Do You Have a Thinking Problem? 🤔

Shadow on green grass of August Rodin's "The Thinker" sculpture at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Shadow of Rodin’s “The Thinker” at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Ever feel like you’ve had too much to think?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking these days: about my place in the world, how I’m moving through it, and how the world moves me, too. I lost my job in March due to the pandemic, so I have some extra time. What an immense privilege. I don’t want to waste a single minute.

Is there really such thing as overthinking?
Yeah, maybe, but that’s not what this is about.

I’ve spent most of my life putting myself down, shrinking myself to “fun size” so I could fit in your pocket. So I could be liked and accepted. So I could belong. I would do whatever it took, often with disastrous results. (No surprise there!)

And so I’d lament, “nobody really sees me.”
Well, it’s hard to be fully seen if you’re always hiding.

I’m still figuring out what my life will look like moving forward, just as we all are. I have no idea what I’m doing, but the Big Secret of Life™️ is that nobody else knows, either. To quote the late, great Arthur Ashe: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” And for me that means showing myself and showing UP for myself. And I need to be thoughtful about it so my actions align with my core values. Have you thought about your core values lately?

So, what thoughts—big or small—are you thinking these days? I’d love to hear them.



Artifacts: The Music of Michael McGlynn was released by the Kansas City Chorale on January 3, 2019.

I am so lucky to sing with the GRAMMY® Award–winning Kansas City Chorale, Kansas City’s very own professional choral ensemble. I started as a second soprano, and I’ve slowly made my way down to the second altos over the course of eight seasons. The group has come to be a second family to me.

We had been singing Irish composer Michael McGlynn‘s hauntingly gorgeous choral music for a handful of years when we were encouraged to record an album of his songs in English and Irish. The fruits of our efforts, 20 tracks in all, are now out there in the wild. I hope you’ll take a listen and let me know what you think!

There are several tracks on which I’m a featured soloist: “Cúnnla,” “Jerusalem” (on the refrain), and “Cormacus Scripsit.” Enjoy.

Artifacts on Spotify

Spotify link not working? You can also listen on YouTube.

Everything Sings

In April 2018 I had the privilege of visiting Morocco with Illuminated Tours, an eclectic group of about 30 open-hearted travelers from all over the world. Tour leader Dr. Omid Safi, a charismatic professor of Islamic studies at Duke University, not only showed us some of the most holy sites in Marrakech and Fez but also led us on a spiritual journey to the center of our own hearts. Omid was up front about this fact from the first: “We’re going to become spiritual cardiologists,” he said, nodding toward an actual cardiologist in the group who had just introduced himself a moment before. “In fact, the Arabic phrase for ‘how are you?’ – keef al hal – translates to ‘how’s your heart?’ and so we will all be checking in with each other throughout the trip in this way: how’s your heart?” I knew right then in my own heart that I was in the right place.

Dar El Bacha-Marrakech
At Dar El Bacha, the Museum of Religious Confluences in Marrakech, April 2018

We had daily reading assignments from Radical Love, a poignant collection of Sufi poetry by Rumi and his contemporaries translated and edited by Omid. One afternoon, I was reading in the courtyard of our lovely riad in the ancient medina of Marrakech when I came across Abu Sa’id’s “Everything Sings.” It took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes. I read it over and over again. Never has a poem spoke (sung?) to me more clearly.

We have loved

A love that spills over

Everything we are

–Abu Sa’id, trans. Omid Safi in Radical Love: Teachings from the Islamic Mystical Tradition (Yale University Press, 2018). Used with permission.

The tranquil courtyard of Riad Melhoun & Spa in Marrakech

I believe that music – and especially singing – is directly inspired and created as a result of pure love. Whether that love is for another person, for God, for nature, or even for one’s self, music couldn’t exist without it. We are moved to sing when words by themselves are not enough.

Intentional Travel

If you are searching for an inspiring travel experience like I had in Morocco, look to Illuminated Tours. Expertly curated and thoughtfully led by knowledgeable guides, it’s thoughtful, organized group travel…for people who don’t usually “do” group travel.

Illuminated Tours poses with the Atlas Mountains at Marrakech Organics, April 2018

While you do visit important religious and historic sites, this is not your average sightseeing tour. It’s more like a laid-back study abroad program for lifelong learners who are genuinely curious about the world, who seek to better understand diverse communities and cultures on a more meaningful level. You stay in four-star boutique accommodations, with some meals included, and you leave with a deeper appreciation for the destination, gaining access to sites and venues that may not be available to you if you were on your own. If you’re the type of traveler who likes to “go where the locals go,” you will not be disappointed.

From conversations over breakfast about the weirdness of everyday life to thoughtful discussions of poetry, theology and philosophy each evening, I quickly bonded with the group. But there’s also plenty of time to relax and explore on your own. And if you feel like skipping a group activity, there’s absolutely no judgment if you want to bow out. Everyone was so supportive, open and affirming, which made these people so easy to travel with. They definitely set the bar for my group travel experiences going forward.

Have you ever traveled with a organized tour? What did you love or hate about it? Let’s talk (or sing) about it in the comments.

©️ 2022 Katherine Crawford | All Rights Reserved.