Oct 062005
 

On Being with Krista Tippett

Groundbreaking Peabody Award-winning conversation about the big questions of meaning — spiritual inquiry, science, social healing, and the arts. Each week a new discovery about the immensity of our lives. Hosted by Krista Tippett. New conversations every Thursday, with occasional extras.

Foundations 4: Calling and Wholeness

The language of vocation comes from the Latin “vocari”: “calling.” It is a word we use often at On Being as a pointer for the way forward. In Western culture, vocation has long been equated with work and with job title. But each of us is called not merely to be a professional, but to be a friend, neighbor, colleague, family, citizen, lover of the world. We are called to creativity and caring and play and service for which we will never be paid — or never be paid enough — but which will make life worth living. And each of us imprints the people in the world around us, breath to breath and hour to hour, as much in who we are and how we are present as in whatever we do. 

Just as there are callings for a life, there are callings for our time. Every surface of fracture in our world notwithstanding, for us all of life is being revealed in its insistence on wholeness: the organic interplay between our bodies, the natural world, the lives we make, the worlds we create. It is the calling of callings to make that vivid and practical and real, starting inside ourselves and with the lives we’ve been given.

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Consider picking up a journal, or something to record with, when you sit down or step out to listen to this episode. Take it, and the prompts below, as a companion in listening and your life beyond listening. Also: you might invite someone(s) to join you.

Ponder:

Begin to make a list, to muse and write about what in your life is in the category of vocation — your multitudinous callings as a human being. Perhaps as a professional person, but also as a friend, colleague, family, citizen, creative, lover of the world. How would you begin to name and work through your calling for our time?

Practice:

Open wide your imagination, your heart, your energy, your will, to the possibility of wholeness. Walk through your days looking around for and making note of emergent visions and practices of wholeness and wisdom even amidst fracture.

Every surface of fracture in our world notwithstanding, all of life is being revealed in its insistence on wholeness.

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Talk to us:

Instagram: @onbeing 

Twitter: @kristatippett 

Email: artofliving@onbeing.org

 
 

Foundations 3: Taking a Long View of Time, and Becoming “Critical Yeast”

There is no subject more intriguing than time, and time is so much stranger and more dynamic than the clocks, deadlines, goals, and schedules we live by. In this third offering of ways of seeing and living that have emerged across two decades of On Being, we explore manifold understandings of how time works, and how change happens, that animate lives of wisdom and grace. Deep time. Kairos time. The “200-year present.” The quality of “critical yeast” before and after critical mass. 

We step into this mystery: a long view of time has a power to replenish our sense of ourselves and the world. It renews us to turn back to the raw materials of our lives in the here and now.

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Consider having a journal nearby as you listen. Return to the prompts below, if you’re so inclined, and take them as companions in pondering and living in the days ahead. Maybe invite someone(s) to join you.

Ponder:

Map your 200-year present as an entry point to sinking into time’s capaciousness. It begins with the year of the birth of the oldest person you knew when you were a child, and joins with the hundredth birthday of the youngest person you have held in your arms. For most of us, that’s going to be about two centuries that touch our lives directly and that we directly touch.

Practice:

What does it mean, might it mean, for you to be critical yeast in your world of friendship, work, kinship, community? Live the question. Are you part of yeasty “small groups of people in unlikely combinations, in a new quality of relationship”? Where to begin?

This is all another way to talk about planting and growing the generative story of our time: in a noisy, hyper-reactive world, fermenting a “quiet before.”

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Talk to us:

Instagram: @onbeing

Twitter: @kristatippett

Email: artofliving@onbeing.org

 
 

Foundations 2: Living the Questions

It is a deep truth in life, as in science, that we are shaped as much by the quality of our questions as by our answers. Those moments in our lives when a new question rises up in us, stops us in our tracks, are pivot points. They are openings for discovery and new possibility to break in. Yet it’s easy to forget this in a world that is in love with the form of words that is an opinion and the way with words that is an argument.

The notion of revering the power of questions — holding them, loving them, living them — is inspired by a phrase of the poet Rainer Maria Rilke. It has become a discipline woven all the way through Krista’s way of seeing the world and the community of conversation and living that is On Being. And it is as relevant as ever before in the post-2020 world. All of the great challenges before our species — ecological, racial, economic, political — are vast, aching, open questions for which we will not have anything like shared answers anytime soon. The deep wisdom behind the notion of living the questions offers both nurture and pragmatic instruction for meeting the callings before us — towards inner grounding, presence to the world, and the possibility of recreating our life together.

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Consider picking up a journal, or something to record with, when you sit down or step out to listen. Take it, and the prompts below, as a companion in listening and your life beyond listening. Also: you might invite someone, or a few others, to join you.

Ponder:

Turn some curiosity and reverence to the questions that are alive in you, as questions for both yourself and for the world.

