Sharon Salzberg’s advice for difficult conversations with family at Thanksgiving? Practice listening from a place of generosity and love — whether you agree or not.
In doing good community work, Courtney observes, our focus on ingenuity, success, and failure is sometimes misplaced. Instead, she looks to her mother and the film festival she founded for guidance — on providing for our communities with humility and unfussy boldness.
To feast on Mom’s home cooking is its own blessing — but sometimes, traveling with it is a different story. On the particular frustration of traveling while brown and Muslim, and on food as a vehicle for love, not judgment.
Guns. American identity. Trap yoga. Rami Nashashibi winning the MacArthur “genius” grant. Highlighted writing on the fruitful chaos of living together from David Brooks, Anita Little, Carolina González, Omid Safi, and Courtney Martin.
From college dorms to cohousing communities, living with other people can be chaotic and messy. Our columnist considers that these tensions may actually be healthy and essential to building resilient community.
To be a tía — an aunt — is a singular honor. On the bittersweet truth of choosing not to have children, and the gift of deeply loving a child who isn’t one’s own.
Hand-picked by our editor-in-chief, perspectives on reimagining loved ones, the workplace, and the shape of community — from Ali Schultz on the false shine of office perks to what unity looks like, on the football field and off.
At a certain point, we come to the realization that our mothers have interior lives entirely separate from us. On the conceptual challenge of seeing our mothers as whole human beings.
Is the way we talk about and imagine opioid addiction hurting people who need our help? A native West Virginian considers the ravages of the disease on her loved ones, her home state, and families across the country — and looks to compassion as a strategy for healing.
A reflection acknowledging that the injustice of suffering can’t be wrapped up in a neat bow of closure. Instead, we the author looks to her culture’s understanding of ancestry — in the responsibility we have to the loved ones we’ve lost.
Reflections to hearten life amid chaos and pain — from a new take on efficiency to the breaking and remaking that shape our grief.
We need to get wiser about efficiency — about when it’s a good thing, and when it saps us of the slow and messy connections that help us learn, grow, and thrive.
A loving ode to ancestral land — and to the body of the earth from which we all come and to which we all return.
In the quest to have it all, a daughter of Asian immigrants discovers that “the breaking takes time.” Might we, she asks, build narrower lawns and wider minds?
In her cohousing community in Oakland, our columnist is experiencing something all-too-rare: deep friendships across generations. What if we turned more actively to the wisdom — and plain old good company — of our neighbors, older and younger?
From remembering police captain and dharma teacher Cheri Maples to soliciting perspectives on solitude and being alone, our editor in chief’s list of the week’s most compelling commentaries on motherhood, solitude, eldering, male vulnerability, and exile.
Our columnist gets honest about missing true solitude as a mother of young girls, and reflects on how crucial it is for women to carve out space to nurture no one but themselves.
An ode to a sentence from the legendary poet on recognizing and honoring the sacrifices of generations past to get us where we are — and on “paying it forward” as the best way to pay them back.
Through the intimacy of chosen mother-daughterhood, a woman navigates the fraught territory of craving Chinese identity as a white American — and recognizes that some identities cannot be earned or learned, but are gifts passed on.
Learning of the great ethnomusicologist’s death, our columnist offers an “ocean of remembrance” in return for the Turkish Sufi master who embodied the poetry of Islam in both his music and his being.
Can being lost be productive? Our columnist on lingering in the mystery of our purpose — and surrendering to the paths that choose us.
Our Letter from Loring Park opens our application process for the inaugural On Being Gathering. And, articles on the complexities of family and love, giving up on the myth of perfection, grappling with inherited prejudice and being recognized for who we are, and on a revolution that starts within.
A woman’s story of her family — fractured and bruised but not without deep, complex love. A reflection on mental illness and divorce, the infinite shapes a home can take, and the courage to carve out space in a world built around conventions.
A loving ode to an exemplar of old-school hard work and generosity, and a model for public life in our time.
