"The question isn't whether we're going to have to do hard, awful things. The question is whether we have to do them alone." Unitarian-Universalist law enforcement chaplain Kate Braestrup tells the story of a police woman who embodies the both/and of love and new life, and crime and death.
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.
Guided by Naomi Shihab Nye's beloved poem "Kindness," Parker Palmer reflects on our capacity to emerge from the depth of suffering, into the fullness of compassion.
Collected counsel on forging meaning and joy from our suffering, and finding calm in times of tension.
"Sometimes the pain of the world seems incomprehensible. And if there's anything that balances it, it's wonder at the world, the amazingness of people." Mindfulness meditation teacher Sylvia Boorstein gives counsel on finding joy and spiritual practice embedded in the rhythms of everyday life.
Walk straight into your not-knowing. Exercise your heart. Live as variously as possible. In this season of graduations, Parker Palmer offers six suggestions for traversing the savage and beautiful terrain of life.
After a teacher stays on in Poland after a five-day bearing witness retreat at Auschwitz-Birkenau, she offers a peripatetic meditation on beauty, suffering, and our capacity to comprehend what is incomprehensible.
The daughter of refugees pens an open letter to her mother. She reflects on the inheritance of suffering, offering this ode to the resilience of the human spirit and gratitude for the opportunity to flourish.
Our corrective actions can have radiating effects, placing a burden on those who don't deserve it. A moving revelation of the extended trauma of mass incarceration — farther reaching than we might imagine.
Homelessness is present on the streets of Denver each day. So are stories of resilience, compassion, and dignity even through life's most difficult trials. A live-in volunteer at a Catholic Worker house realizes that we find home in those with whom we journey through our toughest moments.
Working through discomfort doesn't mean denying our suffering. Instead, Sharon Salzberg suggests a better way to move forward: allowing ourselves to feel pain without judgment, and accepting the validity of our own emotions.
To love life in its fullness is the key to wise living. Parker Palmer with a poem on transforming suffering and restoring life.
When we strip away various veneers, what are we left with? Sharon Salzberg on the practice of letting go of denial and the uncomfortability of avoidance.
Becoming fixated on a problem at the office or an injustice to others can often lead to intense anger. But, how do we avoid the narrowness of this emotion and not let it consume us?
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.
In the wake of the Paris attacks, Parker Palmer highlights the importance of "wounded healers" and what we can do to let heartbreak open ourselves to suffering and the kindness necessary for social change.
What would it take for us to look under the skin of happiness and make haste to being whole? Rather than looking to the self-help aisle, where might we look?
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.
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.
To be confronted with a serious illness is to be confronted with a fear of death for most of us. How do we balance hope with realism? And how do we age with grace? Drawing on Atul Gawande's book, Mary Jo Bennett highlights some ways our culture is evolving in its relationship with death.
Suffering can be a backstop for unexpected joy. A lyrical "Rumi"ination on shadow, gratitude, and the light of the stranger.
Forgiveness is not easily granted. But, summoning the deepest compassion for ourselves and others may allow both parties to move on without bitterness. Through the bittersweet story of her friend, Sharon Salzberg imparts a lesson about the shifting course of relationships and a path to peace.
We spill something on ourselves, and then we postpone the inevitable: the cleaning. We often do the same thing with the pain and anger we inevitably experience. Omid and Rumi have something to say about stain-treating our hearts.
With the near-constant news of extra-judicial police killings and mass shootings, it would be easy to live in a constant state of fear. Faced with his own fragile mortality, a Buddhist contemplates our collective fear and grief. For him, meditation is not about relaxation but about awakening to life — in its wonder and in its sorrow.