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The On Being Project

Image By Marco Monetti/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0).
Postcards for Passover + Easter. On Yoga for Atheists, The Shame Monster, Expectations of Students, and Winged Migrations. And Advice from Joseph Campbell.

Postcards for Passover + Easter. On Yoga for Atheists, The Shame Monster, Expectations of Students, and Winged Migrations. And Advice from Joseph Campbell.

(Matthew Septimus)

This past Friday, yesterday, marked two sacred events on the Jewish and Christian calendars: Passover and Good Friday. Both traditions have deeply marked and imprinted my life as a man, a father, a husband, a friend — as they have so many others. If I may, I’d like to share a few points of beauty and perspective that mark this holy week.

For the eight days of Passover, Matthew Septimus and Esther Cohen grace our blog with “Postcards from Passover” — a duet of picture and poem celebrating the “thousands of Haggadah possibilities.” Lines from the first postcard

Weakness insanity priorities even
personality. This Passover
maybe we can
liberate ourselves
from holding onto
what happened before

I’ll post the second one later today, but please check in every evening for a bit of beauty and contemplation from these two wonderful artists.

For the Christian Holy Week, there are so many things I want to share; I’ll limit myself to two though. On Palm Sunday, William Blake’s “Jerusalem” echoed in my head and this amazing BBC “music” video brings his poem to life. Three minutes of magic.

Norman Allen’s essay, “At the Heart of Easter Sunday Is a Woman” is fast becoming a perennial favorite on this sacred day:

“Mary represents all of us. We are slow to see, slow to consider the truths that challenge the comfortable limits of our understanding. And perhaps we all need to hear our name spoken — to be called — before we can recognize the opportunity that stands before us.”

A woman practices Iyengar Yoga class in Vicenza, Italy. (Augusto Mia Battaglia / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).)

“I don’t want to be part of a yoga world of happy talk about unending potential and perfect happiness. I don’t have much time for the kind of self-impressed platitudes that give yoga a bad name. Like so many of the secular, health-oriented, somewhat prideful members of my clan, I do yoga to quiet my brain, not to fill it with nonsense.”

To do yoga in America today is to make a statement. Melani McAlister unpacks what “yoga spirituality” might mean for an atheist and how her “embrace of reality” might flow from the practice of yoga.

(Sarah Gabriela R. / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).)

“But the shame monster in my head wouldn’t let up.”

Forgiving yourself for your stupid mistakes can be really difficult. By doing so, though, Courtney Martin realizes in “The Opposite of Shame” that you will honor those who love you deeply and you will stop beating yourself up in the process.

(Christine Stephens / Flickr (CC BY 2.0).)

Who you’re going to be and what you’re going to become takes time. But, nowadays, getting educated has an extraordinary set of expectations for students. Omid Safi reminds us that students need to be gentle with themselves as they discover what it means to be a human being and not just a human doing:

“How many of us supposed grownups have sorted these things out? And how many of us have negotiated these decisions gracefully and simultaneously? How many of us know who and what we are? Who among us knows the worth of our own soul?”

By the way, what do you think of the title of Omid’s column?

A group crosses the stepping stones near Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire. (Paul Stevenson / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).)

“I can’t help but wonder… if we valued shameless reliance over solitary perseverance, how much farther could we make it in this great migration?”

Our guest contributor Kelly Witchen reminds us that we must look to the skies and draw on the wisdom of winged nature to rediscover a resilience in community and a reliance on one another. Sometimes it’s not about leading, but drafting. With the insights of Rilke, a post on beauty in limitation, wisdom in rest, and resilience in dependence.

(Kacper Gunia / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).)

For a brief meditation on life as a writer and “the adventure of life at large,” read Parker Palmer’s column on being “born baffled.”

A teenager jumps into a beach in Beirut, Lebanon. (Stephan Rebernik / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).)

I send you off into the rest of your week with these sage words from the late, great Joseph Campbell:

“A bit of advice given to a young Native American at the time of his initiation: As you go the way of life, you will see a great chasm. Jump. It is not as wide as you think.”

Thank you so much for all of the feedback and the guest submissions. We are working through the hundreds of emails and posts sent our way. Please be patient with us! And, always feel free to reach out to me. My email address is [email protected]. My Twitter handle: @trentgilliss. Contact me anytime!

May the wind be at your back.


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