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The On Being Project

Image By Adrian Dennis/Agence France-Presse / Getty Images.
Omid on One Direction’s Alternate Universe; Maggie on Tenderness; Parker on Depression; StoryCorps Comes to On Being; Courtney on Idealism and Realism; Sharon on Suffering and Love; Things We’re Reading and Listening To

Omid on One Direction’s Alternate Universe; Maggie on Tenderness; Parker on Depression; StoryCorps Comes to On Being; Courtney on Idealism and Realism; Sharon on Suffering and Love; Things We’re Reading and Listening To

Good day to all you fine readers. There’s a bevy of useful, interesting things to chew on and contemplate. And I hope it’s useful to you. I’d appreciate any feedback you might give, positive or critical. And, of course, I’d be glad to discuss too! My email is [email protected], and my Twitter handle is @trentgilliss. Now, on to an awesome opinion piece…

Omid Safi and his daughter.

Zayn Malik pulling out of One Direction crushed millions of teenage fans’ hearts — and one older gentleman’s, Omid Safi. His touching story of being relevant to his young daughter and his insightful lens on Stephen Hawking’s alternate universe:

“For the first time in my life, she thought something Muslim was cool. Beautiful. Crush-worthy. Dad was pleased. Dad was very pleased.”

Iranian breast cancer patient Farvah smiles in the mirror as she dyes her hair in her house in Tehran, as she starts a normal life after finishing her cancer therapies. (Behrouz Mehri / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images.)

“Everyone suffers, silently or obviously, one way or the other. Once you see that connection, tenderness follows.”

So much good fortune flows into my inbox in unexpected ways… like this essay from Maggie Lane. A cancer survivor, she writes a poignant meditation on gratitude and the marvel that is being alive. The community of comments posted in response on our Facebook page are worth reading too.

A mother and daughter pause in their canoes. (John Britt / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).)

That tenderness Maggie speaks of surfaces in Parker Palmer’s latest column, “Tension in the Service of Life.” He explores how heartbreak and depression can deepen one’s connection to others in order to survive and thrive in this world:

“It maddens me that depression (along with other forms of mental illness) remains a taboo subject in some quarters. There is nothing shameful about it. The more we can explore the experience with each other, the more support those who suffer from it, directly or indirectly, will feel.”

StoryCorps (Remember Dave Isay?) is coming to On Being on Loring Park — and they want you to be part of the American Pilgrimage Project! They’ll be conducting interviews in Minneapolis for three days: May 28th, 29th, and 30th in collaboration with Georgetown University. Sit down with a loved one or a friend and talk to each other, one-to-one, about the role your religious beliefs have played at crucial moments in your life. We’d love to meet you and record your conversation in our studios! To schedule an interview, please contact Sophia Stid at [email protected].

(Paul McGeiver / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).)

“I spend some part of every single day, facilitating an endless debate between the idealist and the realist in my own brain. And let me tell you, it is rarely a cordial conversation.”

Rilke asks us to live the questions. Socrates says the unexamined life is one not worth living. But, staying awake to the moral complexities of one’s actions, Courtney Martin reminds us, is not a quiet prospect. Such a well-crafted internal dialogue. A man with a child in the distance
Gratitude is an expression of one’s appreciation of the world around us. I’ve received some lovely reminders of the connective tissue that binds us together. In response to last week’s episode, “The Far Shore of Aging,” a hearty thanks to Adam Swanson for sharing this wonderful line from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night:

“all save one… a lady… whose soul is greater than the ocean… and her spirit stronger than the sea’s embrace… not for her a watery end, but a new life beginning on a stranger shore.”

Herbert Winokur, now deceased, sits in the kitchen of his daughter’s home with his granddaughter Isabel in the background. Along with her husband (the photographer) and two children, Julie Winokur moved her husband and two children from San Francisco, CA to Montclair, NJ to help care for her father who suffered from dementia. (Ed Kashi)

“If we truly want to meet each other, that mysterious junction of suffering and love could well be the most truthful and potent place.”

While on a plane, Sharon Salzberg wrote this graceful reflection on suffering and love after the earthquakes in Nepal. The catalyst? A Christian-Buddhist interfaith gathering at Gethsemani monastery, the home of Thomas Merton.

A few things I’m reading this week:

Five-month-old baby boy Sonit Awal is held up by Nepalese Army soldiers after being rescued from the rubble of his house in Bhaktapur, Nepal. (Amul Thapa / Kathmandu Today / Associated Press.)

You are not alone, sung by just about two of my favorite musicians on this Earth, Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy:

A broken home, a broken heart
Isolated and afraid
Open up this is a raid
I wanna get it through to you
You’re not alone

May the wind always be at your back.

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