The Thing About Mountain Top Experiences


I returned last night from 6 days in Indianapolis for the first class of 2010-2011 LEAD21 training (leadership for Land-grant Universities). What a tremendous gift to focus on my own leadership skills. On Maslow's hierarchy of needs- this is the pinnacle.

maslow detailed.jpg

I flew from Fargo, North Dakota to Indianapolis. I was once afraid of flying after an emergency landing on Equatoriana Airlines. But now, I say "well what can I do... may as well enjoy it." And I did. The g-force of speeding down the runway, the sight of my beloved prairie and pothole ponds and wetlands below me, and finally rising into dramatic valleys of thunderhead clouds- the stuff of dreams really.

I spent a week living at the top- in every sense that the 21st century has to offer. There were hours devoted to dissecting the feedback on our leadership skills (from bosses, direct report, peers...), practice conflict management, team dynamics, dealing with competing values, and building a group of peer coaches that we will work with over the next year.

In addition to the intellectual heights, we were cared for so that no earthly/physiological needs were even thought of. The healthiest, freshest food available in world were supplied in abundance. We were surrounded by platters of local strawberries, fresh blueberries, pineapple, melons, greens and vegetables. We were served gourmet healthy foods- paella, roasted lamb, seafood, soups, whole grains like quinoa, egg white omelets, and Ethiopian coffee where ever we turned. Brown people served our every needs- straightening our rooms, pouring our wine.

I entered the University of Indiana's hotel/conference complex on Sunday afternoon and did not step foot outside until the stretch limo picked us up on Friday afternoon. I touched ground in Fargo- a brilliantly easy international airport- and headed south through North Dakota, then South Dakota on my way to Big Stone County, Minnesota.

My first and only stop was on the land of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate. It was Friday night and it seemed that I'd hit the hot spot for action. As I stood around the gas pump, I was conscious that my 5-year-old used car was the fanciest/nicest in the lot and I was the lightest skinned person in the crowd. The mom next to me had a crying babe in the back seat- she sing-sang to her sweet babe as we filled our cars across from each other.

One of my favorite songs played through my mind as I lingered among the Oyate- the people. Please take a listen below to Keith Secola.

I walked slowly into the hot spot- a nice sized store on one end of the complex. I was hungry and I walked the six aisle of food. There was not one single fresh item of any sort in the entire store- it was convenience style. It was entirely and completely opposite the last meal I had had in Indianapolis. It was the anti-food pyramid. Indianapolis enjoyed the solid foundation of the food pyramid and Indian Country had nothin' at all but the crap at the top. I checked again- yup- looks to me that Maslow's hierarchy of needs starts with food.


I finally strolled back across the parking lot to my, now damn nice looking, car. I had some jalepeno almonds in hand- the healthiest food I found. I drove a couple miles down the road and saw a car on the side of the road- I looked and saw they had stopped to see a moose in the wetland grasses. I rolled down my window and yelled to the group of three Native men- "is that really a moose??!!" "Yeah" he said "Been hanging around here since last fall." We all watched the moose in our cars for a while, then did illegal u-turns to get back home in opposite directions. I passed a passel of fox kits, geese, ducks, pelicans, deer, and the bounty of this good land- once only theirs. I did avoid hitting a skunk.

The irony of the journey from Indianapolis to Indian country burst some bubble in me. Like bursting a blister- it stings so much worse after it is burst. That's the thing about mountaintop experiences- it's actually harder to walk back down the mountain. Causes blisters. Next year LEAD21 is working to recruit a cohort of our colleagues from the 1994 Tribal Land-grant colleges. Here's hoping, eh?


Beautiful, Kathy!
Love, Mom

As always love your writing. But I have to mention I lived in Indianapolis the last 2 times I saw you. I really like Indy - I actually worked at the circle downtown - what was once anthem, which is now Wellpoint Insurance - glad I got out of that when I did. I keep meaning to call you, but time flies before I even know it...I only have time off in early looks like we'll need to plan another trip yet another year...ugh...I so miss you and your family. I would love to see your farm, and hear your stories and visit your main street. One day..we will!

My grandparents grew up in Indianapolis. Hubby, my Dad and I took a trip down there a few years ago and found their old homes. They lived in a very old, VERY poor section of town. My Dad wanted to get out and walk around but nervous nelly me said No Way!

There are some very poor sections in Indianapolis for sure.

Nice photos and a great story!

