Were you to live three thousand years, or even countless multitudes of that, keep in mind that no one ever loses a life other than the one they are living, and no one ever lives a life other than the one they are losing. The longest and the shortest life, then, amount to the same, for the present moment lasts the same for all and is all anyone possesses. No one can lose either the past or the future, for how can one be deprived of what’s not theirs?Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 2.14
- Making Sense with Sam Harris–Sam Harris, neuroscientist, atheism apologist, philosopher, meditation promoter and thought provoker has done more to change my life than almost anyone else in the world right now. The guest in this show is always challenging and interesting, Harriss’ book on Lying has been a huge influence on me as well. A word of caution, Harris has an extremely slow voice. I have to speed up the playback to stay sane. The app Overcast is what I listen to podcasts on and playback speed one of the many easy to use adjustments this app allows.
2. Brian Lamb, the founder of CSPAN is a hero of mine for reasons I’m not going to bore you with. But his podcast, Q&A-CSPAN with Brian Lamb has been my favorite podcast since I first started listening to a decade ago. Authors, policymakers, lots of names you know, some you don’t, always interesting. If you want to learn the art of a good interview takes notes on Lamb’s style. He never overshadows his guest, asks the questions most ego-driven media types wouldn’t and allows the subject to answer fully and completely.
“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be One.” – Marcus Aurelius
3. The Daily Stoic Short and always hitting that sweet spot. Need to center yourself right before you start your workday? Stoicism is all the rage right now, but no wonder, it is a game changer. Hosted by Ryan Holiday, the man who brought stoicism to Silicon Valley and hipster America dispels a daily dose of wisdom to get your thinking and acting.
4. The Art of Manliness–Damn, do I loathe the name of this podcast. Hate. The content, however, is great. Interesting authors, ideas and skills are discussed with a good host with good questions. If you can get past the works name for a podcast ever. Try it.
5. The Cult of Pedagogy podcast–if you teach then this is a great podcast to gain new insight into trends, ideas, strategies, and other useful teaching tools. I’ve tried to listen to one of these a week which has resulted in lots of cool experiments in my classroom…with some very mixed results.
Lots more Podcasts to talk about, but give one of these a listen.
“Have you noticed how fragmented your attention has become? Have you noticed how hard it is to sit down and read a book for an hour? When was the last time you read a book for an hour, without checking your email or social media? There is a multi-front war being fought for our attention, and most of us are losing it. Have you seen the people staggering around with their smartphones, even crossing the street while texting? Literally stepping in front of traffic without looking up. Have you seen parents around their kids, visibly tethered to this digital leash? Are you one of these parents?” – Sam Harris, Waking Up App
There’s a lesson here…a metaphor? In town the grey cold damp of a ugly day. Rally the kids, load up all the gear and snake the kids 8 miles up to the village. 500 yards up the chair the sky above turns bright and you emerge into a different universe of sun and sky.
Look up, change perspective, movement is medicine.
A difficult two days of teaching. Doubts swirl, rumination abounds and memories linger. I always read the play or watch the movie, “The History Boys” to attempt to regain some grounding. Lots of themes in the movie but central is the conflict between Hector, the aged master teacher, and Irwin, the young imposter, fresh out of university and flush with the latest pop history. A long drive up the North Fork road brought some solace. I brought my camera and attempted to frame what I was feeling.
I am your teacher. Whatever I do in this room is a token of my trust. I am in your hands. It is a pact. Bread eaten in secret. ‘I have put before your life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live’Hector-The History Boys
The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.”Hector–The History Boys
“Shall I tell you what is wrong with Hector as a teacher? It isn’t that he doesn’t produce results. He does. But they are unpredictable and unquantifiable and in the current educational climate that is no use.”the Headmaster, The History Boys
The North Fork of the Flathead River Valley could care less about five middle-aged men shooting shotguns and clay pigeons for three hours on the first gray and white day of 2019. Those mountains remain tonight, silent and cold, clouds keeping their ridges hidden. They have survived hellish winters, sweltering summers, wind, snow, and fire have scarred the long memory of this place. We are a second long flutter of a bird’s wing in the history of those ancient mountains and rivers.
We must claim our days. Even if all we build in our lifetimes will be forgotten in one generation. We must claim our days with meaning and connection.
The world we live in is a divided, broken and shallow land. It is now undeniable that depression and loneliness are on the rise, in all age groups. According to data from the General Social Survey (GSS), the number of Americans who say they have no close friends has roughly tripled in recent decades. “Zero” is also the most common response when people are asked how many confidants they have, the GSS data show. And adult men seem to be especially bad at keeping and cultivating friendships.
As Ryan Holiday explains in The Obstacle is the Way, there are eight things we can control; emotion, judgment, creativity, desire, decision, attitude, perception, and determination. And so in 2019, let us desire to be making the connections we need to. Let us make the decisions to reach out and not hide behind screens. We can be determined to claim our days with the perceptions that keep us open to new people and determined to maintain those old friendships. Let us be cautious about opinions and judgments that close ourselves off to others.
No monuments will be built to us. The North Fork Valley of the Flathead will little remember today from the other millions of years that have shaped it. We must claim the days we have before they are gone.