October 31, 2010

Essence of Amo

I'm laying here in bed on a cozy Sunday morning reading a portion of Rolling Stone's Keith Richard's autobiography and was touched by his quote, "Friendship is a diminishing of distance between people. That's what friendship is, and to me it's one of the most important things in the world."

This statement is exactly what I've been thinking about and exploring for the past year. It blends perfectly with what my cousin Diana recently said, "you have to know from what distance to love someone."

I take both of these thoughts to heart, recognizing that people move in various orbits of friendship around me. The distance factor is dynamic - ever changing depending on what is going on in our lives. For some friendships the distance never diminishes from my heart center and for others I have to love them at arm's length. Then there are those rare folks who appear in my life and I am instantly heart-to-heart with them, literally and figuratively.

The greatest challenge for me are romantic relationships because I open my heart, shortening the distance. Repairing my heart, when it is over, is a long process because now there is an absence of a presence, a space that I must let close again. Does the other person experience this too, I wonder?

Sometimes I wish that I wouldn't allow this opening to happen, that I wouldn't let a romantic friendship reach my heart. It is so easily close to love. But, that would be a denial of the Essence of Amy. After all, Amy comes from the Latin word, Amo meaning I Love.

October 29, 2010

California Dinner

Lucy and her dad, who is visiting from the UK, made this lovely appetizer.

Mondo's Gift for Inspiration

Even though this Project Runway Season 8 moment was several weeks ago, I am posting this clip of Mondo today because I was sharing it with a colleague at school and we both agreed it was inspirational and beautiful. Mondo is a gift.

October 25, 2010

Dare I Say, Routine?

For the past year or so my friend Hisun has been trying to get me to set a weekly "date" with her for a girls' night. No way, was my response, I hate routine. But as my schedule has filled out with a full teaching load, I've started scheduling regular-ish dates with girlfriends.

Now Hisun and I have our weekend Project Runway viewing party, which thankfully turned into sake indulgence last week. Plus, Leah and I are working up to a Tuesday-weekly-sunrise hike in the Oakland Hills. Of course I also have my Saturday morning yoga with Nancy Leigh-Smith at Alameda Yoga Station.

All this commitment is starting to resemble a weekly routine. How unfamiliar and a bit worrying - next thing I'll join a book club or start playing bridge.

October 23, 2010

Portraits of Amy


My neighbor Matt took these great shots of me today. I love the images because I look happy, relaxed and strong. Also, I'm taking photos! 
 This is my favorite shot!

Rosary Marie

Just Married

This is quite the wedding.

Mission Mission

My neighbor Matt and I are at the Mission San Juan Bautista. The sky is blue, roses are blooming and fragrant and a Scottish bagpipe player is preparing to serenade a wedding. Another beautiful and unusual day in California.

October 21, 2010

A Teacher Like You

When you teach all week and have to be the meany sometimes it is so rewarding to get positive feedback on occasion. Disciplining my students is my greatest challenge because I believe in bringing out the best in people and I loath confrontation. But I'm learning that students need leadership in the classroom and if you're wimpy or wishy washy they feel unsafe and unsure, resulting in anarchy.

So, when my students today said that I am a teacher who cares about them and who they see as a mentor, it warmed my heart. Is this what it's like to have kids, you are firm to keep them on track and although they are angry about your "direction" they respect you for respecting them? I really do want the best for my students and my intention is to help them reach their fullest potential. Sometimes that journey is on a rocky road but it is paved with hidden gems.

October 18, 2010

Sorry Students, the Tar Bucket Ate Your Test

You would think that school-related anxiety dreams end when you graduate. But when you are an Instructor, they continue far beyond their expiration date.

In preparation for the classes I'm teaching today, Business Ownership and Human Resource Management, I dreamed last night that I was administering an exam but neglected to provide the question. I searched far and wide to find a copier to duplicate the exam but all I could find was an industrial machine inside a huge warehouse. When I pressed the duplication button several giant buckets, suspended from the ceiling, began to pour molten tar into the warehouse. I ran away to avoid being tarred and feathered by my exam question.

Having destroyed school equipment, I had to confess my sin. I searched for my boss, who turned out to be Daniel Goleman, the author of Emotional Intelligence. I told him that I had made a horrible error and had caused the spill of tar in the school's warehouse. His response was that I worry too much and to not give it another thought.

With that guilt off my back, I now searched for my students to tell them the question for their exam. It turns out that many of them were long-time friends who didn't want to tell me my exam was completely confusing. For some reason I had asked them to bring donuts to the exam and now I indulged in my favorite - pink iced donuts.

