March 2016 - In This Issue:
"Try to open the window a few inches more than is comfortable. ...Try to keep the window unlatched more than feels safe. Only a person willing to be vulnerable, willing to be overwhelmed, even to fail, can find the almost-inexpressible and newly made discovery that is yours, and yours alone, to see, to feel, to say." Jane Hirshfield ( Mindful Magazine, February 2016, page 37.)

On Sunday, at the Acadiana Master Naturalist's third daylong workshop held at The Louisiana State Arboretum in Chicot State Park, we made a stop at the Caroline Dormon Lodge. Dormon was a naturalist, painter, writer and also known as "mother of the Kistachie National Forest" for her efforts to protect and establish this national forest in Louisiana.

A photo of Ms. Dormon caught my eye in the exhibit. She is sitting on a low wooden chair with an old, manual typewriter on her lap. Open books sit at the floor near her feet. Please excuse the poor quality of the photo below, but I want you to see this.
Caroline Dormon with typewriter on her lap

What this photo says to me is that Ms. Dormon was determined to write her book. It didn't matter if she had the "perfect" conditions to do so. She just made it happen. She persevered as she did for many years in her fight to preserve the forests.

On our arboretum walk we passed by an American Beech tree that had been struck by lightning. New leaves were sprouting from its branches. Looking at the burnt out trunk I wouldn't have imagined the new growth. And yet it survived due to its amazing ability to pull nutrients from its entire circumference which it then sent up the tree. Just because part of the tree was damaged, didn't mean that it couldn't flourish.

American Beech tree

When I "open the window" to new experiences, like through the Master Naturalists Program, I am inspired. When I open a new magazine, Jane Hirshfield challenges me to persevere. I take her advice as I write a play, something I have never done before. I hear her voice entreating, "open the window to vulnerability and possibly to failure, but more likely opening to new discoveries".

What window are you opening just a bit wider?

I've been thinking about compassion lately. I believe that we could practice a lot more of it these days. Would you join me in a personal campaign to live with more compassion? How?
Here are a few ideas:
  • Listen to connect
  • Smile
  • Say please and thank you to family members and mean it
  • Each day take a few minutes to reflect on what you are grateful for
If we each start with these practices, perhaps we will feel more compassion for ourselves and for others and it will be contagious.
Photo of Sue Schleifer

Would you like someone to listen to you deeply, with compassion, and with questions that will break open understanding and new perspectives?

Do you want to kick it up a notch in your role as a leader?

Would you like a partner to help you develop practices to live a healthy, creative, and vibrant life?

Would you like to feel greater satisfaction in your work life but are not sure how to make that happen?


Perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed with everything on your plate?

Contact me for a complimentary coaching consultation to learn how we might work together for your success and happiness.
The Key to the Castle book cover
Zen and Travel Stories of Trust

A book about inner and outer journeys.  


 Available for purchase from Amazon and Smashwords and other digital download sites in both print and digital formats. 


To read reviews of the book, please visit The Key to the Castle

web page.  

Cultivating a Mindful Life book cover

Cultivating a Mindful Life, a collection of 35 stories, is an e-book

available from Smashwords and Amazon and other digital download sites.
If you prefer a print copy, please contact me directly.

Sue Schleifer 
Oak Communications Coaching and Consulting
acorns with sprouts