Sing it sister!

Your big dream. Full of possibilities. Full of your perfectly, perfect brilliant self.

During Bobby Kennedy’s 1968 presidential bid, George McGovern introduced the candidate to a group of supporters in South Dakota by quoting from the Impossible Dream lyrics.

Afterwards Kennedy asked McGovern if he really thought his bid for presidency was impossible. McGovern was quoted as saying, “No I don’t think it’s impossible. I just wanted the audience to understand it’s worth making the effort – whether you win or lose.”

Your big dream’s time is now. Your impossible dream is worth every single heart pounding ounce of your effort and your brilliance. Free that dream of yours that’s been resonating in your heart and mind with full bravado!

Go left young woman!

Today I started my day on the left foot – intentionally.

Prior to any foot leaving the bed, however, I read Seth Godin’s blog as I do most every morning. Seth is my go-to, daily-dose-of-business and making great art mentor. I also read Gary Hollander’s blog, which has become part of my morning ritual. Gary is providing a beautifully moving insight into love and loss as he poignantly writes about the life and death of Paul, his partner and husband of the last 30 years. Both men’s insights have been and especially this morning, provided the grounding to intentionally start my day on the left foot.

Instead of getting out on the right side of the bed, I got out on the left side with my left foot hitting the ground first. I was surprised at how physically different and tense I felt. My brain was frantically sending me the message of “wrong side, wrong side, mistake, mistake.” While at the same time there was almost a force field of comfort physically urging me to get out of bed like “I was supposed to do it.”

And the beauty dog was not about to be party to any of this left foot experimental malarkey.   As I tried to turn left with Chandler on our morning walk in opposition to our established pattern, Chandler refused because this is how we are supposed to take our morning walk. So right we went.

Despite my best efforts to change up my patterns in the pursuit of seeing or discovering something new, the dominant patterns persisted. My brain kept insisting “this is how you do it, get back in line, don’t make waves.”

In Seth Godin’s new book (which is an extraordinary read), It’s Your Turn, he introduces the idea that change creates tension and tension creates change. It’s the ability, as Seth says, to “liberate yourself from being right.”  Providing yourself with the freedom to be wrong, to test out what is uncomfortable, like going left instead of right.

In Seth’s change creates tension, tension creates change model, he points out that we each have the opportunity to be the individual who makes change. He says, “We seek the change that is interesting, the change for the better, and most of all, the change that connects us to someone else. This is the freedom to make change, and the willingness to seek out the tension it brings.”

Tomorrow I will continue to look for the opportunities to lead with my left foot. To find the tension that provides the freedom to take my turn. A tension that leads to meaningful and important change.

Arrested Voices

Wisconsin’s state capitol.  12 noon.  Monday – Friday.  Everyday. Since Friday, March 11, 2011.  The Solidarity Sing Along.  A gathering of peaceful voices singing for change.

BFF's summer 2011 field trip

BFF’s summer 2011 field trip

I’ve been fortunate enough to lend my voice to the Solidarity Sing Along on a number of occasions.  An experience so powerful that it eventually evolved into a summer field trip for my daughter and her BFF so they could unite in song and witness democracy.

Rebecca Kemble, a reporter for The Progressive Magazine, wrote today about the Solidarity Sing Along.  What is unusual about Rebecca’s article is that her parents are the center piece of her reporting.  They have been lending their voices to this peaceful gathering designed to create conversation and change.  Rebecca’s parents’ advocacy, passion and voices for change were upended today.  Beneath the majestic rotunda of the people’s house, Rebecca’s parents were arrested – for singing.

As I read what Rebecca had written about her parents and their peaceful advocacy, I wondered what it would be like to see your elderly parents arrested and their hands cuffed behind their backs for singing their truth.  It also has me wondering if I have the strength of my convictions to sing my truth and risk being an arrested voice.  How about you?

Living the Fifteen


“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”                                                                            —Andy Warhol, 1968

Bruce! 8.8.59 - 9.30.11

And then there are those who transcend Warhol’s cynical prediction, living life with an unbridled zest, passion, and energy.  Remarkable individuals who live each day brilliantly, fearlessly – authentic, genuine people who bring us joy while enriching our lives with their unique voices.

Bruce Florine was one of those people.  In hindsight, it’s incomprehensible that I presumed this new colleague was not my cup of tea.  Who was this New Yorker with his designer eyeglasses, fancy clothes, and Gucci loafers?  Why was I being seated next to him at what would otherwise have been an exquisite dining experience in New York?  I begrudgingly settled in for a perfectly abysmal evening.

But, before I had time to unfold my napkin, it was clear this was going to be an exceptional evening – one filled with laughter, wit, and intelligence.  Not clear at the time, however, was that this dinner would mark the beginning of a significant friendship for my family.  Bruce would become one of my husband’s best friends.  For my daughter he became that really neat-o guy with that cool Maddie dog – Bruce’s beloved Shih Tzu whose full name is Madison Avenue (of course that’s the dog’s full name – he was Bruce’s dog after all!).

And me?  I loved Bruce for Bruce.

He lived fearlessly.  Whether at work or play Bruce was the professional who gave it his all, continually pushing himself and his team to soar higher.  He was the successful sports marketing visionary who sat down one day to draw the Florine spider chart.  The result?  His own business created around his gifts, talents and passions.  No corporate safety net – just Bruce.  That took guts.

He loved fearlessly.  He unabashedly spoke of family, especially his parents, with tremendous love and pride.  He refused to be cowed by his sister’s breast cancer diagnosis, urging her on in her ability and will power to fight.  He gladly climbed out of bed in the middle of the night to meet you for coffee when you thought your world was upside down.  He had an inordinate capacity to love through heartbreak and heartache, all the while keeping his own heart un-shuttered.

He laughed fearlessly.  He knew the power of laughter and its ability to heal and fuel loving hearts.  It wasn’t about being the funniest person in the room (although Bruce usually was!).  Rather, it was about drinking in life, and then reveling in it.

Bruce, you lived each and every moment famously – far beyond the Warhol 15. Your trademark joie de vivre energized the day leaving joy, love, and laughter in your wake.  Without you life is a bit less effervescent – yes, even a little flat.  How to make sense of it all?

While none of us may ever understand why you were taken so suddenly, I do know and have comfort in the fact that the tenor of your voice has left an indelible mark on mine.  A voice that inspires me to live, love and laugh with unbridled joy.  For that my friend, I am eternally grateful.