I wrote this thick and heavy Brain Food today from 30,000 feet up. In a few hours Fourth of July fireworks will light up skies across the country, from New Haven to Long Beach. However, as I traverse the skies above the farm quilt that blankets middle America…I admit that I feel a little torn about the good old U.S. of A. 

On one hand, I am exceptionally grateful to be an American and have grown up around the incredible privilege and freedoms provided by citizenship in this country.

On the other hand, the last few weeks of SCOTUS rulings and divisive rhetoric that grows by the day has made me wonder if the United States needs to be put into the time out chair to think about itself for a while and reflect on what type of future we want to build for ourselves and our children. 

Do we want a torn country of war between us vs. them? Do we want hatred and vitriol to be the focal point of our daily lives? Do we want Meta-approved blather and mindless BS to dictate our self-esteem? Do we want to sacrifice our humanity and human connection for the convenience of screens and pinging blue text messages?

Or do we want to live in a world where everyone (yes even them) has an opinion that matters, where we are working together to ensure a society with equitable access and opportunity, where we develop critical thinking skills and ask questions, search for answers and engage in uncomfortable dialogue to reach the best conclusion?

This summer I am re-evaluating my approach to the world around me. I have started to step back to more deeply understand what I value and why. 

I believe that if each of us took time to know what we value and want in life, we will become better listeners and more conscious leaders. We will also deepen our ability to have constructive conversations and develop valuable dialogue with others who may not agree with us. This, in turn, creates more opportunities to understand new perspectives and establish more informed solutions.

Easier said than done, but perhaps July’s Brain Food will spark some of that inside of you?

Read on for a cool and frosty menu of things to ignite conversation and perhaps give you a moment for your own time out. 

A Movement to Make Workplaces ‘Menopause Friendly’

It’s about time. US corporations are finally getting on board with understanding how the workplace needs a redesign to meet the needs of a growing (and vocal) workforce of women over 50. The New York Times dives into this growing trend. Business owners, take a look at the checklist. How menopause friendly are you?

Read It

View the Menopause in the Workplace Checklist

Sunflower Bean: Moment in the Sun

What better time to roll out new rock and roll than in the middle of a sweltering summer with Sunflower Bean’s track “Moment in the Sun”. Lead singer Julia Cumming has developed an edgy, dreamy indie pop sound from her Brooklyn headquarters that is anything but mainstream. Give it a listen. I think you’ll love it. 

Listen To It

Not Your Average Beach Read: Ordinary Notes

Christina Sharpe, a professor of English literature and Black studies shows how language is like a knife–a tool or weapon depending on whose hand it’s in. With poetic reflections, her memoir Ordinary Notes is an unfolding of notes-to-self, navigating topics like race, resistance, identity, creativity, love and family.

Read It

Summer Champs

The natural wine industry is exploding and for good reason. Who doesn’t want organic grapes, no additives or preservatives and low intervention, particularly when the combo creates wines with depth, character and complex notes. Husband and wife duo Fiona and Jean-Michel crafted Rendezvous Champagne to fill the gap in the champagne market for a natural, organic option that didn’t break the bank. We like the results.

Sip It

How Managing Your Anxiety Can Make You a Better Leader

Writer, entrepreneur, and podcast host Morra Aarons-Mele says that when we take the time and energy to better understand and talk about our own issues, we can actually harness the learnings to become better managers and colleagues. She says that there are a number of ways to stop anxiety from spiraling and instead use it for good. I listened intently to this and highly recommend it for all leaders.

Listen To It

It’s a Pick-Your-Own Kind of Summer

I’m a sucker for an unforgettable experience and this one tops my list for summer. Next time you want blooms for your table, head to Garden Sweet Farm in Ft. Collins where you can spend a morning in the Pick-Your-Own fields filling your basket with flowers, berries and more. Make reservations in advance and bring a crew to make a day of it! 

Reserve Your Spot