Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Finding your inner peace.

I received some e-mails telling me about some of the ways that others

find peace within.

As they say experiences will come and go; the inner still point is where

the journey takes us.

Resiliency comes from learning to bend.

When we try and stand hard we risk the danger of breaking.

So some of the other suggestions I received were about using techniques

to help us stay tranquil and at peace.

Some suggested spiritual meditation.

I also heard that breathwork and chanting did wonders for you.

Yoga and Qigong also placed high o the list of suggestions.

Still a few others said that simple daily journaling did the trick.

Quite a few wrote and told me that reading spiritual texts was the only

way that you could ever find the inner peace we all were looking for.

There has to be something said about reading scripture that brings

you that enlightenment.

One verse was sent to me in a beautiful e-mail, it asked me to read

Matthew 11:28-30. In it the verse reads,

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,

and you will find rest for your souls.  

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Make it an peaceful día!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kindling from a large oak tree.

What can I do to find more "inner peace," I was asked the other day.

Actually I have the same angst and many of the same worries

that we all are burdened with.

I even have the additional weight of my neck pain and the recent elbow

and forearm injuries.

The main reason I appear to be more resilient is that I have a deep spiritual

connection to my journey.

To be very honest, I am not in any big hurry and I really take time to show

gratitude in things small and large.

That and my secret ingredient is the guiding spirit of my higher power.

So just what are some ways that we can find the road back to a more peaceful "me?"

Well unfortunately there are no set instructions and road maps for this journey.

We all trek the same reality.

And though you may feel frustrated and even exhausted by your path..

just keep in mind that life is but an earthly journey.

The more permanent one, will make short kindling of any mighty oak tree.

In time - some of us get there faster than others - we will cross over,

so the trick is to take it all in and enjoy the adventure.

First of all be patient.

With yourself, and with others.

Like I tell my folks, one has to "leave" on their own terms.

Don't allow that crazy road rager to get the best of you.

If that impolite, pompous person cuts in line, breathe… maybe, just maybe

they really need to be somewhere and yesterday.

You’ll find that the quicker you let go of any resentments, and judgments,

the faster you will reset your "peace and tranquil" button.

So relax, breathe, and slow down today.

Being at peace and tranquil is far more important than just about anything that you

could ever work to buy.

Make it a peaceful día!

Monday, February 27, 2012

It's what you do that matters.

There are so many ways to get paid for what we do.

For the things that one contributes to themselves, their family,

their company and their community or country.

I was looking at the ten different birdhouses hanging gently off branches

of the peach tree.

The large tree gives rewards us with about 40 to 50 peaches each year.

The rest get eaten by the birds and some neighborhood squirrels.

Most of the birdhouses are decorative, but a few tiny finches have improvised

them and made them their permanent winter homes.

What exactly do birds do all day?

How do they eat?

How do they find the water to keep themselves hydrated?

They don't really work and yet God sustains them.

No doubt, they are somehow compensated for the joy that their unique chirping

and singing brings.  

We too get paid by all the goodness we give to each another.

The time and gentle patience that we pay to one another.

Yes, the universe truly takes repays.

How much more could we do and improve our lives and those around us?

What are you doing to earn your pay?

What more could we give to our families?

How many more degrees could we raise our own work ethic's?

Just think how much more we could give.

Our families and our companies deserve that and more.

Make it a great día!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

An ice bag and apple BBQ sauce.

A few weeks ago I was in Memphis for some strategic planning meetings.

It had been a long day (even though the flight is a short one), and my neck was

hurting, I was sore and a bit on the tired side.

Half way through the day one of the administrative support ladies (my angel),

who was also responsible for coordinating all the details to all of our

meetings did something unexpected.

Mind you she was busy running around and ensuring that our conference room

and its equipment were functioning properly, that we were all fed and

stayed hydrated, she still found time to keep up with her own responsibilties

throughout the day.

She somehow found out about my neck, and surprised me with a large plastic

bag, filled with ice cubes so that I could put it on my sore neck.

I was up next on the schedule of people presenting and her gift of comfort

came just in time.

Have you ever thought how amazing it is when God places people in our lives

at exactly the right moment?

