Sunrise Cacophony

Morning, 7 AM
Sitting alone in my kitchen;
Warm, for a winter’s day;
Window’s now open;
Birds chirping at the sunrise;
Vivaldi on the FM.
This sleepy, concert attendee
Sips coffee and wonders what
This new day will bring.

And then, I start thinking of:
You and the job you hate, and
You with the new diagnosis, and
You, running out of money before the end of the month – again, and
You, who know you are stuck, but options elude you, and
You, pondering divorce, and
You, pondering suicide, and
You, feeling crushed by a bitter disappointment, and
You who can’t get to work because the
Local politicians with municipal budget woes
Canceled your neighborhood bus route
Just when your car was repossessed, and
You who would follow your doctor’s orders
If you could just afford the prescription, and
You, alone and afraid, and
You, unable to tell someone, anyone
What’s really going on in your life, and
You who must survive another day of
Dropping bombs, and
You who try to dodge them.

Sometimes, when I am alone and very quiet,
I can hear the crying.
Not everyday, you understand;
Just at certain times of the year.
When the energies of the
Sun, sky, moon, stars and
Some unnamed, mysterious force
Sound waves,
Moving away from their sources,
This painfully exquisite moment
Can be experienced by anyone, I think.
On such days, if one is quietly and reverently observing
Just as the upper edge of the sun appears over the horizon,
An ethereal contradiction is revealed:
The bliss and promise of a new day in juxtaposition to the
Ongoing suffering in the world.

Each time I experience this,
I am stunned and
Cannot speak of it.
How can this elderly heart withstand,
Much less survive,
Holding this in full awareness?
An intimate relationship with the world’s suffering,
For any sustained period of time is

As much as I have criticized them,
Distractions have value:
Reality TV, Game apps, sex, and shopping
Drugs, the latest X, and the newest Y
More sex,
Over-scheduling, busy – busy - busy
Trying to solve A, when we know that
B is the REAL problem, 
...and all of the other
Imaginative and sometimes
Desperate measures we employ to
Survive the unbearable truth that
Occasionally seeps into our awareness.
Dear One, 
I understand.
I do it too.

Wait -
If we are all 
Numbing ourselves with distractions,
How does “change” occur?
How do conditions improve?
It must be that over the millennia,
Saintly, heroic, Herculean, and
Spiritually powerful souls have
Walked this Earth,
Heard the cries of the suffering,
Breathed in the contradiction, and
Surrendered to instructions from the ether.
Willing to be used as an
Instrument for social change, they were
Mandela, Gandhi, King, and a few other
Major players on the world stage.
But then -
What is my part?
What is your part?
Is there anything we should be doing?

Hmmm. I do not have a 
Satisfactory answer yet. 
This may require our 
Collective consideration.
I'll put the kettle on.

All I know is
One must be very careful about
Participating in a morning cacophony
Produced by the energetic convergence of
Sunrise, backyard birds, Vivaldi and the
Provocative forces of nature that

All the Best


A Day of Noticing

It’s amazing what we can see and experience when we slow down. The other day I went off to run errands…garden supplies and groceries.

On my first stop I noticed a man (probably in his late 60s) in a motorized cart near the back of the store. Seeing that no one was around and that he was struggling to reach something on the shelf, I offered to help. We chatted and after about five minutes I indicated that I was going to look in the next aisle for my items, attempting to bring the conversation to a polite close. But the gentleman continued to talk and I listened. I learned about where he grew up, his businesses, religion, military history, golf handicap and that he once met Donald Trump during a Military Veterans Tournament. The conversation continued with his questions of me. “Are those your real teeth?” and “You’re Irish, aren’t you?” and “Would you like to be our guest at the May 2017 Veterans Golf Tournament in Virginia?”   I chuckled with each question and gave him my responses: “Yes, Yes, and that is so kind of you, but no thank you.”   About 45 minutes after we said “Hello”, we wished each other a good day.

My next stop was the local market. Nearly done, I turned a corner and saw that Progresso soup – typically $2.50 per can – was on sale for 88¢, if I purchased ten cans. I am fairly confident that I would have not noticed such an opportunity to save in times past. The busy career woman, homeowner, mother, and wife usually “squeezes in a quick trip” and rushes through the process in order to get the absolute bare necessities to keep hearth and home together.

