When The Lights Go Out In The City

I’ve been forced to walk home twice. Both times I was living in New York City. The first time was Sept. 11, 2001. The second was the summer of 2003 — when a power outage occurred, affecting a huge portion of the East Coast. I was doing a summer internship in NYC while pursuing my MBA at Willamette University. It was towards the end of the summer and I was down in Chinatown shopping for gifts to bring home. I got on the subway to go home and shortly into the ride the lights went off and everything stopped. Total silence. You can imagine the tension on the train. Was this another terrorist attack? I had a flip phone on me. I turned it on and used the light to help find the doors. A couple of men pulled the doors open enough so that people could squeeze through. We used our phones for light to get up off the tracks and find the stairs to outside. I was living on the Upper East Side at the time and had to walk 81 blocks home. It was late July and hot! I was wearing cute little Steve Madden sandals (which seemed practical when I left that day); somehow they stayed on my feet and I made it home. It was amazing to see the community come together. Shop owners were handing out bottles of water and Gatorade.

And speaking of power outages — my goodness have we had one thing after another lately! I hope you have all survived the snow and ice storms and are safe from the damage the fallen trees have caused. If the Stoic gods are testing me, they are winning! How are you? What have you noticed about yourself in these last few days, weeks, months? What has surprised you, in a good way, about yourself? What has been a challenge for you? I have been very busy lately working with teams to help build connection, communication and trust. One of the things I’ve realized is how important it is to allow for time and space to let people express what they are feeling. This can be as simple as a two-word check-in for how they’re feeling, and it can be as extensive as a one-hour workshop. What are you noticing that you and/or your team is needing right now? How can I help? Please feel welcome to reach out. And please visit the positivity project website for some inspiration and great exercises to increase positivity and well-being. It is so needed right now.

Be well and safe,


Epilogue: Interestingly, I was wearing those same sandals when I flew back to Portland a few weeks later. I took a misstep when I exited the terminal and the little wooden heel broke off of the right shoe. I kept that heal for a long time just for the memory of that day.

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