Popular music, what is success, and other UU conversations

What is success?

Two bloggers wrote about what makes for feelings of success rather than true achievement. Doug Stowe responded to a National Public Radio story about the “IKEA effect,” the feelings one can get from putting something together.

Sadly, the naming of this phenomenon the “Ikea effect” will normalize the consumer relationship with boxed furniture, rather than reminding us that there are even greater rewards available in true craftsmanship, in which a solo craftsman has built something useful, beautiful and real from his or her OWN creative inclinations and skill. (Wisdom of the Hands, February 7)

Laura Lee approaches the subject as an independent author struggling to find effective ways of promoting her books.

Our true religion in America is the one that says that success in any venture is possible if you have enough optimism and marketing savvy. If you fail, therefore, it can only mean you did not have enough of one or the other. That is why you find so many blogs by writers speaking with tremendous enthusiasm about novels that have, in reality, sold about 20 copies. (Author Laura Lee, February 7)

Claiming popular music

David G. Markham points to Madonna’s “Like a Prayer,” asking “Madonna sings that life is a mystery and when people speak to us and we hear their voice sometimes it is like an angel sighing. Have you ever had that experience?” (UU A Way of Life, February 4)

Tandi Rogers shared a favorite song from an American Idol winner that was used at the UU Ministers Association Institute for Excellence, “Home” by Phillip Phillips. (Growing Unitarian Universalism, February 6)

The Rev. Lynn Ungar’s 14-year-old daughter was “aglow” after watching Beyoncé’s Super Bowl performance, and asked Ungar to watch it online.

There the singer was onstage at the biggest homage to testosterone in the nation. She was up there with her all-female band and women dancers and the gal with flames shooting out of her guitar, having, as far as anyone could tell, the time of her life. Yes, she was powerful, receiving the homage of all those roaring fans, all those hands reaching out to her. And yes, she couldn’t have been more obviously, writhingly sexual. Which was, at moments, a bit jaw-dropping as something to watch with my teenage daughter. But the more I think about it, the more I wonder what exactly there is to object to about her hip-swinging, hair-flinging sexiness. (Quest for Meaning, February 6)

Meanwhile, Gary Lerude recommends “Benedictus” by 2CELLOS for meditation. (Be Spiritual, February 3)

Family matters

Deb Werrlein contemplates taking her husband’s surname.

When I got married nearly twenty years ago, I . . . didn’t realize how uncomfortable my new name would be until I took it. My primary regret, however, is that I didn’t set a different example for my kids. I think it’s important they understand that the tradition of marriage originated as a means of trading in women. Love, and eventually partnership, came in time. These things have changed marriage and should change its tenets accordingly. Consequently, I hope my kids will see the traditions around marriage as in flux and subject to their invention. (small house, big picture, February 4)

Sarah Macleod is raising (and homeschooling) two introverts.

Our introversion isn’t something to be fixed. It’s a good part of who we are, and for that, no apologies are needed. By respecting our needs (yet still meeting our commitments), we’re learning important lessons in self-regulation. I’ve often told my kids to recognize that rising feeling of discomfort that can occur when one is overloaded with the sound and fury of an extroverted world. I’ve encouraged them to listen to their bodies and brains and to plan for time for solitude around points that demand being in a crowd. (Quarks and Quirks, February 4)

Jacqueline Wolven describes three simple practices that improve her life.

Even when I think I don’t have time I know that doing at least 10 minutes of mediation practice, writing 3 pages, and exercising for 20 minutes changes my entire day. I’m not exactly sure why it works? I just know it does. (Jacqueline Wolven, February 2)

Around the blogosphere

The Rev. Tom Schade continues his posts on the relationship between Unitarian Universalism and the current U.S. political situation.

Having spent most of its institutional history (1968 to 2008) in a culture where all forms of liberalism were actively demonized, mocked, and vilified, Unitarian Universalism is paralyzed in a defensive crouch. (The Lively Tradition, February 7)

Elz Curtiss reflects on the polity implications of an earlier post by Schade about considering “new possibilities.”

I have come to believe that antiquated polity is the greatest danger to ourselves and to what we care about. . . .There’s a role for history, there’s a role for debate. But Tom has achieved the fundamental first step: he has pointed out we stand at a moment of existential crisis, and asked us where we want to go from here. (Politywonk, February 7)