"Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing." — Laurie Buchanan

Breezy Bay Morning

The sun, barely ripe on the bay’s horizon, offers the promise of warmth later in the day. The morning is still cool with a hint—an afterthought, really—of remaining mist. Hugging oneself in the muted hush of dawn’s solitude, we revel in the bone-deep pleasure of having the porch almost to ourself. The only other occupant are clothesline thoughts that open their souls—slowly—as mussels do when steamed.

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I’m struck by the clarity with which my dear friend, Canadian artist Terrill Welch, has captured the moment in Breezy Bay Morning on Saturna Island, a 36 x 36 inch oil on canvas painting that offers a private view where we inhale the glory of brine-tanged air, take in the contours of the land and distant bay, and if we’re willing, allow nostalgia to sweep through us, carried by a wave of retrospection.

Perfectly set at arm’s reach, the pulley allows us to retrieve memories, much like scenes in a play. Some evocative and positive, soaked in the freshness of purifying sunlight; others flap and snap in the gust of pre-storm turbulence. Seasoned, those of us who’ve lived any life know that reminiscing is often a bittersweet experience.

The world is chaotic. The serene setting in Breezy Bay Morning on Saturna Island offers a gentle porch view.

Every clothesline tells a story—even the one in our mind’s eye. What’s yours?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Game On!

Len is the recipient of a gorgeous bocci ball set from Heineken (yes, the beer people — don’t ask). A super cool gift because we happen to live just two blocks from a park that boasts a beautiful bocci ball court.

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Studies show that play for adults — not just children — isn’t a frivolous use of time. In fact, play is a vital component to health and wellbeing. Just a few of the many benefits include:

  • Stress relief. Endorphins (one of the brain’s feel-good chemicals) are released during play.
  • Connection. Shared laughter promotes a playful disposition and boosts our relationship with others.
  • Enhanced brain function. Play stimulates creativity and can even help to stave off depression.
  • Physical vibrancy. Play promotes vitality (energy) and stamina (endurance).

When was the last time you played?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Ph.inisheD

The May, 2015 edition of Sibyl Magazine features a thread in my life’s tapestry — From GED to PhD.

COVER May 2015 SIBYL MAGAZINE

I left home/school when I was 15. That personal choice meant getting a GED instead of graduating with my class. I went on to earn my PhD. And while I’m Ph.inisheD with brick-and-mortar academia, I’ll never be done learning.

What’s your most recent learning?

© Laurie Buchanan

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The Art of Listening

Designed for people to gather and listen, the small amphitheater by the river at Boise State University hosts a variety of events from concerts, to poetry readings, and everything in-between.

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Hearing is passive. We hear dogs bark, tires squeal, birds chirp, church bells ring, and the deep-throated rumble of the furnace coming to life on a winter morning. In a conversation, someone who’s hearing instead of listening is oftentimes busy formulating their own response.

Listening is active. It’s something we do on purpose; something we invest ourself in. A typical investor expects an ROI — a return on their investment.

Generally speaking, there are four types of listeners:

  • Analytical — possibly skeptical, they question and evaluate what’s being said.
  • Driver — results oriented, they listen with an ear to “How can I incorporate this information?”
  • Amiable — rapt with attention, they often smile with encouragement, urging the speaker to continue.
  • Expressive — potential interrupters, these listeners enjoy being involved and can hardly wait to share their response.

Regardless of listening style, when we invest in active listening, the benefit (return) is an enriched life with enhanced relationships and an expanded capacity for compassion.

What’s your listening style?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Slip Sliding Away

Walking toward the Boise river we happened upon a banana peel. There it was — large as life — on the sidewalk. I cracked up. Len cracked up. Not familiar with the myriad of banana-slippage cartoons we’d grown up with, Willa didn’t find any humor in the situation.

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Periodically I apply self-imposed restrictions: No more red licorice. No more BBQ chips. Ever again. As sure as the sun rises, these types of constraints only last a few days before I slip up. Not a fan of confinement, when limitations are imposed by others (barring the speed limit — usually), they’re in place an even shorter length of time.

Do you ever apply self-imposed restrictions?

© Laurie Buchanan

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On Being Human

Generally speaking, most people agree on three of the components that comprise human beings:

MENTAL — Our capacity to think
EMOTIONAL — Our capacity to feel
PHYSICAL — The physical package we occupy during our lifetime

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SPIRITUAL — this is the element where agreement can falter…

  • Some people believe we have a spirit — that which animates us
  • Some people believe we have a soul — the God spark or eternal component
  • Some people believe the spirit and soul are one and the same
  • Some people believe the spirit and soul are two separate aspects
  • Some people believe that we have neither spirit or soul.

What do you believe regarding the spiritual aspect of humanity?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Go Fly a Kite

When our son was a little boy we had a French military box kite. Huge, we’d take it to the shores of Lake Michigan where his little gloved hands would hold the cord spool and the airborne kite would lift him off the ground — him screaming with glee, “more, More, MORE!” — while Len and I held him securely, only letting him rise so far.

Now in the Pacific Northwest, we live within walking distance of Julia Davis Park in Boise, Idaho. One of its many beautiful offerings is the Bloch Cancer Survivor Plaza — a walking plaza created to give hope and courage to newly diagnosed patients, to inspire determination for those who are fighting the disease, and to reduce fear in those who’ve not had cancer. A portion of the plaza includes kite sculptures in perpetual flight.

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More than a calm draft or gentle breeze, the key ingredient to a successful kite flight is wind — strong, continuous, and sometimes fierce — to keep it aloft.

Have you encountered triumph through turbulence?

© Laurie Buchanan

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