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Back from the wilderness
The value of time away and the constant challenge (and opportunity) of attention.
Time outside the comfort of habits and routines is vitally important to me. As much as I rely on them for structure and focus, they can also create a certain momentum and can blind to new opportunities and new ways of thinking that I need. I spent the month of July very much out of my routine, out of my usual habits, and living in community with a family I only see once a year. It was — as it is every year — powerful and challenging (more on why in an essay to come) and deeply restorative.
I find myself returning from my time away with a renewed focus on the broader opportunity to rethink our social contract, not just our politics and civic life. But these currently deeply dysfunctional systems are essential components of and a mechanism for the broader transformation almost everyone I speak to around the country seems to be craving. Politics is how we share power, and civic life is how we participate in and govern community. What they serve is up to the values we hold when we design them, engage in them, and what inspires us when we transform them. We must hold those values tightly, maintain a clear and steady focus on our own humanity and the nature of what elevates us and then engage with vigor, passion, and kindness to remake the systems not serving us. We are not passengers — what we hold, what we attend to, what we focus on — these things are up to us.
So what has my attention as we head toward Fall?
Working on book #2.
Studying moral philosophy, interreligious engagement, and social justice at Union.
Wondering if the government delivering on promises will matter politically in November.
Hoping Manchester United can remake their midfield before the transfer window closes (although I like McTominay more than most).
I’m also looking forward to continuing to find more ways, spaces, and places to be out in the world and in conversation with more and more different people as this phase of COVID continues to shift and gatherings continue to learn how to manage.
Much more to come.