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The On Being Project

We Need to Summon Resilience in Language and Life

This past weekend was dedicated to remembering those who sacrificed for something larger than themselves. The commentaries and articles featured in this newsletter ask us to summon resilience in the language we use, the words we read, the speeches we hear, the lives we lead in public and private. And, rather than ending with an idea, I close this Letter from Loring Park with a practice to serve you in the days and weeks ahead.

Our Guest Contributor of the Week

Cheryl Strayed | The Power of “Me Too”

“Words are the stars I’ve followed like a god ever since.”

Literature can help us feel less alone in the world, but it also has another mission: to communicate “complicated truths about what it means to be human.” An absolutely lovely response to a reader from a magical writer originally from our very own Minnesota.

A Word from Our Columnists

Parker Palmer | We Need Each Other on This Dangerous Terrain
Two poems from Hafez and Naomi Shihab Nye, writes Parker, “remind us that morally and practically, we’re all in this together.”

Courtney Martin | To Be Surprised by Your Enemies, Stay Sturdy and Playful
The actual practice of having civil conversation can be draining. It’s not how we are trained, by the culture at large, to respond. But, as Courtney notes, if we can reframe our thinking and see the best in those we disagree with, we honor the humanity inside each person we encounter:

“It takes real effort and emotional sturdiness to assume genuineness in someone you perceive as ‘the other.’ It takes a resilient naïveté. Sometimes, it even takes a kind of playfulness.”

Omid Safi | Ten Things I’m Pondering as the President Visits the Middle East

For years I’ve cringed every time I’ve seen a newspaper or media outlet mention “the Muslim world” — as if it’s one monolithic bloc. Omid dwells on this idea and the weight our words and actions carry:

“Words matter; tones matter. Yet one hopes that the reality behind words is also addressed so that our policies actually match the discourse of peace, justice, and security.”

What We’re Watching and Reading
The New York Times | “The Internet Is Broken”: @ev Is Trying to Salvage It
The man behind Twitter and Blogger, Evan Williams, is determined to make the Internet a force for good. But can he do so with long-form quality writing at its core?

No Weather | Beast of Man
“You’ve got to be fearless” whether you’re riding bulls or seeking salvation in God in western Oklahoma. A quiet, 20-minute film documentary that embraces observation without narration.

Inlay Insights | Welcome to the World of Work, Gen Z
With discussion about millennials dominating the headlines, we might’ve forgotten a new generation is now entering the workforce. Generation Z. They’re diverse, resourceful, intellectually curious — but are they equipped to ask the right question?

Sharon Salzberg | A Standing Meditation for Self-Care

“Many books about love become weighed down by cultural mythologies: that love will complete us, fix us. That love is something outside of ourselves. That we need to first fully repair ourselves in order to love and be loved by another. What if we replaced this notion of our essential damage with a sense of our essential capacity to love, and the need to nurture that capacity, including cultivating greater love towards ourselves?”

Taking a stand on your right to be happy, as Sharon explains, is both metaphorical and literal. This story and standing meditation is a balm for burnout. And it’s only five steps (barefoot if you prefer).

As always, I welcome all feedback, constructive or otherwise. I can handle it. You can reach me at [email protected] or via Twitter at @trentgilliss.

May the wind always be at your back.

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