Five Flashbacks

Flashback #1: Our daughter Abby is five years old, and blindfolded. In the middle of the screened-in porch hangs a piñata. It’s a colorful donkey twirling gently in the breeze. In her hands Abby holds a yellow Wiffle bat commandeered from the garage.

Abby swings and misses, yet all the other children cheer, confident in her eventual success.

Abby swings again, striking nothing but air. This happens multiple times but there is no loss of confidence. Despite the fact that she can see only darkness, she is sure her target is there. She has faith in the existence of something she cannot see.

(The unrelated end of this story is that she did ultimately strike the piñata, successfully breaking it open, to the delight of all. What her mother and I hadn’t realized, however, was that the piñata was empty. You had to manually fill it with candy from the opening near the tail. We missed that part. We often don’t act upon that which we cannot see.)


Flashback #2: A few months later I am walking by our youngest daughter Sydney’s bedroom. She is two and a half years old. Her door is closed, but I can hear her inside, talking a mile a minute. Curious, I crack open the door and pop my head into her room.

“Hey, Syd, what are you doing?” I ask.

“I’m talking to Papa,” she replies, without looking up from her spot on the floor, where her toys are spread in front of her.

I slowly close the door.

Papa (her grandfather) had died just a few weeks before.


Flashback #3: It’s a generation earlier, and this time, I am the child.

I’m in our basement, alone, with a small basketball. Near the far wall, on a table by the bulkhead door, is an old wooden bucket for making ice cream.

My sneakers are tied tight as I make a reverse dribble around one of the posts holding up the house above before crossing over and launching a shot.


The ball rattles its way to the bottom of the ice-cream bucket.

Moments later I steal the ball even though there is no one else in the basement.

In my mind and heart, I’m playing a college basketball game on national television and I am the star. In that moment, it could not be more real.


Flashback #4: It’s March of 1996, and Mark Hopkins has been hired to work at the sales counter of the Hancock Lumber store in Yarmouth, Maine.

Mark has the goal of building a leadership career at the company, so he excels in this role, with a larger goal in mind. Soon, his dedication is noticed, and eventually he is promoted. Mark continues to employ the same approach with his next role, and the next, and the next.

Twenty years later, Mark becomes the chief operating officer of the entire company.

He has created his own reality.


Flashback #5: In 2010 I acquire a rare neurological voice disorder called spasmodic dysphonia. Suddenly, the simple act of speaking has become a difficult chore. This limitation initially sets me reeling. How am I going to be effective as a CEO without being able to talk all the time? Will I even be able to keep my job? Surely my value to the company will lessen . . .

Within two years I am convinced that the disorder is a blessing, gift, and invitation from my spirit guides to live and lead differently. Dispersing power within organizations and strengthening the voices of others soon becomes my personal work mission.

The company begins to soar, rewriting its entire record book repeatedly on the wings of employees who feel trusted, respected, valued, and heard.

I, too, have created a new reality.


“A growing body of research suggests that we [humans] are more than cosmic latecomers simply passing through a universe that was completed long ago. Experimental evidence is leading to a conclusion that we’re creating the universe as we go and adding to what already exists. In other words, we appear to be the very energy that’s forming the cosmos, as well as the beings who experience what we’re creating. That’s because we are consciousness, and consciousness appears to be the same ‘stuff’ from which the universe is made.”

—Gregg Braden, The Divine Matrix

In the early decades of the twenty-first century, science is leading the way in recognizing that there is an energy field we can’t fully see, uniting and connecting us all. What is more, we humans are at least in part empowering and directing that field with our own thoughts, beliefs, and feelings.

It’s now starting to look like that which we cannot see is what’s real.



Thank you for considering my thoughts. In return I honor yours.

Every voice matters. Nestled between our differences lies our future.