continuous quality improvement


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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Tagline.”

Historically I am a seeker of, among other things, better ways to do what might present itself to me. This has not always proven useful, ensuring for instance my inability to do anything the same way twice. Like recipes, which are only a suggestion. Trying different methods to engage or discipline my children. Approaching my spouse with the idea-of-the-day to remain novel and interesting. In fact, whatever was in front of me seemed to require nimble re-definition and re-working in one endless challenge to do it afresh. This can prove quite exhausting over time.

I recall my father once confiding that he rewrote his ‘Chem 105’ notes each and every year – 40 of them. I did the same with endless writing group agendas, even though I could easily have reused them. I believed that continuous updating would keep the materials – and perhaps more importantly, myself – vibrant and engaging for each subsequent group.

I apparently adopted a way of living that pushes-pushes-pushes me. To outdo myself. To extremes of busy-ness. To extremes of fatigue. Without even giving myself a break between improvements. Can you imagine living in a house under constant construction
f-o-r-e-v-e-r with no end in sight? Welcome to my world.

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But now that I’m attempting retirement, and fully understand that there are no medals for over-doing, I need to release this overdrive-drive-drive to enhance, change, make more beautiful or functional. For too many decades this drive has filled the primary landscape of my heart. Today it will only drive away those I cherish and wish to keep close in my heart.

Embracing what IS is a far greater gift. It also allows me to move into arenas where I need not be The Sole Responsible Party. After all this time, that’s a sweet release indeed. While I feel challenged by this sea-change required of age-old behavior, I will rise to face it in my old age. With humility and trust that, in deed, continuous quality improvement has its limits.

‘the wonderful o’

a red 'o'

credit – reallylearnenglish

As a child, I loved the stories of James Thurber. One that kept me rolling in giggles was The Wonderful “O.”  The plot concerns an island subjected to the loss of the vowel ‘o.’ Not just a simple alphabet, dear reader — but an entire geographical place. This whimsical children’s book tells of “the harsh limits of a life sans O (where shoe is she and woe is we) … about two louts who attempt to lock up the language—and lose.” A linguist’s delight, for sure.

One can see straight off how the mind might speed to this tale upon reading the current DP challenge: to write a post using just 25 of the alphabet’s 26 letters. So how am I doing? What letter have I elected to avoid – other than ‘z’ and ‘x,’ which would be FAR too simple. Is it clear what letter I have, with intense intention, decided to work around? HINT: in so doing, I have also chosen to eschew adverbs, which are rife with this letter; and have changed a few words from the Amazon review to, um, adhere to the rules of the prompt.

holding dreams

How do we ‘hold dreams for others until they can hold them for themselves?’

I came across this question today from the Center for Courage and Renewal‘s newsletter, Words of EnCOURAGEment. And then read on to these fine words from Parker Palmer, found in his eternally inspiring book, The Courage to Teach:   

from Words of EnCOURAGEment


Isn’t that lovely? I got to thinking about this question of mentors. For as long as I can recall, I have mentored. From my first professional jobs in teaching hospitals, I was drawn to create a networking community to help women in healthcare management find their dreams. I helped them shape their resumes, present their passion and exchange job-searching tips and leads. And today, I mentor a number of previously incarcerated women now released into the community, helping them remember and strive to follow their dreams.

In between I have called myself midwife to other women’s voices. But truly, voice is a way of expressing those dreams; and midwifery, another form of mentorship. I invite you today to consider whom you might mentor into passion, voice, career, relationship; how you might hold the dream for another until s/he can do so on his/her own.