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.