Photo: Courtesy of Death to the Stock Photo. Edited via Canva.
Leadership comes in an array of shapes and sizes. There are blow-hard, self-proclaimed gurus, “diminishers” who throw out the baby with the bathwater, and those who balance wisdom, strength and compassion. Toward the third end, I’m not sure anything tops Pujan Roka‘s book “Bhagavad Gita on Effective Leadership: Timeless Wisdom for Leaders.” I purchased this book several years ago and it’s a staple in my library. The concept of “servant leadership” is an effective approach to leading with integrity. Dig videos? Watch it for more on the subject with Mr. Roka providing the presentation and slideshow.
“The greatest leader is the one whose existence is hardly known.” ~ Tao-te-Ching, 500 BC, from Mr. Roka’s presentation. Tweet this!
“Selflessness is the greatest leadership quality.” ~ Bhagavad Gita, 3,000 BC, from Mr. Roka’s presentation. Tweet this!
Do you envision yourself as a certain type of leader? Do you have a great leadership lesson to share? Add your voice to the comments section, or leave your mark onFacebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.
Lost but found: infinity ring. Photo app: YouCam Perfect
The case of the infinity ring. Had it on my finger during yesterday’s dog walk and didn’t realize I couldn’t remember its last whereabouts until later that evening. The sun had already set before I wondered: Could it have slipped off my finger during the walk? It’s so cold every bone feels like it’s shrinking, turning whiter and whiter into itself. Past the warmth of the marrow and out the back again.
This morning’s coffee conversations included: have you seen my ring? Counter challenges involved: did you check your gloves? Then this morning’s walk where I thought: Maybe it will turn up. And did. Right there, in a rather unlikely place, nowhere near the drama points of impact, in fact. Just a harmless bit where I remember thinking: Good, I am almost home.
“It’s so cold every bone feels like it’s shrinking, turning whiter and whiter into itself.” Tweet this!
The motto of our newsletter is “Say less, do more.” When I received my latest delivery of free photographs from Death to the Stock Photo along with Paul Jarvis‘s writing prompt on making space for creativity, I reflected on my winter morning experiences. These days, I’m stepping into the snowy East Coast climate, sometime pre-dawn, and the world is blanketed with white. White covers the ground and the trees and even the sky. I’m promising myself I’ll remember the true melody of non-existent harmony, lost in the steady hum of a singular note. I’m not talking about the occasional crow that inserts himself into the scene, not in body but in his beckoning to another bird that I also cannot see. And I’m not talking about the sound of my own thread-like breath that does show up in a thin stream like the magic of mist over an early-Spring lake. There is no green here, not yet (though I know and you know it’s coming). I’m talking about the one true sound that emanates from pure nothingness, the hollow reverberation that can lead to enlightenment or a trip down crazy lane if force fed through solitary confinement. The writers of the world do this to themselves. Lock away in cabins with no contact. It’s okay. They always seem to come back better off than when they left. I’m certain that’s because even the most standoffish are given time enough to come down from their heights and share stares through a window pane, though certainly nothing more divisive than that. Perhaps even eating out of a hand. Feathers are friendly when given the chance.
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“The motto of our newsletter is “Say less, do more.”
There’s a farmhouse en route from one meaningful location to another. Near dusk, there will be a woman in her showroom kitchen, a full bowl of lemons on the middle island. Impossible, I’ll consider. Impossible to have such picturesque fruit day in, day out. But no, every time. Regardless of 30 mph around the 15 mph curve, the bowl of lemons is topped off like the cameras are coming, and the skin is perfect. How do I know? I know because even in the hint of a later-setting sun (each day the sun sets just a bit later, you know, no matter it’s February and everything hurts) I can see how effortlessly she claims her space. And who, in that position, would not keep a perfect bowl of lemons to float one hand over while drying the other on a slender hip. If ever I were to be invited (and I will not), how would I get to that room? Thirst off the bat? Choking on crumbs from a make-believe meal? Or, I’ve been watching for a year. Let me see those lemons. Each so-called solution is an intrusion. Utter falsehoods, aside from the lemons. Though what if? What if there are small brown spots and too-softs under the pretties, just like my bowl. What if the meal is never perfect and the hour he walks in the door is dangerously close to the shadow on the wall. Worse yet, what if everything is indeed perfect and all I can do is go home.
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“I can see how effortlessly she claims her space.”
I am cat-brained. The twitchy tail and pupils dilate accordingly depending on excitement, contentment or fear. Since I was little, cats came to me and I to them. We had colonies of ferals all around. Each litter would yield one that named me something other than my birth name: “friend” “mother” “confidant” “spy”. I, in turn, would name it something other than what it answered to on the kind of winter nights that kill: “friend” “mother” “confidant” “spy”. We’d spend hours watching each other. Days following each other. Years finding each other. A lifetime mourning the loss of each other. It rolled on and on like that, birth after death, death after birth, a new form, a new coat, a new ghost. There was the big orange tabby tomcat, soft as worn leather inside and out. I have no memory of how he died. There was the black and white tabby that limped because of a run-in. He let me get so close as to collar him. His body turned up weeks later behind a fence, and I knew him because of the color I chose. There was the solid gray left behind because we moved. Why we let him go, I’ll never know. Tiger, friend of the gray, came with us. Fifteen years access to a warm house and my pre-teen embrace, chased from the furniture but allowed to die on his own terms. Then there was Pepper, who I cannot speak of here. Not yet. And now, Ernie and Bert. This time last year, laps were uncharted. Today, during this month of love, there is lean-in, look up and purr.
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“Since I was little, cats came to me and I to them.”
Silver winter nights are custom made for Brooklyn. Bits of metal in the air and the blue light has no edges. Tiny remnants of pine hide out somewhere between unused snow and glimpses of star. Urgency and all-the-time-in-the-world marks the … Continue reading →
Haiku gets my creative juices flowing. A fan of short and sweet, the form takes me off the hook of writing past the point where I wonder whether the reader loses interest. 5.7.5 is safe. Reflecting on nature is a traditional theme in Haiku, and I try whenever I can to get a little bit of the green stuff in there. A great book for guidelines is described here. Without further ado, words about wealth.
Color of envy
I watch a grasshopper land
wealth beyond measure
I’ve been taking a shine towards iPhone photo apps for that oh-so-professional look, lusting after shots with blurry backgrounds, interesting angles and points of perspective. The impact of visuals on social media is well documented. Pictures tell powerful stories. With the advent of exceptional apps that are exceptionally affordable, if not free, it’s fun and frisky to use our pocket devices to shutterbug and then later, maybe over coffee or waiting for the train, tailor it to look bangin’.
My photos aren’t in the bangin’ category, but I’m having fun working towards that end.
Feel-it-from-my-heart/gut follows me everywhere. On all levels. I am also a head-strong pragmatic. As a creative, I can usually float both boats. I’ve trained myself to self-edit, axing the extra, making the sentiment ever more concise. Keep only sharp-as-a-knife observations. The reader doesn’t have much time.
Three cheers for the Pull Back Kings and Queens: Anne Sexton, Margaret Atwood, Edith Wharton, Bernard Malamud, Virginia Woolf (Queen Extraordinaire). Dammit, I also love the watery writers: Isabel Allende, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Rumi. What even to say about the impossible Harold Brodkey except bow down and pump my [frustrated] fist at the same time? And then there are the writers who hover somewhere else entirely, for instance the Eastern most coast treasure Robert Dash, author of “Notes from Madoo: Making a Garden in the Hamptons.” Mr. Dash crossed my path in the local paper, “The East Hampton Star.” His essays conceal sharp perceptions among facts and preferences on dealing with dirt, living things and seasons. In short, capturing life as it stings and sustains us. His essays are best read whole. Here, try any of these, in particular “Almost Spring.”
Lovers of the written word, share your favorite author in the comments below, on Facebook or on Instagram and tell us why you’re in love.