I highly recommend Lauren Gunderson’s play Miss Bennett: Christmas at Pemberly; it’s one that’s likely to come around from time to time during the holiday season (The Washington Post reviewed it here). We laughed so hard our sides hurt; the ending is massively moving. Seattle’s Taproot Theatre is a really lovely, intimate space; since the kiddos were on the front row, they had to watch their posture so they didn’t become part of the play.
All three together again!
Also, the SAM’s exhibit Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India. Perusing their really well-done site gives a good idea of the actual exhibit. http://peacock.site.seattleartmuseum.org
The detail in the paintings is astounding.
ca 1725, by artist Dalchand. My hand is covering the maharaja (Abhai Singh) but he’s not the most interesting part of the scene; the women’s faces are individualized to an unusual degree in this painting.
Four book recommendations:
Outline, by Rachel Cusk.
“Your failures keep returning to you, while your successes are something you always have to convince yourself of” (41)
“It seems success takes you away from what you know, he said, while failure condemns you to it” (65).
The characters show a very compelling openness to conversations with strangers; there’s an undercurrent of possible danger, of decisions perhaps not entirely prudent, and of not quite getting the whole story, that gives this book its edge of mystery.
Idea worth contemplating in light of Buddhist non-grasping: “I had come to believe more and more in the virtues of passivity, and of living a life as unmarked by self-will as possible. One could make almost anything happen, if one tried hard enough, but the trying –it seemed to me– was almost always a sign that one was crossing the currents, was forcing events in a direction they did not naturally want to go, and though you might argue that nothing could ever be accomplished without going against nature to some extent, the artificiality of that vision and its consequences had become –to put it bluntly– anathema to me. There was a great difference, I said, between the things I wanted and the things I could apparently have, and until I had finally and forever made my peace with that fact, I had decided to want nothing at all” (170-171).
The Gift of Failure, by Jessica Lahey
This book is especially useful for parents and teachers in assessing our approach to guiding young people through adolescence and encouraging responsible, independent ownership of both failures and successes. For anyone who is helping a kid with executive function deficits, I think the book is best paired with resources specifically tailored to that end (see Harvard’s guide here).
Lahey reminds us that “…pain, whether it’s experienced as frustration, disappointment, sadness, or anger, is what prompts change and growth” (155).
Teach, Breathe, Learn, by Meena Srinivasan
I really like her suggestions for verbal adjustments that have deep implications for how we treat ourselves and others. For instance, replacing the words “good” and “bad” with “helpful” and “unhelpful” in the context of our positive and negative qualities or actions immediately changes the focus from judgment and shame to honest evaluation.
How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life, by Massimo Pigliucci
I find this book to be a very accessible history of ideas, philosophy, and practical application of stoic principles for living with more discipline and tranquility of mind.