Wednesday, 23 March 2016


Like many of you, I write down my thoughts and experiences from time to time, keep a journal on occasion around travel, maintain a blog and use social media, mostly Twitter and LinkedIn, for a variety of purposes.  I have written several books, numerous articles, and have a web site, in need of an update and refresh.   Until recently, about five years ago, I never considered myself a writer although I may have morphed into that activity out of the encouragement and support of others in my network of colleagues and friends.  I wrote columns and contributed to newsletters considering those part of my work and career.

Now, at this later stage of my career, having begun professionally in 1962, I have the luxury of working part time. I respond only to those invitations and projects that interest me most, often having to do with change and transition, whether in organizations or in individuals.   While change is an all-embracing topic, I consider myself a life-long learner who is still willing to change what I do or how I do it if I believe it will be better than what I was doing previously.  And, I stick to some “tried and true” practices as well.

I began working outside of home in 1947 at age 10 when I set pins in a bowling alley. I always had jobs at home and still do!   I got my social security card and felt like a real grown-up worker guy. The Protestant work ethic was alive and well in our family from an early age onward.  Other jobs I had before I graduated from high school included working on the railroad in maintaining the tracks; being a grease monkey in my Dad’s auto dealership; helping my grandparents, one on a farm, the other in a general store in a small town; and being a camp counselor and cook for 300 Boy Scouts. Work in the college years included life guard; construction labor; and office experience.  Such a variety was most welcome especially as learning experiences and the pay was good too.
In 1959, I started driving buses and continued that through graduate school and beyond during summers, holidays and sometimes weekends. Last year, because I enjoy driving vehicles of any kind, I accepted a job driving an airport shuttle from Santa Fe to Albuquerque two mornings a week. It was fun and I met all kinds of interesting people from all over the world.  The stories of their lives and work are fascinating.  None of these other jobs have ever taken anything away from my main career as a teacher, administrator, leader and consultant.  If anything, those jobs of a different sort add a dimension of understanding and appreciation for the human condition.

I am deeply grateful for the immense opportunities that I have had to be an active participant in so many productive experiences.  My education contributed enormously to my career.  The K-12 journey followed by 4 years of undergraduate school, 7 years of two graduate programs in two different places resulting in 4 degrees have all played their respective parts.

The privilege of being selected to lead several schools in their growth and development as principal or headmaster was only successful because of all those other people who contributed to those experiences. It was truly a team effort.  Out of all of this came an invitation to serve as a consultant to both organizations and individuals that were considering transitions, significant growth and change.  I did that formally and professionally with a firm located in Boston, and I had the privilege of living in and working from Santa Fe although it required a fair amount of travel.  Now I do it on my own time when and where I choose.  I would not have dreamed of such even ten years ago but here we are.

What’s next as I look ahead?  I am continuing to learn more about technology and educational reforms, planning a few more writing projects, some more travel. I contribute to the professional development of others through seminars, workshops and symposia on several different topics and did two workshops last November, one in Santa Fe for Leadership and Design, and one in Barcelona for ECIS (European Council of International Schools) and another in London in January.

On the personal front, we have downsized (see blog entitled “When Downsizing is Right Sizing: Why Less is More”) and we are very connected to our seven children, thirteen grandchildren and several siblings.  I am blessed with good health, energy and enthusiasm for living fully.  We are looking forward to having all our children and theirs together next Thanksgving in Vermont for one of our ongoing reunions and they all have their own unfolding stories which are fascinating.  What a tribe and what a world!

If you've gotten this far and you consider yourself a fellow-traveler, lifelong learner, you might be interested in my brief catalogue of learning experiences that were a big influence in this life thus far:   Enjoy!

Sunday, 20 March 2016


Many people associate Spring with the advent of new growth that we can see and smell.  In the southern hemisphere, not so, as it's autumn there and the amount of daylight is decreasing.  While some spend more time inside than outside in the winter, we are now glad to be outside again, except of course for those of us with some miserable Springtime allergies.  And the closer you are to the earth, the more enhanced the senses.  I usually remember at this time of the year that Easter (Eostre, pagan goddess of Spring) is the first Sunday, after the first full moon, after the vernal equinox, a movable feast to be sure.

