Honoring Prince’s Memory with a Celebration of Playfulness and Kinship

Trent T. Gilliss

is the cofounder of On Being and currently serves as chief content officer and executive editor. He received a Peabody Award in 2007 for his work on “The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi” and garnered two Webby Awards (in 2005, and again in 2008). The Online News Association nominated his journalistic work multiple times in the general excellence and outstanding specialty journalism categories. Trent’s reported and produced stories from Turkey to rural Alabama, from Israel and the West Bank to Cambridge, England.

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April 26th, 2016

We lost a beloved cultural icon last week, and his life of work has inspired an outpouring of love in music and story. Celebrations of Prince’s life accompany praise for standing up together, in support of our strengths and growth from moments of weakness.

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April 19th, 2016

The architecture around us inhabits the vernacular of our lives. Our executive editor with this week’s letter from Loring Park welcoming our new columnist Sarah Smarsh, who joins a collective contemplation of where and how we navigate our lives in faith, family, and citizenship.

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April 12th, 2016

Executive editor Trent Gilliss with reflections on the surprise of authorship, and offerings from other places where the tension makes life feel fullest.

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April 8th, 2016

The announcement of our newest podcast offering contemplations on the nature of participation in the world, and opportunities to become inextricable from the questions.

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March 29th, 2016

With the arrival of spring come realizations of the capacity waiting within, among, and around us. Writings on discovering our true abundance of love, community, and self, particularly in the places where they have seemed absent.

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March 22nd, 2016

Life is a long haul, and wisdom is knowing when to surge forth, and when to pause. Reflections on the value of spending time in spaces of uncertainty and pain before charging courageously ahead.

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March 15th, 2016

The wisdom we yearn for abounds in quiet spaces of dignity. Trent Gilliss with writings on our need for rhetoric of acceptance, the spirituality inherent in our given and chosen families, and the birth of a book years in the making.

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March 8th, 2016

From an eloquent and soul-touching tune, to testaments of moving forward from complex suffering, our executive editor shares demonstrations of the boundless and surprising bravery of which we are all capable.

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March 4th, 2016

A musician from the shores of Lake Superior sings a haunting melody that speaks to the spaces between your cells.

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March 1st, 2016

What happens when we go too far in pushing against the “other” — whether in asserting our identity or in protecting ourselves from danger? Reminders that we must also open ourselves to the vulnerability of acknowledging our dignified differences and common ground.

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February 29th, 2016

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.

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February 16th, 2016

Wise voices remind us that there are realities we can embrace. Writings on the uncomfortable but rewarding work of taking a positive orientation to the speed bumps of life, from the ennui of advanced age to communicating the most difficult truths.

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February 9th, 2016

Our paths intersect with countless others as we navigate our days, but how often do we live out the potential of these exchanges? Gleanings from the complementary persistence of Super Mario and Sisyphus, the enduring kinship of the Abrahamic family, and the unexpected inspiration to honor a late loved one from a song by Sting.

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February 2nd, 2016

Might we understand each other better if we dropped our assumptions and reframed the questions we ask? The contemplative season sparks ruminations on how we might be more generous in imagining our neighbors, and ourselves.

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January 26th, 2016

The catharsis of living up to challenge, in all walks of life — essays on powering through the hardest miles in a marathon to facing a crowd of unfamiliar strangers, to reckoning with one’s best and worst selves while reflecting in the solitude of the woods.

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January 25th, 2016

How do we reckon with different parts of our lives seemingly in opposition? Neighborliness and fear, togetherness and silence, embracing uncomfortable truths — examinations of finding growth and hope in life’s tensions.

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January 12th, 2016

What happens when we open ourselves to the gift of vulnerability? Profound voices on public displays of emotion in politics, the making of identity, the inspiration of wilderness, and advice from a classical pianist on pursuing what moves you and being glad in others’ good fortunes.

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January 5th, 2016

A gracious and unexpected gift from the band Radiohead for the new year and a medley of guiding essays on revolutions and resolutions, ending arrogance, love of wide open spaces, embracing family and more. Our executive editor’s Letter from Loring Park to kick off 2016.

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January 3rd, 2016

A gorgeous, inspiring video showcasing vast tracts of wilderness coupled with powerful words from Emerson, Muir, Stegner, and other icons of conservation and appreciation.

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January 1st, 2016

The superband’s submission for Bond immortality was rejected. But it’s their response that seems like the right thing to carry into 2016.

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December 29th, 2015

Pining for some more glühwein, our executive editor recommends some reading by Eula Biss and Neil Gaiman, articles on covering gun violence and living Advent, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra opening its arms to refugees in Canada, and a historic but little-heard sermon from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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December 25th, 2015

On this Christmas day, read Dr. King’s final Christmas sermon from 1967 — a prescient reminder of our interconnected world in 2015, with neighbors living halfway around the world and in our backyard today.

