Ten for Tuesday

A compendium of stuff that’s been interesting/inspiring/challenging lately:

DO LESS STUFF

The Case for Doing Nothing

The Atlanta Nap Ministry preaches the liberating power of rest

I’m working on both of these things! Or should I say… I’m playing with them.

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BEAUTIFUL THINGS

Music Therapy In NICUs Can Help Babies Get Home Sooner

My eldest is considering a music therapy major in college. This story made us happy.

'A Song For Any Struggle': Tom Petty's 'I Won't Back Down' Is An Anthem Of Resolve

Not a big Petty fan, but I have a new appreciation for this song after reading this article.

Garbage collectors open library with abandoned books

#Improv!

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HARD STUFF

Angry? Depressed? You Could Be Grieving Over World Events

Be gentle with yourself.

Women Did Everything Right. Then Work Got “Greedy.”

How America’s obsession with long hours has widened the gender gap.

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THINGS THAT MAKE YOU THINK

Congratulations on Your Opinion

On opinions v. reactions. I’m not sure I fully agree, but I can’t stop thinking about this article. I’m connecting it with Brene Brown’s work on courage and being in the arena, and how we all need to figure out whose opinions (reactions?) should matter to us.

Why No One Cares about Your Travels

Or, one of the reasons I haven’t posted much about my trip to Israel/Palestine. Do you agree with this article? I kinda do. I like seeing pics of places I might go, or places I’ve been. Otherwise it’s hard to find a foothold.

Borough mayor is knitting to prove men speak too much at meetings

A scarf that changes color depending on who’s talking. If you don’t knit but would like to be mindful of gender dynamics in meetings, here’s an easy webpage to use.

Ten for Tuesday

Away we go!

This Guy Noticed Jigsaw Puzzle Companies Use The Same Patterns, So He Made Some Mashups

I remember having some Sesame Street puzzles as a child and doing the same thing! Fun. My favorite, the church carnival:

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The Rewatchables

I am obsessed with this podcast, in which the panel discusses a rewatchable movie and lovingly dissects it. The Field of Dreams episode made me cry a few times…

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Do Not Disturb: How I Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My Brain

Working on it. So glad Apple has introduced Sreen Time—it has helped me rein in the dumb-dumb time I was spending on my phone.

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The Bible does not condemn “homosexuality.” Seriously, it doesn’t.

It doesn’t.

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As I worship on Easter, I'll wrestle with the same question: How do I keep believing this?

How indeed? Great reflection (and hey, Easter is over but we’re still in Eastertide…)

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Intuition is the Highest Form of Intelligence

“If all you do is sit in a chair and trust your intuition, you are not exercising much intelligence. But if you take a deep dive into a subject and study numerous possibilities, you are exercising intelligence when your gut instinct tells you what is - and isn't - important.” Good stuff in a complex world.

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The Uninhabitable Earth

UGH this was a tough read.

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The War Photo No One Would Publish

When Kenneth Jarecke photographed an Iraqi man burned alive, he thought it would change the way Americans saw the Gulf War. But the media wouldn’t run the picture.

Gut-dropping image. War is hell.

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Why We Spend Our Brief Lives Indoors, Alone, and Typing: Or, how I justify teaching my students the dying art of writing

I hope writing isn’t dying, but… yes.

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You’re not getting enough sleep—and it’s killing you

This is something I’m really working on… and it’s So Hard. I can’t wait to watch this TED talk!

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Reflecting on My Failure to Build a Billion-Dollar Company

A wonderful article about Yes-And in business.

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What are you reading lately?

Ten for Tuesday

Lots of links to clear out today.

But first, a bonus: Have you checked out my Living Improv conversations on YouTube lately? Two new short videos every two weeks! The latest deal with improvising through illness, and listening for what people really want and need, rather than what you think they do. Watch ‘em! Use the discussion questions with friends! Etc.!

And away we go!

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1. I had an improv teacher who would send a weekly email, prefaced by a link to a song with the note, “Please listen to the following as you read to enhance your email experience.” In that spirit, here’s New Order’s “Blue Monday” played on 1930s instruments. *chef’s kiss*

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2. Speaking of improv, I love how empowering it can be. Read about this recent administrative mistake that turned into a gift, courtesy of Washington Improv Theater. Kudos to that courageous improv student!

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3-4. We have a high school sophomore, which means we’re just at the beginning of the college conversation. These two Reddit threads, written by young people in college, have been very instructive.

