Being: Salt

“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.” – Matthew 5: 13 (NRSV)

For quite some time now I have been fascinated with incorporating “being” in my life and awareness. This hasn’t been easy, nor is it ever “done.” (I know I’m using quotation marks a lot here, but bear with me…)

A term and concept that has gained a lot of attention is mindfulness. This is an aspect of being that I include in my dialogues, but my growing understanding and experience of being (I’m dropping the quotation marks for that word at this point…) is only part of it.

Mindfulness, to me, is being fully aware of the moment in which I reside, at any given moment. It implies a certain kind of attention that is neither cast backward nor forward. One way of looking at how I apprehend being at this time is kind of mindfulness without the attention. Let me explain further….

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Not Sure

Not Sure

Listening…

I’ve put off writing for so long because there seems to be, at the same time, so much to say and yet I feel that my voice is too general, small and frankly generic to say it. I need to get over that. My voice is the voice God gives me, and is utterly unique as a result, despite the various “samenesses” of my circumstances: older white guy, middle class, white-bread-and-mayo Midwestern upbringing, etc. etc. etc…..

So many things I read and am exposed to everyday (or avoid, if the newscycle is particularly rabid that day…) allow for a cogent thought or Point Of View to arise, but my inherent lethargy and laziness keep me from putting “pen to paper”, so to speak.

Hence this page/post…

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Embracing and Being Transformed by the Storm

Storm chaser

Embracing the Storm

As I sat at my PC this morning attending virtual church, some of the dialogue focused on the fact that this is “Graduation Weekend” for most of the schools in our area. The pastor spoke of the different kinds of ceremonies taking place, given our isolated and socially distanced frameworks today. One thing he mentioned that stuck with me was that the student speakers used the themes of “Embracing the Storm” and “Transformed by the Storm” as their context for these significant times. These struck me in ways I didn’t really expect.
First, a bit of context (those of you who know me well know that I’m big on context and am a storyteller….). I was born and raised in Iowa, and grew up with the regular late spring and summer dangers of tornadoes. Since then I’ve lived in places where I’ve gone through super-typhoons, volcanoes and earthquakes. Still, there’s nothing like a tornado to make you feel like Mother Nature has drawn a bull’s eye on you (if you’ve ever seen the movie “Twister” you can get an idea of how personalized it can feel…). I’ve seen the inside of some pretty nasty storms, seen the destruction and felt the fear.
The big difference between any of those kinds of storms and what we are living through together now, in my observation, is that they had pretty distinct beginnings and endings (and then the clean-up could begin…). Nowadays, not so much. While we think we have an idea of where and when (and even a bit of how…) the whole COVID-19 pandemic began, we literally have no idea when, or even if, it will end (is ti going to be something that we just get a shot for every year like the flu, for instance? I don’t know…).
And, as if that didn’t throw the world into enough of a whirl, we have all the political and socio-cultural upheavals that have been boiling along for 40-60 years (and actually longer……) and have come to a head in the past 4 or 5. To lift out an obvious example, as a global concern, and especially here in America, the baked-in, systemic racism for which the death of George Floyd has served as a tipping point of awareness and anger for a significant portion of our world. These, and other, storms take our preconceptions and societal blind-spots and either blow them completely away or, at least, grind away at them to show us glimpses of Reality. Generally, it’s not pretty…
I return to my analogous experiences of embracing the storm:
  • I didn’t want to be there when the storm took place, but there I was.
  • The view of the storm I had was Real, and not removed by a TV screen or a news report. I was IN IT…..and I was scared.
  • My first prayer was one of survival for myself, and then for the others who were going through it with me. Regardless of whether you had a shelter (such as it might be…) or not, the storm did not care.
  • My next thought was one of fearful/hopeful wondering when it would be over and what things would be like afterwards.
  • During the long periods of clean-up and restoration, the community became more visible and provided hope, strength and the kind of caring that did the heavy-lifting of healing and repair, at all levels (that is, from literally picking stuff up to taking the data and event info and figuring out how to better protect life and limb in the future…).
That last point is the “Transformed by the Storm” bit.
Disasters have a way of breaking the points in a structure that are weak to begin with, as well as helping us to discover the unsung and previously unsuspected strengths of our communities. Transformation takes place when we as individuals, communities and societies honestly take those learned and painful bits and actually work to change and improve.
No recriminations (excepting criminality, which needs to be addressed and dealt with in a just fashion [“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”]). If institutions need to be created, destroyed or adjusted, do it. If ways of doing business work really well, keep and enhance them; if not, chuck them. If people and roles are “essential”, they need to treated as such all the time, not just when things go south and we need them.
We do not have the luxury of choosing when the next catastrophe will take place, or its nature.
The sooner we face the facts of our individual and collective complicity in our own inadequate and frankly disastrous existing paths of response (or lack thereof…), the better chance we have of still being on this lovely world of ours in a hundred years.

 

Lots of “Best of…”, Social for Lawyers, and the Importance of Listening – Best of December

Happy New Year!
Out with the Old, In with the New!

Goodbye 2018 : Hello 2019!

The last month of the year usually brings a number of “Best of” articles from across the Web, and this year is no different. Several of my choices for December’s compilation include these kinds of posts, along with a look at how law firms can best leverage social media (no, really!), social listening, and some Back to Basics thoughts!

Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing


22 Benefits of Social Media for Business [Infographic]

This list is nowhere near comprehensive, but as you look for ways to enhance and evolve your digital marketing, consider these benefits….including:

  • Stay Top of Mind
  • Generate Leads
  • Reputation Management
  • Learn More About Your Customers
Web Mistakes!?

