Dear Folks,

It’s summer! And if you can find a cool spot, and a few minutes, slow down. Grab a notebook or a journal, and fill a page or two with your thoughts:

  • What’s going well right now?
  • What do you need to change?
  • What hurts?
  • Who can you thank for their role in your life?
  • Does anyone deserve an apology?
  • How can you frame an old struggle as an opportunity?
  • Who or what is calling you?

To hear better at this time of year, I read a bunch of books. Maybe it’s the extra light at the end of the day or changing gears at work, but somehow the time seems to find me, and I surrender to its prodding. “Sit still, and listen,” it says. “Others have struggles to share, and the victories of making their way through.” So I read, and I take notes when something particularly strikes me, and I lose myself in someone else’s narrative. And frequently I find some part of myself in the process. What are you reading this summer? What are you seeing and feeling and thinking?

My current stack looks like this:

Whiskey Tender, by Deborah Jackson Taffa, is her memoir of growing up as a citizen of the Quechan Nation and Laguna Pueblo. It’s funny and poignant and bracingly honest, the story of a mixed tribe Indigenous family with one foot in mainstream America and the other dancing the mystery of an ancient people.

Scattered Clouds, New and Selected Poems, by Rueben Jackson. The collection contains the full text of “For Trayvon Martin,” and additional poems explore family, music, mortality, and the streets of the author’s Washington, DC. It’s full of yearning, insight, and “rueful wisdom.”

Demon Copperhead, by Barbara Kingslover, a retelling of Dickens’ David Copperfield. According to a review, the novel “speaks for a new generation of lost boys, and all those born into beautiful, cursed places they can’t imagine leaving behind.”

The Hidden Spirituality of Men, by Matthew Fox. Author Fox explores why the life of the Spirit is often inaccessible for men, devoting his work to ten metaphors designed to awaken the sacred within us.

On Trails, an exploration, by Robert Moor. Continuing the work I discovered in A Philosophy of Walking, I look forward to Moor’s work on trails of all kinds. While through-walking the Appalachian Trail, the author began to wonder about the paths that lie beneath our feet. “How do they form? Why do some improve over time while others fade? What makes us follow or strike off on our own?”

Boundaries of Soul, the practice of Jung’s psychology, by June Singer, part of my training in Spiritual Direction at the Haden Institute. (Full disclosure: I am reading this book again, after plowing through it this winter!) Jung has introduced me to a further kind of walking—down and deep and dreamy.

Good travels, wherever the path takes you this summer.