Jennifer Abrams -Consultancy that informs, inspires, and empowers VOICE
June 2013

"Be Idle and Blessed"

Happy Summer.  My balcony plants are blooming.  The sunsets every evening are glorious.  Schools are out for the summer and folks are in less of a rush now.  It is time to relax.  Savor an ice cream cone down to the last lick.  Stay up late.  Dip our toes in water. Laugh. Hike. Be.

With less to do in the summer months, I find the peace a bit challenging.  As a 'doer,' my summer practice continues to just 'be.' In a few short weeks it'll be crazy busy again. Appreciate the present.

Many years ago I participated a yearlong series of Courage to Teach retreats. (Note: The Center for Courage and Renewal also offers retreats for those in the health care field.) An essay by Parker Palmer was given to us before our summer retreat in which he wrote, "Summer is the season when all promissory notes of autumn and winter and spring come due, and each year the debts are repaid with compound interest.  In summer it is hard to remember we ever doubted the natural process, had ever ceded death the last word, had ever lost faith in the powers of new life.  Summer is a reminder that our faith is not nearly as strong as the things we profess to have faith in – a reminder that, for this single season at least, we might cease our anxious machinations and give ourselves to the abiding and abundant grace of our common life."

"We might cease our anxious machinations..." A good reminder for me. My own voice lesson this summer is an inner voice lesson.  I am whispering to myself to be in the moment. Enjoy fresh raspberries and fresh strawberries and summer walks at dusk.  Be woken up by birds and not the alarm.  As Mary Oliver says, "Be idle and blessed."

Enjoy the season. If you are in the Bay Area, please find me.  We can sit on my balcony, catch up and enjoy the flowers.

If you have any questions, comments or topic suggestions, please feel free to email me at I look forward to hearing from you!

Cool Resources

A video, an article, and a book to seek out this month.

1) I have a cognitive crush on George Packer.  Check out his article in The New Yorker, "Change the World," May 27th, 2013, and his newest book, The Unwinding:  An Inner History of the New America. Packer is a smart guy and a brilliant writer with a good heart.

2) I am fascinated by Jonathan Safran Foer's essay in The New York Times, "How Not to Be Alone." Foer speaks of technology and our belief that technology helps us communicate. But does it? Instead of talking directly to another person, do we use it to "avoid the emotional work of being present"?

3) I have begun listening to TED talks on walks around my neighborhood – 20 minutes and I am more oxygenated, in a better mood, more informed and inspired. Andrew Solomon, author of Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity has a great TED talk entitled, "Love, No Matter What." He speaks as well as he writes.  "Andrew Solomon shares what he learned from talking to dozens of parents -- asking them: What's the line between unconditional love and unconditional acceptance?"

Upcoming Events

Each month I will share with you information about a few of my upcoming trainings.
If I am going to be in your area, contact me so we can say hello, hopefully in person!

June 20
Having Hard Conversations
Magnolia School District Administrators' Retreat
Anaheim, CA

June 21
Being Generationally Savvy: Learning and Leading Across the Generations
Center for Education and Professional Development Stanford Hospitals
Palo Alto, CA

June 24                              
Having Hard Conversations
Escambia County School District
Pensacola, Florida

June 26
Having Hard Conversations
Havergal College
Summer Institutes for Teaching and Learning
Toronto, Ontario
June 28
Having Hard Conversations and
Being Generationally Savvy
ASCD Conference on Teaching Excellence
Washington, D.C.

July 25
Powerful Presentation Delivery Skills
Center for Education & Professional Development
Stanford Hospitals and Clinics
Palo Alto, CA

For additional upcoming events, please visit my Web site.

Until next time,


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© 2013 Jennifer Abrams | Email Jennifer | 4290 Wilkie Way #L, Palo Alto, CA 94306 |  (650) 858-0699