Our stories hold power no matter the circumstances of our lives. A Hmong-American woman looks on her father’s modest life, and her own — through refugee camps in Thailand to their new life in the American Midwest — and reveals lessons from the powerless on our inherent dignity, even through our most vulnerable times.
The questions of who matters and what’s really important run through each entry in this week’s edition of Letter from Loring Park.
Listeners challenge all of us to grow after listening to our interview with Glenn Beck. A writer contemplates her preoccupation with death after he mother’s passing. How men can live longer if they nurture deep friendships. And how humor helps us survive — a preview of the new season of our Creating Our Own Lives podcast.
A young man becomes a listening nomad; a missing violin brings a musician closer to herself; a community of Detroiters meditates with Sylvia Boorstein; Courtney Martin mourns the freedoms of childlessness. Reflections on the unexpected places where we find deep truth in ourselves and each other.
Parenting is a joy and a gift — but we should also give parents space to acknowledge the lost freedoms of youth that they miss. Courtney looks wistfully back to what life was like before her daughters, alongside the huge love and gratitude she feels for motherhood.
Witnessing the faint smile of her dying mother, the daughter of Haitian-Creole parents reflects on why she’s been writing about death and grief ever since — and the cathartic edge of the Book of Revelation and C.S. Lewis.
The companionship of Thomas Merton; an inspiring faith in our nation’s potential; and the spiritual work of environmental care.
A lesson on gilding our flaws; the fresh air of the Easter and Passover season; a visual tour of a haunting ritual; and Brené Brown’s encouragement for those who are done with fear.
There may not be one magic key to successful relationships. But it helps for us to share this goal: to have our partners’ back, no matter what chaos life throws our way.
Creating a false division between life and work has its own pitfalls.
When a listener asks a question, a new conversation emerges. And other ideas on the harm of literalism in family life, the virtue of truth-telling, transforming anger, praise for an unappreciated generation; and others.
Wisdom on mortality from Ira Byock; a young woman’s reflection on magic and memory; Sharon Salzberg on recalibrating brain bias; and Krista’s five approaches to a wise life.
A young woman on growing up half-Chinese and half-Irish in Southern California’s largest Asian enclave, and the journey to understanding her “hapa” identity not as incoherent parts, but as a perfect whole.
What if we learned to trust in the resilience of our relationships, and recognized the occasional necessity of butting heads with the ones we love?
The elemental closeness of a mother to her children, and to her own body.
Courtney Seiberling on rediscovering the magic of things, even after deep loss seems to drain our world of wonder.
Interrogating our anger, honoring our elders, facing the truth of life’s fragility, and helpful new discussion guides for Becoming Wise — the best of what’s engaging our minds and spirits these days.
Courtney Martin on the questions we learned to be afraid to ask, and how our quest for the answers shapes our lives moving forward.
Monotasking as a social skill? Discovering new truths in our winter years? Essential readings on new approaches to life with each other, and with our ever-evolving selves.
It can feel painful to reflect on our mortality — especially the mortality of our loved ones. But maybe embracing the reality of death can help us to fear it less, and appreciate the wonder of life all the more.
Parker looks fondly on the moments he spent as a child with his grandfather — whose life-giving hands brought forth craft and nurtured a little boy into the world with a fierce and stoic tenderness.
Courtney offers up a fear- and judgment-free space, and draws forth the perspectives of women who don’t have kids, by choice or otherwise.
What if we considered our nation not as factions at war, but as members of a strained and troubled family? A look through the lens of the three stories that broken families tell — and what that marginalized, third story reveals about the echo chambers we’ve been called to step out of.
Whether to have children is one of the most life-defining decisions we will make. And there is joy and meaning to be found on either path — as well as endless challenges and frustration. Courtney Martin on why the best place to turn for guidance is inward.
The stories we tell about love and life are the root of dreams and frustration, alike. Sharon Salzberg on how “unstitching and reweaving” the narratives we hold can lead to a more generous understanding of our relationships, and ourselves.
A Muslim man reflects on the pain of citizenship in this moment and the fragile hope he holds from the nation he and his loved ones call home.