Tag Archives: Cause and Effect

Eliminate the Negative to Accentuate the Positive

While we are working on being the best at being me it is important to remember one mantra: No negative self talk. At the beginning of this school year I was introducing myself to a new group of students. I was discussing how difficult grad school can be at times. Throughout the process there will be times you want to give up on this. I asked them to refrain from negative self talk. The “I can’t do this” and “I am so stupid” (this is one of the most detrimental).  It is dangerous to put those thoughts in your head. They just sit in the corners of your mind and grow, like mold. It is a dark warm place hidden away from the lighter parts of your brain. Before you know it this mold has creeped into your outlook on life. Danger! Danger! Red Alert…Move away…  Recently a student pulled me to the side and told me how important that message (No negative self talk) was to her. She showed me where she wrote it in her journal. She uses it with her kids and her own students. There are enough negative messages out there, we don’t need to create more. Continue reading

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UNcooked Ability

I was looking into buying the domain of RawAbility dot com. I went to the online website store to check it out. It wasn’t available. Actually, it was available for a fee. So I am still thinking about that. A funny thing happened on the way to the checkout stand. Since the domain wasn’t available for immediate use the website I was on provides a service. They provide optional names that you might consider for your site. There were a few names that could work, but the best one was – uncookedability.com.  I chuckled. I thought (in the sarcastic little voice in my head), “Oh that’ll work…uncookedability!?” Those that know me would probably say that sarcastic voice is more than just in my head.   Continue reading

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Objects in mirror

“How did you go to get here?” “What route did you take?” These are common questions upon arriving at a destination or meeting point with friends. As one of the new members of the Southern California driving set this is a common question of mine as well. My goal is to see if there was a better route. A more direct route. Or, if there is some super secret shortcut that nobody told me about. A friend here in Los Angeles told me I need to watch the movie LA Story now that I am part of the culture.

Speaking of culture… the SoCal way Continue reading

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Sad aint bad

When I was seven years old my little Pekinese dog, Whitey Ford, died. I was devatated. I had to take a personal day from second grade to mourn. I remember the ride home from the vet. I was sobbing. My little brother was trying to console me. He said, “It’s ok Richie. Whitey’s in heaven now with grandpa…I am sad too.” I responded, “Well you aren’t crying.” He said very plainly, “Well I’m not THAT sad.” My mom retold that story over and over (and over and over). She aid she was trying not to laugh at the conversation and my brother’s response. Continue reading


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The Nesbitts – A tale of cause and effect

Everyone that hears this story says, “That is so mean…you were picking on your Grandma…How cruel to you guys were to that sweet little lady.” But we weren’t making fun of her or teasing her…well ok maybe a little, but she always loved a good story; she always told a great story. This woman was a fun in a skirt – she personified a good joke. By this time, you have to be wondering what the heck this is all about. My family has an “imaginary family”. Yep you read that correctly an imaginary family, just like the invisible friends of your childhood. We have a whole family that is always around; well we think they are there. Sit back little ones and let me tell you a story.

In a land not so far away…actually it was just Nevada…

At Christmas about 1992, we were all together for dinner and gift exchange when my uncle started talking about Nesbitt’s Orange soda. Gram was listening and asked, “Who are the Nesbitt’s?”

“You remember the Nesbitt’s Gram they lived next door on Airport Road. Sure… remember they had that little black dog.” My cousin quickly replied before anyone could answer her simple question.

“Oh yeah, the Nesbitts… they were such nice people.” Gram said. Voila! The Nesbitts were born. We all started to laugh and joke about our new family. The conversation was about orange soda, not a household with a little black dog. It was just a quick smart-aleck response from my cousin that started the whole thing. For the rest of that evening we laughed about these Nesbitt people.

To some this may seem cruel, but you have to understand she taught us to be like this. Her sense of humor, her cute sayings, and those fun grandma attributes were successfully transferred to all of us. This is the lady that would put salt in the sugar bowl on April Fools Day. She would wrap up a rubber chicken for Christmas and pass it around. She was always ready with a little song, a tongue twister, some saying from the old country, or a story. On trips with friends, she would replace the toilet paper in the hotel with crinoline. This stuff presents as toilet paper, but it is a stiff material used in drapery making that doesn’t tear very easily. She was famous for putting dummies on the toilet for unsuspecting newlyweds to find upon returning from their honeymoon. So, this kind of teasing and joking was par for the course when it comes to Gram.

Very soon, these Nesbitts seemed to come up in conversation every now and then, usually as a comical scapegoat. “Those darn Nesbitts were in charge of that and they flaked.” And the blame would fall on them. When one of the cousins got married, a present from the Nesbitts appeared at the reception. The family of the groom was trying to figure out the story and find out who these people were, but to no avail. And when the newest member to our family tried to explain it to his family what the scoop was they only answered with, “…they have a what? …An imaginary family? Scott do you know what you are marrying into here? These people are crazy.” Well we really aren’t we just know how to have a good time and enjoy the fun the Nesbitts have created for us.

As a joke, I sent out Christmas cards (that I had purchased) to everyone in the family from the Nesbitts. This first mailing was to eight homes. My sister-in-law called my mom to ask, “Do we really know someone named Nesbitt?” Everyone had a great laugh at Christmas. The list grew by two or three over the next few years. These store bought Christmas cards got boring so one year I wrote a Nesbitt Family Christmas letter that told everything about the Nesbitts over the previous year. This was based on some exaggerated events that happened in our family and some things that were just made up to add to the levity. Everyone loved the letter. That year also debuted the Nesbitts return address stamp. The mailing list has increased to about 80 people.

