On the Blog

Featured Commentary

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 Mihee Kim-Kort September 06, 2015

Fitness events and organizations are popping up and deepening community in powerful and unexpected ways, which many consider spiritual. A mother and Presbyterian minister tells the story of entering one of those muddy races and finding camaraderie in a manner she longs to experience in her own church.

By Erika Munson September 05, 2015

"The Book of Mormon" made its way to the heart of LDS country, Salt Lake City. Using parody and sarcasm to challenge people and power structures can be a noble one. A practicing Mormon willingly goes to see a well-known musical which ridicules her faith — and emerges unashamed.

By Courtney E. Martin September 04, 2015

The frenetic pace of life can be overwhelming, making ritual even more necessary. But it doesn't have to be religious, or even spiritual in nature. Daily tasks can ground and center us, clearing our minds and helping us focus on the profundity in the seemingly mundane of this world.

By Omid Safi September 03, 2015

When asked how long they'd been married, Aljosie Harding named their time together down to the minute. Omid Safi marvels at the unexpected and profound love that infuses our world at any stage of living — and it's awe-inspiring power to provide hope in the face of grief.

By Parker J. Palmer September 02, 2015

Each summer, our columnist has been making a pilgrimage to one of nature's great treasures: the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. In his twilight years, he ponders the resurrection that takes place under the most destructive circumstances and the "vast web of life in which body and spirit are one."

By Trent Gilliss September 01, 2015

We closed down studio for two weeks, but that doesn't mean we took it easy! We built ofuros and traveled and crafted some incredible reflections on the importance of making space in our lives for contemplation, generosity, and serendipity.

By Sharon Salzberg August 31, 2015

Terms such as Jubu and Nones may be inadequate labels to describe a person's faith journey. Sharon Salzberg with a reminder that what you call yourself may not be as important as how you live.

By Lea Gibson Page August 30, 2015

A home can be a sacred space for children if adults give it the attention necessary. A mother's essay on modeling devoted action, fostering a healthy will, and creating structure through chores as a powerful, stabilizing force in the household.

By Mary Jo Bennett August 29, 2015

To be confronted with a serious illness is to be confronted with a fear of death for most of us. How do we balance hope with realism? And how do we age with grace? Drawing on Atul Gawande's book, Mary Jo Bennett highlights some ways our culture is evolving in its relationship with death.

By Courtney E. Martin August 28, 2015

Does destiny and fate truly exist? An age-old question, to be sure. Courtney Martin ponders that question and traces how each of our paths may be shaped by willful action and serendipitous encounters along the way.

By Omid Safi August 27, 2015

Suffering can be a backstop for unexpected joy. A lyrical "Rumi"ination on shadow, gratitude, and the light of the stranger.

By Parker J. Palmer August 26, 2015

Generosity and gratitude don't require extraordinary means, just the gift of time and attention. Parker and Wendell on giving yourself away.

By Trent Gilliss August 25, 2015

This week, our executive editor shares readings on the healing and revealing power of tranquility; inspiration to live with hopeful resilience; and other pieces to inspire us to appreciate the simple beauty in everyday life.

By Christine Valters Paintner August 25, 2015

We desire to live in meaningful ways, but how do we do so in a rapidly moving modern world? A Benedictine oblate scribes seven principles to help live a compassionate, contemplative, and creative life.

By Sharon Salzberg August 24, 2015

It’s not easy to genuinely know who we are. The stories others tell about us and the labels society heaps upon us only add to that confusion. But, when we disentangle ourselves from these narratives, we may choose courage over fear and take new risks.

By Danielle van de Kemenade August 22, 2015

Society has come to value achievement over all else. But what would happen if we began to place less value in doing, and more value in simply being? One woman shares her personal path to fulfillment, and invites us all to a better way of being.

By Terri Schanks August 22, 2015

The stories of a person, a family, a culture, a country hold and bind us in ways that are potentially fruitful or harmful. They also give us an identity. A meditation on who we are, how we become, and the stories we tell ourselves along the way.

By Courtney E. Martin August 21, 2015

In an age of iPhone and Instagram ubiquity, we capture and curate in ways unimaginable only a few decades ago. And this connects us in unexpected ways. But, it also can have a cost, one that pulls us out of the moment.

By Omid Safi August 20, 2015

That moment of homecoming has a depth of perspectives and meanings. Through the story of babysitting and a mother's return, Omid Safi sees an opportunity for seeking, finding — and to "be blissful."

By Parker J. Palmer August 19, 2015

Gardening is replete with metaphors for living well. With the help of a May Sarton poem, Parker Palmer builds on a less-obvious metaphor.

By Trent Gilliss August 18, 2015

We're heading into a brief break here at Loring Park, but before we go — an unexpected flood of canine appreciation, the catharsis of letting go and looking forward, and rising above difference to meet in Rumi's field.

By Dena Simmons August 18, 2015

For this Tuesday morning, a poem from Dena Simmons that might make you see things differently on your commute to work.

By Sharon Salzberg August 17, 2015

Forgiveness is not easily granted. But, summoning the deepest compassion for ourselves and others may allow both parties to move on without bitterness. Through the bittersweet story of her friend, Sharon Salzberg imparts a lesson about the shifting course of relationships and a path to peace.

By Amy Oestreicher August 16, 2015

At the age of 18, a young woman goes into a coma and faces a near-death experience. For nearly four years, she's hospitalized and tries to find peace and God — in a well-lit intensive care unit — in her dreams. A story of faith, hope, and gratitude for the landscape of dreams.

By Tom Jablonski August 15, 2015

What gives our lives significance? In a small patch of wilderness, one man searches for meaning and finds sanctuaries for life for creation, and for what life could be.