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A daily 1-minute thought.

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"Hold this Thought" is a daily, 1-minute thought from literature, history, or culture designed to inspire reflection and conversation. We're located in Alaska - and are broadcast over KSKA public radio - but we'd like to include your voices, too. Please submit your Thoughts for consideration.

So start your day with something interesting and curious and continue it over conversation - either here or with the people nearby. A little more thoughtfulness in our day couldn't hurt.

East of Eden: Barbara Brown

Todays Thought

Excerpted from East of Eden by John Steinbeck, published by Penguin Books.

Contributed and read by Barbara Brown: "Thank you for listening and for sharing your Thoughts. It has been an inspiration and a pleasure. The website [www.holdthisthought.org] remains active."

While Hold this Thought has done everything I ever wanted it to do -- start conversations, refer people to new sources of good reads, inspire reflection -- it's simply too much work for one person. When it took off nationally, everything just quadrupled. I want to spend time with my family and my LIFE, and not spend so much time on the computer every evening and weekend. I like my life to stand on many legs, but Hold this Thought made for a one-project life.

I am enormously grateful for the good Thoughts that came my way, for the wonderful literature and real live people I met. For the enthusiasm you showed during recordings and for the thoughtfulness you added to the world.

Old Thoughts never die; they circulate around in email and bubble up in Google, so people still find them and think about them.  

This is Barbara Brown, and this is the last broadcast of "Hold this Thought." I thought it only fitting that I close by sharing a Thought from one of my long-time favorite books.

In East of Eden, John Steinbeck writes:

'A child may ask, "What is the world's story about?" And a grown man or woman may wonder, "What way will the world go? How does it end and, while we're at it, what's the story about?"

I believe that there is one story in the world.... Humans are caught -- in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too -- in a net of good and evil. I think this is the only story we have and that it occurs on all levels of feeling and intelligence. Virtue and vice were warp and woof of our first consciousness, and they will be the fabric of our last, and this despite any changes we may impose on field and river and mountain, on economy and manners. There is no other story. A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well -- or ill?'



Unseen Rain: Jon Minton

Taken from Unseen Rain, Quatrains of Rumi, translated by John Moyne and Coleman Barks, published by Threshold Books.

Read by Jon Minton, a theatre student at UAA. Jon is the coordinator of Poetry Parley at Out North, a monthly poetry reading that occurs on the Third Wednesday of every month. He is also a director for Alaska Theatre of Youth, directing their production of The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Rumi lived most of his life in Turkey during the 13th century. He wrote short poems, several of which have been translated by John Moyne  and Coleman Barks in the book Unseen Rain. In one, he advises us to "Listen to presences inside poems. Let them take you where they will." Here are some selections, taken in no particular order:

"I have lived on the lip
of insanity, wanting to know reasons,
knocking on a door. It opens.
I've been knocking from the inside!"

"I pretended to leap
to see if I could live there.
Someday I must actually arrive there,
or nothing will be left to arrive."

"Don't let your throat tighten
with fear. Take sips of breath
all day and night. Before death
closes your mouth."

"My ego is stubborn, often drunk, impolite.
My loving: Finely sensitive, impatient, confused.
Please take messages from one to the other,
Reply and counter-reply."

"Begin as creation, become a creator.
Never wait at a barrier.
In this kitchen stocked with fresh food,
why sit content with a cup of warm water?"



Pressured Parents, Stressed-out Kids: Carlette Mack

Taken from Pressured Parents, Stressed-out Kids by Wendy S. Grolnick, Ph.D., and Kathy Seal, published by Prometheus Books.

Contributed by Julia Maher of Los Angeles. Read by Carlette Mack: "This reading appeals to me because in my everyday life, I work to repair struggling relationships between parents and children. This reading examines the importance of the parental relationship, encouraging unconditional love and the personal development of values in both the parent and child." Carlette, Director of Program Services for Covenant House Alaska, has lived in Anchorage for 24 years. She is very passionate about youth issues and dedicated to providing a voice for youth, especially those that are homeless and at-risk. Carlette is on the Board of Directors at the YWCA and an avid bowler.

In the book Pressured Parents, Stressed-out Kids, Dr. Wendy Grolnick and Kathy Seal examine what it takes to stay connected with your kids.

"Autonomy is the feeling of initiating an action.

When people feel a sense of autonomy, the feeling that what they do derives from them, they're happier. And they perform better, because the enjoyment motivates them to study or practice more, building up their skills.
...
Some theorists recoil from the idea of autonomy because they connect it to the American archetype of the "rugged individualist." They understand autonomous people as egocentric and separate, rather than being warmly related to their parents, family, and friends.

But that's not my definition. Quite the opposite: autonomy promotes intimacy. It helps you and your child fulfill your basic human need for connection. At first it may seem paradoxical, but promoting a child's feeling of choice and freedom draws you closer."



Fifty Miles from Tomorrow: Willie Hensley

Taken from Fifty Miles from Tomorrow by Willie Iggiagruk Hensley, published by Sarah Crichton Books, and used by permission.

Read by Willie Iggiagruk Hensley: Born in a small house where Kotzebue Sound washes seafoam onto the Baldwin Peninsula's gravel shores, Willie is a lifelong Alaskan. He loves words and communicating about ideas -- from learning to read with Sears-Roebuck and Dick and Jane to studying and collecting old books about Alaska and doing any crossword puzzle he can get a pen onto. Willie is just a little bit surprised to be able to mention his own website, williehensley.com.

I have been asked to read this passage from my recent book, Fifty Miles from Tomorrow, about the loss of my family home in Kotzebue.

"This was the place where decade after decade the family had tied its dogs, beached its beluga, dried its seal meat and salmon, and moored its qayaqs and umiaqs. This was where year after year the father and sons would step out on the beach to assess the water, the clouds, and the wind before venturing out on the hunt.
...
We did not think of  straight lines and pieces of paper as describing our relationship to the land.
...
[But] in Kotzebue, the BLM surveyors had come to town, surveyed the entire three-mile spit from the beach back to the lagoon, then auctioned off hundreds of lots. ... [T]he local Iñupiat never had a chance. Many were out of town gathering food for the winter when the auction was held. .... The result of the auction was to prevent future generations of Native families from ever owning land, dooming them to be renters or squatters on what was now considered other people's property."



The Sun Magazine: Karen Greenwood

Taken from Sy Safransky's Notebook from the March 2007 issue of The Sun Magazine.

Read by Karen Greenwood: "The following quote speaks to me because as a yoga teacher, I seek to live and teach from a place of quiet presence, rather than routine." Karen, physical therapist and "Anusara-Inspired" yoga teacher, is a life-long student of sport and dance. Yoga found her in the mid-1990s and soon became her primary movement expression. She assumed the directorship of Inner Dance Yoga Studio in Anchorage in 2007.

Sy Safransky, editor and founder of The Sun Magazine, writes of perseverance:

"When I started The Sun, passion was all I had. I was young and broke but determined to keep the magazine alive, so I welcomed the challenge of staying up all night to finish an issue.... Thirty-three years later, ... I try to be fully present, whether I'm reading a stack of submissions ... or recycling my trash at the end of the day. I try to remember that the innumerable details involved in publishing The Sun are no less a part of my spiritual path than sitting cross-legged in meditation or getting on my knees to pray. I also try to keep in mind something the spiritual teacher J. Krishnamurti once said, 'I do yoga every day' -- he meant every day for fifty years -- 'but I've never made a habit of it.'"