A house covered in kudzu

A return after 8 months of quiet with questions about a question

Hello friends.

(I’m looking forward to re-opening the dialogue on this little list in 2021. A lot has changed since you probably started following me, so no hard feelings at all if you would like to unsubscribe, no hard feelings… you can do that here.)

I haven’t written to you since April, and before that, only one other time in 2020 last January. It was a rough year for the obvious big reasons and (as is true for each of us in a different way) for many very specific reasons. This last week wasn’t really all that smooth either.

I won’t rehash everything that’s happened. But I do want to ask you a question, and then ask you 6 questions about that question, and then I will show you some kudzu.

The question I have been asking myself and that I’d also like to ask you is…

How can you and I best help (and not hurt) everyone who most needs it?

This is the question that I am having the most trouble answering right now. As I ponder it, I’m curious to hear your answers, but I’m even more curious about something else, which is how you think about this question.

Are you game for this little survey experiment? If so, please answer these 6 Yes/No questions about how you think about the above question:

  1. Intuition: Do you feel like you can trust your intuitions about how you can best help?

  2. Skill: Do you have the skills and know-how needed to help others who need it most?

  3. Resources: Do you have access to information, time, and resources needed to figure out how to best help?

  4. Capacity: Do you feel able to help others right now?

  5. Network: Are your close relationships and community able to support your efforts right now?

  6. Feedback: Is there a way for you to receive trustworthy feedback about whether you are in fact helping those who most need it right now?

Reply to this email or leave a comment with your responses to these questions. For each yes, type a Y and for each no type an N. For example, if you answered all of them yes except for question 6, you'd have YYYYYN. If you answered 1, 2, and 3 with no and 4, 5, and 6 with yes, you'd have NNNYYY. (You don’t need to share your answer to the question itself unless you feel like sharing.) I will try to do something interesting with the collective responses and share them back with you in the next email.

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Here is the promised kudzu, which if you don’t live in a place where this is impossible to avoid, is a vine that can grow up to a foot a day: