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
We crave community and intimacy. But, are we looking for it in the wrong places — in our phones and mobile devices rather than in each others' eyes? With Rumi as his guide, Omid Safi on needing less digital connection and more rejuvenation of heart and soul.
Aided by Hafiz, Parker Palmer reminds us that the inner life does not have to be a somber one, but a life rich with experience.
How is the way we live online changing the way we court, the way we love, the way we marry? Helen Fisher's "Singles in America" study offers some curious insights into the trials and tribulations of modern love.
Some of the best things of the week: on quiet nobility, thin places, the fist of fate, severed friendships, and Malcolm X.
The memory of a father weeping reminds a son how men often don't tend to grief well. But, by sharing emotions, fathers may be a key in helping boys grow into stronger, more compassionate human beings.
Today marks 50 years since Malcolm X’s assassination in 1965. A call to see the relevance of Malcolm’s fierce, radical critique and draw inspiration for today's world.
Closure may not be all it's cracked up to be. Courtney Martin on the death of a friendship and the insatiable, sometimes unsatisfying, need to create silver linings where none exist.
Our greetings matter as much as our answers. What happens when we intentionally bring our hearts to the forefront of our interactions? What happens if we take a page from the Tzoltzil Mayans and ask one another “How is your heart?”
We are told to embrace the fact that death is part of life. Embracing emotional honesty, Parker Palmer shakes his salty fist at fate's inevitable hand with a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay.
With so much media coverage of the violence and mayhem and murders, how do we shine a light on the people living lives of quiet nobility who are doing good in the world before they are extinguished?
Join us at 7:00 pm tonight for a live video stream of Krista's conversation with Sister Simone Campbell of Nuns on the Bus fame. We'll be taking your questions online too!
A potpourri of thinking on joy, letting suffering speak, writing poetry, and the wisdom of children — as curated by Trent Gilliss.
The highly acclaimed and beloved poet Mary Oliver reads her four-part poem, "The Fourth Sign of the Zodiac," — a poem in which she explores death, purpose, and the call to live after being diagnosed with lung cancer several years ago.
When age and experience dwindle our capacity for wonder, the books of our childhood may be our salvation and our "thin places" where the boundary between the material and the magical opens ourselves to wonder all over again.
Children ask questions that challenge the best of parents. They also expose the weaknesses of our responses. A set of reflections from a black South African mother and activist who is confronted by the truth of her daughter's words and embracing the "weirdness" of their "dark brown and peach" family.
The killing of three college students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina has shaken the Muslim community to its core. Omid Safi remembers the extraordinary human beings we lost and the pain that may lead to a new civil rights movement.
Cynicism beckons to us with ease at times. But how do we remain open to the good within and around us? A reminder to keep hope alive when the demon inside us bites down. And, lyrical lines from Mary Oliver!
Our executive editor wraps up the week with stories to help you think about MLK differently and the horrors happening in the news. Also, he shares our new iPad app and some openings at On Being for you to consider!
In a rare interview with the master poet, she recites her classic poem — and tells the story of how "Wild Geese" came into being. It might surprise you.
Last week, in a somewhat surprising move, the LDS Church issued a statement seeking to do more to recognize and respect LGBT people and families. In this smart essay, David Blankenhorn sees this announcement as a good, "morally right" step, despite objections from those pulling from the Culture War Handbook.
Mary Oliver's poems often feel like prayers as much as poems. In her own voice, she recites one of our favorites that feels like an incantation.
How do we reckon with horror and injustice in the wake of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh's killing by ISIS. Omid Safi on remembering and honoring the man, and not the horrible video effigy being shown over and over.
A sampling of our best picks of the week on everything from vocation to multitasking, honoring teachers and Alzheimer's patients. And some ways to join On Being in the studio or on your iPad.
A young woman of Nigerian descent grew up thinking of Dr. King as "distant American hero." On this first day of Black History Month, she shares how she came to understand this American icon differently — and how his complex + contradictory human side creates an opening for all of us to be heroic, and not perfect.
Trying to confront the recent horror stories in the news, a Dutch theology student contemplates the origins of evil and our reckoning with good through the lens of the Harry Potter films. Our temptations, he writes, are rooted in deep-seated ills — and our strengths, in love.