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.

image capture

I took this photo from the 225th Street subway platform in the Bronx. Each of those guys is in his own little world, with no idea that I’d captured this singular moment in time. It got me wondering… Who has photos of anonymous me walking along a sidewalk or reading a book in the background or eating a snack on the train? My image is surely in places I can’t imagine.

Where do you imagine your image to be?

take a wild breath

In the midst of the very urban NYC, there is a patch of wildflowers and prairie grasses on the High Line. It’s curated and yet not. Grown on purpose and yet a bit wild.

In our own lives, we strive to live with purpose. To create or to be of use or to fulfill some goal. These can be rather curated paths. That’s not a pejorative. (I run a business centered around organizing, for pete’s sake.)

Wild patches live within all of us as well, and wild patches can be found here and there along our lovely, curated paths. Those patches can be reminders and respites and places to engage our curiosity.

Have you taken a wild breath lately?

climb or carry

“These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.”
– Najwa Zebian

The first time I read this quote, I exhaled. It was a feeling of relief. I thought about a few personal struggles of mine that are decades old. I’ve been climbing those mountains for years, reaching new vistas and stumbling on different rocks & roots all along the way.

The feeling of relief was the tiny, deep-inside recognition that my struggles don’t have to be heavy & weighted. There can be a spring in my step as I climb. I can also stand still from time to time and take a deep breath and check out the view.

And I can appreciate my damn strong legs.

What does this quote mean to you?

speak & fill the room

“You actually don’t need high energy to fill a large space. You need your own sense of presence and focus. You can bend an entire room by bending a paper clip if you’ve got the focus of the room. And, to accept that the audience, that you are their focus, you don’t need to do high kicks. You just need to be there, present for them, and then you’ve filled the entire room.”
— Stephen Colbert

Above, Stephen is speaking about doing his monologue at the top of The Late Show. But these words apply across a wide spectrum, from public speaking at a conference, to presenting your ideas at a meeting, to a one-on-one conversation.

Many times, if I experience nerves before speaking to someone or to many someones, hindsight shows me that I was making it about me. About my experience on the stage or at the front of the room.

There can be a shift here. Make it about them. How can I be of service? What are my words / presentation / thoughts bringing to the other people in the room that is of value to them? How can I be present for them?

Give the gift of your presence to your audience, and you will fill the room.

dirt magic

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
– Margaret Atwood

Last summer, this is what my lap looked like after a visit to my friend Amy’s house. She sent me home with goodies from her garden. It’s hard to believe that this all grew out of a handful of tiny seeds.

Now that we’re approaching spring again, let’s all aspire to smell like dirt. A colorful summer bounty awaits!

send in the clouds

What would you do if the sky were at your feet? If the clouds weren’t out of reach but just a matter of sitting down & dipping your hand in?

As a thought exercise, turn your world upside down. Make everything that you now consider out of reach to be close at hand. What would you do? How do you feel?

Think about that last question again. How do you feel?

Come back to your world as it is. What is there in your world right now that makes you feel the same way?

Do more of that.

The clouds are closer than you think.

lighthouse the sequel

“Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”
– Anne Lamott

The first image that comes to my mind when I read this quote is, of course, a lighthouse. The first word that comes to my mind when I read this quote is dignity. There is an inherent dignity in standing still and strong.

I am a high energy person who can feel carried away by my energy sometimes. As I get older, stillness is becoming more and more appealing. The good news is that stillness doesn’t have to contradict or dissipate the high energy. It can be an energetic, dignified stillness. A shining one, like Lamott’s lighthouse.

What word does this quote bring up for you?

p.s. Naomi’s notion about a particular lighthouse from the archives is lovely.

life out of context

“and your heart gets bored with your mind
and it changes you”
– John Prine

Context is a fascinating thing. I first heard someone quote just the 2 lines of these lyrics. On their own, they resonated with me about the journey I’m on in my life. With my heart feeling drawn down one path and taking the lead over what my mind had already decided. Heart leading change in terms of life purpose.

After I looked up the entire song (“All the Best”), I saw that the story is one of a failed relationship and a man sending good wishes to the person who’s broken his heart. Come to think of it — those lines still bring about the heart leading change for the singer. Just on different terms (his feelings about the breakup as opposed to my feelings about life purpose).

So the surrounding original story is different. And I take those 2 lines out of the song, and they mean something slightly different to me than they do within the song. Which is kinda cool.

There are ways to take things out of context and make them false. We all see this so much in terms of people being quoted (misquoted or quoted out of context). But there are also times when taking things out of context might provide a different perspective or jog a new thought.

Have you ever found meaning in something out of context?

it’s benchtime

“Truly, the bench is a boon to idlers. Whoever first came up with the idea is a genius: free public resting places where you can take time out from the bustle and brouhaha of the city, and simply sit and watch and reflect.”
– Tom Hodgkinson

In my town, the benches are aplenty. And, with this view, how can I not want to idle? Though, truly, I enjoy the view from a bench in a crowded city just as much. After all, sitting & watching & reflecting can be done anywhere.

My advice for us all, myself included: take a seat.

what path to your wild life?

“…following someone else’s idea of right is all that keeps us from walking fearlessly into our own wild lives…”
– Brian Andreas

Who’s idea of right are you following? If not your own, can you let that go? (I’m asking myself right along with you.)