Life Without Judgment

In the oyster of obsession, you may find a pearl

On a business trip last winter, I got into a car to drive from Austin to Dallas, TX. I had all sorts of intentions for how I would spend my drive time – find an NPR affiliate, catch up with people on the phone, troll local stations for good music, and so on. But after I plugged my phone into the car’s USB port to charge the battery, a Ben Folds tune began to play and I realized that I could pipe my iTunes through the car’s system. An hour later I noticed a Ben Folds Five song that I had heard before, and discovered my iTunes was set on “Repeat Artist.” Did I change it? No, despite having every opportunity to take it off repeat, switch to another artist, or do something else entirely. I le

To become what we can be, do we need to release what we possess?

Everywhere I look I see the human impulse to possess, to retain, to own exclusively. Children often display its most raw form. I vividly recall friends of my parents visiting our house when I was 7 or 8. Their youngest son, age 3 or so, sat in the corner of the family room desperately clutching an armful of my brother’s toy cars, hollering “Mine! Mine!!!” Through the rest of my childhood, we would call out this child’s name as a humorous way to let someone know they were being piggy about something. We can even get possessive about items we cannot own, wishing (in vain) that we could be the “lone liker” of our favorite things. Recently my firstborn was heavily into a particular movie. When

On crying

The other afternoon I was doing something entirely mundane – driving to the ShopRite to grab some milk and grapes and eggs – and a song came on the radio that made me burst into tears for no discernable reason. It wasn’t a song from when I was growing up with my brother, or a song he used to play on his guitar, or a song that reminded me of something we did together. It had an old-school vibe to it that may have reminded me of my childhood with Frank, but that is the only possibility that comes to mind. Whatever the reason, I continued to sob in the car and it just got worse and worse as I drove. By the time I turned into the lot at the store I had to pull into a parking space as far away


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