Oak Communications
November 2013
oak tree
In This Newsletter

Like me on Facebook
View my profile on LinkedIn



One line from the documentary film, Muscle Shoals,  

particularly struck me. Picture this: the noted New York music producer, Jerry Wexler, heads down to Alabama in the late 60's to cut a record with Wilson Pickett. Four nervous, young musicians are playing rhythm at Rick Hall's Fame Studios.  


At the end of the session Wexler tells Roger Hawkins, "You are a great drummer." Fifty years later Hawkins reflects, "That night, I became a great drummer."


Sometimes, it is a simple comment from someone you respect that can make all the difference. You suddenly feel supported, encouraged, and given a boost to pursue what matters to you.  


Who has been that person for you? Have you done that for someone?


The comment or gesture may not be life changing, but it can give a boost to a friend's or colleague's mood that day.  


The John Templeton Foundation recently funded a survey of 2000 Americans and found that "people are less likely to feel or express gratitude at work than anyplace else," according to the article, Five Ways to Cultivate Gratitude at Work on the Greater Good website.  


In fact, 60 percent said they "either never express gratitude at work or do so perhaps once a year" even though they also indicated that saying "thank you" makes them feel good.


What can you do today to turn these sorry findings around? Who can you genuinely thank (in a specific way) in your workplace?  


Just as repetition and perseverance are necessary to be a great drummer, so too does it take practice in order to build the gratitude muscle.


In this season of Thanksgiving, please join me in giving and showing thanks and appreciation for the people in our lives and beyond.


I'll start with you, my loyal reader. Thank you for being a part of my extended family!  


And thank you to the Cane Fire Film Series for bringing to Lafayette this wonderful film about the music and people that came out of the studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. I highly recommend the film.


In gratitude,



Just for fun, here is a link to a video of a dog demonstrating his pleasure for music. It makes me smile.

And here is a video of a beautiful project of photographer, Richard Renaldi that demonstrates human connections.

Inspired thinking

The Key to the Castle Book News
Key to the Castle: Zen and Travel Stories of Trust




Book Reading and Signing
With Mark DeWitt, author of  Cajun and Zydeco Dance Music in Northern California
Come find out what these books have in common!
Saturday, November 30, 4 - 5 pm
Fair Grinds Coffeehouse, upstairs
3133 Ponce de Leon
New Orleans, LA

Please "Like" The Key to the Castle Facebook page to learn about future events.

Have you read the book? If so, please consider writing a review on Amazon or Smashwords, where you may also purchase the book in either print or digital formats.

Thank you!


Buzz on The Key to the Castle 

 "The Key to the Castle: Zen and Travel Stories of Trust is not a book about miracles, or about the cathartic purgings that come with tragic engagement; not about hopeless romance or romance finally found. But it is a book about the quiet miraculous found in paying attention to our lives, about what travel does to the nerve endings. This book brings us to the vast landscape of the journey and how the well-traveled soul is the soul that trusts the intelligence of spirit, or psyche, or mind, or heart---whatever you choose as the dominant guide in your own life."  
Darrell Bourque, author of Megan's Guitar and Other Poems from Acadie, and other books, Louisiana Poet Laureate, 2007-09 and 2009-11 

"Zen at its essence is about finding freedom and spontaneity in our lives. Travel is one way many of us get a taste of this experience. In her new book, Sue Schleifer brings together her experiences of Zen and travel to reveal the wonders of a life lived freshly in the moment."  

Zen Master Bon Soeng, Empty Gate Zen Center


"With some trepidation, I read Sue's chapters that describe the early days of Backroads and was immediately transported back in time by her thoughtful prose. It also gave me a chance to reflect on how much Backroads has changed, for the better. Her insider's look at active travel will give both armchair travelers and adventure seekers an appreciation for how experiencing new places encourages us to ask life's big questions."  

Tom Hale, Founder and President, Backroads, the active travel company

"With The Key to the Castle, Sue Schleifer takes us on parallel journeys - to the outer world of exotic adventures around the globe, juxtaposed with the inner world of meditation and reflection. In the process she shows us the rewards of deep engagement and openness to the moment in both realms. She is honest about the bumps in the road, and full of questions and doubts (and good humor), all of which make her story very accessible. Her prose is spare, elegant and lucid, and the balance of adventure and reflection make for a sustaining and engaging read." 
Patty Warren

"I just finished reading your terrific book. I bought it a few weeks ago and just knew it would be a great reflective read for my family trip to Spain. The way you have shared and blended both internal and external travels and your personal growth in your life was very moving. The crazy thing for me to understand is how well you listened in our coaching sessions when you have so much to share. Thanks for helping me with my own internal travels and growth."
Lee Smith

Writing Down Dementia Tele-Workshop 


Lotus flower 


Writing Down Dementia is a writing workshop

for people who have or have had a loved one with dementia. It is also designed for caregivers and professionals working in the field of aging services. The workshop offers participants a rich experience of creative expression and emotional support.


Kim Fowler and I will be starting a new four-week tele-workshop in early 2014. If you are interested in learning more about this writing workshop, please contact me.

Coaching Services  

Photo of Sue Schleifer
Photo by Robin May


Have you been thinking about working with a life/career coach? Want to connect? 


Give me a call to schedule a complimentary coaching consultation.   


Check out what a few of my clients have said about the coaching experience. 


"Sue truly cares about her clients' goals and brings that passion to her work as a life coach. With her fresh perspective and eye for possibility, she helps me find creative solutions to seemingly intractable problems.
Plenty of professional and creative people would benefit from working with Sue, and I particularly recommend her to anyone who needs to get 'unstuck'."
Medical Editor and Fabric Artist


"A year ago I met Sue for our first session. Through her probing and listening we pinpointed areas that, with specific attention to my thinking and choices, help me:


  • be personally more effective
  • move towards a more balanced life

My spouse and employees have noticed a positive change, as have I."

Sales Manager-Fortune 500 Company


"Since I first hired a coach I have been a happier person and a more successful businessman. My company has become much more successful, our employees have had the opportunity to grow to the fullest of their capabilities and everyone seems to enjoy each day of life much more than in the past."



I would love to be a resource for you too!

Let's talk. 


Sue Schleifer, M.A.


510.316.3319 - cell
Oak Communications

Lafayette, LA and throughout the country

510.316.3319 - cell

Do you know someone who might enjoy this newsletter? Please forward it to them by clicking on Forward email below.

If you do not wish to receive future newsletters, please click the SafeUnsubscribe link below. Thank you.