US: Exceptional but not The Exception

“We may be exceptional, but we are not exceptions.” This above insight was shared with me recently by a friend. At the time I felt I was having an exceptional experience. And it was. Exceptional. But this in no way made me, or others involved exceptions. What does this mean? It means we are not special in a way that sets us apart from others or the natural world. We are all bound by natural (nature’s) laws, and ideally, we are internally directed by ethical boundaries and spiritual principles that remind us of this interconnectedness. Whatever this exceptional experience is—some … Continue reading

The Survival of Art and The Tailor from Aleppo by guest blogger Caroline Oldershaw

Despite the fact that a current candidate for President of the United States asked “what’s Aleppo?” when asked about his Middle East policies – I will assume that most of us know – if nothing else – that Syrian people are leaving their homeland to escape violence, destruction, privation, and death. According to the Migration Policy Centre, “an estimated 11 million Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of the civil war in March 2011. Now, in the sixth year of war, 13.5 million are in need of humanitarian assistance within the country. Among those escaping the conflict, the … Continue reading

What Good Is It?

“The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant, “What good is it?” If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not. If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.” ― Aldo Leopold, Round River: From the Journals of Aldo Leopold   Writers, at our best, are intelligent tinkerers. We use everything … Continue reading

What’s Truly Broken (In Our Writing)

I have often written about the value of holding an explorer’s mind rather than a mind that is “set” to find (and sometimes destroy) what it seeks. One size doesn’t fit all (never has). And to leave the mysterious out of our writing or life is to shut ourselves off from our truest capacities. We will feel broken, lost, hopeless, STUCK, resistant, and scared at various times in our pursuits of writing something we hope others will want to read. This is part of the package when you signed up for the writer’s life: we at times feel broken. But, don’t focus on “fixing” … Continue reading

Ask The Expert This

  There are no experts on a subject. I trust the teacher (doctor or friend) who is still learning about their subjects. I trust the one who continues to explore subjects. When someone stops exploring, they stop learning and this “quitting” interferes with their capacity to truly contribute. When they stop their exploring their view becomes increasingly narrow where they ignore a wider berth of possibilities. I don’t seek “experts,” unless they are willing to engage in authentic conversation. In this authentic conversation we both explore together, so that we may discover what is truly possible. If we “already know” then we are unlikely to discover anything new.  For … Continue reading

Writing as Distraction

I had hoped that writing could be a distraction from missing my daughter. If wishes were fishes! “If wishes were horses then beggars would ride, If turnips were swords I’d have one by my side. If ‘ifs’ and ‘ands’ were pots and pans There would be no need for tinker’s hands!” So I tinker. I find, as all writers do, that writing takes us into our lives, our stories. Writing explores our possibilities, where we can become “intelligent tinkerers.” We tinker with an idea or an experience until something fruitful results. But we must not give up on our tinkering . … Continue reading