Jim said, “Ok, you be you and I’ll be God. And since I’m God, I’m watching you get up exhausted every morning, and I’m so touched that you want to spend this time with me. Really, I am! It just means the world to me. The thing is, I just can’t bear how much I love you. It’s too much! And so at a certain point I rush into the bodies of your children and wake them up because. . . .”
Jim paused. “Because I want to know what it feels like to be held by you.”
Yes, the interruption is the presence of God that I was so desperately trying to access in moments of stillness and silence. With or without the luxury of stillness and silence, God comes to us disguised as our very lives (as Paula D’Arcy has said). In my case, Jim helped me to discover how my path as an exhausted young parent was the monastery of my own transformation. If I learned to let my heart open enough, I just might begin to recognize each cry, each diaper change, every choo-choo play time request . . . all of it, as the startlingly stunning, diaphanous infusion of infinite love colliding into the small shape of my very finite and ordinary reality. There, at the intersection of everything, is God with us . . . wanting to be touched, noticed, nurtured . . . held by us. All we have to do is behold.
Though she, too, has avoided public name-calling, it’s clear Pelosi doesn’t feel the same admiration for Trump. After a recent meeting at the White House, Pelosi returned to the Hill and questioned his manhood before a room full of House Democrats. She likened negotiating with him to getting sprayed by a skunk, and expressed exasperation that he is even president.
Pelosi’s allies say she doesn’t trust him, pointing to
- a tentative immigration compromise they reached in 2017 that she believes Trump backed out of. She’s noticed how
- he’s blamed Republican congressional leaders when his base decries spending bills, and
- upended their legislative plans with surprise tweets.
“Speaker Pelosi has a history of bipartisan accomplishments. … But the test for this president is figuring where he stands on issues from one day to the next,” said Nadeam Elshami, Pelosi’s former chief of staff.
Pelosi is also uncomfortable with Trump’s handling of facts — a big obstacle, in her mind, to cutting deals with him — and has occasionally called him out. During their first meeting after his inauguration, when Trump opened the gathering by bragging that he’d won more votes than Hillary Clinton, Pelosi was the only person in the room to correct him, noting that his statement was false and he’d lost the popular vote.
Since then, Pelosi has tried to correct Trump privately, her allies say. She doesn’t like fighting in public, they added, and it was one of the main reasons she tried, in vain, to end the sparring match over border wall funding that unfolded on TV live from the West Wing last month.
Sources close to Pelosi say she’s willing to work with Trump despite her party’s total rejection of him. Her confidants note that when Pelosi first became speaker in 2007, some Democrats were calling for the impeachment of President George W. Bush over the invasion in Iraq. Pelosi ignored them and went on to strike major deals with Bush, including a bank bailout and stimulus package in response to the 2008 financial meltdown.
“They became friends,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), a Pelosi confidant. For the incoming speaker, “It’s always about: Can you get things done? There are always going to be different points of view. How do we overcome them to get to a conclusion?”
Pelosi allies say as long as Trump is willing to compromise on Democratic priorities, she’ll work with him, too. But with the shutdown dragging into Pelosi’s takeover on Jan. 3, there’s a serious question about whether the two can make any headway.
On New Year’s Day, Trump and Pelosi exchanged words on Twitter over the shutdown — relatively mild ones, especially by Trump’s standards — in a sign of the tense days and weeks ahead.
“I think the president respects her and wants to work with her … Their personalities would lend themselves to strike deals,” Short said. “But I don’t know if Democrats will allow it. … She’s going to have so many members who will object to any transaction or communication with the president, that it puts her in a tight spot.”
It’s just as unclear whether Trump is willing to risk the wrath of his base by compromising with Pelosi. Just as he did on immigration, promising a “bill of love” to protect Dreamers from deportation, Trump privately told Pelosi after their contentious televised negotiation session that he wants to make a deal with her. Even after news that she’d questioned his masculinity went viral, he called her that afternoon to reiterate: We can work together to avert a shutdown.
But that was more than three weeks ago. The two haven’t spoken since.
The rules of oral argument at the Supreme Court are strict: when a justice speaks, the advocate has to shut up. But a law student noticed that the rules were getting broken again and again —by men. He and his professor set out to chart an epidemic of interruptions. If women can’t catch a break in the boardroom or the legislature (or at the MTV VMA’s), what’s it going to take to let them speak from the bench of the highest court in the land?
