How’s your heart? From being busy to just being.

Two incredibly powerful, interlaced lessons about relating to others — about making time to truly be present with another.

In “The Disease of Being Busy,” an article shared by Krista Tippett’s On Being, columnist Omid Safi challenges what seems to have become the way many of us respond to each other when asked, “How are you?” Safi encourages us all to look past the to-do list when answering and instead to know the contents of our hearts — so that we might share heart with others.

And in Elizabeth Lesser’s TED talk, “Say your truths and seek them in others,” she offers a beautiful story about her “soul marrow transplant” with her sister. Lesser describes three lessons: “1) uncover your soul; 2) when things get difficult or painful, stay open; and 3) every now and then, step off your hamster wheel into deep time.” For in that soul-bearing openness of deep time, we discover true connection, compassion, empathy and awe.

And we need a bit more awe in our lives. Awe shared by making time simply to be…with one another.

What’s Your Brand? 4 R’s, Gold, Growth & a Herd

Today is OPENING DAY for The Westminster Schools Junior High School! Today we welcome the 561 students in grades six, seven, and eight! Today we begin another school-year journey together! Blessings to all for a tremendous 2011-12!

In the Junior High at Westminster, we begin Opening Day with a brief devotional assembly. Traditionally, the principal of the Junior High gives this devotional. It is a moment that I look forward to and cherish. This year, I am using the idea of “brand management” to detail a bit of wisdom about being our best selves…and helping others to be their best selves. For those that want a peek at the content of the message, you can access my slide deck two ways:

  1. If you are a Keynote user, you can download my slide deck at this public Dropbox folder: 
  2. Also, I converted my Keynote to PowerPoint and uploaded the slide deck to Scribd. You can see it below, but the links and videos may not be live and active.

Here’s to a superb Opening Day, Junior High!

It is about relationships and balance

I hope I can keep this short and powerful. In the past few days, I have experienced a number of thoughts that weave together for me – all about the interesting intersection of relationships, technology, and learning. Let me see if I can draft a thesis statement:

As a learner in the 21st century, I strive to find balance among face-to-face relationships and virtual-tool connections, and I realize that both can enhance or conflict with the other. I am the fulcrum for my balance, and I will be in a state of dynamic equilibrium, not static equilibrium.

Through 21st century tools (like Twitter, WordPress, Google Reader, etc.), I can co-build a rich network of “pen pals.” Yet, I need to be mindful of not having my nose pointed at a screen at the expense of those humans most closely situated around me currently. It is a balance. Picture a scale adjusting to equilibrium as different weights are added and deleted from each side – the face-to-face side and the virtual-tool side.

For almost all of my life, I have been a runner. [Sorry for jarring shift. I promise this is a connected thread of thought…at least to me.] Since I was 9 years old, I have run most days of my life. At various points in my life, though, I have experienced ebbs and flows…ups and downs. Like a balance adjusting. And it has felt cyclical. Some years, I have trained to the point of being super competitive (in 2007, I was the fourth ranked short-distance triathlete in the state of Georgia). At those times, a middle-distance run for me is about 15 miles at a pretty fast clip. But I teeter close to over doing it. And the time comes at the expense of other life pursuits. This week, I struggled to run a mile. Seriously. I have been neglecting my running life for several months – the longest bout of that I have experienced since third grade when I started running 31 years ago. My son wanted to run a one-mile fun run, so I dusted off the shoes last Monday morning. I walked for 12 minutes and ran for 8 minutes. That was the entire work out. I was sore, sore, sore the next day. I had neglected a good balance of exercise. And I ridiculously thought that starting “training” on Monday would help me for a Saturday event. Thank goodness it was a Kindergarten mile. But I learned a valuable lesson…again.

I am blessed to have a powerful memory of when my running has gone overboard and when it has been neglected entirely. SO, I know from experience that I can get back to longer distances with less soreness, but I have to practice and be consistent. I have trained on that route before, and there is an implementation dip (as Michael Fullan adeptly explains in a number of his books) when I start doing something new, or even relatively new. And I need to be mindful not to do too much, too soon. And I need to stay mindful of not letting running – or whatever the action is – become my single pursuit that runs my life rather than the other way around. I am the fulcrum. I decide when to run – not too little or not too much, but just right. Likewise, I decide when the mobile technology is turned on and turned off – not too little and not too much, but just right. I decide.

Several colleagues have written this week about the delicate balance of social networking and face-to-face relationship-building. I encourage you to read them – I am pasting them in below. The balance is like running. If we want to be healthy, we have to find a balance. If we do too much or too little of one activity, we will get out of balance. When we strive to get that balance back, we will experience some soreness – one way or the other. But the soreness helps us calibrate our efforts. It is formative assessment and feedback about getting that equilibrium just right – in this case, the equilibrium among building a PLN and enhancing professional practice AND sustaining and improving those face-to-face relationships that are essential, critical, and vital.

It’s About Building Relationships | PCHSdirectorBLOG

Losing humanity?

April 15, 2011: Jason Mollica – the3six5

My Principal Doesn’t Need to Blog, Metanoia

A Fair Comparison

10 Minutes to Blog – A Random List of Learnings Today

What connections do you find? How’s your balance?