The Uncomfortable Spaces We Inhabit in Our Own Particular Ways

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 - 9:15 am

The Uncomfortable Spaces We Inhabit in Our Own Particular Ways

I’d like to bookend this week’s letter from Loring Park with two guest submissions. If you’d like to add your voice to the mix, we welcome you to submit your photo essays, reporting, commentaries, and videos. We read them all!

(Brandon King / Flickr / Some Rights Reserved)

“I couldn’t understand why she would send me to a place where I would never belong.”

Our feet carry us forward despite the circumstances. Sakeenah El-Amin gifted us with this lovely series of memories from a life growing up on the periphery of wealth and privilege. The takeaway: finding worth in what we are, rather than worthlessness in what we are not.

(Christian Gonzalez / Flickr / Some Rights Reserved)

“I am more exposed in this book — more present in my fullness and flaws — than anything I’ve done before in public.”

The writer’s life can be an excruciating one, especially for our host. Krista reveals the vulnerability of revealing her personal life in her new book and staying true to her subject — and finding community while tweeting it out.

“Becoming wise is sounding like yourself.”

The Becoming Wise podcast reached the Top 40 on iTunes last week! And, on Monday, we released a new episode with yoga teacher Matthew Sanford, who is now a companion to Brene Brown, Maria Popova, and John O’Donohue in the series. Have you had a chance to listen yet? If so, I’d love to hear what you think, and and please be sure to give it a rating.

(Hernán Piñera / Flickr / Some Rights Reserved)

“As far as I’m concerned, that story doesn’t involve any magic. It’s about the miracle of sharing in community, an everyday miracle that anyone with some courage can pull off.”

Our friend Parker Palmer shares a David Whyte poem and a story of air travel gone bad… but with a twist.

(Leo Hidalgo / Flickr / Some Rights Reserved)

To put one’s children first is a parent’s most basic instinct. But when does self-sacrifice become self-destruction? Using the metaphor of airplane oxygen masks, Omid Safi tells us to put on our own mask first, and offers a new understanding of the importance of self-care:

“I see so many people trying, really trying, to do what’s right. Sometimes they are not able to do it in a beautiful way. Sometimes they are not able to do it in ways that are wise, good to the people around them, or good to their own selves.”

(Howard County Library System / Flickr / Some Rights Reserved)

“The personal is the political.”

We’re confronted with choices of wanting to do what’s best for our children and our communities. But sometimes they come into conflict with each other. What do we do then? Courtney Martin on the intersections of public and personal life as she makes school choices for her daughter.

(Asaf Antman / Flickr / Some Rights Reserved)

“If you have a compass, smash it. / Nothing can point you to true anything, let alone true north. / Besides — and never forget this — you are trying to get lost.”

Somehow, Jose Alcantara’s poem (inspired by Rebecca Solnit’s book on getting lost) seems like the proper way to end this note. Be well!
Feedback and criticism is welcome. Email me at, or via Twitter at @trentgilliss.
May the wind always be at your back.

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was the founding executive editor of On Being Studios.

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