Practice:

Take up living the questions as a practical and spiritual discipline.  Formulate a pivotal question that is rolling around in your life, at that boundary between what is personal and what is public and civilizational. Write it down, hone it, and make a commitment to take it as a companion and guide. Keep it over your shoulder, in your ear, as you move through your life for the time ahead. And find some ritual for staying attentive to what it invites you to see and to move away from and to move towards.

If you are faithful to living a question, it will be faithful back to you.

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Talk to us:

Instagram: @onbeing

Twitter: @kristatippett

Email: artofliving@onbeing.org

 
 

Foundations 1: Seeing the Generative Story of Our Time

We are fluent in the story of our time marked by catastrophe and dysfunction. That is real, and it is grave — but it’s not the whole story of us. Here’s what this phrase — the generative story, the generative narrative of our time — is insisting on: that there is also an ordinary and abundant reality of learning and growth that is happening, of dignity and care and social creativity and evolution.

The great challenges of this century call us to rise to our highest human capacities. They need the landscape of generative people and projects to act like an ecosystem: sharing what we are learning, joining our vulnerabilities, and joining our flourishing.

Calling out this reality, naming that there is a generative story of our time, is in fact a way to begin.

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Consider picking up a journal, or something to record with, when you sit down or step out to listen. Take it, and the prompts below, as a companion in listening and your life beyond listening.

Ponder:

How would you start to tell the generative story of the world you can see and touch?

Practice:

Set out to become alert and somewhat reverent of what is good and life-giving in the ordinary encounters of your days: what you read, what you focus on, what you look for and notice in people close to you, and also what you notice in strangers. Let that shape the larger picture of the world that you’re working with.

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Next time: Living the Questions

Follow us, and talk to us:

Instagram: @onbeing

Twitter: @kristatippett 

Email: artofliving@onbeing.org

 
 

Introducing On Being Foundations

A new season of big On Being conversations is coming in the new year. But for the next few weeks, we are pulling back the veil on how we’re getting grounded for that. On Being Foundations are words and ideas — ways of seeing the world and walking through it — a few tethering understandings towards imagining and walking our way into our callings for now and the future. These have emerged across 20 years of conversation. They are shaping how The On Being Project meets the world that is now unfolding: 

  • Seeing the generative story of our time
  • Living the questions
  • Taking a long view of time, and becoming “critical yeast”
  • Calling, and wholeness


Each of the four offerings is short, less than 15 minutes — more wisdom and practice than podcast episode, and meant to be interactive if you’re game. Before you sit down or step out to listen, grab something to write with. Every session comes with an invitation that you can weave through the ordinary interactions of your life, your every day. And the notes to each episode have prompts to support that. 

As you move through this, let us hear from you: 

Instagram: @onbeing

Twitter: @kristatippett

Email: artofliving@onbeing.org

Let the adventure begin.

 
 

A Listening Ritual for this Fall: Poetry Unbound

Three years ago, Krista texted Pádraig Ó Tuama with a simple question: what if he were to start a poetry podcast that listened as much as it shared? Not long after, Poetry Unbound was born, and it keeps going from strength to strength. Pádraig likes to say that poems are interested in the people who listen to them. And so, as the next season of On Being takes shape for release in early 2023, why not take Poetry Unbound as a listening companion and ritual this fall?

Season six of Poetry Unbound just started, and we’re sharing the first episode around David Wagoner’s beloved poem “Lost” in this feed, the only episode we’ll feature here this season. You can listen to the rest on Apple, Spotify, at poetryunbound.org, and wherever podcasts are found. And be sure to subscribe to the show to receive a new episode every Monday and Friday through mid-December.

 
 

A Season of Emergence with Krista

Krista returns from her summer in Berlin, where her present-day self reunited with the 25-year-old of the 1980s, at large in the divided city. Hear the reflections that emerged from her season of creative rest, and her beloved practices of contemplative reading and journaling. 

Pull on the thread of emergence with Krista and our Pause newsletter community as the next season of On Being takes shape: onbeing.org/newsletter

You can read the transcript of Krista’s letter in our September 17 edition of The Pause.

 
 

Before Newness Arrives …

In some languages, there are words for goodbye that are also a promise of a future "hello," and that's the kind of farewell this is. Krista offers this “see you later” with a parting poem as she and the full team at On Being get a bit restored and dream and make some new things. We are so grateful for your listening.

Our podcast feed will be in a period of repose until the fall. In the meantime, join us this summer at onbeing.org/staywithus.

 
 

BONUS: An On Being Listening Party — Celebrating 20 Years

A special offering from Krista Tippett and all of us at On Being: an incredible, celebratory event — listening back and remembering forwards across 20 years of this show in the good company of our beloved friend and former guest, Rev. Jen Bailey, and so many of you. We offer it here as an audio experience, and we think you will enjoy being in the room retroactively. You will hear the voices of wise and graceful lives — of former guests, and of listeners from far-flung places. You may also catch references to things seen and witnessed throughout the event — including a stunning opening poem by our dear friend Maria Popova, composed of On Being show titles — which you can take in fully by viewing the recorded celebration in its entirety on our YouTube channel.

