External "oughts" and "shoulds" can create impossibly high aspirations — and equally high levels of guilt about falling short. A personal exploration sharing the delicate experience of "befriending" depression and ways of reframing our expectations of self.
A weekly roundup of the many things surfacing and playing out in the world with some of our favorite writers and thinkers.
Metaphors of light and reflection abound. But what about the metaphors of mirror and mirroring. Omid Safi holds that image with palms up and open.
Our executive editor looks into our most interesting worlds of curiosity and hope, including an elegy for light, the lessons of hardship, and a piece in praise of chosen family.
Darkness draws out our deep-down depths. And, in the northern hemisphere, December’s darkness invites us inward. A lesson in wonder, an elegy for light, and a call to pay attention for the unbroken darkness of a December night.
Our photo-poem for this Hanukkah evening, a reflection on the sacred ordinariness of holy people and holy places — even at a supermarket in upstate New York.
"People prefer winners and losers. Maccabees rising against Greeks." The third photo-poem in our series from Matthew Septimus and Esther Cohen on the stories of success we tell each other.
A prayer for the poet who doesn't pray. The second in an eight-part series from a photographer and a poet exploring the sacred in the mundane.
A magical description of the primordial silences of people and places outside urban corridors by Taline Voskeritchian.
(photo: Eric Tastad/Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)
Last summer, soon after returning from meeting my new niece, now nearly nine months old, the check engine light on my ’98 Honda hatchback came on. We brought it in to a mechanic’s shop that we hadn’t been to before. All the men who worked there were wearing these shirts that looked like bowling uniforms to me, with the script of Import Authority dancing across their backs. I had entered another world.
When we returned to pick it up, I looked down at the receipt and saw the phrase “Diagnose: cause of light.” Once again, I had entered another world.
“Buddha Moon - Buddha Stones” (photo: H. Kopp-Delaney/Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)
Winter Solstice. The longest night of the year. The other day I was wondering what it must have been like to be one of the early humans, before there was a body of cultural and scientific knowledge built up to assure us that the light would, indeed, return as we turned the corner on this day and headed once again toward spring. It must have been terrifying to see the sun drop lower and lower in the sky each day and the night grow longer and longer without really knowing if that trajectory would reverse.
So this is a dark time — not only astronomically but also the world feels dark right now.