Immersive conversations and explorations into the art of living.


  • List View
  • Standard View
  • Grid View

738 Results

The flow and the ingredients by which an idea becomes an offering — and life practices which call that alchemy forth. The mystery of it all that can only be named and wondered at — and the ordinary mystery that creativity is a human birthright, a way of being rather than doing, that beckons to us all, in everything we do, from crafting something to conversing to the arranging of furniture in a room.

This is where Krista goes with the rock star music producer Rick Rubin. It’s not a conversation about the creative process of the many great musicians he’s worked with — but a conversation that is for and about us all.

There are some surprises, too, in his lovely, soothing voice — like the way he finds a metaphor for all of life in pro wrestling. And he leaves the doors of his studio wide open as they speak, so there is a soundtrack of ocean waves.

In 2021, a small group in Virginia launched the Richmond Racial Equity Essays, inviting diverse area leaders to engage in a multimedia conversation. Michael Smith, an urban planner and philanthropy leader, contributed an essay that described an unexpected encounter he had with a seasoned organizer who asked him powerful questions about his personal formation in the midst of an affordable housing conference: What about you do you bring to this work? Where do these values you carry come from? In this recorded conversation, Michael brings together a small, intergenerational group of fellow activists where he lives (Richmond, VA) to offer them the gift of these questions. In doing so, an intimate and powerful conversation unfolds, offering these leaders a different kind of introduction to one another.

This conversation is part of the Cogenerational Social Healing collection. For more information, please visit the submission page.

In this rich, expansive, and warm conversation between friends, Krista draws out the heart for humanity behind Isabel Wilkerson’s eye on histories we are only now communally learning to tell — her devotion to understanding not merely who we have been, but who we can be. Her most recent offering of fresh insight to our life together brings “caste” into the light — a recurrent, instinctive pattern of human societies across the centuries, though far more malignant in some times and places. Caste is a ranking of human value that works more like a pathogen than a belief system — more like the reflexive grammar of our sentences than our choices of words. In the American context, Isabel Wilkerson says race is the skin, but “caste is the bones.” And this shift away from centering race as a focus of analysis actually helps us understand why race and racism continue to shape-shift and regenerate, every best intention and effort and law notwithstanding. But beginning to see caste also gives us fresh eyes and hearts for imagining where to begin, and how to persist, in order finally to shift that.

Isabel and Krista spoke in Seattle before a packed house at Benaroya Hall, at the invitation of Seattle Arts & Lectures.

[Content Advisory: Beginning at 21:16, there is a discussion of Nazi terminology and a quotation from Hitler with an epithet that is offensive and painful. We chose to include this language to illustrate the heinous nature of the history being discussed and Hitler’s admiration for it.]

You might want to take a walk with this one. It is big and full of brain food and an enlivening opening of imagination to possibilities that are emergent now: the notion of the “broad commonwealth of life” that we are “inextricably entangled with and suffused by”; the paradox that the more accurately you try to measure some things, the more unmeasurable they become; the way words we use all the time have kept our cellular belonging to the natural world alive, even as civilization forgot.

The technologist/artist James Bridle brings all of this into interplay with an intriguing, refreshing lens on our lives with technology — and with all that artificial intelligence is and might become.

You might not think of intelligence the same way again, or the truth of mythology, or the letters of the alphabet, or what it means to be human. And you will smile next time you access the place where your digital life is stored and realize what it says about us that we named it The Cloud.

Nick Offerman has played many great characters, most famously Ron Swanson in Parks and Recreation, and he starred more recently in an astonishing episode of The Last of Us. But he is driven by passionate callings older and deeper than his public vocation as an actor and comedian. He works with wood, and he works with other people who work with their hands making beautiful, useful things. And this, it turns out, is also a primary source of his tethering in values. It’s a source of a spiritual thoughtfulness that runs through this conversation with Krista. So is his love and study of the farmer-poet Wendell Berry, whose audiobook The Need to Be Whole Nick just recorded.

This is a moving and edifying conversation that is also, not surprisingly, a lot of fun.

An electric conversation with Ada Limón‘s wisdom and her poetry — a refreshing, full-body experience of how this way with words and sound and silence teaches us about being human at all times, but especially now. With an unexpected and exuberant mix of gravity and laughter — laughter of delight, and of blessed relief — this conversation holds not only what we have traversed these last years, but how we live forward. 

It unfolded at the Ted Mann Concert Hall in Minneapolis, in collaboration with Northrop at the University of Minnesota and Ada Limón’s publisher, Milkweed Editions.

