March 31, 2011
This morning I took a totally frivolous bike rickshaw ride and the price was negotiated by three men - Marlene's father-in-law, the cook and our car driver. The rickshaw driver was clearly nervous and cautious about driving around the white lady in the blue hat. To make sure he was on the strait and narrow, our cook's son followed us on his bike for the first few blocks. The ride was actually quite unsettling as you are barely perched on a seat, there is nothing to hold, there are tons of potholes and you are competing with every mode of transport as well as beggars holding on to the rickshaw. I had my fill of the adventure after about 30 minutes.
We are very lucky to have all of these privileges and so many people looking out for us, our every need and indulgence. Marlene and I are always gracious and are careful not to act like Divas. I've now become Sister Sherpa and official Gate Opener - carrying all baby gear and opening the various gates for our driver. It is a lot of fun and everyone is amused by us.
How in the world am I going to return to Oakland to cook for myself, clean my own things and carry my own bags? Leaving here late on Saturday so I have a few more days to feel spoiled.
This is a photo of the staircase in Mandeep's parents' house looking down onto the front door through which all these lovely people enter and exit to make our lives so easy. I hope that someone serves them too but I am not so naïve to really think that is the case.
March 29, 2011
March 28, 2011
I often say that my non-profit clients wear their mission on their sleeves and must relay that tale, in full, to every person they meet. It becomes a monologue that can not be interrupted until finished and once completed the person sits back and closes their mind - often to themselves as well as the person to which they are speaking. Sure, we all have our stories and some are ones we love to tell because they make people laugh, frame us as brave, creative, adventurous. But what happens when a story paints us into a corner and we are only that story, not living in the now but rather the "back when".
This morning, as I laid in bed and listened to the cars with loudspeakers projecting the morning prayers along the streets before sunrise, I started to think about my stuck stories. Even now, I was about to say, "since returning to the US..." which is how I frame one of my stuck narratives. It was a monumental moment in my life, to live in London and then return to the US. Layered within this tale are so many other stuck stories and lately I've been saying that some are not my story but someone else's in which I was a key character or perhaps an accomplice.
Now, as a teacher, I help my students articulate their stories, guiding them in conveying their growing strengths as they articulate their aspirations. This past quarter I revealed more of myself to my students as I shared my war stories of former employers and clients. But afterwards I would often find myself feeling uncomfortable with how the chronicle had been relayed. I came across as a victim - a device of my own telling. This next quarter it is my intention to retell these tales as objective lessons learned instead of plays in which I am a secondary character beholden to the nasty king or queen.
Being on my own...yet the opening for another of my stuck stories...is actually an opportunity to examine my running-narratives without being encased in a dance with another person, or people, who require that my steps remain consistent. My girlfriends and I often talk about our self-framing; being clear about the paths we have taken and the new ones we are now forging. As we explore relationships we notice that either we or the other person are carrying "baggage" - preconceived notions, assumptions and fears - that have us admonishing ourselves as we analyze, assess and shed our stuck stories.
Being the most stuck in a story is when you develop thick walls that keep you from connecting with others or even yourself, and blocking your dreams. Perhaps these stories even prevent you from envisioning a possibility, and now you can only regret. The bravest moments are when you examine the narratives, recognizing that they are so old and have become tall tales by which you exist in the present, holding onto a ghost of the past. This is what I frame as "evolving" and often use this wording with my students and clients when we talk about personal and organizational evolution.
Recently I was talking with various friends about how in life you can ride the wave, deny there is a wave or avoid the wave. Riding the wave is intentional, taking time to reflect on old blockages that need flushing, allowing for new possibilities. On occasion we develop friendships, old and new, with people who encourage our bravery, offering their hand or heart in support as we crest the wave and find balance. Recognizing and trusting these people, being open to them, not pushing them away, is the first step in unsticking our stuck stories. In return, they must accept that finding balance takes practice.
Well, Billy also now has the notariety of teaching me the rules of cricket. He even tested me to make sure I got it down. Apparently he is one of the best umpires in the world so I passed the test with some really good coaching.
We had to pass through four layers of security just to get in for our massages. Turns out there are terrorist threats against the teams and the hotel. Good thing I didn't know this until after the massage.
While waiting for Marlene to finish her massage I sat by the pool pictured in this photo. Hard to believe that this beautiful pool is a block away from the Notary in my previous post. Also in this photo is Billy, who will be umpiring the game on TV. He and I chatted and he took the time to explain cricket to me. Now I kind of understand the concept. He has quite a life, traveling the world going from match to match. He only spends about 100 days a year in his native New Zealand.
March 27, 2011
Today the Delhi security woman jumped back when I giggled as she wanded me. Can I help it if I am ticklish? I made her smile. I think we had a real moment. Does this count as an international date?
