Postcards from Denver + NYC; Wendell Berry on Flow; Communal Singing at On Being; The Value of Retreating

Thursday, May 22, 2014 - 4:45 am

Postcards from Denver + NYC; Wendell Berry on Flow; Communal Singing at On Being; The Value of Retreating

Each week I write a weekly column trying to capture and replay a tiny bit of the incredible conversations and efforts taking place behind the scenes at On Being. Sometimes it’s a listener’s response on our Facebook page or a gorgeous photo on Instagram, but it’s often intriguing. If you’d like to receive my column in your email inbox, subscribe to our weekly newsletter!

David Bornstein on stage at Bowery Poetry Club. (Trent Gilliss / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).)

Postcard from Colorado: The beautiful golden dome of a Greek Orthodox church in Denver. I’m writing this week’s newsletter while taking a short vacation after a full week of travel for On Being.

The PopTech team at The Library Hotel. (Trent Gilliss / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).)

On Monday, Krista interviewed Jonathan Haidt in New York at the Manhattan JCC. And, I, at the invitation of Courtney Martin of the Solutions Journalism Network, had the honor of attending an intimate gathering at the Bowery Poetry Club. New York Times journalist David Bornstein (pictured above) and many other aspiring journalists are reporting stories of positive deviance — responses to big problems that are having a positive impact on communities by producing useful insights. When I introduced myself to David and where I worked, he said, “Krista Tippett is my hero.” There you have it.

Reverend Canon Joyce Forbes from the Diocese of Southwark and Rev Jennifer Williamson from the Diocese of Richmond have lunch at Deans Yard, Westminster before they march with over 600 women priests to St Paul’s Cathedral for a special service with the Archbishop of Canterbury. (Mary Turner / Getty Images.)

We then had the pleasure of sitting down with the team from PopTech. Kiley, Leetha, and Becky are putting together a magnificent conference this year. The theme? Rebellion. We’re teaming up with them for an exciting collaboration. I’d love for you to join Krista and the rest of us in gorgeous Camden, Maine this October. It’s a lot of fun.

The Italian community of Ananda near Assisi, on the occasion of its 25th anniversary meditates in the quiet of the Umbrian hills. (Vivi Consapevole / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).)

This photo was a hit on our Tumblr.

(AP Image.)

What is the value of retreating? A life-long retreat-goer thinks about the value of solitude, togetherness, seeking, and the sacredness of close human relationships. Submit your contribution. We take a look at it all: photo essays, commentaries, videos with a personal narrative… you name it.

The striking turquoise water of Havasu Creek at the confluence with the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park. (Erin Whittaker / National Park Service.)

“In these divided times as much as ever, we need to do some singing and feeling together, united as both citizens and amateurs.”

Communal singing? I’m as curious as you to know what this is. RSVP and join us in our new space. The date is May 29th. The location is Minneapolis.

To close, Parker Palmer’s get-me-over-the-hump-on-Wednesday vignettes are taking root. This week he draws inspiration from the words of Wendell Berry on celebrating one’s obstacles:

“The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.”

Good advice. Have you got other words of wisdom or ideas for improvement? Send me an email at or via Twitter at @trentgilliss.

May the wind always be at your back.

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is the cofounder of On Being¬†and currently serves as publisher & editor-in-chief. 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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