by clicking the "Next" arrow.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Mindful : June 2017
life. And that’s terrifying and painful, so you start thinking about ways to cope. You get skittish, your central nervous system revs up, and you become much more watchful, not in a childlike way, but in a haunted way. I started to be known for being funny right around then because it was the best way to deflect criticism. You talk about mercy as “radical kindness.” What do you mean by that? It’s radical in the sense that you would never expect it. I find a warmth in my heart where once there was bad energy. I may have the conviction that someone has sinned against me to such a degree that I’ll never have anything to do with him or her again. But, instead, I begin to see the fear and grief behind their bad behavior, and my heart softens. That, to me, is the hugest miracle of all. Can you give an example? A man in our neighborhood just hates me and my dog, Lady Bird, who’s like Dinah Shore running around the neighborhood, so sweet and so loving. He constantly calls the Humane Society to talk to me about keeping her on a leash. A few weeks ago, he and I really got into it. He took a picture to show the Humane Society that Lady Bird was not on a leash, and I said, “Make sure to get a picture of your dog and my dog kissing and licking each other’s noses, because that’s what they were doing.” I was on red alert. But afterward I said to myself, “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” So, I prayed deeply, and the other day when I saw him, I didn’t go into the story I usually tell myself. Lady Bird started running over to his dog and I said, “Sorry, sorry”—automatically, it was weird—and neither he nor I got into being morally superior. You take action, and insights follow. That’s mercy at work. You’ve written that mercy isn’t something that you do, it’s something that you are. Tell us about that. We come into the world merciful, and we can be that way again once we realize we have so many stories about ourselves and other people and so many defenses against feeling exposed. Little by little, we can start dropping that armor and practice being real instead of putting on those great social personas we’ve mastered. When you’re real with somebody, they will be real back. And when you’re back in your original, merciful, authentic selves, that breeds wonder and a deep sense of presence. Hugh Delehanty: Why mercy? Why now? Anne Lamott: I have a seven-year-old who lives with me, and I feel it’s a catastrophic time to be born into. But I also feel strongly that the coun- terintuitive thing to do in the face of the danger and chaos is to find mercy within yourself and operate from that place, instead of strategically trying to suss things out. I spend a lot of time with little kids, and I’ve noticed I become really merciful and open when they’re around. They’re crazily generous. My grandson will give stuff away that I don’t want him to give away. The merciful heart is really rich at four or five, but then it begins to diminish. In kindergarten you’re all part of the litter, all sleeping on the floor together. Then, in first grade, you learn subtraction—something before anybody else—and you start getting esteemed for that. Pretty soon, you go from being in the litter to being singled out for praise. You start putting things in the drawer that don’t serve you, like wonder and connection to life. Your parents don’t want you to be one of; they want you to start excelling. And that leads to perfectionism. But if you’re getting your value from excelling, you have to do more and more things perfectly, and, pretty soon, you’re a completely doomed human being. When did that happen for you? In school, I was quick and sharp, and that started to isolate me from the other kids. Some of them were jealous because I was such a star student, and they teased me about my crazy hair. There was this system of beauty and wealth. Gold, sil- ver, bronze. Beautiful or rich was gold, and every- body else was just fighting to be at least silver. You feel like you’re separating from others, but you’re really separating from yourself and pover ty, disease, prejudice,” she writes. “It includes everything out there that just makes us want to turn away, the idea of accepting life as it presents itself and doing goodness anyway, the belief that love and caring are marbled even into the worst life has to offer.” In a pink puffer jacket, spor ting her trademark dread- locks with golden highlights, Lamott is no faint-hearted church lady. Over the years, she has written evocatively about her struggles with alcoholism and her mid-life conversion to Christianity, but this morning, as the con- versation begins, the first thing she wants to talk about is her grandson, Jax. Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy, the latest from prolific writer Anne Lamott, delves into one of our most sublime emotions—to reveal how vital mercy is to life, how we so often ignore it, and how we can make it a bigger force in our lives. 70 mindful June 2017 the mindful interview