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Celebrating Resilience

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To A Child Dancing In The Wind
by William Butler Yeats

Dance there upon the shore;
What need have you to care
For wind or water’s roar?
And tumble out your hair
That the salt drops have wet;
Being young you have not known
The fool’s triumph, nor yet
Love lost as soon as won,
Nor the best labourer dead
And all the sheaves to bind.
What need have you to dread
The monstrous crying of wind!

Saint Patrick, the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland, was born in Roman Britain during the fourth century. Believed to have died on March 17 480 A.D., St. Patrick’s Day was created to commemorate the death of Saint Patrick in the fifth century, the saint’s religious feast day, as well as celebrate Irish heritage and culture.

Prior to reading Frank McCourt’s memoir “Angela’s Ashes,” Irish culture and heritage for me largely had to do with pubs, shamrocks, and curiously entertaining accents. McCourt’s masterful and beautiful use of words opened my eyes to a rich culture of resiliency that has carried generations of Irish people through the most tumultuous of personal and collective storms. The McCourt family struggles with abject poverty, illness, death, and alcoholism are crosses many Irish families had to wrestle with during the time period this memoir documents. But amid all of this unimaginable pain and suffering rests a resilient spirit that defined the unshakeable faith and determination these individuals and country had (have) to make it through another day.

Throughout the past few years, personal dissatisfaction and grief, coupled with  family illnesses and death, have tested my resiliency on a near constant basis. Loss, grief, and shattered dreams have a way of knocking me straight into a whirlwind of despair and hopelessness, something I fight against falling back nearly everyday. But what I’ve reluctantly come to learn and am slowly embracing, is that the opportunity to tap into our pockets of resilience rise prominently out of the ashes of our most darkest moments. This is the space where character and courage are developed and refined.  

For some, their pockets of resilience rise out of the memory of a loved one, unbreakable family ties and/or out of the fear of lessons unlearned and experiences untapped. While others rest on a hope in things unseen, on the eternal, similar in fashion to the letter written by the Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth recorded in 2 Corinthians 4:18 of the bible. Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” is a principal promise many Christians rest upon in times when resilience is needed in abundant supply. For many, it is the combination of the experiential and the spiritual (Christian or otherwise) that activate the pockets of resilience that help them get through the darkest of days.

This St. Patrick’s Day, I invite you to not only celebrate the history of resilience nestled in the Irish culture, but also to take time to celebrate the history of resilience that permeates your life, acknowledging that even though:

“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.” 

Steve Maraboli 

What do you draw upon in times when you believe resilience is most needed in your life?

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Wordless Wednesday: Gym Truths

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Chalkboard at my gym 🙂

Dragging the bull through Silicon Valley

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Marissa Mayer is a bit of a marvel in the Tech/Business arena. At 37 years old, Mayer is the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 Company and is ranked number 14 on the 2012 Fortune Magazine list of America’s most powerful businesswoman. Appointing a then visibly pregnant Mayer’s to head Yahoo as its CEO and President was seen by many as a bold move on the part of the flailing tech company.  Mayer’s announcement that she would only be taking 2 weeks off post-childbirth was received with criticism and concern by some women. But nothing has drawn quite as much criticism and concern from both women and men than Mayer’s latest move to ban Yahoo employees from working from home.

Best known for its laid back work environment and near endless stream of free cafeteria food goodies,  Silicon Valley has been posited as the model for working from home. Skype, Google hangout, e-mail, text, etc.,  has heightened the accessibility and manageability of working from home. For years, many Yahoo employees have enjoyed the convenience and virtual freedom that comes from working from home, a benefit many in the tech arena see as par for the course. In issuing the edict to ban Yahoo employees from working from home, Mayer flipped what many in that industry feel is par for the course on its head. And make no bones about it,  this decision has not only left many hopping mad, but also hopping scared.

In making this decision, a thus far mum Mayer has been accused of turning back the feminist clock, of destroying an innovative work structure, and of failing to make managers take responsibility for the “missing in action”  work from home employees many feel this decision is specifically targeting. Best Buy’s recent announcement that it too would be banning work from home has further fanned the flame of concern that others would be tempted to institute a Mayer- like ban at their companies. Adding injury to what many consider an insulting decision to ban working from home is the revelation that Mayer is constructing a nursery next to her office. Yahoo’s “craftily” worded rationale for

While the ramifications of Mayer’s ban on working from home remain to be seen, what is apparent is how quickly many women jumped on Mayer’s back for this decision. Yes, many men have also criticized Mayer for this decision, most notably Sir Richard Branson, but what I’m most concerned with is the reaction of women. As women, I think we oftentimes tend to severely criticize women on the upper echelons of the business ladder whom we deem have abandoned the “movement” far more than men. We cast all of our hopes and dreams on women like Mayer and are crushed when they don’t act in the way we had envisioned. It is time to stop expecting that women act and think in one uniform way. This is not to say that I disagree with allowing employees to work from home. Depending on the position, I think working from home is something that should be explored on a broader basis.  I would hope that employers, regardless of their gender, would consider allowing more employees to work from home. However, I do not think it would be fair of me to hold Marissa Mayer to a higher standard for this hope because she is a woman.

At the end of the day, Mayer has to answer to her bosses, the Yahoo shareholders. It is this collection of bosses whom is looking to Mayer to turn around a tech company that has been failing for years. I think it is fair to assume that the decision to ban Yahoo employees from working at home was not one made in a bubble. Yahoo has been suffering from a bloated employee work pool that has failed to keep up with its competitors and it is in such an environment that these sort of  unpopular decisions typically creep up. The “craftily” worded memo from Yahoo’s HR department, I believe, only scratches the surface of what drove Mayer to institute this ban. 

In time, Mayer may reverse this ban and start allowing Yahoo employees to work from home. Maintaining an open and respectful dialogue about this issue, I believe, will go a long way in shaping how companies will receive the decision to work from home debate. In the meantime, Mayer’s decision presents women with the unique opportunity to take stock of what they expect and why from women in top business  positions.

What do you think of Marissa Mayer’s decision to ban working from home? Do you believe women in top business positions should be held to a higher/different standard than their male counterparts? 

 

Still looking up…

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Work has been overbearing lately and I haven’t been able to take some pictures exclusively for Wordless Wednesday, or for that matter, write a blog post. UGH!!

Desiring to still be part of Wordless Wednesday, I’m posting a picture of the sky that I used for a photo challenge on Instagram. Cheating, I know.. However, I hope you like the picture.

Looking up

                                            Taking time to look up

Wordless Wednesday: Lincoln Center

Lincoln Center in the rain (droplets of rain)

Happy Valentine’s Day

 I Love You More Than Applesauce

By Jack Prelutsky

I love you more than applesauce,
Than peaches and a plum,
Than chocolate hearts,
And cherry tarts,
And berry bubble-gum.

I love you more than lemonade,
And seven-layer cake,
Than lollipops,
And candy drops,
And thick vanilla shake.

I love you more than marzipan,
Than marmalade on toast;
For I love pies
Of any size,
But I love you the most.