Living in the World (vol. 3, no. 1)

Here are a few things I’m sharing this month:

1. Question(s) I’m living with:

  • “I have been given this existence, these years on this Earth, to accept what has come into my lifetime: wars, loves, trucks, betrayals, kindness. I must take them. I must find a way to live in this world. You can’t refuse it. And along with the difficult is the radiant, the beautiful, the scent of the herbs…that cover all of the spices of the globe, and our hands, our 54 bones, our 10 fingers, the intimacy with which each one of us enters the life of all of us and takes what comes to our own door and figures out, what is our conversation? What is my responsibility? What must be suffered? What can be changed? What can I know? How can I meet this in a way which both lets me open my eyes the next day and also, perhaps, if I’m lucky, can be of service to a changed future?” – Jane Hirschfield (On Being Podcast)

2. Quote I’m considering:

  • “Here and there in the moss a few white stones have been piled together. I go to them, and water is welling up, strong and copious, pure cold water that flows away in rivulets and drops over the rocks. These are the Wells of Dee. This is the river. Water, that strong white stuff, one of the four elemental mysteries, it is so simple that it frightens me. It wells from the rock, and flows away. For unnumbered years it has welled from the rock, and flowed away. It does nothing, absolutely nothing, but be itself.” – Nan Shepherd (The Living Mountain)

3. Poem I’m pondering:

and something ignited by Pablo Neruda (trans. by David Whyte)

…And something ignited in my soul,

fever or unremembered wings,

and I went my own way,


that burning fire

and I wrote the first bare line,

bare, without substance, pure


pure wisdom

of one who knows nothing,

and suddenly I saw

the heavens


and open.

4. Something inspiring:

  • Human Kind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman is an absolutely buoyant read and a much needed antidote to mass media’s addiction to negativity. Through engaging storytelling, Bregman shows how “humanity thrives in a crisis and that our innate kindness and cooperation have been the greatest factors in our long-term success as a species.”
  • As I was reading “Human Kind”, Jane Hirshfield said (on the On Being podcast I refer to above): “I remember, some years ago, there was the enormous earthquake in Haiti. And I remember watching a news anchor, an American news anchor speaking about the fear of chaos and looting and cultural breakdown. And as that anchor said those words, what you could hear and see behind them were people who were sleeping out in the dark because there were aftershocks, and they weren’t safe in the buildings. And what were they doing? They were singing. What the reality was, behind that newsperson’s back, was so completely different from what was being evoked by the description. They were singing. They were singing in the dark together.”

5. New blog:

  • The Art of Shunning – “Last fall, a former student, who’s in a leadership position in the Navy, reached out for advice on how to handle one member of his team being shunned by the rest. Here’s our email exchange…”

If you’re reading this newsletter for the first time, you can read previous issues hereview lists of poems, questions, quotes and songs I’ve shared before here, and subscribe here.

Thanks so much. And, have a great day! – shawn