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What Lies At the Center #7: Sue Baker

Hello Heart Marrow Community,

Welcome to Leo Season. Feels like we are in the thick of it to me. Maybe there is a moment of respite this week where we take time to take care, breathe, and say nice things to ourselves and our loved ones. Or pet someone. Or smell a flower you've never smelled before. Or lie down and close your eyes at a time of day you never have before. Find a hammock, even if for just five minutes. Look around. Hear the birds. Feel the air.

Here is your permission: You can do this right now.

Here is the seventh edition of the micro-interview series What Lies At the Center? Each month, I invite a guest to the space of Heart Marrow, conducting a micro-interview with a person who brings me awareness and connection- with hopes that their personal genius might bring you some too.

This month I interviewed Sue Baker.

I have known Sue since before I was born since she grew me in her womb. And, lest you think this is a starry-eyed mother-child story, I will set you straight. I think my mom and I would both agree that we have had a bumpy road together. Yet, there is a deep respect that is growing and we keep coming together in attempts to see and honor each other- which I think is amazing and real and important (for us).

Sue has spent her life as an activist, researcher, and educator. She holds a PhD in history from Case Western Reserve, which she earned during the 70s (= pretty badass). In addition to holding multiple assistant professor positions throughout her life, she also volunteered extensively for Habitat for Humanity; worked and traveled for yearswith the Operation for Security and Cooperation in Europe to monitor voting in countries where democracy was fragile; was arrested in protests against nuclear arms testing in the desert landscapes of Utah; was one of the organizers who tirelessly and courageously gathered signatures to get Measure 114 passed in Oregon in 2022; raised two children; and currently grandmothers two children.

Sue is currently working on an extensive, ten-year-and-growing research project on the 19th-century historical intricacies of the Balkan conflict, which will eventually culminate in a book. She presents on this topic regularly at conferences.

Scroll down to receive artworkand written contributions. AND!!- please share this love letter with those who you feel might benefit- using the email or social media button at the bottom of the letter, or simply by forwarding it to them, or reading it aloud.


Sue Baker, What lies at the center for you?

I believe that what lies at the center is the meeting and balancing point of the relevant forces needed for change. The stamen and pistol of a flower. The water and nutritional elements needed for the first life that appeared on this planet. The tones of the musical instruments making up a symphony. The deaths and horror about them after World War II, that resulted in the creation of the United Nations. And Hannah Arendt’s studies of German people’s acquiescence, which led her to conclude that evil was “banal” and a result of people’s denial and passivity, which led to the formation of a very different, new Germany. In some cases this is a coming together of opposites, which when combined creates something completely new. In other instances, it is an amalgamation of several contributing strands, all of which are necessary for an original, new product.

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