Editor's Note: This transcript was automatically transcribed, so mistakes are inevitable. You can contribute by proofreading the transcript or highlighting the mistakes. Sign up to be amongst the first contributors.
Support for on being with Krista Tippett comes from the Fetzer Institute, helping build the spiritual foundation for a loving world, Fetzer envisions a world that embraces love as a guiding principle and animating force for our lives, a powerful love that helps us live in sacred relationship with ourselves, others and the natural world. Learn more by visiting Fetzer, dawg. Galen Lee's voice and violin land like a bomb, an offering of both clarity and gladness that can still be mustered in this midwinter, this upended Christmas season.
She first came to the attention of many when she won NPR Music's Tiny Desk contest in 2016. She's now toured in 45 states and nine countries and recorded four albums. Gallingly moves through the world in an electric wheelchair, and she holds her violin like a cello and her bow as if she were playing a bass the way she and an ingenious teacher discovered to enable her to play at all. She first fell in love with the cello when she was in fourth grade, but because of the disability she was born with, that gives her tiny and, as she says, bendy limbs.
She couldn't navigate even the smallest violin in the ordinary way. So much of what she's learned through life in her body lands as wisdom right now. What makes ifI. I really I just going to take a look around. I watched the world die for. I'm Krista Tippett and this is On Being Galen Lee was born and raised and lives in Duluth, Minnesota. Her latest album is The Living Room Sessions recorded from her home in 2020. Here we are speaking in our hour, pandemic year in our pandemic winter.
I'm in my what my colleagues call my recording cave in my basement den and my house. Where are you?
I'm in. Ah, we have his studio apartment, so it's really just one real. So I kind of set up a makeshift recording area in front of our big window, like it's such a tiny apartment, but behind a big red leather chair that we sit in at night and right next to the bed.
So it's a it's all one thing to see if you were looking at it. You can see the kitchen table behind me. Right.
OK, so you grew up with a lot of music in the world around you. It sounds like it sounds very cool to have a family dinner theater.
Yeah, I forgot. I mean, like, it's one of those things where you don't really think about how it's cool at the time. And then when you become an adult, you're like, oh, that was really neat. Yeah, my parents were musical even before that they actually met in a musical. And so that's always been a part of our lives. And then around when I was 10, my mom's decided like kind of spontaneously that she wanted to open a dinner theater and my dad went along with it and they did that for 20 years.
So it's a really big part of my growing up.
So you were born with this brittle bone disease, osteogenesis imperfecta, so. Right. Yeah, which means and just I want to make sure I've got this right that it caught your bones to break in utero. Right. So that while you're in the womb. Yeah.
Basically it's a genetic disorder of the collagen. And so even now my bones are more fragile. But in the way that it manifested for me, it's very they can look really different depending on the individual. For me, I did break probably 30 or 40 or 50. They don't even actually know because X-rays and ultrasounds were pretty bad back then. But I broke a lot in utero. And then growing up, I broke I think I broke in like 16 bones since I was born.
But yeah, the vast majority happened before I was born.
Mm. Um, I was also thinking, well, I was thinking of a conversation with an anthropologist, Mary Catherine Beetson, who talks about composing a life which is kind of akin to the musical, you know, the improvisational nature of life and improvisation, being being a virtue in a musical life as well. And then in some ways, you've like that virtue of music has has worked with the virtues you acquired in, again, like being in your body and leading the life that it's yours.
Yeah, I that's a good way to put it. Composing a life. Yeah. I mean, I think disability, a big gift of that is innovation and rethinking how things are done. And I mean a lot of people with disabilities I think have done that in their own lives. And one thing I'm grateful for and I don't really know, I mean, maybe it's my parents or things I've read over the years, but I do really feel that you have the responsibility to kind of shape your life as much as you can to fit not just you, but like I mean, the broader sense of where you contribute and stuff.
And so my life has been transformed and really transformed a lot of different times, and I'm sure that won't stop. But I think it's a really fun part of being alive is that you can kind of create I mean, I know I'm coming from a privileged place in terms of support and stuff, but I do think that humans are inherently creative and you can work with all sorts of situations. Like I'm actually I know this sounds terrible, but I've had a really fun time figuring out how to adapt to the pandemic.
