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The On Being Project

Better Ways to Conduct Your Life Are Here

Better Ways to Conduct Your Life Are Here

With the birth of their twins, Beyoncé and Jay-Z have introduced Rumi to a new generation. So… I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you about our Peabody Award-winning production on the 13th-century Persian poet!

Fatemeh Keshavarz | The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi
Fatemeh infuses Rumi’s life and work with her passion. She also helps us hear how his poetry echoes in our own time. Listen, and then please try out our new On Being discovery app (really, it’s a sleek website tailored to mobile devices and desktops). Using a “relationship algorithm,” we craft playlists from conversation threads for you to add to your own personal playlist for listening at your leisure.

We received dozens of responses last week offering some savvy feedback. Thank you! Our partners at Fathom Information Design are making those changes as I write. Please keep testing and sharing the app with others. That’s how you can help Krista’s conversations make an impact in others’ lives and in the world around us. Plus, let me know what works well, and what needs improving. Drop me a line at [email protected] or via Twitter at @trentgilliss.

A Word from Our Columnists

 (Stephanie Keith / Getty Images / © All Rights Reserved)

Sharon Salzberg | Your Three Feet of Influence
If you’re looking for better ways to conduct your life, read this article. To make the world a better place, Sharon says, we must first attend to each interaction more carefully:

“You cannot control the world, the country, your town, the mood swings of those you love, but you can try to create around you a little bit of space that is all your own, a place where the rules of interaction you’ve chosen make sense and your actions have integrity.”

(Stephen Maturen / Getty Images / © All Rights Reserved)

Parker Palmer | Your Heart Can Break Open Without Breaking Apart
Parker shares “a brief but powerful poem by Gregory Orr about the heart that’s been broken open, not broken apart.”

Omid Safi | Orüç Güvenç’s Music Is the Closest I’ve Come to the Sound of Heaven
The Turkish musician and psychologist passed away on July 4th. He’s not well-known to many of us in the West. But, to Omid, he’s a treasure — so much so that he played Güvenç’s Ocean of Remembrance in the delivery room as each of his children was ushered into the world:

“As my babies entered this world, I wanted them to know that somebody here, in this realm, knows who they are. Knows what they are. That somebody here knows that they are beings with a heavenly origin and a heavenly destination. I wanted my babies to know that I see them as God’s — and wanted divine music to welcome them here.”

His post also includes a gift at the end, courtesy of our technical director and producer Chris Heagle.

( 美撒郭 / Flickr / Attribution-NonCommercial-Sharealike)

Courtney Martin | Do We Deserve Redemption Narratives?
One level Courtney’s column is a book review of Hanya Yanagihara’s massive novel A Little Life. Dig deeper, though, and you’ll see it’s a meditation on spiritual intelligence and a questioning of our own unfair expectations around narratives:

“There are the happy endings, but there are also the sad stories with sad endings. We don’t tell them very often and so we expect everything to conclude with a happy twist. We make people who have experienced them feel isolated and grumpy and outside of our cultural norms. We essentially pressure people to make redemptive stories out of their lives even if that doesn’t feel true.”

Things from Beyond Our Realm
The Atlantic | My Family’s Slave
Alex Tizon tells the story of Lola, a woman who spent 56 years serving his family without pay. It’s a challenging and moving read about powerlessness, “utter loyalty” and undeserved cruelty, and the goodness within.

The New York Times | America Today, In Vision and Verse
Six photographers were asked to let six poems by contemporary American poets inspire them and be put to pictures. The results are lovely. (h/t to our intern Katherine!)

Featured Essay from Our Guest Writer

(Cia de Foto / Flickr / Attribution-NonCommercial-Sharealike)

Mary Esselman | The Fish: A Story of Love and Letting Go
A woman’s evolving understanding of mortality, identity, and letting go — through an Elizabeth Bishop poem that has accompanied her through life and loss.

“I was with her when she died, and I just held her and told her over and over, ‘I am here, I am sorry, I love you.’ She was with me but not. ‘It was more like the tipping / of an object toward the light.’”

The On Being Gathering

Apply to Attend!
We’ve been overwhelmed with the response (over 1,500 applications already!) to our inaugural three-day festival to be held outside Santa Cruz. If you haven’t applied yet, the form closes on August 10th. We’d love to have you!

May the wind always be at your back,

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