Late the next day we all went out for dinner.

We went to a traditional BBQ place called Corky's.

I got to sit across from her and we all spent a nice evening getting to know

one another better.

She is an amazing lady, and told me that she was busy trying to lose some more

weight for the upcoming wedding that she was busy helping plan for her son.

So here's she was busy at work, busy at home and yet she took the time to show

me the exact amount of kindness I was needing.

Her random kindness was certainly a blessing to me that day.

Quite often we don't even realize that we have angels being placed in our lives,

that make our moment, hour or day go a bit smoother.

Be grateful for the blessings in your life, for they come unexpectedly.

More often than not just in the nick of time.

By the way I loved Corky's apple flavored BBQ sauce.

I should have bought some when I was at the restaurant.

I regretted not having purchased a bottle to bring home.

The day we were flying back at the airport our new center manager,

and I began to discuss the meetings and our plans for a more successful 2012.

He then said he needed to excuse himself and asked me to watch his belongings.

Several minutes later he came back and he surprised me with guess what? 

A bottle of that special Apple BBQ sauce.

I couldn't believe it.

What a kind gesture and a nice surprise!

It was well.., just so unexpected and sincerely appreciated.

You never know just how much you will impact another with a small act of kindness.

Make it a point to practice at least one random act of kindness each day.

Make it a great día.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tamale business in Nigeria.

I was being driven to the hotel from the airport and the cab driver was a bit

on the quiet side.

I didn't know that he had been working long twelve hour days lately.

If you know me, I'll try to get rocks to engage me, ok, not really but I did get to know 

him in our 40 minute drive to the hotel.

He was from Nigeria and had been in Memphis 20 years.

"Came here and never left," he said.

We somehow got on the subject of work ethic.

He said that years ago when he first started driving his "airport runs"

that Memphis had a much smaller and run down airport.

He was quite proud of the construction and the continued progress that his

city kept making.

As soon as he found out that I was Latino, he said "I love you people."

I laughed and asked him what he meant.

He said that his best friend was from Mexico, and had worked in various

construction projects at the airport the last few years.

He then added, "And our work ethics are very similar."

He proudly said that in his country (Nigeria), "Employers always get a full

day's work for a day's pay out of all of us."

He said that he was having a hard time teaching his sons that important lesson.

Maybe he added, "I have made it too easy for them, with no struggle,

you forget that you have to work harder."

I told him I agreed, that challenges for me were opportunities.

He laughed and said, I need to write that down and tell my boys.

We then spent time talking about our lives when we were both children.

As we got closer to the hotel, he added,

"I do blame my friend Alfredo for the extra 20 pounds that I have put

on over the years."

Not understanding I asked him, "You're blaming your best friend Alfredo

for the extra pounds you've gained?

He said, "Yes, you're darn tamales."

"They make them I every flavor, you know."

"Pork, chicken and even sweet raisin tamales!"

He said that since Alfredo had introduced them to him,

and shown him where they made them fresh every day,

he had been going by twice a week.

"I eat tamales as a treat," he proudly admitted.. 

We both agreed that they were a delicious food - but I couldn't see myself

eating them as a treat or for dinner twice a week.

He said that when he went back to Nigeria and retired,

that he was going to open a place that only sold good tasting

Mexican tamales.  

As we got to the hotel, he said that he had a couple of recipes he could give me

for when I retired.

We had a big laugh, and wished each other well.

Although, come to think of it, I might go find some tamales this weekend.

Make it a great día.    

Friday, February 24, 2012

Crazy Horse and R.I.G.H.T. Leadership.

I am anxious to get to my second day of my Leadership training.

I met so many incredibly talented, gifted and personable folks yesterday.

We spent the entire day working on identifying and finding ways to improve

our leadership styles.

I had a chance to speak about the four leadership principles of Tasunke Witko,

he was the son of Rattling Blanket Woman and Tasunke Witko II,

better known to most of us as "Crazy Horse."

My instructor was surprised, he said he had never had a student bringing up

that leader and or speak about his leadership style.

Crazy Horse led by influencing others and leadership didn't come from

a title or authority.

He had four principles but I'll write about them on another blog.

