Weekly-ish Letter :: No. 4
Why I Hid Two Years Worth of Posts, On Doing What's Pleasurable, A Ted Talk, and Three Incredible Books
Why I Hid Two Years Worth of Posts
When I started sharing my writing publically, over a decade ago, I was very much immersed in the Christian tradition. I would have never imagined a time when I might veer from such core beliefs like Jesus being the Son of God or the Bible being the infallible, inspired, authoritative Word of God.
But alas, here I am.
I’m learning how to speak a new language when it comes to spirituality, and it’s taking time and intentionality and lots of practice.
The other day, in an act of solidarity with my previous self, I read through countless old posts from the past several years. I admit, I found myself cringing more than once, but I tried to hold myself with tenderness and abstain from judging the way I engaged with God, my perspectives on life, and my purpose in the world back then.
Afterward, I promptly went through and marked each of these posts as “hidden” to be sure no one would have access to them but me.
I hear the phrase “transcend and include,” echoing in my mind, a concept from Ken Wilbur’s phases of spiritual development. Richard Rohr also encourages us to not throw out the earlier versions of our religion with its focus on structure, obedience, and certainty. I’ve come to agree with him; we all need a type of “container” or “scaffolding” as he calls it.
In one of the CAC meditations, Rohr quotes from a book I’ve also read by David Benner, Human Being and Becoming, in it Benner writes,
“For myself, the great challenge was re-embracing traditions that I have grown beyond and that offered—even at the time—an oppressively small worldview. I did not want to be an ex-evangelical or an ex-fundamentalist. Too many people live that life of dis-identification, and I did not want to share their anger and “stuckness.” It was essential, therefore, for me to identify and embrace the gifts that had come to me from these traditions. This was the way in which I came to know that everything in my life belongs, that every part of my story has made important contributions to who I am. And the same is true for you.”
I don’t know how these ideas sit with you, but they usher me into a life of adventure where I am continually traversing new terrain, spiritually and physically, where I am branching out of familiar territory, and walking gently across landscapes with a sense of excitement and expectation for what I might learn and find.
Although I might have hidden outdated words and silenced stories from my past, they still live on. They have already been written and spoken, I have zero ability to magically erase them or take them back. This makes me wince and weep. I recognize the harm I perpetuated through certain opinions and practices I held and it makes me sad.
At the same time, I can honor who I was and where I came from. I can choose to remember the good of every iteration of myself, and I can celebrate who I am becoming.
I am a woman on the move, relentlessly reaching out with wonder to see where life might lead me next, and knowing full well that who I am now will be nothing like the me 5 or 10 years down the road. What a relief.
Care to join me in this evolution?
On Making Time For What’s Pleasurable, A Ted Talk, and Three Books I Recommend
—Forgive me if I’ve already told you about Oliver Burkeman, but his writing has been striking a chord with me these past couple weeks and I find myself wanting to highlight everything he says. In a longer form piece for the The Guardian back in 2019, How The News Took Over Reality, he writes, (and I’ll include a few of my favorite quotes below)
“we might owe it not only to our sanity, but also to the world at large, to find a way to put the news back in its place.”
“The belief that we’re morally obliged to stay plugged in – that this level of time commitment and emotional investment is the only way to stay informed about the state of the world – begins to look more and more like an alibi for our addiction to our devices.”
“The stories that dominate the news don’t merely wrench attention away from other news stories. The resource being depleted is your life.”
“But if this remains hard for some of us to see, one reason is the assumption, prevalent in the social media age, that there is an inherent moral virtue in keeping up with the news, especially political news, and that failing to formulate a position on the major issues of the day is to fail in one’s highest duties as a citizen.”
And then this sentence made me stop:
“Far from it being our moral duty to care so much about the news, it may in fact be our duty to start caring somewhat less.”
— Good news if you want to read a more condensed version of this article from Oliver then consider sitting with this post from his website titled, The News ≠ Your Life.
“You hear it said that it's a marker of privilege to be able to back off from the news – to spend a pandemic planting bulbs in your backyard, or get absorbed in your creative work while democracy declines. But if it really has become a privilege to retain one's sanity, I think it's one the privileged need to exercise, not disavow. In an era when the news leaves half your friends paralysed by misery, it's no indulgence to make time for whatever's pleasurable or engrossing in your life. On the contrary, the world needs sane people more than ever.”
— Do you know Anna Malaika Tubbs? The author of The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation and she also gave this incredible Ted Talk, How Mom’s Shape the World. It’s worth all 12 minutes!
“So let's act now. How about we stop thanking mothers for being selfless and putting their needs behind everyone else's?
And instead, we thank them for being our first leaders, caretakers and teachers. What if we asked how we could support them in return?”
— And lastly, three incredible books:
My friend and Seminary of the Wild teacher, Victoria Loorz, recently published her first book, Church of the Wild: How Nature Invites Us Back Into the Sacred (I couldn’t put this one down and particularly enjoyed reading about her sacred friendship with deer… amazing!)
The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide For Trying Times had me in tears within the first few pages. Jane Goodall is one of my heroes, an all around inspiring human being. She is nearing 90 and still speaking HOPE into the world.
Gideon Heugh is quite easily one of my favorite poets. He also regularly contributes to Being Human Magazine. His second collection of poetry, Rumours of Light released in November and has been a constant morning companion of mine this month.
May you find something here to feed your curiosity,
PS: did you see my latest journal entry about what ear wax has to do with how my husband and I are navigating an impending move? Yes, I did write about ear wax.