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5. On the topic of young people, the Washington Post reports on a Maryland school in which Teen boys rated their female classmates based on looks, and the girls fought back… In a really great, empowering way, it should be said.

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6-7. In the What Really Matters category, these two are deep reads but worth it: The only metric of success that really matters is the one we ignore (Jenny Anderson, Quartz) and Three Magical Phrases to Comfort a Dying Person (Jenny Harrington, Medium).

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8-9. How about a few badass ladies? This article made the rounds recently, about two sisters who would seduce Nazis in bars and lure them to the woods where they would summarily execute them. I’m not a fan of vigilante justice, but I make an exception for bona fide Nazis.

And I love this amazing photo of two Scottish women, rock climbing in the 1900s in blouses and ankle-length skirts:

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10. And finally, a linguist who argues why we all need to start using y’all. Way ahead of ya, dude!

Onward.

Ten for Tuesday... Including Free Stuff

Away we go!

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1. What’s going on in this picture? Click the link to find out.

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As Trevor Noah put it, “I only cried twice watching this video.”

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2. The Modern Trap of Turning Hobbies into Hustles (Man Repeller) This was an interesting article, as someone who’s cobbled together full-time work with a series of side hustles. But the real gem was the paragraph that began, “Whenever I have some time to myself, I panic. Unstructured time — especially spent alone — is phenomenally rare in my life and I feel an overwhelming obligation to make good use of it.” Ahem…

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3. And on that note, The Religion of Workism Is Making Americans Miserable (Derek Thompson, Atlantic)

The rich have always worked less than the poor, because they could afford to. The landed gentry of preindustrial Europe dined, danced, and gossiped, while serfs toiled without end. In the early 20th century, rich Americans used their ample downtime to buy weekly movie tickets and dabble in sports. Today’s rich American men can afford vastly more downtime. But they have used their wealth to buy the strangest of prizes: more work!

…Workism offers a perilous trade-off. On the one hand, Americans’ high regard for hard work may be responsible for its special place in world history and its reputation as the global capital of start-up success. A culture that worships the pursuit of extreme success will likely produce some of it. But extreme success is a falsifiable god, which rejects the vast majority of its worshippers. Our jobs were never meant to shoulder the burdens of a faith, and they are buckling under the weight. A staggering 87 percent of employees are not engaged at their job, according to Gallup. That number is rising by the year.

One solution to this epidemic of disengagement would be to make work less awful. But maybe the better prescription is to make work less central.

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4. Everyone Around You Is Grieving. Go Easy (John Pavlovitz) A gentle reminder.

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5. The Latest Diet Trend is Not Dieting (Amanda Mull, Atlantic) On “intuitive eating,” in which people learn to listen to their bodies and eat what they want. When it comes to nutrition, when I’m at my best, I am some combination of intuitive eating, Michael Pollan’s seven words, and Carter Good’s entire Instagram feed (left).

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6. The Minimum Wage Saves Lives (New York Times) A living wage is an antidepressant. It is a sleep aid. A diet. A stress reliever. It is a contraceptive, preventing teenage pregnancy. It prevents premature death. It shields children from neglect.

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7. Patriarchy Chicken (Charlotte Riley, New Statesman) In which a woman experiments with not getting out of the way of men on the street. I don’t officially condone colliding with people, but I’ve done a milder version of this game and kept a mental tally, and it is amazing how effectively I’ve been socialized to get out of men’s way, and how few men get out of mine.

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8. A Sermon on Depression (Michael Gerson) I hate depression. I really do. I will say “f*** cancer” with the best of them, but depression gets my biggest F-U every time. This was just fantastic. “In our right minds, we know that life is not a farce but a pilgrimage – or maybe a farce and a pilgrimage, depending on the day.”

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9. Ten Ways to Untwist Your Thinking (PDF, The Feeling Good Handbook) I heard this list recommended on the Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast (a show that should be a recommended link all its own) and have been pondering this wise rationality ever since.

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10. And a final recommendation: don’t forget that the Living Improv videos debut this week via my newsletter! Be sure to subscribe. To sweeten the deal, new and returning subscribers will be entered in a drawing to receive one of three signed copies of God, Improv, and the Art of Living.