David Brooks, the columnist, and I might be paraphrasing here, but basically he pointed out this observation that great, creative thinkers approach their time like accountants; that this is this great disconnect is that they’re very structured and systematic about their time and produce the most unstructured, brilliant, creative insights. So it’s a key paradox to point out because I really want to emphasize it. Adding structure and control to your time really can be the key to getting the biggest insights and most interesting work produced.
VEDANTAM: I’m wondering if part of the tension comes about because we actually think of inspiration as being the thing that strikes us unexpectedly. And I think the case that you’re making is that inspiration actually can be scheduled to arrive on command.
.. NEWPORT: Well, as, you know, Chuck Close said – the artist – inspiration is for amateurs. I think we overfocus on the inspiration piece. If you’re systematically pushing yourself and your knowledge and your craft, you will have inspiration. It will happen in the shower. It’ll happen while you walk to work. What’s important is, you know, setting yourself up to have that inspiration and then giving yourself the time and structure you need to act on it, to actually produce something of value out of it. So I downplay the importance of inspiration and I emphasize the importance of creating a life where inspiration as possible and you’re well suited to act on it.
.. I’m wondering if some people might say your advice is really advice for people who are, in some ways, are at the top of their food chains. So if you have an author who basically is able to say, I’m going to disconnect from the world for 18 months, I’m just going to focus on writing this book. You know, someone else is probably picking up after this person in all kinds of different ways. If Cal Newport says, you know, I’m going to close the door in my office, I’m not going to answer my phone, I’m not going to check my email, but someone needs to get in touch with you in an emergency, that person is probably going to reach an assistant of yours.
And that assistant doesn’t have the same luxury of deep work as you do because he or she needs to be available to hear what the emergency is or to hear what the request is. Does having a group of people who are engaged in deep work necessarily mean there must be essentially a second tier of workers who are engaged in shallow work to allow the deep thinkers to do their deep thinking?
NEWPORT: It doesn’t require that, but it usually requires some type of reconfiguration of communication channels and expectations.
.. I think a big part of it is lack of metrics. So if we look at two parallel case studies, two different industries – let’s look at the Industrial Revolution and the rise of mass industrial production. This was a world where the metrics for productivity were very clear. How many cars per hour is our factory producing? And what we saw in that world – where bottom-line value is very easy to measure – is that very quickly, the structure of work moved away from what was convenient for the workers and towards what produced more value.
It moved away from the old system in factories where you had people work in teams at one spot in the floor to assemble the car towards things like the assembly line, which are incredibly inconvenient. It’s very hard to manage an assembly line. It’s very hard to get it right. It causes lots of issues. It’s annoying. But it produces a lot more value.
You move to digital knowledge work – we don’t have those metrics. It’s much harder to measure, OK, what’s the cost to our bottom line if you’re more distracted or less distracted? And so my conjecture is that without those metrics, we are going to fall back on these interpersonal or cultural biases. We’re wired to be social. We don’t want to upset someone. These type of biases take over because it’s much harder to measure, in this new world, the impact of different behaviors.
.. I’m wondering if that might be a psychological driver in people being unwilling to actually cut themselves off because not only might they discover that they are more productive, but they might also discover the world does just fine – thank you very much – without you.
NEWPORT: Yeah. I think that’s one of three big psychological drivers that have led us to this world we’re in now of the sort of constant-connectivity business. So that’s certainly one, I think – this notion of, we get a sense of meaning and usefulness out of constantly being involved in interaction. I think the other two psychological drivers – one is just, we’re wired to be tribal. And it’s very difficult for us psychologically to know there’s an email waiting that we’re not answering. And even if we know for a fact that the person who sent that message does not need a fast response, it still feels like we’re at the tribal fire, and there’s a tribe member standing there tapping you on the shoulder, and you’re ignoring them. We just have a very hard time with that.
And I think the third driver is, knowledge work is much less structured. And so how do you prove to your organization or to your boss that you’re valuable? And busyness as a proxy for productivity is something that a lot of people have defaulted to.
