The Brilliance Within

Narrative and stories are what sustain our interest. We want to be inspired and entertained. Business should be an excuse for making the world a better place.

“What’s very dangerous is not to evolve.” ~ Jeff Bezos, founder,

Unpacking my office the other day, I came across some old journals I had carted on solo vacations during and after the divorce, to seminars and conferences, and back and forth to meetings. Nuggets like these quotes above abound in these handwritten pages.

In as much as you claim possession of anything, you remain possessed and obsessed. To be civilized, we must instill the spirit of service and sacrifice.

I sip my martini. A sip of mango. The water is glass-like, moving gently. The candle on my table flickers lightly. I almost don’t see it. I smell the salt of the sea and can’t wait to taste it.

We cannot live our lives on vacation. But we can create little islands of time in the everyday so as to afford ourselves the freedom to be.

What I remember most from those early vacations by myself was the quiet. The time to think. How good the coffee tasted at whatever hotel. The sound.

One morning in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, I awoke at a reasonable time for my Eastern zone, but it was 5 a.m. there. As soon as the sun flickered on the horizon, I took to walking between the parallel rows of vineyards, just me in the early morning of an Oregon day, and I breathed heavily in the awakening air.

Coffee wasn’t even out until 7:30, which for me was mid-morning. Way overdue. But I regaled in the luxuriating forced upon me by early morning aloneness. Just me and the pillowy bed and the view out my B&B window and the absolute quiet.

Why should I invest in you? Inspiration is everywhere.

I hiked by myself up Dog Mountain, without researching the trails or the possible trials of it all. I took the word of the hipsters at the hotel front desk and went on my own for a vigorous hike, coming back sweaty and satiated, proud of what I’d done, stupefied that I had walked blindly into the tree-lined unknown.

We all have to do that every so often, otherwise what is life for?

Yesterday, my friend and mentor asked me to write it all down, to commit to paper what I really want. Where do you want to be in 12 months? she asked.

I thought it would be so easy to answer. This morning, it was my intention to do some yoga at home and possibly meditate, then write onto a blank page everything I want.

Instead, I fell prey to the just-do-it-now, before-the-kids-are-up and rushed into getting work done, checking off my professional to-do list. By the time I got to the blank page, my head was aswirl in so many different things. I barely eked out a half-page.

There is no clarity when everything blurs together. This morning, I abandoned my own resolve. I did no yoga poses, did not stop to meditate. I put myself after everything else and now, at midday, so much of the day has disappeared that it’s almost all a wash.

There is a brilliance in putting first, at the top of each day, what really matters. And if you don’t know, perhaps the first item for tomorrow’s agenda is to figure it out. Right?

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