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Live Forward. Look Back to Honor and See What You Could Do Better…

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

–Soren Kierkegaard, 19th Century Danish philosopher

The plan: Lisa would restart our WLS blogging with a reflective post on her learning truths from the last year. (It was wonderful!) I would follow with my own reflections in a week or two.

Instead:  I did a lot of other things. I marched with 20,000 advocates on a sunny day in St. Petersburg for women’s rights and other unity principles; played host for long-weekend visits from three groups of dear friends and family; cooked experimentally; biked; went to the gym; cleaned house…each week (brutal); and kayaked with mermaids and manatees.

No surprise then that January blew by, a fully lived month. The lovely memories will sustain me for a long time. Read more

Powering Up Offline in New Zealand

Two seagulls seem to be scolding me . . . it sounds like they are saying “Where is my lunch?”  “Don’t you have food to give me NOW?”

I am sitting at a small table outside a studio unit on a Pacific beach in Hahei, New Zealand, an end of the road driving destination, yet ironically, far more connected than I have been for the last week to people and activities back home in the states. I am using the next few days to recover from my holiday of last week–a guided walk along the Milford Track–one of the 20 best walks in the world in the Fjordland of New Zealand.  The Track is officially 33.5 miles long, spread out over three days of walking through beech tree forests, up and over Mackinnon Pass, and undulating temperate rain forests.

Doris starting the Milford Track

Doris starting the Milford Track

For a novice walker like me, it offered adventure and challenge–narrow, slick zigzags up the mountain; rocky, steep declines & flooded rock beds to cross going down; cold temperatures (hey, I’m from FL–45 degrees is cold!) and 35 MPH wind gusts as I approached and crossed Mackinnon Pass.  Did I say that I carried a 15 pound backpack and liter of water/camera (3 lbs+) with me everywhere?  Although I walked mainly by myself (my husband did not go and I was on a different pace from the 23 hikers in our group), at critical times, suddenly, quietly, one of the three guides would appear–Logan, Fe, or Akiko.  They would raise my flagging spirit with frequent “Well done” encouragements, entertaining  conversation, offers of hot chocolate, hot tea and respite from the elements in “huts” along the route, and showed me how Read more

All Gifts Do Not Come Wrapped

The end of the calendar year makes many people, including me, look back and reflect on the previous 12 months. Having done a little of  that,  I’m happy to report that my optimism–some might say delusional optimism–is intact as I end 2014 with a lot to celebrate.

My joy flows in part from friends and colleagues who scaffold me in life and work. Sometimes they are one and the same–friends and colleagues, that is.  While there are many who guide and support me, and I love them all, today I wish to recognize two women who have helped me AND the Women’s Learning Studio grow and refine our focus. They are Lyn Boyer and Lisa Levinson. Read more