I arrived home and was lifting the bags out of my car when one of my neighbors called out. He was back from a month-long overseas visit with his 81-year-old mother who had surgery. I had noticed that he was very concerned about her before the trip.   So we greeted each other and he gave me the status of the situation.

What an interesting day of “noticing”: a soup sale and two vulnerable men who needed the gentle embrace of human connection. And as I think of these men now, I feel a sweet wave of gratitude that our paths did cross and that I did notice them. Now that I have slowed down, I wonder what more is out there for me to notice? Perhaps, an even bigger question might be, “How much have I missed because I was rushing?”

All The Best,  Brigid

Out of Control

Would somebody please tell me who is responsible for this mess?

While I was busy serving clients, empowering staff, and maximizing revenue for my organization (up to 70 hours per week), the following unacceptable conditions have occurred!

  • Six different email accounts with a total of 9,000 items in the email Inbox
  • Four different file folders, in four different places – all marked “Mortgage”
  • Three bottles of ketchup in the fridge; all opened
  • Dust bunnies in the hall closet
  • Cereal in the pantry that is one year past it’s “Best if Used By” date
  • Twelve mailer cards from Purple Heart, saved as a reminder to de-clutter and donate – none of which was done!
  • Thirty seven Tupperware containers
  • Twenty-nine Tupperware lids

That’s it!     I’ve had it!   Get out of my way!


Haiku # 1

The Japanese developed a form of verse called Haiku that is written in 17 syllables divided into 3 lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables, and employing evocative allusions. In the spaciousness of retirement, I will learn to speak Haiku. On this winter day in February I make my first entry. All the Best, Brigid 22 February 2017

Slow lazy day here,
soup’s hot; my slippers are on,
No dragons to slay.




Those were dirty words some days. Hard to get out of bed. Hard to be enthused about the waiting projects and people. Impossible to imagine a thing called “retirement.” Like you I would imagine, I gritted my teeth and soldiered on. Have to work to get the money to keep the present stable and to plan for the future, right?  But the truth is I also had many glorious days of great partnerships, getting results, and achieving good outcomes. How exhilarating!

So, here I am, after fifty years of earning a paycheck, in the early days of retirement. I made it!  My official exit from employment was on January 20, 2017.  When the first Sunday rolled around,  I noticed the restlessness, agitation, dread….the anticipation of MONDAY!   I had to remind myself that a new chapter had begun.  This angst repeated on a second and third Sunday and disappeared completely in the fourth week. I have also noticed that my usual breathless-scampering-to-get-things-done behavior is gone.  Whew. What a relief!

And this refreshing pause has given me the room to continue reflecting on my career.  Initially, the usual questions:

  • Did I really contribute to the well-being of the organization or its patrons?
  • Did my work matter?
  • Did I make a difference?

Since I had given the boss a six-month notice of my exit, he had the luxury of preparing for a smooth transition of my authority and responsibilities… and I had the luxury of beginning the internal work of change before I left the job.

Based on my own assessment and the feedback given to me by others over the years, I can make peace with these (self-worth) questions.  Indeed, my work usually met the test of “good enough”. And there were those occasions, I now immodestly declare,  when I excelled by going the extra mile or achieving what most thought to be the impossible.  In short,  my conclusion is, “You did ok, kid.”

With that evaluation accomplished, I was able to reflect on others:

  • Those who mentored me in my business and clinical positions
  • Colleagues who stood by me with their encouragement and partnership
  • Those who brought me lunch, chocolate, or a good joke when I needed it
  • Those I have worked for..the geniuses, rascals, posers, certifiable jerks, and the walk-on-water leaders whose inspiration made me want to jump out of bed every morning to get to work!
  • Those who have worked for me…staff who were loyal, hardworking, very smart, resourceful, and made me want to be a walk-on-water leader for them!

I am grateful for it all.. the awful and the exhilarating days. I taught and I learned. I was inspired and I inspired.  I gave my career a lot and it gave me as much in return.

All the Best,