My 1000 Small Steps – January 20, 2018

Posted on: January 16th, 2018 by Kathie England | Time for Success No Comments

Wishes for the New Year

by Kathie England

On this first anniversary of My 1000 Small Steps, I share three wishes for the New Year.

“Have faith in yourself, your family and your friends.

And even have faith in things that we can’t see or touch – like love, which is going to light your life from the inside out, even when it’s cold and dark.

And here is something to truly believe in: that we can light each other’s lives. And that this source of magic that enraptures us at Christmas time is within us.”

This Christmas wish, composed by my friend and writer Janis Collins, was inspired by the words of Martha Brockenbrough in her book, Love, Santa.

 

The holiday greetings of Barack and Michelle Obama provide more inspiration for the year ahead:

“In this season of giving and togetherness, we remember that our collective progress is due to the efforts of those who came before us – people who kept pushing forward, doing their part to bend the arc of history towards prosperity, equality, and justice. Thanks for joining us on the journey ahead.”

 

My final wish for us in 2018 is that may we each find the courage to take small steps that will help bend the arc of history toward the values reflected on the “In Our America” signs created by the group, Nasty Women Get Shit Done PDX last year.

“In our America,

All people are equal

Love wins

Black lives matter

Immigrants & refugees are welcome

Disabilities are respected

Women are in charge of their bodies

People & planet are valued over profit

Diversity is celebrated”

https://www.nwgsdpdx.org/shop

 

My 1000 Small Steps – December 20, 2017

Posted on: December 17th, 2017 by Kathie England | Time for Success No Comments

Seek First to Understand

by Kathie England

As we end this tumultuous year, I thought the Prayer of St. Francis, also known as the Prayer of Peace, was an appropriate way to gain perspective on the past year and to contemplate the coming year.

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me bring love.

Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.

Where there is discord, let me bring union.

Where there is error, let me bring truth.

Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.

Where there is despair, let me bring hope.

Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.

Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.

O Master, let me not seek as much

to be consoled as to console,

to be understood as to understand,

to be loved as to love,

for it is in giving that one receives,

it is in self-forgetting that one finds,

it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,

it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.”

This prayer was read in the United States Senate to mark the end of World War II. Mother Teresa included the prayer in her acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. It was sung as a hymn at the funeral of Princess Diana in 1997.

May we embrace its message to help us find the courage to take many small steps in 2018.

A thank you to my friend AJ Pfander who inspired me to use this prayer

 

My 1000 Small Steps – November 20, 2017

Posted on: November 19th, 2017 by Kathie England | Time for Success No Comments

No One Has the Privilege of Inaction

by Kathie England

“Unity Will Take Generations” was the title of an article by Ilhan Omar (a Minnesota state representative and the first Somali-American Muslim lawmaker) that appeared in the August 28 issue of TIME.

Omar wrote: “No one has the privilege of inaction. No one has the privilege of saying this is not their battle. If we are not actively fighting against regressive ideologies, we are contributing to their growth. We must be courageous. We must spread a radical vision of love and unity.”

Omar’s words inspired me to write this haiku that melds My 1000 Small Steps with his call to action.

Kaizen

Profound impact

Speaking, daring, risking

No privilege of inaction

Vision

As you reflect on what you are grateful for this Thanksgiving, I invite you to take a small step and support the candidacy of my nephew Bryan Caforio who is running for the U. S. House of Representatives in California’s 25th Congressional District.

Bryan embodies the belief that no one has the privilege of inaction!

http://bryancaforio.com/

 

My 1000 Small Steps – October 20, 2017

Posted on: October 14th, 2017 by Kathie England | Time for Success 1 Comment

Seek First to Understand

by AJ Pfander

As I anxiously anticipate the next madness from #45, I am reminded of the March post written by Judy Caforio. Judy presented an expanded perspective of taking small political steps to make profound change to include finding a way to make the world a kinder place at a time when many of us aren’t feeling particularly kind.”

I recently had an experience where taking a small risk resulted in a small step.

