There's so much I want to tell you — but how?
In light of the more serious challenges to free speech Twitter faces, and their inaction in rising to them effectively, bumping up the character limit from 140 to 280 seems largely irrelevant. What will we say in 280 characters that we haven't been able to say in 140?
Masks are everywhere these days... and not just because Halloween is just around the corner. Sometimes we don't even realize the masks that we've been wearing -- the patterns and themes and synchronicities that have been lurking behind the mask of random chance in our lives -- until someone else points them out to us. That's sort of what happened to me when, by sheer coincidence (or was it?), a curiously thematic bunch of my poems all were accepted for publication during the month of October.
Petrarch had his Laura,
a phoenix feather for his pen.
Danté's blessed Beatrice
sent him to hell and back again.
Rilke's heart-sick panther.
Burns' wee tim'rous beastie.
None tremble with the thrill I feel
whenever you retweet me.
I have a few principles that I try to embody in my work as a writer, and I take them very seriously. One of them is, as Gandhi said, to "be the change that I wish to see in the world." One change I wish to see in the world is an internet culture in which we rejoice in sharing the things we truly value most, the things that bring us the greatest joy and laughter, that stop us in our tracks with their beauty or poignant vulnerability or deep-rooted truth. I wish more people put as much energy into telling the world what they love and why, as they do complaining about what they dislike.
So I try not to complain. When I am drowning in grief or writhing from injustice, I try to own up to it as best I can and turn it into something beautiful, something that has meaning. Or at least something funny.
But sometimes it's hard. Really, really hard.
Hey look, someone on Twitter made a meme out of me! I feel honored! (Does this mean I get to start wearing a "Ask Me About My Meme" button on my lapel?)
From my post, "Gods Like Mountains, Gods Like Mist."
The blog is going through some pretty big changes, far beyond a whole new name and a whole new look. For all the information you could possibly want on how to stay updated and engaged, this post has just what you need, including: an updated RSS feed and new, improved newsletter; where to find me on social media; how to find out about online classes and book promotions; changes to the forums and comment policy; and so much more...
I hope Holy Wild continues to be a place that provokes contemplation and welcomes conversation for anyone whose life is rooted in the soft soil and sturdy bedrock of an earth-centered spiritual tradition. As always, thanks for reading, and may the blessings of the holy wild be yours!
Jeff Lilly's most recent article raises a lot of questions about the assumptions we make when it comes to the relationship between knowing the facts and actually understanding what those facts can tell us. It turns out that huge stockpiles of consumers' personal information, known as "Big Data," might not be the Holy Grail that the tech industry would like it to be. Persistent cultural biases can blind us to unexpected interpretations, or even lead us to see patterns where none exist at all.
But what does that mean for the rest of us? For those of us more likely to be on the receiving end of Big Data-driven marketing strategies and social media algorithms, the limits of Big Data are both a blessing and a warning. How will these new insights change the way we think about our online lives?