One year we found a bunch of old family pictures in Grandma’s stuff, but we could only identify about half of the people. So we started joking that those mystery people were obviously…who else but …the Nesbitts. We pasted these into an album and created stories about each one to keep the “posterity” of the Nesbitt family intact. Those Nesbitts are such nice people.

A friend of the family was driving through Kansas where some of our relatives live (real ones this time). So, we asked her to deliver the photo album to them as a joke. A friend, Jolene, took the album and walked into Bill’s office. As he looked up she asked, “Are you Bill?” His affirmative answer prompted the response, “Well I am Sara Lee Nesbitt and I this is for you.” She dropped the album on his desk and turned to walk out.

“Wait! What? Where? Who? Who gave you this book?” Bill said as he sat there with a surprised look on his face. Jolene told him she was asked to deliver it and that he would know what it was all about. Bill called us shortly after that to tell us the story and laugh about the Nesbitts.

The crazy part (as if something this crazy can get any nuttier) is that now the Nesbitts are getting return mail from other families at Christmas. And they have received a few postcards from as far away as Spain and London from friends (real ones) who have gone on vacation. Thankfully, the IRS has not tried to levy any taxes yet, but who knows what could happen.

Our Grandma, a lady who loved fun, inspired this nutty Nesbitt family. She didn’t know about her creation at the time, but I am sure she is there now with us every time we speak of the Nesbitts. In many ways, this has kept her memories alive and very active in our family life. That little bit of teasing has become a fond and funny was of memorializing a very funny lady.

We learned many things from my grandma – caring for each other, how to love and be loved, and how to “make fun out of your work” or most things. Along our journey, each of us will create an identity for ourselves throughout life. That little dash between the date of birth and the date of death packs quite a wallop, there’s a whole lot of stuff wrapped up in that tiny mark. Our identity, and the stories of our ability, can last long after we are gone. Think about those people in your life that have passed on, they still have an energy that survives on in perpetuity.

The person may be gone, but what they created and how they are remembered will last for much longer. The same, obviously, is true for all of us. We have the ability to use our powers for good and create a legacy. In addition to honing our own brand, others may attach their perspective to our actions, ability, and leadership. The trick is to maintain the projection of our brand, our message, and our image.

This is the time of year to remember traditions and prepare resolutions for the future. Think for a moment about your inner Nesbitt, the combination of what you think you are, what others think you are, and how the stories come together. This inner Nesbitt relates to who we want to be (cause) and who we are (effect).

What are your abilities? What are your strengths? From whence did they come? This raw ability, or the multiplicity of abilities, is up to each of us to mold and form. 2015 will be here soon…lean in, lead on, and develop your abilities.


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I walked a labyrinth today

The entry becomes the exit

Rock lined paths running side by side

One way weaves in and back again


I pondered in a labyrinth today

It seems a maze upon one’s first gaze

But dead end options do not appear

Walk in then out the sole choice no doubt

Motion in chorus body and brain


My mind wandered in a labyrinth today

Confuse or muse or time for inner views

The time was mine to be and see all gifts

I notice life’s nonlinearity

It is the same as the path’s winding trail

Life’s path seems to also bounce at random


Fifteen minutes was all it took

Concentration on winding paths

Freed my mind to further insight

I walked a labyrinth today



So, I visited a labyrinth today, if you somehow missed the introduction. A friend told me about this one in particular. I didn’t start the day with this on my agenda, but spending some time in morning meditation this plan became my reality.  While I was walking and thinking it seemed like hours of thinking was occurring in what turned out to be fifteen short minutes. Fifteen minutes!  We get four of those periods in every hour. If my walk around this labyrinth path were played out like this March Madness basketball stuff, I would have been out there for hours. But, I walked for fifteen minutes. I thought about what I want to do. I wrote parts of the verse above. I kept repeating, “I walked a labyrinth today.” The words for my verse just appeared. While walking the path, clearing my mind, repeating my mantra, creating new projects, and seeing career paths, a friend (different from the labyrinth recommending friend) came to mind a few times. When I finished the path and a text buzzed into my phone, (of course I had the ringer on silent…I was busy walking a labyrinth today) it was that friend. WHOA. That co-incident is for another blog (I think I say that every entry).


My mind was all a jumble this week because I have spent the last two weeks traveling to teach and speak at another college campus and going to a conference. I was also able to spend a long weekend with my cousin and her family. Over these two weeks, many ideas and thoughts about “what I want to be when I grow up” flooded in from many sources. New projects and new collaborations have seemed to drop from all over the place. It is very exciting to think of these opportunities. They are thoughts now…. but as we know those WILL become action. Cause and Effect is in action in tremendous proportions. In Nichiren Buddhism, we learn about conspicuous benefit and inconspicuous benefits. The conspicuous are the things you are hoping for, working, on and expecting. The inconspicuous are the things that just happen while you are busy working and living. I say “just happen” but it is all about the energy of action and thinking from a perspective of abundance rather than lack. Things happen when you are busy making [other] things happen.


When I got home from the trip to my cousin’s house, I was emptying my suitcase. I pulled out this small dish; you would put rings or earrings in it. There is a small peace sign in the bottom. I didn’t remember picking this up anywhere and forgetting it was in my suitcase. Upon texting my cousin to ask if she left it for me she said yes. Her text said, “I put it there! You bring me peace!” The visit was a great time to begin with, and now small present and 8 words made it even more special. The gift is, that no matter how long it has been since spending time we pick up at the same page, in the same moment, with the same energy, in the same love, bringing each other peace.


Labyrinths, conferences, trainings, and family oh my. How does all of this come together? The small things have huge impact. Fifteen minutes to ponder HOURS of work. I find a small dish with a huge meaning. Cause and effect is something we all have the ability to create and transmit through conspicuous and inconspicuous effort. What small thing has happened to you? What small thing have you planted?

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