Tweeting Mary Oliver; Marrying “Nones”; Learning Sustains; Our New iPad App; Rebellion Inspires + Jung Inquires; An Intimate Memory of Dr. King

Monday, January 26, 2015 - 7:22 am

Tweeting Mary Oliver; Marrying “Nones”; Learning Sustains; Our New iPad App; Rebellion Inspires + Jung Inquires; An Intimate Memory of Dr. King

Krista was in Florida yesterday. Why? Two reasons: she’s working on her next book and… she interviewed Mary Oliver. The fabulous poet wouldn’t allow cameras, but Lily live-tweeted her best gems. The most retweeted:

“Attention is the beginning of devotion.”

The most favorited:

“Discipline is very important. We are creative all day long and we need to have an appointment to get that out on the page.”

The one that made me laugh:

“The only record I broke in school is truancy. I went to the woods a lot with books.”


Just when I think Courtney Martin can do no more, I learn that she also officiates weddings:

“The wedding ceremony has been thoroughly remade in the last decade by a generation of young people who don’t identify with a particular religious tradition. We crave ritual, but can’t abide by moralizing.”

In a day when more and more wedding ceremonies are not presided over by an official religious figure, there’s much to figure out when it comes to designing a ritual. Here’s Courtney’s unofficial guide to marrying the “Nones” — practices to consider for modern nuptials.

Beginners take skiing lessons at the base of the Big D ski run at Mount Hotham in Australia. (Mark Dadswell / Getty Images.)

The joys and sorrows of your life are sure to come and go. A commitment to learning at any age, as Parker Palmer writes, will sustain you and help you weather the peaks and troughs of life… as Merlyn himself notes in The Once and Future King:

“The best thing for being sad is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails.”

The full passage is a tad too long for this forum, but I encourage you to read the extended text here. It’ll stick with you.

A man learns to ski at a resort in Harbin, China. (Guang Niu / Getty Images.)

I almost used this photograph as the lead image for Parker’s column; instead I opted for the preceding image. There’s something about this scene of a man learning to ski at a resort in China that captures the imagination. Which one would you have chosen?

Courtney and Parker’s conversation on stage at PopTech continues to inspire and manifest itself in unexpected ways. Katie Krupin, a 23-year-old musician and education director, writes a song that embodies the rebellious energy she senses within herself and her generation. Take a listen; it’s a treat.


In recent weeks, I’ve been turning this famous line by the Swiss psychotherapist Carl Jung over and over in my mind:

“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”

I’m sure this idea of the omnipresent darkness would resonate with the late Vince Harding, but I wonder how he might think through the part about imagining figures of light. There is something reassuring about the omnipresence of darkness. What do you make of this?
I should mention that I pulled this quotation from our new iPad app, if you should care to download. It’s free and features our entire audio archive, our columns and blog posts, a daily quotation for you to ponder, and collections – curated suites of episodes and writings for binge listening. We’re in soft launch mode, and I’d appreciate any feedback or issues you may offer!

A woman transports her many dogs on a scooter. (Johannes Eisele / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images.)

We rarely know the pain and suffering that envelops the people closest to us. With the poetic structure of an Auden poem serving as a frame, guest contributor Lauren Small writes “The Distance to Suffering,” a loving tribute to remember a neighbor who loved dogs but couldn’t hang onto life:

“Sometimes suffering is the distance between a child’s eyes and a doctor’s gaze. It’s the space between a child’s forehead and the palm of your hand. Between two beating hearts. Sometimes suffering is just down the street from you. Sometimes you don’t even know it’s there.”

We so often make saints out of our leaders. Seeing this image of Martin Luther King in a quiet moment with a little girl, I discover the man, the vulnerable human being. You might listen to this brief sermon by Dr. King; it gets me every time. It’s the most human and vulnerable of speeches. A must-listen for all you who just want to be good people:

“The question I want to raise this morning with you: Is your heart right? If your heart isn’t right, fix it up today. Get God to fix it up. Get somebody to be able to say about you, ‘He may not have reached the highest height, he may not have realized all of his dreams, but he tried.’ Isn’t that a wonderful thing for somebody to say about you? ‘He tried to be a good man. He tried to be a just man. He tried to be an honest man. His heart was in the right place.’ And I can hear a voice saying, crying out through the eternities, ‘I accept you. You are the recipient of my grace because it was in your heart! And it is so well that it was within thine heart.’”

As always, I invite your feedback, your wisdom, and your hellos. My email address is My Twitter handle: @trentgilliss.
May the wind 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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