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Black and white?

“The dualistic mind presumes that if you criticize something, you don’t love it,” says Richard Rohr, the Franciscan priest and author. “Wise people, like prophets, would say the opposite.”

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Carve out moments of peace

It’s easy to be silent and still on a silent retreat. However, after I finished my silent retreat, I soon found, of course, that it’s more difficult to slow down after I’ve looked at my daily to-do list. I have to carve out moments of peace during each day. I remember what Thoreau once wrote: […]

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Notice the flowers

Sometimes—often?—what’s happening in the world is depressing. We all need to practice noticing the positive, says Rick Hanson in his book Hardwiring Happiness. When you achieve something or find yourself in a beautiful place, rest your mind on that experience. Dwell on it. As Henri Matisse once said, “There are always flowers for those who […]

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Indolence?

I have spring fever—and it’s not spring yet. That’s why I like this quote from Bernard Williams. “I like the word ‘indolence.’ It makes my laziness seem classy.” –Joy

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Compounds of good and evil

“Idealism is too oblivious of the ironic perils to which human virtue, wisdom and power are subject,” writes Reinhold Niebuhr, in his book The Irony of American History. “It is too certain that there is a straight path toward the goal of human happiness; too confident of the wisdom and idealism that prompt men (and […]

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Take a break

December is always a busy month. I’m going to follow the examples of these past presidents and pace myself. Presidents with good leadership skills learned “to manage themselves,” Doris Kearns Goodwin told an Arts & Letters Live audience in Dallas earlier this year. Her latest book is Leadership: In Turbulent Times. • Abraham Lincoln went […]

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Reunion of life with life

“Sin is separation,” says Paul Tillich in his book The Shaking of the Foundations. “Grace is reunion of life with life….Simply accept the fact that you are accepted! If that happens to us, we experience grace.”

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The center of our being

“There is grace in life,” says Paul Tillich in his book The Shaking of the Foundations. “The center of being, in which our own center is involved, is the source of the gracious beauty that we encounter again and again in the stars and mountains, in flowers and animals, in children and mature persons.”

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No news—for a few days

Recently, before we left for Arkansas, I declared a ban on news. I didn’t want to hear anything about what was happening in Washington. But, news today seeps through our cell phones, and a complete ban was impossible. Still, it was refreshing to avoid the blare of news hounding me constantly from newspapers, radio and […]

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Respect and liberty

“Let us imagine a world where women, freed from the grip of violence, flourish in respect and liberty.” Those words are part of a monument in Ottawa’s Minto Park. This monument is dedicated to the memory of women killed by men, Amal El-Mohtar explains in a review of Naomi Alderman’s book The Power in the […]

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