Ten for Tuesday

Some of this stuff is a few years old, but it came to me recently, right when I needed or was ready for it. Sharing in the hopes it will be such for you as well. Whoosh! Away we go:

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Reality Bites at 25 (Studio 360)

This movie about recent college grads in Houston came out when I was a college grad in Houston. How could I not love it? I’ll fight anyone who argues against its charms. That said, listen to the segment and tell me whether starting the piece with a reference to the Big Chill is not the most aggressively Boomer thing evah. News flash: not everything is about you, behemoth generation… which is one of the subtext of the film.

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Free beyond Wires

Been pondering this piece of art since a friend posted it… what do you think?

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Climate Wars: The End of the Beginning? (Washington Post, Capital Weather Gang)

A word of cautious optimism about a story that seems to have very little.

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Equal-Opportunity Evil (Slate)

A new history reveals that for female slaveholders, the business of human exploitation was just as profitable—and brutal—as it was for men.

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Poet Jane Kenyon’s Advice on Writing (Brain Pickings)

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More at the link. Like most writing advice, it’s good advice for life too.

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Ft. Myer Construction Stories

A Facebook friend shared this page—a construction company whose employees share stories of what they do in their pursuit of the American dream. They are as diverse and infused with everyday strength as you’d expect. This site reminds me of a workshop I took many years ago about helping organizations find their purpose and mission. The trainer once worked with a group of city employees who helped fill potholes. He helped them move from “I fill potholes” to statements like “I help people get home from work safely to their families.” A lovely reminder for all of us of the power of framing and finding that deeper Yes that animates us.

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Why I Hope to Die at 75 (Atlantic)

Written by a doctor, who makes a very compelling argument… which I say with trepidation, given that I have several family members in their 70s and I’d like them to stick around for a few more healthy decades.

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“Closeness Lines” Visualizations of Relationships Over Time (Olivia de Recat)

Sweet and thought-provoking:

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An Illustrated Talk with Maurice Sendak (The New York Times)

An illustrated segment of a four minute snippet of a 2012 interview with Maurice Sendak:

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The Delicate Cages of a Stranger’s Hands, Robert Bly (Improvised Life)

In a jewelry studio at the legendary 92nd Street Y, an instructor stopped in to chat with a colleague. Her hands were adorned with more rings than I’d ever seen anyone wear. When I asked her if I could photograph them, I learned she was Honey Jeanne Laber, who had been teaching jewelry-making at the Y for 30 years. Of her 40 or so rings, only one had not been made by her — of wonderfully incongruous-but-right-at-home emeralds and diamonds that was her grandmother’s. When I asked which was the oldest, she pointed out the first ring she ever made.

But more astonishing than the rings were her hands. They were to me a surprising symbol of how very beautiful we can become as we move deeply through life — the big gift of my day.

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Onward, friends. You are all beautiful!










Ten for Tuesday

It’s Monday night. Middle child has asked to be tucked in 20 minutes from now. Can I pull all these links together in that time? Let us find out. Here is a quick and dirty list of some wacky wonderful stuff I’ve accumulated to entertain and edify:

  1. A meditation by Sharon Salzburg on the power of making a difference right where we are.

  2. Zeynep Tufecki argues in Wired that It’s the “democracy-poisoning golden age of free speech.

  3. But if it is, we have at least a partial remedy, according to Ephrat Livni of Quartz: to act like a 19th-century Parisian.

  4. The remembrances of poet Mary Oliver continue with this reflection from the Improvised Life website about failure.

  5. Speaking of poets, Matthew Rohrer talks about shaking up his creative process.

  6. The beloved cringe-com The Office saves lives.

  7. For those of you who are writers, or other creative types, here are 25 highly recommended books by writer and speaker Chad Allen.

  8. I’m low-level obsessed with the MAYA principle for design and technology… and maybe life in general: “Most Advanced, Yet Acceptable.” Sounds like World’s Okayest, no?

  9. This Baltimore Sun story puts a heartbreaking face to the migrant caravan that so many in leadership want to paint as dangerous or sinister.

  10. And finally, this gorgeous tale of real love and hard commitment, from Humans of New York:

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Click the link above for the whole lovely story.

No go be awesome yourselves. I’ve gotta say goodnight to a 13 year old who still likes being tucked in.

Ten for Tuesday

Whew! It’s been a while since I offered up a nice piping hot batch of links and stuff. Here’s the latest:

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Got Mice? Time for a Working Cat (NYT)

Even feral cats can be adopted and be excellent mousers. This isn’t quite the level of “dog that can detect a seizure coming on,” but still pretty cool.

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Photographer Geert Weggen Takes Pictures Of Squirrels In His Backyard For 6 Years

Precious and amazing:

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Roseanne Cash on Trusting Your Process

I am so in love with the Creative Independent site. I find inspiration every time I visit.

