The Snipers Within

  I haven’t seen American Sniper, but I know it’s in a theater-near-me. It won’t be surprising that I’m not really a fan of war movies.  I’m also not a fan of war.  But, at bottom, I imagine there are very few who prefer annihilation over peace. From the media buzz related to the Academy Award nominee, I understand that the film stands on the premise that, with armed conflict underway, there is… Read More

Re: My Profession’s Role in Torture

I’m a professor of psychological and cultural studies.  Gary Snyder is a poet and essayist. In an interview in the Paris Review, Snyder spoke of writing as his work.  He spoke about integrity – in his work as a writer, and to my mind, immediately relevant to my profession – Psychology. This is what Snyder’s interviewer asked:  You’ve written, “Changing the filter, wiping noses, going to meetings, picking up around the house, washing… Read More

Dear 2015

Dear New Year – Thanks for showing up. Thanks for being so matter-of-fact about it.  For doing nothing at all out of the ordinary, but still, being inspiring.  No matter how tired and pessimistic – no matter how overwhelmed we are by circumstances close in or strewn across this planet of ours, so out-of-control and horrific.  No matter any of that and because of all of it you give most of us… Read More

I AM MORE THAN – Leadership out of Montgomery

  I want you to know about this! Thanks to the vision of my friend Michelle Browder, and her collaborators – the youth of Montgomery, Alabama – there will be a powerful commemoration of Bloody Sunday – The civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery March 6, 1965.  Michelle and her colleagues are pulling out the stops.  They’ve created an organization – I AM MORE THAN – and they are working steadily toward a… Read More

A Great Indigenous Leader Honored with a Public Award

Late yesterday, the longstanding and visionary environmental organization, Ecotrust, announced this year’s awardees for the Indigenous Leadership Award.  Among the five leaders named is Roy Hunter Sampsel, my dear friend and mentor.  What well-deserved recognition.  This man is a giant of leadership! I had a nagging sense of incongruence when my first move to announce how thrilled I am with this news was to put it on facebook – but such is… Read More

In the Presence of a Great Gray Owl

I just sent email to children I met in North Carolina last week.  They live in an enormous old house right in the middle of the Smoky Mountains.  They run around the house, its sprawling porches and every inch of the generous land that surrounds it.  They are learning with every step.  They’re kids.  Learning and running around is, most naturally, what kids do. These children have parents who are committed to… Read More

Fresh Water Matters

I’m sitting in a room with large windows.  Outside fresh water tumbles by, higher on the banks of Rock Creek than usual for August.  There’s been way more snow and rain this year than is ever expected for this arid region of Montana.  Regardless of the reason and in spite of some of the local folks’ complaints, the water doesn’t miss a beat.  Constancy is its nature. Today, Matt Damon did the… Read More

Gaza and the Courage to be Kind

There is so much that is difficult about circumstances in Gaza. Two Julys ago, my niece Mary spent time volunteering in Palestine, building homes there, her colleagues of all nationalities, and the promised residents all knew would be destroyed – and they were (MARY SAYS, MITT SAYS. Blog July 29, 2012). Mary met and befriended Palestinians and Israelis. She has made more friends in subsequent visits and remains dearly connected with many… Read More

Youth Leading with Music

This past Tuesday morning, I met a friend for coffee.  Just a week earlier she had approached me, eyes shining especially (Soraya’s eyes about always shine) to say she hoped I’d have time to meet with her and her husband.  She described Chaz as a musician and a man of activism – quiet, but profound.  And not quiet when it comes to sound, because Chaz is a musician of sturdy repute.  He… Read More

Leadership of People – A Follow-up on McAllen, TX

Leadership is a social phenomenon. I mean really – no leading is the least bit relevant outside of a group, outside of society.  I must concede to my biologist friends that leadership arguably happens among chimpanzees, lions, ants – even amoebas and cellular mitochondria.  But, right now, I’m focusing on leadership where people are concerned. And, I’m thinking it’s way too easy to forget that a leader has no credibility outside the… Read More