Monday, July 31, 2006

How Long Will It Matter?

Often we allow ourselves to be upset by small things we should despise and forget. We lose many irreplaceable hours brooding over grievances that, in a year's time, will be forgotten by us and by everybody. No, let us devote our life to worthwhile actions and feelings, to great thoughts, real affections and enduring undertakings."

Andre Maurois [1885-1967, Writer]

How many times have you been upset in the past week? In the past month? In the past year?

I can remember a couple times this week. I can remember several times in the last month. In the last year? I probably don't have enough fingers and toes to count them all on. How many of them do I remember? Fewer than a handful from the last year. In fact, only the most recent ones.

I am often surprised when I tell my friends a story about myself that I can't remember what it was that I was upset about...just that I was upset. What does that tell you? What does that tell me?

This time next year, I will probably only remember a handful of upsets that occurred with in the last week from that date. Amazing isn't it? It all seems so important at the time. How quickly it all passes.

Instead, who do you love and care about now that you will still love and care about a year from now?

What are the projects and matters of import that you devote your time and energy today that will still matter in a year? How many lives will you help by contributing to those efforts over the next year?

What are you building? Where are you investing your life energy and your best efforts?

Lots of questions...lots of right answers. What is true for you? Where is your focus? Do you focus on the yes or the no?

Tell me what you are creating in your life. I'd love to hear.

Wanda Tucker, Coach

Friday, July 28, 2006

Emotional Intelligence

The sign of intelligent people is their ability to control emotions by the application of reason.
Marya Mannes (1904-1990) American Journalist

We now know there is more than one type of intelligence. A decade ago Daniel Goleman, PhD agreed with Ms. Mannes when he wrote the book Emotional Intelligence. In 1994 Goleman stated in a report on emotional literacy in the U.S.:

" navigating our lives, it is our fears and envies, our rages and depressions, our worries and anxieties that steer us day to day. Even the most academically brilliant among us are vulnerable to being undone by unruly emotions."
How often do we lead with our emotions?

"If I feel it, it must be true."

"If my reaction is what I feel, it doesn't matter what the other person meant."

"I am licensed to act purely on my feelings. Damn reason! I feel, therefore I am."

Have you ever had one of those moments and lived to regret it? I have. And, as much as I hate to admit it, I have been on both ends of the emotional double barreled shotgun. I can't recommend either.

The true measure of intelligence is balance. It is important to pay attention to what we feel as part of the necessary information for decision making, yet completely throwing away reason in favor of our emotional reaction leaves us vulnerable to making serious mistakes.

On the other hand, I read a story about a physician who had a head injury which impaired the part of his brain related to emotion. His capacity to know what to do medically was intact. His ability to perform the specific skills needed to do his job was intact. Because he no longer had access to his emotions, however, he was unable to make appropriate decisions for patient care. He was not able to consider the whole person in determining appropriate treatment. The head injury seriously impaired his judgment, even though his capacity to recall his training was untouched.

So the next time you find yourself ready to go off half-cocked, take a breather. Bring your mind on board and think through the options. Find the balance. Maybe your decision won't change. Maybe you will still have the same response...or not.

Rarely is my first response (the one that is most emotional) the one I choose to go with. When I think it through, all the while considering my emotion, I usually feel more intelligent and probably come across moreso, too.

Let me know how it works. I'd love to hear if applying reason makes a difference for you.

Wanda Tucker, Coach

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

As within, so without....

Your success and happiness lie in you... Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.

Helen Keller 1880-1968

(Curious on the mountain. Photo by Gerald Olson.)

What makes you happy? Where can you find that spark of joy inside and, once you do, fan the flames that keep it burning?

I have always reacted negatively to the New Age-y statement, "You create your own reality," because the way people used it, they were implying that it meant we create our external experiences. Period.

"Oh, a piano fell out of the sky and landed on your head? You created that reality."

"You were pulling weeds in your front yard when a gang initiation was taking place and you were shot in a driveby? You created that reality."

To that kind of thinking, I say, "Hogwash!" Life isn't that simple and that kind of statement too easily turns into "Blame the victim."

