The Minnesota landscape is being enveloped in a gorgeous blanket of snow as I write this letter. This time of year brings much joy and beauty, but it’s also a time when people are encountering loss of love and life, and trying to find new ways to live differently. I hope you’ll find some heartening guidance in this hand-picked collection of readings and music…
This column is Omid at his best. We have public celebrations of marriage and births, but what about when things fall apart? Witnessing the divorce of his friends, Omid wonders why we have such a difficult time letting our grief and disappointments be public and shared:
“If we are a community, we should be together through thin and thick, for better and for worse. We stand together in the valleys and on the mountaintops. How do we make it possible for us to stand together when each of us goes through the valleys? Why do we celebrate together but suffer in silence?”
What Dave Chappelle Shows Us About Muslims as Healers in America
“I’ve met and talked with Dave Chappelle several times over the years and know that he doesn’t always like to publicly identify as a Muslim because, according to Dave, he isn’t the best example or practitioner of the faith. Yet, not all healers are saints.”
A look at some of our pop culture icons reveals the crucial work of healing at the heart of the American Muslim community.
Bringing Christmas Back Down To Earth
“How do we celebrate Christmas at a time when it’s hard to believe that its core message of love and peace is anything more than pious prattling that will not reach or touch the powers that be — and may in fact provide cover for their growing compendium of crimes against decency, sanity, and humanity?”
A bracing question, non? But in it Parker finds a way forward — through a mix of music and truth during this joyous season.
What Else We’re Reading
A 28-year-old native of New Orleans, Cleo Wade is an Instagram poet with an uplifting message that allows people to feel better. So, it’s really cool to see her co-sign (I had to look it up on Urban Dictionary) Krista in New York Magazine:
“Things Wade co-signs include salty foods, bad romantic comedies, and Krista Tippett, host of the public-radio show and podcast On Being. Things Wade does not co-sign include pink faux-fur coats, celebrities who pretend they can’t go out in public, and anyone who thinks feminism is about getting women to do more.”
16 Overall Favorite Books of 2016
Maria Popova is a kindred spirit. There are few people who operate with such integrity and intention. Her selected list of books that “moved me most deeply and memorably” is one you can trust to bring you hours of thoughtful contemplation about black holes, being alone, living with hope and sincerity, and becoming wise.
Veronique Greenwood’s exploration of immigrant communities in North America returning to ancestral villages their families left behind poses a most interesting question: “What does it mean to return to a place you’ve never been?”
From Our Tumblr
Much thought and care is put into selecting each piece of music layered into our productions. When I asked our producer Chris Heagle which track he most enjoyed placing in our episode with Alice Parker, he offered up this lovely recording by the male choir Cantus. And a perfect one it is for the twilight hours!
From Our Featured Projects
Poetry, says David Whyte, is language against which we have no defense. Over the years, we’ve featured quite a rich collection of poetry in our podcast and on our blog. Rather than making you hunt and peck, we’ve gathered them together — readings from Wendell Berry and Mary Oliver to John O’Donohue and Rumi and Pablo Neruda. Listen. Read. Enjoy.
We welcome your feedback, critical or otherwise. Tell me how I’m doing. Send us a note at [email protected].
May the wind always be at your back!