That pyramid caught my eye. I spent a lot of time with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs in my education classes (teaching and discussing).

one thing this recall has done is show people that egg farms aren't like that cozy home farm with Foghorn Leghorn romancing the lady hens, they are basically forced labor camps for chickens and it's amazing we don't have more of these recalls

I never saw this kind of pyramid, but find it kinda cool...
I envy you with such a great experience, and hope to do so once I retire..
Blessings to you!

Thank you for a great post

Great. Yeah. And I concur with that, however want to drop my own 2 cents-worth about quality of equipment. Many times I see people suffering from crappy equipment that they bought thinking that they would be clever to spend less. That's not how it works folks.

The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) recently published a coaching guide. It appears that SIOP is trying to compete for a piece of the coaching pie by the language on the site, and I applaud them for finally doing so

Today, executive coaching is widely accepted and used in businesses, there are over 40,000 coaches.

Hell if I was stuck out in the woods somewhere, I'd sure as hell want to have good quality equipment to help me get out alive. Whether or not it makes sense, you should realize that it's the truth.

Hi Manda Parziale, yes i think you are right. i believe Executive business coaching is essentially one to one development support, provided when a generic training course would not be suitable or when the development needs is specific to the behaviors or personality of an employee.

Hi Manda Parziale, yes i think you are right. i believe Executive business coaching is essentially one to one development support, provided when a generic training course would not be suitable or when the development needs is specific to the behaviors or personality of an employee.

Would you like to get rid of a junk car? Maybe the car isn’t even junk but you still want to consider donating it to charity. Donating a car to charity is something many people do; especially considering the hassle of selling an older car and the really low trade in value despite the vehicle being in very good condition.

I like to ride dirt bikes. i have a kawasaki. I ride mostly in indiana. I hope this blog helps riders

racing horses is a lot of work. Has anyone ever been in a horse race? great post anyway

so informative, thanks to tell us.

My bro told me about this site just today. Great blog you've got!

I do not really pay attention to cultures that exist in Indianapolis, but I've seen in one of the events on my campus. I like the way you write on this blog, Thanks. ~ Budaya

Indianapolis gives such a blissful and full of learning experiences you see its quite something conventional and like kind of predictable from the hierarchy of needs which came from Maslow, I learned this long ago and that the food its serves its all expected, I am honestly caught up by the Indian I felt I was experiencing reading your story its fun I guess there are some deviant thing but real exciting for me discovering some issues that is so unique! love the story!

I cant believe the NHL is going to risk losing one of the best players in his prime to the KHL

I have heard great things about Indianapolis and from you its really such a nice story I feel like I have been there too, but the Indian unconventional way of living struck me most its not impressing but interesting, I love the music you showed. thanks.

You sound if you had a wonderful experience , learning leadership skills is very important and to do it in such surroundings is amazing

That Indian Country store comment reminded me of that show with Jillian Michaels, of Biggest Loser fame, when she visited a family on an Indian reservation that had a very poor diet. They used a lot of enriched, all-purpose flour, and the average person there was above average weight. It is sad to hear there was very bad food there.

Nice and mind provoking blog, especially with all of this cultural diversity in the historical city Indianapolis. Thank you for the information. This is tickling to my memory- Ed in Chicago

An interesting article and it sounds as though your experience was second to none. Leadership skills isn't the easiest of subjects to master but you seem to be on the right path. Hope to hear some updates in the near future

Es posible contactar contigo para encontrar una forma de colaborar? Gracias.

Never think about my needs from such aspect – compare Maslow’s pyramid of human needs and food pyramid. I’ll have to think about it. And certainly nice song just a little bit revolutionary.

Maklumat yang menarik, Artikel yang banyak membantu kepada sesiapa pun.Moga-moga orang ramai dapat memanfaatkan diri.

Its religious undertones are convincing and even the atheist such as myself can identify with the message of the value of human decency, understanding and love for others.

Its great to see someone actually taking the time to learn leadership skills as many business startup just get going on the strength of someone being good at something. Its all to easy to forget the planning, Leadership and direction, Marketing, sales. Without these skills you are just buying yourself another job.

Soudns like you pikced up some great life experiences too.

Defeat isn't bitter if you don't swallow it.

I'm looking for a Wordpress magazine theme that let's te readers subscribe to a newsletter. How do I find out if a template can do that? When I look at the demos I never come across this function. Thanks!.

There so many different computer tech stuff like Computer Programming, Computer Support Specialists, Computer Systems Analysts. I just want to know what it would be to go work on computers like store or business computers mess up or like tearing computer apart and repairing them. what would them be called?.

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This page contains a single entry by Kathryn Draeger published on June 26, 2010 7:01 AM.

It's been a good year for the roses was the previous entry in this blog.

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