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
Politics can divide more often than unite. But, deep involvement in the civic sphere doesn't mean we have to sacrifice empathy and civility.
On the Blog
The word "depression" is used to describe a personal condition as well as large-scale economic collapse. Parker Palmer shares a story of personal story of his last encounter with depression and two interviews that talking about depression and economic crisis.
Everyone suffers, silently or obviously, one way or the other. Once you see that connection, tenderness follows. A cancer survivor's meditation on gratitude and the marvel that is being alive.
A weekly roundup of the many things surfacing and playing out in the world with some of our favorite writers and thinkers.
To truly meet each other "that mysterious junction of suffering and love could well be the most truthful and potent place."
What unites us all is that we all have mothers. A poet traces the path of her life through her Rumanian grandmother and the women who followed.
Becoming a mother can be a startling experience — a belonging to a communion of motherhood and the stark reality that one's identity will never be the same again. For this upcoming Mother's Day, Courtney Martin contemplates the fragility, fierceness, and myopia of motherhood and the ineffable beauty of being a mother.
Metaphors of light and reflection abound. But what about the metaphors of mirror and mirroring. Omid Safi holds that image with palms up and open.
A trip down the Grand Canyon (and, of course, a poem) reveals a truth and shows us all that we are most whole when we live in the layers of our being.
It's all good this week. Stories of success, laughter, landscape, and renewed energy.
The mind can get in the way of itself. Sharon Salzberg on the hindrance of delusion and not seeing things as they actually are by going numb and turning away from the world.
Sometimes we buzz through our social media streams and forget to pause, connect, and read more deeply. The marvelous writer Terry Tempest Williams teaches us to do just that — all through the story of her dog.
"Ritual does for behavior what poetry does for words." When the hope of youthful enthusiasm turns grim and gray and the spiritual challenge of uncertainty beckons, a rabbi finds hope in ritual as poetry in action, recognizing the spirituality in the routine, recapturing the sacred in the mundane, and rediscovering beauty in the ordinary.
To bear witness means to be present. Beyond the truncated arc of our broken news cycles and the busyness of our lives, Courtney Martin suggests that we root ourselves in a deeper commitment in our own humanity — and of others — and continue to stand up against injustice.
We are inextricably entwined with each other. Omid Safi sees the pain and suffering of two tragedies — in Nepal and in Baltimore — and appeals to all of us to embody the ethics of a natural tragedy, reaching out in compassion, when we're faced with man-made destruction and systemic corruption.
In silence, there is a depth of communion that trumps what we can achieve with words. In laughter, there is a depth of communion that trumps what we can achieve with solemnity. Parker Palmer on shadow and quiet.
New horizons yield new sunsets, as does this round-up of awesome things to read, listen to, and see!
Much great brain research has been coming out about the value of meditation and mindfulness. But, when the rigor overtakes the intention of the practice, how do we measure success and the "powerful signs of change in our everyday lives"?
Earth Day has come and gone. And yet, the same hopes and fears remain. A collection of interviews and vignettes on silence, listening to the world, reimagining environmentalism, and more to carry your ears and sustain you.
This year commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. An Armenian-American woman contemplates the periphery of pain, the legacy of silence and suffering — inviting the Armenian diaspora and "the world to listen with us."
While eavesdropping, our columnist witnesses the intimacy of two strangers generously listening to one another — without an intent to save, fix, or advise. A lesson in witnessing over chicken wings.
How do we sit with suffering? A lyrical pondering on how things fall apart — and worlds open anew.
Take a break from all of the talk about the planet on this Earth Day and spend a few moments listening to it.
We all have one of those transcendent moments when we're immersed in nature and experience the immensity of it all. On this Earth Day, Parker Palmer shares one of those times while camping in the Grand Canyon.
From our gatherings in Louisville to the ekphrastic poetry for Yom HaShoah, a wealth of reading and exploring this week.