On the heels of Earth Day, a dialogue on the necessity of both contemplation and action, detachment and radical engagement in our relationship with the environment.
A poem from Maya Spector is an encouragement to push open the doors that hold us in when the light of spring breaks.
Parker stands in awe at the extraordinary patience of nature. What if we centered as much care and attention on its grandeur as we do on our own selves?
Animated by solitude in the winter woods, Parker J. Palmer on seeing the hidden and potential beauty beneath what’s superficial in the world we face.
Courtney shares the practical insight of a wise elder — on the tumultuous history we’ve lived through, and the work we must do to shape our future differently.
From the mysterious alchemy of place to gut feelings and nature’s enveloping soundtrack — investigations into the scenery that colors our inner and outer lives.
A study of the mysterious alchemy of place — not merely somewhere to go, but something rich with the life and memory of those who know it well.
After an exchange with an angry man, a poem about a woodland encounter bestows unexpected guidance — about how acknowledging the spaces we share can be what closes the gaps between us.
As we turn the seasonal corner to the longest nights of the year, a reflection on the time we spend in the darkness, and what we can learn from it before turning back to the light.
Even at our most broken and scattered, Mary Oliver seems to say, we can uncover new wholeness by examining each shattered piece.
The final week of this presidential election season calls for a poem from Mary Oliver, Parker Palmer on building lives of meaning, and insightful words on “perennials,” the anatomy of an apology, and flourishing at home again.
There is beauty in what makes us human, but also in what reveals us as creatures. A woman shares her evolving perspective on the animal nature of family life, and the raw freedom she finds therein.
An autumnal poem from Linda Pastan guides Parker Palmer to a realization: that we can become enraptured with the world around us once again, if only we revive our childlike capacity for wonder.
The now-prevalent culture of mastery and expertise take root in ideas of grit and the “10,000-hour rule.” But, doing something new for the first time, even just a little, changes your sense of it altogether.
Oceanographer Sylvia Earle on respecting the resilience of nature, new learnings from Krista Tippett on self-compassion in life and career, and more deliberations on living alongside one another.
A reflection from Christian Wiman on finding God and wonder in all the world’s imperfection.
Paul Muldoon pauses in a suspended moment, away from the chaos of the world, alone with the soothing roar of rain.
Is a life made, or grown? A contemplation from Parker Palmer and Marge Piercy on the quiet, joyful work of tending to ourselves as wild, flourishing thickets of life.
Essential celebrations of the strength and beauty that surround us, from new life and community to the poetry of words and images.
An invocation for gratitude — for the open spaces around us, for the quiet resilience of nature, and for the power of vulnerability to open us to new possibilities.
Parker Palmer offers up a remedy for feeling adrift: embracing surprise, and taking on sense of reverence to mystery.
We find ourselves in a time of deep reckoning, and we must turn to each other for companionship and wisdom. Collected guidance on claiming the whole of our identities, and finding compassion for experiences that are not our own.
Learning from our mistakes doesn’t mean we have to obsess over our failures. Parker Palmer and Mary Oliver on the space nature provides for catharsis, so that we can move on to self-forgiveness.
The enduring beauty of nature can be a comfort, but sometimes our pain needs a more empathetic salve. Parker Palmer turns to the unique, healing power of language in times of darkness and hardship.
When we over do the things we love, sometimes the solution isn’t to do less or more but to do it differently. Sarah Smarsh reflects on treasuring the method of running over the measurement of it — and learning to scramble and splash with intention.
Inspired by a beautiful hike in the Swiss mountains, Omid Safi with a meditation on the jaggedness of our hearts’ stones, then and now. And some photos to illustrate it.
Glory and beauty are co-opted by our catalogues. A photo-essay deglosses the primordial glory of the natural world to find the stuff of deeper life.
Nature cannot erase grief, but makes it easier to bear. A woman holds fleeting memories of familial warmth as she visits mid-coast Maine, and finds solace in the brave journey of the alewives from sea to lake and back again.
We lost a beloved cultural icon last week, and his life of work has inspired an outpouring of love in music and story. Celebrations of Prince’s life accompany praise for standing up together, in support of our strengths and growth from moments of weakness.
From John Muir and Wendell Berry to Henry David Thoreau, a celebration of the earth through a granddaughter’s memory and the writers who love it — paired with gorgeous aerial photography.
The beauty of spring is as much in its muddiness as in its blooms. An encouragement to revel in the dance of mess and lavishness in this most colorful season.
When the demands of daily life drain us, a respite in solitude is exactly what we need. A testament to the power of aloneness to reconnect us with the steady sense of self we lose.
After a stint in the rain, our columnist comes to appreciate a new orientation to gray days, both in meteorology and in life.
If there’s one thing winter teaches its humbled residents, it’s that gratitude begins before the snow falls and happiness finds new heart in the thaw.
The catharsis of living up to challenge, in all walks of life — essays on powering through the hardest miles in a marathon to facing a crowd of unfamiliar strangers, to reckoning with one’s best and worst selves while reflecting in the solitude of the woods.
On a retreat at a cabin in the northern woods of Wisconsin, Parker Palmer strings together pearls of contemplation on silence and solitude. With the help of Merton and Rumi, he finds the catharsis of being forced to reckon with one’s angels and demons.
What happens when we open ourselves to the gift of vulnerability? Profound voices on public displays of emotion in politics, the making of identity, the inspiration of wilderness, and advice from a classical pianist on pursuing what moves you and being glad in others’ good fortunes.
A gorgeous, inspiring video showcasing vast tracts of wilderness coupled with powerful words from Emerson, Muir, Stegner, and other icons of conservation and appreciation.
Untamed, wild beauty kindles a yearning and an awe that few man-made structures can, even the most sacred churches, mosques, or temples. Our resident bard with a praise song for the wide open spaces that beckon us to open our hearts to all people and things before us.
Nearly 30,000 delegates from 200 nations are in Paris talking about climate change this week. Parker Palmer encourages us to open our eyes to the beauty with a poem and a challenge.
A poem for the passing of summer, a song for the shadow, and an invocation for attention.
A requiem for the holiness that’s visible — in the trees, the mountains, and the rivers. Permission to lean into wonder and to linger in beauty incarnate.
Scientists say there is no such thing as an objective observer. One poet celebrates the participatory, interactive, relational aspects of reality with poetry inspired by John Keats.
Each summer, our columnist has been making a pilgrimage to one of nature’s great treasures: the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. In his twilight years, he ponders the resurrection that takes place under the most destructive circumstances and the “vast web of life in which body and spirit are one.”
What gives our lives significance? In a small patch of wilderness, one man searches for meaning and finds sanctuaries for life for creation, and for what life could be.
As a society, we tend not to prioritize silence. When we take a moment to listen and to notice, we make space to be amazed. A meditation on silence, slowing down, and paying attention to allow us to be astonished and the people we want to be.
Dogs and humans have lived alongside each other for thousands of years. Could it be that each species has impacted the evolution of the other? And could dogs be an essential element in human self-actualization?
Spirit intersects matter everywhere. A poet living in Chesapeake Bay meditates on the sacredness of location and the sense of place reinstated after returning to her childhood landscape.
With an unexpected, unfolding kinship with her horse, a yoga instructor finds a path to revealing — and healing — old wounds. An arresting essay on the wondrous beauty of relationship.
The Magic Hedge is an oasis on the outskirts of Chicago renowned for its excellent birdwatching. With the hopes of sighting of a rare bird, two friends venture forth to encounter small miracles, the warmth of unexpected community, and the blessings of stillness.