The extraordinary is revered and celebrated, but where does that leave the ordinary? On rediscovering the meaning of awe, and finding it in the quiet majesty of the daily grind.
A poem to honor the commonalities that run deeper than our cultural divides — from the San Francisco of the Beat Generation to a modest dive on the Jersey Shore.
The questions of who matters and what’s really important run through each entry in this week’s edition of Letter from Loring Park.
Omid on recognizing that the path we’re on is the right one; Courtney with mental trickery to uncover our creative confidence; and Turkish-American poet Adnan Onart on finding the kinship of faith during Ramadan — in a Dunkin Donuts.
The poet’s grounded counsel on living a life of generosity and integrity — and a touch of healthy rebelliousness.
Inspired by the quiet eloquence of Hafez and Naomi Shihab Nye, Parker puts forth an appeal for the deliberate, loving care that public life requires of us in these times.
Parker takes up Jane Kenyon’s gentle challenge: trust in the natural cycles of light and dark, waking and sleep, life and life’s end.
Heartened by the resilience of nature, Omid reflects on our own capacity to soften and grow, even from the hardest places.
Our columnists’ vision for a brave future of masculine tenderness; a green-thumb approach to business; and a traveling reading of Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself.”
An unlikely spring poem from Mary Oliver turns the dazzling darkness of nature into a lesson on embodying simple gratitude for the gifts we’re offered each moment.
The companionship of Thomas Merton; an inspiring faith in our nation’s potential; and the spiritual work of environmental care.
Do trees photosynthesize the soul as well as sunlight? With a poem by W.S. Merwin, an appreciation for trees and the spiritual wisdom they impart.
52 regular folks read Walt Whitman’s poem, “Song of Myself” — a profound and deeply humanizing portrait of American life.
It’s a hard time to be human. But that doesn’t mean our good work has no value. Parker and Ellen Bass on the beautiful paradox of our smallness and our consequence in the world.
How your personality changes over a lifetime; a tribute to the unbreakable spirit of a legendary poet; the virtue of not getting exactly what you want; and hiring not just minds, but hearts, too.
The human soul is a thing to name and celebrate, no matter how we understand its fickle, mysterious nature.
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.
A tribute to Maya Angelou for her birthday — with a reflection on her poem “Still I Rise,” a fiery assertion of self.
Layli Long Soldier reads her poem “38,” written to and for the 38 Dakota men who were hung under the orders of President Abraham Lincoln as a result of the Sioux uprising, which came at a time when their land was reduced and their people were starving.
Reflections, recalibrations, and resources to help us temper our anger, and find space for a constructive, healing civic life.
From the wrestling mat to challenging conversations in our own living rooms — the virtue of facing our deepest discomforts head-on.
A poem from Maya Spector is an encouragement to push open the doors that hold us in when the light of spring breaks.
In the resonant voice of Valarie Kaur, Omid Safi finds hope for the painful but fruitful path that we must take forward as a nation.
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?
There’s a profound solitude in asking the challenging, radical question. A Muslim reformer finds a deep and consoling truth in the face of this reality in the voice of a poet.
A simple invocation amid the world’s frenzy: that we maintain the quiet discipline of seeking delight hiding in plain sight.
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.
What if we thought of hip-hop lyrics as sacred texts? Toki Wright speaks about the power of language and the spiritual responsibility of hip-hop for young people.
A tribute to a beloved singer’s challenging life; escaping the rage cycle in this global moment; and our columnists on uprooting our assumptions about life’s most essential questions, from parenting to the nature of our relationships.
What if our relationship with God were more long, tender, even humorous?
On the approach to his 78th birthday, Parker offers up a gift: six learnings that prove that our personal evolution spans the whole length of life, and continues in the generations we nurture forward.
Life’s tragedies can make the road ahead seem like a barren vista. But our losses can also clear space for courageous new beginnings.
Prescient words from Parker Palmer, Omid Safi, Courtney E. Martin, Broderick Greer, and recommended listens/reads from Tim Ferriss and The Economist.
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.
A robust hope can be found in the work and life of Langston Hughes, infused with a visionary love for words and the world.
Our dreams can be great motivators. But what if what we aspire to is already within our grasp? A poem on letting go of the stress of ambition and embracing our innate potential.
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.
With the wisdom of Jane Kenyon, a contemplation on gratitude and ordinary grace in our own finite lives.
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.
Dave Chappelle as an imperfect spiritual mentor; the importance of life’s valleys alongside its peaks; reconnecting to lost family histories, and finding new ways to uplift each other through thick and thin.
Should we reframe the American narrative? Is there an art to conversation? Can sports refs teach us a thing or two about democracy? Questions and conversations that are pointing us north from all the niches of life.
A return to the gritty heart of the Christmas season, and a vision for a holiday celebration that does real and practical good for those around 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.
Leonard Cohen’s timeless lyrics are a beacon of hope for even the most broken among us. An expression of gratitude to our latest lost legend.
Some years ago, I came across one of the most intriguing book titles that I have ever seen. It was…
A life doesn’t have to be extraordinary to have an impact in the world. A reminder that we can build lives that have meaning, no matter what cards we’re dealt.
Meaning and learning present themselves to us in unexpected ways. Commentaries on keeping ourselves open to surprising lenses on life, and to how they can enrich our relationships, our work, and our play.
Compassion is a virtue, but do we direct it inward as much as outward? Parker Palmer gleans wisdom from Mary Oliver on mending ourselves so that we might be better companions to loved ones in need.
In a season of shrill political rhetoric, Washington’s poet laureate travels the open road, finding potentiality in the vast landscapes and the communities of his glorious state. Through the arts, he says, we can cultivate a space for the inner life that’s at the heart of mystery — and not knowing.