And I eldo the pandemic itself is terrible. And I know that a lot of people are suffering like from a creative standpoint of, well, how do I make art? Now, that part has actually been pretty invigorating to me. But that's because I think if you see your whole life is like. Yeah, how do you create in the moment something that works then a lot of different situations can lead to something kind of like a positive outcome or at least not be a wasted time.
You know what I mean?
I mean, there's been a few months during this pandemic that I've been pretty depressed. So I'm not saying that I get up every day at like eight o'clock and make a ton of music or whatever. But in general, I don't feel like there's ever a lack of stuff you can learn or create. And I think being a creative is an asset. I wish that all people were encouraged to be creative. That's a big thing. Was like my teacher encouraging me because it does give you this, like, skill set that helps you cope in weird times like this, you know.
Yeah. So, I mean, you're a Minnesota girl, you're a northern Minnesota girl. Yeah, and I have to say, like, the very first thing I heard of your music was you playing the fiddle. And I assume and I've spent a lot of time in that part of the world, and I assume that you were Irish and you were that an Irish transplanted Minnesota.
So it's not something you grew up with. I don't think, from what I can tell. I actually first discovered the fiddle in Scotland and as you know, which but even though Scottish and Irish fiddle sounded very much alike, they're also very different in their way.
But I've always felt like as much as any other music, the fiddle, while Celtic music in particular about the fiddle in particular I really like it, holds pain and joy all at the same time. It carries this sadness, this old sadness that is ongoing, but it also carries right with it this possibility of something big enough to meet that sadness or like that's the way I would say it.
Yeah, there is something that is very moving about Seattle music and it's maybe there where fiddle tunes that where it's moving when they were first made. But those aren't the ones that we have today because there are hundreds of years old and we have kept the ones that touch us as people. Right. And like one of my favorite things to do when I'm playing a fiddle tune is to think back on all the different people who have played it before me. And I'll never even know who they are, right.
That they might be like a civil war soldier. I do it in Ireland from like the seventeen hundreds and like it's just so cool to think about how that music has just been passed down. But yeah, it is bittersweet. I just love especially Celtic music, although Scandinavian fiddle. I've been introduced a little bit to that and that is it has a darker tone a lot of the time. But, but it's also very beautiful at the traditional music is just.
I'm Krista Tippett and this is On Being Today with violinist and singer songwriter Galen Lee. We're in December as we speak. Yes, around Christmas, and it's a strange Christmas, like every every milestone in this year's, you know, graduations didn't happen and state fairs didn't happen and Broadway shut down and, you know, Thanksgiving and Christmas are up in the air. And one day we will we will rebroadcast this conversation and we will cut this part out because we will be in a different chapter of our life as a species.
But I am I am curious about what's Christmas for you this year in twenty twenty. How are you going to spend that?
Yeah, well, you know, I have tiny lungs, so I really don't want to get coronavirus. So I have been really locked down since March. Like don't go to stores. I mean I've had to, we had to put our dog down in June and I had to go to the doctor twice. But beyond that, I haven't been inside really anywhere since March. And I also don't want to spread it to people with disabilities because people in group homes are like more likely to die of coronavirus than almost anyone in the country, basically.
So it's I mean, I want to spread it to anyone, but I think that that's I don't want to impact other people negatively. So we've been locked down. But I will say that about two weeks ago, because my parents are just as locked down as us and they're the only people in our lives that are as locked down as us. We decided to form a little four person pack, my husband and I and my parents. And so, you know, we're going to cook a dinner together and Zougam on Christmas Day with the rest of my family.
And I don't know, I love Christmas. I had a Christmas album of Loopt Christmas carols. Yes, I do. Yes. I love Christmas music and I really love the holidays. For some reason I am like Thanksgiving Day. Christmas is like my favorite month of the year. So I've really been trying to just focus on the like the stillness of this year like Advent is right now. And I got from a lot of different faiths, but I've been reading some advent devotionals and like this idea of stillness and waiting is very poignant this year, I would say.
Maybe we need to kind of extend the spirit of the season of Advent into these next few months, because we know that it's like the world is going to shift again, but it's not going to happen yet. It's actually really energizing to speak to you and for you to talk about how you've actually had a flourishing of creativity.
