Opening up through words, letters, and whatever else comes up

I like words and the worlds they create. I grew up hiding there, behind books with words in them. At home, to be good was to be quiet.

I like handwritten letters.  I remember writing them since I was about 7 years old.  Writing home from grandma’s or the camp in the summer.  Writing to the best friends who left, one after another.  Writing home and to the best friends after I’ve left. Continue reading “Opening up through words, letters, and whatever else comes up”

Weird Families. Where Leaders Are Made

Do You Have Any Family Here?

A new acquaintance would soon ask about my family.  “They are all back in Saint Petersburg,” I’d say, “…No, no one in the States, all by myself.”  It doesn’t seem weird to me.  It must seem weird, because I haven’t met many other people likewise removed from any family, not lately.  “Do you visit them often then?” the small talk would continue.  Last time, 3 years ago, and then 10 years before that.

During the 10 years, Continue reading “Weird Families. Where Leaders Are Made”

Being Seen

In the past few days, I’ve been wondering if all the leadership and connection challenges in several areas of my life are worth the effort.  That’s a lot: being strong and flexible, understanding and vulnerable yet grounded, supportive yet trusting; setting the clearest expectations possible and welcoming the reality possibly richer than the expectations; caring enough to connect and inspire yet not so much as to despair.  That’s a lot, and much of that feels like a foreign language. Continue reading “Being Seen”

Nola

20120915_NolaLast night, on my way to a milonga, I received a message from Kathy:

“I don’t know if you saw the post by <so and so> that Nola passed away this morning. We don’t know details but I know you were good friends and you were her mentor.”

I didn’t know that.  I knew that Nola was retired, so she must have been older than she appeared and lived, but no, I didn’t see that, didn’t see that coming.  She was 67.

Years ago Nola worked as a math teacher somewhere on the East Coast.  Continue reading “Nola”