Saturday, May 28, 2011

A story about a cardinal and persistance

You will know how to stop suffering as soon as suffering ceases to be valuable. If you are in pain, you are being led.—Martha Beck
"Now why on earth, would a bird keep punishing itself by repetitiously flying into a window?"

Is our territory that important to us?
Do we realize when we are trying to control our situation and schedule, that we may be damaging ourselves and those around us?  After writing this little scenario, I realize, once again, I am always learning.

Each spring, all of the birds come back, sing songs, build their nests and create their temporary homes to lay their eggs and nurture their new families, to prepare them to fly out into this broad world.  The yard will have many nests filled with momma birds and their baby birds.

This year, one of the orange cardinals makes a nest by the bedroom window. She makes her nest and then, each early morning, she rams into my bedroom window and wakes me up. I feel quite sorry for the cardinal; because for the past month, she/he has been flying into our windows. Now, I could make up so many funny stories about why this cardinal is doing this (like, maybe the bird is seeing our cozy lives and wants to come in and enjoy my home too or, that she couldn't handle it anymore and wanted to sabotage herself by ramming into a window all day, and so on)...

The bird doesn't stop at just one window. No, no, no....

A person would think that the cardinal would learn after the first time ramming its little head into the window.  Nope, the second the bird hits the window, it encroaches on a tree limb ready to go again.  Then the cardinal flies up to the 2nd level of my home and flies into the bedroom window, then flies to the loft and does it again.

Someone once told me that the bird is seeing its reflection and thinking that another bird is imposing in its territory. The way to mitigate this and help the bird out of this behavior is by hanging a white cloth in the window; which will eliminate the reflection, and alleviate the threat.

Whatever the reason, this story of the cardinal is telling and mimics human behavior in a small way.  Similar to the cardinal, we are so caught up in trying to achieve or protect those things important to us; we may not even realize how we are sabotaging or hurting ourselves or the ones we love.  We continue to follow these damaging daily patterns and routines, just like the bird is persistent to protect its territory and will do everything in its power, even if it is physically damaging; when to protect the territory might not necessarily be the goal at hand.

I had to reflect about how this might relate to my life.  Does this relate to yours?

*A special Thanks to Gordon W. Stanley (Gordon Stanley FB) for the pictures and Chris Gasco (Chris Gasco FB) for the education on birds.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Master what you do; continue to educate yourself. Never stop learning.

No matter what complex thing you’re learning, from playing the piano to solving calculus equations, the trick is to break the necessary actions down into trivial-seeming behaviors, then practice these behaviors until you can do each one half-asleep, while watching television with one eye and your children with the other. —Martha Beck
An acquaintance asked me the other day, "Why do you go to school so much?  What's the point? You're too old to do anything with it?"

I thought, Wow!  I was taken a-back and eventually contemplated this question.  Why IS it that I keep taking classes and going back to school?  To help me put this into perspective for myself, I tabulated several reasons why I keep going to school:
  1. I love to learn.
  2. I'm never "too old" to learn
  3. There is always something new that I can learn
  4. The more I learn, the more I discover about myself
  5. School is a setting where I can drink in knowledge and contribute as well
  6. My strive to learn is innate
  7. I'm curious
  8. I am a sponge!!!
  9. I believe, "You never stop growing or learning."
  10. I like to challenge myself, raise the bar, do things others have not tried
  11. I like the esoteric nature of research and learning
  12. I am fascinated by nature, science, human nature, politics, religion in a non-satirical manner and philosophy and how it all fits together
  13. Some say I have OCD tendancies (never been diagnosed officially, but my behavior makes people believe they cannot keep up with me hence the acquaintances perspective); however, knowing this has a lot to do with my creative approach to life.
I believe that I will always be learning, going to school, whether it is in a formal or in-formal setting or in daily life.  In many ways, I feel that if I close myself off to learning, thinking I'm done with learning and don't have anything else to learn, then I stopped and gave up on living my life.  I will never do that.

I will work hard to continue to soak up knowledge as it stands before me, to stay aware and open to learning.  Welcoming it every day of my life.

My motto is... continue learning, always stay open to new ideas, never give up on it and never, ever, give in.  Stay focused and continue the drive forward, keep an open mind and continue forward.  Soak up what you learn, like a sponge!  

Continue learning...

Criteria for Success (What's yours?)

If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.~Anna Quindlen
Someone once asked me, "How do you define success?"  I thought about it for a while, wondered, am I successful?  What determines success?  

Success is determined by people differently.  Some may think they are successful because they raised their kids and each one is out there with a job, and contributing to society in a positive way.  Others think success is making it to a management level in their career, other define success as being happy, healthy and wealthy.  So many ways to interpret success.

My definition of success is reaching my goal, not losing sight of the journey and lessons learned along the way, and being cognizant and articulate enough to tell the story of my experience.  I sometimes struggle with defining my interpretation of success.  I have gone through several stages in my life defining success in different ways. 

  • In my early 20's, success was graduating from college and getting a job.
  • In my late 20's early 30's is was about how many toys I acquired and moving up the latter in my career.
  • In my late 30's early 40's it was about traveling and reinventing myself, when in fact, I learned that it's all about being in the moment with people, hearing what they have and want to say.  Taking in the special talents others provide to me and share my talents with others.
  • In my mid-40's it is has been about discovering how I can give back and living a fulfilled-holistic life, one that I can be proud to tell stories to my grandchildren.
I believe I am successful, in so many ways and am thankful for all of the gifts and support that is provided to me along the way. Without all of the generous people in my life, there would be no success.  Success has become a welcoming experience for me.

