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Pages tagged "inspiration"

Airplants: Selected Poems - Review Artists and poets are fond of irony and William H. Matchett is no exception. The title of his selected poems refers to an editor who commented in 1872 that Emily Dickinson’s poems reminded him “of air plants that have no roots in the earth.” Well, I would note that there are at least two levels of irony here: Dickinson’s poems are deeply rooted in her New England soil of hymns, history and experience; and Matchett’s poems are deeply rooted in his location outside of Seattle, Washington, overlooking a fiord and the Olympic Mountains. In fact, exploring the irony even further, one of the underlying themes of these selected poems is Matchett’s deeply rooted celebration of place, including its geography, biology, birds, soil, plants, and their meanings.

On Needs (May 2015)

Essential Listening It is often said that music is a language; some say it is the universal language. As with any language, the spaces are essential. Without spaces on the printed page or pauses in speaking, we couldn’t understand what is being said. Likewise, silence is the canvas we paint our music upon.

On Music (March 2018)

Interested and Hopeful at 100 Dear Editor: I want you to know how much I enjoy Western Friend – the Jan/Feb 2021 issue is particularly good, with some very interesting articles, such as the one on Friends House Moscow. I am about to celebrate my 100th birthday, so it’s wonderful reading hopeful articles, such as “Cassandra” and “Bunnytown.” Anyway, Western Friend is a great READ.

On Relevance (March 2021)

Quaker Worship and Intentional Design The best college class I ever took was called “Design” and was offered by the Art Department at the University of Oregon during the summer of 1967. There were two sections. One section had a textbook, and studied things like color theory and perspective. By some lucky chance I ended up in the other section, taught by Dr. Stannard, a gifted artist and potter of worldwide renown.

On Rules (November 2020)

That of God in Research

In the September/October 2018 issue of Western Friend, “On Children,” I wrote about my experiences as a Child Protective Services (CPS) social worker. Much of what I described about investigating child abuse concerned “control.” For example, my Quaker practices of listening in silence and discernment helped me “learn the rules so you can break them properly,“ as the Dalai Lama recommends. “The rules” in this case were Washington State’s Child Protection Laws and the policies of CPS, which attempt to control the behavior of parents by enforcing norms to restrict physical discipline of children and to achieve minimum levels of care. Those enforcement structures are the stick. The carrots used to control families are the programs that CPS offers to help them, as well as the refuge in foster homes that CPS offers to children when parents fail. Unfortunately, social workers can cause harm when they fail to use judgment and discernment in applying the laws appropriately in each unique situation. As Parker Palmer so beautifully describes, one of the paradoxes of life is that both control and spontaneous creativity are necessary for human flourishing.

On Control (July 2019)

The Book of Pro-s (review) There are plenty of things to be upset about in today’s world. But, as Nancy Hicks Marshall argues in her latest work, The Book of Pro-s: An Alphabetical Chat about Things We Like (that’s pro-, as in the opposite of anti-), there are still plenty of things to like. In alphabetical order, from “accuracy” to “zumba,” are 118 pages of reminders that life is still worth living in this troubled world.

On Neighbors (September 2019)

The Spiritual Power of Art “Does my life reflect my values and beliefs?” This query is often on my mind, and probably yours too. As a child in Mountain View Friends Meeting (Denver), I learned the Quaker belief that there is “that of God in everyone,” sometimes called “the Light within.” The Light is our best and most holy potential, our goodness, our groundedness, our Truth. That Inner Light remains a core element of my belief system. It’s an axiom: Light=God.

On Power (March 2013)