The New Better Off

An inmate sits in his cell at San Quentin State Prison's death row on August 15, 2016 in San Quentin, California.
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September 21, 2017

An unexpected letter landed on our columnist’s doorstep the other day. It contains a surprising lesson on the meaning of community — and an opportunity to open up to a fellow flawed and striving human being.

Demonstrators participate in a march and rally against white supremacy August 16, 2017 in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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September 7, 2017

White supremacy is newly palpable in unsettling, violent ways. But what if our public conversation about race can encourage a new, redeemable, and joyful whiteness to come to the fore?

People gather around the communal dining table.
BY
August 10, 2017

We need to get wiser about efficiency — about when it’s a good thing, and when it saps us of the slow and messy connections that help us learn, grow, and thrive.

BY
August 3, 2017

In her cohousing community in Oakland, our columnist is experiencing something all-too-rare: deep friendships across generations. What if we turned more actively to the wisdom — and plain old good company — of our neighbors, older and younger?

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July 27, 2017

Our columnist gets honest about missing true solitude as a mother of young girls, and reflects on how crucial it is for women to carve out space to nurture no one but themselves.

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July 20, 2017

After reading Hanya Yanagihara’s novel “A Little Life,” our columnist grapples with the reality of suffering that doesn’t make us stronger.

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July 13, 2017

Can being lost be productive? Our columnist on lingering in the mystery of our purpose — and surrendering to the paths that choose us.

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July 6, 2017

Shame and defensiveness about racism are not the path to change. Our columnist extends a challenge to white progressives, and to herself: to face the reality of deeply embedded racism directly, and to resolve to change the prejudices that remain.

Intense rehearsals kept students focused while performing under the direction of Alonzo King LINES Ballet instructors.
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June 28, 2017

Do we second-guess ourselves to the point of poisoning the trust in our own abilities?

BY
June 22, 2017

Might our obsession with every tweet and news bite be too much? The difference between misguided fixation and engaged awareness — and how to redirect our attention to what really matters.

BY
June 15, 2017

The personal growth that comes from activities we do for joy, rather than status or reward — whether it’s painting murals or sprucing up cars, pick-up basketball or beekeeping.

BY
June 8, 2017

In the shadow of tremendous loss, a message about the gifts we are to each other, the raw truth of who we are, and what really matters.

BY
June 1, 2017

Sometimes we need to trick our hearts to make great art — and do the things that most scare us.

BY
May 25, 2017

A reflection on the emotional drain of civil conversation, and how we can reframe our thinking to see the best in each other — even those we deeply disagree with.

BY
May 12, 2017

Parenting is a joy and a gift — but we should also give parents space to acknowledge the lost freedoms of youth that they miss. Courtney looks wistfully back to what life was like before her daughters, alongside the huge love and gratitude she feels for motherhood.

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May 5, 2017

Can we learn to be tender even if we can’t fix each other’s pain? How would our world be different if men had permission to be vulnerable in public?

BY
April 14, 2017

Creating a false division between life and work has its own pitfalls.

A CNN employee runs after a Supreme Court ruling was made on race-based college admissions on June 24, 2013 in Washington DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
BY
April 7, 2017

College rejection and acceptance letters are in the post this time of year. Our columnist drops truth on how rejection can teach us to find value in ourselves, and not in the affirmation of the decision-making process of an admissions department.

BY
March 31, 2017

What if we learned to trust in the resilience of our relationships, and recognized the occasional necessity of butting heads with the ones we love?

BY
March 24, 2017

The elemental closeness of a mother to her children, and to her own body.

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March 17, 2017

Passing the baton. Gathering with others. Taking the long view. Lessons on persisting and persevering, even when we feel exhausted by it all.

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March 10, 2017

Courtney Martin on the questions we learned to be afraid to ask, and how our quest for the answers shapes our lives moving forward.

A child with microcephaly receives aquatic physiotherapy treatment with a doctor in Recife, Brazil.
BY
March 3, 2017

It can feel painful to reflect on our mortality — especially the mortality of our loved ones. But maybe embracing the reality of death can help us to fear it less, and appreciate the wonder of life all the more.

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February 24, 2017

Courtney offers up a fear- and judgment-free space, and draws forth the perspectives of women who don’t have kids, by choice or otherwise.

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February 17, 2017

Whether to have children is one of the most life-defining decisions we will make. And there is joy and meaning to be found on either path — as well as endless challenges and frustration. Courtney Martin on why the best place to turn for guidance is inward.

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February 10, 2017

Anger can be a powerful motivator. But we must also remember to build something bolder on the foundation of expansive love.

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February 3, 2017

Are we unconsciously selective about the causes we mobilize for? Courtney Martin asks the uncomfortable question: when do we choose to show up, and for whom?

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January 27, 2017

Courtney shares the practical insight of a wise elder — on the tumultuous history we’ve lived through, and the work we must do to shape our future differently.

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November 4, 2016

Real love for our nation calls us to look at ourselves, as citizens, whole. A long view on the future of a beloved and broken America, and our potential to shape it moving forward.

BY
October 28, 2016

If you could speak to a passed friend or family member, what would you say? An exploration of the healing that can happen when we stay in relationship with the ones we love, even beyond the end of life

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October 14, 2016

Like all of us, Courtney Martin wants the best for her family, and rightly so. But from education to strollers, the best is often only accessible to a certain group. She reimagines responsible parenting as embodied care for one’s own, as well as for the families of strangers.

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October 7, 2016

Courtney Martin on C. Nicole Mason’s new memoir and turning toward what’s uncomfortable to witness, and then acting on what we feel.