Widgets The Good Place (Michael L. Umphrey on gardening, teaching, and writing)

"Peace is not an absence of war; it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice. - Benedict Spinoza."

The Power of Community-Centered Education
     Presentation for Portland State University

I’ll be presenting a webinar for a Portland State University class this month, taught by Marta Turner. The main reading is Chapter 8 from The Power of Community-Centered Education: Teaching as a Craft of Place.

Posted by Michael L Umphrey
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2008 Michael L. Umphrey

Beyond the last best place (Part 2)
     The Literary West

Lincoln in Dalivision

I admit I liked it better when I thought “the last best place” was an intentional play on Lincoln’s words to Congress. Just before he issued the Emancipation Proclamation in December, 1862, he observed, speaking of human freedom, that “We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.”

They weren’t idle words. Lincoln could see that Western civilization was at a crisis. He knew that, as Michael Knox Beran describes in City Journal, “the fate of liberty hung in the balance in three great nations: Russia, where Alexander II sought to promote liberal reform; Germany, where Otto von Bismarck applied his dark genius to the destruction of the Rechtsstaat (rule-of-law state); and America itself.” His rhetoric sounded lofty, but it was neither hollow nor overly grandiose. Those were real words, forged in a fiery candor. Could any nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the principle that all men are created, long endure?

Knox suggests the way history might have gone if Lincoln’s vision had not won:

Had Lincoln not forced his revolution in 1861, American slavery might have survived into the twentieth century, deriving fresh strength from new weapons in the coercive arsenal—scientific racism, social Darwinism, jingoistic imperialism, the ostensibly benevolent doctrines of paternalism. The coercive party in America, unbroken in spirit, might have realized its dream of a Caribbean slave empire. Cuba and the Philippines, after their conquest by the United States, might have become permanent slave colonies. Such a nation would have had little reason to resist Bismarck;s Second Reich, Hitler’s third one, or Russia’s Bolshevik empire.

At times I get the sense that something huge is happening and I suspect that issues of similar import are being decided in the hearts and minds of people here today, so when I first heard “the last best place” I turned the phrase around in my mind, thinking of what might be at stake here. Alas, according to William Kittredge, the man who coined the slogan, thoughts of Lincoln didn’t enter his mind at the time:

Back in 1988, the writers Kittredge and Smith had nearly completed a massive anthology of Montana prose and poetry and were desperate for a title, Kittredge said.

That year, the anthology’s editorial committee went to Chico Hot Springs in the Paradise Valley for some heavy duty literary brainstorming, he said.

At Chico, Kittredge was pouring a drink and musing about a line from a Richard Hugo poem called “Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg.” The line includes the phrase, “the last good kiss.” He was also thinking about the name of a western Montana mine called the Last Best Hope.

It all came together as the “Last Best Place.”

“I’m the one who thought it up. I know exactly when I did it,” Kittredge said.

Robert Struckman, the Missoulian

I was in the University of Montana’s MFA program at the time, and sometimes wondered whether every story written in Montana had to involve an epiphany in a bar. Thoreau had said that the government of the world he lived in was not framed in after-dinner conversations over the wine, but I don’t think he was angling for a grant or an award.

In any case, learning the true provenance of “the last best place” felt like a diminishment, a let down similar to hearing a rock anthem associated with my youth’s pure longing for freedom “re-purposed” as a jingle to peddle some pharmaceutical potion or a new pickup truck.

Sometimes—walking a high plateau east of the Crazy Mountains one afternoon in a chill autumn wind or putting a raft into the Missouri downstream from Fort Benton one brilliant July morning—I’ve felt I belonged to the same tribe the New Westers belong to. It’s a wonder, living in a place poised at that pastoral stage of development, where we have access to the abundance of modernity but aren’t yet assailed by a hundred miles of strip mall, noisy with solicitations to lay waste our powers.

But other times, it seems we live so far this side of paradise that I think it’s been a long time since I’ve heard words sufficient to the evil of our day.