And, you know, you are in good spirits, obviously, and you're even excited about Christmas. But as you said, I mean, you did mention this before. You you've had rough days also.
You've written about that on your blog in 20/20. You wrote at one point about this feeling of dread and how you had to kind of welcome dread. And you wrote something that I just want to read back because it's very beautiful and helpful. And so, again, this was out of you. Being in lockdown and then also reflecting on other hard passages in your life that also, you know, formed you, and I think that's also true of a time like this, that a time of loss that our other the other losses of our life and the other traumas of our life come back to us a bit.
So anyway, you wrote this. The saying goes, love your neighbor as yourself. But I would challenge you to reverse that, saying for a moment, love yourself as your neighbor. If you saw another person hurting, you'd want them to get the care they need, right? Well, you are that person today. You are absolutely worthy of care. Please reach out when life feels too difficult to bear. Hang on another day so you can eventually find yourself in a better place and come to know your reason to keep living.
Yeah, so I deal with anxiety and depression at different times, you know, sometimes they are less prevalent and sometimes they're more. And when I wrote that particular blog, it was, you know, a pretty challenging part of this pandemic for me. And I think. Especially in a time where there's so many people hurting in the world, it's easy to just kind of just get overwhelmed and maybe paralyzed or frozen instead of thinking like, well, what care do I need right now?
What is something I could do to help myself? But I think a lot of people and myself included sometimes don't you always see like other people suffering and not really acknowledge that you also can do something about your own without being, like, selfish or bad person? You know what I mean? Yeah. And that you are worthy of getting the care that you need, you know, the beginning of the pandemic. And then again a couple months ago.
We're both really hard because. They at the beginning of it. I was just kind of. Overwhelmed and depressed, but it hadn't really come to northern Minnesota yet, you know. Yeah, nobody knew was sick. Yeah.
All the way to Minnesota. Yeah. And all this stuff changed, like our lives change. I mean, I had to leave. We drove home from a tour we were on our way to do obviously. And I don't know something about just the not knowing the future and reading the predictions of what could happen. We're just it was a lot to take on. So at that point, I get counselling online, which really helped. I mean, it really helps.
I wish I wish that we had national health care so that everybody could just go. But there are some places like that, better help and stuff where you can get it for less.
But it's important and it's so important to do that if you need it and just try to give myself some slack. Somebody said something that really helped me around that time that I wrote the blog. They said one hundred and fifty years ago, basically the goal of life was just not to die, like the goal of life was just to exist till another day. And we've added a lot of other kinds of commitments and like a lot of expectation on that.
And she's like, I don't I think right now I'm just going to focus on staying alive. And I was like, wow, that actually really helps me to like kind of let go of some of the feeling is not only is there a pandemic, but I'm feeling it everything, too, you know what I mean? Like, that that was helpful. And then a couple of months ago, it is it has been really difficult. And I'm not going to downplay, like as a person with a disability, not just for myself, but for the community.
How frustrating it's been that people haven't been following the rules in the way that they should be wearing the masks and really not having parties and you know what I mean, like that kind of thing. So it's been a lesson spiritually for sure, in just having to accept what is and focus on what I am doing. And I mean, speaking out when I can, of course. But basically, like being totally angry person isn't going to help the world, you know what I mean?
And so having to try to let go of some of that frustration and pain and disappointments, I guess is a big word for that. That's been like the other challenge of this pandemic for me. I think people think of disability as negatives or something that they wouldn't want, but I actually really think it's a really valid way to exist. And not only can it create like different art, like my music is informed by my disability, but it can create different ways of seeing the world.
And I just personally, other people have gone through far more terrible periods of history than this. I mean, we have Internet. I mean, I know society.
Imagine all that's impossible. I mean, these concerts that you've broadcast. Yeah.
I mean, I think what I mean is like I think because disability is always reimagining or living outside the box this particular time it's been like, well, of course I'll stay home. But I mean, again, I can't control what other people do. So I've been really trying, especially at the holidays, to just realize that, you know, when Jesus was dying, he's like, forgive them. They know not what they do. It's kind of that idea of like people are trying, I don't think, to really wreak havoc on the world.
