Discover more from The Commonplace
5 Quick Things #292 ☕️
examen, conversion, digestion, & using our time well
It’s really good to be back… I hope you’ve had the just-right July you needed. As for me, I thoroughly enjoyed my screen break, though as I mentioned here earlier this week to subscribers, it wasn’t as calm and reflective as previous Julys of mine. This particular one was filled with coffee dates with friends, lots of time with my ever-growing teenagers, and of course, leading another pilgrimage (more on that below). It was lovely! But full.
As Kyle and I walked the dog this morning, heasked me if I was ready to get back to these 5QT letters. I told him, without hesitation, YES. Not only do they provide a time-stake in my week letting me know it is, in fact, Friday, but I also genuinely enjoy writing them. I love connecting with you in just a few words, then sharing either what I wrote in longer form elsewhere, or sharing great things other fine folks have put out in the world. It truly is a simple delight of mine to deliver these to your inbox, and I hope this one comes to you with a smidge of joy that we’re back at it.
I’m writing you from my beloved neighborhood coffee shop, cold coffee in a mason jar next to me, breakfast taco waiting for me for later (I order now because they sell out fast, but I don’t typically eat until closer to lunch), and the ordinary happiness of baristas who know my name and embarrassingly greet me from the front door, Norm-style.
I hope you’re well. I’m glad you’re here.
5 Quick Things ☕️
1. In case you missed it, a few days ago I attempted to share what it was like to walk through Ireland with 42 kindred spirits. (Spoiler alert: it was phenomenal, and I’d love for you to join me one day.)
2. I chatted with a few fine folks for their podcasts this summer, and two released while I was quiet in July… On Letters to Women, I talked with Chloe Langr about the simple-but-necessary habit of Examen, why it’s been so helpful to me over the years, and why we should all adopt some form of this old monastic practice. (Spoiler alert: my new journal is for exactly this.)
3. On this episode of Creedal, I chatted with Zac Crippen about the beauty and challenge of dumbing-down our technology, why it’s so essential to loosen its grip on us, and a few other topics, including my conversion to Catholicism (he’s a fellow convert). It was a lovely conversation!
4. Curious why grains bother your body when they’ve largely been okay for most people for most of human history? Or why you can eat a grain like wheat just fine in a country like Italy but not in the U.S. (raising my hand here 🙋♀️)? Here’s a quick 101 of partly what’s happened. (Related: another example of why I’m such a Joel Salatin fan.)
5. And finally, pour yourself a drink as you read this slowly — it’s all so very good: “The choices we make for our use of time are important. But the reason they are weighty is not purely or merely a calculation of the finite nature of time for us, mere mortals, children of dust, feeble and frail. Rather, these choices matter because of how our use of time shapes us as beings with a mortal body yet an eternal soul.”
Currently Reading, Watching, Listening 🍿
A Hidden Life, by Terrence Malick
The Commonplace is a reader-supported publication. Become a subscriber:
“The growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts …half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life and rest in unvisited tombs.”
- George Eliot, Middlemarch
Do you take some form of a regular, intentional screen break? 🪴
I love your honesty. And I get that it's hard. But as I mentioned earlier this week, I think we all need them regularly. Consider scheduling one, if you haven't yet? Start small if you're nervous. At a minimum, you'll be glad you did — at minimum, you'll learn a lot about yourself.
Find this week’s poll here.
Join me in Greece! 🇬🇷
If you’ve ever wanted to walk in the steps of St. Paul, hop around the Greek islands, and meet kindred spirits of all ages and walks of life you never knew you needed in your life, you won’t want to miss this.
Coming to Your Mailbox in a Few Weeks! 📫
First Light & Eventide officially releases at the end of this month, on August 29!
Pre-order yours now if you’d like to have it ready for a new school year — we all know how crazy-busy the end of August is, so treat yourself to a surprise in the mailbox and you’ll be ready to go in starting a new habit of examen this fall.
Quick Links 🔗
Question(s) For You to Ponder… 🤔
What’s one small decision you can make today that’ll free up brain space and energy for the next few months?
Have a great weekend,
Kyle, not the dog. She’s female.
If you know, you know.