Happy New Year- 2014!

Quotes for the New Year

What we leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments,

but what is woven into the lives of others.”  Pericles


“Nobody sees a flower really – it is so small – we haven’t time,

and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”  Georgia O’Keefe



Two books that have been especially welcome and helpful to clients this past year:

Buddha’s Brain, by Rick Hanson

Working Identity, by Herminia Ibarra


A website focusing on creativity and ideas, with a great weekly newsletter:


Best wishes for a very happy new year!

Reflections on Impermanence

“My Riverbirch has lost its leaves…and now I can see the lake.”

This is true as I look out my window, and is so unexpected.  The property between my house and the lake has undergone major changes, with the removal of numerous old trees.  I’d never had a view, and now I do. It is true that the changes that may be unwelcome (the removal of large and beautiful trees) can have unexpected benefits…and open up new vistas, so to speak.  Today…the sun shines brightly and a crystal sharp reflection juts off the water.

It is reminiscent of a Japanese Haiku:

“Barn’s burnt down…now I can see the moon.” Masahide, Japanese poet, (1657?-1723)

I first saw this Haiku on a card intended for a husband who’s wife had nearly lost her life in an accident, and she was left partially paralyzed.  I thought the expression (this haiku in this situation) was very stark. But as their new life unfolded, I also saw that they had a new and deeper relationship.

At this time of year I think about tragedy, and change…  I think of blessings, too, for there are many and I feel these and name them quietly in gratitude.  I think about the Buddhist notion that tragedy is inevitable and suffering is a kind of choice.  I don’t think I’ve mastered that one yet.  It’s not as simplistic, as I put it here.  The teaching is that we suffer because of our desires and attachment, and life is impermanent, change is constant.

So, at this time impermanence is a theme as nature does its dance and changes, and our season transforms through Fall into Winter.  Through light into dark… and as I know with my garden, there is much that carries on behind the scenes, underneath and hidden.  Things are still very alive, just not as visible…and we make our own light with Thanksgiving and with the upcoming Holidays.

May you find peace and many blessings as we approach Thanksgiving.


Rapture, Blister, Burn!

Check Out a new Play

at ACT! Theatre, July 12-August 11, 2013, Rapture, Blister, Burn!

When Catherine, a 40-something, single, and highly successful academic returns to her hometown to take care of her ailing mother, she reconnects with her college roommate and best friend, Gwen, now a stay-at-home mother and housewife married to Catherine’s old flame. Both women, coveting each other’s choices, attempt to find the happiness and fulfillment they lack by travelling a very bumpy road not taken, with surprising and hilarious results. This fast-paced, witty comedy by Gina Gionfriddo explores the continuing fallout and evolution of the feminist movement. –

Women Leaders, Breaking Barriers:

In more news:  Helen Thomas  ” who’s bottomless curiosity and unquenchable drive made her a prominent White House reporter at a time when men dominated the profession”, has died, at 92.    She was among women in the newsroom who started as a clerk and transcended that role when most women were expected to stay in the background.

Helen left public service (good journalism is a public service), and retired from her work,  when she reflected her bias.  It was unworthy of her, and was kind of nasty.  In fact, I want to remember her, without knowing this. But isn’t that the way it is with all of us?  Good people, good leaders, all of us, have bias of some kind or another. We must spend a lifetime uncovering this, and in self-reflection and honesty we need to choose to reveal it to ourselves and learn.  President Obama noted this in his comments this past week following the most recent flashpoint in our national non-conversation on Race: ” President Obama Asks Americans to do some soul-searching”.

In thinking about Helen:  she didn’t try to be a ‘lady’, and often her questions at White House press conferences were more pointed than people were comfortable with.   As women, we move through life in a way that allows us to gain more honesty in expression.  Many writers and researchers, Dr. Christine Northrup among them, say that during menopause, hormonal and biological changes influence women to loose some of the over-active filtering in the brain that brings out a new ‘calling it like it is’, a new honesty.

Corporations and Empathy:

Why Men Need Women: It’s Not What You Think

Studies say that empathic behavior of sisters may rub off on their brothers.  The presence of women influences empathic action.   A recent opinion piece in the NYT suggests another reason why it may be important for more women to be in executive and board roles relates to corporate behavior with employees and the community.

