Dave Chappelle as an imperfect spiritual mentor; the importance of life’s valleys alongside its peaks; reconnecting to lost family histories, and finding new ways to uplift each other through thick and thin.
Witnessing the divorce of his friends, our columnist remembers the rituals of celebration. But, what would it be like to have similar rituals of support when things fall apart?
If you could speak to a passed friend or family member, what would you say? An exploration of the healing that can happen when we stay in relationship with the ones we love, even beyond the end of life
Our culture has a profound discomfort with walking openly through grief. An exploration of the healing power of companionship and openness after loss — embodied in groundbreaking gatherings for millennials longing to heal together.
“When I’m running, I’m in my body, with all of its limitations but with all of its capabilities at the same time.” Mike Stavlund wrote “A Force of Will” about the death of his four-month-old son. “Running became a metaphor for my life,” Mike says.
When the weight of the world is heavy, music can be a balm. A musical offering for this uncertain moment, for mercy and the courage to walk together toward the beloved community.
Reckoning with the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling by the police, Courtney Martin pens an impassioned missive to her white children: to understand their privilege, redistribute power, ask questions, and always to hold each other accountable.
The enduring beauty of nature can be a comfort, but sometimes our pain needs a more empathetic salve. Parker Palmer turns to the unique, healing power of language in times of darkness and hardship.
Do we need others to see ourselves clearly? Curated reads on our need for empathy, and its power to unearth and reconcile what’s hidden within.
In the wake of tragedy, how do we respond with resilience? How do we continue to love across boundaries?
Omid Safi honors each life lost in Orlando — with a hard look at the realities we face, and an appeal to the urgency of compassion to heal our wounds.
Blame abounds in times of crisis, but this can be a destructive endeavor. Instead, Courtney Martin advocates for emotional generosity to ourselves and each other, and for holding ourselves accountable for bringing about a better reality.
Loss and trauma can cast us into uncertainty. Parker Palmer finds solace in the words of William Stafford, and wonders if being lost is the first step on a path to something better.
As more millennials declare themselves “spiritual but not religious,” what does meaningful community look like in the 21st century? For legions of CrossFit enthusiasts, it’s a community of care and nurturing — and a place where you can also perfect your squat.
Using a children’s book on death as a scaffolding, Courtney Martin makes a case for kids teaching adults how to work through grief and death in better ways.
When grief or hardship strike, they are best borne out in solidarity. Trent Gilliss serves up readings on our collective sorrow and celebration in the passing of our heroes, and taking a new perspective on the grit of beauty, nature, and family.
One of our columnist’s most influential teachers passed away this spring. Sharon Salzberg with a reflection and an homage to “a man who completely walked the talk of his values.”
When a beloved celebrity dies, collective grief can be a strange, sacred place. A Minneapolitan celebrates Prince, and what his life can teach us about becoming fully and uncompromisingly ourselves.
The digital sphere is a frontier where we assert our identities, and, in times of trauma, express our grief. With an appeal to the humanity behind this instinct, Courtney Martin questions how our empathy might become more than performance.
When loss is unexpected, grief is complicated. Zaha Hadid will be remembered for her dazzling feats of architecture, Mohammed Fairouz contemplates the profound loss of the work that is now unknowable.
How do you know when it’s time to say goodbye? For pets and people both, it’s not always clear when the time has come. Jane Gross on watching her dog die and reckoning with the decision of when to let go.
Our sense of connection to each other can feel lost, but support and goodwill come to the fore when we need it most. Returning from a mournful period of loss, our executive editor shares his wonder at the spaces in our lives where the warmth of kinship and community still shine through.
In the waiting room of a doctor’s office, the dramas of life and death play out quietly. A reflection on the power of paying attention to the stranger, and to the burdens we all carry.
To love life in its fullness is the key to wise living. Parker Palmer with a poem on transforming suffering and restoring life.
What are the last things you want to cherish? The last things you want to give up? Parker Palmer on treasuring those things that anchor one to the blessings of life.
On a retreat at a cabin in the northern woods of Wisconsin, Parker Palmer strings together pearls of contemplation on silence and solitude. With the help of Merton and Rumi, he finds the catharsis of being forced to reckon with one’s angels and demons.
When a new beginning is ushered in with thunderous disappointment, it may be time to change it up. Jane Gross on keeping hope despite life’s lemons.
Each year brings the loss of a life we loved. But what if our grief served as a conduit to community and creating a more thoughtful, interconnected world?
The loss of mobility as we age does more than hamper one’s movement. It separates us from the things we love. Jane Gross on grieving the temporary loss of her dog after suffering a concussion.
There’s much confusion between sympathy and empathy. Our columnist tells the story of a wise elder whose suffering led her to become a model for how to have a meaningful life.
Recovery in the wake of trauma is a struggle, one we must sometimes work through collectively. Some guiding voices on thinking about grief and hardship with complexity — and move forward in a constructive and compassionate way.
Parker Palmer pens an elegy to mark the anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination — a balm for a hurting world.
The daughter of the renowned Hindi poet Kailash Vajpeyi turns to ancient rivers and archaic rituals to find comfort in the uninterrupted thread running through her past, present, and future.
How should we receive the news from Paris? Omid Safi shares a few thoughts on the attacks after spending a day of silence.
It’s important to feel gratitude for the small things in life: moments of calm, the love we experience and witness, the qualities that make us and our children unique — and well-designed book covers! A collection of writings on how we can more wisely approach the highs and lows of the daily journey.
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.
When teaching about 9/11 and the dignity of all lives, a professor encounters a student in class who lost her father in the World Trade Center attacks. Her kind response is a reminder that we must sometimes reconcile our advocacy for, and anger towards, others with compassion for our fellow human beings.
For World Suicide Prevention Day, a story of a son’s loss of his father by suicide. The writer Eric Marcus talks about family silence, learning to share his story, and discovering compassion for his father and healing for himself.
In the aftermath of her brother’s untimely death, a sister contemplates life’s darkness — as well as the ever-accessible, unfaltering light which illuminates the path. A call to help recover lost light for those who are in darkness, and for ourselves.
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.
Rituals provide structure for the full spectrum of our emotional lives – but for those who don’t identify with an organized religion, how are rituals developed? Courtney Martin ponders the “muddy, sacred” experience of creating rituals.
Pediatric oncologists and parents alike are searching for someone to help them bear the suffering they must witness. An essay reflecting on doctors, Dante, and treating children with cancer.
An unexpected moment on the Katie Couric show instills an awareness of the fruits of mindfulness, a deep sense of lineage, and an inexpressible peace for our columnist.
New horizons yield new sunsets, as does this round-up of awesome things to read, listen to, and see!
This year commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. An Armenian-American woman contemplates the periphery of pain, the legacy of silence and suffering — inviting the Armenian diaspora and “the world to listen with us.”
Violence is what happens when we don’t know what else to do with our suffering. But how do we turn the power of suffering toward new life? It depends on our willingness to exercise our hearts so that when suffering strikes, they are suppler and more able to break open to new life.
The intellectual rigor of scientists’ training often fails to prepare them for the human emotions that accompany the work. And there are consequences for that objectivity. Faith Kearns is a young scientist who makes a compelling argument for integrating the emotional lives of scientists with their vocation.
A look at some of the best pieces of the week, including nature at work, saying no, and expressions of men and grief.
Our executive editor wraps up the week with stories to help you think about MLK differently and the horrors happening in the news. Also, he shares our new iPad app and some openings at On Being for you to consider!
How do we reckon with horror and injustice in the wake of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh’s killing by ISIS. Omid Safi on remembering and honoring the man, and not the horrible video effigy being shown over and over.