A year of new stories, part 1

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“A talent for speaking differently, rather than for arguing well, is the chief instrument of cultural change.” ~ Richard Rorty

This is the time of year for highlight lists. I thought about doing a best of Thriving on the Threshold list for about a minute. Instead, I’m offering a two-part look back on some of the themes that emerged this year. Visually, the site’s tag cloud indicates that the top themes are interdependence, mystery, wonder, humility, creativity, imagination, separation, uncertainty, magic, and beauty.

I use my writing to increase my awareness of the stories that we live by. This post presents a list of some of those stories, both the dominant ones and emerging alternatives. Cultivating that awareness involves “re-membering,” literally returning to the original home of the body, as in this post. And the way that appreciation, wonder, awe and gratitude arise from such re-connection.

Being in relation—whether to the body, each other, or the earth—was a frequent theme. This post looks at our interdependence through the lens of mental and emotional health. This one suggests healing trauma by embracing what we love, including our own bodies. We can experience relation with emotions by playing in a spontaneous, fun and creative way through improv. Grief for losses and unbalances at the planetary scale shows up in a post about climate change, and the simple observation that many of us—climate scientists included—care very deeply about our home. The riots in Baltimore in the spring offered another opportunity to feel into our interdependence.

Living into new stories involves delving as deeply as possible beneath surfaces, including marginal places and mythic time. The threshold is a place of magic and mystery, as explored in this post about synchronicity and causality. Or this one about some of the latest psilocybin research. Through the lens of a green building code seminar, comes a look at the way that despair delivers us out of knowing into uncertainty and mystery. I love writing that re-imagines our mythic connections with the animate earth, and play with three stories here: updates of Ariadne and Daphne, and a made-up creation myth for the Chesapeake Bay.

Belonging and isolation are two sides of the same coin. David Korten offers a beautiful way to encourage rootedness via a new economic model. This post explores how our fears about the death of the commons (our social contract) stem from the same damaging story of separation, and how we might navigate back from the brink. To do that, maps are needed, although not the sort we may be used to.

No matter the topic—science, the arts, architecture, health, current events—the threshold’s coexistence of opposites reigns. This theme of both/and infuses a series exploring the Prayer of St. Francis, starting with this post and continuing with a line each day. Qualities of femininity and wildness help in the balancing of opposites. Then there’s the way that hardening into forced terms of opposition leads to war, within and outside of us.

In skimming through the first half of the year, I am surprised at the lack of repetition. This experiment has demonstrated over and again that there is never a shortage of material, that abundance is real. The practice is an act of service: show up, step into the flow, and let it find me. Even difficult subjects, like loss or grief or conflict, when seen through the lens of the threshold, offer glimpses of coexistence with healing, comfort and resolution.

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