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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Ten for Tuesday

Hello friends! I’m writing to you from Kansas, where I’m leading a retreat for some warm and intrepid pastors, all of whom have been willing to learn and laugh and play and reflect together. Has been a great week.

Here are a few links that I’ve been collecting lately, both serious and silly.

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FIGHT BACK WITH BEAUTY

First, a 21-year-old air traffic controller gave his life so that the last plane could take off safely before the recent earthquake in Indonesia.

Also, from the New York Times, A Year After Las Vegas Shooting, a ‘Survivor Wedding’ Takes Back the City. Lovely:

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IT’S TIME TO BECOME A TIME REALIST

Julie Morgenstern offers some simple-but-not-always-easy tips to get a better handle on your overwhelming life. I’m a sucker for time management stuff, even though I recognize its limitations. (Many people whose minds work this way are often already doing these things; if yours doesn’t, the tips won’t help.)

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D-BAG GENIE

A Reddit thread in which a jerk genie grants wishes, but the letter of the wish rather than the spirit. Clever:

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Dear dads: Your daughters told me about their assaults. This is why they never told you.

From columnist Monica Hesse. Ouch:

A man emailed recently in response to something I’d written about street harassment. He was so glad, he said, that his college-age daughter never experienced anything like that. Less than a day later, he wrote again. They had just talked. She told him she’d been harassed many, many times — including that week. She hadn’t ever shared this, because she wanted to protect him from her pain.

For all the stereotypes that linger about women being too fragile or emotional, these past weeks have revealed what many women already knew: A lot of effort goes into protecting men we love from bad things that happen to us. And a lot of fathers are closer to bad things than they’ll ever know.

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BETWEEN SOLITUDE AND LONELINESS

Poet Donald Hall died earlier this year; here he beautifully considers the depth and breadth of loss, and the difference between solitude and loneliness.

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ZERO TO SIXTY, PROPERLY UNDERSTOOD

I’m not always great at recognizing when my emotions are amping up—just ask the people who live with me—so this was helpful:

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SUFFOCATION OF DEMOCRACY

As a historian specializing in the Holocaust, Nazi Germany, and Europe in the era of the world wars, I have been repeatedly asked about the degree to which the current situation in the United States resembles the interwar period and the rise of fascism in Europe. I would note several troubling similarities and one important but equally troubling difference.

Read if you dare.

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COURAGE THROUGH SMALL THINGS

And then the antidote to the despair that the previous link might evoke: the power of the small faithful action. Thank you to friend Carol Howard Merritt for writing exactly what I needed to read.

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THANK YOU SHAKESPEARE

My husband was recently in London for business, and sent along this placard from the Globe Theater:

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Onward!

Ten for Tuesday--Court Preachers, Obesity, New Life and More

In the spirit of #WorldsOkayest, today’s Ten for Tuesday has only nine links. Because I like alliteration more than I like accuracy.

“GARBAGE ART”

A series of galleries are featuring art created with items of trash and junk. I love that—the ultimate improv.

John Richard Edwards (Onondaga),  Mile-marker post  / Photo by Paul Morigi/AP Images for the National Museum of the American Indian.

John Richard Edwards (Onondaga), Mile-marker post / Photo by Paul Morigi/AP Images for the National Museum of the American Indian.

Anyone want to do an art pilgrimage with me?

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EVERYTHING YOU KNOW ABOUT OBESITY IS WRONG

Long but worthwhile article.

Years from now, we will look back in horror at the counterproductive ways we addressed the obesity epidemic and the barbaric ways we treated fat people—long after we knew there was a better path.

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CHICAGO’S MARATHON WHISPERER

Denise Sauriol, who’s the team trainer for Chicago Lights and other charity teams for this weekend’s Chicago Marathon, is an amazing athlete with an incredible personal story of comeback after being hit by a car on the way to the start line of a race. This weekend will be her 100th marathon.

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Denise Sauriol

By the way, you can still donate to my fundraising efforts on behalf of Chicago Lights here.

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MARTIN NEIMOLLER, BEFORE THE NAZIS CAME FOR HIM

Many of us know the famous passage, “First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out…” written by Pastor Niemöller. Did you know that he was a supporter of Hitler in the early years, and had a change of heart?

Speaking of apologists…

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COURT PREACHERS

Will Willimon, on Franklin Graham and his disgusting apologetics of Donald Trump:

It’s my conviction that the preachers who have sacrificed so much in order to gain a seat at the king’s banquet will soon discover that they have done grave damage to evangelicalism, to say nothing of the harm they have done to the profession of gospel preaching. When the time came for evangelicals to stand up and say, “No!” they had lost the theological ability even to know that there was something worth saying, “No” to.

Will Franklin Graham and his ilk have a change of heart as Niemöller did? We’ll see.

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MY RAPIST APOLOGIZED

This one left me speechless. Just read it.

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TWO-YEAR-OLD BOY GETS AN EARLY CHRISTMAS

He is gravely ill and his entire neighborhood is helping him celebrate:

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VOYAGES IN SOUND

An erupting volcano, a forest in Madagascar… amazing recordings of the Earth doing the things Earth does. Amazing.

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A FOREST, REBORN AFTER A FIRE

I’ve always loved Fantasia 2000, especially the Firebird Suite, a story of destruction and rebirth. Here’s a recounting of the real-life version.

This photo:

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Yes. Yes. Yes.

Onward in courage, friends.