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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.

Expanding Our Definition of Dalcroze Eurhythmics

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Tree SpiritPhoto by Lee/Flickr, cc by-nc-sa 2.0

Kathy Thomsen, president of the Dalcroze Society of America, took issue with the way we described the function of Dalcroze eurhythmics in both our script for "Meredith Monk’s Voice" and in Krista’s journal entry about the interview. Rather than slapping us on the hand, she provided this helpful clarification, which we will most certainly incorporate into the script if we rebroadcast this show again:

"I enjoyed listening to your recent interview with Meredith Monk but was dismayed to hear your description of a musical experience Ms. Monk had as a child. You said, "She learned a musical method called Dalcroze eurhythmics, a music method to correct early problems with bodily coordination." In the online interview you write, "Dalcroze eurhythmics uses music to create physical alignment."

Whatever benefits Ms. Monk reaped from Dalcroze eurhythmics, those descriptions are not apt. Dalcroze, a Swiss music educator (1865-1950) believed the body was the principal instrument of musical expression and response. Dalcroze eurhythmics engages the whole person — body, mind, and sensibility — in the captivating and often joyous pursuit of moving to music. This whole-body movement is purposeful, and is connected intimately to the music, which is usually improvised on-the-spot by the teacher in response to the students’ movements.

While improved bodily coordination may be a result of Dalcroze eurhythmics, its purpose is to promote discovery — discovery of music and of one’s deep connection to it. And Dalcroze is not just for young children. We have classes in colleges and music conservatories, in public and private schools, and in community music programs for people of all ages. I’m delighted to learn that Dalcroze eurhythmics was part of Ms. Monk’s early music education and that it left a lasting impression.”

Many thanks for the correction, Kathy, and we promise to get it right next time.


Civil Pen Pals as a Way to Know the Other

by Susan Leem, associate producer

my bullet-proof spineAfter listening to our On Being's Civil Conversations series, Michigander Carolyn Peterson wrote us expressing her hope for real-life opportunities to engage civilly with others differing in perspective:

"I would like someone to set up a website in which people could find political pen pals for civil, substantive conversations. For example, I am a liberal Christian Democrat who would like to ‘talk’ with a fundamentalist Christian Tea Party supporter. We would agree to stay engaged, to share sources, to treat each other with respect."

We’re curious about this possibility as well. One of the objectives of The Civil Conversaions Project was "beginning new conversations in families and communities." Maybe it could it function like a Match.com site, which, instead of pairing you with a romantic partner, would pair you with your political opposite — though the two need not be mutually exclusive of course! Many of us could get behind Ms. Peterson’s ground rules to “stay engaged, share sources, and treat each other with respect.”

How might we going about doing this? Have you experienced a positive “substantive conversation” in this kind of intentional manner? How would you design such a regular encounter or opportunity in everyday life?

About the image: A self-portrait of a woman with two titanium rods secured in place with long screws and other hardware who is looking for some “old school style pen pals” that “want to talk about the world, art, music, share ideas, etc.” and “connect with people” she “would normally never get a chance to meet.” (photo: Katie Dureault/Flickr, cc by-nc-sa 2.0 )


Happiness Is the Last Recourse

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Krista Tippett Receives a Ceremonial Scarf from the Dalai LamaThe Dalai Lama presents Krista Tippett with a khata after their conversation at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. (photo: Cindy Brown)

We receive quite a few responses from people who are spurred to create or make something, to act or make a decision after listening to one of our shows. Renee Yates, a woman with multiple degrees in advertising, marketing, and theology living in Evanston, Illinois, wrote this poem “after listening to Ms. Tippett’s interview with the Dalai Lama”:

When pleasure no longer buries the pain
And worry does not pay the bills,
When depression ceases to shield the rage
And anger does not repair the rift,
When hope no longer blunts the fear
And sadness does not bring the dead back to life,
When all feelings have finally quenched
And frustration has yielded to peace,
Happiness is the last recourse.


Your Reflections on “Being”

by Shubha Bala, associate producer

Within a month of joining Speaking of Faith, I was told the program I work for was going to be changing its name. Since then, it’s been a hectic journey of learning how to produce while supporting the name change tasks. But it has also been a crash course in the thoughtfulness of our listening community.

