Courtney E. Martin

Courtney E. Martin

is a columnist for On Being. Her column appears every Friday.

She is is currently working on a book titled The New Better Off, exploring how people are redefining the American dream (think more fulfillment, community, and fun, less debt, status, and stuff). Courtney is the co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network and a strategist for the TED Prize. She is also co-founder and partner at Valenti Martin Media and FRESH Speakers Bureau, and editor emeritus at Feministing.com. Courtney has authored/edited five books, including Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists, and Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: How the Quest for Perfection is Harming Young Women. Her work appears frequently in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Courtney has appeared on the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, MSNBC, and The O’Reilly Factor, and speaks widely at conferences and colleges. She is the recipient of the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics and a residency from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Centre. She lives with her partner in life and work, John Cary, in Oakland, and their baby girl Maya. Read more about her work at www.courtneyemartin.com.
By Courtney E. Martin July 31, 2015

We acquire and we accumulate. But why? What is the story we're trying to tell through the possessions we own. Our columnist Courtney Martin considers the multiple philosophies of ownership — and points toward that which is truly valuable.

By Courtney E. Martin July 24, 2015

In a culture of accumulation and hoarding, many are experiencing a growing exasperation with owning things that, as it turns out, aren't necessary. Could the "sharing economy" help restore spiritual calm?

By Courtney E. Martin July 17, 2015

Women and men so often beat themselves up when it comes to work/life balance. But another story is playing itself out, one about the unacknowledged gifts that help clarify the meaningful choices of being a person, and a parent.

By Courtney E. Martin July 10, 2015

In times of trauma, modern-day technology connects us instantly. But could it be that genetic memory metabolizes much more slowly? Courtney Martin juxtaposes modern day urgency with a long view of legacy.

By Courtney E. Martin July 03, 2015

An inspirational profile of one of those modern-day heroes, SAS, a doctor whose key insights turned the tide of the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone — an exemplar of quiet commitment and unending courage who saved thousands of lives by bridging worlds.

By Courtney E. Martin June 26, 2015

A passionate, grounded plea to recognize white privilege and the gut level pushback — the "white fragility" — that happens when talking about race.

By Courtney E. Martin June 12, 2015

Compartmentalizing can be a useful tool — whether dealing with the empty voids of our working lives, or the prolonged absence from the ones you love — in making it possible to live a whole life.

By Courtney E. Martin June 05, 2015

How can we encourage our children (and ourselves) to work hard at mastering skills that evade us? Courtney Martin on delaying judgment, giving time to develop grit and resilience, and flailing at those things we're not naturally good at.

By Courtney E. Martin May 22, 2015

More than 25 percent of us may be jeopardizing the "good life" by blindly pursuing more to keep up with the Joneses? Courtney Martin on operating on income autopilot and re-interpreting our financial wealth.

By Courtney E. Martin May 15, 2015

Rilke asks us to live the questions. Socrates says the unexamined life is one not worth living. But, staying awake to the moral complexities of one's actions is not a quiet prospect.

By Courtney E. Martin May 08, 2015

Becoming a mother can be a startling experience — a belonging to a communion of motherhood and the stark reality that one's identity will never be the same again. For this upcoming Mother's Day, Courtney Martin contemplates the fragility, fierceness, and myopia of motherhood and the ineffable beauty of being a mother.

By Courtney E. Martin May 01, 2015

To bear witness means to be present. Beyond the truncated arc of our broken news cycles and the busyness of our lives, Courtney Martin suggests that we root ourselves in a deeper commitment in our own humanity — and of others — and continue to stand up against injustice.

By Courtney E. Martin April 24, 2015

While eavesdropping, our columnist witnesses the intimacy of two strangers generously listening to one another — without an intent to save, fix, or advise. A lesson in witnessing over chicken wings.

By Courtney E. Martin April 17, 2015

A daughter's embarrassment of her mother's alternative approaches to healing turns into a letter of admiration and an apology.

By Courtney E. Martin April 10, 2015

The term "scale" is the buzzword in social entrepreneurship circles. But, as Courtney Martin Often shows us, changing the world is about changing systems and helping others one person at a time.

By Courtney E. Martin April 03, 2015

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.

By Courtney E. Martin March 27, 2015

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.”

By Courtney E. Martin March 20, 2015

In an Internet age, we create highly curated versions of ourselves. But how do we reflect the full spectrum of our own humanity and not a collection of status updates?

By Courtney E. Martin March 13, 2015

Sometimes it takes a fire hydrant turning into a geyser to remind us that there is somebody there to fix it. In seeing all of the people around us who make systems and services work, we begin to understand what it takes to make a community thrive.

By Courtney E. Martin March 06, 2015

Part of becoming an adult is learning how to lower your expectations. But parenting a toddler brings different gifts — of rediscovering discovery, reuniting with awe, and finding where the mundane becomes miraculous.

By Courtney E. Martin February 27, 2015

When yes is overused it takes what should be a whole-hearted gift and turns it into an anxiety-producing check box. Courtney Martin's argument for saying "no" gracefully and learning to measure life in acts of unhurried love.

By Courtney E. Martin February 20, 2015

Closure may not be all it's cracked up to be. Courtney Martin on the death of a friendship and the insatiable, sometimes unsatisfying, need to create silver linings where none exist.

By Courtney E. Martin January 30, 2015

Researchers are showing that doing it all at the same time is a “diabolical illusion.” If we know this, why does it continue to be so seductive, so alluring? In this technological, overambitious age, a commentary on striving to be focused and whole again.

By Courtney E. Martin January 23, 2015

In a day where more and more wedding ceremonies are not presided over by an official religious figure, there's much to figure out when it comes to designing a ritual. Some practices to consider for modern nuptials.

By Courtney E. Martin January 16, 2015

Making connections can be "life-giving" but they can also reinforce "damaging divides." Courtney Martin is reminded of the vitality of human bonds — and the chasms that remain in this hypernetworked world.

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