On Hanging by a Thread and Shared Silence; Buddha’s Teachings on Volition; Fostering Grit; Which Direction to Turn; NZ Gang Portraits and Dappled Things…
Our platform is a space for all voices to be heard. I’d like to highlight two guest contributors who’ve added something special to the conversation this week: Andréana E. Lefton and Elizabeth Aquino:
“Contrary to what some might say, we’re not given what we can handle. We’re opening to handle what we’re given.”
Rather than grieve for the loss of “normalcy,” a mother of a child with refractory seizure disorder chooses to exult in her daughter being exactly the way she is. Weaving in the Four Noble Truths, Elizabeth Aquino marvels at the gifts of intimacy, false notions of power and control, and the hope and humor that follows.
A small-town Quaker meeting inspires a meditation by Andréana E. Lefton on collective human silence, and the communion that brings points of orientation in a disorienting world:
“That’s what our shared silence says to the train and the drought and depression and cancer, and maybe even, to life itself: We are here. We are doing the work. This is difficult. This is beauty.”
Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer or a producer, take a chance and share your work with us and our community.
The Buddha’s teachings on volition, Sharon Salzberg writes, point us to the crucial importance of our own intentions, the responsibility in our actions, and therefore for our own freedom:
“The moral quality of an action is held in the intention that gives rise to the action.”
“So maybe one of the problems is not an absence of grit, but the stubbornness with which we cling to our first impressions of our own gifts (or lack thereof).”
How can we encourage our children (and ourselves) to work hard at mastering skills that evade us? Courtney Martin on fostering grit and resilience in our children and ourselves — and still having fun!
Apparently a blog post showing photographs of the interior of the Ka’ba in Mecca went viral. In classic Omid Safi fashion, he uses it as an opportunity to think outside of the box — or should I say inside of it…
“What if we were inside the Ka‘ba? Which way would we face? In which direction would we pray? Do we line up to the East? The West? North? South?”
- Stunning portraits of New Zealand’s Mighty Mongrel Mob. VICE magazine surfaces some really amazing work, such as this photo series by Jono Rotman. Really interesting interview with him too!
- Malcolm McDowell reads white papers. A thespian with a distinctive voice reading dry reports aloud makes all the difference. Brilliant move by Adobe.
- NPR streams Sharon Van Etten’s new EP. A remarkable voice that will break your heart.
While looking for a photo to accompany Parker’s column this week, I experienced this beautiful image by Justin Sullivan. With the bleakness of the drought in California, abundance and color remain.
Instead I chose this NASA image… of the blooms in the Sea of Marmara:
I thought it a lovely companion to Parker Palmer’s reflection on the beauty of dappled things, as taken from the opening line from this poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins:
GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
Until next week, I bid you many good fortunes. Your feedback is always appreciated. Reach out to me at email@example.com or by Twitter, @trentgilliss.
May the wind always be at your back.