Ever since Krista first announced the change, I have been obsessed with reading your reflections. You have eloquently shared a range of feelings and opinions from loving the change to mourning the loss, to disliking Being. Here are some samples of what has been said:

Sad at the loss of “faith” in the name.
Many of our long-time listeners mourned the loss of the word “faith” in the title and wondered if it signaled a change in the editorial direction of the program. As we’ve pointed out, the content of our program will continue to be about “faith, meaning, ethics, and ideas.” Robbyn’s comment on our blog echoed many other listeners’ sentiments:

"I really don’t want the word ‘faith’ gone. It is so hard to find good conversation from faithful people these days. I can find myself and the common ground shared with all your guests, within this process of moving in faith in life. This is a movement of faith rather than belief. This is an active and intentional process. Being isn’t, necessarily. I am seeing your conversations as a movement away from religious fanaticism and intolerance that can be within any religion, and toward the daily living within the mystery of life or faith or God or whatever one cares to call it. I want this conversation to continue to grow and open to new audiences, AND I want people to recognize that this is the process of faithing.”

Like a name change, but not to Being.
Some of you supported changing the name but felt Being was not the best choice. We received many comments similar to this one:

"As one at whom the name change was probably aimed, I appreciate the effort to avoid offending those who find the word ‘faith’ offensive. However, I’m afraid that I’d rather be a little intimidated by the concept of faith than bored by the concept of ‘being’, which strikes me as far too general a term to have any meaning.
—Renee, commenting on our blog

Like the name change.
Many supported the name change for a host of reasons, from the fact that Being resonates with their experiences of the show to being able to feel more comfortable telling their high school students about it. These comments came from a diverse group, including non-religious and religious people:

"Understanding Being is essential to (and intrinsic to) all spiritual journeys. When we are comfortable with being, we can allow others to also be comfortable with being and as beings. As long as we see and practice only doing, we will not appreciate our essential nature as humans being. Understanding being is critical to peace.”
—Peggy Beatty, via Facebook

"Anyone familiar with the work of modern Orthodox theologian John Zizioulas (Being as Communion, Eucharist, Bishop, Church, many others) will see the connection and appreciate the change. My suggestion would be to get Metropolitan John on your show to discuss Being from his theological viewpoint. Kate mentioned in one of her many replies that Being has deep theological meaning, and Metropolitan John has expanded this theological perspective greatly in the last 3 decades.”
—Jeffrey Abell, via e-mail

Dislike Krista’s name at the front.

Some people didn’t like Krista’s name at the front of the title. We included her name there to make it clear that she remains central to the show as host and editorial leader, but in most applications the new name will be heard as Being. The following comment included many of the reasons that people were upset at Krista’s name being in the title:

"People who have not yet found your pioneering show are not familiar with Krista, and as another noted, her guests contribute the canvass on which she paints her enlightened questions and reflective responses and serves as a representative listener on our behalf. Placing her name first gives me the impression that she has been set up to be some guru, savant-type host. And, God willing, even should her career/discernment path take her in another direction, the show could continue as Speaking of Being, with __________.”
—Patricia, commenting on our blog

Unfortunately, Being with Krista Tippett has an inappropriate connotation to it.

There were a handful of people that said they might stop listening to the program, while for many of you the name doesn’t matter since the content will remain the same:

"Krista, thank you for doing what you do, whatever you call it! Most of my friends and I refer to your show as ‘Krista Tippet’ anyway. ‘Did you catch Krista Tippet this week?’ ‘Make sure you listen to Krista’s program this week.’ Doesn’t matter what you call it, the content is valuable to my being and unlike anything else available in my area."
—Bookmarkt, commenting on our blog


Giving Thanks

Parked bicycle at train station

Alda Balthrop-Lewis, Production Intern

Each day I read the e-mails you send us about how you experience the work we do here. Some days, when the inbox is flooded with generic promotional materials for authors who have published books like The Bad Breath Bible, it can feel a chore. More often, however, I am inspired by the very personal messages you send about this program (both its finest points and its flaws).

The e-mails that include moving personal stories, or that articulate the value of the show in a way none of us ever could, shoot around our inboxes with messages attached like, “Nice reflection on something we’ve been thinking about,” or “So good to get this now,” on a day when things aren’t going so hot.

The point is, having the chance to read your e-mails has completely changed my attitude toward making contact with the people who produce the content of our culture. I’ve learned that authors aren’t as far removed as they feel when I hold their books in my hands. Musicians want to know how people respond to their work. Artists are looking for signs of the impact they have. Any chef is grateful if you send word to the kitchen that you particularly enjoyed something she made.

Because you taught me this, I recently wrote to one of my favorite authors (who lately became a staff writer at The New Yorker) to say how much she has impacted my life, how grateful I am for her work, and congratulations on her latest achievement. Within hours, she wrote me back to say I made her day.

So thanks for all your thanks. Your messages have taught me in a new way that showing gratitude matters, that it can inspire work and create joy. I look forward each day to knowing what you think.

(photo: Medico Maceti/flickr)