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.

that bird watcher stillness

“In order to see birds, it is necessary to become a part of the silence.”
– Robert Lynd

When I see a bird out my window, perched on the deck or fire escape, my instinct is to move closer so that I can see it more clearly. But, most of the time, when I make that move, even if it’s a slight one, the bird flies away. I’ve learned to be still and silent when doing my bird watching.

This little guy has his beak open. Best to watch in silence so I can listen to what he has to say.

Are you a bird watcher, too?

bird on chimney

the poignancy of cracking up

“Laughter can bring a new perspective.”
– Christopher Durang

I grew up around a lot of laughter. My parents are rather hilarious and so are my sibs. Wit and whimsy have helped me to get by in the world. “Cracking up” on a regular basis keeps me feeling light. It’s a release of tension, I suppose.

Durang’s remark is a thoughtful one. Humor gets people’s attention. When we’re laughing, we’re listening. And when we’re listening, new perspectives find their way in.

Have you had a good laugh lately?

the red bench beckons

Due to my many years of living in New York City, I tend to think of a bench as a temporary resting place that may or may not be sanitary. It’s a place to wait for a subway, to eat a quick snack, to check my phone messages, or to have a chat with a friend. Rarely do I sit for any significant length of time on a NYC bench.

Recently, I came upon this red bench in a remote area of my little river town. The placement of it caught my attention. It seemed to be beckoning me, the passerby, to sit and simply take in the view. “Hey there, please stop walking. Sit down, look around, and really take this in.”

So I did.


what’s your gravitational pull?

“Gravitate toward those who like you to be powerful.”
– Rob Breszny, Free Will Astrology, Dec 2-8 2009

I wrote this down in my notebook back in 2009, when I was still reading this horoscope column. I glance at it every now and again as a reminder. It’s a variation on a fairly common saying, but I like the wording of it. It’s like I’m in my orbit, and I can turn the dials on my gravity settings to choose what I gravitate towards and what I steer away from. It’s not an exclusion or a hard line; it’s a subtle shift about where I want my orbit to take me, and the people I want circling my planet (and whose planet(s) I want to circle in return).

Also, powerful can mean lots of different things. I’ve certainly gone through some shifts related to this as well and now find power in much gentler, kinder things than I did 10 or 15 years ago.

Where does your orbit take you? Is it time to shift your gravitational pull? And how are you powerful?


“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”
– Dr. Seuss

There’s a lot of competition out there, a lot of comparing oneself to others. Sometimes we need a simple reminder that each of us is on her own time clock, living life at her own pace, accomplishing things in her due time, doing her unique work, seeing the world through her unique lens.

Thanks, Dr. Seuss, for the simple reminder.

the joys of blending in

Say hello to my friends the degus. They’re cozy in their bed and still paying attention to the strange thing approaching (aka, me).

We live in a world that praises people for standing out, for being different. That is awesome. I fully support that. But there are also times when blending in, camouflaging, gives someone a better vantage point to observe, to listen, to learn.

Or even just to snuggle up away from the strange thing approaching.

By all means, take the stage when the spotlight is on you. I certainly do. (And I also switch metaphors mid-stream apparently.)

Outside of those moments, are there ways that you like to blend in to observe & listen?


hearing a pin drop

A six-day trip was canceled the day before it was to happen. I suddenly had this breadth of time in front of me. Rather than fill the time with scheduled activity, I opted to dedicate it to an “at-home retreat.” I was incredibly productive (I do, after all, work from home most of the time), but in a calmer and steadier way than usual. And I gave myself moments to sit in quiet. I didn’t literally hear a pin drop but I did appreciate the ticking of my kitchen clock.

What do you enjoy about a home retreat?

choose your trouble

When I was a kid, I had a cat named Trouble. Here he is, chilling in the bathroom sink.

Trouble earned his name from day one, and yet I look at this photo with nothing but love. He was trouble, but he was my trouble.

In my life, there have been times when I’ve chosen the path that wasn’t necessarily the easiest or the smoothest. And when challenges appear on those paths, I remain grateful for the lessons learned. They may be challenges, but they’re my challenges. (I don’t always remember this in the moment, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.) 🙂

What it boils down to is choice. Choose your path and relish it.

Choose your trouble.
Choose your challenges.
Choose your ease.
Choose your joy!

We have so much agency in our lives should we choose to accept that.


leaving the table

“You’ve got to learn to get up from the table when love’s no longer being served.”
– Nina Simone

Learning to get up from the table is a lifelong experience. When I’m faced with that lesson, I remind myself that I can’t sit down at a new table until I get up from the old one. How fantastic it is to sit down at a whole new table where all kinds of love is on the menu.

What helps you to leave a table where love is no longer being served?

no need to be right

“Liberate yourself from the need to be right.”
– Seth Godin, What to Do When It’s Your Turn

I’m doing a lot of living in the question at the moment. As I ponder the options that appear before me, I often find myself wondering which is the right choice. Or which choice is better. Or, if I make this choice, will I miss out on something more right tomorrow?

Those moments are exercises in spinning out of control in one place. The second-guessing has no productive value at all.

In making a choice, I remind myself to weigh the pros and cons for a moment, yes, but then to just make the decision. And, if there are two (or more) equally good options, then “right” doesn’t exist anyway. I just need to make a choice and relish that decision. To be curious in the experience of the choice I’ve made.

And you know what? If life throws me a curve ball next week, something that changes what I want to do, I can then make another choice based on the new information.

I’m going to try and give up being right. Will you join me?