By invoking Lincoln, even unintentionally, the slogan invokes the timeless question of freedom or slavery. The present age, after all, is far from exempt from that question. “The world of today is torn asunder by a great dispute; and not only a dispute, but a ruthless battle for world domination,” said Czeslaw Milosz (winner of the 1980 Nobel Prize in Literature) in his masterpiece, The Captive Mind. The great dispute was between the totalitarian regimes of modernity and the political theology that, from Christianity, had developed such concepts as the essential equality and dignity of every person ("in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them"), the separation of church and state ("Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s"), and the consent of the governed as basis for the legitimacy of political authority ("On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram").

Since Milosz wrote that, the Soviet Union has collapsed and, under Putin, begun to take form again, but the USSR was only a local manifestation of a principle that’s never been absent from history. The details vary but always someone is trying to build an evil empire, and its foundation is always a lie: the divine right of kings; the supremacy of the white race; the triumph of the master race; the great leap forward. Lies are tricky and even the well-intentioned are deceived by them. The early guru of modernity, Ezra Pound, saw that it was through corruption of words that the bad guys got and held power and he said he was committed to purifying the language of the tribe. But he ended up shilling for Mussolini’s fascist regime.

Nonetheless, one would think that purifying the language of the tribe should be part of the calling of the literary crowd. Sometimes it is, of course, but more often literary types fit the description offered by Mark Lilla in his latest book, The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics (which he offers as “a modest companion” to Milosz’s work). He said they “consider themselves to be independent minds, when the truth is that they are a herd driven by their inner demons and thirsty for the approval of a fickle public.”

Kittredge himself occasionally sounds that way to me. He can write achingly evocative lines, and then suddenly lurch into politically correct incantations that pop up like applause lines in a political stump speech. In Owning it All, he does some memorable storytelling about his grandfather, who, he said, set large cage-traps for magpies each summer, so he could drive down to the traps with his 12-gauge in his Cadillac. Then, in a slow and inevitable ritual the old man would step out of the sedan, the pockets of his gray gabardine suit-coat bulging with shells. The old man would kill the magpies one by one, taking his time. When asked for a reason, he simply said, “Because they’re mine.”

Kittredge introduces that strange story with these observations:

The West is a pastoral story of agricultural ownership. The story begins with a vast innocent continent, natural and almost magically alive, capable of inspiring us to reverence and awe, and yet savage, a wilderness. A good rural people come from the East, and they take the land from its native inhabitants, and tame it for agricultural purposes, bringing civilization: a notion of how to live embodied in law. The story is as old as invading armies, and at heart it is a racist, sexist, imperialist mythology of conquest; a rationale for violence—against other people and against nature.

Racist, sexist, and imperialist. Of course. People like to hear their opinions confirmed, and that little passage gets quoted often. After his story, Kittredge drives home the big point:

And our mythology tells us we own the West, absolutely and morally—we own it because of our history. Our people brought law to this difficult place, they suffered and they shed blood and they survived, and they earned this land for us. Our efforts have surely earned us the right to absolute control over the thing we created. The myth tells us this place is ours, and will always be ours, to do with as we see fit.

That’s a most troubling and enduring message, because we want to believe it, and we do believe it, so many of us, despite its implicit ironies and wrongheadedness, despite the fact that we took the land from someone else. We try to ignore the genocidal history of violence against the Native Americans.

In the American West we are struggling to revise our dominant mythology, and to find a new story to inhabit. Laws control our lives, and they are designed to preserve a model of society based on values learned from mythology. Only after re-imagining our myths can we coherently remodel our laws, and hope to keep our society in a realistic relationship to what is actual.

Whoa! That’s a pretty big statement to hitch up to one little story about an unhappy old man.

I think of my own grandfather, who also farmed in the West but who I’m pretty sure wouldn’t have blamed private property for the way Kittredge’s grandfather acted. Maybe he was blessed by failure and hardship. He didn’t conquer the entire valley where he lived and he never killed anything for sport. He lost his farm in the Great Depression and moved to what he called the “dry farm.” He struggled with hauling enough water for stock, and he trusted rain for the crops. He didn’t think of ownership as some sort of absolute right, but as a precarious blessing (he imagined “blessings” rather than “privileges” since he didn’t think the state and its entitlements constituted the main force in life) and as an achievement that brought some measure of independence and prosperity.

After he retired from farming he bought a house in town but kept a couple hundred chickens in a well-made coop in his back yard, so he would have some chores caring for living creatures. He showed me how to candle eggs.