We recognize the direct advantages that women as leaders bring to the table, which often include diverse perspectives, collaborative styles, dedication to mentoring and keen understanding of female employees and customers. But we’ve largely overlooked the beneficial effects that women have on the men around them. Is it possible that when women join top management teams, they encourage male colleagues to treat employees more generously and to share knowledge more freely? Increases in motivation, cooperation, and innovation in companies may be fueled not only by the direct actions of female leaders, but also by their influence on male leaders.”  Adam Grant, NYT, July 21, 2013

The RiverBirch Project:  Women, Leadership & Life!  Upcoming Events:

An evening event will be offered in the Fall.  Topics in the works:  Executive Presence — Exactly What is This?,  and: Mentors and Sponsors–What’s the Difference, and Why Does It Matter?

Subscribe to this site via RSS (below) to receive announcements and to hear about upcoming events.  Your email will not be shared or used for any other purpose.

Enjoy Summer!

~Lynn Hagerman, July 21, 2013

Event Follow Up: The Role of Authenticity in Healing

Perspectives from Three Women Physicians

About thirty of us gathered to hear Pat Dawson, MD, Astrid Pujari, MD, and Julia Smith, MD, speak on the topic of Authenticity and Healing.  Their reflections were deeply personal, thoughtful and inspiring.  Participants expressed deep appreciation to our speakers.

To learn more about each of them, or to reach the speakers:

For the books mentioned at the event,

 Thoughts about the program:

We will remember Pat’s story, and her ‘aha’ about her role with patients and how it freed her to not feel she had to fill up others, (which was depleting), but to work ‘with’ patients and respect their resources.

…and Astrid’s retreat, being near the presence of the Jesuit priest, and how it changed her to see that how we choose to see others and ourselves is life-defining.  (She felt at peace in his presence, and it was because he saw her as good and whole), and we must see ourselves as good and whole, in order to bring this to how we see others,

…and we remember Julia and her teaching that all this is a journey, an individual and at once universal developmental journey, and at our own pace we face and learn from our own demons and joys…

Our evening focused quite a bit on challenges and difficulties, (and through this crucible we emerge).  So it may have felt heavy… and authenticity also includes reveling in JOY!  We may tamp down our own response to difficulties in order  to ‘fit in’ and not make people uncomfortable, and we also, then reduce the spectrum of experience on the JOY side, too!  I’m reminded of the children in our lives, and my two golden retrievers, who are “in the moment” and model what it means to authentically experience joy.

Poems and Quotes:

You asked about poems and quotes, from the program, both contributed by Julia Smith:

Martha Graham to Agnes de Mille, Dance to the Piper

“There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action.  And because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.  And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.  The world will not have it.  It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open… You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you.  Keep the channel open… (There is) no satisfaction whatever at any time.  There is only a queer , divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the other.”


The Thread, by William Stafford:

There’s a thread you follow.  It goes among

things that change.  but it doesn’t change. 

People wonder about what you are pursuing.

You have to explain about the thread

But it is hard for others to see.

While you hold it you can’t get lost.

Tragedies happen; people get hurt

Or die; and you suffer and get old.

You don’t ever let go of the thread.

Thank you

…for participating in this evening, and this conversation.   The RiverBirch Project:  Women, Leadership & Life! events will be held 2-3 times a year, and announced via postings here. To be sure to receive announcements, please subscribe, via RSS on this site.  (Your email will not be shared or used for any other purpose.)

~Lynn Hagerman, June 2, 2013

“The Role Of Authenticity in Healing”- RiverBirch Event: May 29, 2013


The Role of Authenticity in Healing

“Finding One’s Voice”

3 Women Physicians Share Their Stories

Offered Through: The RiverBirch Project: Women, Leadership and Life!

Wednesday May 29, 2013
5:30pm- Refreshments and Networking 6:00-8:00pm Program

SHS, True Family Women’s Cancer Center, 6th Floor Lobby, Arnold Pavilion
1221 Madison Street

An evening with:

  • Patricia Dawson, MD
    Surgeon, Author “Forged by the Knife”, Medical Director, Swedish True Family Women’s Cancer Center
  • Astrid Pujari, MD
    Integrative Medicine, Author of “The Healthy Back Book” and the “The Healthy Knees Book,” Founder, the Pujari Center
  • Julia Smith, MD
    former Internist, Somatic Educator, Personal Development Facilitator and Coach – advocating a “learning and development” view of life, health and well being

Each physician shares her own story, and reflects on patient’s stories, about the connection between finding one’s true nature and its role in dis-ease… and healing. Followed by Q & A with our physician presenters, and a guided discussion for your own reflection and work-life planning.

RSVP First come first served, up to 35 participants. These events fill fast, respond soon! Registration via evite. For further information, or for the evite link, contact Lynn at 206.232.0598, or lynn@lynnhagerman.com

We look forward to seeing you!