Each one of us takes a unique journey through life, sometimes we cross paths other times we walk in parallel; and we determine success based on the path in life that we are taking at the time.  

How do you define success?  What are your life-long successes?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Flying Critique: Frontier Airlines

A letter to Frontier Executives.

To Whom It May Concern,

I wanted to send you a note about my experience as a first time passenger on Frontier airlines since the Midwest buy-out.  My husband and I decided to take Frontier to Denver, Colorado; I fly a lot, usually flying with two other airlines.

I must say the flight was very smooth and I didn’t even feel the turbulence that usually is caused by the high winds touching down in Denver.  This was very nice.  Our first flight out from Madison, we were quite impressed with this and the spacious seats and nice size compartments for carry-on luggage (which I always do considering I am always cutting my trips very thin to make sure I get to my destination in time).  The Cookies are nice, but not really necessary (nuts or some other healthier solution would be nicer, but I won’t complain about this since your airlines likes to so the cookie thing).   Or, you could remove the cookie altogether and replace the cost of the cookie by providing a movie for free.  The niche you have is a comfortable and smooth flight.  A good VOICE OF THE CUSTOMER 3 question survey could prove out these items I mention).

There are several complaints I had share with you.  I am including suggested solutions for you to consider implementing from the voice of the customer. 
  • 1.       I was relaxing in my seat about 20 minutes into the flight when the flight attendants started to hand out beverages.  I noticed several customers (passengers) ask if they could purchase sandwiches.  The flight attendant said that they only sell sandwiches on the return flight. After hearing the passengers make the same request and the same dialogue occurred again and again as the attendants moved down the isle; I thought to myself, “That is strange, why are they only selling on the return flightWhy does this airline only sell on certain flights?”  Each customer is a customer and I believe that each person should be treated equally.  Solution - “Offer selling sandwiches to customers on ALL flights.”  Fair is fair to ALL Customers, same service again and again.
  • 2.       My husband and I wanted to watch a movie, there was a screen displayed only a few feet away from me.  If there was no movie, I would settle for programming.  I learn that the movies or any programming costs $6.00.  Why? I noticed almost every seat had the insert card on their screen.  Solution – Offer movies or programming to everyone and just add $.50 more on each person’s flight ticket.  This will cover those 6 people who actually paid for the movie and you are then making all of your customers happy.  (*And, where did the radio stations go, I remember Midwest use to have them and I enjoyed listening to music on my flights).
  • 3.       Finally, why separate out a few people and give them free food and free movies (or a free gift)?  When the rest of us see this and go, “now why are these people getting this free service and not me?”  Solution – if you have a program, advertise this to your customers so we know “why” you are doing it?  If it is a senior citizen benefit, I AM ALL FOR IT!!!   And if it is the case that you have such a program, advertise it so we know.  I am certain everyone would agree with this wonderful perk that your company would offer all seniors flying your airline.  Seniors deserve this, they lived their quality life, they should be treated like kings and queens.    If your rewards that you give out (free food and movie) is not given to seniors and is just a random selection, then why do you do this?  I think this segregates out special treatment to customers.  (*Don’t really appreciate this, unless again there is a reason spelled out to all customers).

Another small comment that I did notice is *it seems that your company has internal communication issues, and if I notice this as a customer there is a problem.  Typically a well-run operation provides a well-serviced customer.  This may be something for Frontier to look at as they are readjusting how you run your business.  

*Note: Since I could not find a formal email to send my comments to, I posted my concerns here in hopes that someone from Frontier might receive them.  

Because I am, the voice of the customer.

Happy Flying!

Monday, May 2, 2011

This is my version... the accident.

I started thinking about Friday.  The day I spent a wonderful early afternoon lunch with a friend afterwards, driving home we were chatting away; when all of the sudden I heard a loud screech, followed by a bang.  My head jerked around where the noise came from, and the first thing I saw was a white car melded into a pillar in front of a bank that was positioned on a tri-corner.  We turned the corner and saw "no parking" signs, and finally drove into a parking lot between two large buildings.

I immediately opened my passenger door and started back towards the accident.  My friend jogged up to me at the cross-walk and we sped across the street toward the car.  There were a few bank tellers, one holding the glass door, evaluating the situation.  I walked through the door into the breezeway and opened the second glass door, finding a young man sitting in a chair to the right in the lobby.  His bloody hand holding a cell-phone to his ear.

He started to talk, "Mom, you aren't going to believe this, I've been in an accident.  I think I fainted.  I took a bit of my sandwich and then all of the sudden I'm here."

My friend, who is a nurse, came out from behind me and said, "I'm a nurse."

The few people helping, scurried away, one to get a first aid kit.

My friend got right to work.

It seemed that I stood there for minutes watching, feeling bad for the young man, in my eyes was no more than a child, someone's kid who was just getting started with his life.  I observed my friend asking the driver questions, simple questions like if he knew what day it was and his birthday, to make sure he was alert.  Turns out he has had a medical condition since he was young, where he would faint.

The police officer came in and started analyzing the situation; this is when we went across to chairs nearby to sit and wait to give information as the officer needed.

After questioning the driver, and another witness, the police officer asked us if we were witnesses.  We said yes, and my friend mentioned she was a nurse, gave her statement and recommended that the driver get checked out at the hospital.

I gave my statement and information and then we were released to go.

We started walking out, seeing police tape around the accident.   I looked at the car embedded into the pillar, how close the driver came to losing his life.  How easily with a little more force, the pillar could have toppled over and results would have been devastating.  I am so glad that we were there to help and the driver only walked away with a few cuts and bruises.