For Yoko Ono on Her 90th Birthday

As we’ve read tributes in celebration of Yoko Ono’s 90th birthday, we’ve been thinking about her too and of the many amazing things she has put into the world. She has lived through so much and never stopped making her art, speaking up, working to antidote the violence of our age. The mindshifts her work catalyzes remain refreshing, heartening, helpful. Here are a few of our favorites:

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Head, Heart (For Cara de Silva)

Reeling from the news that our friend Cara de Silva had passed away, we cast about for solace for ourselves and for her close friends whom we knew were grief-struck, missing their daily conversations with her. Into our hands jumped Maira Kalman’s wonderful book “My Favorite Things”, opening to this by Lydia Davis…

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I want to make a New Year’s prayer, not a resolution. I’m praying for courage.
Susan Sontag

Reason for Optimism in 2023: The Universe In Verse on “What is Life?”

The perfect accompaniment to the reflective week between Christmas and New Years is the Universe in Verse, an event masterminded by The Marginalian’s Maria Popova, to explore the question “What is Life?” through science and poetry. A gathering of extraordinary humans “celebrate the marvel and mystery of life, from the creaturely to the cosmic, with stories from the history of science and our search for truth, illustrated with poems spanning centuries of human thought and feeling”. It offers a mightily hopeful view.

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How to Give Thanks in Dark Times (W.S. Merwin)

We know lots of wonderful poems of gratitude but only one that manages to express thanks amidst the very hard things that befall us in life. It is by W.S. Merwin and called simply “Thanks”. We find it remarkable and hard and heartbreaking and heartening, all that complexity of feeling, which echoes so perfectly that which we are living now…

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Tricia Hersey’s Radical Nap Ministry: “Rest is Resistance”

During a particularly stressful and exhausting time in her life, Tricia Hersey had an epiphany: She started napping where ever she had a few moments. It was transformative and led her to research the idea of rest as a healing mechanism and form of resistance against societal oppression. It would become her ministry, and she The Nap Bishop.

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Radical Acceptance with Biscuits (Tara Brach, Ed Brown)

When I hear the word “radical” used in the context of personal change —whether a book, a course, a workshop — I generally pass it by. It’s so overused and overblown, I’ve come to mistrust it. But in the past few months, I’d heard a number of smart, curious, level-headed people mention Tara Brach’s book, Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha. Among the trove of very wise and helpful ideas, I especially love this passage about saying yes, perfection, self-comparison and….biscuits.

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