"To hear something asks very little of us. To listen places our entire being on notice."
~Terry Tempest Williams

Radio and podcast production is, once again, at full tilt this week, now that our entire staff has returned to the office. "Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." ~Frederick Buechner, photo by Eric_MarmotaAnd, after a two-week hiatus from Twitter, Krista (@kristatippett) reemerged with these words from writer and theologian Frederick Buechner:

"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid."

Our host also shared this wonderful TEDx Talk by an astrophysicist whom she interviewed some years ago. Mario Livio's TEDx TalkHe's the type of person one can "quote all the time":

"Curiosity is like a hunger." Watch the fabulous @Mario_Livio of Hubble on Rembrandt, Casablanca, science and more.

Conversation also flowed. Twitter Discussion on ComfortWilliam Beck of Bridgeton, New Jersey posed an interesting question to Krista:

@kristatippett I have been obsessed with the idea of COMFORT lately. Can you consider an On Being show about it? Thanks.

@WBeck4 An interesting question. I think of pleasure, beauty, delight as essential to life/Life. I'm on the fence about comfort. You?

@kristatippett Thank you for replying! I love On Being! Comfort's been occupying my mind a lot lately. Other essential's surely more important.

@WBeck4 Oh you have gotten me thinking about this too. It is important. Thank you.

Any thoughts on the subject? Drop Krista a line by following her on Twitter.

The emails and comments we receive from listeners are good fun and often interesting. But, this one left me chuckling over the word choice in the title:

Had a listener write asking who is the author of "God: An Autobiography." Methinks the answer is in the title. What a tome that would be!

"You think you are alone. Then you raise your eyes, and you are surrounded." -Jack Miles, photo by Sam JavanrouhThe aforementioned question did prompt us to find and share these rather unassuming lines from Miles' biography, which resonated with our readers:

"You think you are alone. Then you raise your eyes, and you are surrounded."

Continuing in this vein of good humor, guess who uttered these words:

"I've always thought I was part Betazoid."

Yes, it's a quotation from Jim Walsh's (@saintfabio) fantastic profile piece on Krista and On Being for MinnPost. It's an entertaining and insightful read.

"For there is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one's own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone." ~Milan Kundera, photo Hartwig HKD http://bit.ly/VNNUbGProbably one of our readers' favorite Instagram pairings (what should I call these?) this week comes from Milan Kundera's classic The Unbearable Lightness of Being:

"For there is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one’s own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination."

If there's one thing we know about our listeners, they're readers too. And readers write, which can be its own challenge, even for Krista:

Writing is such a wild exercise in both trusting and mistrusting your own voice. This helps: 20 Great Writers on the Art of Revision

The hardest thing is just to sound like yourself. It's true in radio too - and the work of life. What touching, puzzling creatures we are.

Studs Terkel on The Human VoiceI'd also recommend watching this sweet, little animated vignette with late, great Studs Terkel on the power of the unfiltered human voice, a baby's voice, in our modern life. The short is from StoryCorps (we're big fans) — and it's only two minutes!

We've had a number of requests for us to do a show on the Twitter Conversation with KabbalahJewish mystical tradition of Kabbalah. Most recently, from Stuart Cohen of Massachusetts:

@kristatippett Your podcasts are the perfect length for gym workout. Do something on Kabbala? (not the pop Madonna version)

@seventh-system Love hearing this. We've approached but never found the right way in. Do you have a recommendation for a voice?

@kristatippett Good start is Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, author and good public speaker. In SF now, I think. If not him, he might recommend.

@seventhsystem He is terrific, good on kabbala too? Thanks for this. And glad my podcast can support your workouts...

@kristatippett NB it's Lawrence not Harold Kushner, tho HK is brilliant and eloquent. No relation.

@seventhsystem yes. I really like him and he's less well known.

I'd put this question to you, dear reader, as well. Are there any voices you'd like to hear speak on the subject. Drop us a line at mail@onbeing.org.

"We would like to be remembered after we die. I think all of us do have some kind of yearning for immortality." ~Mayfair Yang http://bit.ly/UL3x22 photo by Sam IlicAnd lest you think Krista's only embedded in her work:

Critics complain but I so like the rough real-ness of the singing in the Les Miz movie. Like the refreshingly real faces on British TV.

I haven't seen it yet. What do you think? You really should reply to her tweet. She'd love the discussion.

I'll leave you with these parting words from the scholar Hussein Rashid (@islamoyankee). He posted several lovely prayers for the new year on the State of Formation website: two from the Prophet Muhammad and one by the author himself. I found this verse especially lovely during the depths of winter here in North America:

O Allâh, place light in my heart, light in my tongue, light in my hearing, light in my sight, light behind me, light in front of me, light on my right, light on my left, light above me and light below me; place light in my sinew, in my flesh, in my blood, in my hair and in my skin; place light in my soul and make light abundant for me; make me light and grant me light.

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