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Saturday, April 29, 2006


Here we go again

As President Reagan once said: "here we go again..."

Our President is getting ready to invade another Middle Eastern country. But don't worry - he'll talk about diplomatic solutions for a while. And his Press Secretary will probably get advice from Madison Avenue on the best time to break the news to us.

A front page story in the Post this morning describes an International Atomic Energy Agency report confirming "that Iran is accelerating its uranium enrichment efforts and hiding crucial information about its nuclear program." The article goes on to describe our President's reaction:
President Bush said after the report's release that "the world is united and concerned" about Iran's "desire to have not only a nuclear weapon but the capacity to make a nuclear weapon or the knowledge to make a nuclear weapon." He said he hoped for a diplomatic solution.
Ha! "Bullshit," I thought to myself when I read this. "Bullshit" that our President would hope for a diplomatic solution. "Bullshit" that he didn't have his zealous, hawky pals deeply immersed in military planning - just as we now know they were planning military action in Iraq without evidence of any imminent threat.

For a minute, I stopped myself - maybe it's just knee-jerk cynicism, I thought. But such optimistic glimmers faded quickly as I reminded myself of the depths of this man's insanity, this man who sees his mission to save the world from evil.

And sure enough, as Seymour Hersh painstakingly details in this month's issue of New Yorker magazine, Bush and his merry band of zealots are at it again. Saying one thing ("...diplomatic solution") and doing quite another:
The Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack....

...One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on a belief that “a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.” He added, “I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, ‘What are they smoking?’ ”
Later in the article, a member of the House Appropriations Committee is quoted as saying about the President, “The most worrisome thing is that this guy has a messianic vision.”


So what are we going to do about it?

Related Reading:

New Yorker: The Iran Plan
Seymour Hersh article referenced above, published 4/8/06.

Washington Post: U.N. Body Set to Act on Iraq
Article referenced above, published 4/29/06, written by Molly Moore and Dafna Linzer.

Foreign Affairs: Intelligence, Policy and the War in Iraq
A summary of this 3/06 report: "During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, writes the intelligence community's former senior analyst for the Middle East, the Bush administration disregarded the community's expertise, politicized the intelligence process, and selected unrepresentative raw intelligence to make its public case."

Frontline: Truth, War and Consequences
This 10/03 report, which you can watch on the site, "traces the roots of the Iraqi war back to the days immediately following September 11, when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ordered the creation of a special intelligence operation to quietly begin looking for evidence that would justify the war."

Sunday, April 16, 2006



"What do you do for a living?," asked Sadie, the acupuncturist from Maryland, as we waited for the band to begin playing. We were both friends of the guitarist.

"I work at [insert name of company here]," I said. "I manage part of the Web site."


"But I'm planning my escape."

She nodded politely. Conversation turned to astrological signs.

I haven't written much in this blog about my job, because I don't know how to write about it without being specific about where I work, and I don't want to get in trouble, like so many other bloggers. But if you haven't noticed, this blog has stagnated lately -- and it's because work is what's on my mind. "Work" in the fullest sense -- "work" as in "occupation," as in "my life's work," as in, "Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, there is your vocation" (Aristotle). Or, to quote the book I'm currently reading:
"We find lifelong meaning in giving through the work we love."

So I've decided to write about my efforts, past and present, to find work I love. I consider this a lifelong process -- just like a relationship with someone you care about, your relationship with work needs attention if it is to remain vital.

Many people I know -- good friends, casual acquaintances, 20-somethings, 40-somethings -- struggle to varying degrees with how much their work should be an expression of their identity: whether 9-5 should be dedicated to what they love, or just a way to support their life outside of work; whether it's realistic to expect fulfillment from work; whether it's possible to make a living doing work you love.

I don't profess to have answers, but maybe by sharing my story, I can help other people find their path.


First, a quick look at where I've been, so you know who you're dealing with:
My relationship with my current job is complicated, and provides enough material for many other posts. For now, I'll just say -- I've come to realize that despite its merits (and there are many), it's time for me to break out on my own. To crystallize my vision of what I want to contribute to the world that is uniquely mine to give -- that intersection of my passion and the world's needs.

Stay tuned...


Amanda's library of books on finding meaningful work (listed in the order read):

Zen and the Art of Making a Living
The Artist's Way
The Artist's Way at Work (never finished)
What do You Want to Do With Your Life?
How to Find the Work You Love (reading now - about halfway through)

Also, this blog by Tranquil Space's Kimberly Wilson provides relevant inspiration (just tune out the stuff about being hip and fashionable - there's advice about living mindfully that relates to the search for meaningful work...):

Hip Tranquil Chick

Are there books or Web sites on this topic that you'd recommend? Let me know, and I'll add 'em to the list...

Friday, April 07, 2006


Reasons I love my neighborhood

I was just walking my dog and we met a 5-month-old bassett hound named Mookie Wilson. Then an old black man whizzed by in a wheelchair yelling, either to the guy in the car behind him or the woman in the wheelchair on the sidewalk, "I'm gonna beat you!"

Sunday, April 02, 2006


Things learned on a yoga retreat in Tobago

1. I am powerful.
2. I can let go of fear.
3. Even though I haven't traditionally been athletic, I can be athletic now. I am strong. "Focus on what you can do," one of my yoga teachers said.
4. Roosters in Tobago (toe-bay-go) start crowing at 2 am and don't stop all day.
5. There is nothing more wonderful than floating in the sea.
6. I enjoy challenging myself.
7. I am a master napper.
8. I love the sound of wind rustling through palm trees.
9. Opening my eyes after shivasana (resting state at the end of a yoga practice) to see a sky full of stars fills me with profound gratitude and feelings of abundance.
10. A week without an ounce of media - no newspapers, no television, no ads - is exhilirating and restorative. I wish I never had to read or send an email again in my life.
11. This mantra brings me peace:

(inhale) Everything I need and desire
(exhale) The universe provides

(inhale) Everything I have
(exhlae) I give away

(inhale) Everything I give
(exhale) Comes back to me ten-fold.


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