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The On Being Project

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Praising Softness; Compartmentalizing for Life; An Overlooked Opportunity; Reads to Relish; The Power of Theater

Praising Softness; Compartmentalizing for Life; An Overlooked Opportunity; Reads to Relish; The Power of Theater

Krista and I are on the road this weekend… in Youngstown, Ohio at the invitation of WYSU and St. John’s Episcopal Church. And, on Wednesday, June 24th, come visit us at Loring Park. Bill Siemering, a founding member of NPR and a MacArthur fellow, will discuss where his ideas come from. It’s free, but please RSVP!

A grandfather plays with his grandchild on the couch. (Jim Forest / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).)

“I wonder if we have confused hardness with the strength it takes to truly give and receive love. Let us praise softness.”

From the scenic vistas of Switzerland, Omid Safi writes this metaphorically rich column, “In Praise of Softness.” He reminds us that the “hard” values we so often revere and strive for in this modern world often supplant the necessary gentleness required to cultivate relationships, understanding, and love of one another.

(Simon Law / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).)

On the other hand, Courtney Martin contemplates fostering grit and praising compartmentalization to live a whole life:

“My capacity to compartmentalize may be the only way I will survive working motherhood.”


Vincent Harding. 

In “The Greatness of the Myth, The Goodness of the Man,” Eboo Patel tells the story of a personal encounter that happened but was never realized. The reason? He was focused on his strategic plan while ignoring the outstretched hand of a quiet legend:

“Life is full of mistakes that we learn from, a constant process of trespass, forgiveness, and redemption. Even Rumi ignored Shams when they first met.”


Unexpected surprises all around. Our podcast was palling around with Shaq and Joe Rogan’s podcasts on iTunes last Sunday. Too fun!


Sharing a few things I’ve been reading and relishing this week:

  • Biohazard suits are NSFW. With Nobel laureate Sir Tim Hunt being sacked after making sexist remarks, female scientists from around the world responded with a great sense of humor — and a hashtag meme: #distractinglysexy. But, this one got me, “I cried when Ebola patients died or when got better. I have feelings & I deal w them. So should you.”
  • Paul Muldoon on the art of poetry. The phenomenal Irish poet will be reading at On Being on Loring Park in October. You might enjoy his interview in The Paris Review: “I don’t know if I’ve ever found a voice. Each poem demands its own particular voice.”
  • “Insomnia is a condition of the mind that then affects the body.” Austin Frakt writes a compelling piece in The New York Times about the merits of cognitive behavioral therapy over sleeping medications. I ought to try it. You?


A three-year-old post went viral this week. Our technical director/producer Chris Heagle highlighted this children’s theater performance report noting the response of a boy with autism will make you smile — and testify to the power of art.

Until next week, I bid you many good fortunes. Please feel to contact me at any time. My email address is [email protected] and my Twitter handle is @trentgilliss.

May the wind always be at your back.

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