Where gracefulness matters and where it doesn’t.

Gracefulness is important to me.  I love to feel graceful, be seen as graceful, move through our days together with grace.  Handle the difficult things in life gracefully. But this is where I want to be clear.  I am not asking that my engagement with my own particular demons be clean.  That I stay fully functional and productive while in the midst of it.  I am not asking that it be without mess, that it have dignity, that it display only admirable qualities, or even that it be without ugliness or pain.  I can be in pain.  It is part of

Burnout is an open door.

Sometimes I feel I must be an alien, because I really, really love to talk about death, and about burnout. But this is really why. When I start from death, and burnout, we skip over the trite, and the hiding places, and the escape hatches, and go deep into the real. And then I can speak into survival, vulnerability, leadership, and of recovery and resilience into a listening of reawakening, because over and over, if we do it right, the deepest parts of ourselves become our new skin. Tomorrow, at the Bozeman Public Library at noon I'll be talking

Resilience is Power. And Peace.

“I just wanted myself back, and then to create something more. After what I’ve been through, I am not going to settle for an average life. I want to have created and lived an extraordinary life." -- Lorca Smetana Some of us are hard-wired to help and to serve, to make a difference in someone else’s life at exactly the minute that it’s most needed. No one goes into any of the giving professions with the belief that they will be one to burn out. But while in our country we are amazing at providing world-class professional training, we are

Think you’re nervous? Try on gleeful.

Nervousness and unease stop me. Glee takes me out there. The physical experience of fear — muscle tension, heightened awareness, shallow breathing and so on — and the physical experience of glee, are almost identical. So now I ask myself, “Where in my days was I experiencing some excitement but mis-identified it as fear and so backed off, turned away, told myself, “not ready yet”, told myself, “later”? And then never went back. What is available to me if I were to play in this playground? There is HUGE power accessible through

7th Bozeman Pecha Kucha — The Anti-Internet Experience!

It's time again! If you don't know about it yet, you should because you'll LOVE IT! Such a great Bozeman evening, repeated twice. Tickets sell out each time, so go online at theellentheatre.com to get yours! Homing pigeons, dancing prisoners and the Hawaiian hula highlight Pecha Kucha nights at the Ellen Sept. 11 and Sept. 12 Homing pigeon aficionado Lorca Smetana, former Santa Rosa deputy police chief Scott Swanson and hula scholar Caroline Klarr are among the 11 eclectic presenters at Bozeman’s 8th Pecha Kucha event, Wednesday, Sept. 11 and Thursday, Sept. 12 at the Ellen Theatre. Additional

On living on the right side of the tapestry.

Death. Love. Emergencies. Sheep. Cleaning. Gardening. Paperwork. Phone calls. Making things. These are all steady players in a season, gardens sometimes excepted. And all of them are lived through a metaphor -- held up in my mind to an old, half-completed piece of embroidered tapestry tucked in a basket on a high shelf. It doesn't matter what it shows, though I believe there is a pond, a distant house and some small horses. The silk colors were lovely. I may never finish it. But its value lies in

Survivors, Creativity and Leadership presentation at the Bozeman Public Library

Lorca Smetana From Chaos to Beauty: Survivors, Creativity and Leadership Brown Bag Lunch Presentation at the Bozeman Public Library Community Room Wednesday, May 29 at 12:00 noon Please join us at noon, Wednesday 29th in the Community Room of the Bozeman Public Library for a presentation by Lorca Smetana of A Dove Above Montana. "We are surrounded by survivors in every community, people who have moved through trauma or pain, drawing from themselves deeper resources of strength, creativity and meaning than they had ever needed before. Live media connection with traumatic events such as the Twin Towers, Columbine, Newtown and

Electric fences, lust and Pavlov

The primary side effect of a shock received directly from the electric sheep fence charger seems to be to set the mind racing. "What was that LIKE?!" my mind wants to know, scrambling for comparisons as I stand still, re-sensing arms, shoulders, heart. A punch in the chest, Cuban espresso, getting horrible news, a shot of smooth whiskey and stumbling into mad lust all have their place in that inventory. My mind skates off to Pavlovian inquiry -- am I now less inclined to bottle-feeding lambs, maternal instinct, keeping sheep in the first place, going out in windstorms? Not

…and dances in rhythmic measures.

The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures. From the commonplace book of my grandfather, Lyle Bush I imagine two great rushing streams rolling down through history and joining in my blood. One a North European monastery, perhaps a military order as well as a healing one. Built for and by community, in the service of something greater than personal wants and needs. Tapestry, stone, and illuminated manuscript, herb gardens, cloister, orchard and stables. Wine and liqueurs, balm and tincture, wool and silk and leather. Sword practice and