I’m more willing to trust whatever that process is now. I had to learn that it’s OK not knowing in the beginning exactly what you are writing. In the past I would get frustrated and feel like I was beating on a door that wouldn’t open, but now I’m more like, “Well, let’s see where this goes.” It may take weeks before I understand what a piece is trying to be. For example, I’ve been writing the lyrics to a musical for the last four years, as well as writing the songs for this new record, which is why it took five years to get the record done.

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The Mistake I Made with My Grieving Friend (Huffington Post)

Don’t make the same mistake. Hint: it’s not about you.

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Claudia Day, Mothers as Makers of Death (Paris Review)

Ugh… gut punch.

When I became a mom, no one ever said, ‘Hey, you made a death. You made your children’s deaths.’ Meanwhile, I could think of little else.

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Mary Pipher: The Joy of Being a Woman in Her 70s (NYT)

I’m in no hurry to be 70—47 is pretty awesome—but I’m also excited.

By our 70s, we’ve had decades to develop resilience. Many of us have learned that happiness is a skill and a choice. We don’t need to look at our horoscopes to know how our day will go. We know how to create a good day.

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Conan O’Brien: Nothing Matters and We’re All Going to Die (Vice)

Is it weird that I found his comments comforting? I did.

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Pooja Lakshmin, We Don’t Need Self-Care; We Need Boundaries (Op-Med)

I posted this link to my writing/speaking/coaching page, but it bears repeating:

[The] “faux self-care” that we are being offered is not actually feeding us. If feeling confident and empowered were as easy as spa days and meal delivery service, life would be much easier! Self-care is the internal hard work of making tough decisions for yourself and by yourself. It starts with recognizing that you have limits, and you really do have to choose what you prioritize because just like everyone else, you are human. It’s actually not that pleasant of a process, because it means you have to set boundaries.

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Goerge Monbiot, The Fear that Lies Behind Aggressive Masculinity (Guardian)

On Gillette, and more:

The age-old mistake, which has stunted countless lives, is the assumption that because physical hardship in childhood makes you physically tough, emotional hardship must make you emotionally tough. It does the opposite. It implants a vulnerability that can require a lifetime of love and therapy to repair and that, untreated, leads to an escalating series of destructive behaviours. Emotionally damaged men all too often rip apart their own lives, and those of their partners and children.

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Debra Dean Murphy, Why We Need Mary Oliver’s Poems (Christian Century)

Do we ever.

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And a bonus link, in which my friend and colleague Renee Roederer does a mashup of Richard Rohr and MAMD. What an honor!

What has inspired you lately?

Ten for Tuesday

First, some housekeeping. Last spring I did a series of interviews with a bunch of interesting people about how they incorporate improvisation into their lives and work. Some of these folks have studied improv, but many more of them were new to that language. But as you’ll see, they (we) are all improvisers in different ways.

We’ll be releasing these videos in the winter, along with a leader guide so groups can use them in their study of God, Improv, and the Art of Living (or heck, these would probably work on their own without the book, but you’re gonna get much deeper with the book!). Stay tuned for the announcement about the videos, or if you want to make sure you’re notified as soon as they’re ready, sign up for my email newsletter.

With that said… it’s my last set of links until 2019. Away we go!

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IMPROV MISCELLANY

1. Learn how anxious teens gain confidence by performing ‘off script.’

2. Be amazed by Melissa McCarthy in this deep and wise profile about improv and more. (I think “no scrolling” may be a good resolution in 2019).

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LIFE AND STUFF

3. Get clarity on what “emotional labor” is and how the term is getting misused. Right from the source, Arlie Hochschild herself.

4. How an 18th-century priest gave us the tools to make better decisions. Bayes’s theorem. New to me!

5. How loneliness is tearing America apart. “On reading [Sasse’s] book, I asked myself where I might get that hometown feeling, where I have natural roots, where I can imagine being buried. No specific place came to mind.” 

6. Rethinking “political correctness.” It’s not about what you think it’s about. Thank you Jan Edmiston for this!

7. DNA test helps mother reunite with daughter she thought died nearly 70 years ago. This was one of the articles in this week’s NYT “Good News” email, and it is a bittersweet ending to be sure, but an infuriating injustice. They will never get those 70 years of relationship back.

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ART AND FUN

8. Dad Photoshops his baby into dangerous-looking situations:

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