Amanda Ripley began her life as a journalist covering crime, disaster, and terrorism. Then in 2018, she published a brilliant essay called “Complicating the Narratives,” which she opened by confessing a professional existential crisis. We journalists, she wrote, “can summon outrage in five words or less. We value the ancient power of storytelling, and we get that good stories require conflict, characters and scene. But in the present era of tribalism, it feels like we’ve reached our collective limitations … Again and again, we have escalated the conflict and snuffed the complexity out of the conversation.”

Yet what Amanda has gone on to investigate — and so, so helpfully illuminate — is not just about journalism, or about politics. It touches almost every aspect of human life in almost every society around the world right now. We think we’re divided by issues, arguing about conflicting facts. But at a deeper level, she says, we are trapped in a pattern of distress known as “high conflict” — where the conflict itself has become the point, and it sweeps everything into its vortex.

So how to get out? What Amanda has been gathering by way of answers to that question is an extraordinary gift to us all.

One of the most fascinating developments of our time is that human qualities we have understood in terms of virtue — experiences we’ve called spiritual — are now being taken seriously by science as intelligence — as elements of human wholeness. Dacher Keltner and his Greater Good Science Center at Berkeley have been pivotal in this emergence. From the earliest years of his career, he investigated how emotions are coded in the muscles of our faces, and how they serve as “moral sensory systems.” He was called on as Emojis evolved; he consulted on Pete Docter’s groundbreaking movie Inside Out.

All of this, as Dacher sees it now, led him deeper and deeper into investigating the primary experience of awe in human life — moments when we have a sense of wonder, an experience of mystery, that transcends our understanding. These, it turns out, are as common in human life globally as they are measurably health-giving and immunity-boosting. They bring us together with others, again and again. They bring our nervous system and heartbeat and breath into sync — and even into sync with other bodies around us.

Starting Thursday, February 2: three months of soaring new On Being conversations, with an eye towards emergence. The science of awe. The wonder of biomimicry. “Lean Spirituality.” What we’re talking about — and not — when we talk about mental health. “Good conflict.” Technology and vitality. Creativity. Woodworking and the meaning of life. Deeper truths and larger stories of ourselves as societies, as a planet, as humans, that at once complicate and enliven our capacity to live with dignity and joy and wholeness. And poetry, and poetry.

As part of a celebratory launch party for the new Poetry Unbound book, Pádraig welcomed Lorna Goodison, former Poet Laureate of Jamaica, into a joyful Zoom room of poetry lovers and listeners of the show, old and new. We draw Season 6 to a close with their conversation on themes explored in Lorna’s poem “Reporting Back to Queen Isabella” (one of the 50 featured in the book): poetry as a “made thing”; poetry as a form of travel.

And: Pádraig chats with our wonderful producer and composer Gautam Srikishan on the role of music in the show, with a warm hello from all the humans behind Poetry Unbound. Watch the full, unedited event here.

Find Lorna Goodison’s poem in Poetry Unbound: 50 Poems to Open Your World, and in Season 3 of Poetry Unbound.

Thanks to everyone who joined us for Season 6 — we’ll be back with Season 7 later in 2023. In the meantime, continue your poetry ritual through our weekly Substack newsletter, with more musings and prompts from Pádraig and lively community of conversation in the comments.

A younger woman looks at an older woman, admiring her beauty, skill, and freedom. Older now, she thinks of how hard-won such freedom is.

Also: singing opera while taking off your clothes. That too.

We’re pleased to offer Danusha Laméris’ poem, and thank you for joining us for Season 6 of Poetry Unbound. We’ll be back with Season 7 later in 2023.

Order your copy of Poetry Unbound: 50 Poems to Open Your World and join us in our vibrant conversational space on Substack.

What’s it like to be owned by the world, to have populations claiming you, to have millions speaking on your behalf? Naomi Shihab Nye takes a close look — from a distance — at Jesus, and herself.

We’re pleased to offer Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem, and invite you to connect with Poetry Unbound throughout this season.

Order your copy of Poetry Unbound: 50 Poems to Open Your World and join us in our vibrant conversational space on Substack.

On the day you wake to a broken window in your car, what do you do? And what happens when the woman repairing that window offers a glimpse of something new?

We’re pleased to offer Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley’s poem, and invite you to connect with Poetry Unbound throughout this season.

Pre-order the forthcoming book Poetry Unbound: 50 Poems to Open Your World and join us in our new conversational space on Substack.