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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.

If you only listen to one thing today, let it be this. A message from Desmond Tutu that we can’t hear enough in this life.

There’s no question about the reality of evil, of injustice, of suffering, but at the center of this existence is a heart beating with love.

That you and I and all of us are incredible. I mean, we really are remarkable things. That we are, as a matter of fact, made for goodness.

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On this Valentine’s Day, an appreciation for National Geographic’s offering on love:

"It doesn’t matter who how or what you love…just love it fully. In this case, Ben Masters’ love for Mustangs pulled him to drive a small group of horses from Mexico to Canada to raise awareness for our native wild breed. Happy Valentine’s Day…hoping your love takes you on big adventures."

Photo by Cory Richards
On this Valentine’s Day, an appreciation for National Geographic’s offering on love:

"It doesn’t matter who how or what you love…just love it fully. In this case, Ben Masters’ love for Mustangs pulled him to drive a small group of horses from Mexico to Canada to raise awareness for our native wild breed. Happy Valentine’s Day…hoping your love takes you on big adventures."

Photo by Cory Richards

On this Valentine’s Day, an appreciation for National Geographic’s offering on love:

"It doesn’t matter who how or what you love…just love it fully. In this case, Ben Masters’ love for Mustangs pulled him to drive a small group of horses from Mexico to Canada to raise awareness for our native wild breed. Happy Valentine’s Day…hoping your love takes you on big adventures."

Photo by Cory Richards

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Anger is masterful at painting the illusion of separateness, the tunnel vision that severs and frays the bonds of relationship and distorts our memory for joy. Perhaps this is why the command “love your enemies” is so magnetic — because I know that anger reduces my world to a single color, and I long for the many-hued brilliance of the full picture.

That moment, when I chose anger over love, I lost something deeply precious, something magical and inexplicable and nearly impossible to describe.

I am reminded of a remarkable interview of Jack Leroy Tueller, a decorated World War II veteran. His incredible story says more about the power of loving your enemies than I could ever put into words:

"This is two weeks after D-Day. It was dark, raining, muddy. And I’m stressed so I get my trumpet out. And the commander said, ‘Jack, don’t play tonight because there’s one sniper left.’ I thought to myself that German sniper is as scared and lonely as I am. So I thought, I’ll play his love song."

Read the full reflection on Tueller and grieving the space between us. 

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The religious experience as I have known it seems to swing wide the door not merely into life but into lives. I am confident that my own call to the religious vocation cannot be separated from the slowly emerging disclosure that my religious experience makes it possible for me to experience myself as a human being and thus keep a very real psychological distance between myself and the hostilities of my environment. Through the years it has driven me more and more to seek to make it as a normal part of my relations with men, the experiencing of them as human beings. When this happens, love has essential materials with which to work. And, contrary to the general religious teaching, men would not need to stretch themselves out of shape in order to love. On the contrary, a man comes into possession of himself more completely when he’s free to love another.
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Howard Thurman from The Luminous Darkness

Krista Tippett quoted this during her interview with Dr. Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons and Rev. Lucas Johnson. It didn’t make the final cut for the hour of radio, but it’s too good not to share.

~Trent Gilliss, head of content

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I’ve been quietly humming this achingly beautiful rendition of the German love song Lili Marleen today. With gentleness and grace, it captures that sweet sorrow of one scared and lonely man reaching out to another. 

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This picture is achingly beautiful — and hits much too close to home. Read Jezebel’s post about this touching father/daughter tribute.
(via trentgilliss)
This picture is achingly beautiful — and hits much too close to home. Read Jezebel’s post about this touching father/daughter tribute.
(via trentgilliss)

This picture is achingly beautiful — and hits much too close to home. Read Jezebel’s post about this touching father/daughter tribute.

(via trentgilliss)

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We can love with our minds, but can we love only with our minds? Love extends itself all the time, so that we can even love with our senseless nails; we love even with our clothes, so that a sleeve can feel a sleeve.
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Graham Greene, The End of the Affair

(via invisibleforeigner)

Tagged: #love
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"When people would talk to me about you’re gonna beat this or you’re gonna slay cancer or you’re gonna — I would say what I’m gonna do hopefully is become more of who I was meant to be. And cancer has given me this huge, dramatic, turbulent opportunity to do that."

Eve Ensler is the playwright and performer who brought The Vagina Monologues into the world. She’s famous for giving voice to disruptive, healing stories of women’s bodies and women’s lives. But it was cancer that helped her make peace with her own.

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What if we understand death as a developmental stage — like adolescence, or midlife? Dr. Ira Byock is a leading figure in palliative care and hospice in the U.S. He says we lose sight of “the remarkable value” of the time of life we call dying if we forget that it is always a personal and human event, and not just a medical one:

"I don’t want to romanticize it. Nobody looks forward to it. But we shouldn’t assume that it’s only about suffering and its avoidance or its suppression. That in addition to, concurrent with the unwanted difficult physical and emotional social strains that illness and dying impose, there is also experiences, interactions, opportunities that are of profound value for individuals and all who love them."

