"At the heart of solitude lies a paradox: look long and hard enough at yourself in isolation and suddenly you will see the rest of humanity staring back."

Buddhist writer and scholar Stephen Batchelor offered the above reflection in a recent conversation with On Being host Krista Tippett. The episode is titled Finding Ease in Aloneness, and it centers on how the present situation is forcing us all to work out the difference between isolation and loneliness or solitude.

Hailed as a "beautiful literary collage", The Art of Solitude is Batchelor's new book, and it teaches how to approach solitude as a graceful and life-giving practice. Among the wealth of wisdom shared in The Art of Solitude's pages, Batchelor defines the concept of being alone with yourself as... "Just being in your own company, and not only being OK with that, but also, recognizing that this is the source — this place of just settling is the place you find yourself, for example, if you’re a poet or a painter — that’s where your ideas begin. That’s where your imagination, your creativity, all start to, as it were, be germinated and then find form." 

A host of possibilities open up when we look at this chapter of self isolation as an art form to practice and sculpt, rather than as a sentence to serve out. Along the water here in Palm Beach there are countless cues to be taken from the ocean. Despite its still vacant shores, the surf swirls, the sea beams back blue and the show truly does go on. That nuance makes its imprint, reminding us to keep practicing our art. As we head into summertime, here's some inspiration for doing so?


"It's always been in between the things that I thought I was doing that the real work is happening."

Since its broadcast debut on PBS in 2001, over 100 artists have been featured in ART21's flagship series. Each episode features a different artist and unpacks the inspiration, vision, and techniques behind their processes. What a delight to watch William Kentridge in the moment, at play in his studio in this recent episode. The uncontrived integrity of his work is a timely reminder of the impact of making space for wonder and embracing gradualness as a practice.

Watch Anything is Possible with William Kentridge...


"Be someone you've never been."

IN-Q is an award-winning poet, and multi-platinum songwriter. His work leaps from the page and is best sampled through his own spoken word. Like many artists, he writes to entertain, inspire, and challenge his audiences to look deeper into the human experience and ask questions about themselves, their environment, and the world at large. Here's a clip of IN-Q performing his Poem About Saying Yes...  IN-Q (also known as Adam Schmalholz) is a National Poetry Slam champion and the first spoken word artist to perform with Cirque Du Soleil, recently he sat down for this timely conversation with Elena Brower on her Practice You podcast. In their chat the artist reads from his new book of poetry entitled, INQUIRE WITHIN. Listening to IN-Q read his verse (which he does in this conversation) is transformative to say the least. Stream IN-Q's Practice You conversation here.


"Someday, if she finds herself in isolation and I am not there, she will have her own songs and some courage based in these walks."

Megan Craig is an associate professor of philosophy and art at the State University of New York, Stony Brook.The Courage to Be Alone was published earlier this month in the New York Times, and its an essay that merits endless sharing as (together) we continue to learn to be alone...  

"My youngest daughter has told me that Annabelle, her baby doll, might have the coronavirus. We talk about it as we take a daily walk up the road. She’s not sure yet whether it is diabetes or the virus. Annabelle’s symptoms vary, but she has not left the small cradle by the side of my daughter’s bed in days. I have been told I can..."

Read The  Courage to Be Alone here...

Updated: May 18

The Coudert Institute has enjoyed a longtime association with the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society. As you know, this past season we had the great fortune of collaborating with our friends at the zoo to bring to the community some terrific programming featuring primatologist and ethologist Frans de Waal and scientist Dr. Wallace J. Nichols.

The Palm Beach Zoo is a local treasure, offering children and adults a space to pause and stretch the mind in wonder. We ALL look forward to its reopening at some point soon. In the meantime, as part of our ongoing GARDEN CHATS series, we decided to bring a bit of the zoo to you! Please enjoy this casual conversation with Coudert Institute Founder Dale Coudert and Margo McKnight, President and CEO of the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society. Just one of a handful of the females who preside over our zoos, Margo just celebrated her two year anniversary here. As you will see, she has an infectious smile and cheer and an absolute devotion to her staff and the animals to which they all attend.

“We are giving Api time to bond with her cubs and watching over her closely. As soon as she is comfortable leaving her cubs in human care, we will perform a quick health check of the cubs and determine their sex. We are not expecting any interventions needed in their care at the point and so the health checks could be several weeks from now."

In their stroll through the gardens and sprawling grounds of the zoo, Margo and Dale touched on a wide range of topics including some exciting news on tap. Shortly after taping this conversation, we received the announcement that on May 12, three beautiful baby Mayan tigers were born. After seven hours of labor, their Mom Api delivered the three cubs 90 minutes apart from one another. All three cubs are now nursing and bonding with their mother. The first 72 hours in the life of these newborns is critical, and Margo, along with the zoo's Director of Animal Care Dr. Kathleen Woodie (quoted above) and the entire team at the zoo, will be at the ready until the cubs reach the 30 day mark when they can breathe a sigh of relief.

You can keep up on Api and her three new cubs through the Zoo's Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages. We hope you enjoy this virtual visit to the Palm Beach Zoo! Click HERE to watch this episode of GARDEN CHATS.

Photo and video courtesy of the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation.

Updated: May 2

As we continue our commitment to keeping in touch with our members during this time of social distancing, the Coudert Institute is delighted to offer some brand new programming... GARDEN CHATS. GARDEN CHATS are relaxed conversations with a wide range of well- respected luminaries. Filmed on location, the conversations are designed to bring you some pause while keeping you curious. Coudert Institute Founder Dale Coudert was so grateful for the opportunity to sit down in the outdoor balm of Villa dei Fiori with her longtime friend best-selling author and fine art photographer, Joyce Tenneson. A big thanks to those of you who submitted questions for our guest.

"Scientists believe that flowers are more responsive than previously imagined - having ways of touching, hearing and smiling."

In addition to offering her reflections and insights, in this first GARDEN CHAT episode Joyce also shares some exclusive (brand new content), entitled: Flowers: The Lifecycle of Beauty. This portion of our GARDEN CHAT begins just after our guest's introduction. In this visual meditation, Joyce's magnificent photographs of flowers are set to a hushed soundscape of musical notes. We invite you to relax back and enjoy ten minute's of ease and wonder, and to share this conversation as an uplift to others!

Joyce Tenneson's photography has been exhibited internationally, and her 16 books continue to bring joy and inspiration to hundreds of thousands of readers. In 2018 she was honored at Carnegie Hall with a Lucie Award for "Achievement in Portraiture". We are fortunate here in Palm Beach to be able to experience her work in-person at Holden-Luntz Gallery on Worth Avenue. Pencil in a field trip next season, and see for yourself the timeless beauty that Joyce captures and expresses through her fine art photography. Please click HERE to enjoy Dale's conversation with Joyce Tenneson...

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