Learn a New Word; Parker Palmer Reminds Us That Work Doesn't Define You; Yoga Mom and Child; The Ethics of Lockpicking?
This week inspired a lesson from Ralph Waldo Emerson, a poetic reflection on being more than doing from Parker Palmer, a precious moment that will make you smile, and a peculiar story about a lockpicker that will make you think.
Hello! If you missed the most recent edition of my weekly On Being newsletter, here's the blog version to catch you up. A passage from Ralph Waldo Emerson taught us a new word, Parker Palmer and Lynn Ungar reminded us that work doesn't define you, a sweet mother/daughter yoga team made us smile, a lockpicker got us thinking about ethics, and so much more. If you'd like to receive it in your email inbox, sign up here.
"Your staying alive means so much more than you really know or that anyone is aware of at this moment."
~Jennifer Michael Hecht from "Hope for Our Future Selves"
I learned a new word today: sempiternal. Thank you Ralph Waldo Emerson! A worthy photoquote pairing on living with abandon.
Has the word grace fallen out of favor? After seeing Anna Deavere Smith’s production, "Conversations on Grace," author Betty M. Bayer offers some insights on how she's thinking through this question:
"Starting our own conversations about grace may serve to loosen the hardening boundaries between those who call themselves religious and those who call themselves spiritual-but-not-religious (or “None”), redirecting fruitless conversations about values and voting blocs (or political theater) to the art of dwelling here together, in the polis, with grace."
Looking for a bit of precious? This project of a mother and her four-year-old daughter in various yoga poses will do it for you.
Work can be all-too-consuming. And, we can let it begin to define our sense of self. Parker Palmer, bless his heart, provides that clarion call — with the help of a Lynn Ungar poem:
"I take my work seriously, and I'm sure you do, too. But at age 75, I'm trying to learn (or re-learn) that, in the end, what matters most is not my ability to 'produce' but my ability to love..."
And, this week, as Krista returned from what I hear was a brilliant event in Baltimore with WYPR, I was off to Kalamazoo, Michigan at the invitation of The Fetzer Institute and The International Institute for Sustained Dialogue. I'm emboldened to do more with our own Civil Conversations Project after convening with so many energetic, good-hearted folks trying to cultivate more engaged civic spaces. I'm left with questions though: How do we scale this? How can we make this accessible to the many people who aren't trained facilitators?
There are all types of social contracts we agree to as individuals living in society. I had no idea until I read this incredible interview with a lockpicker in Virginia Quarterly Review that the locks on our front doors were part of that agreement:
"The reason we bother even having locks on our houses is because, a long time ago, we near-collectively, as a society, both here and in Europe, made an unconscious decision that we were going to treat locks as a social construct more than a mechanical one."
If you're ever in Detroit's airport, do yourself a favor and make your way to Concourse C. This art tunnel always puts a bounce in my step!
In case you missed it (or need to hear it again), I'll leave you with these wise words from Desmond Tutu:
"There’s no question about the reality of evil, of injustice, of suffering, but at the center of this existence is a heart beating with love. That you and I and all of us are incredible. I mean, we really are remarkable things. That we are, as a matter of fact, made for goodness."
And, please, continue submitting your essays and commentaries, photos, and videos. Reading and publishing your many perspectives is an absolute privilege.
May the wind always be at your back.