by Lou Russell

January 15, 2021

Turning the Corner into 2021

As we turn the corner into 2021, we leave behind a highly stressful experience, specifically since it hasn’t ended yet. New Year's Eve in Times Square was a nice try, but a lonely copy of what should be. Looking back at my work, I am not surprised that my emotions have compromised my ability to do great work. I have been doubtful of my own ability to communicate, innovate, build teamwork, and lead. I have questioned my own power, and that is not who I want to be. 

The Christmas present that I gifted this year was the book “The Courage to Teach” by Parker Palmer (from Indiana!). I have heard him speak many times, and I reach for the book frequently. In 2015, at Naropa University, Parker Palmer famously spoke on the six pillars of meaningful human existence. I have included a video and paraphrased the lecture Parker Palmer made that day. I plan to work and grow into these six pillars going forward in 2021 and the future. Join me!


  1. Choose a life lived large, in service of love, truth, and justice.

    Be passionate about life, and take risks on its behalf, no matter how vulnerable you feel. “No one ever died saying, “I’m sure glad for the self-centered, self-serving, and self-protective life I lived.” Use your energy, gifts, visions, and heart to be generous. Grow in love and service. Learn to value ignorance as much as knowledge, and failure as much as success.

  2. As you acknowledge and embrace all that you are, you give yourself a gift that will benefit the rest of us as well.

    Let your altruism meet your egotism, let your generosity meet your greed, let your joy meet your grief. Say “I am my shadow as well as my light” so the shadow’s power is put in service of the good. Wholeness is the goal, but wholeness does not mean perfection.

  3. Practice hospitality to the stranger, to those we perceive as ‘other’ than us.

    By 2045 the majority of Americans will be people of color. Renewal will come from people who are not afraid of otherness in race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.

  4. Take on big jobs worth doing that include love, peace, and justice.

    Refuse to be seduced by our culture’s obsession with quick, short-termed results. The tighter we cling to the norm of effectiveness only, we’ll prioritize the smaller tasks and short-term creating minimal impact. Be faithful to the true needs entrusted to your care.

  5. Violence is what happens when we don’t know what else to do with our suffering.

    Sometimes we aim violence at ourselves with overwork, burnout, and substance abuse. Other times we hide our sadness and aim violence at others with racism, sexism, and homophobia. Suffering can be transformed into a new life. People can become more compassionate and able to take in other peoples’ sorrows and joys even while taking in negative emotions. Their hearts can be broken open, rather than broken apart.

  6. Hold a healthy awareness of your mortality.

    If the unexamined life is not worth living, it’s equally true that the unlived life is not worth examining.



Thank you for joining our newsletters and I appreciate any thoughts you’d like to share. I’d love your feedback on topics for 2021. Please send your ideas to


Lou Russell

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