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.

animal lessons

I remember a teacher telling me that, when an animal walks on stage in a play, the audience will turn its attention to that animal. He said it’s because an animal on stage is real and present. There is no pretending, no putting on. The audience is deeply interested in that realness, that presence.

In Grand Central Terminal in NYC, hundreds of people bustle about with their thoughts on a train time, a meeting, a heavy backpack, a television show they watched the day before, the job interview later that afternoon, etc. I am one of those people. I bustle about, not always present to my surroundings.

One evening I saw this pigeon walking through GCT and, just as my teacher suggested, I became a rapt audience. He was a small, real, and present being walking among very preoccupied larger beings. Taking in the sight of him felt like waking up from a fog of thought into the real and present now.


the start of something?

This is a sculpture at The Eden Project in Cornwall. It’s a giant seed. The giant seed lives in its own room in a building called the Core.

Seed (good name, yes?) weighs 70 tonnes and was made from a single piece of granite.

An assignment for you right now… Go look up “seed” in the dictionary. Think about all those definitions. Now look back at this image.

I leave you with whatever thoughts you have. What will this giant seed be for you?


me trusting me

riffing with our readers…

The subject today, folks, is Trust. That’s a big subject so I’ve taken the liberty of capitalizing the first letter. Thoughts from Marina, a Bacana client:

“Contemplating Trust. That everything is always perfect and right. Practicing turning moments of self-judgment on their head to recognize, instead, my own brilliance.”

What’s so lovely to me about this contemplation (and with the anecdote she shared with Naomi and me) is that it’s specifically about self-trust. She witnessed the self-judgment, sat in it for a while, then lifted her head out of that mirky water and claimed self-trust instead.

What comes up for me when I think about self-trust are those times where I realized, “Uh-oh, I made a bad decision,” and then having to go through all the yucky after-effects of that bad decision while regret (a form of self-judgment) pulsated through my head and gut. Self-trust did almost always show up eventually, though sometimes it was years later. That sense of Trust said, “Wow. What a great lesson that ‘bad’ decision was for me. It was rough going through it but now I’m grateful for those lessons.”

How does the notion of moving from self-judgment to self-trust resonate with you?

not sure where you’re going? me neither

“Sometimes rejection is redirection.”
– Tavis Smiley, recalling a lesson to him from Maya Angelou

I feel like this is a bit of a companion piece to my post about laying foundations under your castle in the air. In that one, I wrote of dreaming big and then breaking down the action steps to achieve those goals.

But what happens when you encounter a gob-smacking “no” in the middle of your path. What if you are, in fact, rejected?

Does your castle crumble? Hardly. But it may be unclear for a while whether your thought-to-be Gothic castle actually wants to be a Norman stone castle. Harkening back to my previous post, “Castles in the air are designed to evolve.”

In those moments, there are piles of different stones here and there. It’s hard to know how to put those stones together, wondering if what you’re building has any semblance to the castle you dream of. This is a feeling I am acutely familiar with. To be honest, there are still a few stone piles around me as I write this.

But Maya’s words by way of Tavis resonate with me. My castle is still there; it’s just not as clear as it once was. So, in this moment, I am listening to and watching the world around me. I am giving my fullest attention to this moment right now. I am being patient, stacking one stone at a time and seeing the shape that’s supposed to be there reveal itself.

My redirection is happening. I may not know exactly what the shape or purpose is yet, but that’s ok.

a 95-year-old penny

I got this old penny in a handful of change and it sparked a great curiosity in me. So much in our modern day world would be unrecognizable to people who’ve gone before us. But this wheat penny branded with “1920” was a familiar sight to all the women who celebrated the passing of the 19th Amendment that same year. It was familiar to my great-grandmother when she was exactly my age. Amelia Earhart likely had one of these in her pocket the very first time she rode in an airplane!

I could go on and on. Instead I’ll just declare this to be a lucky penny and I shall treasure it.

