The acceptance of the fundamental changing, impermanent nature of the world is at the heart of Buddhist philosophy and is a constant theme through Pema Chodron's teachings. When things fall apart, when the ground is pulled out from under us, it is not a cause for panic, but rather a cause for celebration.
William Stafford – A Ritual to Read to Each Other
We must endeavor to rise above the patterns set out for us by others, according to Stafford, and not follow in a line like elephants holding each other's tails; it is imperative, he writes, that 'awake people be awake' since 'the darkness around us is deep'.
The Dexterous Butcher – Zhuangzi
Zhuangzi's story of the dexterous Cook Ding who teaches a lord a profound life lesson through the workings of his knife.
Alice Walker – Be Nobody’s Darling
In an echo of the defiance of Wendell Berry's 'Do Not Be Ashamed', Alice Walker draws up the image of an outcast to underline the importance of tenaciousness and standing one's ground in the midst of madness.
Nicholas Trandahl – The Chapel
In his poem, The Chapel, Nicholas Trandahl sets out what he looks for when it comes to faith and spirituality. A lifelong seeker of truth and inner peace, he imagines a fictional space deep in the heart of the wilderness, where pilgrims and seekers can finally rest after their journeys.
Brian Doyle’s Uncommon Prayers
Brian Doyle's essays are accessible and uplifting to people of all and no faith inclinations. His humorous and poignant prayers touch the details of our lives and the beings that we often overlook: in this case, shop cashiers, herons and international terrorists, but also sunscreen, chess and the state of Iowa.
Caroline Goodwin – Not, I’ll Not
'Not, I'll Not' takes its title from Gerard Manley Hopkins' sonnet about meeting suffering, 'Carrion Comfort' and explores some of the ideas in the psychedelic rock group Heron Oblivion's song, 'Beneath Fields'.
Du Fu – Dreaming of Li Bai
'This parting from the living brings constant pain,' wrote eighth-century Chinese poet Du Fu in an ode to friendship about his separation from Li Bai, who was in exile in the south of the country.
Tria Chang – I Was Once in Love
Tria Chang's poem, I Was Once in Love, talks about the possibilities and pitfalls of relationships and how things can so easily slip out of balance.
Rebecca Solnit’s Blue of Distance
Solnit pays tribute to the color that fills the space between herself and the object of her longing, and reflects on how this blue can in some ways be understood as love itself.