Presence instead of Presents

Date night?

For you, my dear
Presence is the gift.
My heart is here.
My thoughts not adrift.
I pack away
The source of distraction
for a pause of play
and intent interaction.
For if all were amiss
And this moment passed
The devices are cold
My heart would not last.
Presents are things
Of which I’ve no need.
Your presence it sings,
my heart is does feed.
-Heidi Forbes Öste (2012)

The house is prepared for the holidays. We settle in as the snow begins to fall. It’s the time of year again where the wish lists come out and thoughts of New Year’s resolutions start buzzing. There is only one gift that I wish to give and to get for my family this year: Presence.

All too often we find ourselves with iPad or phone holding our concentration. From the breakfast table to date night, there never seems to be a sacred moment without it. We used to say the world would not stop if we disappeared. Now each vibration causes a habitual pattern of thought even if we do not respond be checking to see the source. Most times, we cannot resist sneaking a peek just to make sure it is not “critical.”

Each year we struggle to find ways to reconnect, to discover who we are and where we are going. In our over-connected lives this often means one thing: remote location, no wifi. I look forward to a pause in the buzz. I long for the uninterrupted conversation, thought and silence. I crave a hike in the mountains, a walk on the beach, a game of cards, a snuggle in a hammock, sharing a nice bottle of wine with presence.

I hope you all will consider giving and receiving presence and the value of that gift. Extend it beyond your family, as you go about your holiday parties. Ask about people’s passions and take the time to listen with presence. You might be surprised what you learn. It might just be a present in itself. How will you share presence this holiday?

This post is dedicated to Björn; my hero, partner, playmate and champion who I look forward to sharing presence with.

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Pass It On

It is exciting to see so much changing so rapidly in technology. I am finally getting a chance to play with new technology. It has been a part of my passion since the early days in school when we were printing out banners of repetative letters from Basic programming on Apple IIs. The disks were literally floppy. But it was exciting, as it is now. Now we have reach and a reason. So, my theme for this posting is pass on the passion for the little bit of nerd in you. We may not all have an apptitude, in fact seom simply have fear. So, I will try to simplify.

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Reflections from WIN

Taking a moment to reflect while in transit from the Women’s International Networking (WIN) Conference 10th anniversary in Oslo back home where my family and office await. It is a powerful experience to be with 700 professional women from around the world networking, learning, sharing for 5 days. Each one had different goals in mind for why they were there and what they will achieve during the conference. All expressed a desire for change, with an interest in being part of that change. Most presented a positive hope for the future. Those who brought in unconstructive negative energy became a dance of sorts for the rest of us to turn redirect to the positive (or at least seeking solutions instead of complaining).

Last year, I came to WIN with a curiosity and desire to learn more about what women were doing to connect and share. This year, with my ear to the ground, I wanted to learn more about what I could do to not only advocate sharing but enable it. I was encouraged to see that validity in my work. A tool is needed to bridge the gap between networks, to help them grow, to help women extend their reach for inquiry and sharing.

Like many events such as these, we return home to our lives with a renewed energy and inspiration from all the new connections we have made and things we have learned. Knowing that this energy fades, I only hope that these women will seek each other out to maintain this energy. Build momentum for change in themselves and their environments not only through their networks, but also as individuals. The laughter and smiles shared is a powerful connection. Remember that there is a human behind each card that sits in the stack. As I take each in my hand, I consider the conversations, the shared expressions, the smiles and occasional miscommunications that became opportunity for discussion.

Thank you Kristin for doing your magic and pulling of another great conference.

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Women Sharing Wisdom

Round the world we are the same
Inside the different shades and names
Seeking balance in transition
It’s a woman’s constant mission

Our ambitions are unique
In the fortunes that we seek
Often fueled by inspiration
Shared success and new creations

Often too much information
Hard to reach our destination
Connecting peers to what we know
We both seem to learn and grow

Never turn down invitations
They often exceed expectations
If they don’t then nothing’s lost
A moment’s time is all they cost.

We were women before mothers
We were single before lovers
We’re alone before we’re friends
We all have wisdom to lend.

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Greetings Wise Women

There is much to say on the topic of “women sharing wisdom.” and the motivation behind creating a venue for women to do so in a constructive and beneficial format. The purpose behind this blog is to communicate my incentive and passion for embarking on such a journey. I wish to share some of the interesting and inspiring events and people that have made an impact along the way. I hope you will find this an opportunity for giving me feedback and expressing your desires in terms of how we best can enhance our work, both in our site and our workshops. Let us know where we are needed and what we can do better. I look forward to sharing with you and hearing what you have to say.

First Annual Girls Retreat 2005

The original group of friends that inspired my work on 2BalanceU was the result of a girls’ retreat weekend that became the spark. All educated, intelligent, adventurous women, we shared our stories, our time, some tears and lots of laughter. Some knew each other well, others not at all. We learned about ourselves, and each other through simple sharing. We realized what we were capable of and how easy it was to find the tools to make that happen. My dream is to create this on a global scale to connect women locally and globally for sharing with their unlikely and more obvious friends. We all have experience to lend both personal and professional. And we all need it once in a while. As we continue to reinvent ourselves through each transition in life, it is always comforting to know there is a supporting woman who has been there and can lead the way.

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