Re-entry into reality


Artist rendering of Apollo space capsule re-entry. Courtesy NASA

I remember, as a kid, listening to and watching news reports about the first space capsules re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.  With thrusters they had to position the capsule just right so the base faced the earth.  This enabled the heat shields to provide protection from the terrific heat generated as the space capsule came down through the atmosphere. 

I need one of those heat shields because it feels like the heat is on!

“Houston, we have a problem.” 

Ok, so my issues are not life or death and it is unfair to compare to what the astronauts on Apollo 13 must have felt when things were not going as planned. However, that rationale is not helping the angst I am feeling.  I just returned from vacation and re-entry into my real world is going to be tough. 

On a positive note, our flight home was not interrupted in any way by the incident at FAA headquarters in Aurora, Illinois.  The same cannot be said for my brother-in-law and sister-in-law who are stuck in Boston until Monday. 

Jumping back in!

I am facing a heavy schedule of meetings and work obligations and hoping that I have the where-with-all to juggle them. I feel particular anxiety about work. It has been a busy time and my absence means that others have had to cover for me. I am grateful for those co-workers who are willing to take on my duties as well as their own.  However, I know of at least a few issues that must be addressed when I return.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am privileged to be attending Roaring Fork Leadership this year. I have a three day workshop scheduled for later this week for that.  I am looking forward to participating in Jonathan Clark’s Mastering Performance course!  Boy, could I use that right now.   The timing is not great, but as I learned in my first RFL workshop, I need to be aware and fully present to make the most out of this workshop.    I have heard fantastic things about this course and am very excited. 

Plates spinning and home fires burning

Plates Spinning

By David Burlet (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

 Additionally I have several other personal and community obligations that will be taking place over the next few weeks.  All of them are very important.  It is just a matter of keeping all the plates spinning and not letting any of them drop. It is also of critical importance for me to spend time with my family.  Wish me luck and the ability to get the most out of each experience while not burning out on re-entry into reality!


“Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.” 

― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

I think I get the inspiration that Thoreau must have felt in his time on Walden Pond . . . at least for a few moments.  Being on a lake in solitude in the quiet early morning is both calming and inspiring.  It is beautiful to watch the mist lift like a veil to reveal a new day.  To see a crane take flight brings an awareness of all of creation surrounding us.  It reminds me that we are all unique, with distinctive strengths, even when some seem odd or ungainly.  Ducks flying overhead and finding a place to settle reveals the need for companionship, working together and communication. Fish jump and disappear again, leaving concentric circles radiating outward touching objects far from them.


Early Morning mist.

I have never considered myself to be philosophical or a deep thinker but more a pragmatist, although some would disagree. I have recently had the privilege of being allowed to participate in the 2015 class of  Roaring Fork Leadership.  The first session was a two day workshop on “Conscious Leadership,” with Greg Cortopassi. For me, the emphasis is on the conscious part. I tend to go through life by rote: work, home, meetings, food, sleep, repeat.  To say that I was put a little out of my comfort zone is a huge understatement.  

I am still trying to assimilate and process the information. Among other things, the challenge to us was awareness.  This includes awareness of our surroundings, of our being and of our effect on those around us.  Through various exercises I realized that, as much as I would like to think I do, I don’t control the universe.  I do, however, have an affect on it.  The decisions I make, what I do, how I act and react impact not only me but my family, my coworkers and employer and my community.  I must be deliberate and aware in my actions, choosing wisely.  

Lake in Maine

A new day reawakens!

As I said, I have never considered myself to be philosophical, but sitting alongside a beautiful lake as the sun rises, I find myself thinking about Henry David Thoreau.  As I process the information I received  a week ago, the following quote from a very young man sitting by a lake in an area very similar to where I am today seems to fit the outlook of a not-so-young lady.

“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”  

—Henry David Thoreau

Each day is a miracle. Be thankful. Go affect the quality of your day and the day of others. 


Miracle in Glenwood Canyon – Trooper Hofacker’s survival

Trooper Eugene Hofacker

Colorado State Trooper Eugene Hofacker

Four months ago, on May 8, 2014, life nearly ended for Colorado State Trooper Eugene Hofacker. While on a routine traffic stop in Glenwood Canyon, he was shot three times. One of the shots hit his femoral artery, causing a tremendous amount of blood loss.  By most accounts, he should have died from a wound that severe.  But he “dug deeper” and survived.  It was a miracle.

One month ago, he told his story, for the first time publicly, to the graduates of Colorado Mountain College’s Colorado Law Enforcement Training Academy.  His message is one of resilience and determination in the worst possible circumstances. It is about training and preparation.  It is about never giving up.

“I remember telling myself, Eugene, get up, get the hell up, this guy is going to shoot you in the back.”

For those of us who have loved ones who are in law enforcement, the events of that day are our worst nightmare, although we know the possibility.  For the graduates of the CLETA program, the message is critical.  As Trooper Hofacker stated, “We are also aware that each and every day we suit up, it may be our last.”

My son was among the ten men who graduated from the CLETA program August 8, 2014.  Most, if not all, are now serving as officers in various departments throughout the state of Colorado.  The first hand account of the events of that day from Trooper Hofacker, and of the actions of fellow Trooper Shane Gosnell are truly inspiring.

Trooper Hofacker - CMC

Trooper Hofacker speaking at CMC

I recorded Trooper Hofacker’s message on my iPhone with the intention that my son, his wife and I could watch it again.  Later, I was approached by some people who knew I had recorded it to see if they could get a copy.  It was important to me to contact Trooper Hofacker to obtain his permission before releasing the video.  It was not an easy decision for him to make.  However, he stated that “…if it can help just one person . . . that would be worth it because it is not about me.”  It has already helped more than one person.

The link to the video is here The video quality is not good.  I was holding my four-year old granddaughter on my lap . . . as you will see.  The video is about 20 minutes long and I hope you will take the time to watch the entire thing.  It is a powerful message.

Troopers Hofacker and Gosnell  are, in my mind, heroes.  They are the embodiment of the upstanding qualities of law enforcement officers.  They are honestly “peace officers” making our communities safer. Godspeed to Trooper Hofacker as he struggles to recover.  And to all the law enforcement officers who protect our communities each day, thank you.  You are all heroes in my book.