Thursday, November 17, 2011

Einstein in Letters

Respected Mr. Gandhi

I use the presence of your friend in our home to send you these lines. You have shown through your works, that it is possible to succeed without violence even with those who have not discarded the method of violence. We may hope that your example will spread beyond the borders of your country, and will help to establish an international authority, respected by all, that will take decisions and replace war conflicts.

With sincere admiration,


(Signed, 'A. Einstein')

I hope that I will be able to meet you face to face some day.

Gandhi's response
LONDON, October 18, 1931


I was delighted to have your beautiful letter sent through Sundaram. It is a great consolation to me that the work I am doing finds favour in your sight. I do indeed wish that we could meet face to face and that too in India at my Ashram.

Yours sincerely,

(Signed, 'M. K. Gandhi')

 I just loved having read this. I came across it on Letters of Note, one of the blogs on my side bar. Check it out if you are interested in other  surprising correspondence

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mind Roll for the Blog Roll

A few books I've been reading since I last had a blast of blog enthusiasm...

No Logo by Naomi Klein
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Muhammad by Karen Armstrong
Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho

All held my attention as I love a book to do but all for different reasons. The first weaves a wide web that explains part of the pathology of the current "0ccupy" movement. It was timely and helped me better understand that the response we are seeing now reflects 20 years of change in the economy rather then just 2008 recession angst. The second book was a novel beautifully and creatively written for teenagers. Everyone of any age I know who has read it has enjoyed it. Third a non-fiction topic I think is good to understand better and finally philosophy in the mist of narrative. I just discovered it was made into a movie so I might check that out too!

0ld Ice Dreams

Inspired is a feeling I wish I could tap into more often. We were feeling inspired one day last winter and came up with these great ice sculptur-esque creations. I like how the shapes suggest the boats in the background.  This fall, I'm wonder what initiates that feeling of inspiration?

Maybe it is spending time with ideas or in the company of creative people. Sometime that can seem intimidating too though. I'm often inspired by students as they are struggling to acquire a skill, they are experimenting and open to ideas I can sometimes grab hold thing for sure though, is that you have to make time for it and be open to the having fun.

All thanks to the VPL

 Some might wonder how I am able to read and write about as many books as I have in the last few months... as the title says, its all thanks to the Vancouver Public Library (VPL). They are super accessible and every site seems to be a pillar in the community. Not only that but they are doing everything right in terms of displaying new and interesting books so that they actually get read. I can't count the number of times I've gone in to return one or two books and walked away with seven book. Its one of the treasures of my life here in Vancouver. I could live without 'my library' (as I did so long in Calgary) but my life wouldn't be as interesting or as rich. My hope for the world is that every community could have as wonderful of resource from which to draw.

The beautiful downtown branch always amazes me and the website is a connection to great activities and services in the community. Thank you VPL!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Love the contercultural asthetic of this!

Here’s Garret Stillpower:The inner source of Athletic Excellence. The book distilled into four simple points courtesy  of Daniel Pink's blog. My comments in Red. lol

1. They look to the state of mind of the athlete or individual in question, not his or her behavior.
Poor performances or behaviors are the result of an individual’s low mindset. Nothing more, nothing less. Rather than holding players or employees accountable to their actions (judging behavior), the best leaders hold them—and themselves—accountable to recognizing the thoughts and feelings that accompany high states of mind, and only acting from this mental state. This type of coach distrusts his own thoughts from low moods and encourages his players to do the same. This I know and isn't that ground breaking but good to stay cognizant.

2. They understand that the spoken word is far less important than the level of psychological functioning from which the word is spoken.
Here’s a simple reminder. Words are merely an echo of a feeling. A coach might say to a player, “I was really proud of your effort tonight.” But if there is no feeling or passion behind the words, they might actually have a negative impact. Successful coaches take notice of their own level of functioning moment to moment. They know that positive words only originate from positive states of mind. Again this reflects what I know from experience but is so clearly articulated!

3. They keep goal setting in perspective.
Successful coaches know that the more athletes focus on the ‘prize,” the more they thwart their own awareness, shrink their perceptual field, and limit the imaginative possibilities. These coaches understand that achieving goals does not elevate self-worth or happiness. Instead, they relish the journey—the relationships and experiences—as the path toward creating exactly what they want becomes clear. "Achieving goals does not elevate self-worth or happiness"... Working towards something, whether achieved or not, focuses the mind but may be flexible and change over time.

4. When in doubt- (hug it out!) they turn to love.
Great coaches set guidelines and expectations based on one overriding principle: love for their players. They know, above all else, that love will always provide the answers to helping others—and to success. A little less mushy- stay focused on positive intention.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Confusius Says: Writing with a light tone will hold the readers atttention

Very fun and interesting read. While the book is sweetened  by the history of a cookie and other "Chinese" treats we know only too well in North America (-because they don't actually exist outside of the America-Chinese cuisine), the real substance of the book examines the immigrant history and experience through the context of explaining menu items. 

 While this book is written from an American perspective, there is an interesting call out to Vancouver and I easily transposed many of the historical observations and implications to the Chinese immigrant experience to Canada. Recommend for a light but insightfully fun read.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Inward to the Bone: Georgia O'Keefes Journey with Emily Carr

"Black on canvas, I dreamed in colour"

"Last night I dreamed the blood
ran in my vein like skeins of thread
each thread a different, shimmering colour
as my heart beat scarlet
chartreuse, cerulean blue."

"If I were a singer, I would sing in an ocean choir
where the scene overhead hums fog,
the cry of gulls, eagle mew.

Here is a baseline beat of breakers, melody of waves.

runnning glissando to my feet
Deadheads float like dark notes
scribed on green ledger lines of sea.
Pebbles in the sand whisper grace notes, ready
and Emily's world is a hushed
as the moment when the conductor raises her arm
and motions us all to begin."

Heat and silence and space are the drugs I use
to travel closer
to the heart of things."

Friday, May 27, 2011


No organization cares about you. Organizations aren't capable of this.
Your bank, certainly, doesn't care. Neither does your HMO or even your car dealer. It's amazing to me that people are surprised to discover this fact.
People, on the other hand, are perfectly capable of caring. It's part of being a human. It's only when organizational demands and regulations get in the way that the caring fades.
If you want to build a caring organization, you need to fill it with caring people and then get out of their way. When your organization punishes people for caring, don't be surprised when people stop caring.
When you free your employees to act like people (as opposed to cogs in a profit-maximizing efficient machine) then the caring can't help but happen.

From Seth's Blog

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Georgia O'keefe

I just like this and want to save it