October morning

autumn leafIt’s quiet on the street
Sun is shining but it’s not the sun of summertime anymore
The light is softer

It poured down buckets yesterday afternoon just after lunch
Lynette and I decided not to call a taxi
A little rain wouldn’t hurt us

Walking back to the car, a couple of bicyclists passed by whooping it up
Just as the clouds opened up again
I haven’t been caught in a tropical storm like that in a while
Only this time it wasn’t quite so warm

I was soaked and dripping but I was content

Fifteen years ago today, my cousin Molly passed away
A year and two days ago Lynette’s partner, Bruce, passed away
I thought of them over tea this morning.

Tea’s done. Time to enjoy the day and do something fruitful
Maybe tidy up my garden beds or sort through my closet

I have chocolates to deliver to my niece after her marathon
and a grape pie for Bridget and Caner made from the fruits of their garden

Tonight I’ve been invited to Lynette’s sister Peggy’s for dinner
It’s Thanksgiving

Embracing the Change

embrace changeIf you live far enough north or south, you can feel the change that happens at this time of the year. In fact, you probably sensed a faint stirring around you even as the calendar turned to August. The air begins to smell and feel different. The sun shifts on the horizon. And if you live in a temperate zone as I do, you might wake one morning to find yourself bundled from head to toe making hot cereal with raisins for breakfast, and wondering when did you actually stop mourning for summer gone by? and when did you begin to look forward to all that the fall season has to offer?

When, exactly, did that mental shift towards acceptance happen?

Fall time settles us down but it also invigorates and revitalizes our senses. I’m not just thinking about how the change in weather brings out warm sweaters and hearty soups. Autumn also brings a new season of learning, renewed energy with work, and perhaps a sense of urgency to close in on your goals for the year.

We experience change around us every day and throughout our lives. It takes many shapes and many directions. At times, we fear it, resist it and eventually perhaps resign ourselves to it. But there are those magical moments when we feel it, yearn for it, and embrace it.

Sometimes we make change happen and sometimes it happens to us. But when we embrace that change, we take enormous strides toward personal growth and development.

When I accept that September has arrived — or perhaps more accurately that I have arrived at September – it becomes one of my favourite times of the year. I see potential and feel energized again.

What about you? What’s your relationship with Change these days?

Can a Community Developer be Over Connected?

As facilitators and bridge-builders, establishing and maintaining networks is a core function of a community developer. So, why would I question becoming over connected? Social media tools can vastly expand our networks but is it possible to become so connected, so caught up in maintaining or monitoring these connections, that we lose sight of our effectiveness? I do use clouds and sites to share photographs, transfer documents, join webinars, write blogs and correspond — and I have occasionally walked along the edges of, peeked in or explored a few popular social networks.  For the most part though, I avoid those networks and tools that reduce my efforts to one-finger typing, thumb scrolling, and soundbites. Why? I suppose it’s a personal choice. I stay connected personally and professionally by asking myself the following questions:

  • Seattle downspoutWho is important to me?
  • What is the nature of my communication-networking-exchange-sociality-community needs?
  • What do I need from my communication tools?  What don’t I need?
  • How much time do I have for social networking and how can I best use my time?
  • Can I still reach those people I want to stay connected with, even if we’re not in constant contact?
  • Can people still reach me when they need to?
  • Which services and networks help maintain good quality connections?

I have come to know that:

  • Making and maintaining connections is important
  • My circle of friends, relatives, colleagues and clients spans around the world and my life is richer as a result
  • Relationships are not static; some connections will thrive and others will disappear
  • My circle has expanded beyond my capacity to stay actively connected with everyone regularly

I’m not always good at keeping in touch — that does not mean I’ve forgotten or I don’t care. I have emailed colleagues and friends after 10 years and they have responded in kind, rekindling those connections.  It actually happens quite frequently and I am ecstatically happy these connections and friendships still exist.

On that level, this community developer can never be over connected!

p.s. There are 800+ top social networks, apps and digital services available to us according to Craig Smith (expandedramblings.com, June 29, 2015). Wow!