This week the Jewish holiday of Purim and the Hindu holiday of Holi overlapped, as they sometimes do. I am not sure there is a more delightfully instructive contrast between two religious holidays on the calendar. There’s something about the way they’re celebrated that sheds some light on some oft-overlooked human spiritual needs. Continue reading
The last week has left me reflecting a lot on virtue: what does it look like when it shows up? I’m trying not to sink down into pondering the ugly, murky crater that is virtue’s absence. Spending too much time staring at a trainwreck of bad behaviour has never done my soul any favours: whether I feel superiority or despair, it’s the opposite of edifying. “Well THAT person has made awful choices” doesn’t exactly make me jump up and sparkle with good energy. “The world is filled with horrible people doing horrible things, hope has left the building”, makes me want to lie down and not get up.
Possibly it’s a lot more worthwhile to spend energy reflecting on the good, on what’s beautiful and righteous and dignified. I don’t mean empty Pollyanna daydreams, either (they annoy me in a similarly lie-down-forever kind of way). I mean the kind of right-doing that makes me want to get up and fight for the same cause. Continue reading
I’ve noticed that goal setting works a whole lot better when I’m gentle with myself. Let me name it right off the top: I think New Year’s resolutions are often just ways for people to disappoint themselves. Do we need more reasons to beat ourselves up? No. Then why do we make them?
Because the lure of self-improvement is real. Even in the darkest moments of life, when motivation and hope are scarce, there is often a faint voice in the depths saying “I wish it were otherwise”.
I propose a new approach. I call it “Intentionally Misinterpreting the Word ‘Resolution’”. Continue reading