It was a strange dream. Thankfully, the real class is going well and I have the answers to the students' questions. One even said that I am great at Excel. That was rewarding, almost as a good as a donut.

October 14, 2010

Date with Myself

What a luxury, a date with myself. Cafe Trieste on Piedmont Ave., pepperoni pizza, a glass of red wine, Suki Stackhouse Vampire Novel and a buzz. Yummy.

Support Oakland Artists

This evening my Oakland Arts Hero, Randolph Belle, has organized a forum called ArtSpeak at the Oakland Museum. A couple of our Mayoral candidates are in the audience listening to our various ideas for establishing Oakland as an arts and culture hub. Actually, we are already at that place - its just that we are neither well organized nor we'll marketed.

UN of ART

Mike Skott of www.ikonbooks.com is one of the vendors at the SF Arts Market every Thursday noon to 6pm on UN Plaza. Mike is typing his business cards for that personal and immediate touch.

October 9, 2010

Dream Car

I have a secret love of cars painted with hot flames and tricked out with hydraulics. The Alameda Classic Car Show is filled with them.

15 Year Leadership Vision

Yesterday Megan and I took a walk through San Francisco's Presidio and had a deep conversation about life, the universe and everything. We reflected on how lucky we are in our ability to pursue adventures at every turn. We have made choices, many that are untraditional, but always deliberate. I am careful never to say I regret a choice, as each has been a learning experience that have allowed me to be at this point in my evolution.

One of my dreams, as Megan reminded me that I articulated exactly two years ago, is to teach full time. Now, 24 months later, I have a full course load of five classes at the Art Institute of California - San Francisco and Sunnyvale. Our Fall quarter started this week and in my Executive Leadership course I have asked my students to articulate their 15-Year Leadership Vision. When I taught this last quarter the students were able to clearly explain their goals. This quarter my students are bewildered by the task. I gave them some direction through examples but I could tell they were stuck. "We'll be 40 in 15 years and we don't even plan for tomorrow."

I get it. I am the same way. What would I have said about my leadership goals 15 years ago? Would I have ever imagined that I would be in San Francisco, teaching full time, surrounding myself with extraordinary people and pursuing continuous learning and adventure? I think I would have said, "working in the arts and being creative."

As part of the class exercise the students chart their current lifestage on the career lifecycle. Some are at Idea or Start-up, perhaps in Ground and Grow, but not yet at Maturity but maybe Turnaround. I would say that I am currently at turnaround, which is when you take the best of what you have to offer, the seeds, and re-plant them to start again. My seeds are being an arts management expert with boundless creativity and passion for helping individuals and teams reach their fullest potential. The turnaround is that I am moving into teaching in the commercial arts as opposed to non-profit. This may seem like a minor nuance but actually it is a huge change. The catalyst for this transition is the Doctoral program I start this month, where I will be working towards an EdD in Organizational Leadership.

Where will I be as a leader in 15 years? Teaching, mentoring, advising, coaching and consulting with individuals, teams, organizations, and governments on how to embrace creativity to reach their fullest potential. That is broad statement but it is a vision inspires me to keep inspires me to keep evolving, every day.

October 8, 2010

October 5, 2010

Let Go My Ego

This morning, at the crack of dawn, I met Jeff, a fellow yogi from my Saturday morning class at Alameda Yoga Station, for some one-to-one practice as work on freeing my shoulder.

Jeff's observation is that my shoulder is pre-frozen, which sounds very daunting if frozen is more painful than my current state. We worked on several stretches and with each one the range of motion increased in my left shoulder. Jeff suggested that I use my breath in the stretches to make them effortless, an Ashtanga yoga concept. Remarkably, my shoulder instantly had significantly more motion. With each guiding breath I became freer and my head became lighter. In fact, I felt gitty. How could my breath free my shoulder? We talked about freeing the Id and the Ego as a way of letting go and I suddenly understood that my body is not a series of parts working in isolation but a unit of muscles, fluids, bones and a spirit. We talked about how living a life of consciousness is so appealing, rather than a life filled with noise that causes congestion.

My intention this week is to support my calm, assertiveness with Prana, full body breathing, to let the noise flow past me instead of freezing my shoulder and my spirit.

October 4, 2010

First Day of School

Today I start teaching a full schedule of courses, five, and it is the beginning of my second year teaching. I am bubbling with excitement as I say hello to colleagues, copy my handouts and prepare to walk into my first class. The intention I have set for myself this quarter is to be calm and assertive with the goal of guiding students in reaching their fullest potential. Also, to create a Community of Practice in my classes since my students are in the final quarters of their program. Namaste.