By Molly Butler

I suspect I’m not alone when I say, for the past several years, I have felt a bit lost.

The world changes so rapidly now. It’s not unusual for conversations with old friends to begin with, “What a strange time we’ve had.” “The last few years have been so hard.” “I don’t know where we go from here.”

There’s so much loss and anger and tension and confusion. I see it in the short tempers at the grocery store, the expansion of unhoused encampments, the everyday cruelty in comment sections, families and friendships strained apart by politics, the hoarding and indifference. I can see it in denial, the folks who barrel onwards with their lifestyles like horses with blinders, insisting on business as usual. Reality is too much to face.

The common theme is uncertainty. It’s as if we’re all stuck on a raft in the middle of trying to cross a muddy, wild, alligator-filled river. We don’t know what’s ahead. Our nervous systems start to be overwhelmed. Maybe, it would be better to stay here, give up and hope for rescue. Some want to blow through all the provisions and enjoy it now while we still can. Tensions are high. Ideas are getting weirder. Let’s make a sacrifice to the gators. Why bother trying to reach the other side? It’s probably full of tigers. The raft shakes. With stakes this high, familiar faces start to look like enemies. One wrong move and we’re all overboard. “I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Where we arrive is determined by the direction we choose today.

But we never have. We’ve never known. None of this was ever guaranteed. Nothing has ever been certain except change. We won’t sit at this moment forever. With or without us, existence goes on. So, where are we going? We forget our power. We forget we get to choose, not where we arrive, but where we want to go.

“The problem is whether we are determined to go in the direction of compassion or not. If we are, then can we reduce the suffering to a minimum?” writes Thich Nhat Hanh. “If I lose my direction, I have to look for the North Star, and I go to the north. That does not mean I expect to arrive at the North Star. I just want to go in that direction.”

Where we arrive is determined by the direction we choose today. If we choose to be bitter, short-tempered and selfish, we have planted those seeds, and we can look forward to a more unpleasant world. We can also choose to do nothing and let others decide for us, becoming little more than extra weight in the boat. But if we choose to be compassionate, to hope, to be patient, forgiving, to be calm, we can stop being helpless passengers and start being sailors, making our way towards the shore.

We do not need certainty. We do not need a whole map. We only need one direction.

Have a wonderful weekend. Be nice to one another.


Rasmussen University will host an American Red Cross Blood Drive from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nursing students will be on hand to assist in your donation. The need is real, and the care is great, so make your appointment here to donate.

We have summer fun for kiddos! Jack McGowan Farm is hosting the Twin Valley Council Summer STEM. Camp! Join in each day, Monday through Friday, for amazing activities exploring science, technology, engineering and math. Register here. The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota will host Wellness For All: Summer Fun! In partnership with the Mayo Clinic Health System, the event will feature wellness and safety activities, open from 10-11:30 a.m.

The 410 Project will be open from 2-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday with an Exhibition of Recent Works by Anwen Teachout. The Minnesota State Department of Theatre & Dance presents Nunsense, a hilarious musical story of the Little Sisters of Hoboken. Tickets are available here.

Head to Minneopa State Park from 4-5:30 p.m. for Archery in the Parks. This program covers the basics of archery and gives participants a chance to practice their skills. Open to ages 8 and older. Don’t forget to come back from 7-8 p.m. to meet at the Group Campground in Minneopa for Owls of Minnesota, an exploration of the 12 owls found in Minnesota, and hopefully, see some for yourself!

Schell’s Summer Music Series kicks off with Ocho and Friends from 6-8 p.m., paired with food from Russell’s Traveling Kitchen and, of course, beer. Admission is free. Another Time Around will be playing from 6-8:30 p.m. at Indian Island Winery, and you can catch the Fat City All-Stars at the Landing on Madison from 7-10 p.m. The River Rats Dueling Pianos Fundraiser for the St. Peter American Legion Riders Post #37 begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20, and there will be a silent auction after the show. The What’s Up Lounge will host EdgarFest 2022, with doors opening at 7 p.m. and a $15 cover. Catch More or Less, Batter Eyes, Awesome Snakes and more at this 21-plus event.


You know how we roll. Kickstart your Saturday with Nicollet Bike & Ski’s Gravel Ride, leaving the shop at 7 a.m. for a 25-40 mile ride. The Mankato Farmers’ Market will be open in the Best Buy parking lot from 8 a.m. to noon. Check out the market’s Facebook page to see what’s in season. Then, swing by the Pollinator Plant Sale at the Nicollet County Historical Society Treaty Site History Center in St. Peter. The sale is from 9 a.m. to noon and will include native plants and everything you need to bring butterflies and other pollinators to your yard!

Head to the 507 for their first-ever Drag Brunch! Drag Me With A Spoon will serenade and entertain from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Stop by the Dork Den after 11 a.m. for a Miniature Art Show, showcasing the talent of local miniature painters! This is part of the Old Town Art Fair, which will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with artists, musicians and cultural creatives, all in one big party! Then, swing by the Blue Earth County Library for the new Patio Grand Opening with the Armstrong Boulevard Brass Quintet from 1-2 p.m.

Farmamerica of Waseca invites you to their Barnyard Bash! You’re sure to have an udderly good time celebrating National Dairy Month. Get your tickets here to enjoy free ice cream, fun activities, milk science experiments, farm animals, a scavenger hunt and more! Open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Step back in time with a Victorian Lawn Party at the Hubbard House! From 1-4 p.m., enjoy free lawn activities with costumed characters!

Catch live, local music around town. Generation Gap will be at Indian Island Winery from 5:30-8:30 p.m. EdgarFest 2022 continues at the What’s Up Lounge with a $15 cover and music by Bad Idea, Fret Rattles and more, beginning at 7 p.m. Finally, catch Rock of Ages at the Anchor Bar and Grill and Fat City All-Stars at the Prairie Saloon Street Dance, both kicking off at 7 p.m.


Learning never ends! Who’s living in Frog Pond? The Ney Nature Center will host a Youth Naturalist Series: Pond Study this Sunday from 9-10:30 a.m. You can get your child’s tickets here. This child-focused event is a drop-off optional program, so feel free to run errands or grab a coffee, then pick them up at 11 a.m. at the education building. Chankaska Creek Ranch is ready to take you to Charcuterie Boarding School! Head to the event page to attend this fun, hands-on summer-themed class.

Vagabond Village will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with their Summer Market, featuring local vendors. Stock up and support local artists and makers!

Wind down your weekend with some live music. Paul Stewart will play Indian Island Winery from 1-3:30 p.m. Schell’s Summer Music Series continues from 1-4:30 p.m. with The Old Guy and the Kid. Family Tradition will play from 3-6 p.m. at the Landing on Madison.

Added Value: Cultivating Compassion

Thich Nhat Hanh teaches that understanding is vital to compassion. “If we do not understand, we cannot love.” Mindfulness practice creates the inner space we need to make room for understanding. There are abundant resources available through Plum Village to help in your journey, including podcasts, book excerpts and meditations. Or, if you’re like me, and sometimes have a hard time remaining still and prefer mindful movement, there are abundant resources for yoga, tai chi and other exercises available online or through local resources like Safe Relations and Sun Moon Yoga. A little goes a long way. Try a mindfulness practice today.


Weekend High Notes is a regular feature by Molly Butler. Molly covers weekend events, live music, and culture in the Greater Mankato Area. Suggestions are welcome using the MankatoLIFE contact form.