I’m pretty sure that if he had witnessed Kittredge’s grandfather blasting birds to bloody bits, he would have blamed it on bad character rather than on mythologies. I’m not sure exactly what he would have said, but “son of a bitch” comes to mind. He also knew other words: “arrogant,” “greedy,” “heartless” and “bastard.” His “mythology” didn’t lack resources for disapproving of such conduct.

His son—my father—once caught me, when I was about ten years old, throwing rocks at a stray cat. Though my father often disapproved of things I did, I rarely felt he was disapproving of me—my essential identity—but at that moment that is what I did feel, which is why I’ve remembered it. “It’s bad enough that he doesn’t have a home,” he said, shaking his head. “You don’t need to throw rocks at him.” His voice was quiet but the disgust was plain.

I wonder how deeply Kittredge really believes the moral he fastened onto his story. My hunch is that at least part of the reason he said what he said is because such ideas are fashionable among the tribe where he made his career.  I’ve heard that tale often enough: Americans are racist, sexist and imperialist thieves who also have genocidal tendencies, along with a superstitious belief in private property. Talk about a mythology.

Kittredge is explicit about saying over and over that he wants us to inhabit a different literature, a different mythology than the one of our fathers and grandfathers. Those hankering to shape the future have always told us tales, which is why people who want to be free have always had to be literary critics, in a sense. In Kittredge’s telling, his family’s ranch was a destructive mistake. “It all went dead, over the years,” he said. “We had reinvented our valley according to the most persuasive ideal given us by our culture, and we ended with . . . a dreamland gone wrong.”

My first question is simply, is this true? Not is it true that his family made mistakes, but is it true that they had lived by “the most persuasive ideal given to us by our culture”? Our culture has been around for centuries, and we’ve had some mighty storytellers. If Kittredge’s family truly did live by the most persuasive ideals that were available, and things went so wrong, I would imagine that things are quite hopeless. I don’t see today’s crop of storytellers as having wisdom or craft superior to the standard set by storytellers of the past.

Fortunately, hardly anyone I know is likely to believe that Kittredge’s grandfather was living by the most persuasive ideal available in western culture. For me, Kittredge’s story is the cultural trope of a tribe I’ve visited from time to time but among whom I’ve never really felt at home. So when he talks about “we” and “our” I don’t often feel that he means me and mine.

Part 1

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2008 Michael L. Umphrey

Beyond the last best place (Part 1)
     Welcome to the Pleasure State

You may have heard Montana referred to as “the last best place.” It seems a fitting slogan, in the New West I hear is coming (version 1.0 of the New West was described by Frederick Jackson Turner in his 1906 book, The Rise of the New West—in it, Turner noted that “every period of [American] life is a transitional period").

In our current transitional period, maybe Dan Kemmis will get his way, and we’ll be ruled by appointed commissions of stakeholders—i.e. those who matter—and we can forget all that trouble about consent of the governed.

Maybe Rick Bass will get his way, and the loggers will leave the Yaak to him and the wolverines so he can expound more fully on what he intends by making a home in the wild.

Maybe David James Duncan will get his, and all the world will attend his churchless sermons and all religion will be disorganized.

Less likely, maybe I will get mine and people will be careful what goods they jettison on their overloaded journey to the promised land.

If you Google “the last best place” one of the first articles that pops up is about a nursing home in Florida. Florida, the writer says, is “the place where [the elderly] hope to live out, with as much verve, comfort and security as they can find and afford, the extra decade of life that advances in health care have given them.” At a “life care facility” called Canterbury, you can contract with an institution “to care for you for the rest of life. It is like a small well-managed village, or a very adult camp, and that is as good as it gets.”

The article caught my attention because I’ve always thought Montana’s unofficial slogan sounded like the sort of thing a person might say about somewhere he was going to die. It has, as Jedediah Purdy pointed out, a “slightly alarmed” quality, as when progressives, having debunked everything in sight, come to the gut-wrenching realization that they really are going to die anyway, and turn their attention to really enjoying that latte.

For me, listening to New Westers activates those parts of my mind that get me thinking about jasmine-smelling boutiques with shoppers gliding around the pyramids and mirrors, sampling metaphysical potions and charms, unable to get to the dream at the core of existence. Not that I mind the smell of jasmine or the quirks of my mystical friends.