Krista will be back next week to send us off with a poem and short farewell — a “see you later” while we rest and dream and make some new things. In the meantime, we will be sharing offerings beyond this podcast. Join us at onbeing.org/staywithus.

 
 

adrienne maree brown — “We are in a time of new suns”

“What a time to be alive,” adrienne maree brown has written. “Right now we are in a fast river together — every day there are changes that seemed unimaginable until they occurred.” adrienne maree brown and others use many words and phrases to describe what she does, and who she is: A student of complexity. A student of change and of how groups change together. A “scholar of belonging.” A “scholar of magic.” She grew up loving science fiction, and thought we’d be driving flying cars by now; and yet, has found in speculative fiction the transformative force of vision and imagination that might in fact save us. Our younger listeners have asked to hear adrienne maree brown’s voice on On Being, and here she is, as we enter our own time of evolution. This conversation shines a light on an emerging ecosystem in our world over and against the drumbeat of what is fractured and breaking: working with the complex fullness of reality, and cultivating old and new ways of seeing, to move towards a transformative wholeness of living.

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In this time of new suns here at On Being, we are in learning mode — listening to the world, and listening to you.

Would you take a few minutes to visit onbeing.org/survey and answer a few questions that will help us know who you are and how On Being can accompany you in the time ahead?

We would be so grateful… 🙏

--

adrienne maree brown is the author of wildly influential books including Emergent Strategy, We Will Not Cancel Us and Pleasure Activism, as well as a workbook for facilitation and mediation, Holding Change. She is the co-editor of Octavia’s Brood and co-hosts several podcasts, including Octavia’s Parables and How to Survive the End of the World. She is the writer-in-residence at the Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute, which she founded. 

Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.

 
 

[Unedited] adrienne maree brown with Krista Tippett

“What a time to be alive,” adrienne maree brown has written. “Right now we are in a fast river together — every day there are changes that seemed unimaginable until they occurred.” adrienne maree brown and others use many words and phrases to describe what she does, and who she is: A student of complexity. A student of change and of how groups change together. A “scholar of belonging.” A “scholar of magic.” She grew up loving science fiction, and thought we’d be driving flying cars by now; and yet, has found in speculative fiction the transformative force of vision and imagination that might in fact save us. Our younger listeners have asked to hear adrienne maree brown’s voice on On Being, and here she is, as we enter our own time of evolution. This conversation shines a light on an emerging ecosystem in our world over and against the drumbeat of what is fractured and breaking: working with the complex fullness of reality, and cultivating old and new ways of seeing, to move towards a transformative wholeness of living.

--

In this time of new suns here at On Being, we are in learning mode — listening to the world, and listening to you.

Would you take a few minutes to visit onbeing.org/survey and answer a few questions that will help us know who you are and how On Being can accompany you in the time ahead?

We would be so grateful… 🙏

--

adrienne maree brown is the author of wildly influential books including Emergent Strategy, We Will Not Cancel Us and Pleasure Activism, as well as a workbook for facilitation and mediation, Holding Change. She is the co-editor of Octavia’s Brood and co-hosts several podcasts, including Octavia’s Parables and How to Survive the End of the World. She is the writer-in-residence at the Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute, which she founded.

This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "adrienne maree brown — ‘We are in a time of new suns’." Find the transcript for that show at onbeing.org.

 
 

Ocean Vuong – A Life Worthy of Our Breath

We are in the final weeks as On Being evolves to its next chapter — in a world that is evolving, each of us changed in myriad ways we’ve only begun to process and fathom. So it felt right to listen again to one of our most beloved shows of this post-2020 world. In fact, Krista interviewed the wise and wonderful Ocean Vuong right on the cusp of that turning, in March 2020, in a joyful and crowded room full of podcasters in Brooklyn. Yet what’s most stunning is how presciently and exquisitely Ocean spoke, and continues to speak, to the world we have since come to inhabit — its heartbreak and its poetry, its possibilities for loss and for finding new life.

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LISTENING TO OUR LISTENERS - Please take our short (but important) survey! This summer, we’re entering creative recharge and learning mode. Would you visit onbeing.org/survey and answer a few questions about who you are and how On Being can accompany you in the time ahead? We would be so grateful 🙏.

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Ocean Vuong is a professor in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at New York University. His new collection of poetry is Time Is a Mother. He is also the author of a novel, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, and the poetry collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds, which won the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Whiting Award. He was a 2019 MacArthur Fellow. 

Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.

This show originally aired on April 30, 2020.

 
 
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