Protagonists help organizations become more competitive. After all, the word compete comes from the Latin com petire, which means ‘to seek together.’ Their intent is to not to antagonize, but to drive towards something. Protagonists are willing to name things others don’t yet see; they point to new horizons. Without them, the storyline never changes.
— Nilofer Merchant, from "Are You a Rebel or a Leader?"
Hopefully this excerpt from yesterday’s Harvard Business Review provides some value for us all as we move forward in our daily work lives. Some days it’s really hard to navigate and rise above the struggles of corporate life and haggling hierarchy.
But, this piece creates a space to remember that, even in the most frustrating times, we work with many hard-working folks who have the best of intentions and different approaches to addressing issues. Perhaps it offers some helpful ways of thinking, which avoids the demonization of the other and fresh possibilities for creating new conversations with colleagues.
(photo: James Duncan Davidson/O’Reilly Media/Good Company Communications, licensed under Creative Commons)
by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
Faith is nothing else but a right understanding of our being — trusting and allowing things to be; a right understanding that we are in God and God whom we do not see is in us.
Thanks to listener Mark Atma from Bellevue, Wisconsin for this lovely definition of faith from Julian of Norwich.
by Krista Tippett, host
We don’t have to schedule a trip to the monastery to enjoy the benefits of stopping for bells of mindfulness. We can use many ‘ordinary’ events in our daily lives to call us back to ourselves and to the present moment. The ringing of the telephone, for example: many of my students pause to breathe in and out mindfully three times before they pick up the phone, in order to be fully present to themselves and to the person calling them. Or when we are driving, a red light can be a wonderful friend reminding us to stop, relax, let go of discouraging thought patterns and feel more space inside.
—Thich Nhat Hanh, from his interview in Friday’s Huffington Post.
I greatly appreciate Marianne Schnall’s line of questioning here. She could’ve gone philosophical on us, but she didn’t. She’s seeking advice on how to better understand and operate in this frenetic, always-connected world we live in. How do we vacation and relax? How do we prioritize our relationships with people and our electronic gadgets? These are real questions we are all struggling with in the most ordinary of ways. Which reminds me of this quote that I almost featured:
"Relationships are like a forest: it takes a long time to build up precious trust, but one really thoughtless act or remark can be like a lighted match that destroys everything."
Trent Gilliss, senior editor
Seeking apology is a punitive urge. Asking someone to be sorry for what they’ve done may be asking that the other, the one who abused or hurt us in some way, understands the consequence of their misbehavior. But it is also a way of asking them to bow down, to beg. You can’t ask someone to beg with love in your heart.
Is my life any different since I became a Jesuit? Oh, yes. The rules of obedience, from the structure of the day to this assignment at the Vatican, have put me under constraints I did not have before, but they’re constraints of my choosing, which, like the rules of a sonnet, give me a framework to create a wonderfully fulfilled life.
—from Brother Astronomer: Adventures of a Vatican Scientist by Brother Guy Consolmagno
Nancy Rosenbaum, associate producer
…I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
—from Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke (translation by M.D. Herter Norton), which was cited by Jacqueline Novogratz in her interview with Krista for next week’s program, “A Different Kind of Capitalism.”
Trent Gilliss, online editor
I look back at the fork in my road and often wonder if I should have, could have, taken the vocational, farming route. But, at the time, nobody valued that route. Everyone valued ‘education.’
All things have a home: the bird has a nest, the fox has a hole, the bee has a hive. A soul without prayer is a soul without a home…Such a home is prayer. Continuity, permanence, intimacy, authenticity, earnestness are its attributes. For the soul, home is where prayer is…How marvelous is my home. I enter as a supplicant and emerge as a witness; I enter as a stranger and emerge as next of kin. I may enter spiritually shapeless, inwardly disfigured, and emerge wholly changed.
— from the essay “On Prayer” by Abraham Joshua Heschel
Joseph Coen, a listener in Valley Stream, New York, wrote to us with a similar version of this Heschel quote. Coen first encountered Heschel’s words on a prayer card he received at a retreat, and they continue to speak to him years later. For me, Heschel’s reflections on prayer resonated with our New Year’s weekend broadcast, "Approaching Prayer" featuring musician Anoushka Shankar, writer/translator Stephen Mitchell, and religion scholar Roberta Bondi.
Nancy Rosenbaum, associate producer
I saw it as a sign from God that this was the right thing to do.