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 Chris Heagle October 19, 2015

When she finally played Carnegie Hall in 1963, becoming the first African-American woman, classical pianist to do so, Nina Simone was still disappointed... because she wasn't playing Bach.

By Sharon Salzberg October 19, 2015

On finding herself amidst a buzzing group of Pope Francis's admirers, Sharon Salzberg marvels at their elation at simply being in his presence — and reflects on what they can teach us about being open to receiving spiritual goodness.

By Jane Gross October 18, 2015

Ceramics can provide ritual to quiet a frazzled mind. But even when it doesn't go so well, there are lessons to be learned in calm perseverance. Jane Gross shares a lesson from the potter's wheel.

By John Sarrouf October 17, 2015

Communication with our children can sometimes hit a wall. A father shares some helpful guidelines for architecting richer, more connected relationships with children. What could be more important?

By Mary Oliver October 16, 2015

A poem for the passing of summer, a song for the shadow, and an invocation for attention.

By Courtney E. Martin October 16, 2015

It's easy to mentally sanitize and romanticize the creative process, but the real work is done in the clutter and the mess of daily living. An enconium on imperfection, self-doubt, and the importance of pushing through.

By Mary Oliver October 15, 2015

Poetic expression is a character with many personalities, much like one's favorite pet dog. A new poem from Mary Oliver on the playfulness of writing verse.

By Omid Safi October 15, 2015

Recent mass killings in Oregon and abroad inculcate a kind of fear that can be paralyzing. Through the lens of a Native American tale, Omid Safi refuses to feed those wolves and chooses to feed another wolf: love.

By Mary Oliver October 14, 2015

A requiem for the holiness that's visible — in the trees, the mountains, and the rivers. Permission to lean into wonder and to linger in beauty incarnate.

By Parker J. Palmer October 14, 2015

With the visual glories of autumn, the living is hidden within the dying. A pondering about this season of paradox and the "the endless interplay of living and dying" we all must embrace.

By Hannah Rehak October 13, 2015

What person or story comes to mind when you think of middle school? An open invitation to reflect and respond about your experience of early adolescence, in middle school or junior high.

By Trent Gilliss October 13, 2015

From small kindnesses to a classic love song reimagined and singleness to transformation, Trent Gilliss poetically curates an intermingling of murmurations and ideas — including a remembrance of the legendary Grace Lee Boggs.

By Joshua Halberstam October 13, 2015

After a son discovers his father's box of Chassidic folktales, he reflects on his upbringing, the enduring importance of tradition being passed down for generations, and the legacy he must carry forward (in translation).

By Maia Tarrell October 12, 2015

Home, connection, people, familiarity: we all yearn for something. Our producer Maia Tarrell shares a song by Indigenous Australian artist Geoffrey ‘Gurrumul’ Yunupingu that evokes that essential yearning for connection and disconnection all at once.

By Sharon Salzberg October 12, 2015

What is the opposite of dukkha? Total rightness? Sharon Salzberg on the contorted postures we hold and the pain that arises out of the ungovernable nature of events in our lives.

By Lisa Sarasohn October 11, 2015

A writer introduces the radical, extravagant hospitality of Magdalene — an organization serving women who survived prostitution, addiction, and homelessness. It's motto, "Love Heals" is more than a saccharine promise, it's a fierce, moment-to-moment presence — hard-earned, razor’s edge, breath-by-breath.

By Catherine JF. Sietkiewicz October 10, 2015

There is no handbook for grief. With grace, kindness, and gentleness, a daughter candidly shares her experience of mourning after the unexpected loss of her father.

By Courtney E. Martin October 09, 2015

We often think of "genius" as a belonging to individuals, not as something nurtured by community. Courtney Martin challenges this idea, thinking back on the writers group that continues to inspire her work today.

By Siri Liv Myhrom October 08, 2015

The winter years of life can be oppressively lonely. But the smallest gestures can bring back light and warmth, even a bit of friendliness from a stranger in a coffee shop.

By Helen Moore October 08, 2015

An expression of gratitude for this fine day. A morning murmuration, if you will, for all the things we may take for granted in performing our daily rituals and taking stock of life's simple pleasures.

By Parker J. Palmer October 07, 2015

The metaphors we use matter. Parker Palmer claims the metaphor of seasons to gently remind us that we're not in charge, that we're not alone, that it's possible to transform and be transformed in this world.

By Trent Gilliss October 06, 2015

To inscribe the names of the lives lost in Roseburg, Oregon is an act of remembrance. And so we do. Some reminders that we can still find hope in empathy, community, and lovingkindness, despite the immense physical and emotional pain that sometimes befall us.

By Jeff Severns Guntzel October 05, 2015

A classic love song takes on new meaning in the light of darkness. A war correspondent hears Ry Cooder's version of "Dark End of the Street" as an ode to suffering and the light that shines on.

By Sharon Salzberg October 05, 2015

When asked about love, people frequently use the word "need." Sharon Salzberg analyzes this intermingling and why we should find a way to disentangle them to better understanding of real need, and real love.

By Jane Gross October 04, 2015

Many people may only attend services on special holidays or days of sacred obligation. Jane Gross, a single New Yorker now in her 60s, relays her own story of trying to reconnect with community for the Days of Awe and finding new comfort in her solitude on Yom Kippur.