Hold It All

Category: Friends

Playing Ophelia Helped Lindsey Navigate Her Own Grief

My comrade and teacher Lindsey Trout Hughes was published yesterday in Catapult … incredible writing, with more to come…

Share the Wealth with Matthew Miller: Rumi, Sufi Path of Love, and the Politics of “Mysticism”

Matthew Miller will lead us in a wide ranging discussion about Persian Sufi poetry. He will touch on the problems with many popular translations of Rumi and explore the “Sufi path of love” by introducing us to a few new Sufi poets who have not received as much popular acclaim in the “West.” Laced throughout this discussion will be a consideration of how the “mystical” and political are intertwined in both liberatory and oppressive ways.

Matthew Miller grew up in Cincinnati, OH, spent many, many years in school in St. Louis at Washington University, and current lives in Washington, DC. His day job is as an assistant professor of Persian literature and digital humanities at the University of Maryland, College Park. In his free time he tries to be a social justice activist and urban farmer, too.

Join us
Sunday 31 May
7:00 p.m C.S.T.
Via Zoom
Email me for URL

Drs. Matt Miller, Nima Sheth; Neil Munjal; photo by Dr. Neeta Shenai

Share the Wealth with Sari Althubyani: Ramadan Kareem

Sari will share with us his various experiences of Ramadan, from his homeland in Saudi Arabia to United States in these last few years. Bring your questions or share your own experience of this time of spiritual strengthening, Qur’an reading, and communal solidarity.

Sari will be a senior at Maryville University this fall; among his passions are automobiles and deep sea diving.

Join us
Sunday 24 May
7:00 p.m C.S.T.
Via Zoom
Email me for URL


Share the Wealth with Jack McAtee: In But Not of The World

During this discussion we will try to make sense of these wild, strange, sad, wonderful, and terrifying times that we currently have the opportunity to live through. I’ll take a critical view on the current state of our democracy and other social institutions that are making life or death decisions on a daily basis. I plan to draw on my own personal experiences from working in and wrestling with Corporate America. I also plan to share how certain spiritual leaders (Thomas Merton, Ram Dass, Thich Nhat Hanh, Henry David Thoreau) have helped me along this journey. Then I’ll attempt to share how I try to gently balance those two themes together (suggestions greatly appreciated!).

Jack is a life-long resident of St. Louis. He grew up in a very loving family that he owes the world to. He somehow tricked Saint Louis University into giving him degrees in Economics and Finance. In the roughly four years since graduation, his day-to-day gig has involved working as a bond trader for a local financial services firm. Jack’s next big adventure is to attempt to solo kayak the lower Mississippi River (STL -> New Orleans) in May 2021.

Join us
Sunday 17 May
7:00 p.m C.S.T.
Via Zoom
Email me for URL

Share the Wealth with Natalie Long… Agrarianism, the Divine, and the Presence of Absence: Reflections on a Trip to Poland

We are living in historic times. The pandemic afflicting the human species is not only a test of the resiliency of people around the world, but also an invitation to examine the insufficiency of existing systems, institutions, and norms that govern human behavior. As I wrestle with understanding the rapidly changing conditions that continue to evolve, I also find myself consumed with a search to understand how human societies must change – often paradigmatically – so as to create worlds that halt destructive behaviors and promote harmonious existence with life in all its forms.

In May 2019, I visited a dear friend who is a professor in Warsaw, Poland. My trip lasted just a bit over two weeks; but, in that short time span, I came away with a handful of rich experiences that continue to generate reflections about how a society chooses, and/or is forced, to organize itself. While reflecting on my trip, three overriding themes emerge that appear present in the Polish population: (i) an ethos of agrarianism; (ii) a pervasive spiritual practice; and (iii) the presence of absence and/or an intimate experience of catastrophe.

My modest goal for this Share the Wealth is to share a few stories from my time in Poland that highlight those themes, with the hope that we might generate a space to imagine briefly how we might change our world, before it is changed for us.
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Share the Wealth with Cami Kasmerchak–Year of the Photograph: A Project to Give Myself Permission to Be Me

At the beginning of 2019 I decided to take the year to explore my passion of photography more deeply through the self-proclaimed “Year of the Photograph.” At the time, I was living in Seattle, WA and used this project as an excuse to go new places, follow my interests, and appreciate the beauty surrounding me. This project gave me the momentum to start my own photography Instagram page and website, which I see as ways to share my works with others. Out of a desire to keep that momentum going, I dubbed 2020 as the “Year of the Portrait.” Although this project has not been off to the start I originally imagined, I hope to find ways to continue growing as a creative during this year. For this Share the Wealth, I will share pictures from both “Year of the Photograph” and “Year of the Portrait,” discuss the impacts these projects have had on me, and open conversation about creative pursuits others are undertaking or hope to in the future.

Cami is a writer, photographer, and avid reader. She is currently pursuing a Master in Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. During this social distancing era she has lost all sense of time, enjoys yoga videos from her living room, and is managing to keep all her house plants alive.

Join us
Sunday 19 April
7:00 p.m C.S.T.
Via Zoom
Email me for URL

I See You by Rachel Dratnol

To my fellow OTs,
the PTs and SLPs,
the nurses and NPs,
the PCTs and unit clerks,
the case managers and social workers,
the MDs and PAs,
the respiratory therapists and patient transporters,
the environmental services and engineering staff,
the lab and imaging techs,
the security team, valet workers, and parking garage staff,
the admin assistants, MAs, and front desk staff,
the cafeteria, Cafe, and ABP workers,
the volunteers, students and university faculty and staff,
the hospital leadership:
I see you. Coming to work. Self-monitoring. Donning the face mask, hospital-issued scrubs, yellow gown, gloves, and goggles. Conserving that valuable PPE as much as you can. Washing your hands – more times than you can count. Treating and caring for your patients to the best of your abilities. Practicing your craft via telehealth for the very first time. Socially distancing from your coworkers as you type your notes. Reading your email to learn what the numbers are that day and how the hospital is responding. Cleaning rooms, equipment, beds, and every other surface anyone comes into contact with. Discharging your patients to the safest place for them as soon as they are well enough. Doing the work that was not originally in your job description. Switching to a completely different role as the hospital needs. Working hard to make sure we flatten the curve and save as many lives as possible. Planning for something we know is coming but are not exactly certain to what extent. Transforming the hospital into something greater than we ever imagined. Read the rest of this entry »

Think Small

Today my friend Lucy, an ICU nurse in Idaho, sent me a text expressing her gratitude for the solace she received from a very short chapter in my book, Dear Layla Welcome to Palestine.


My Nocturnal Pleasure…

Reading Lauren Sharpe.




A Time of Sacred Confusion by Michèle Shimizu-Kelley

My house is
a thin-feeling place
I sit
witnessing the fog roll in on
a time of Sacred Confusion.

I’ve been reading
The poems,
The prayers,
The mantras of
The wisdom-speakers
Reminding us of the truths
That in some terrible and terrific ways
This virus is going to help us
To slow down,
To reconnect with the humus of our humanity,
To remind us of how interdependent we all are
On this Earth
Our Common Home.
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