What is true, though, is that how we respond to our external situations creates our reality. If I am always struggling against the circumstances of my life, my life will be tired and miserable. But if I can find some peace within and meet my life with joy--or at least acceptance--the reality of my life will be easier.

How do you perceive what just happened? Can you look at it and grin or are you railing against the heavens? If you can find the joy inside--the one that is there no matter what is happening on the outside--you will find that all of life is pretty good.

Tell me about a time when you know that the way you perceived the situation made it better for you. I'd love to hear.

Wanda Tucker, Coach

Sunday, July 23, 2006

It works!

Hallelujah! I finally got the Hewlett Packard All-in-One printer to work through the Linksys wireless router here at home. We must be nearing the end of this bodacious, butt-kicking Mercury retrograde. Thank God.

Now all I have to do is get it to work through the Airlink 101 at the office. Easy--right?

Please say yes.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

What more is there to say?

I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make a life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal.

In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a person humanized or dehumanized.

If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.

I would love to hear your thoughts and reactions--your questions and wonderings. At the moment, I am sitting with this thought. Later, I may have more to say.
In the meantime, bend my ear...
Wanda Tucker, Coach
PS - Thanks to sar_girl for sending this quote to me.
And thanks to whoever took the picture.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Eskabo Da'an

What ought one to say then as each hardship comes? I was practicing for this, I was training for this.
Epictetus (55-135 AD) Greek Philosopher
For about 20 years now (...or more) I have been thinking about and wanting to learn a martial art. Last night I went to my first class...and I think I am in love.
I just kept thinking about it and never doing anything about it. Know what I mean? Do you ever do that?
Last weekend I went to a workshop--on a different topic. We met at the dojo of one of the attendees who just happens to be Master Michael Morrell, a student of Grand Master Robert Castro, originator of Eskabo Da'an. Coincidence? I think not.
I think the Universe kicked me into movement. I am grateful. Michael is a great guy and I enjoyed being with him and talking with him. He exudes the kind of centeredness I wanted in a teacher. No big ego. Nothing to prove. That's what I wanted. I wasn't attached to what form to study. In fact, I couldn't even decide on one, so I asked Michael about classes. He invited me to come and see. I did. I participated. I had fun. I am going back.
I did a little research on Eskabo Da'an today. It is a Filipino Stick Fighting form that starts with a counter. My first move is always to block someone else's attack. Yes. That is what I want.
Lesson number one:
Get out of the way.
Get out of the way.
Get out of the way.
And it isn't just about fighting a human opponent. It is about any hardship, as Epictetus would say.
Where are you needing to get out of the way?
Where are you needing to get out of your own way?
Let me know...the lines are open.
Wanda Tucker, Coach

Friday, July 14, 2006

Blackbird II...Update

I counted. See the picture of Blackbird II below? That's pretty much how it looked when I planted it. Now there are 17...seventeen leaves on it!

Happy. Very happy. Me and it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Blackbird...the second

Winter turned into Spring turned into summer. The garden bloomed. Not a trace of Blackbird appeared through the soil under my office window. Extra mulch and waxed cardboard came too late to save the 'bird from the ice, snow, and frozen ground. I am sad.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night....

Blackbird dead.

All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise.

All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to be free.

So I rallied and went to the neighborhood nursery. "My Black Magic Colocasia didn't make it through the ice storm this winter."

"I feel sorry for ya," the owner said with a straight face and just a bit of an edge. "Ours didn't either. We lost our shirts!"

[Yes! It wasn't just me failing at farming. She couldn't save hers either! No...wait--I don't mean it that way. I truly am sorry that she lost plants and money. She had some beautiful specimens. It's just that--well, you know...I feel a bit better knowing that a professional had a similar struggle. You of those "v" words.]

"Do you have any more?"

Here it is.

Black Magic.

Colocasia esculenta.

Elephant ear.


Blackbird II is a much younger and smaller plant. It has a lot more leaves and I got it in the ground much earlier this year. Here's hoping the roots have a chance to grow deep and strong before extreme weather hits. This year, I'll be prepared to build a fortress sooner, too.

May your roots grow strong and deep this summer so you can weather any storms that come your way.

Best Wishes,
Wanda Tucker

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Choice...or compulsion?

“Freedom of choice is not, itself, the perfection of liberty. But it helps us take our first step toward freedom or slavery, spontaneity or compulsion. The free man is the one whose choices have given him the power to stand on his own feet and determine his own life according to the higher light and spirit that are in him. The slave, in the spiritual order, is the man whose choices have destroyed all spontaneity in him and have delivered him over, bound hand and foot, to his own compulsions, idiosyncrasies and illusions, so that he never does what he really wants to do, but only what he has to do.”
From The New Man by Thomas Merton

(I borrowed this quote and picture from one of my blogline feeds, Monastic Mumblings, a Friar's Journey. Thank you. It was very timely.)

How free are we? Without freedom of choice, we have no hope of liberty. Think about the choices you have made in the last week. Compulsive or spontaneous? What you wanted and truly chose to do...or what you had to do?

I'd love to hear your insights upon reflection.

Wanda Tucker, Coach

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Change of Mind

...and a change of heart. Now anyone can post to my blog. Bring it on, all you anonymous posters.

My friend and self-appointed writing teacher, Jennifer encourages me to allow anyone to post--"let there be anonymous posts (these are helpful)." Okay, I trust.

To all of you registered users who have showed up and posted...thanks.

Guess we'll see what happens next.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Oh freedom...

...oh freedom.
Oh freedom over me.
Before I'll be a slave
I'll be buried in my grave
And go home to my Lord
And be free.
[African American Spiritual]

For some reason this song runs through my head today. Yes, it is the 4th of July. Yes, it is all about freedom...but why this song and not...

My country 'tis of thee
Sweet land of liberty
Of thee I sing...


I just got back from my evening walk. Firecrackers exploded. Whistling pyrotechnics abound. Yes, we celebrate freedom. Do we really stop to think about what the celebration represents?

Rockets red glare...
Bombs bursting in air...

...and gunshots. Lots of gunshots.

Maybe it's just the noise I don't like. Too hard on the nervous system.

Don't get me wrong. I appreciate that our armed forces protect our freedom and have from the Revolutionary War until now. I know that sometimes the only thing to do is fight. I'd like to claim that I am a pacifist in the truest sense of the word, but I know that if someone attacked me, I would fight back. I did fight back.

I wish we could celebrate the freedom and liberty part without re-enacting the war.

In fact, I wish we could still have the freedom and liberty part.

I would like to... able to travel without having to take my shoes off at the airport and being randomly selected more often than is random chance for the personal search.

...check books out of the library without the government being able to track the materials I access.

...experience separation of church and state. (Wasn't that part of the reason the Revolutionary War was fought?) that our current leaders have the best interest of the people (read "people other than themselves") at heart.

I know these things seem petty. On one level they are, but on another they are symptoms of erosion. I grew up on the coast. Property owners there know that if erosion is not stopped in time, it undermines the integrity of the structure. If erosion takes over, there is no turning back.

Oh, yes. I do truly, deeply appreciate the freedom we have in the United States. Thank you to everyone who made it possible by dying and living through war, by serving through war and peace. Thank you.

I just wish...

May the Divine keep our troops safe and bring them home soon.

May we continue to be free here on our own soil.

From our lips to Heaven's ears.


Monday, July 03, 2006

Fantasy Island

Remember the television show, Fantasy Island? People would show up by airplane ("De plane, plane!") and the staff on the beautiful, plush, tropical island would make the guests' fantasies come true. Not all fantasies were worthy of being brought to life as it turns out.

Misi? Finally, she is comfortable enough to let me take her picture--even as she sleeps. (I know it isn't Friday, but Misi was available.)

Here is Misi on her Fantasy Island. As you can see, she aspires to be an otter swimming with the turtles. (Hey, cats have dreams, too.)

Snorkeling in Honaunau Bay in March, I came as close to a green sea turtle as this one is to Misi. Well, actually, he came this close to me. I stopped mid stroke and pulled my arm back to prevent touching him. If you touch a turtle, there is a big fine. If the turtle touches problem. I am not sure who polices such things, but I didn't want to find out.

Can't you see the turtle pulling his citation book from his shell?

I'm sorry, but I am going to have to cite you.

Excuse me?

You touched me. That's kapu.

But I was just swimming. You ran into me!

Nope. It says right here in the book, "If the swimmer is moving his/her arm in a forward motion at the moment of contact with said turtle, the swimmer shall have been considered to have touched the turtle, not the other way around. First conviction, is punishable by a fine of not less than $250 and not more than $2,000 or by imprisonment of not more than one year or both."

Hmm--maybe this isn't Misi's fantasy, but mine.

On this 4th of July, I am grateful for the freedom to dream and the freedom to live my fantasies

...and so much more.

May you all be blessed by your best fantasies coming true.

Wanda Tucker, Coach

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Talk nice to each other...

Let's talk about computers.

I have spent hours and HOURS every day this past week trying to get our new printer at the office hooked up on the wireless network. I installed the Hewlett Packard 6310 All-in-one on my computer using USB. No problem. I installed the Airlink 101 wireless router. No problem. The router sees the printer. I can print a test page at the MS-DOS level.

What does that mean? It means that the computer and printer are talking to each other. No problem. Until...I try to install the HP software on my machine to run wireless through Windows XP.


"Is this the printer you want to install?"


"Do you want to install it directly through USB or through the Network?"

Through the network.

[Installation begins.]
"Is this the printer you want to install?"

Why yes, as a matter of fact, it is. Thank you for asking.

"Do you want to install it directly through USB or through the Network?"

Oh, let's try the network this time.

[Installation begins.]
"Is this the printer you want to install?"


"Do you want to install it directly through USB or through the Network?"

"Is this the printer you want to install?"

I haven't cried yet. I used a few terms I learned at the knee of my father, the logger. They didn't solve the problem, but they probably did keep me from crying.

I tapped. Really. It helped me feel calmer, and it didn't heal the problem.

I prayed. That probably helped, too, although prayer didn't heal the problem either.

Okay, let's go over this again...

Wireless router installed and operational: check.

Router sees and identifies printer: check.

Printer installed through USB on the computer: check.

Printer prints through USB: check.

Printer prints wirelessly through MS-DOS: check.

Computer will install wireless connection and print through Windows: Why--no! I don't believe it will! How odd.

Now, track here with me folks--where does the problem lie? Apparently, somewhere between HP and Windows XP. So here's my question...don't these people talk to each other?

I know this is a huge industry and there are a lot of issues to work around. I get it. But don't the people at HP know that someone somewhere is going to be trying to use the printer on a Windows XP machine wirelessly? Especially since it is sold as an RJ45 capable machine? And don't the Microsoft folks know that people have to use printers to get their work out of the machine?

Is it too much to ask that they talk to each other and figure out these issues BEFORE they sell me their products?

You see, because they didn't work this out it has become my problem. I now have spent more hours than I wanted to and more than I think any one person should (even after talking to HP tech support--yes, I have been there) trying to get this to work. And it still doesn't. Sigh.

Kind of like real life isn't it? When we don't talk nice to each other and work out the communication glitches that are bound to happen (because we each have our individual operating systems) our problems can very quickly become someone else's. Not fair...not right. Yet it happens all the time.

So, HP and Microsoft, all I want you to do is talk nice to each other and solve the miscommunications before you pass them on to me and try to get me to work them out for you. I'm sure you are very busy. So am I.

Communication is my business. Would you like a little help? Call me. I am sure I can mediate the communication issues between you. Maybe I can even help with some skill building. How about this--you pay me to help you work out your miscommunications, instead of the other way around.

You know, it is pretty simple. Most of the time all we have to do is talk nice to each other.

May my words be Light.

Wanda Tucker, Coach

PS - The pictures are mine, taken by me. All rights reserved.