5 Common Mistakes People Make With Their Websites

Your web developer (I hope you have a really good one!) is the pro at getting your site the way it needs to be for your business. Go over these common mistakes yourself before you jump into it with your web folks, and make sure you are studiously AVOIDING these! Continue reading

Get Facebook Ads Right, Engage, and Stretch Those ‘Little Grey Cells’!! – Best of November

November

jill111 / Pixabay

November allowed us all a chance to be Thankful, and then take a deep breath as we dive into the pre-Christmas / New Year period. Depending on your business, this may be the best and most hectic time of year, or things may cool down a bit while your customers work out their plans for 2019. This months’ “Best Of…” articles cover some important pieces to get right when using ads on Facebook, honing your LinkedIn presence, some recommendations for video-editing apps (since video is on your content list for 2019, right?), and several other goodies for you!

Of course, you don’t just slap something together, point it at your credit card and hit PUBLISH, right? Pause for a moment and go down this handy checklist, and your success rate is likely to improve….

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Music is the River, but the Shore Keeps Moving…..

Recording at Home - 2019

jeffjuit / Pixabay

I have been casting about for a long time for someplace to focus my creative energies away from day-to-day and toward an endeavor that feeds my soul. I have tried a few different ones over the years, including some obvious ones, like:
  • reading
  • writing
  • movies
  • creating jewelry
  • drawing
What I found out about each of these is:
  • I love reading, but it’s not really creative on my part, and I don’t have the visual stamina (my eyes tire easily…) to crank into the volume of reading I aspire to.
  • While I like writing well enough, it isn’t enough of a compulsion for me to call it a true creative outlet.
  • Movies are fun, but, again, not really creative on my part.
  • Creating jewelry has been pretty fun for over 20 years now, but I do it only a couple of times a year. Again, the drive / compulsion to create in that medium isn’t there to enough of a degree for me.
  • Drawing….kind of fun, but basically I really suck, so not so much fun as it should be…
This leaves what should have been an obvious choice for me: music.
Although my parents didn’t play instruments, I grew up in a household that had music playing nearly all the time, and in which I was encouraged to play and explore. I started baritone horn lessons in fifth grade (our school district had the band directors giving weekly private lessons to every band student throughout the school year, which was a HUGE advantage…) and had decided that I wanted to be a musician by the time I was high school junior. I composed my first piece of music for a small jazz group at that time (it is entitled “Clams“, a nickname for a missed note when you play….seemed appropriate!), and haven’t really stopped composing in one form or another, ever since.
…However, the technology, broadly defined, has rocketed along. My early days as a composer / keyboardist had me using a Wurlitzer electric piano enhanced with a phase shifter, ring modulator and wah-wah pedal, recording to cassette recorder via a single microphone. Today’s default for a lot of composing is a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) of some kind, a controller (maybe…) and a lot of computer-focused work. This isn’t necessarily  a bad thing, but the shift from analog to digital changes a lot of concepts in approaching composition, and I have other ‘legacy’ equipment (synthesizers, sound modules, sequencers and the like) that I hate to leave in the box, as I feel there is a lot to be gained by incorporating them all into the compositional mix, and the sounds are more authentic to what I hear in my head than many of the virtual sound modules I hear….also, the sounds that I hear reflect the talents of the numerous monster players I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of playing with over the years, and no virtual module can model them. It is a dilemma….
Nonetheless, I am excited to dig into the new stuff, incorporate the older stuff, and see what I can come up with. It is nice not to have a driving timeline to be pushed by, other than my internal desire to get what I hear in my head out into the world in a  way that sounds more and more like what I’m hearing. As I remarked to someone yesterday, I was able to create a short tune last week that that sounded only moderately spastic instead of remarkably bad, which is progress!
This part of the journey is proving to be more fun and a bigger challenge than I was expecting, which calls me further into the journey.
Yeah, this is what I have been looking for…

Social Media Mistakes, Instagram Marketing, Hashtags and MORE! – October’s Best

October

For me, October has always been the lead-up to the mad dash into the holiday season, kicking off with Halloween and charging forward from there. We have your holiday plans and processes for your business in place (I hope….) and are executing on them. There’s ALWAYS room to gain a bit more insight into what you can do better (or stop doing, if that’s the case..) when it comes to your digital marketing efforts. This set of “The Best Of…” articles is selected with those objectives in mind. Enjoy , along with some of that left-over candy you have lying about……

Social Media Mistakes

Social Media Mistakes

Sometimes you make a little mistake online, and your customers and audience “forgive” it….however there are some things that you should avoid at all costs. Here are twelve of them…..

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Social Media Do’s and Don’ts, Ensuring a Cohesive Team, and a Better You – Best of September

Autumn

Autumn is Officially Here!

September brought more content about social media and website success, and how to keep up the continuous improvement process that is your business and your own professional growth!

Social Media Mistakes

Social Media Mistakes

Every single one of these mistakes is avoidable AND crucial to a vital social media presence for your business. Knowing WHAT NOT TO DO is just as important as knowing WHAT TO DO!

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Social Media, Engagement and Talking to the Right People – Best of August

Fires and a Smoke-Storm

Fires and a Smoke-Storm

Well, summer’s ALMOST a “wrap!” Being stuck inside for the “smoke-storm” here in the Seattle area this past month (“cough, cough….”), I got to spend a lot of time online gathering the best articles for you all. You will note they don’t focus on a particular platform or service, but more so on social media overall, content, and how small businesses best grow engagement online.

Engagement

Engagement

The fact that you probably don’t have full-time staff to manage your social and digital media marketing doesn’t need to hamstring your effectiveness. Right-sized resources (especially time..) and the right kind of assistance can really help you get your efforts to pay off. This article hands you so top level tips to implement, and you don’t even have to stay up all night!

Social Media Platform

Social Media Platform

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