I worked really hard in July to get a massive mandate in Duluth, and I'm glad that that ended up happening to that happen. Yeah. Yep, it did. And and I mean, it wasn't like I was the only person working on it, but I definitely had a voice in that discussion. So I feel like the things that you can do, you should do. I was like, you know, I'm home, I have time. I'm going to work on this issue because I think it's important.
And it felt good to see a change happen. And I'm trying to focus on the positive stuff that I can do in the community rather than getting too bogged down with watching people make decisions that I don't agree with, you know.
Mm hmm. Or that feel personally dangerous to you all together is a fine point on that, right? Oh, but I it's like really inner work that you're doing.
To know the validity of that feeling you have and the reality of the danger and also make that decision not to assume that they mean it that way. It's.
That's real internal labor, but it's also part of your internal freedom that you're owning, right? Yeah, that's the thing is it's like I think this time is more than just metaphorical, like a point where we can choose to really learn from this time. And I I really want to do that. Like, I'd want to emerge from this situation, not like a bigger or disillusioned person, you know. And I think that at least right now that I will come out of it that way.
But that's because, yeah, it takes a lot of inner reflection and, you know, like the whole idea of not judging other people with people judging. Right. So I don't know. Jesus said love your enemies. He wasn't kidding about that part, you know, so that's that's not very easy.
But it's definitely actually what we're supposed to be doing in the Christian context. And there's probably similar verses in every other faith to the idea you you love people that hurt you even though they hurt you. That's what this is talking about. Not like in times of plenty. It's like right now is the time where that's important. After a short break, more with Gail Lee. On being is brought to you by the John Templeton Foundation, harnessing the power of the sciences to explore the deepest and most perplexing questions facing humankind, learn about the latest discoveries in the study of forgiveness, generosity and freewill at Templeton Doug.
Purbrick Minnawi. Frosty wind. If said hi, I. Why, like a stone? In the past week, Mary. I'm Krista Tippett and this is On Being today partaking of the voice and violin of Gailen Lee, she became known to many when she won NPR Music's Tiny Desk contest in 2016.
She moves through the world in an electric wheelchair and plays the violin like it's a cello because she was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, a disease that makes bones more breakable both in utero and across life.
Some of the ways you reflect on disability and also work for disability rights and I don't know, I'd say like disability, kinship also with human kinship is something that I feel is, like you've pointed out, that this is not something so unusual. If you look at it in the large sweep of things that nearly one in five people in America has a disability, 90 percent.
But also at a deeper level, what you're talking about are we all are imperfect, suffering, wounded, you know, different in some ways. It just doesn't always show on the outside of our bodies. Right. Like that 19 percent is things that maybe show on the outside of your bodies or show up in certain ways.
Yes, I, I think that all again, I see disability as just a form of diversity, like a spectrum. And it comes and it changes throughout your life. Right.
Like I'm probably the less able bodied or whatever when I'm eighty four than I am now. Right. And so and so and so will everyone. Right. And so if you make it that long, you're not going to be the same person that you were when you were 30 in terms of your physical form. And I just think that if you see disability as entirely natural and not, I think what it is to me is that we call certain things disabilities or diseases or whatever.
But we all I mean, I just don't see it as like a compartmentalized thing. I think we're all just humans and we've labeled certain things. And that disability is entirely a natural part of like every single person's life, they just don't identify with it. And when you do touch the idea that you're immortal and that you need supports or that like it's OK to ask for help or that it's OK to rethink things, or you don't have to follow the crowd and do it the same way.
There's a lot of things that being disabled has made visible to me that literally applies to everyone. Like I did a TED talk on sexuality once. And I said, like, you know, some of these revelations I have seem like there because of disability, but they apply to everyone and anyone can become disabled at any time. And I think we just don't want to acknowledge maybe our sadness or the vulnerability or whatever that comes with disability. But there's also like strength and creativity there, too.
So I wish that we could take away the stigma or the separateness and just kind of start embracing it as a diversity that is like a welcoming and welcoming people.
There's some you know, some place you spoke about, you know, how. Yeah, you know, what you say is like we're all disabled in the same way that we're all dying. It's just more obvious in some life. Yeah, and in certain moments, yeah.
No, I mean, that's the reality is we're all headed there.
And you said I thought this was this was very striking to me. Just, you know, getting this into context.
