Finding New Energy Within Ourselves
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“The best spiritual instruction is when you wake up in the morning and say, ‘I wonder what’s going to happen today.’ And then carry that kind of curiosity through your life.”
Pema Chödrön steers clear of idealized portraits of humanity and peaceful longings. Just read her book Practicing Peace in Times of War to see what I mean. In this conversation with Bill Moyers, she focuses on the addictive quality of our always-on minds — and how a complete year of silence taught her that the culprits are not just devices.
Each Wednesday, an unexpected story or parable from Omid arrives in my inbox. This week was no different. Somehow he takes the story of recharging a depleted iPhone and a USB hack (hidden in plain sight) and parlays that into a lesson of finding new energy within ourselves:
“Can we remain humble enough to know that one method that works for one soul may not recharge another? Each of us needs to recharge in the means that are right or best for us. And that means may change from stage to stage of life.”
C. Nicole Mason’s new memoir, Born Bright, sparked this challenging reflection on turning toward what’s uncomfortable, and then asking ourselves how we can make the change that will affect others:
“In part, I was bearing witness to myself. Where I recoiled in shock, I took notice; clearly my reality is deeply disconnected from the one that this little girl lived and that’s important for me to register. Where I cringed at the adult behavior around her, I took notice; I asked myself to look at the wounds underneath that kind of violence, particularly when it came to her mother, who I must admit I felt a lot of anger towards. At first I asked, ‘Why isn’t she showing up for her little girl? Why doesn’t she believe her?’ But then I asked, ‘Who didn’t show up for her?'”
“Isn’t that one of the reasons we grown-ups need to spend time around little kids — to help us recover the capacity we once had for a direct encounter with language and life that will make us feel more alive?”
Parker writes so beautifully about the autumnal season. Self-admittedly, he’s addicted to the season’s many opportunities for metaphor. But poet Linda Pastan steers him in another direction through verse of a different variety.
Each year around the High Holy Days I revisit Krista’s marvelous conversation with Rabbi Sharon Brous. Not only will you come away with a better understanding of these ten sacred days that span the new year of Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur’s rituals of atonement, you’ll also get a deeper sense of a spiritual renaissance for people in their 20s and 30s who are making connections between ritual, personal transformation, and relevance in the world.
And, some other interesting essays and podcasts in my queue this week:
- [read] I Used to Be a Human Being. Andrew Sullivan’s essay on how the constant barrage of digital connection almost killed him will speak to many of us. But it’s his reflections on the need for silence and how religious institutions might serve as new models of respite and retreat in a hyperkinetic age that might well be most interesting to mull over.
- [listen] The Power of Words, The Poetry of Faith. From the BBC, our good friend and Irish sage Pádraig Ó Tuama marks National Poetry Day in the UK with a service of sorts — with words from Emily Dickinson, Allen Ginsberg, and the Psalms — with gorgeous music to lift and inspire.
- [listen] A Life Sentence: Victims, Offenders, Justice, and My Mother. Each family has its own secrets, subjects, or events that may never be broached once they’ve happened. But Samantha Broun’s audio documentary takes that next step and opens up wounds that have never totally healed and touches scars still delicate to the touch. It’s an intensely personal and thoroughly courageous journey — one I’d encourage you to take with her.
- [read] The Limits of Loving The Boss. Bruce Springsteen’s new memoir is getting a lot of press — and rightfully so. There are many good reviews, but Ann Powers takes it to a whole other level. Her magical exposition should have legions of his adoring fans flocking to read it.
This weekly newsletter is an ever-evolving digest of interestingness. It’s designed to meet your needs. Any suggestions you have on what you like, what you might change or might need, are welcome. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May the wind always be at your back!