Experience gathering

Experience is the only teacher that brings true, deep nuanced learning. This is true in a career and life.

One can read parenting books, have theories and opinions about parenting, but until you’ve been in the role of a parent, the perspective and deeper learning of parenting is superficial.

I find this especially true in travel. I often have a distinct impression of a city or country prior to visiting. I come away after visiting a place surprised, often by very small things, that color and change my perspective of an area after I experience it. Singing in a local green (small village park) during the Christmas season in England while drinking mulled wine and experiencing the local community through the pub culture (family and community centered) colored my view of the UK and the Brits. When I think of the UK now, I think of the closeness of their community culture expressed in these experiences. When I traveled to the south of France (Cap d’Antibes, Monaco, the small villages of the French Alps) I was surprised at how beautifully dressed the people were; young and old, the attention to detail that I found there both in dress and food. We stopped to eat in a local McDonalds and were served a cold creamy, delicately flavored gazpacho soup that could have graced the finer restaurants of Denver, where I live. Walking through the harbor of Monaco, the expanse of beautiful yachts and expression of wealth in the loveliest of public gardens, through streets steeper than those in San Francisco dripping in flowers from tasteful, yet decadent homes set close together, and manicured Eden-like greenery was a tangible experience of luxury and privilege I could only comprehend through felt experience.

In my work communities, experience has revealed the breadth and depth of knowledge in each sector and profession. My 7 years as a luxury leasing agent and then assistant manager in Houston, Tx taught me more than any book on how to close a sale, the importance of customer service, the critical nature of balancing the books and the nuances of luxury commercial real estate.

My 22 years as a nurse have led to a deep well of knowledge about medicine, how the medical community works, crisis management, a great deal about human behavior and psychology as I work with people in some of the most difficult moments of their lives. One thing that surprised me is how central hope is. When people have hope for themselves or their loved ones it changes everything. Hope gives human beings strength like no other thing. I might have known this from an intellectual level prior to my years in medicine, but I know it in a much deeper way having seen it in the eyes and hearts of countless men and women.

As I pivot now in my career, pursing a MBA, I will begin to gather new experiences. I feel an impending excitement to the truths, knowledge and wisdom that I will learn and apply in the years ahead.

I wish you all enthusiasm and bounty in your own experience gathering!

*St. Johns Neighborhood, Portland, Oregon*

children

It is quite shocking to realize that your children may have very different sensibilities to yourself. We have things that are deeply innate to who we are as people; love of writing, reading, music, athletics, culture or whatever the case may be. When our children grow up we can find that the things we feel define us, our children have no inclination for or interest in. It is one of the oddest, most unexpected realizations. We think, “how can you possibility not want to pick up a book and read?!”, “Why don’t you want to go on a hike, gaze at nature and see the limitless beauty of the universe?!”, etc.

Our love should overcome this surprise. We should put away our disappointment. We can look to what they love, embrace it, learn it and love it with them. Sometimes it’s Tik Tock, skateboarding, hip hop or crazy hair. Whatever it is, let us never let our children disappoint us, let us love them for who they are created to be.

*my daughter and husband, Denver*

The positive role of negative emotions

The role of negative emotions can be powerful and motivating if we allow them. We hear much about positive rewards, encouragement and inspiration as a way to move us in the direction we want to go. Not much time is given to the helpful role of negative emotions in propelling us towards our goals.

The negative emotions; boredom, disgust, frustration, anger are things that we associate with avoidance. However, when we feel these emotions I believe we can allow them to highlight an area of our lives we desire change. If we allow them to channel our behaviors towards things we want and don’t let them dominate our minds and overcome us, they can be powerful tools for change.

The classic example of a teacher, parent, friend, colleague or society itself telling us we can’t achieve something can push us to prove that person or entity wrong. We can remember the negative emotions brought forward (anger, frustration, injustice) that lit a fire in our hearts and swept us along to do more than we would have. We look back with great satisfaction and say “see, you weren’t right!”. We “prove” them wrong.

The negative emotions may come internally in the form of disappointment, low self esteem or other hard feelings directed towards ourselves by ourselves. I believe even here, maybe especially here, we can use them to understand what we want. Those negative emotions can precipitate self-reflection and can be channelled into a deeper understanding of where we want to go and what we want to accomplish.

Overcoming obstacles, as negative emotions are, can leave lasting fulfillment, strength and resilience.

*Portland, Oregon, the Willamette River near Sellwood*