On Being Blog

Trent Gilliss Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 09:00

This week provided some sage words on writing from Parker Palmer, a photo essay on "thin places" that take our breath away, a marvelous TED talk from a Nigerian writer, and a picture of the cosmos that stirs our origins.

Mariah Helgeson Saturday, March 22, 2014 - 23:00

How can we learn to offer feedback with grace and compassion at work and at home? Brené Brown offers a rubric for offering guidance and sitting on the same side of the table.

Mariah Helgeson Saturday, March 22, 2014 - 10:34

We live-tweeted our interview with the founder of StoryCorps. The takeaway? Some real gems from a life spent listening to and recording others.

Parker J. Palmer Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 16:59

The Quaker elder offers this poetic reminder on trusting that the writing process itself will help you dig into your bafflement.

Sarah Blanton Monday, March 17, 2014 - 15:00

A photo essay contemplating the Celtic concept of thin places, spaces where the veil between visible and invisible worlds are lifted — all from a quiet lake nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee.

Trent Gilliss Saturday, March 15, 2014 - 06:29

On the first anniversary of Pope Francis' election, James Martin explains how the pope's ministry has been shaped by his Jesuit identity — including the three degrees of humility.

Trent Gilliss Friday, March 14, 2014 - 15:16

Author and poet Jennifer Michael Hecht on suicide, resilience, and community. She says, "We have secret web-like connections to each other. Sometimes when you can't see what's important about you other people can." Join the conversation here.

Peter J. Michaels Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 06:56

A lapsed Catholic takes heart in Pope Francis' words as he considers his role as a journalist and a media consumer.

Shelly R. Fredman Saturday, March 8, 2014 - 05:25

In our increasingly secular lives, we find ways to get at a purer distillation of who we are at the broken center of ourselves. A meditation on paying attention and finding prayer in quiet places and through unlikely sources.

Mariah Helgeson Thursday, March 6, 2014 - 06:43

Musicians practice absolutely unmixed attention and listening of a different kind of in the melodies of whale songs. What would we hear if we were truly listening?

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Latest Interviews

July 24, 2014

Sculptural artist Dario Robleto is famous for spinning and shaping unconventional materials — from dinosaur fossils to pulverized vintage records, from swamp root to cramp bark. He joins words and objects in a way that distills meaning at once social, poetic, and scientific. He reveals how objects can become meditations on love, war, and healing.

July 17, 2014

Sixteen Muslims, in their own words, speak about the delights and gravity of Islam's holiest month. Through vivid memories and light-hearted musings, they reveal the richness of Ramadan — as a period of intimacy, and of parties; of getting up when the world is quiet for breakfast and prayers with one's family; of breaking the fast every day after nightfall in celebration and prayers with friends and strangers.

July 10, 2014

One of the most extraordinary minds of American and global history, W.E.B. Du Bois penned the famous line that "the problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line." He is a formative voice for many of the people who gave us the Civil Rights Movement. But his passionate, poetic words speak to all of us navigating the ever-unfolding, unfinished business of civil rights. We bring Du Bois' life and ideas into relief for the 21st century — featuring one of the last interviews the great Maya Angelou gave before her death.

July 3, 2014

For the Fourth of July, a refreshing reality check about the long road of American democracy. We remember forgotten but fascinating, useful history as we contemplate how we might help young democracies on their own tumultuous paths now.

June 26, 2014

We tend to frame our cultural conversation about science and religion as a debate — two either/or ways of describing reality. With mathematician Jim Bradley and philosopher Michael Ruse, we trace a quieter evolution of science and religion in interplay — not a matter of competing answers, but of complementary questions with room for humanity, nuance, and humor.