A Celebration of Mystery, Poetry, Questions, and Birth

Sunday, November 11, 2012 - 6:19 am

A Celebration of Mystery, Poetry, Questions, and Birth

Praise to the rituals that celebrate change,
Old robes worn for new beginnings,
Solemn protocol where the mutable soul,
Surrounded by ancient experience, grows
Young in the imagination’s white dress.

Pity the Beautiful by Dana GioiaFriday was Krista’s birthday! Although she thought she could fly under the radar, I couldn’t let this special day go unacknowledged. There was no cake (although she ought to eat something rich and delicious) or singing within cubicle walls (we’ll leave that to her talented, singer-songwriter daughter and teenage son).
But, I did send her this beautiful poem, “Autumnal Inaugural,” from Dana Gioia’s brilliant new work Pity the Beautiful, from which the verse above was excerpted. If you’re looking for something to read and ponder while driving home for the holidays or sitting around at the hockey rink this winter, you won’t be disappointed. Plus, it’s published by one of our favorites, Graywolf Press.
Please feel free to wish Krista a happy birthday! Send her one of your favorite lines of poetry via Twitter (@kristatippett) or add to the growing list of verses being contributed on Facebook — everything from Rumi to Muir to Whitman.
Garrett's MemorialIn response to last week’s show, “A Wild Love for the World,” we received this moving response from Katherine von Alt, a listener living in Austin, Texas:

“Since the death of my son I have been swimming in the sea of grief. This interview (and poetry) felt like a life raft. Thank you.”

For all of us who work on this show, this note is what it’s all about. We can’t express how deeply these heart-felt stories move and inspire us. Thank you.
On Being AnalyticsAnd, as you’ll notice in the graph to the right, Katherine was not alone in her fondness for this show. Our website traffic skyrocketed in both visitors and page impressions last week. In particular, people strongly responded to the Rilke poem “Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower,” to which Krista said she can listen to this poem again and again:

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

My forest dream is still a dream...Around the same time, we posted this photograph by Vinoth Chandar on Instagram and Tumblr, and paired it with a brief passage from The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Volume 1: (1931-1934):

“The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.”

Although the 2012 campaign season is finished, the need for improving our public dialogue doesn’t end, as Torey Lightcap (@fathertorey) reminded us after listening to The Civil Conversations Project:

Oh, @KristaTippett. You make such enormous good sense.

Upon reading this, we retweeted and asked:

Twitter Conversation between Krista Tippett and Father Torey

Pray tell, what prompted this kind statement?

To which he replied:

The thing about how to dialogue on divisive issues w/out letting conversation devolve into argument.

What ensued was this delightful exchange between the Episcopal priest from Sioux City, Iowa and Krista, who tweeted back:

We have to let division back into our dialogue – argument doesn’t engage difference, nor does leaping to commonalities.

Rev. Torey then touched on the heart of Krista’s philosophy and approach to her interviews:

Also, have we forgotten the value of questions? They’re what help to propel a conversation forward in a civil way.

@fathertorey Yes! Questions are powerful – answers mirror them – and it’s hard to transcend an inflammatory or simplistic question.

@kristatippett If we’re willing to take time and really listen, boy do things crack open and flourish. So many just want to be heard.

Islamic Center of North Virginia
I’ll round out this week’s newsletter with a flurry of diverse articles that Krista has been sharing via Twitter. Why leave out those of you who aren’t tweeting (yet?).
For those of you who’ve read bits and pieces of the saga involving Wired wunderkind and former New Yorker staff writer Jonah Lehrer:

Finally, a grounded, rounded analysis of the sad tale of Jonah Lehrer.

Lisa Kimball (@lisakimball) pointed Krista to Andrew Zolli’s (@andrew_zolli) “intriguing essay” in The New York Times op-ed pages on resilience, sustainability, and learning to bounce back:

“Among a growing number of scientists, social innovators, community leaders, nongovernmental organizations, philanthropies, governments and corporations, a new dialogue is emerging around a new idea, resilience: how to help vulnerable people, organizations and systems persist, perhaps even thrive, amid unforeseeable disruptions. Where sustainability aims to put the world back into balance, resilience looks for ways to manage in an imbalanced world.”

To which Krista asks, “Resilience – the future of sustainability?”
Obama Hugs WifeAnd, on what has quickly become an iconic image of the Obamas hugging shortly after they learned the President had won reelection:

Obama marital embrace – Analysis interesting – photo beautiful

As always, please send us your feedback about our work. Contact us any way you like: contact us on our website, share your suggestions and critiques on Facebook or Twitter (@beingtweets, @KristaTippett, @TrentGilliss).

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is the cofounder of On Being and currently serves as chief content officer and executive editor. He received a Peabody Award in 2007 for his work on “The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi” and garnered two Webby Awards (in 2005, and again in 2008). The Online News Association nominated his journalistic work multiple times in the general excellence and outstanding specialty journalism categories. Trent’s reported and produced stories from Turkey to rural Alabama, from Israel and the West Bank to Cambridge, England.

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