Don’t Be Yourself.

6 weeks into a modern relationship, you have probably “sealed the deal” but are still on your best behavior to impress each other. It is just the time when things are getting adventurous…


I was listening to a story about a husband who blows his nose at the kitchen table during dinner. The wife was grossed out about it but unsure how to address it tactfully. He never did it outside of the home but didn’t mind doing it at their dinners because it was just him and his wife.

There are many couples who are comfortable “letting go” in front of each other and that is something I have never understood. I think the guidelines of tact, diplomacy, and etiquette are MORE important at home, with your romantic life partner, than anywhere else.

Your relationship with the person you have chosen as a mate is the most important relationship you have. Presumably, you spent your time courting this person, putting your best face forward, sharing your highest values and being on your best behavior to win him or her over. Now that you have them, you want to be your grossest self? That is not okay, in my book.

I cherish the formality Nicole and I have. It provides a foundation for respect and maintains courtship. We have a running joke between us that we have only been dating for six weeks. Some of that is probably to assuage our slight fear of commitment but it also serves as reminder that the relationship is always “new” and we should keep putting our best forward to romance each other and win each other over.

In my view, it is not cool or cute for couples to leave the bathroom door open. It is not okay to belch when it’s just the two of you there. Dutch ovens are not funny (well… okay they are, but only between brothers or friends you do not like that much).


Today’s lesson: What would your relationship look like if it was only 6 weeks old again? OR… Don’t be yourself. Instead, be your BEST self, even when no one is looking. 



Today’s Lesson: Seeing Definition [141002]

I was dumbfounded by the question.


“I’ve been wanting to ask you this for years,” one of the senior people at my workplace said. “How do YOU define ‘Leadership”?


I have written and spoke about leadership for many years, developed manuals, led top-performing teams, and read countless books on the subject, but in all this time I had never developed my definition of “leadership”.


I stumbled through a half-answer trying not to steal any of the many definitions I have read by other authors but the question stuck with me. It is still sticking with me.


There are lots of pithy quotes and sanguine quips that define Leadership in memorable ways, but the more I think about it, the more I think defining leadership is like defining “romance”. It is different things to different people.


Indeed, there are probably as many ways to define leadership as there are leaders!


In the end, we settled on something like, “Leadership is impacting others through the power of relationships” but it is definitely not a keeper. I am not sure there is a perfect definition but I will work on having a pithy quotable one for the next time I am asked!





Today The Lesson I Learned Is: Is That a Banana In Your Pocket or Are You Just Excited To See Me? (140725)

Every day when I come home, my cat, Rainee, runs to the door to greet me. I don’t have treats or toys for her. I’m not always in the best mood (sometimes coming in after a long work day). There is no particular reason for her to be excited and talkative when I arrive but she is right there chatting and rubbing around my legs every time I arrive.

She knows the sound of my car and the cadence of my footsteps. Sometimes she is at the door before I have turned the corner in the parking lot. Often, she is in the window meowing at me as I cross the lot to our apartment.

It is one of my favorite parts of the day. Seeing her on the window sill, pacing, waiting for me to hurry up the stairs, makes me smile and bound up three flights to receive my “Welcome Home” greeting!

Obviously, I don’t know what is going through my cat’s mind or what she really feels, but it must be the other emotion cats feel besides ambivalence…

Sometimes I am granted a double dose, too. If Nicole is home, then both Rainee and she are there to embrace me when I walk in. It is absolutely one of the best feelings in the world (people with young kids probably understand this). It is comforting to know someone is excited to see you every day.

I try to remember to return the favor. If I see Nicole pulling into the lot, I will wrap up what I am doing and go to the door, often with Rainee in tow.

I think this is a secret tip to keep romance strong in a relationship or to kindle family bonds with children or siblings.

So today’s lesson is: Just show up. Be at the door with a smile and a hug for the people who make your life easier or better. It is a great way to let someone know… they are Home.




The Rusted Key

In the palm of her hand

between trails of geometry and ravines and lines that could map the surface of Mars

The rusted key idly waits for a destiny unrequited.

No, neglected, pushed into the corner of a dark chamber

in a hall of chambers and dark corners

in her mind.


The rusted key was mine.


The lock, an intricate series of oiled steel pins poised and positioned,

waiting for the mission, a call to action… that never comes.

Maybe they are waiting still… a memory of something kept until…


They are aging, once slick and smooth pistons separating oil into constituent pools

of water and sludge

in a dark chamber in a hall of dark chambers

in her mind.


Nearly a perfect pirouette of legs and charm

she slips into the arms of a kiln-fired body

essentially a ceramic toy she can smash with a word

–a sword, a single cut to shatter an illusion of courage.

She could make him drink razor blades.

And the fool would never know her final name.


But bliss drives ignorance

and as you know, when we ignore the evidence

then the evident hides in a dark corner of a locked chamber

in a dark hall of dark chambers

pushed from the abuse of razor blades and illusions

held in her mind.


Like all great magicians and mistresses,

as they dance in a bright ballroom

the ceramic boy and this pirouetting marionette

pretend they are heroes of a kind

in fine gowns and trussed up columns,

He says, “The light is the moon.”

She says, “Then it is the moon, dear”

and as they sway from one end of the hall to another,

he never notices the rusted key,

slipping from one hand to the other.



Beautiful Lie

Your breath is a brush of kindness

—the last ember

—the fading warmth of dusk

that ends the kiss.

In candlewax, a teardrop

on your cheek,

Then my lips

taste saltwater sugar.

Then your lips taste

honor and soil,

our lips…

bitter betrayal dirty fingernails musky sex and morning dew

Before dawn

dries it all away,

Before the rest of the world knew

it was ever that beautiful.

A glimpse of you shimmers

in my palm

while I raise a puddle to my lips

to keep the tears we lost

Before the breath is gone

I close my eyes and breathe in

the last of us.

We knew it had to end, but

it was a beautiful lie.



That Was October

Night was falling with the Autumn leaves

but in that moment, time stopped

and we lived in that pause

between breaths,

in the skip of a heartbeat.

We lived dreamily

after the smack of a kiss…


Autumn leaves waited for the chill of night

but in that moment, we lived

in the space between palms,

clasped together,

and never felt cold.



Obsession To Possession

I wait to feel her cool bare feet, crossed, resting lazily on my thigh.

I wait to trace a trail of mystic birds migrating across her naked shoulder. I turn my Self to smoke and wait for her to slowly… to slowly inhale.

I wait to softly, to softly place my lips on the tender curve of her neck like a wish, there and lost in the same breath.


I wait, oh I wait… to coil

around her hot spine and peer into her dreams,

to press the weight of my arm against her chest and pull her close as she easily rests, as she lazily wrests…

in slumber.


I wait… patiently? No, no… I wait, still, still… curious in motion, a pause in action,

waiting for momentum to play that moment that changes everything


from Obsession to Possession.