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.

up the stairs

“Never look backwards or you’ll fall down the stairs.”
– Rudyard Kipling

I’m not sure of the context of this quote, but I like to think it’s a poetic instruction for life. Saying, in short, if you live in the past, you can’t move forward.

Today on a hike, I crossed paths with a guy who (many miles away, many years ago) hurt me deeply. Each of us was hiking alone. He was heading downhill, and I was heading up. I don’t think he recognized me under my hat and sunglasses, but I definitely recognized him.

After he passed me by, it felt great not to look backwards. It felt great not to fall down those metaphoric stairs.

What do Kipling’s words mean to you?

what makes beauty?

This is Hamburg in early February 2018. To my eye, this view isn’t particularly beautiful. That said, during my brief time there, I encountered generosity of spirit, whimsy, and kindness from several people. So now, when I look at this photo, I see beauty.

Eye of the beholder and all that, no?

Where do you see beauty?

a peek at the inside

It seems like the roots of this tree are supposed to be under the earth rather than on top of it. Walking past, I felt like I got a secret glimpse of the tree’s inner workings, getting to peek inside the earth.

This tree reminded me of my grandmother’s hands. When I was a kid, she let me play with her hands and arms and elbows. I’d poke and prod them, in awe of loose skin and visible veins. I was convinced that visible veins on hands was a sure sign of strength and maturity. I’m still convinced of that. I guess I just appreciate the inner workings of things.

What do these tree roots remind you of?

snow days

When I was a young girl, I loved hot weather and didn’t particularly care for the cold. I haven’t changed into a snowbird by any stretch, but I’m perfectly fine going on a dog walk when we’ve got plenty of the white stuff these days. And I do think twice before choosing to be somewhere super hot. (My human water faucet sweat glands may have something to do with that, too.)

My favorite is far and away somewhere in the middle. A nice, comfortable, temperate climate. But it’s fascinating to me how my range of temperature enjoyment has shifted a bit to the cooler end.

I wonder what my younger self would think. She’d probably let out a completely exacerbated sigh at the idea of needing to bundle up. Too much work before going outside! My grown-up self has that thought occasionally. But my grown-up self also likes my cozy winter coat a fair bit.

Considering change is a constant, I wonder if the next shift will take me more towards winter boots or bare feet. Or maybe just some comfy socks.

What’s been a change you’ve seen that would surprise your younger self?

please rain on my parade

“Trade your expectations for appreciation and the world changes instantly.”
– Tony Robbins

Moving from the Northeast to the Southwest has shifted my relationship with precipitation. I now find rain to be a surprising and delightful phenomenon. Even an overcast sky has become a wonder.

Has anything ordinary become extraordinary for you lately?

the force of snowflakes

Here’s the thing about snow… Light and fluffy falling down, creating garlands on trees and shrubs, and big snowy drifts around your feet… But the more people walk (or sled!) over a route, or the more snow that falls on top of what’s already there, the more the bottom layers become packed and hard and eventually turn to solid ice. It’s one reason why people who live in snowy regions are constantly shoveling the driveway. You don’t want to deal with that heavy packed snow or the sheets of ice.

But there is some magic in that transformation, too. That snowflake that might have fallen on my nose or eyelashes, joined together with other snowflakes, and with a bit of added pressure, becomes part of a solid force to be reckoned with.

March on, snowflakes.

just a little laugh

“Laughter is the closest distance between two people.”
– Victor Borge

A friend of mine was recently widowed when her husband of 50+ years died. Being across the country, I wasn’t able to visit her, so I decided to call instead. I was surprised at how nervous I was to dial the phone. I was afraid of interrupting a family moment. I was afraid of saying the wrong thing. I was afraid of hearing grief in the voice of someone I love.

But, when she answered, we just talked honestly like we always do. It was so good to hear her voice, and she was grateful that I called. She even let out a few weary laughs which were wonderful to hear. And I didn’t feel so far away after all.

When was the last time that laughter surprised you?

trip on a troat (no typo)

This is perhaps not the most beautiful photo, but it fills me with wonder. I took this photo sitting in my seat on the train. The white structure you see outside the window is the hold of the very large ferry the train is boarding. The train was going from Denmark to Germany, and there happens to be a body of water in the middle of the route. So the train goes on the ferry, and the ferry crosses the water in about 45 minutes, and then the train continues on its way.

Yes, I know that ferries carry cars and trucks and buses and all sorts of other large items, but the moment I realized the train was going on the ferry (which I didn’t know in advance), it was as if all of that conceptual knowledge melted away and just left me with wonder.

There’s the wonder of the buoyancy of water, able to lift up really heavy things and enable them to float.

There’s the wonder of the feats of human engineering that create vessels that work with the power of water’s buoyancy.

There’s the slight magic that, even if you understand the physics and the engineering of it all, it’s still a bit amazing that we’re really not going to sink.

And then there’s the idea that, even a large vehicle designed to transport people and goods over long distances sometimes needs an assist in that role.

And thus we have the troat. (Train in a boat. I’m rather happy with that word, thank you very much.)

Wonder doesn’t have to come in a large form. Where have you seen it today?

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.