Most of all we got a chance to interact and share how we respect, inspire,

show gratitude, lead in a transparent and honest way,

and how we develop our people.

There is so much that I want for the people that I lead.

I truly lead an amazingly talented, ambitious and tenured group of women and men.

I couldn't be prouder or feel as privileged as I do, to be able to lead them.

I know that this is going to be a break-out year.

A great year with many personal success stories and personal development.

It's going to take a lot of team work and yet I feel very confident in the professional

staff that I lead to deliver on this commitment.

It is all about like my company believe's, using the RIGHT model.

Make it a great día!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

In Memphis for a couple of days.

It's a beautiful day here in Memphis.

Yes, I flew up yesterday so I awaken in an unfamiliar room and surroundings.

Later today I will be attending another block of coursework in Leadership.

What an amazing company it is - one that boldly states in its core values

their belief in Honoring God in All We Do.

Life is about honoring His word in not just our words but our actions.

What we say, the actions we choose to take and how we treat people matters.

My Leadership training has had many people that inspired me to lead as I lead today.

From my early beginnings and my incredibly loving but formal and stern Father,

my funny, witty loving Viejita, to the military officers especially

one Colonel who took it upon himself to personally embrace my family and I.

In my medical missionary work the very dedicated and nurturing professionals

at one of the top geriatric and hospice institutes.

Still later in my career the likes of a 60's civil rights soldier,

a Baptist minister and also a dear friend and corporate President

who is now the CEO of a leading technology company.

Leadership is about respecting others and treating them like we would

expect to be treated.

Throughout my own life's journey, I have made it a point to show everyone

that I have met that they will always be treated with the respect,

and dignity that they deserve.

No matter what is on your mind today, make it a point to slow down and

find time to show someone the love, respect and dignity that

they richly deserve.

Make it a great día!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ashes on the forehead.

It's Miercoles and our traditional Ash Wednesday.

I will join the millions around the world that will celebrate this traditional

marking of the foreheads by ashes of last year's palm fronds.

No not just the Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans and even Protestants.

It is a tradition that began back in the 7th century.

It's a somber day on the Christian calendar that reminds one to repent

and of our expressing sorrow for our sins.

A time to reflect on our own forgiveness and putting aside

accusation and judgments.

It goes back to the 40 days of fasting that Jesus spent in the desert

before beginning his public ministry.

Symbolic of the 40 days prior to celebrating the death and resurrection.

The 40 days the universal flood.

The 40 days Moses spent in the Sinai.

It’s taking time to prepare ourselves spiritually for Lent,

the 40 days of fasting and sacrifice before the festival of Easter.

As a child I remember being told by the village priest, that I had come

from ashes and that one day I would - to ashes return.

Back then I was so confused by that statement that it took several long

conversations with my Viejita to really understand what I had just been told.

Simple words that remain with me to this day.

I make it a point to attend church service no matter where I have found myself,

and attend the “Liturgy of Penitence” and get the smudged cross like mark

put on my forehead. 

Life comes as a fleeting moment of time and every day must be treasured.

I came from ashes and that, one day, ashes I will become.

So no matter what you believe. It is Ash Wednesday - use it as a day to repent,

to forgive and be forgiven.

Make it a great día!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Our thoughts are our actions.

Our image of what is to be, comes by our thinking.

I constantly have to remind friends, colleagues and even the people

I am entrusted to lead.. that they first must not worry about

what hasn't happened.

The second thing I am constantly reminding them is to be positive -

to be in the moment - the "Feliz día" sort of thinking moment.

Today I have a lot to complete before I go to a Dr.'s appt.

(I had actually planned on taking the rest of the afternoon off).

I say planned because I have a few things that came up,

and I will need to return to the office after the appt.

But I digress - Life really is a visual of how we express ourselves.

Whether quietly or in a loud accentuated way -

what we think is what will be realized.

Out thoughts tend to contribute to the texture of what we end up painting.

Our reality is an extension of what we think,

of listening and following through with those thoughts.

Today no matter what - I need you to think and paint a more

completely positive, kind of

"Feliz día."

Make it a great día!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Breathing leadership.

