Poetry

3 things nuns, monks and poets know about why you should “keep death daily before your eyes”

For the next year or so, I will be studying Michael Casey’s Seventy-four Tools for Good Living: reflections on the fourth chapter of Benedict’s Rule with my oblate group at Saint Benedict’s monastery. Among those seventy-four tools is this one: “To have death present before one’s eyes every day.” (RB 4:47) And this is a …

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4 characteristics of vibrant, strong communities from The Rule of Benedict

The poet Emily Dickinson, now recognized alongside Walt Whitman as one of the cofounders of a uniquely American poetic voice, lived in almost complete social isolation.  If a poet wants to write remarkable, enduring poems, is it, therefore, best for her to live an isolationist life? Paul the Hermit lived his long adult life alone …

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What nuns, monks and poets know about heartfelt listening and how we learn compassion

What is heartfelt listening? Scientifically, the heart is the organ that pumps the blood. Philosophically or spiritually, however, the idea of “heart” is more difficult to put into words. Heartbreak is emotional anguish. Heartland is the center of a country. The heartless are unfeeling; to know something by heart requires intimate familiarity; and a heartwarming …

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What nuns, monks and poets know about confirmation bias, with 3 practices to help overcome the fear of change

What is confirmation bias? It clouds vision and causes the prejudice that makes people irrational and illogical. It can negatively effect our health and well being. It increases the likelihood we will falsely accuse innocent people and will readily believe malicious, unfounded lies. It leads to miscommunication and conflict in relationships. It is confirmation bias. Psychologists …

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8 Things Poets and Monastics Can Teach Us About Happiness; with 8 Poems to Make Life More Meaningful–Part 1 of a series

What poets and monastics have in common When people think about what poets and monastics (monks and nuns who live in monasteries) have in common, the list might look like this: They have their heads in the clouds; They’re hermits;. They dress weird; And they’re dying off.  Like all potent rumors, there’s a smidgeon of …

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The destruction of apathy: how Emma Gonzalez mobilized the tools of poetry to empower the #NeverAgain movement

On March 26, 2018, at the ‘March for Our Lives’ demonstration in Washington D.C., one of the march’s organizers, Emma Gonzalez, took the stage to speak against the insane notion that nothing can be done to protect us and our children from gun violence.  People were shaken out of apathy and the #NeverAgain movement, organized …

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