Still, they aren’t the sort of people you want to count on when things get real hard. They tend to be hedonists, and hedonists, even mild hedonists of the sort who long for steamed broccoli, have difficulty comprehending soul-deep love and the meaning of sacrifice. Pleasure is subjective, which is to say private, and when it comes right down to it, they figure, they’re alone.

So we are never in it together, though we may experience our private thrills side by side and mistake it, in the short run, for something more important.

In any case, I tend to take talk of a “New West” as a wispy byproduct of the season, wafting like morning mist through the canyon, or the clatter of conversation half heard in the distance, mingling with the rattle of pebbles dislodged from an ancient trail to a remembered place that I intend to see again. Death is an illusion we use to learn what to let go. There is no last place. There is no best place.

But there is Montana. In some ways, the slogan may be as indicative of the sentimental state of some Montanans today as “The Treasure State” was of the Montanans of 1895, when that slogan first appeared on the cover of a guidebook published by the state government. At that time, Montana led the nation in the production of copper, gold and silver, and turning earthly resources into marketable goods felt right. It seemed to people then a reasonable way of heading toward Eden. Though the mines themselves could be hellish, people could also see the beauty of promise, which they called progress, in freight trains billowing coal smoke over the landscape.

Today, decades along in an environmental crusade full of Epicurean sermons that endlessly rehearse the idea that “the system” is evil—organized on principles of exploitation, oppression, capitalism, consumerism and commercialism—it’s become second nature to feel alienated, truly at home only among those who have the same feelings.

We have an entire class of oddly detached people who have a lifelong habit of frowning and shaking their heads about the economic system that fills their pantry and finances their vacations. They keep their jobs and manage their retirement portfolios, all the while holding themselves aloof from it all. To soothe their desire for coherence, they adopt public policy positions in favor of rain forests and whales and against Wal-Mart and pharmaceutical companies. This lets them feel a sense of moral purpose without interfering too greatly with their cherished freedom of personal choice. They may have to use less styrofoam but they can still find nice clothes at Patagonia, and if they really want something from a big box discounter they need only make a little self-mocking joke by giving “Target” a French pronunciation. To satisfy their hunger for real commitment to transcendent affairs, they can save the polar bears by turning off the porch light when they’re not using it.

Deviously, though the system is unquestionably evil it creates tons of stuff nobody wants to do without. The wealth that it generates is real enough to liberate lots of people from all sorts of commitments and duties that once formed the framework of many American lives—religion, civic organizations and family. They soon find other things to occupy them, so the detachment heightens rather than interferes with the pursuit of pleasure. As with the ancient Epicureans, their detachment creates space for the pursuit of pleasure—though with considerable care. After spending the day looking for the perfect restaurant, it’s important to eat sparingly, thus avoiding such trouble as gaining too much weight or getting diabetes. People who are no longer harangued by Sunday morning sermons or the threat of hunger see fewer and fewer reasons not to experience the world as a playground where it feels good to believe it’s one’s birthright to choose among pleasures. What is life other than a spectacle to be enjoyed?

Screenshot from Ameya Preserve website. Ameya is a
proposed development near Livingston, Montana.

The exclusive housing developments springing up throughout the West would seem to fit perfectly into this world view. David Nolt notes that “the cultural features” at Ameya Preserve, a proposed housing development near Livingston for the super rich, will include, along with open vistas of the Rocky Mountains, “restaurant and cooking classes, courtesy of Alice Waters, the reknowned Berkeley-based chef.” Those with time can explore “the dinosaur digs with Jack Horner.” Life can be planned around “readings, lectures, and . . . the largest observatory telescope in the state.” Ameya is only one of many housing enclaves dedicated to enjoying the Montana spectacle: Spanish Peaks, Moonlight Basin, Saddlehorn, Iron Horse Ranch and Rock Creek Cattle Company.

Of course, lots of New Westers find it pretty hard to like these gated communities such as Ameya—not because there’s anything wrong with a life dedicated to self-fulfillment and aesthetic gratification in whatever last best place can be found—but for other reasons. It’s so darn inegalitarian. It locks up natural resources for private use. It develops previously undeveloped habitat. Wade Dokken, the financial industry CEO who’s trying to develop Ameya, really ticked them off by saying that the opposition to his plan was mostly due to “class envy.”

