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Service – A Gateway to Fulfillment The question of how to have a fulfilling existence during our short time on earth is especially significant in contemporary society. Many of us find that we struggle much less than our ancestors did for survival and basic necessities. We don’t have tigers chasing us, or wolves bothering us. As a result, when our short-term survival is not on the line, our prefrontal cortexes can direct their energies to questions of long-term happiness.

On Puzzles (April 2019)

The Economy of Unknowing As an economist, I study and teach about money, markets, and the economy. Given that I have been on this professional journey for nearly half a century, something makes me feel that I should have it all pretty much figured out by now. But I don’t. In some ways, I know less now than I once did. Perhaps this is good. Perhaps some unknowing is just what we need to improve our understanding of what the economy is and how it should work.

On Money (November 2015)

Overcoming Need Six months after Sister Alegría (née Beth Blodgett) and I moved to Honduras in 2006 and began to live our Methodist-Quaker monastic life, cell phone service came to this remote region of the country. Almost overnight it seemed, everyone had cell phones, and it wasn’t long before people were declaring them “necessary.” When someone asked why we didn’t have one, we explained that phone calls would interrupt our contemplative lifestyle. “But what if one of you gets hurt? How will you get help?” “Then the other will walk to the road and will notify the next car that goes by” – just as anyone would have done a year ago before there was cell phone service! Cell phones can be useful, and Sister Alegría and I make phone calls most weeks by borrowing phones or renting them, but they are not necessities. We don’t need them.

On Needs (May 2015)

Focus and Immersion in Present Experience Waiting for sunrise on a desert morning this March, my focus came to the inward Truth only. I had walked in darkness with a quiet dog to a saddle between two hills in the middle of the Mojave Desert Preserve. In wild lands, especially in dry lands, I find less cumber between God and me. I can feel a presence in my middle. With Light arriving, I reflect on my feelings and what I’m led to do. Guidance from the Holy is clearer in these times of presence.

On Play (September 2015)

On Flesh Dear Friends: Back to basics.

On Flesh (November 2016)

The Practice of the Presence Presence is something I cannot fully describe or understand, informing my life and experience even though it is beyond words. It is a grounding, a solace, a push and shove, a challenge to the status quo. My call to dwell in Presence makes me one of the “peculiar people” and may set me apart even from others who call themselves Quaker. Seeking or being open to Presence gives me hope – hope for self, for others, for the planet. It gives me a sense of knowing that what I see in the material world is only a part of Truth.

On Insight (March 2017)

Here Sleep Dragons As a young man, I joined the Peace Corps and served in Morocco for two and a half years. One day I found myself sitting in a café in Rabat, my mind in a swirl, as I looked at the equally swirling street scene. I was trying and trying to figure things out and just couldn’t. I sat there feeling lost and helpless, with a rising sense of panic. Then I began to laugh at the ridiculousness of my situation. Giving up the thought that I could make sense of it, I plunged back into the chaos of the day, no better off than before.

On Insight (March 2017)

Hiking Naked (review) Hiking Naked is a memoir that explores ways that Friends in the medical field stretch themselves beyond their emotional limits, and how Iris Graville attempted to bring herself back into balance. Graville is a mother of two, a wife, and a nurse who works for the Health Department in Belleview, Washington. Her job is serious, and the stakes are high for the people in underserved communities she works with, so she gives herself fully to her job – emotionally, physically, and spiritually. By the time we join her, she is dealing with burnout.

On Expansion (May 2018)