

I’d like to commit to telling my story while I continue to listen to the stories around me.

What’s your story? What can you ask for today?


the gift of a deadline

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.”
– Napoleon Hill

I’ve been working on some projects lately that are totally and completely my creation and therefore solely my responsibility. Meaning, I’m in charge of the deadline. Deadlines motivate. Deadlines push me into structuring my workload. Deadlines help me say “no” to the friend with an extra movie ticket.

Choose the deadline. Then commit to the deadline. And even when you’re up against the clock cursing yourself for being your own strict parent, damn it feels good when you reach that deadline day with that amazing finished something.

I find it helpful to tell one or two carefully chosen people about the deadline, not because I need anyone nagging me but because I need a witness. Saying something aloud is powerful. “I will do ________ by _______.”

Do you have tips for keeping a self-appointed deadline?

care and creativity

“I’m much more creative when I’ve actually taken care of myself.”
– Arianna Huffington

For the coming year, I’m going to see if I can listen to this advice. I have felt this at times and know at my core that it is true. And yet I still find myself neglecting self-care in order to complete a task for a client here or accommodate a request there.

My work is universally better when I am in top form. I know that the top form work is the work that all of my clients want. In order to give it to them, I must remind myself to take care of the source of that work… me. I hope you will join me and take care of yourself in a renewed way as well.

Here’s to a 2015 full of creativity and care all around.

if you take something away, is it a loss? maybe not

Below is a picture of The Needles off the coast of the Isle of Wight in the UK. The formations were caused ages ago by erosion to a chalk ridge eventually leading to the stacks of rock jutting out into the ocean. They’re now a famous landmark, visited by many people year-round. Mother Nature here might be the sculptor slowly chipping away at the stone to reveal a beautiful piece of art.

In comparison… I’ve written in the past about my time on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Formed of 5 volcanoes (with a 6th offshore to join sometime in the future), this is an island growing incrementally all the time. Lava is simultaneously a force of destruction and creation. And Mother Nature as a sculptor here is the one working with clay or paint, adding some here and there to build up the piece of art.

Mother Nature creates wonders by taking away and by adding. Disappearance does not always equal loss (though it can). Appearance does not always equal gain (though it can).

This just reminds me to question my assumptions — in life, in business, in everything. We live in a complex world, and change never means just one thing. Disappearance, appearance, loss, gain, destruction, creation… These are often present at the same time in different ways.

Mother (Nature) knows best. Can’t wait to see what amazing art I see next.


the walls and shelves of a room of one’s own

For my high school graduation, my Aunt Alice gave me the book A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf. The title says it all.

I’ve been thinking lately of how that room of my own affects the work I do. I have a small room in my apartment that has been designated as my office. And in that room, I have carefully chosen the books on the shelves, the pictures on the walls, and the location of my desk. I happen to find it inspiring to, when I work, see a photo of my great-grandmother, a collage of people I admire pinned to a bulletin board, books that are particularly meaningful on the shelf next to me, framed pictures that were gifts from friends hanging on the wall, and a tiny rubber frog sitting on my desk because… well, just because. My office is inviting to me, comfortable for me, and, everywhere I look, I am reminded of what grounds and inspires me.

Some of you have an office away from home or a cubicle away from home or a work corner in your living room. Whatever and wherever your office room is, consciously creating the atmosphere around you, even if it’s hanging a single photograph, makes it a room of your own.

What are your suggestions for creating that special work space?

risk the poo

When birds fly overhead, I simultaneously think “how pretty” and “please don’t poo on me.” On this day, it was the same for this monkey. (It was a narrow miss for the latter.)

Some of the most wonderful things in the world are capable of that dichotomy — joy and / or crap at any given moment.

Are you willing to risk the poo to see the wonder?


impossible thoughts run through my head

“Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.”
– Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony’s enthusiasm about the bicycle makes me wonder what she would have thought of a woman driving a car or a woman piloting a plane or a woman flying in a spaceship. At that point in our history, she could hardly imagine a woman filing for divorce or running for Congress or owning property!

Susan B. Anthony did, however, imagine that women could one day legally vote in this country. She devoted her life to that imagining. And what she imagined did indeed come to be.

But even though we still ride bikes with abandon, we are, in 2014, living lives that Susan B. Anthony couldn’t even imagine. We are living, to her, impossible lives.

It makes me wonder if the things that I believe are impossible are actually… possible.

a complicated penguin

It was a sunny day on the last day of September at London Zoo, and this penguin was feeling it. Basking in it proudly.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about zoos. Wanting the animals to be in their natural habitats rather than on display in enclosures or behind bars. At the same time, understanding the vital role the better zoos play in conservation and education.

I thought about all of those things on my visit. Some animal areas made me feel profoundly sad. That bird is supposed to fly over the mountaintops, but his wingspan is half the width of his too-small enclosure. And some made me feel really hopeful. That animal is massively endangered in the wild from illegal poaching; thank goodness for this safe refuge.

This complicated conversation in my thoughts reminds me that there are times when we all live with contradiction. That sometimes there is no clear-cut resolution on the radar.

The navigation there is to not let the contradiction be crippling. I can’t let not having the “right” choice keep me from making any choice. Action comes from careful deliberation in my mind and with trusted colleagues, and then definite commitment.

Where are some areas you feel contradiction? How do you navigate those?