Krista Tippett’s interview with Ira Byock on “contemplating mortality.”

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“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in. Let it come in. We think we don’t deserve love, we think if we let it in we’ll become too soft. But a wise man named Levin said it right. He said, ‘Love is the only rational act.’” — Mitch Albom, from Tuesdays with Morrie
Two revelers kiss each other covered in tomato pulp while participating the annual Tomatina festival in Bunol, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos / Getty Images)
“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in. Let it come in. We think we don’t deserve love, we think if we let it in we’ll become too soft. But a wise man named Levin said it right. He said, ‘Love is the only rational act.’” — Mitch Albom, from Tuesdays with Morrie
Two revelers kiss each other covered in tomato pulp while participating the annual Tomatina festival in Bunol, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos / Getty Images)

“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in. Let it come in. We think we don’t deserve love, we think if we let it in we’ll become too soft. But a wise man named Levin said it right. He said, ‘Love is the only rational act.’”

— Mitch Albom, from Tuesdays with Morrie

Two revelers kiss each other covered in tomato pulp while participating the annual Tomatina festival in Bunol, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos / Getty Images)

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It doesn’t matter what thorns we carry or how we squirm to avoid their pain. We unfold as long as we love, pried into blossom.
~Mark Nepo, “The Art of Facing Things” from Reduced to Joy
Photo by Original Fotografie
It doesn’t matter what thorns we carry or how we squirm to avoid their pain. We unfold as long as we love, pried into blossom.
~Mark Nepo, “The Art of Facing Things” from Reduced to Joy
Photo by Original Fotografie

It doesn’t matter what thorns we carry
or how we squirm to avoid their pain.
We unfold as long as we love,
pried into blossom.

~Mark Nepo, “The Art of Facing Things” from Reduced to Joy

Photo by Original Fotografie

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This guy is pretty incredible. I can’t imagine what it must be like to put something this raw out there for anyone to watch. The courage it would take!

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Doing What You Love and Loving What You Do

Gary James

During the course of a week, I read so many lovely letters and responses to our public radio program. Oftentimes people extend a simple “thank you” or a humble “this show caught me at the perfect time.” But, we also receive more devoted notes from folks who offer a piece of themselves.

Gary James, a bartender who was born and raised in Jamaica, sent us this lovely essay in response to our interview with poet Christian Wiman:

"I was on the job today getting upset at all that has to be done and trying to find a good station on the radio. Being frustrated with the numerous commercials, I switched to NPR radio where I heard the subject of poetry being discussed.

It got my immediate attention, because I have missed poetry in more ways than I care to admit. I have tried a lot of other ways to generate my inner thoughts in order to inspire myself but, in most cases, I failed miserably. Staying away from poetry was something I did deliberately because I got frustrated with the competitive nature that the genre seems to take on when too many poets are gathered in one room.

But something hit me today here on the job. I guess you could say that my creative juices were flowing. A title came to my mind which read, “Doing What You Love and Loving What You Do.”

The title seems to sum up how I was feeling and it led me to think back on my days of intense writing. I had to ask myself a question, “Do you love writing?” Of course the answer was a resounding yes!

Then the next obvious questions would be, “What is it about writing that I love so much?” I found the answer to not be as obvious as I thought it would be. Poetry has always been my escape.

It came very natural for me and there are those who say when it comes that easy it is not you who manifests the talent but rather it is a gift that is given to you. I have heard stories where people said that they were many gifted people who did not take advantage of their gift and end up losing it. I guess that statement was always in the back of my mind, which I believe held me back somewhat.

Sometimes it takes being away from something to truly appreciate its value, and I am finding this truth to be very pronounced at this point in my life.

As I have stated above that my reason for not getting deeper into poetry was because of the competition. Now that I think about it, that statement may not be entirely true. I have to bear some of the blame. Every artist wants to be recognized for his work, and I am no different. But in trying to please everyone else, I have gone away from the very thing that I truly love.

I miss what this art form meant to me, how the words would magically appear in my head, how I would force myself to come up with the next rhyme, not wanting to move onto the next sentence until the present line matches the previous.

I blame myself for allowing my mind to be distracted from what was important and what gave me the most joy. Writing gives me the power to open closets that I have no business opening. It allows me to tell the stories that were not meant to be heard, and it provides me the ability to do this in a creative way. For that, I am very grateful.

With all this in mind, I have answered my own question, which is to get back to what I love, because that is where true happiness lives.”

This note makes it all worth the doing.

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This interview with poet Christian Wiman has to be one of my top 10 favorite shows. He cuts to the quick with a generosity and truthfulness rarely heard. And his penchant for remembering poetry and weaving it into life experiences with cancer, love, and death is incredible.

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On this sad day commemorating 45 years since MLK’s death, a reminder that his message of nonviolence and the beloved community lives on in the work of one of his closest friends and confidants, Congressman John Lewis.

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