“On Being” rather than “on campaigning”: Kevin Kling

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The Losses and Laughter We Grow Into with Kevin Kling

From the “On Being” website:  Kevin Kling is part funny guy, part poet and playwright, part wise man. Born with a disabled left arm, he lost the use of his right one after a motorcycle accident nearly killed him. He shares his special angle on life’s humor and its ruptures — and why we turn loss into story.

If you don’t have time for the whole show (or unedited conversation), listen to his reading of “Tickled Pink,” available as a separate track on SoundCloud.

I appreciate Mr. Kling’s lack of “nobility” and full embrace of his (our) humaneness—like using his disability to get what he wanted as a child, and the evolution of his prayers from childhood to the present (from praying for things, to praying for help to get him out of a jam, and now prayers of gratitude).

Mr. Kling explains the difference between “curing” and “healing” in a way we can all understand:

Ms. Tippett: And it, it seems connected to me. It’s — it’s related to what you’re saying, that there are ways in which we need to heal, which are not going to be about everything being all right.

Mr. Kling: No, and anyone that’s ever had their heart broken knows exactly that. I mean, the heart is an instrument, once broken, never go, repairs the same. Yet, even though it can’t be cured, it can be healed and you can love again. But that heart isn’t the same heart that was broken the first time. And any time you experience loss, whenever I use the word “trauma” in my work, it, the word “loss” I usually replace as often as I can, because a loss is a loss, whether it’s a heart, a limb, a promise, a person. It’s all loss and it’s all trauma, and it’s all things that are broken that can’t be cured. You can’t go back. But you can heal it, and that’s an important thing to know.


Photo courtesy of Ryan McGuire at Gratisography.

Alexandra Marchosky
Alexandra Marchosky
I coach individuals and organizations to do and be better by more fully living their values.
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