January 2023

I was a sophomore in high school, and a buzz ran through the school. There was a tightrope walker making his way across the wire between the World Trade Center buildings. And so we ran to classrooms with televisions (yes, televisions).

We were rooting for him. Worrying for him. What if that gust of wind shakes him off that wire so far above the ground?

It did not.

Later, I read about how he trained for this feat, and the mental and physical resilience that the feat required. It’s captured well in Colum McCann’s novel Let the Great World Spin. In his novel, he provides us with a fictionalized re-telling of Philippe Petit’s training, and of the experience of four people who witness this feat from the ground. Of their awe-filled, jaw-dropping responses.  

Not unlike some of our days, right. As I was telling my junior class, January challenges us to find that "still point," that place where we are present with one another, and where we recognize those things around us which inspire awe — those places where we drop to our knees in gratitude. 

So, I challenge you, and myself. How are you practicing balance? It’s not easy; it requires thoughtfulness and mindfulness — a true day-to-day discipline. 

But, please, please. Without a tightrope.

Wishing you peace and a grace-filled new year,

Judy Mohan
Assistant Head of School for Intellectual Formation