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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.
For the simplicity that lies this side of complexity, I would not give a fig, but for the simplicity that lies on the other side of complexity, I would give my life.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, from this week’s column from Parker Palmer.
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"When Death Comes" by Mary Oliver

As you read this poem, ask yourself a simple question and take some time to ponder it: "How, then, shall I live?"

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited the world.

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What you need to understand is this — just because something’s impossible doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it!

I’m still trying to live into words I heard 50 years ago. Please take a moment to reflect on those words and ask yourself the two questions I ask myself: Where we would be if the Kassie Temples of this world hadn’t taken on the impossible time and time again? What task is calling to you — at home, at work, in the larger world — that you need to embrace even though it’s impossible?

From this thought-provoking post by Parker Palmer.

(Photo by  John Moore/Getty Images)

What you need to understand is this — just because something’s impossible doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it!

I’m still trying to live into words I heard 50 years ago. Please take a moment to reflect on those words and ask yourself the two questions I ask myself: Where we would be if the Kassie Temples of this world hadn’t taken on the impossible time and time again? What task is calling to you — at home, at work, in the larger world — that you need to embrace even though it’s impossible?

From this thought-provoking post by Parker Palmer.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

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This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
~Rumi, as quoted in Parker Palmer’s reflection on hospitality and welcoming the unexpected visitor.

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~Rumi, as quoted in Parker Palmer’s reflection on hospitality and welcoming the unexpected visitor.

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"Look well to the growing edge. All around us worlds are dying and new worlds are being born; all around us life is dying and life is being born. The fruit ripens on the tree, the roots are silently at work in the darkness of the earth against a time when there shall be new lives, fresh blossoms, green fruit. Such is the growing edge! It is the extra breath from the exhausted lung, the one more thing to try when all else has failed, the upward reach of life when weariness closes in upon all endeavor. This is the basis of hope in moments of despair, the incentive to carry on when times are out of joint and men have lost their reason, the source of confidence when worlds crash and dreams whiten into ash. The birth of a child — life’s most dramatic answer to death — this is the growing edge incarnate. Look well to the growing edge!" —Howard Thurman
From our resident sage Parker Palmer’s "The Growing Edge of the Beginner’s Mind."

"Look well to the growing edge. All around us worlds are dying and new worlds are being born; all around us life is dying and life is being born. The fruit ripens on the tree, the roots are silently at work in the darkness of the earth against a time when there shall be new lives, fresh blossoms, green fruit. Such is the growing edge! It is the extra breath from the exhausted lung, the one more thing to try when all else has failed, the upward reach of life when weariness closes in upon all endeavor. This is the basis of hope in moments of despair, the incentive to carry on when times are out of joint and men have lost their reason, the source of confidence when worlds crash and dreams whiten into ash. The birth of a child — life’s most dramatic answer to death — this is the growing edge incarnate. Look well to the growing edge!"Howard Thurman

From our resident sage Parker Palmer’s "The Growing Edge of the Beginner’s Mind."

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"And you—what of your rushed and useful life? Imagine setting it all down— papers, plans, appointments, everything— leaving only a note: “Gone to the fields to be lovely. Be back when I’m through blooming.”


~Lynn Ungar’s poetic words in this essential bit of wisdom from Parker Palmer.

Photo by Charles Knowles

"And you—what of your rushed
and useful life? Imagine setting it all down—
papers, plans, appointments, everything—
leaving only a note: “Gone
to the fields to be lovely. Be back
when I’m through blooming.”

~Lynn Ungar’s poetic words in this essential bit of wisdom from Parker Palmer.

Photo by Charles Knowles

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