“Listen to your life. Be silent at some point at least once every day. Enter the inner sanctuary of silence within your soul. Be attentive to the Spirit of God who dwells within you and who will speak within you, sometimes even too deep for words.”
-Br. Curtis Almquist
Society of Saint John the Evangelist, “Brother Give Us a Word Daily Messages,”
June 14, 2019
“To cultivate wisdom you need not read another book, nor watch another Ted talk, nor earn another academic degree, nor visit another monastery, nor travel to the ends of the earth. Be where you are, which is where God is with you. Say “yes” to life on the terms that God is giving you life just now; pay attention to your life (emphasis mine).”
-Br. Curtis Almquist
Society of Saint John the Evangelist, “Brother Give Us a Word Daily Messages,” June 7, 2019
At the Alumnae/i Reunion of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and Randolph College, an alum of the Class of 1974, Kristin V. Rehder, presented her documentary exhibit, Where Hope Finds Home. She described how she came to know the folks presented in this “beloved community” in Lancaster, PA, refugees from 19 countries who are making a new home in the United States. Photographed in natural light, the gaze of her subjects extends beyond the photographer to the many witnesses of their lives–one of whom is now me. Articulate and inspirational, Kristin exemplified “attention to life” through the documentation of photographs with stories and the giving of friendship. It was an honor to attend her presentation and to know someone with such a heart for community both small and large.
(Please learn more about Kristin Rehder’s photography on her website, http://www.kvrehder.com.)
“Julian would tell us that we must go into the “ground” of our being in order to “live contemplatively.” Like her, we must develop a daily practice in which we learn to rest and breathe in silence and stillness, becoming aware of the turbulence in our minds, releasing thoughts and letting go of our emotional attachment to those thoughts. We need to become ever more aware of being aware, in order to experience the deep interconnectedness of our own awareness with divine awareness. And then we must rely on divine awareness working in us and through us if we are to make a difference. We cannot do it alone. And we cannot do what others must do for themselves. We can only evaluate, advise, encourage, and empower.”
–from “Julian Norwich and the Process of Transformation,” Veronica Mary Rolf, http://www.dailygood.org/story/2274/julian-norwich-and-the-process-of-transformation-veronica-mary-rolf/
Yesterday I heard part of a the TED Radio Hour and was intrigued by the ideas discussed, “How Things Spread.” While I was tickled by the recordings of laughter in “Why is Laughter Contagious?” presented by Sophie Scott, I was intrigued by a word in Seth Godin’s “What Makes an Idea Go Viral?”—-“remarkable.”
In the show, Seth explained that in addition to meaning “Neat!” “remarkable means ‘worth making a remark about’ and that is the essence of where idea diffusion is going.” The host summarizes “that ideas spread faster when the people that you like talk about them.” Seth says ideas spread when it’s “giving people a tool that they can share and benefit from.”
“Marketing used to make average products for average people. That’s what mass marketing is. They would ignore the geeks and, God-forbid, the laggards. It was all about going for the center. I don’t think we go for that strategy anymore. Instead you have to find a group that really desperately cares about what it is you have to say; talk to them. They have what I call ‘otaku‘” [an obsession]. He goes on to explain that to spread an idea/product/etc without a constituency with an otaku is essentially impossible. People only tell their friends about things they care or are obsessed about.
(I was concerned of course that he says that the people who get others to spread their ideas “win,” but in fairness he is interested in this topic because he is a marketeer and that sounds like creating-desire-in-people-to-buy-things-they-don’t-really-want-or-need. So that’s me. Still, I too am interested in understanding why some ideas spread and others do not. And, again in fairness, he does talk about ideas and concepts as well as products.)
He goes on to compare the spread of ideas with the spread of disease. Patterns in epidemiology are similar for ideas. And even with all of this, having something go viral is not easy: “We are better in the rearview mirror than we are predicting.”
I am interested in these ideas especially around introducing the Salon Postisme Suite of Fictions to readers, not as commodity books but as fictions with strands of ideas worthy of reflection/consideration. More on that soon…
by Mary Oliver
Original Language English
How necessary it is to have opinions! I think the spotted trout
lilies are satisfied, standing a few inches above the earth. I
think serenity is not something you just find in the world,
like a plum tree, holding up its white petals.
The violets, along the river, are opening their blue faces, like
small dark lanterns.
The green mosses, being so many, are as good as brawny.
How important it is to walk along, not in haste but slowly,
looking at everything and calling out
Yes! No! The
swan, for all his pomp, his robes of grass and petals, wants
only to be allowed to live on the nameless pond. The catbrier
is without fault. The water thrushes, down among the sloppy
rocks, are going crazy with happiness. Imagination is better
than a sharp instrument. To pay attention, this is our endless
and proper work. (emphasis added by Attention to Life)