Episode Date May 17, 2022
Featured Guest Stephen Jenkinson
Featured Book "From the Republic of Conscience" by Seamus Heaney

Episode Summary

Stephen Jenkinson reading from Seamus Heaney’s From the Republic of Conscience and discussing stepping up in spite of whatever your burdens may be.

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‘When a man turns 30, he realizes that his life isn’t working.’ 

I heard this quote when I was in my thirties, and it spoke loudly to the crossroads that often occur at this moment of mid-life. When you hit your fifties, I think the question reappears – you’ve climbed your mountain, now who do you choose to be beyond that? As I’ve pondered this, I’ve been sitting with the idea of stepping into elderhood; the mentor role. Do you have an elder in your life, or are you perhaps being called, like me, to become one?

Stephen Jenkinson is someone I’ve looked up to as an elder, and he’s engaged rudely and briskly, with both life and death, having spent his time counseling dying people and their families. He’s a sculptor, a musician, a canoe builder, a sage, and the award-winning author of a favorite book of mine, Die Wise.

Stephen Jenkinson reads Seamus Heaney’s poem, ‘From the Republic of Conscience.’ [reading begins at 15:40]

Hear us discuss:

  • “You have to acknowledge many things about your own life that you’re less than thrilled about or proud of.” [19:35]
  • The nature of written law: “Lawfulness, in my mind, is principally predicated on obedience, not discernment.” [22:26]
  • The difference between grief and grievance: “One of the ways by which you know you are deeply and irreconcilably alive is having a capacity for grief – not to endure it, but to practise it.”  [27:21]
  • How to identify your burden. [33:02]
  • Deciding when to say ‘yes.’ [37:39]

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Resources:

Stephen Jenkinson | Website | Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul

Stephen’s new film (premier’s May 29): The Dead Starling Session

Seamus Heaney | From the Republic of Conscience

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Michael Bungay Stanier

Michael Bungay Stanier

I'm the author of five books that have collectively sold more than a million copies. I'm the founder of Box of Crayons, a learning and development company that helps organizations move from advice-driven to curiosity-led. I'm the host of the *2 Pages with MBS* podcast.

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