Feliz Lunes. Ever wonder how companies develop their leaders?

You've heard the old expression that "Leaders are born, not made?"

I tend to disagree. We're all leaders in training.

I've also been invited to attend a Foundations in Leadership course

in Memphis this Thursday and Friday.

I am pretty excited about it and being able to join six other leaders

in a classroom for two days.

But what is Leadership?

Have you ever examined how you lead?

Either at home, in the classroom or in the office?

What principles of leadership do you tend to use or follow in your life?

I believe at my core that leadership begins with how you treat others.

I also believe that leaders need to care, listen and respect more.

Although in my experience a great leader also needs decisiveness,

and strong intuition.

At the end of the day you are managing processes or things,

but a great leader is leading people.

It's about building those special relationships, and together getting

things accomplished.

As a leader, our actions need to demonstrate that we can not only be trusted,

but that we are also trustworthy.

We must be able to quickly identify and meet the legitimate needs

of the people that have been entrusted in our care.

Making them more successful, developing them and removes

all obstacles and barriers, so that they can be their best.

I've never seen a company fail when their foundational was one based

on the power of servant leadership.

Imagine any company being led by men and women like ourselves,

whose  basic tenants of leadership were based on a more patient,

kinder, respectful, humble, selfless, honest, and fully committed self?

To be a great leader, one has to always strive to be one.

Make it a great día.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Anchored to wrong mooring.

We all have been hurt, whether unintentionally or by someone's premeditated intent.

I have never quite understood why people would choose to act that way to another,

whether it was to a friend, acquaintance or strangers.

I believe in second chances, and giving other's the benefit of the doubt.

I can't fathom anyone having this in their individual DNA and purposely

acting this way towards another.  

A few years ago I read that the English word "unkind" actually meant

"to act in a way that is unlike one's true nature."

I have seen it used in spiteful, inconsiderate, thoughtless

and calculatedly ways.

Having been raised in a family where kindness was a prerequisite

to carrying our family's proud name.    

No we weren't the perfect family - far from it.

Our actions were embedded in our family reputation,

and reinforced by knowing that our acts of kindness,

no matter the size created good, and made us feel good doing it.

We all knew, actually the entire village knew who those people were.

The "unkind villagers", who my Viejita would ask us to say extra prayer for.

She would remind us that that we needed to go out of our way to be

extra kind to, be helpful and smile more at.

Problem was that these people were so miserable that when we did

they would come and complain about how we were out to disrespect

and take all opportunites of making fun of them? 

How tragic, to think that their deeply miserable shell would not allow

a child's smile to break through.

So our number one rule was that if we ever ran into them, we must never

be fearful of them, and or stop trying to change their unkind disposition.

Sadly when they died and I was around to attend at least two of the funerals,

they died lonely, and alone.

Very few villagers showed up to their church service,

fewer attended their funerals and or joined in the solemn praying

of the nine consecutive days of the Catholic novenas.

Typically these nine consecutive days of prayer take place in the house

of the deceased or a loved one's home. 

It was a long standing Catholic tradition in our village, where the deceased's surviving

family and friends gathered to pray for nine consecutive evenings.

Those 9 consecutive days were days of mourning and to solicit God's

favor that the deceased could finally rest in peace.

Have you ever faced a similar dilemma?

Pray for people like the one's I've mentioned?

Praying for their personal enlightenment?

Hoping that somehow no matter the perceived wrong and weight could be lifted?

It could very well be that you never see this type of supplication answered.

But prayers remind us of our own actions, and our need to be and showing

consideration and kindness to others everyday.

Kindness in every sense of the word.

Maybe one day your prayers will be transformational.

Hopefully one day the person that is carrying this load can be released

of the mooring that they have anchored or locked themselves to.

Only they have the key and power to redeem the time already lost.

And only then will they be able to move on, to overcome the entire situation,

past, present and future.

Today I continue to keep whomever may be in this situation in my prayers,

that one day everyone that is anchored to the wrong moor...

will one day wake up released from self imposed locks,

and be completely free to continue to sail.

May today be one of inner balance and a day filled with peace and energy.

Make it a prayer filled freedom día.