You're talking about your husband, Paul, and how it's true that he has to care for you in complex ways, but really in ways that many spouses care for their spouse at different stages of life. Yeah. Who you know, he cares for you in a way that you might expect and in many marriages for him not to have to to to care for you when you're older or you've been married longer. But that reality belongs to all of us, just as you're as you're saying.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. We just sped up by like four decades or something, but, um. Yeah.
And then the thing is, is that that's the thing is I think we care for each other and his is more physical. Well his is both, but like he does a lot of physical stuff. But to assume that just because you need physical care that you're not also providing other care is important to remember. So I feel like one thing I would love to see in my lifetime is a linking of older people to understand disability in a way that's so it's easier to age.
You know, all of my grandparents have struggled with getting older and being really frustrated with their bodies changing and feeling like a burden. And all of these things that you have to deal with as a disabled person and like make peace with to just like have a happy life, you know? And I wish that we talked about this stuff sooner so that when you are older and you suddenly need someone to drive you to the grocery store that you don't like, hate your life, there's no reason to if you see it as a context of just a different part of the human cycle, that's just as valuable.
I think the biggest thing to remember is that all people are equally valuable and that is true no matter what your stage of life you're in or what your disability is, so that you don't have to feel bad about needing extra help as you age and stuff or feel or, you know, and that that created creative thing about like, well, how can I do it now rather than I can't do this anymore, you know what I mean? Like, there's just so many lessons that disability and old age could work synchronistically if we could be talking about it more.
Yeah. In terms of the shared human condition. Yeah. The the spectrum of the human condition.
I did watch that TED talk that you gave and I actually to talk to you about it.
I mean, you actually studied political science in college, right? That was your major. Yes.
And I think this was TED talk where you talked about reading Mark Kooser, the philosopher on Eros. And I did want to you know, you had this epiphany that has really been important to how you think about kind of what we're talking about a minute ago, your internal freedom. And often when you talk about yourself as a decent, like I think this is on your website, when you talk about yourself a disability rights advocate, you'll join language like disability rights, inner freedom and accessibility in the arts.
So. So would you tell that story you said I mean, you said this lightning bolt struck your brain when you read this philosopher.
Yes. Also the philosopher Marquesa. I was writing about how capitalism had usurped sexuality in the way that they had discovered. If and by the way, I guess I mean, like the people who sell things had discovered that if you make people feel inadequate about themselves, like 10 pounds overweight or not wearing enough clothes, that they will invest money to reach this ideal that has been set by capitalism. Right. And so you can sell diet pills and different hair products and all sorts of things, magazines and and you just make the bar unattainable enough so that people will keep striving after it.
Right. And never really be satisfied with who they are. So they'll spend tons of money. And that's a very oversimplification of what he wrote about. But that's what I was reading. And I was like, wow, I do not relate to this at all, which was weird. I was like, I when I see other people do that, I obviously see people spending money on stuff that they because they feel not pretty enough and more complete or more.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. But I was like I just don't feel that way. And I wondered why that was. And it dawned on me that because I looked so different, you know, my limbs are and in an electric wheelchair, I'm just really small. I don't see myself at all in those magazines. And it would be like laughable to think about trying to look like a model in Cosmopolitan or something like that, because I. I just looked so different that it obviously didn't apply to me, so growing up, you know, that obviously does make you feel left out.
You know, friends. Luckily all my friends were nerds, so none of us really dated, but people around us were great as a teenager.
The people, you know, started dating or you kind of start thinking like, oh, maybe I'll never be able to get married because nobody will ever find me attractive. You have those worries. But when I realized that I had this, like, freedom to just kind of develop into the person I wanted to become without feeling weighed down by these standards that were unattainable anyways, that's the reality of disability actually overlapping into everywhere it's designed to make you lose.
Right. Like the capitalism sexuality where nobody can stay in the realm of desirable for longer than like maybe three years in their 20s. And then all of a sudden you don't that doesn't you know, you have to keep working to fit this ideal. And so I realized, like, I had this freedom right out of the gate. And when I realized I had that freedom, I think you just become more confident or like just less, I don't know, less weighed down.
And so actually, shortly after that is when I did start dating people and stuff, something that was sort of a coincidence. But I had to have that realization first that where I was might look like left out and sad. But where I actually was with this pace of intense, like, freedom to just be who I wanted to be.
