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The On Being Project

The Mundane Moments Are Windows for Reflection and Forgiveness

Saturday was Yom Kippur, a day to remember one’s wrongdoings and ask for forgiveness. A time, as Esther Cohen writes, “to think about what we did, and didn’t do. And reconcile.” And that’s why I’m so grateful for Amy Gottlieb’s poem, “The Reasons for Liturgy,” because she calls us to this task by taking in the mundane every day.

(Photo by Chris Hoff / Flickr / © All Rights Reserved)

Courtney Martin | Seeing Our Mothers as People

“Can a child (a daughter, especially) ever acknowledge the real interior life of a mother?”

I lost my Grandma Mary Ann this past month and will be celebrating her life this coming Saturday as we inter her ashes in a small Catholic cemetery in New Rockford, North Dakota. Courtney’s column reminded me of a precious moment when I realized my grandmother lived a rich life of the mind that, I ashamedly admit, shocked the heck out of me. Give Courtney’s piece a read, and then engage your mother or grandmother in a conversation that steps outside of your image of them. I wish I would’ve done so more often.

(Photo by Gregory Vonglis / Flickr / © All Rights Reserved)

Omid Safi | The Blessing of Friends Who Weather the Storm With Us
Sometimes the greatest comfort isn’t advice or a solution, but having someone to simply “be in your boat” and endure the pain and suffering of life when it feels like our lives have been turned upside-down:

“The best of friends are the ones who are with us come hell or high water — or the security of a shore. Sometimes it takes all that we have to breathe, to row, to stay afloat. And we don’t have the mental energy to check to see who, if anyone, is in our boat. Blessed are those friends who reach forward, gently placing their hands on our shoulder, around our waist, to let us know that they are with us.”

(Photo by Bethany Legg / Unsplash / Public Domain Dedication (CC0))

Parker Palmer | Revived by What the Sunrise Reveals
Our Wednesday morning columnist got us over the hump with a comforting poem by Mary Oliver and these words of his own:

“Breathing in the beauty of nature is not the whole answer to the personal and public problems that weigh us down. But for me, it’s an important first step toward gaining hope and taking heart so I can get back into the fray.”

Things We’re Reading and Watching
New York Magazine | America Wasn’t Built for Humans
Our board member Jeff Walker shared this thought-provoking article by Andrew Sullivan on tribalism — its role in building societies and its challenges when it comes to scale at a national level.

Religion & Politics | Losing Our Civil Religion
Theologian John Carlson says that American civil religion “is the moral backbone of our body politic.” And, he says, it’s needed now more than ever for the sake of our country.

Undisputed | On the NFL Showing Unity
Shannon Sharpe gives one of the most thoughtful and articulate defenses of what Colin Kaepernick knelt for and what got lost in the recent display of unity on the gridiron.

Words on Work and Vocation

(Michael Lokner / Flickr / Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs)

Ali Schultz | For Human Wholeness at Work, We Need to Think Beyond Perks
The subject of human wholeness and how it expresses itself at work in its fullest sense is extremely tricky. But, Ali suggests, many times what’s really needed to experience joy at work are not perks and benefits, but an honest space to be our whole selves:

“What would it mean to our company cultures if our companies were human-centric in this world of chat bots, OKRs, and KPIs? If you stripped away the benefits and perks of your organization, would the company you are left with be the company your employees would want to work for?”

A Constellation of Conversation and Learning

Krista’s conversation with Brené Brown yielded this lovely poetic form in our new discovery engine:

red kitchen table
beautiful question
deep time
ruthless furnace
inevitably challenging

This cluster of stars makes up a stellar constellation of conversation featuring a quintet of interviews from across the years with:

Add this set to your playlist, and then share your personal playlist with me via email at [email protected], or on Twitter at @trentgilliss. I’d love to feature one each week in our newsletter. Just send me a link to your playlist and share a couple of lines about what it means to you.

May the wind always be at your back,

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