Quaker Quicks - That Clear and Certain Sound
Stay alert to the ring of truth and reach for solid ground in all aspects of life.
Stay alert to the ring of truth and reach for solid ground in all aspects of life.
John Woolman, a colonial Quaker, advises us to “Dig deep. …Carefully cast forth the loose matter and get down to the rock, the sure foundation, and there hearken to the Divine Voice which gives a clear and certain sound.” What if moving ever closer to what rings true were the central principle for organizing our lives? There may be no work that’s harder - or more worth doing. And maybe, as we keep trying, it will get less hard - and we’ll hear that ring of truth in our lives more and more.
This collection of meditations on being alive in these wonderful and perilous times encourages us to stay alert to the sound of truth even in the most unlikely places, to reach for solid ground in all aspects of our lives, and to stretch from there toward lives of greater connection and integrity.
Click on the circles below to see more reviews
This book by Pamela Haines is short and dense with content. It is part of the series Quaker Quicks. As Haines describes it, she assembled the book from a series of essays and meditations she had composed over many years, concerning the subjects of being alive, staying alert and awake, reaching for solid ground, and “stretching across barriers for the hearts of others.” That Clear and Certain Sound: Finding Solid Ground in Perilous Times is best digested one chapter at a time, maybe two. The reader needs time to absorb and reflect. The chapters have titles like “love and grief,” “separation and belonging,” “hardship and hope,” and “peril and possibility.” You can open the book at any point and get right into something meaningful. Concerning the question of how to approach problem-solving with others, Haines reflects that although she habitually tries to bring kindness into problem-solving situations, she is less inclined to act with confidence. She suggests that we try bringing more confidence into our efforts. Her experience has taught her that although many problems are complex and don’t have easy solutions, confidence can help propel progress. It’s not a bravado thing. When one “owns” the level of capability that they are bringing to the broader effort, it helps uplift the effort for everyone’s benefit. Show up. It’s not our job to make assumptions about how others perceive us. That’s their job. Our job is to keep showing up as fully as we know how, remember our values, and act in alignment with those values. When we inhabit our own centers fully, we can reach out to others confidently and be authentic while doing so. In another theme, the book explores the relationship between curiosity and respect. “When you are being curious, you can’t be judgmental, because there are no right answers.” Curiosity seems critical for everything in this book. Wondering implies a desire for connection, and this whole book centers around connection – with ourselves, with others, and with the planet and spirit. Don’t stop inquiring, Haines encourages. “We may stop inquiring because we doubt our capacity to understand.” But keep asking questions, whether you understand the answers immediately or not. Also, Haines believes our imaginations may save us! We need to be creative rather than plodding along in the same trenches because they appear orderly. We need to reach beyond the limits that we expect of ourselves and what we have grown to expect of each other. Blowing on coals is an image that Haines offers to help us visualize how to reignite, awaken, and light up all the gifts we need to carry into our work of understanding, helping, and repairing. “We can help ease away the overlay of uncaring, the dead covering of fear and discouragement. We can breathe out our hope, love and confidence in that person or that situation.” Still another major theme in this book concerns differences between generative and extractive behaviors. This difference – creating and giving versus getting and taking – applies not only to our material relationship with our planet. It also applies to our relationships with other people. I like the way Haines explains the difference between building productivity by generating loyalty versus trying to reach collective goals by extracting obedience. She gives some good reminders to apply a generative approach to all aspects of our lives, to help guide us toward mutually satisfying and trusting relationships. Each section of this book conveys a message that does best with a few beats of silence afterwards. The chapters relate to each other and also stand alone. Pamela Haines engages the reader like a good friend bringing you up to date on what’s going on in her life and the lives of others. She helps you relate to perspectives that are global. That Clear and Certain Sound calls out to any reader looking for thoughts on wisdom, balance, and compassion. ~ Western Friend, Mary Ann Peterson, http://www.maryannpetersen.com/?p=3455&fbclid=IwAR0JpsjaFkgpbOGBgfHWLXjs-rTMk7KAO8En839Pp_UYY8rUSSCDRDa0PNI
In a rather lovely, new book from Pamela Haines the aforementioned meditations included feature a generous portion of life lessons learnt, whilst all being deeply rooted in the Quaker faith. Thus this collection of meditations on being alive in these wonderful, and yet perilous times encourages us to stay alert to the sound of truth even in the most unlikely places, to reach for solid ground in all aspects of our lives, and to stretch from there toward lives of greater connection and integrity. Featuring sub-sections on Windows and Reflections, Love and Grief, Separation and Belonging, Hardship and Hope and culminating in Peril and Possibility, Quaker Quicks - That Clear and Certain Sound: Finding Solid Ground in Perilous Times is a journey through refreshingly orchestrated prose of wisdom that allows us to sink in, to bed in, and to soak in all that is being proffered us. Could you want for anything else in your life right now during these desperate times we are all facing together? FULL REVIEW: https://annecarlini.com/ex_books.php?id=280 ~ Exclusive Magazine, Review
This book is like a refreshing rain—a shower of meditations on life-lessons presented so deftly and gently by the author that their true depth and breadth may at first be overlooked. Behind the clear and certain language in which Pamela Haines’ voice comes across, lies a worldview deeply rooted in the Quaker ethos. Yet her stories and reflections, and the questions she ponders, will resonate with all who work to bring the healing of “right relationship” to the human world and to earth’s whole commonwealth of life. ~ Keith Helmuth, Author of Tracking Down Ecological guidance: Presence, Beauty, Survival
In a world filled with lies big and little, Pamela Haines, invites us to experience truth with a capital T. Through delightful essays that ring clearly, we readers become reacquainted with an integrity and honesty that comes from the depth of the Divine. Reading these words, we are brought out of the falsehoods of this present age and encounter in hearts “that which is eternal” (George Fox). ~ J. Brent Bill, Author of Hope and Witness in Dangerous Times and Beauty, Truth, Life, and Love.
That Clear and Certain Sound stretches us "toward lives of greater connection and integrity.” Simple plots of land and community gatherings seen through Pamela Haines' curious, attentive intellect reveal the rich, refreshing power in the ordinary. Her writings call us to tend that ring of truth in our own lives. Reading this book to myself or out loud to my family and community is a real treat. It calls us home to things that matter.” ~ Nadine Hoover, Author of Creating Cultures of Peace, and Discernment; Transforming Power in Daily Life
It’s hard to believe such a small book can contain so many large and useful expressions of wisdom. Pamela Haines moves effortlessly from the lessons in her garden to those found in an African village, from the creativity of young children to the inspiration adults can access to meet the climate crisis. I’ve rarely encountered such a profound interweaving of inward and outward challenges, with a consistent – and never facile -- turn to the power of love. Her anecdotes and imagery help the insights settle in our place of recollection. ~ George Lakey, Author of Facilitating Group Learning
Pamela Haines writes with heart. In a society filled with inflated grand statements and hashtag boasts, she finds nuggets of Truth tucked away in daily activity. Through her writings she brings us fundamental ways of being in community and relationship with the wide world around us. She doesn't flinch from pain or shy from exposing her failings, but allows us to be broken people looking for a way to heal and be better souls. ~ Daniel Hunter, Author of Strategy and Soul, and Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow