Crafting Space to Hear Each Other

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 5:30 am

Crafting Space to Hear Each Other

Our team of producers and editors are working away, preparing for the holiday break that is only a few short weeks in front of us. As we craft these conversations and commentaries, we hope that you find some time to settle in and take a few moments to listen to the folks who all-too-often have something to say but are rarely heard. Make space for them to speak. Make room for yourself to hear the gloriousness of those beside you.

A woman watches the results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election on November 9, 2016 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. (Omar Havana / Getty Images / © All Rights Reserved)

Courtney Martin | Where I’m Turning to Be Comforted and Challenged

“I have been trying to find a voice within myself that is neither intellectual nor cloying, a voice that is simple and true about what I will and won’t tolerate.”

Many of us continue to mine our inner lives, searching for a true north. For Courtney, she’s turning inward and looking outward — to history and art and books and quiet places 30,000 feet in the air. Where is your heart at these days?

Miguel Clark Mallet | The Question of Redemption in America

Sometimes it takes a voice from the crowd (in this case, Twitter) to challenge us to do better:

“On Being’s recent two-part conversation on the interplay of religion and politics appealed to me for all the reasons above. In both, I heard compelling, measured words, expressions of yearning for common ground, mutual respect, and understanding, words of hope, compassion, and justice. But I turn here to certain loud silences among those words, things unspoken that inhibit our ability to enact the intentions expressed. And the loudest silence I heard surrounded the word ‘redemption.’”

People attend a winter solstice service at Judson Memorial Church on National Homeless Persons Memorial Day on December 21, 2015 in New York City. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images / © All Rights Reserved)

Parker Palmer | Darkness Can Be a Teacher

The winter solstice is only a few weeks away. Parker dwells on the words of Wendell Berry, Theodore Roethke, and Rainer Maria Rilke to get through the long, dark nights of the soul:

“Before we start turning toward the light, we need to spend some time embracing the darkness — or letting it embrace us. There are life-giving lessons to be learned there, even in our darkest times.”

What Else We’re Watching and Reading

The Boston Globe | Why Fans Should See Like Refs

I’m an avid sports fan who knows all too well that referees and umpires are frequently the scapegoats for others’ mistakes. Bob Katz makes a case for why we should look to refs as a model for living in this burgeoning democracy.

The New York Times | How To Hide $400 Million

Remember when Gordon Gekko declared, “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” This detailed account of a wealthy couple’s offshore schemes to hide their wealth is a sign of greed feeding its frenzied self.

World Pulse | Wisdom from the Women of Standing Rock

A lovely post from a documentary filmmaker who traveled to the North Dakota plains to witness a movement in the flesh. And, along the way, she discovered women are at the heart of action.

From The Civil Conversations Project

Better Conversations: A Starter Guide

We’re listening to your requests for more of The Civil Conversations Project, and are in the process of expanding our offerings. One resource worth checking out is this guide to modeling new types of conversations, which opens with an invitational letter from Krista. Please let us know when you use this, and let us know how we might refine it for the days ahead.

From Our Tumblr


A Poem for This Day: “Everything Is Waiting for You”

David Whyte’s voice alone is sweet medicine for what ails you. And his poetry proceeds from the understanding that we often feel broken and alone, but that we make a mistake when we believe it to be so:

“Your great mistake is to act the drama / as if you were alone. As if life / were a progressive and cunning crime / with no witness to the tiny hidden / transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny / the intimacy of your surroundings.”

Thank you for all the kind words and the helpful suggestions. It’s an absolute delight being able to write this email each week. If you have any critical feedback or words of praise, I’d welcome your continued advice. The best way to reach me is at

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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