My appreciation for persistence as a desirable trait has been on a roller coaster in the past month or so. It seemed like an admirable quality to have until I went to see the film about Ray Kroc, of McDonald’s fame, titled, inappropriately as it turns out, “The Founder.” Kroc’s mantra-like reliance on his belief in persistence as the tool for success in business exposes his cutthroat tendencies. When he asks one of the McDonald brothers, with whom he is partnering to expand their fast food concept, if McDonald would be willing to put a garden hose down the throat of his drowning competitor, the brother carefully responds “no…nor would I want to.” Persistence, at all costs, has no place in my repertoire either.
And then persistence was redeemed! It happened for me when Senator Elizabeth Warren was chastised and temporarily silenced on the Senate floor as she tried to shed light on the history of a political appointee. A Senate colleague said of her: “Warren was giving a lengthy speech. She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” (Washington Post, 2/8/16)
Two ways to be persistent. One that hurts people. One that demonstrates a dogged interest in uncovering truth. One that looks no further than a tunnel-visioned need to dominate. One that is willing to overcome dismissiveness.
P.S. This coming Tuesday, March 14 at 12:10, a performance of Debussy’s one-act opera L’infant prodigue. No tickets. Join us! Church of the Epiphany, Tuesday Concert Series
I’ve lived with Bach’s Goldberg Variations for a long time now. More than half my lifetime in fact. I would pull them out periodically, feeling that I was revisiting an old friend, but a friend who always has something new to share. I began thinking about Bach and mindfulness last year in a way that meant something to me. Each variation became linked in my mind with a word and that word became something like the “intention” that yoga students are sometimes asked to set for their practice. A word to mediate on and to help draw more from within. For the next 32 weeks I will post one of the variations and write about the word I associated with the music. Sometimes a connection will seem obvious, but more often it will be unexplainable. It became apparent as I worked on this project that I thought about things which I wanted to cultivate in myself, ways of being in the world that were positive. All of the recordings are to be made in my living room, playing the 9 foot Steinway that was gifted to me on January 5, 2016.