If you want to get precise about it, it will happen at 4:30 UTC or 10:30 PM EDT today.  That’s when the tilt of Earth relative to the Sun is zero, which means that Earth’s axis neither points toward nor away from the Sun. However, the tilt of Earth relative to its plane of orbit, called the ecliptic plane, is always about 23.5 degrees. So much for the scientific side of the equation.

Vernal, which means literally fresh and young and youthful, refers to Spring.  This is true in the northern hemisphere where Winter is ending.  However, in the southern hemisphere, it is really the autumnal equinox and while the hours of daylight and nighttime are almost equal there as well, it is the ending and beginning of different seasons.  Those of us who live, work and play in the northern half sometimes forget the other half.  There’s a metaphor in there somewhere!

I am one of those who follow the sun’s path on the horizon, especially at sunrise and often at sunset.  It really does not travel north and south but that is how it appears and that’s good enough for me.  This week the sun will be halfway on its journey north .
Find what you can in your world to celebrate the arrival of Spring.  For a long time, I associated Easter with Spring and then had that realization that it was biased toward the northern half.  Regardless, Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox and whether or not you celebrate Easter or Passover (the origin of Easter) or Ostara or some other tradition in Buddhist or Hindu calendars, you might pay homage to your own gods or goddesses that bring so many blessings of the seasonal change. After all is said and done, one more time, it’s about change.  Embrace it!

Tuesday, 8 March 2016


I have often mused on the meaning of time, how we regard it, use it as if it were a commodity, even talk about how we spend it.  One reason the concept of time interests me is that I regard the sun, moon and stars as better keepers of time than we are and I believe the indigenous peoples were onto this long before we invented clocks and attempted to regulate time according to our needs and interests.  My conclusion, along with a few others, is that time is a construct, an invention for our convenience.  Most of our measuring, organizing, and even selling time contribute to our illusion of time as something real which we can see and manipulate.

How we experience the passing of time has been a subject of exploration and invention for centuries with various instruments put together to first see how the sun and moon, relative to the earth, moved from one day to the next. The earliest devices such as obelisks and sundials were not mechanical but mechanics gradually put pieces of machinery together until we had clocks and those were based on either 12 or 24 hour periods of time, periods of time, spaces from one period to the next.  Soon people started measuring their days by hours and assigning various activities to certain hours such as work, home life and projects of all kinds with timelines. 

Today, most computers, smart phones and calendars will tell you what time it is without your having to do anything but look and, if you forget to look, there are reminders in the form of bells, whistles and gongs. Those are to let you know what needs to be done or how much time you have before the next appointment or task.  Or if you set a timer, it means time is up.  Up? Expired, gone. Where did it go?  The mere name “alarm clock” should be banished.  Why should it be an alarm which means “an anxious awareness of a danger” instead of “gentle wake up clock.”  Yes, I know, they make those too, soft increasingly louder chimes. 

Of interest to me is that I now have more choices about how I use a day, week or month than ever before, being free from work, growing children, and earning a living.  Here is a quick summary of what I did for the past four months without all the details, observations, and conclusions.        
1. Researched and purchased our 6th RV/motorhome.
2. Traveled 7000+ miles on highways from NM to CA to MX and back through TX, AZ, CA and home again to NM.
3. Camped, with amenities, for two months on a beach in Lo de Marcos, MX.
4. Invested time walking, reading, writing, meditating, questioning, musing.
5. Worked with three brief projects each taking about a week’s worth of time.  What is a week?              
We all have the same amount of time, more than enough to do what needs to be done.  It is not about time, nor how much nor how little. Rather, it’s about the choices that we make that fill up the space of an hour, a day, a week, a month or a year.  We can think of those five entities as spaces given to us to use as we wish, or in some cases, as others would like as well.  In the end, what matters is whether you believe your investment of time has given you and others the benefits and rewards of a life well-lived.