I would bet on the guy with money and a plan. He’s got some elements of that deep dream at the center of life in Montana figured out: wilderness is our garden. We plan it and cultivate it just so. It pleases us.

We are past the point where wilderness is possible, except as a style of gardening. The language of Genesis was the language of commandment but also of prophecy, and the part about dominion has largely been fulfilled: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” The earth is largely subdued and the extent of human dominion is, by historical standards, amazing. If grizzlies still wander McDonald Peak in the Mission Mountains, it is because bureaucratic committees have met and decided that it should be so.

Tranquility Ranch, Swan Valley

The good news is that grizzlies do still wander McDonald Peak, because the committees, reflecting the wishes of the people, echo the Creator somewhat in concluding that the earth, including the bears, is good. If the ideas of people such as Henry David Thoreau and Aldo Leopold still seem a little odd, at least the lifestyle seems cool. We’ve been converted. No one wants a porch on main street. Everyone wants a Walden Pond or a weekend house on the Wisconsin River.

Rather than dreaming of seeing new factories built, we admire the beauty of all the showy houses the wealthy are building beside small lakes and along ridge tops everywhere in the West. Wouldn’t it be fine to build a house with a nice view of some special little piece of Montana and then to lock things down, so it too doesn’t get ruined? As much as possible we would keep the infrastructure decently hidden—the interstate trucks laden with Italian olives and and Mexican apples for our table would be kept too distant to hear. We may connect to the Internet every day, but the massive server farms running Google are low profile and down river along the Columbia, and we’ll insist that the power lines from the grid to our breaker box are tastefully buried. There will be no visible wires in this fantasy.

The last best place, I imagine, becomes a simulacrum of a wild world, tenuously holding the wild world at bay.

Welcome to Montana, the Pleasure State.

Part 2

Posted by Michael L Umphrey
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2008 Michael L. Umphrey

Now what? School reform after NCLB
     Keeping faith with community-centered teaching

One of the more comical aspects of NCLB is
the Hickory Farms facade on the US Depart-
ment of Education building in Washington,
D.C. The homey little red school house
acknowledges what we all know: kids do best
in human-scale places. We are apparently not
supposed to really notice that vast bureau-
cratic structure looming behind, that repre-
sents the reality of school reform via federal

Why are the politicians in charge of education?

Diane Ravitch asks Deborah Meier a critical question on the Bridging Differences blog:

. . .how did American education fall so effortlessly into the control of Know Nothings from the world of business, law, and politics?

How indeed?

Since schools are politically-governed institutions, why would you expect them not to be controlled by politicians? And as you increasingly centralize their governance, how would you not expect lawyers and businessmen to increase their control, as they have of most other centralized bureaucracies where there’s huge opportunity for gain?

It’s not quite true that these politicians, lawyers and businessmen truly know nothing. It’s just that in a democracy where vast numbers of voters are ignorant or inattentive or both, politics will often be dominated by opportunists who pander for gain. It would take a Know Nothing—or at least someone uninformed by much history— to expect otherwise.

Schools depend on the surrounding community for both their clientle and their staff. Public schools also depend on that community for their governance. Ever since I was a young, reform-minded principal, I’ve been quite sure that the community needs to be the unit of educational change, if we are talking about a public school. As long as decisions are made by elections, it’s nearly inconceivable that a school will operate for long at a higher intellectual or ethical level than the community in which it is embedded. To get the community to do something difficult, such as succeeding at teaching children difficult things, at least a majority of the community will need to see and understand the need for doing hard things.

Lost in a national “community”

That seemed hard enough in the town where I worked. When the size of the decision-making community has been expanded to include the entire nation, as it has been under No Child Left Behind, the difficulty is beyond daunting. No individual is likely to be heard above the roar of institutional voices, speaking through costly lawyers in forums created and controlled by big money. Of course we lose our voices.

At this juncture, those of us who would like schools to be thoughtful places where difficult and meaningful work is the daily task, our choices for getting there seem to be either to educate a majority of the national citizenry to share our vision, so we can get past gridlock or ugly compromises and can get on with the work, or to escape national decision-making (though we may want to keep national information gathering and dissemination) and let folks at the site make most of the decisions, through some system of decentralization.

