Category Archives: Giving

The Science of Gratitude

Philip Watkins, a professor of psychology at Eastern Washington University, has been conducting research on gratitude since 1996. He has done studies to measure “the three fundamental traits of grateful persons”: sense of abundance, enjoyment of simple pleasures and appreciation of others.

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The Classic Pamela Positive: Words of Wisdom


I am always searching for ways to grow as an individual.  Great authors I love are Bill George & Stephen Covey; great leaders I love are Desmond Tutu and Mother Teresa. \ I came across this inspiring brief film by Andrew Zuckerman, cataloguing what many of our leaders across different sectors, thought about wisdom. I hope you enjoy:

Stay inspired and true.

The Classic Pamela Positive: “When the child welcomes the mother, the mother rushes off to her”


“When the child welcomes the mother, the mother rushes off to her”  – Deborah Santana

I am not someone who cancels meetings or dinners very often, simply because it’s something to reschedule and I like to stay committed.  And yet the main reason I will cancel — as would one of my cherished friends, Deborah Santana — is for family.

Deborah emailed me that she needed to move our dinner, because her daughter invited her to a weekend together in Seattle.  I love what she said, and it warmed my heart… “When the child welcomes the mother, the mother rushes off to her.”  A mother should go to her child first.

There is no more important reason in the world.

Forced Innovation in the UK

An interesting article in The Economist spoke about governments that are forced into innovation.


They are running out of funds.

The UK has just instituted a budget cut: They need to find savings of nearly 40% across the government.

Services we have taken for granted — we will have to pay. “Life event services” such as recycling require a charge. Immigrants have to pay a £200 charge regarding the National Health Services program, whether they use it or not, upon entrance to the country. What’s most fascinating is looking at the courts. If you’re in a criminal court and you plead not guilty and then are convicted, you owe serious charges for the court time and the prosecutor fees. Divorce or taking up an issue with a tenant will cost you.

What about the luxury of driving? Many parking spaces are no longer free. And if you enter the busy downtown route in London, you pay a charge of about $15. This keeps congestion down, and public transportation up.

In part, it is trying to ensure that people stay honest; in part it simply makes them more grateful.

What do you think? Do you like the UK’s government’s new approach to services?

I appreciate very much that people are being innovative. We do need to be more creative.

We need to save the environment.


It makes us pause before we simply act– and sometimes rashly, out of anger, or hurt. You are paying emotionally, and with your wallet! …. could we handle this in a different way? A more personal way, using our emotional relationship building skills rather than the courts?

I like that it holds us accountable.

I always appreciate becoming humbler…it’s a deep soul penetrating sense of gratitude for every little thing….



I also hope that it is not penalizing a sincere user of the service. Therefore:

Could for-profits create some services, and support new jobs with excellence in client service? We reduce a bloated government, provide greater efficiency, more jobs, more competitiveness in pricing and excellence in client service?

Could nonprofits support the deserving, documented requests and help the people most affected? Donors who contribute — pick the person and story they want to fund. It could also create a personal connection not existing now, contributing to a longterm relationship and support. That’s also a stronger, more bonded community.


My view is that some of these government charges will be necessary. At the same time I hope that this will be an opportunity for our forprofit and philanthropic sectors to step up and provide.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

To Live In This World, You Must Be Able to Do Three Things

To live in this world, you must be able to do three things:

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it
to let it go.

-Mary Oliver, In Blackwater Woods


This is an excerpt from a beautiful poem by Mary Oliver. She is so very real about what we must hold to in life. And that powerful concept is love.

Love comes above all profession, all professional achievements, medals or victories.   We love, simply, what make our heart soar… and that often is our mom, a cherished pet, a sunny day, a walk in Yosemite park, or simply a day that is well lived, and goes smoothly.  We love and hold to these treasured experiences.

The only change I would make is that what we hold to really isn’t mortal.  Instead, we hold to those spiritual qualities that are about love, appreciation, kindness, care. Those aren’t contained in a body, to one person, or even seeable with our eyes.

It is what our heart knows. So stay with what your heart knows, and you will live a  life filled with peace and love.

Have a Good Evening,


Big Citizenship: Breaking Down The Mold You Put People Into


Alan Khazei has a great book out about the importance of Citizenship, and expands it in so many important areas. Below is an excerpt about breaking down the mold you put people into. In it, he describes Stephen, who was active in service for City Year. He first thought that, since Creighton was from a high class society, he must be removed from the world. But through City Year, they developed the closest of friendships based on mutual care, respect and giving. Continue reading