Place Holder: Elizabeth Lesser’s Wisdom

From Elizabeth Lesser’s FB post

Hiya, friends! There’s a lot going on right now and my relationship with this blog is evolving… transforming? Not sure when I’ll be back with anything of my own that’s worth sharing. I’m confident it will all come in its own time.

Meanwhile, please enjoy Elizabeth Lesser’s Facebook post from today, which speaks directly to my soul. Maybe you’ll resonate as well, and it can bring you comfort and peace as it does to me.

ODOMOBaaT, my peeps. Until next time.


I still have abiding hope for our times. I have it because I am a student of history and I know that human communities have struggled through other desperate times: famines, disasters, droughts, floods, and plagues; the fires of war, genocide, slavery, despots, and dictators. Like the mythical phoenix bird, we have risen from the ashes many times before. Eras of destruction have been followed by those of recovery and peace, creativity and great leaps of ingenuity.

I was born in the 1950s, an era that came out of the global brokenness of World War II. To many, the 50s were a time of healing and rebuilding and stability. But to others, they were a time of racism, sexism, and stifling conformity. The 50s gave birth to the 60s which, on the one hand, brought freedom, justice, and liberating creativity, and on the other hand went too far and too fast for many. It has always been thus—cultures swinging back and forth between brokenness and breakthrough. Humanity winding its way through growth spurts and amnesia, destruction and advancement, but always moving, always changing, and, from my point of view, always being offered a choice: to languish or to rise, to perish or to mature into a more magnificent expression of life.

Can we rise? I am eternally optimistic that we can. I have seen people change; I have changed myself. I know it is possible. Even neuroscience is confirming this. Brain scientists once believed that by early adulthood the physical structure of the human brain was fixed. But newer research has revealed that our brains never stop changing—that from childhood on, new neural pathways are formed when we learn new information, change old patterns, or confront physical and emotional trauma. This is called neuroplasticity, and it confirms for me that we are equipped to respond creatively and constructively to stressful and difficult times—that it is possible for all of us, as a species, to create new pathways in our collective brain.

Sometimes it feels way too exhausting to keep carving those new pathways! But I like the way the poet Rumi gently chides me to keep on going, to stay optimistic, to head toward what’s possible:

Drum sounds rise on the air,

and with them, my heart.

A voice inside the beat says,

I know you are tired,

but come.

This is the way.

Two Drops from the Firehose

NaBloPoMo 2020 – Today’s Lesson

Friends, my firehose of learning gushed forcefully all week, and I’m exhausted in that really satisfied, saturated way.  Rather than trying to gulp directly in the path of deluge tonight, I looked for the drops that fell lightly, right from the nozzle.  Of all the things I read, heard, discussed, applied, and discerned, what stood out most?  Here’s what I found:

First, an article my friend posted and quoted tonight, which resonated deeply:

I believe the entire Jewish enterprise, with Talmud as its core spiritual practice, was designed to create…a person who is profoundly empathic, deeply connected to others, and radically loving; challenging rather than compliant, more disposed to resistance than obedience, active rather than passive; bold, courageous, and risk-taking when necessary; who can not only tolerate but appreciate and navigate uncertainty, paradox, and contradiction—because life is that way; who can appreciate and deal with complexity—because life is complex—rather than retreat into the need for and illusion of simplicity; who is resilient and can hold their truths lightly; and who walks through the world bringing the insights from their lived life experience to bear as a critique on a world which needs to be repaired precisely in those ways.

… It was designed to and must be utilized again to create people courageous enough to bring their svara, their moral intuition—refined and shaped by their learning—to bear on the world around them in such a way as to create a liberatory world in which all people can thrive in freedom and dignity, without barriers to being able to live out their fully human selves. And I believe that becoming that kind of person is a radical act of resistance. 


Second, Brené Brown’s podcast grounds and graces me lately.  This weekend, treat yourself to the profound and empowering message of Elizabeth Lesser, author of Cassandra Speaks, the next book in my Audible queue.  In addition to explaining the Tend and Befriend stress response and the real meaning of power, Lesser points to the necessary inner work required to really change the world:

It’s Friday the 13th.  COVID spreads like wildfire across the country, two weeks before Thanksgiving.

Let us take care of each other.  Judge less.  Listen more.  And MASK UP.