Keep an eye out for your own lucky penny. You never know when it’ll turn up.


a bit of inspiration to transform tension into balance

riffing with our readers…

Our client Michelle sent us this photo. I immediately thought back to Liz’s post on finding a getaway moment in the city. This is a fascinating alternate view of the same statue. In Liz’s post, the photo is focused on the statue of Gandhi, surrounded by lush greenery — a refuge from the surrounding bustle right in the middle of it.

Here, we see the city, and the lush greenery is missing, waiting for spring to come. This feels contemplative to me, a portrait of a figure in both worlds of green and of concrete, all blanketed by snow. The worlds collide and mix, and, in the center, a man is quiet and present. He looks where his next step will be, but he is neither over-proud nor bowed down.

In my world, I am quite aware of the busy-ness of my work, chores, responsibilities, etc. I cultivate the moments of quiet and mindfulness within that, but there remains a tension.

This photo is of a place I know well, a very busy place. The Whole Foods in the background is always massively busy, and you can see people traipsing in and out of the subway. Yet there is a peace, an ability for the quiet and bustle to live together without, or with little, tension. It is an image I hope to keep in mind as I continue to work towards balance in my own life.

What about you? What do you see in the photo? What does it bring up for you?


the favor secret

You know how sometimes you need help with something and you don’t ask anyone for help because you think you don’t want to burden that person? Well, here’s a little secret. A lot of the time, people enjoy doing favors for others. They enjoy being helpful. Think back to a time when you were able to really help another person, be it a friend or a stranger. Didn’t you feel great?

So next time you’re hesitating about asking someone for help, remember that you’re giving him/her an opportunity to feel great and just go for it.

climb every mountain, or, you know, every cool rock that’s not really that big

See that wide flat rock in the middle with the emerald green grass on top? We stopped for lunch at the sandy area at its foot during the hike I was on. (I actually didn’t know it was lunch — I thought that was coming up a bit later — whoops!) Anyway, I decided I wanted to climb, so I did.*

The 2nd photo is the view from the top. If you click on the photo and make it larger, you can just make out some of the tiny people down on the sand. It doesn’t look that high in the first picture, does it?? Perspective and relative scale are amazing things.

What’s the cool thing in your sight right now? Decide to climb. It’s awesome.


* I’ve done some climbing in the past and know the risks and my boundaries. I don’t recommend just up and climbing a cliff, even a small one, without experience or safety gear.



















contagious joy

I was waiting for a train recently, and there was only one other person on the platform, so we got to talking. This young woman had a smile so big it looked like she was about to squeal. She beamed, absolutely bursting with pure joy. Given that this is quite a unique sight, I was curious as to why she was so darn happy. I mean, had she just won the lottery or something?

Turns out, she’s from the Republic of Cameroon in Central Africa and had moved to the United States only the day before. She had just completed her first day of nursing school and was simply admiring the sights all around us, still relishing in her very new experiences of snow and train travel.

This young woman, Marianne, told me how incredibly happy she was. She kept laughing during our conversation, her joy overflowing in the form of sound.

I must say, I smiled the entire time I was in her presence and for some moments afterward. We take so much for granted, these everyday things. Standing beside Marianne, I began to marvel at the snow and the trains, too! I began to marvel at my own work opportunities and at the fun of connecting with a stranger.

When I need a little pick-me-up, I think back to our brief time together, and I smile. Some time has gone by, and Marianne’s joy is still contagious. I hope I can pass it along to someone else.

the listening lady in cornwall

Have a seat. Tell me your thoughts. I’m listening.

This placid lady in Cornwall seems to be indicating just this. Her posture reads as confidant and mostly casual (with a touch of proper at the knees). But there’s no need to prove that. She just is.

And she’s open to listen. To be a receptacle for whatever it is in that moment that I need to speak forth.

This lady is who I aspire to be much of the time. Someone who has no need to prove who she is and who can be open to receive whatever needs to be spoken. To be a ready ear of support without needing to necessarily “fix.” I hope this lady continues to guide me as I sometimes do and sometimes don’t hit that mark.

And I hope the raven over her shoulder enjoys the flight about to happen.