What We Need to Flourish Is Here
We are back in full swing now. Krista just recorded a brilliant interview with Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest and writer based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Our new On Being Fellows, Casper ter Kuile and Angie Thurston, joined us this week to help us imagine new landscapes of community and connection. And we’re partnering with 1440 Multiversity to host our very first On Being festival that will invite you to join Krista and guests to come together for three days in 2018!
“At times something happens that makes us hypersensitive to all that threatens our souls.”
There are intense moments of vulnerability when that precious part of us is at risk. Parker tells us to find that safe haven, our sacred sanctuary, when the world feels like it’s full of knives:
“Sanctuary is wherever I find safe space to regain my bearings, reclaim my soul, heal my wounds, and return to the world as a wounded healer. It’s not merely about finding shelter from the storm: it’s about spiritual survival. Today, seeking sanctuary is no more optional for me than church attendance was as a child.”
Another place where Parker finds refuge: a new song from past guest Carrie Newcomer (which we’ve embedded at the bottom of his column).
“I believe that sometimes we accept reality because we don’t have the energy to imagine or enact an alternative, or because we feel too alone in our quest for something more ethical. But what if we could spot other souls swimming ungracefully upstream?”
Have too many of us surrendered our moral imaginations to the status quo? Courtney seems to think so. But she’s finding new possibilities for serendipity and asking vital questions: by being in community and by creating structure that draws these questions out of “the shadowy hiding places in our overscheduled, self-important lives.”
Courtney’s commentary draws from the opening chapter of her newly released book, The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream. It’s heartening to read the profiles of so many people who are creating new paradigms for success and satisfaction in this lifetime! Krista sent around this great passage from Courtney’s book:
“Living in America, at this unequal, messy moment, can break your heart — but it doesn’t have to break your spirit. Living in America is so interesting, so fertile, so up-for-grabs. It’s also disintegrating and reconstituting and recalibrating. It’s up to us to make lives that we can be proud of — and to make communities and systems and policies to cradle those lives. It’s up to us to reject tired narratives about success, instead authoring new ones that are less about exceptional heroes and more about creative communities. It’s up to us to reclaim the best of what previous generations did that made this country so unique and so beautiful — as well as to own up to the destructive legacies that we’re a part of, to expose them to the light, and to figure out how to fix them. It’s up to us to be humble, to be brave, to be accountable to our own dreams, no one else. It’s up to us to be iconoclastic, to be together, to stay awake.”
“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
Albert Schweitzer’s quotation opens this aspirational piece of writing by another millennial who thinks in global terms. Although Mohammed acknowledges the right for his generation to be skeptical, he also sees his generation as an inheritor of systems and institutions worth fulfilling:
“The Greatest Generation could have left us with an empty lot on the East River rather than build an organization to symbolize the opportunity to solve problems through peaceful means. They had more to be skeptical about than we do today.”
The Unexpected Joy of a Copenhagen Metro Commute
To send you off into the rest of your day: a reprise of a musical flashmob from a few years ago. Thank goodness for institutions like the Copenhagen Phil who offer a moment of serendipity within their commuting community.
As always, thank you for the kind and generous feedback. Please feel free to contact me or anyone on our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May the wind always be at your back.