The most hopeful may be vouchers which could allow a network of private schools where decisions about professional practice could be made by professional educators without undue interference from local politicians. Disgruntled parents would not need to campaign for politicians who promise some axe grinding. Instead, their freedom would be preserved through choice. If they disliked what was happening at school, instead of getting involved in politics they could just change schools.

One danger, of course, is that many private schools would just be local franchise outlets of large corporations offering the educational equivalent of happy meals: cheap, standardized, and gratifying but not very good for you. To be honest, I’m not at all sure this would be worse than what many kids are now getting, and I’m also sure that educational fast food would not be the only offerings on the market. McDonalds has not driven good restaurants out of business.

Be that as it may, we are nowhere near the first choice袀reaching a shared vision of what quality public schools would look likeԢindeed, we may be moving farther from it, judging by the partisan tone of our national political conversation. So the first choice seems, well, impossible.

And if the second choice—a robust national system of private schools—doesn’t quite seem impossible, it does seem unsatisfying, ineffective and unrealistic, at least in the short term.

One initial problem with it is that new schools would be staffed by people from the existing education industry and so would tend to re-create the system we would hope to reform. A lot of ideas about teaching that have been demonstrated not to work (whole language, learning styles, multiple intelligences, portfolio assessments and most thing deemed “authentic” or “student-centered") are, nevertheless, ubiquitous and seemingly as ineradicable as false ideas about medicine that seem so ingrained that even many doctors believe them: we only use 10 percent of our brains or we should drink at least eight glasses of water a day.

Speaking about the difficulty of making progress by increasing parental choice, Ravitch somewhat irreverently points out that

most schools will reflect the dominant ideas of the schools of education, where most teachers get their training, so most schools will adopt programs of whole language and fuzzy math. . . . Most students under a pure choice regime will know very little about history or literature or science.

City Journal

This is what I’ve thought for a long time. Parental choice may be better for reasons having to do with freedom, but I wouldn’t expect it to lead to mass improvement on standardized tests. In the short run, a new charter school or voucher school is unlikely to be fundamentally different than a typical public school. Where would it find people who think and act in ways fundamentally different than their colleagues up the street?

Where are our teaching orders?

So things at the moment look a little bleak. At such times, when there seems no clear way forward, I sometimes finding myself thinking about an odd comment Philip Rief once threw out: “Where are our teaching orders?”

An order is as different from an organization as a team is from a committee. In an order, each member has internalized the principles that the larger order is dedicated to so that, in a sense, each member contains the whole. People are bound together by their shared vision and shared commitment rather than by the formal rules, though formal rules will certainly exist as expressions of the vision and commitment and as a way to remember complex learnings.

A good teaching order would both train teachers and operate schools. The animating vision of the order would provide guidance not only for the curriculum, but also for system-wide discipline involving the conduct of teachers and administrators as well as students. Most schools today have adopted the vision of school as a due-process bureaucracy, which often creates organizations that exist in a high state of disorder because the wills of the individuals are not aligned. Students are taught they have rights but less often are they taught they have duties to any particular communal order. Orders must be entered by choice.

At present, leaders who would create different schools usually need to use teachers trained by the universities into the standard progressive ed vision. Though we do have hundreds or thousands of programs that do some teacher training, the training is usually inservice and narrowly focused, and after a summer institute the teachers return to their various schools, where they are likely to be quite lonely.

Focusing on the work at hand

Even so, I feel oddly optimistic. Maybe because at the moment I have lots of work to do and the school I’m at is at least in comparative terms a sane place. It would be a breach of faith to feel pessimistic when every twenty-four hours a brand new morning arrives, and I have energy.

I also know that the rules that govern our reality respond to us. Many of those laws are, as Peter Berger and Thomas Luckman put it, “socially constructed,” and some realities we can change by changing such simple things as the way we walk, our posture and the expression on our face.

At times when we can’t do all we would like to do, it may be enough to be honest with ourselves, to listen carefully, to think clearly and to speak candidly. Sometimes we don’t need to solve problems so much as we need to lose our fear of them and turn away from them to the other things that matter to us more.

We only need to change our minds and all sorts of unsolvable problems vanish. Something is going to change. Keep busy and look forward to what’s going to happen next.

Posted by Michael L Umphrey
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2008 Michael L. Umphrey

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