Our Selves & Others (vol. 2, no. 3)

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

1. New blogs:

  • The Jedi mind trick I use whenever I feel like I’m in danger of losing my self-possession: Street by Street
  • Why I wear a gold-plated #32 around my neck: Number 32
  • How I know I’m home when those back home say my name in that slow-on-the-syllable way: Mr. Baker

2. Question I’m living with:

3. Quote I’m considering:

Pablo Neruda on the one goal that’s held in common:

  • “From all this, my friends, there arises an insight which the poet must learn through other people. There is no insurmountable solitude. All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence in order to reach forth to the enchanted place where we can dance our clumsy dance and sing our sorrowful song – but in this dance or in this song there are fulfilled the most ancient rites of our conscience in the awareness of being human and of believing in a common destiny.” (Pablo Neruda, Nobel Lecture “Toward the Splendid City“)

4. Poem I’m pondering:

Harrowing by Parker J. Palmer

The plow has savaged this sweet field
Misshapen clods of earth kicked up
Rocks and twisted roots exposed to view
Last year’s growth demolished by the blade.

I have plowed my life this way
Turned over a whole history
Looking for the roots of what went wrong
Until my face is ravaged, furrowed, scarred.

Enough. The job is done.
Whatever’s been uprooted, let it be
Seedbed for the growing that’s to come.
I plowed to unearth last year’s reasons—

The farmer plows to plant a greening season.

5. Something inspiring:

  • Song I’m looping while I’m writing: Mad Rush by Phillip Glass and Jenny Lin
  • Nuns and Nones structured a three-stage process for marking our one year in the pandemic: honoring grief, what was learned, and committing to change. Each stage is accompanied by questions to consider. A number of my former students and I walked through the stages last Sunday. It was needed. Here’s the guide.

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