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To Engage Or Not To Engage

To engage or not to engage
That is the question!
When, where and how
With whom?

Engaging means
Committing myself to a course
Which requires
Digging in
And accountability
It means
Being there
Paying attention,
Fighting it out
Staying the course.

Disengaging means
Letting-go of the responsibility
And the authority
Of the accountability
And the identity
It means
Transitioning out,
Turning it over
>Detaching from all that engagement

Engaging requires energy
Disengaging requires release
Engaging says “I am connected.”
Disengaging says, “I am letting go.”
If I choose to engage, I am stepping up to the plate
Taking a seat at the table
Making my voice heard

When I disengage
I am moving away
Transforming my energy
Going in a new direction

When I “plug in”
I take a spot;
I get juice;
I charge “the machine.”
When I unplug, I leave a spot open;
For someone else;
To plug in;
To take the spot

Whichever I choose,
It cannot be done lightly
It is not without consequence
For me
For those around me

- Poem by Leslie Dashew | January 2005

So That Our Values Live On

We create a legacy from the moment we are born
Our impact on the people around us starts right then.
We bring something special with us into this world
and share it with all those whose lives we touch.

The memories and stories become part of our heritage
How they are told reflects the values of the family-
or at least the story teller.

As we move through each decade of our lives,
we clarify and cultivate that which is important to us-
and new stories emerge
which reflect those emerging values.

Soon, many of us find partners
and alas must negotiate how the values get merged
Partners in work, partners in life.

Then comes the big test
recycling our values
as we help shape those of another generation.
Our impact is great at this point.
The test of what we really believe begins.

Then our offspring bring challenges
which test our values, our faith
and we must allow them to cultivate their own sense of identity,
their own values.

And if we are lucky,
if we have had the integrity to live our values
if we live long enough to see our children truly mature
then we may have the opportunity to find that we share values
with a second or even a third generation after us.
and see the legacy live on.

- Poem by Leslie Dashew

Remember Before Its Too Late

I never knew that I meant that much to you
I never knew you cared what I thought
I always thought you knew everything
but chose not to share with us

You seemed so confident, yet quiet
I thought you could but wouldn't
I yearned to be close to you, to know you
and for you to love and appreciate me

I understood that our family had a code of silence
when it came to talk of feelings and relationships
I was too obedient to break that code
I feared your disapproval or scorn
so I went elsewhere

Now I have my own friends and children
and I hear your request to be close
but the distance that slowly grew up through the years
is hard to bridge

My heart aches for the lost hours and days
for the time I could have learned from you
and you from me
and the adventures we could have shared
I see how you relate to the grandchildren now
and am jealous
I wish we would have had that bond, that closeness
But you were busy then, and the drain of the business
left little energy for us

I must hold on to the realization of how precious are these connections; how precious and fragile and how much investment they require

As I look back at what we missed,
I want to try to cultivate what I can
with the too few days that might be left
with you
and with my own children
I keep recalling the phrase
"There's no sadder thing,
than what might have been.

- Poem by Leslie Dashew

The Wise Woman

The Wise Woman
knows when to offer counsel
and when to resist.

understands the dilemma
and can offer perspective.
The Wise Woman
has seen enough
to appreciate peace;
to understand
rather than judge.

is bright, serene, cozy and calm.
She has poise, humor and grace.
The Wise Woman
can tell us what we need to hear
to put our minds at ease,
but she will also tell us when we are wrong
and how to fix the deed.
The Wise Woman can be a revolutionary
who has vision, passion and drive
and won't rest till she makes progress for her cause.
The Wise Woman knows when to pick up arms
and when to put them down.
She can be a courageous lioness defending her cubs
as well as a cuddly kitten.

The Wise Woman
is a friend who supports us through our greatest trials
and cheers us when we triumph;
and we know that she values us equally through it all.
The Wise Woman
takes little for granted.
She is not jealous, greedy or possessive;
she is patient, persistent and pleasant.
She readily forgives herself as well as everyone else
for she knows that neither she nor anyone else
can be wise all of the time.

Who is this Wise Woman?
Is she our grandmother, our godmother, our aunt?
Is she our mother, our cousin our friend?
Is she our daughter, our niece or our nanny?
Is she our sister, our sister-in-law or step-sister?
Is she our employee, our boss or our colleague?
Is she our nurse, our doctor or our preacher?

She is the woman
who is there for us.
at just the moment we need her;
with the right word, or touch or look.
she is there within us all, just waiting to come out;
waiting for us to tap the eternal wisdom
we have gained over the ages.
Ready to be of assistance.
Ready to act.
Ready to be.

Come, let us find our Wise Woman within
and share her with ourselves and with each other.
Let us overcome the barriers to finding her.
Liberate her from self doubt or compulsivity
From resentment, hurt and fear.
Free her from isolation, shyness and pain.
Let her come into the light and shine her radiance on us all.

Welcome, Wise Women!

- Poem by Leslie Dashew

Helping families navigate change to achieve harmony and prosperity.