On the Blog

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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 Trent Gilliss May 05, 2015

It's all good this week. Stories of success, laughter, landscape, and renewed energy.

By Sharon Salzberg May 03, 2015

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.

By Trent Gilliss May 02, 2015

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.

By Dennis S. Ross May 02, 2015

"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.

By Courtney E. Martin May 01, 2015

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.

By Omid Safi April 30, 2015

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.

By Parker J. Palmer April 29, 2015

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.

By Trent Gilliss April 27, 2015

New horizons yield new sunsets, as does this round-up of awesome things to read, listen to, and see!

By Sharon Salzberg April 26, 2015

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"?

By Trent Gilliss April 25, 2015

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.

By Anastasia Hacopian April 24, 2015

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."

By Courtney E. Martin April 24, 2015

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.

By Omid Safi April 23, 2015

How do we sit with suffering? A lyrical pondering on how things fall apart — and worlds open anew.

By Chris Heagle April 22, 2015

Take a break from all of the talk about the planet on this Earth Day and spend a few moments listening to it.

By Parker J. Palmer April 22, 2015

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.

By Trent Gilliss April 21, 2015

From our gatherings in Louisville to the ekphrastic poetry for Yom HaShoah, a wealth of reading and exploring this week.

By Katrina Kenison April 20, 2015

A meditative petition to sit in stillness, to choose trust over doubt and forgiveness over stubbornness when the difficulties in life take hold.

By Sharon Salzberg April 19, 2015

Generosity is the tissue that connects us to ourselves, to others, and to life itself. And it’s a practice — one that has meaningful benefits to our mental and physical health, as well as our relationships with others.

By Courtney E. Martin April 17, 2015

A daughter's embarrassment of her mother's alternative approaches to healing turns into a letter of admiration and an apology.

By Omid Safi April 16, 2015

American optimism is often lauded as a virtue in today's world. Omid Safi offers an alternative: hope.

By Howard Richard Debs April 15, 2015

Can there be and should there be Holocaust poetry? A poet investigates the need for memory and retelling through a series of ekphrastic poems for Yom HaShoah.

By Parker J. Palmer April 15, 2015

Violence is what happens when we don’t know what else to do with our suffering. But how do we turn the power of suffering toward new life? It depends on our willingness to exercise our hearts so that when suffering strikes, they are suppler and more able to break open to new life.

By Trent Gilliss April 13, 2015

We celebrate National Poetry Month, welcome our new columnist Sharon Salzberg, and imbibe the magic of k.d. lang's version of "Hallelujah" in this week's thread of good reads.

By Sharon Salzberg April 12, 2015

To constantly grow and serve and change, Sharon Salzberg says, we must be resilient with ourselves and the effort that it takes to care for oneself and the others in our lives.

By Esther Cohen April 10, 2015

The opportunity to hear and tell stories, holidays or not, is one of the great pleasures and lucky miracles of life. A picture and a short poem for the final day of Passover.