"Christian Miller teaches us that the road to virtue lies in humility about our own virtue and an acceptance that others are struggling with their flaws. This is a very valuable book at a moment when our society could use a dose of openness and a sense of forgiveness."
- E.J. Dionne Jr., Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution and University Professor in the Foundations of Democracy and Culture, Georgetown University
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"Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
In this episode, we’ll explore the God of tree trimmers and the souvenir of deep breathing.
Birthdays are akin to over-excited neighbors. You either appreciate their intrusions or avoid them like Homer Simpson does Ned Flanders. I treat birthdays like Flanders. I love a good party, cake, and sing-song version of ‘Happy Birthday’, but I am slow to allow the spotlight to turn squarely onto my face. A strange confession for a guy with a podcast. But I do love the birthday questions...
"Many poets feel that they know the natural world, Todd Davis has absorbed this world fully into his heart and mind. He is a fine, rare poet."
- Jim Harrison, author of Legends of the Fall
“Although Manning has been lauded throughout the country for his work — garnering accolades from some of the major poets of our time, like W.S. Merwin, in addition to the numerous awards he has received — he has found his place in this literary life, wearing it now as effortlessly as the patterned chambray shirts he favors. He is a man of the people, intent on bringing poetry and scenes of rural beauty to them, words of the past, but also the present — the poetry of preservation, of all of us."
—Jason Howard, Leo Weekly
“In that larger tradition of transcendent art, if we let them into our hearts, these new poems from Jericho Brown will awe and unsettle us.”
- Frederick Speers, New York Journal of Books
I hoped for some last gesture beyond a handshake, writes Chris Dombrowski in Ragged Anthem, a soulful book of longing that is as comic as it is reflective. These poems sing of humankind in need of something it can only seem to get from the natural world, and of how we won t get it until we begin to understand ourselves as natural as any tree or river. Or as Dombrowski himself says, Again / I took daybreak for granted, easy / as mistaking pinecone for wasp nest, / wasp nest for shed antler, antler / for branch. Here, these so-called mistakes make for discovery that approaches the magic of revelation..–Jericho Brown, author of The Tradition
"Chris Dombrowski has proven himself to be among the best poets of his generation. As one of those readers who admired and enjoyed his first two books — better put, who has gone to the poems for spiritual sustenance, for wisdom, and for the magic of being transported to the landscapes where the poet makes his life—I’m happy to report that Ragged Anthem continues to sing those essential songs in beautiful and unexpected ways."
– Todd Davis, author of Native Species and Winterkill
This series will introduce you to two poets who help me circle the mystery: Chris Dombrowski and Jericho Brown. My hope is that through these conversations you’ll get a taste of poetry as a contemplative gateway. Poetry has played that role for me as a contemplative practice; seeing reality from an angle that I had not yet noticed. Clear enough to see and yet cloudy enough to draw me closer, to engage all of my faculties in this new perception of reality. This practice of poetry drops me into the depth of my self, into the depth of Mystery.
This final episode of the Life of a Day series is all about you. It is about offering a reframing of your day with a new way of seeing, a new way of showing up as a contemplative in the world.
“The church is near, but the road is icy.
The bar is far away, but I will walk carefully.”
— Russian proverb
I raise this frosty pint in your direction for this fifth installment of the Life of the Day series here on Contemplify where I'll be exploring my interpretation of the divine hour called ‘Compline’.
‘There are two ways to wash the dishes. The first is to wash the dishes in order to have clean dishes and the second is to wash the dishes in order to wash the dishes.’ - Thich Nhat Hanh
My intention here is to be present at hand to the dish in my hand. Perhaps we’ll strike gold today and I’ll communicate some semblance of that in this fourth installment of the Life of the Day series here on Contemplify.
“Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
This is the third jaunt of the Life of the Day series here on Contemplify.
My old pal Thomas Merton wrote, ‘[Contemplation] can be suggested by words, by symbols, but in the very moment of trying to indicate what it knows the contemplative mind takes back what it has said, and denies what it has affirmed.’
So...how do I talk about contemplation then? Briefly.
My intention here is to grasp at words that give shape to the formless abiding, even if only for a moment. If we are lucky here today, I’ll communicate some semblance of that in this second installment of the Life of the Day series here on Contemplify.
My intention here is to kick off the Life of a Day series in grand style, with coffee. This is the first installment of the Life of the Day series here on Contemplify, which is the reimagining of the Divine Office into my own personal reflective interpretations as a contemplative in the world. The intention is to mark each of the Hours but in a form very different from their regular practice behind monastery walls. In other words, this is what a contemplative rhythm looks like in my particular life.
How does contemplation appear in the life of your day? I've heard from many of you that this question lingers as you listen to the contemplative echo calling you in your daily life. My hope is that this series will help you answer that question for yourself.