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December 24th, 2015

Listen to this enchanting rendition of a holiday classic, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, read by celebrated writer Neil Gaiman in the way Dickens intended.

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December 22nd, 2015

With 2015 drawing to a close, our Letter from Loring Park features stirring essays and homespun music focusing on the true importance of Advent, the celebration of Rumi, and reimagining the icons and traditions of our popular culture.

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December 15th, 2015

A dispatch from Austria as our team interview Br. David Steindl-Rast in the Alpine setting of St. Gilgen, a contemplation on the quiet character of Advent, and reminders for us to continue seeking light where we can as Hanukkah comes to a close.

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December 6th, 2015

Our Sunday morning cantor is the talented Dessa with a stripped-down choral piece sure to make the spirit soar.

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November 24th, 2015

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.

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November 23rd, 2015

The hope for the future lies in the lyrics and the spoken words of Prince EA. See how wise and beautiful we are capable of becoming.

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November 13th, 2015

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.

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November 5th, 2015

The paths we walk through life can be rife with obstacles, some small and others that seem unsurmountable. A few reminders we’re not alone in our struggles, and that nurturing our connection with those around us can help us thrive in this complex world.

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November 3rd, 2015

Watch the live video stream of Krista Tippett speaking about the mystery and art of living with poet Christian at Yale University’s Battell Chapel on November 3rd!

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October 28th, 2015

Alain de Botton’s short piece of writing on love and loneliness is elegantly handled in this animated short by Hannah Jacobs and Lara Lee.

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October 27th, 2015

A mix of selected essays and posts on the magic and mystery of making, the art of family communication, and murmurations on a pond.

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October 20th, 2015

Whether it’s blood quantum and identity, a homeless man’s understanding of our best friends, or the telling of bad teeth, a gathering of what we’re reading, writing, and publishing.

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October 13th, 2015

From small kindnesses to a classic love song reimagined and singleness to transformation, Trent Gilliss poetically curates an intermingling of murmurations and ideas — including a remembrance of the legendary Grace Lee Boggs.

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October 6th, 2015

To inscribe the names of the lives lost in Roseburg, Oregon is an act of remembrance. And so we do. Some reminders that we can still find hope in empathy, community, and lovingkindness, despite the immense physical and emotional pain that sometimes befall us.

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September 29th, 2015

A medley for the mind with words from F. Scott Fitzgerald, Teju Cole​, Adam Gopnik​, and other thoughtful writers on embracing change around and within us, and the enduring power of hope and love.

Louis Newman
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September 22nd, 2015

From allowing ourselves to move on from the ephemeral to refreshing our relationships with our loved ones, colleagues, and ourselves, writings on embracing change and allowing ourselves to grow.

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September 15th, 2015

Stories of chaos and turmoil can cause us to lose hope. This week, a few heartening encouragements to help us find the light in the face of despair and appreciate the true worth of those who are undervalued.

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September 8th, 2015

We’re officially back into the full swing of production! Amidst the flurry of exciting work, we’re grateful for the chance to reflect on the centering power of daily ritual, facing mortality with hope, and defining our lives by the quality of our actions.

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September 1st, 2015

We closed down studio for two weeks, but that doesn’t mean we took it easy! We built ofuros and traveled and crafted some incredible reflections on the importance of making space in our lives for contemplation, generosity, and serendipity.

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August 25th, 2015

This week, our executive editor shares readings on the healing and revealing power of tranquility; inspiration to live with hopeful resilience; and other pieces to inspire us to appreciate the simple beauty in everyday life.

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August 18th, 2015

We’re heading into a brief break here at Loring Park, but before we go — an unexpected flood of canine appreciation, the catharsis of letting go and looking forward, and rising above difference to meet in Rumi’s field.

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August 11th, 2015

In this Letter from Loring Park, our executive editor lists three compelling reads under five minutes and some of our most popular columns. Enjoy the journey.

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July 28th, 2015

Words that shimmer, poetry to ponder, relationships to reexamine, prose that rivets, and photos that hide as much as they reveal — our executive editor’s weekly missive.

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July 21st, 2015

On searching inside yourself, cultivating deep curiosity, and acknowledging women’s talents as we flow like water?

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July 14th, 2015

Rami, not Rumi. And good reads on living and loving well, male parenting, and not-knowing.

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July 7th, 2015

Freedom rings this Independence Day with a panoply of sounds and sights to remind us of our burgeoning world!

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July 7th, 2015

Mysteries of an expanding universe and other ties to what makes a life worth living.

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