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 Omid Safi November 12, 2015

There are many connections most of us do not see. Stories of hope about educating the "whole child" in North Carolina and a village in Afghanistan using pizza party donations and Rumi's poetry as a bridge.

By Parker J. Palmer November 11, 2015

There are those people who know how to get ahead of the train wreck and those folks who are called to their senses after the collision has happened. But, catastrophe, too, can be a contemplative path if you choose to accept it.

By Sherry K. Watt November 11, 2015

What if we acknowledged racism as a disease, and treated it accordingly? A cancer survivor asks and ponders the lessons she's learned from battling the illness as she watches recent events at the University of Missouri unfold.

By Carina Devera November 10, 2015

A photo essay on the humbling privilege of climbing the highest mountain in the continental United States — and the value of persistence.

By Mariah Helgeson November 09, 2015

Darwin's concept of "deep time" finds its musical expression in a piano arrangement by German composer Hauschka.

By Sharon Salzberg November 09, 2015

We are genetically inclined to look for possible negative outcomes. But, does this survival mechanism serve us well in our time? Some helpful insights on not judging ourselves too harshly and creating a new sense of spaciousness within.

By Brendan Tapley November 08, 2015

Whether to persevere or to surrender often determines the story of our lives. The question is knowing when to hang on and when to let go. A look at the common conundrum that results when life causes tension between two virtues.

By Marie Sambilay November 07, 2015

The Philippine-Catholic ritual of pabasa reveals the power of song to reacquaint us with tradition, bridge superficial divides, and connect us through the kinship of our imperfections.

By Courtney E. Martin November 06, 2015

To turn down an opportunity seems counterintuitive. But how can we transform an excess of asks into opportunities for other people to shine? A column on living the less-harried life that "keeps us weighted down with self-importance."

By Trent Gilliss November 05, 2015

The paths we walk through life can be rife with obstacles, some small and others that seem unsurmountable. A few reminders we're not alone in our struggles, and that nurturing our connection with those around us can help us thrive in this complex world.

By Omid Safi November 05, 2015

The ego must die in order for love to rise. Omid Safi with a praise song for the maturing face of love.

By Parker J. Palmer November 04, 2015

What makes each child unique cannot be measured or scored. A nourishing story from a school principal on the "many ways of being smart" and testing children.

By Trent Gilliss November 03, 2015

Watch the live video stream of Krista Tippett speaking about the mystery and art of living with poet Christian at Yale University's Battell Chapel on November 3rd!

By Grace Villamil November 03, 2015

Many seek the unique freedom only found in nature's wide open spaces. A multimedia sculptor and photographer explores the roots of her artistic creations in her intimate connection with nature's “unknowable infinity.”

By Sharon Salzberg November 02, 2015

Too often, we confuse love with attachment. Sharon Salzberg on striking a balance between needing and a generosity of the heart — for ourselves, for all beings, for life itself.

By Lara Dotson-Renta November 01, 2015

An affirmation of presence, a victory of joy, a connection maintained: these are the things a young mother observes in her elderly next door neighbors, as a husband gently tends to his wife in her final days. A beautiful account of what love truly looks like.

By Jane Gross November 01, 2015

Can the process of grieving go on too long? Especially when you write about it for a living? Jane Gross on her bout with understanding death's unsettled trajectory.

By Mohammed Fairouz October 31, 2015

Civilizations elevate the best in cultures and people. A composer encourages us to rethink the phrase "clash of civilizations" and, by definition, civilization can only fuel human flourishing.

By Courtney E. Martin October 30, 2015

In the absence of a religious tradition, is there a fundamental need for prayer? Courtney Martin on finding comfort in praying to her late, burly grandfather rather than a god to whom she couldn't relate.

By Omid Safi October 29, 2015

There's an elephant in the interfaith dialogue room. Omid Safi with a critical look at the uneven speaking field in America for Muslims and how the politics of Palestine/Israel shapes and affects Abrahamic interfaith dialogue.

By Trent Gilliss October 28, 2015

Alain de Botton's short piece of writing on love and loneliness is elegantly handled in this animated short by Hannah Jacobs and Lara Lee.

By Parker J. Palmer October 28, 2015

In response to Courtney Martin's letter, Parker Palmer corresponds with his dear friend about the uncertainty of life. A contemplation on the value of being vulnerable and open to supportive friends.

By Trent Gilliss October 27, 2015

A mix of selected essays and posts on the magic and mystery of making, the art of family communication, and murmurations on a pond.

By Zach Schlosser October 27, 2015

Virtual reality technology is hinting at new possibilities, including the unexpected potential of “VR” to shape our inner lives, identities, and values — and lead to a fuller appreciation of the lives we have.

By Annie Parsons October 26, 2015

For those who feel weary of the journey, Kristen Graves names "the grace in struggle," wrapped in the image of an ever flowing river. Our Monday Evening Melody for this autumn day.