And that was really liberating.
You know, we're we're never going to feel like we have the stuff we need or the lips that we need mean it's something something can still make us better.
Yeah, exactly. I'm Krista Tippett and this is On Being. Today with violinist and singer songwriter Lee. What about this song, Moment of Bliss, so beautiful? Oh, yeah, that song that's a little older when I wrote that when I was playing a lot with Alan Sparhawk and that one is a marriage, actually.
But it's so hard to. Feels to days where facing truth. They see the. All we need to. Lies at the end of our guidance, we will choose to go. So we just face facts. I think marriage is a really powerful place to like oh, I just read in a devotional recently by some monk, I don't remember who it was actually that marriage is a community of two.
So, like, if you're married, it's not like you're a monk in a in a song or whatever, like far away in an ashram.
But you are a community of two and you can learn to enact the principles of what you what your spiritual principles in this like one relationship.
And I think that marriage, especially for me, has been a really intense growing field. I mean, again, not always good at it. It makes you face like the worst of yourself and the best of yourself in some cases. And it's just like there are never a lack of opportunities to, like, put your spirituality into practice in a marriage. I mean, it's oh, my gosh.
You know, we're in a studio apartment. We've been here since March. Do you think we have our year since my phone rang? So, like, it's just such a it's a huge we like there it is. There's a chance to figure out some of this spiritual stuff that you think about, like here's how you do it. And so that's what I mean by it seems easy, but it's still hard to do it. What did you read?
You read the spiritual practices and they resonate with you and these verses and you feel something. But then to do it when your partner is like bugging the crap out of you, you're so different. You know, it's like to put it into practice is so huge and so but then, you know, we won't choose to go. So we just face the next task. Humble at last.
I think it's important to just humble your last limerick. Yes. It's like, well, here we are. Sorry I missed that one up. Let's try again, basically. And that's I mean, I think marriage is a for me, it's been really cool to think about, even though it can be a struggle sometimes how cool it will be. Hopefully, if we make it that long in 40 years, you'll know that person better than you knew anyone else ever.
And I just think that's so cool, like but it's very much a practice ground for this more lefty stuff you read about. It's like the battlefield in a not bad way, but yeah. Definitely intense. Yeah.
Mm. Is there maybe one other song that comes to you that feels resonant? What we're talking about?
OK, so in twenty nineteen I wrote a song called The Long Way Around, and that song is about the relationships that start out really fun and light and joyful. And then you come to this sort of an impasse where, yeah, you're like struggling with each other. And the idea that if you make it through that place, how it can really be a blessing to have that relationship in your life. There's a couple of different times where friendships have kind of come to this like, OK, are we going to work on this or are we not going to work on this?
You know, and if we don't work on it, then the understanding is you're probably not going to have each other in your lives. But the times that I have chosen to work through it has been very rewarding. That idea that I try not to burn the careful ties that bind us together. I just think relationships in general and it's been amplified during covid are kind of it's not like we can get through anything automatically. Right.
Like you have to be willing to do the either the work or the carefulness of not wanting each other. You know, like that's like a real a real part of being a human. And so taking the long way around to me means that you don't have to necessarily resolve everything overnight. But but that you can if you work on those relationships, it can end up being a really fulfilling place to be, I guess.
There is better understanding, no body with. White missile manning and. She lives in China. And I'm taking my. And then taking away. And I'm happy to be pleased and I'm taking the blame. I really appreciate you calling that out to that that kind of love and, you know, at a time like this where we're all everybody's stressed in their own particular way, it's just true in any of us is not at our best or is feeling stressed out or vulnerable or just tired, then we're more likely to be hard on the people at right or being hard on ourselves.
We're likely to be harder on people around us.
Yeah. And that's why I guess I just think a lot of this stuff in life is the long game. Yeah. You have to play the long game. And that's why getting help, for example, when you're depressed and just my dad always said when I broke my arm, he would always say this too shall pass. And it's true like everything does eventually pass. But you so giving yourself permission to be like, well, I screwed that up, but I'm playing the long game, you know.
And so there's a chance to figure this out. Still, I love that songwriting, I think comes from a place in your brain that you can't really access or maybe the spiritual realm. It's hard to say, but yeah, I don't think you I mean, you write the songs, but I feel like sometimes you don't really realize what they're saying until later.
