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
Some days you remember forever and ever. A picture and a poem to celebrate Haggadah possibilities during Passover.
Omid Safi steps forward with this lyrical reflection on wounds and healing, cracking more whole, and being the person we want to become.
A rabbi once said that life consists of 72 stories. As we yearn to find ways to be together in this world, we're reminded that it’s always in the telling.
We all want to be of service, to be needed and of use to others and to ourselves. Parker Palmer tells the playful story of a neighbor who takes this to an extreme.
What do we mean when we use the word freedom? Matthew Septimus and Esther Cohen celebrate the many Haggadah possibilities with a poem and a picture.
Points of beauty and perspective to mark the holy week, including a stirring rendition of Blake's "Jerusalem," a favorite essay on the woman at the heart of Easter Sunday, musings on yoga spirituality for atheists, the opposite of shame, the need for gentleness, the insights of dependence, and the adventure of being born baffled.
Holidays like Passover create occasions for encounter, however strange they may be. And those encounters may lead to friendships that create new possibilities.
A practicing Zen Buddhist pens an ode to the late poet Galway Kinnell by drawing on tradition and the art of the back-handed compliment.
For this third day of Passover, Matthew Septimus and Esther Cohen celebrate the many possibilities with a poem and a picture.
Mindfulness and meditation are becoming pop culture buzzwords. But it isn’t just about hearing, seeing, or observing a particular feeling; it’s about doing so in a certain way — with balance and equanimity, and without judgment. Our columnist Sharon Salzberg walks us through the deeper case for mindful attention.
What if we overcame our tribal impulses and told stories that grew our imagination as a people?
Passover is a holiday with thousands and thousands of Haggadah possibilities. A poet and a photographer celebrate, each year, with a poem, and a picture.
Forgiving yourself for your stupid mistakes can be really difficult. By doing so, though, Courtney Martin argues that you will not only honor those who love you deeply and you will stop beating yourself up in the process.
Who you're going to be and what you're going to become takes time. But, nowadays, getting educated has an extraordinary set of expectations for students. Omid Safi reminds us that students need to be gentle with themselves as they discover what it means to be a human being and not just a human doing.
We are born baffled. Acknowledging this can be key to becoming a writer or a person who seeks to understand the world around you better. Parker Palmer muses on a writing life and distills his experience into three principles of living deeply and richly within this world.
Though we are taught to forgive from childhood, it is not always so easy to do. A daughter reflects on the burden of her father's perfectionism, the freedom of forgiveness, and the gifts of imperfection.
Morsels to savor — all in one digest — on wonder and beauty, brokenness and healing, musicals and parenting. Get caught up in a few minutes!
Exhausted and frazzled, we must look to the skies and draw on the wisdom of winged nature to rediscover a resilience in community and a reliance on one another. Sometimes it's not about leading, but drafting. With the insights of Rilke, a post on beauty in limitation, wisdom in rest, and resilience in dependence.
To do yoga in America today is to make a statement. Melani McAlister unpacks what "yoga spirituality" might mean for an atheist and how her "embrace of reality" might flow from the practice of yoga.
When we get too attached to habits, we risk losing our sense of wonder and our potential for catalytic experience. Courtney Martin's encouragement for the job of being alive: “May I see what I do. May I do it differently. May I make this a way of life.”
A story from Rumi's masterpiece Masnavi illuminates the paths we all travel from brokenness to healing, from spiritually feeling worthless and cut off to being wholehearted. In the wisdom of the saints, Omid Safi reveals the goal of the spiritual path: not reaching divinity, but achieving full humanity.
How do we celebrate our diminishment as we age? We look for beauty in "that which the world rejects as ugly."
Our children's relationship with food builds off their relationship with themselves. A Seattle pediatrician "awakens" to another approach to caring for children and families struggling with obesity by diving into her own mindfulness and meditation.
This week has been a whirlwind of travel and ideas on social justice, life's unveiling, being vulnerabilities and memory. A recap of what you need to read.
For so many of us, trying to find the time and the space to find quiet and focus inward. A Brooklyn writer discovers the gift of meditative moments while doing good by donating blood and platelets.