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Elizabeth Strout, one of my favorite authors, reports that she never took a literature course and she never took a psychology course. Instead, she listens to people. “I have listened and listened and listened my whole life,” Strout says. “If you listen carefully enough, people will tell you exactly the kind of person they are.” […]

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Presence is power

Pay attention! I know it’s important, but often I find my mind wandering when I’m talking to a friend or with a group of people. Michelle Huneven in her book Search has a good reminder. ”The most powerful person in any room is the one most fully present. Presence is the source of power,” Huneven […]

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Being normal?

“My darling girl,” says Aunt Frances in Practical Magic, “when are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage.” I found this quote in the gift shop at the Albuquerque Museum. –Joy

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What makes me, me

Sometimes I still want to be like everyone else!? I need to remember this good advice from Piglet: “The things that make me different are the things that make me, me.” –Joy

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Creating yourself

I found this Bob Dylan quote in The Week—and someone on The Week staff found it in The Minneapolis Star! ”Life isn’t about finding yourself, or finding anything. Life is about creating yourself and creating things.” –Joy

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How long until we see?

Yes, and how many times can a man turn his headAnd pretend that he just doesn’t see? The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.The answer is blowin’ in the wind. Those are words from Bob Dylan, of course, and they were written decades ago. I recently visited the new Bob Dylan Center in […]

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Pain and hate

Why do people cling to their hateful ideas? James Baldwin once explained, “I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”

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Let’s get angry

We have good reasons to be angry—abortion, Ukraine, the pandemic, climate change. “Anger is often totally appropriate,” writer Roxane Gay says. “It can be incredibly productive.” I heard Roxane Gay speaking on the PBS evening news. –Joy

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Little bits of good

“Do your little bit of good where you are,” Archbishop Desmon Tutu once said. “It’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” I found this quote in a book called The Way of Peace—Readings for a Harmonious Life compiled by editors Michael Leach, Doris Goodnough and Maria Angelini. –Joy

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What if?

What if you had made a different choice? What if you had taken a different path? What if? In a review of the book Home is Not a Country, Nayantara Dutta writes that the book “felt most memorable because of how it explored this tension between our fascination with the what-ifs, and how they distract […]

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