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The On Being Project

Recognizing Joy from the Edge of Life; A Current of Catholic Thought; and Public Radio March Madness

Bedridden with an incurable illness, Paul Martin offers his essay, “On Being More Than Ourselves Alone,” a wise reflection on navigating paths of pain and difficulty, and the depth and mystery of joy.

“To notice your joys instead of minimizing or discounting them is to become joyous. Notice joy, nourish joy, consciously take advantage of your opportunities to experience joy. Joy known over a long period of time takes you beyond yourself, deepening and expanding your mind beyond the boundaries of your disconnections.”

To follow, these affirming words from Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen from our show Listening Generously”:

“The view from the edge of life is so much clearer than the view that most of us have, that what seems to be important is much more simple and accessible for everybody, which is who you’ve touched on your way through life, who’s touched you. What you’re leaving behind you in the hearts and minds of other people is far more important than whatever wealth you may have accumulated.

We get distracted by stories other people have told us about ourselves, that we are not enough, that we will be happy if we have material goods, that material goods will keep us safe. None of these stories are true. What is true is that what we have is each other.”

Our associate producer Susan Leem found this photo by Christina Ann Van on Flickr and coupled it with these iconic lines from William Faulkner’s Light in August:

“Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders.”

Fairy tales take us back to the fireside, says Maria Tatar. These stories serve as a platform for facing our demons in a safe place and developing a moral compass, both individually and collectively. These are a few of the highlights captured in this week’s sketchnotes on “The Great Cauldron of Story.”
This past Saturday Krista interviewed the poet laureate of the state of New York:

Gorgeous conversation with poet Marie Howe yesterday. Keeps rolling around in me. The silence inside life. Ordinary Time. How our words matter.

The interview was conducted under the watchful eyes of the Virgin Mary in the beautiful old library at the College of Saint Benedict. Ms. Howe ended the interview with her poem, “Annunciation,” which opens with this stanza:

Even if I don’t see it again—nor ever feel it
I know it is—and that if once it hailed me
it ever does—

I’ll post video of her full reading of this poem next week. Can’t wait to produce this in April!

And, from the late English novelist Graham Greene whose writing was flush with Catholic religious themes, these words from The End of the Affair:

“A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.”

Continuing on this Roman Catholic thread, Krista (@kristatippett) tweeted out this helpful primer on Pope Francis’ background:

What is a Jesuit? Thank you for this Rev. James Martin (@JamesMartinSJ).

And, Krista also recommends this post on bringing back the dead:

Resurrection Ecology. Fascinating. @WhittingtonKate on the ethics of bringing back extinct species

And, finally, On Being made it to the second round of public radio’s version of March Madness. Who were we pitted against? The granddaddy of public radio, Talk of the Nation. It was a herculean task but we didn’t garner enough votes for On Being to close the gap. It was good fun though… I think.

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