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In Praise of Hand Work

“The hand is a tool of tools.” Aristotle, On the Soul Recently I was watching a blacksmith work. I was mesmerized. There is something so satisfying and so fitting—indeed, so human—about the ability to do that kind of work. What most struck me is how glad he must be to...

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Giving More Praise

“Some men are thought to be obsequious, namely, those who to give pleasure praise everything and never oppose.” “And while for its own sake he [the man virtuous in social interaction] chooses to contribute pleasure, and avoids the giving of pain, he will be guided...

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Dealing with Life-Fatigue

“All these things are interconnected.” Xenophon, The Estate Manager Being intentional about life can be exhausting. Sometimes you just feel like saying: “I’m sick of worrying about this stuff. Can’t I just go with the flow, rather than weighing every little thing in...

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Slumber Hold Me Tightly: The Gift of Sleep

“But slumber hold me tightly till I waken in the dawn, And hear the thrushes singing in the lilacs round the lawn.” Robert Louis Stevenson, ‘A Good Boy,’ in A Child's Garden of Verses How to think about the sleeping hours of the day might call for more attention than...

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Appreciating Onions

“And I especially commend you for eating onions; they contain all health; they induce sleep; they may be called the apples of content, or again, the companion fruits of mankind.” Hilaire Belloc, “The Onion Eater” in The Hills and the Sea Eating is often an occasion...

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In a Hurry without Good Reason

Further, a slow step is thought proper to the magnanimous man… for the man who takes few things seriously is not likely to be hurried… Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics As is often the case, these words of Aristotle must be carefully considered. “The man who takes few...

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On Retreat, with Gratitude

I am finishing a retreat, for which I am very grateful. With apologies, no Wednesday Quote this week. May we all find the silence our inner selves crave. Both in special times set apart; and in our every day. With best wishes, until next week.

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Listening to the Elderly

“Therefore we ought to attend to the undemonstrated sayings and opinions of experienced and older people or of people of practical wisdom not less than to demonstrations; for because experience has given them an eye, they see aright.” Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics...

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Becoming a Better Lover

“‘Try to pay attention to me,’ she said, ‘as best you can. You see, the man who has been thus far educated in matters of Love, who has beheld beautiful things in the right order and correctly, is coming now to the goal of Loving: all of a sudden he will catch sight of...

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The Key of Peace

“Peace is the tranquility of order.” St. Augustine, The City of God There are few words that exercise such a power over our hearts, and our imagination. A few years ago I was giving a lecture at a division-one university, introducing students to some basic points in...

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Playing Alone

When I was down beside the sea A wooden spade they gave to me To dig the sandy shore. Robert Louis Stevenson, At the Sea-Side A Child's Garden of Verses There is nothing quite like playing alone. To watch it is a privilege. Indeed, in watching one might even...

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Seeing is Seeing

For not only that we might act, but even when we intend to do nothing, we prefer sight, as we may say, to all the other senses. Aristotle, Metaphysics This year the fireflies have been stunning. Last night my wife and I were mesmerized; we just sat and looked. And we...

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