On the Blog

Featured Commentary

By Parker J. Palmer September 30, 2015

Politics can divide more often than unite. But, deep involvement in the civic sphere doesn't mean we have to sacrifice empathy and civility.

A Charm Against the Language of Politics

Say over and over the names of things,
the clean nouns: weeping birch, bloodstone, tanager,
Banshee damask rose. Read field guides, atlases,
gravestones. At the store, bless each apple
by kind: McIntosh, Winesap, Delicious, Jonathan.
Enunciate the vegetables and herbs: okra, calendula.

Go deeper into the terms of some small landscape:
spiders, for example. Then, after a speech on
compromising the environment for technology,
recite the tough, silky structure of webs:
tropical stick, ladder web, mesh web, filmy dome, funnel,
trap door. When you have compared the candidates’ slippery
platforms, chant the spiders: comb footed, round headed,
garden cross, feather legged, ogre faced, black widow.
Remember that most short verbs are ethical: hatch, grow,
spin, trap, eat. Dig deep, pronounce clearly, pull the words
in over your head. Hole up
for the duration.

On the Blog

By Annie Parsons September 14, 2015

Our new series features songs we find beautiful, striking, and wholehearted. Based on our podcast with John O'Donohue, singer-songwriter Emily Kate Boyd penned a gorgeous song worthy of sharing.

By Sharon Salzberg September 14, 2015

As life fleets by, we can get caught up in worrying about what may eventually happen. Through a story of receiving her first senior discount, Sharon Salzberg teaches us to exercise our "letting-go muscle" to be with what is.

By Esther Cohen September 13, 2015

For the Jewish High Holy Days, two poems by Esther Cohen paired with photography from Matthew Septimus. They offer words that sound like music, and postcards that become visual prayers and emblems of hope.

By Tilon Sagulu September 13, 2015

Wanderlust, the thrill of travel, is a natural instinct. So, too, is it natural to want to preserve our experiences — to look back with nostalgia and share them with others. A Malaysian Dusun graduate student reflects on the power of "unglossed" moments and looking up to see the true richness of a world ripe with beauty. Plus, poetry from Adrienne Rich and Walt Whitman!

By Jennifer Gubitz September 12, 2015

Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish year, is an occasion of hope and renewal. On the eve of this holy holiday, a soul-searching reflection through the metaphor of writing letters — to others, to God, and to oneself.

By Omid Safi September 12, 2015

The image of a small boy's body washed onto the beach awakened the world to the largest refugee crisis in decades. Omid Safi shares his heartbreak, reminding us that love and compassion must lead toward action and must reach across geographical boundaries and borders of faith.

By Patrick Henry September 11, 2015

“Benedictine spirituality and Zen Buddhism became the two lungs through which I breathe.” The Belgian author Bieke Vandekerckhove passed away this week. Patrick Henry honors her life by shining a light on The Taste of Silence, her recently translated book on genuine faith — and honest doubt — of a "spiritual giant."

By Courtney E. Martin September 11, 2015

Success so often is identified by how children transcend their parents' class and collar. Rather than continuing this cultural narrative, could the future of work in America be more than just pulling up our bootstraps and climbing the ladder?

By Lily Percy September 10, 2015

For World Suicide Prevention Day, a story of a son's loss of his father by suicide. The writer Eric Marcus talks about family silence, learning to share his story, and discovering compassion for his father and healing for himself.

By Parker J. Palmer September 09, 2015

The politics of rage so often focuses us on lack of action and despair. But, the broken heart is an important political and personal reality, one that can liberate the mind if exercised properly.

By Trent Gilliss September 08, 2015

We're officially back into the full swing of production! Amidst the flurry of exciting work, we're grateful for the chance to reflect on the centering power of daily ritual, facing mortality with hope, and defining our lives by the quality of our actions.

By Marie Sambilay September 08, 2015

For the producers here at Loring Park, it's important to perform every aspect of our work with deliberate thoughtfulness. Here, we offer a behind-the-scenes peek at all that's involved in a seemingly small task: selecting a photo to represent the week's episode.

By Katherine Hauswirth September 08, 2015

In the aftermath of her brother's untimely death, a sister contemplates life's darkness — as well as the ever-accessible, unfaltering light which illuminates the path. A call to help recover lost light for those who are in darkness, and for ourselves.

By Elizabeth Ayres September 07, 2015

Scientists say there is no such thing as an objective observer. One poet celebrates the participatory, interactive, relational aspects of reality with poetry inspired by John Keats.

By Mihee Kim-Kort September 06, 2015

Fitness events and organizations are popping up and deepening community in powerful and unexpected ways, which many consider spiritual. A mother and Presbyterian minister tells the story of entering one of those muddy races and finding camaraderie in a manner she longs to experience in her own church.

By Erika Munson September 05, 2015

"The Book of Mormon" made its way to the heart of LDS country, Salt Lake City. Using parody and sarcasm to challenge people and power structures can be a noble one. A practicing Mormon willingly goes to see a well-known musical which ridicules her faith — and emerges unashamed.

By Courtney E. Martin September 04, 2015

The frenetic pace of life can be overwhelming, making ritual even more necessary. But it doesn't have to be religious, or even spiritual in nature. Daily tasks can ground and center us, clearing our minds and helping us focus on the profundity in the seemingly mundane of this world.

By Omid Safi September 03, 2015

When asked how long they'd been married, Aljosie Harding named their time together down to the minute. Omid Safi marvels at the unexpected and profound love that infuses our world at any stage of living — and it's awe-inspiring power to provide hope in the face of grief.

By Parker J. Palmer September 02, 2015

Each summer, our columnist has been making a pilgrimage to one of nature's great treasures: the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. In his twilight years, he ponders the resurrection that takes place under the most destructive circumstances and the "vast web of life in which body and spirit are one."

By Trent Gilliss September 01, 2015

We closed down studio for two weeks, but that doesn't mean we took it easy! We built ofuros and traveled and crafted some incredible reflections on the importance of making space in our lives for contemplation, generosity, and serendipity.

By Sharon Salzberg August 31, 2015

Terms such as Jubu and Nones may be inadequate labels to describe a person's faith journey. Sharon Salzberg with a reminder that what you call yourself may not be as important as how you live.

By Lea Gibson Page August 30, 2015

A home can be a sacred space for children if adults give it the attention necessary. A mother's essay on modeling devoted action, fostering a healthy will, and creating structure through chores as a powerful, stabilizing force in the household.

By Mary Jo Bennett August 29, 2015

To be confronted with a serious illness is to be confronted with a fear of death for most of us. How do we balance hope with realism? And how do we age with grace? Drawing on Atul Gawande's book, Mary Jo Bennett highlights some ways our culture is evolving in its relationship with death.

By Courtney E. Martin August 28, 2015

Does destiny and fate truly exist? An age-old question, to be sure. Courtney Martin ponders that question and traces how each of our paths may be shaped by willful action and serendipitous encounters along the way.

By Omid Safi August 27, 2015

Suffering can be a backstop for unexpected joy. A lyrical "Rumi"ination on shadow, gratitude, and the light of the stranger.