March 26, 2011
So much is different here - guards and servants. they are fetching me biscuits for a midnight snack.
In the two films, both dramatized documentaries, the stories center around a strong women with a vision. That vision is about family, in these cases, how they save a family from ruin. What I reflected on when watching these films is that I need a vision. As I thought about it more, I do have one - teaching the business of art. However, in my personal life it is about partnership, equality, passion, and adventure. Still working out that vision.
March 25, 2011
I've now driven to San Bruno to use BART's long term parking for the airport. It really is a good deal $60 for almost 10 days. However, the BART ticket for the one mile ride to the airport is $6.90. It should really be $1.75 considering that is their lowest fee. Ah yes, am expensive driving day.
I think I need to get new attitude about time and money frugality.
March 24, 2011
My students were spectacular this week in every class. As my Academic Director said last quarter, "don't over teach" and I didn't. This last week I had my students work in teams to practice what they learned and the outcomes were phenomenal. I was blown away by how well they worked together and were totally engaged in their projects. It felt a bit like a trick that I had them synthesize a quarter's worth of learning into a final class as a case study project. They had learned so much and mastered the subjects.
In a couple of classes I had the students take a "competency quiz" the first week so that we could assess their knowledge and assumptions going into the courses. In this week's final classes I handed back these same quizzes so that they could reflect on their original responses. For some students their answers were surprisingly different and for others their assumptions were affirmed. It was a great way to end the courses.
I feel quite attached to my graduating students since I've known some of them for 18 months. It is like sending friends off into the world and hoping that they send you letters - other than A-F. Bon Voyage brave students!
March 23, 2011
March 22, 2011
March 21, 2011
The students loved it! I prepped them by showing videos of NCCO and Nadja Salerno Sonnenberg, the inspirational music director. Prior to the rehearsal I asked the students to notice the shared leadership style of the orchestra. Afterwards we talked about the different leadership and communications styles of the players. I was so impressed with the students' observations.
What also blew me away was that during the rehearsal my students were totally engaged. In the classroom there are so many distractions like texting and facebooking. In the rehearsal they sat forward, hands on knees, eyes and ears focused on the musicians.
One student said she had never been to "anything like that before". And when I asked if she meant an open rehearsal, she said, "no, a classical music performance." Another said that she really appreciates when Instructors engage the class in cultural experiences.
Last week I took them to the Opera, this week classical music, next quarter I'm striving for dance and visual arts!
March 20, 2011
March 19, 2011
March 18, 2011
March 16, 2011
Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats
Too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking
I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now
Copyright © 1964 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1992 by Special Rider Music
March 13, 2011
March 12, 2011
March 9, 2011
When I entered the meeting, instead of having anxiety and coming from a position of weakness, I entered with a solution. How empowering to be able to present an alternative scenario and come to a mutually-beneficial understanding. We did have the difficult interaction but I was well grounded and not overwhelmed by the confrontation.
Being an ENFJ in the Myers-Briggs personality types, I do not love confrontation. On top of this, I am very much about helping others' reach their goals. This combination is a recipe for potential anxiety when dealing with difficult situations. However, I navigated it well. Plus, I turned to some colleagues to get input on solutions - getting the situation out of my head and making it less emotional.
Maybe I am more mature at 42.
March 8, 2011
March 7, 2011
March 6, 2011
Sarah's Bat Mitzvah was amazing. She lead the entire service and read from the Torah like a pro. I was so proud of her. What was really emotional was that her mom, Lori, and I have known each other since we were wee kids. Seeing Sarah up there was very emotional - my friend's daughter is old enough to be Bat Mitzvah-ed.
The party was a blast, seeing long lost friends and family. I keep being surprised that my childhood friends have kids. My life feels so different from their's. I live in an urban, single-gal bubble.
March 5, 2011
March 4, 2011
The JetBlue terminal art JFK is so nice that I just want to keep hanging out here to shop and have a massage. I already had a Jamba Juice - just like home.
March 3, 2011
March 2, 2011
Here's how I'm framing the advice in the context of setting career intentions:
Successfully navigating your way through career choices - highs, lows, challenges, and opportunities requires two key steps - setting your intentions and developing your career posse.
Intentions are the end goals you set for yourself. These intentions can be immediate, short term or long term. They are the vision you have for where you want to be and even the values you will employ to move forward.
Career Posse are the people who you trust with your intentions. These are friends, associates and colleagues who believe that you can reach your fullest potential. Your posse are there to be a sounding boards, to provide advice and to be a beacon of light when you may unintentionally waive from your intentions.
In setting clear intentions and having a posse of supporters you have the key ingredients needed for reaching your fullest potential.
I have a tremendous career posse and maybe that's why I am always able reach my intentions.