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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.

The Gift of Brain Cancer

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

This TEDtalk by branding guru Stacey Kramer is three minutes long and inspirational in its brevity and its punch. Nobody wishes for adversity but sometimes it’s a profound teacher.

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First Time Flying a Kite
Trent Gilliss, online editor

The footage spliced together in the video above comes directly from the home library of Adele Diamond and her husband, Don. During her interview, she told Krista the following story:

So I think mysteries are just wonderful. It’s very interesting because when I made this book for the Dalai Lama, I put a lot of love and time and effort into it. And my husband said, who came with me to Dharamsala said, ‘If you’re going to give him a present, I want to give him a present too.’ So he wanted to give him a kite because he didn’t think the Dalai Lama got to spend enough time playing. …

And so then he found online that he could get a package of 10 plain undecorated kites very inexpensively. So he asked me if I could find classes of school children to decorate them. So I contacted a colleague, Kim Schonert-Reichl, and she helped me find a class of children with developmental disorders, many of them ADHD, who were either not on medication or on reduced medication because they were doing mindfulness. So they had heard of the Dalai Lama, and they were very excited to be decorating these kites. And there were two children per kite. So on one side, they did self portraits, so it looked like a Picasso because half of the kite is one child’s face and half of the kite is the other child’s face. Anyway, so my husband brings all these to Dharamsala and we get a private audience with His Holiness and we had the wisdom not to bring all the kites with us to the audience because the Dalai Lama said thank you but it was very clear he wasn’t going to fly any kites; he’s was going to put them in a drawer.

So after that we went to visit Matthieu Ricard at Katmandu, where he has a Tibetan monastery. And he has many humanitarian projects in connection with that and one of them are schools for poor children. Any background, doesn’t matter, religious or ethnic. They call it bamboo schools because the buildings are all made out of bamboo. So we went to these bamboo schools and we brought the rest of the kites and we gave it to the children there. They had never flown kites before, and they were so happy to be flying these kites. And Matthieu was so happy to see the children so happy. And we took photos and videos and I brought them back to the class in Vancouver to the children who had been studying mindfulness and I showed them the pictures and they were so happy to see how happy they had made the other children.

And one of them said, ‘You know, we’re on the other side of the world but we’re all connected.’”

As if Diamond’s descriptions of the Dalai Lama, Nepal, bamboo schools, and children painting kites weren’t enticing enough, we wanted to visualize the scene of those children flying kites. What strikes me is an immense amount of joy — the children playing and Adele and Don watching their gift come to life. I hope you enjoy these few minutes of seeing the world through an act of simplicity — flying and entangling a kite in a tree.

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