My Holy Ground

What is there to honor? My fascination with the unknown, the promise of emergence where the past meets the future right in front of us. For me, career cannot be shackled by the distinctions that divide work from whatever it’s divided from. Life is work. That I help wealthy families and those who hope to support them makes sense right now. It will only continue to make sense to the extent that it is an honoring of my holy ground of the unknown in human life and development.

Chip Nowacek

Delusions of Adequacy

picture of toddler in a superman suit

My greatest trouble comes from thinking that I am up to a project when, in fact, I have to change significantly for it to succeed. This perspective is not to be confused with low self esteem or some other dysfunction in confidence. Freedom and growth are only available when reality — or at least the next manifest level of reality — is the backdrop.

Many like to say we create our own reality. I used to think so, too. However, research (mine) shows that the number of facts of existence over which we have absolutely no influence is far beyond our ability to comprehend. Our lives are a dance with the universe, not a reign of control over it.

The three most dangerous words: “I got this.”

Graduation of the Class of 2011

It was an emotional evening. Hailey has been blessed by one of the most wonderful set of friends imaginable. A very rare group of individuals. We’re also grateful for the relationships she formed with several special teachers.

Hailey Nowacek and Mr. Reid

Senior Hailey Nowacek is honored for being the Number One Student, what Heights High calls its valedictorian. Credit: Roadell Hickman


Hailey Nowacek with award
Credit: Roadell Hickman

It doesn’t take much

My daughter passed her driver’s test a couple of days ago — along with thousands of others. I learned something from the process: she didn’t need me very much. She quietly stated what she felt would help: some likeness of the course. I could do that. I rummaged and found the “pylons” (above) and a couple bottles of windshield wiper fluid (because we only had 3 pails). No lecture. No backseat driving. No “teaching”.

In the end, all we can really do is to facilitate experiences. We can’t teach anything. We can have the privilege of being there when it happens.

What a privilege it is.

Ah, Prom Night



Not to break the spirit of the adventure, my wife, well past midnight, comes into the living room and says, “I’m really glad we got a chance to clean. I want to keep going.”

There wasn’t anyone else in the room so guess she was talking to me.

A Retort to Mark Twain’s Assertion — or Peeve

Mark Twain sitting in deck chairIn Mark Twain’s A Tramp Abroad, he takes exception with our convention of avoiding proximal repetition of word.

The Germans do not seem to be afraid to repeat a word when it is the right one. They repeat it several times, if they choose. That is wise. But in English, when we have used a word a couple of times in a paragraph, we imagine we are growing tautological, and so we are weak enough to exchange it for some other word which only approximates exactness, to escape what we wrongly fancy is a greater blemish. Repetition may be bad, but surely inexactness is worse.

As clever and experienced as America’s greatest humorist was, I’m going to take (brief) exception with this thinking.

Though I’m sure the Germans (and Herr Twain) would like to have it otherwise, allowing any dictionary to drop open will demonstrate that there is no such thing as an exact word. Not only does a single word have many official definitions, each person orders those definitions differently. A list of the sources of variation would be an interesting project.

Given the inexact ambiguity of language, employing multiple words allows for triangulation and increases the chances of communication. After all, words are only approximations. The more data points (within reason), the better the conclusions.

Please share your thoughts. They make a difference.


Laugh out Loud

<a href="">Momentmal</a> / Pixabay

I’ve been reading Cervantes’ Don Quixote and I wanted to share this scene.

Our “knight-errant” has decided to block the road and demand a party traveling thereon to…

…confess that in all the world there is no maiden fairer than the Empress of La Mancha, the peerless Dulcinea del Toboso.

The band quickly figures out that our chivalrist doesn’t have all the dots on his dice yet decide to play the game. They state they’d be happy to swear if they could but see the lady. Señor de La Mancha decides there would be nothing required of them if they beheld her beauty — their confession would be made compulsory by the evidence. Their reply “made me to laugh”:

…your worship will be pleased to show us some portrait of this lady, though it be no bigger than a grain of wheat; for by the thread one gets at the ball, and in this way we shall be satisfied and easy, and you will be content and pleased; nay, I believe we are already so far agreed with you that even though her portrait should show her blind of one eye, and distilling vermilion and sulphur from the other, we would nevertheless, to gratify your worship, say all in her favour that you desire.”

That the traveler’s spokesman is engaged with this lost man to a willingness to paint an image of a one-(blood-shot and yellow)-eyed nonpareil maiden just wipes me out. May I gain such presence of mind and willingness to dance with whatever I encounter on my road.

Thank you, Miguel de Cervantes and John Ormsby for giving me something worth trying to pass on.