I remember Rosanne Cash saying to me, you catch the songs, right? Yeah. Yeah.
I mean, I feel like they kind of just float down from a place that is very mysterious to me. And I got to give the human race credit for, like, what we are going through. People has really done some cool things and not not even just like doing cool things, but people have endured a lot. And yet I just I'm proud to see how people have coped, even the ones that are struggling, admitting that they're struggling and then trying to figure out a way like, well, should I get a dog?
Should I go to counseling? Like, what do I need to do? Like, I think there is a deep resilience in the human race that that song kind of touches on. I think and I've seen it during coronavirus, and it's it's a neat thing to witness despite all the tragedy around us. Yeah, there is resilience, too. And I think that that's really cool.
Yeah. If I ask you, I feel like this what you just have been talking about flows into this. If I ask you, like, you know, through this life, you've lived through who you are and, you know, in this moment, but but also through through the fullness of yourself. And this is an impossibly large question. So just like, how would you start to answer this? How would you start to think it through? Like, what have you learned?
How does your sense of about what it means to be human? How does your sense of that keep unfolding?
Well, I think that. At least for me, I can't speak for other people, of course, but for me it feels like your as a spiritual being, whatever that means to you, right.
As a human, you have this spirit and that. I know. I mean, I really do feel that there is this perfect love somewhere. And you have glimpses of it like it's real deep down there. But the practice of being human for me is just learning how to do that in a place. It's not perfect. It's easy to think about. I mean, man, I do little devotionals every morning and it's so easy. Like you read them and and you just think like, oh, yes, this is truth.
Right? And then you get out in the world and somebody like bugs you and they're like, oh, looks like now I'm annoyed. And it's just this human being a human is learning how to carry that that love and that nurturing and whatever it means to treat other people with love to to do that in real life, in actual practice.
And that's what I think the point of being a human for me is. And I a broader sense. I think that that means sharing your self with the world. However that looks it can look so different for different people. For me, I've gotten a lot of messages about music. Right. Like sharing music with other people is what I feel like I should be doing with my time. But it doesn't have to be something like performative. It's just how do you bring yourself into the world in a way that expands love rather than contracting it and and just doing it in real life?
I think that's what you get out of being a human. Real unromantic. Yes. Yeah. Fenigstein, I want to say. I don't have a long way away. I want to bring in Naida. Around that time. Something like that. Lead us me out of. How this story will unfold. We only have my name is not. Galen Liese albums include Learning How to Stay. And most recently, the living room sessions recorded from real life at home in 2020.
And she's continuing to hold virtual quarantine concerts every Sunday through lockdown on YouTube. You can find more about that at all. Her music and writing on her website, violin scratches dot com or visit her Patrón site Patreon Dotcom Engelen leave l y and LTA is Arbatov.
The NBN project is Chris Heagle, Lily Percy, Lauren Jordahl, Aaron Kosaka, Eddie Gonzalez, William Roe, Lucas Johnson, Suzette Burley Zagros, Colleen Sheck, Cristian Wartell, Julie Siple, Gretchen Honold, Charlotte Appelbaum, Patrick, go to my Benkert Gotham Kitchen and Lily Baumann's Beyond Being Project is located on Dakotah Land.
Our lovely theme music is provided and composed by Zoe Keating. And the last voice that you hear singing at the end of our show is Cameron Kinghorn on being as an independent non-profit production of the NBN project. It is distributed to public radio stations by WNYC Studios. I created the show at American Public Media. Are funding partners include the Fetzer Institute helping to build the Spiritual Foundation for a Loving World. Find them at Fetzer Dawg Calliope, a foundation dedicated to reconnecting ecology, culture and spirituality, supporting organizations and initiatives that uphold a sacred relationship with life on Earth.
Learn more at Calliope Dog Humanity United Advancing Human Dignity at home and around the world. Find out more about humanity.
United Dog, part of the Omidyar Group, the Osprey Foundation, a catalyst for empowered, healthy and fulfilled lives. And the Lilly Endowment, an Indianapolis based private family foundation dedicated to its founders interest in religion, community development and education.
On Being is produced by our studios in Minneapolis, Minnesota.