.. Well, at the very least, if you see I’m sending lots of messages, you know I’m working. And so I think those three different factors are all intertwining to get us to this place where we find ourselves just constantly sending messages as opposed to thinking hard thoughts or producing new things.
Senator Kamala Harris, Democrat of California, was cut off by Republican senators on Tuesday as she questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the latest high-profile Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in its investigation into Russian election interference.
.. But the moments were notable as the second time in a week that Ms. Harris, who is of Indian and Jamaican descent and is the only minority woman on the committee, was interrupted by two male colleagues during a hearing.
.. Last Wednesday, Ms. Harris was interrupted by Senator Richard M. Burr, Republican of North Carolina and the chairman of the committee, and Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, as she tried to question the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein. On Tuesday, the two again interjected as she questioned Mr. Sessions over his role as campaign surrogate for President Trump and contact with Russian officials
.. When Ms. Harris then pressed Mr. Sessions on a Justice Department policy he cited as his rationale for not answering questions, Mr. McCain spoke up.
“Chairman,” Mr. McCain said, “the witness should be allowed to answer the question.”
Mr. Burr responded: “Senators will allow the chair to control the hearing. Senator Harris, let him answer.”
.. Here is a partial transcript of Ms. Harris’s exchange with Mr. Sessions.
HARRIS: “Is that policy in writing somewhere?”
SESSIONS: “I think so.”
HARRIS: “So did you not consult it before you came before this committee knowing we would ask you questions about that?”
SESSIONS: “Well, we talked about it. The policy is based …”
HARRIS: “Did you ask that it would be shown to you?”
SESSIONS: “The policy is based on the principle that the president …”
HARRIS: “Sir, I’m not asking about the principle. I am asking, when you knew you would be asked these questions and you would rely on that policy, did you not ask your staff to show you the policy that would be the basis for you refusing to answer the majority of questions that have been asked of you?”
McCAIN: “Chairman, the witness should be allowed to answer the question.”
BURR: “Senators will allow the chair to control the hearing. Senator Harris, let him answer.”
Academic studies and countless anecdotes make it clear that being interrupted, talked over, shut down or penalized for speaking out is nearly a universal experience for women when they are outnumbered by men.
.. “I think every woman who has any degree of power and those who don’t knows how it feels to experience what Kamala Harris experienced yesterday,” said Laura R. Walker, the president and chief executive of New York Public Radio. “To be in a situation where you’re trying to do your job and you’re either cut off or ignored.”
Senator Harris, a former prosecutor, assertively questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, interrupted and chided her to let Mr. Sessions answer her questions. Soon after that, Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina and the committee chairman, cut her off, saying her time had elapsed.
.. “I can’t even count the number of times I’ve witnessed a woman being interrupted and talked over by a man, only to hear him later repeat the same ideas she was trying to put forward,” wrote one respondent, Grace Ellis. “I’d say I see this happen … two to three times a week? At least?”
.. “My female boss told me she needed to allow each man to interrupt her four times before protesting in a meeting. If she protested more often, there were problems.”
.. “Often, a suggestion made by one of the female staff during meetings the owner attended would be shot down, only to reappear in a week or two as his own brilliant idea. It happened so often a few of us started joking privately about noting our suggestions in the calendar to see exactly how many days later it would take for our ideas to go from ridiculously impossible to sheer genius.”
.. Victoria L. Brescoll, associate professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management, published a paper in 2012 showing that men with power talked more in the Senate, which was not the case for women.
.. Another study, “Can an Angry Woman Get Ahead?” concluded that men who became angry were rewarded, but that angry women were seen as incompetent and unworthy of power in the workplace... “And if you complain, you are excluded,”.. at school board meetings, men and women did not speak as long until women made up 80 percent of the school board. When men were in the minority, however, they did not speak up less.
No matter what else is said about him, Donald Trump is widely recognized as a master of attracting and holding attention.
.. Look at his response to Lester Holt’s first question of the night: “When you look at what’s happening in Mexico — a friend of mine who builds plants said it’s the eighth wonder of the world — they’re building some of the biggest plants anywhere in the world.”
.. Time after time he would start a sentence only to immediately cut himself off with a short self-serving interjection before completing his thought.
.. Discovered in the 1920, the Zeigarnik Effect maintains that an interrupted or uncompleted task commands our attention much more than a completed one.