My husband and I invited our neighbors to dinner. Dick and Judy are the kind of neighbors we all hope to have— the same values for curb appeal and “over the fence” interaction, and loads of fun. They regularly invite us to share birthdays, graduations, and holidays with their family and friends and over the years we have become extended family members. There is one difference, though. They are Republicans! Dick supported and voted for our current president. We don’t speak about politics very often, primarily because neither my husband nor I are keen on debates, and fortunately, the difference doesn’t impact our friendship.

I was genuinely curious to know what Dick thought of the president now and how he was leading the country. So I asked. Dick’s response indicated he was happy with a couple of things (a Supreme Court appointment was one), but not so much with the how – communication style and behavior. We chatted briefly and then moved on to other topics. No harm, no foul.

The next day I received this email: Good morning. Recall our Trump conversation on Saturday. The dinner last night is an example of exactly what needs to be done. A reaching across party lines and an acceptance of that gesture to achieve a compromise. One small step forward…hopefully followed by many others. Not a victory or a loss for either faction, but certainly a step forward for us.”

I immediately thought of a line from the Prayer of St. Francis and a tenant of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits: Seek first to understand.

According to Covey, many people don’t listen to understand. As they listen they are preparing their response for when it’s their turn to speak, potentially missing the meaning by selectively hearing and filtering everything through their own experiences. Covey teaches us to ask questions and listen empathetically without judgment, to get inside another person’s frame of reference so we can see the world as they see it. If we take the time and have the true desire to understand the other person, they are more likely to feel safe enough to open up about their thoughts and feelings. Being understood, then, is rooted in a deep understanding of the other person. Seek first to understand.

On the September 24 episode of 60 Minutes Oprah Winfrey moderated a conversation among a group of voters from Michigan about the current political climate. The emotion, passion and frustration of the opposing views were palpable. As the conversation ended, a comment was made by a participant that this event presented a great opportunity to listen to each other. Seek first to understand.

Imagine if…

  • One person asked the person wearing the t-shirt, Not My President, “Why do you think that?”, and listened without response?
  • One person at a protest rally asked the person facing them, “What brought you here?”, and expressed empathy at the response?
  • One police officer checked his or her judgment before pulling over a person with a “risky” appearance?
  • One person advocated including listening skills in school curriculums?
  • and so on…

So, I will continue to have “learning” conversations, asking questions to learn as much as possible about who that person is and why they might be saying or doing the things I don’t agree with. I will also do my best to assume the best in others. Suspending judgment is tough, but I’ve recently read that empathy is hardwired into our species. That’s hopeful.

And I may send the Peace Prayer to the President. Who knows, miracles can happen!

 

Thank you to my dear friend AJ Pfander for October’s perspective! AJ is a life-long learner and former colleague as a Certified Professional Organizer.

My 1000 Small Steps – September 20, 2017

Posted on: September 16th, 2017 by Kathie England | Time for Success No Comments

The Power of Poetry and Small Steps

Inspired by a chapter in Healing the Heart of Democracy by Parker Palmer, I invited friends to write poetry that reflected small steps and the challenges we face in our country. I asked them to write using Haiku or Cinquain forms of poetry.

My hope is that their poetry will inspire you to continue to take small steps in the midst of the despair many of us have felt over the past month from disasters caused by humans and nature.

All the steps are small
Beginning to end moving step by step
Only time until you arrive
One by one all together
Put all the tiny steps in line
The great reward is found
Greatest wall you’ve ever seen
Built with bricks stacked end to end
Many parts now are one

By Bob Knopp, UnCommon Sense

People
Fearful, angry
Hurting, flailing, lashing
Afraid to look inside their hearts
Voters
Action
Mindful, precise
Piercing, standing, shining
Spotlights on the underbelly 
Truth-telling

By David Poulshock, Red Door Films/Fix Features, LLC

Assembly  
Static, angry 
Spinning, fighting, blocking 
A log in the stream 
Congress
Fright, a play to stage 
Step, the curtain parts 
Forward, the plot resolves

By Janis Collins, writer and storyteller

 

I invite you to try your hand at writing poetry using either of these forms, Haiku or Cinquain. I’ll even send you the format guidelines for these two styles. (Email me at Kathie@timeforsuccess.net.) Or try your hand at another style.

I would be delighted to share your creation in a future monthly post for My 1000 Small Steps.