How to Befriend Time: The Gospel of Pete Seeger and Nina Simone

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” | Continue reading | 9 hours ago

Octavia Butler’s Advice on Writing

“No matter how tired you get, no matter how you feel like you can’t possibly do this, somehow you do.” | Continue reading | 1 day ago

Mars and Our Search for Meaning: A Planetary Scientist’s Love Letter to Life

“It is the search for infinity, the search for evidence that our capacious universe might hold life elsewhere, in a different place or at a different time or in a different form.” | Continue reading | 3 days ago

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating: An Uncommon Meditation on Presence and the Aperture of Wonder

“Survival often depends on a specific focus: a relationship, a belief, or a hope balanced on the edge of possibility.” | Continue reading | 5 days ago

The Living Wonder of Leafcutter Ants, in Mesmerizing Stop Motion

Alongside humans, leafcutter ants form some of nature’s vastest, most sophisticated societies — a single mature colony can contain as many ants as there are people on Earth, living with a great deal more social harmony and consonance of purpose than we do. They are also one of ou … | Continue reading | 5 days ago

The Courage to Be Yourself: Virginia Woolf on How to Hear Your Soul

“Beyond the difficulty of communicating oneself, there is the supreme difficulty of being oneself.” | Continue reading | 9 days ago

Eunice Newton Foote and the Birth of Climate Science: The Forgotten Woman Who Discovered the Greenhouse Effect

On an anonymous desk in a spartan classroom of the pioneering Troy Female Seminary, a teenage girl with blue-grey eyes and an oceanic mind is bent over an astronomy book, preparing to revolutionize our understanding of the planet. The year is 1836. No university anywhere in the w … | Continue reading | 9 days ago

Milan Kundera on the Power of Coincidences and the Musicality of How Chance Composes Our Lives

"Human lives... are composed like music. Guided by his sense of beauty, an individual transforms a fortuitous occurrence... into a motif, which then assumes a permanent place in the composition of the individual's life." | Continue reading | 10 days ago

The Half-Life of Hope

After breaking out of timidity with “Spell Against Indifference,” an offering of another poem — this one inspired by a lovely piece of science news that touched me with its sonorous existential echoes. THE HALF-LIFE OF HOPE by Maria Popova Walking beneath the concrete canopy      … | Continue reading | 12 days ago

How to Eat the Sun: A Blind Hero of the Resistance on Accessing the Light Within and Touching the Oneness of the World

“There is only one world. Things outside only exist if you go to meet them with everything you carry in yourself. As to the things inside, you will never see them well unless you allow those outside to enter in.” | Continue reading | 15 days ago

Kate Sessions and the Devotion to Delight: The Forgotten Woman Who Covered California with Trees and Flowers

In May 1941, next to news of the Nazi savagely bombing London, The Los Angeles Times published a memorial profile of “California’s Mother of Gardens” — a hopeful antidote to the undoing of the human world, celebrating the woman who covered Southern California with the loveliest t … | Continue reading | 16 days ago

The Moon and the Yew Tree: Patti Smith Reads Sylvia Plath’s Haunting Portrait of Depression

“This is the light of the mind, cold and planetary.” | Continue reading | 17 days ago

Leaning Toward Light: A Posy of Poems Celebrating the Joys and Consolations of the Garden

“Gardening is like poetry in that it is gratuitous, and also that it cannot be done on will alone,” the poet and passionate gardener May Sarton wrote as she contemplated the parallels between these two creative practices — parallels that have led centuries of beloved writers to r … | Continue reading | 21 days ago

D.H. Lawrence on the Hypocrisies of Social Change and What It Actually Takes to Shift the Status Quo

“We have created a great, almost overwhelming incubus of falsity and ugliness on top of us, so that we are almost crushed to death. Now let us move it.” | Continue reading | 23 days ago

Notes on Complexity: A Buddhist Scientist on the Murmuration of Being

"You are this body, and you are these molecules, and you are these atoms, and you are these quantum entities, and you are the quantum foam, and you are the energetic field of space-time, and, ultimately, you are the fundamental awareness out of which all these emerge." | Continue reading | 25 days ago

The Poetic Science of the Ghost Pipe: Emily Dickinson and the Secret of Earth’s Most Supernatural Flower

“That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.” | Continue reading | 29 days ago

Albert Camus on Writing and the Importance of Stubbornness in Creative Work

“There is no greatness without a little stubbornness… Works of art are not born in flashes of inspiration but in a daily fidelity.” | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Spell Against Indifference

I was a latecomer to poetry — an art form I did not understand and, as we tend to do with what we do not understand, discounted. But under its slow seduction, I came to see how it shines a sidewise gleam on the invisible and unnameable regions of being where the truest truths dwe … | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Into the Blue Beyond: William Beebe’s Dazzling Account of Becoming the First Human Being to See the Deep Ocean

“It was stranger than any imagination could have conceived… an indefinable translucent blue quite unlike anything I have ever seen in the upper world.” | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Terror, Tenderness, and the Paradoxes of Human Nature: How a Marmoset Saved Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s Lives from the Nazis

The most discomposing thing about people capable of monstrous acts is that they too enjoy art, they too read to their children, they too can be moved to tears by music. The dissident poet Joseph Brodsky captured this as he contemplated the greatest antidote to evil, observing tha … | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Doris: A Watercolor Serenade to the Courage of Authenticity and the Art of Connection

“There is no insurmountable solitude,” Pablo Neruda asserted in his stirring Nobel Prize acceptance speech. “All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence in order to reach forth to the en … | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Bertrand Russell on the Salve for Our Modern Helplessness and Overwhelm

“A way of life cannot be successful so long as it is a mere intellectual conviction. It must be deeply felt, deeply believed, dominant even in dreams.” | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Little Black Hole: A Tender Cosmic Fable About How to Live with Loss

Right this minute, people are making plans, making promises and poems, while at the center of our galaxy a black hole with the mass of four billion suns screams its open-mouth kiss of oblivion. Someday it will swallow every atom that ever touched us and every datum we ever produc … | Continue reading | 1 month ago

What Rises from the Ruins: Katherine Anne Porter on the Power of the Artist and the Function of Art in Human Life

“We understand very little of what is happening to us at any given moment.” | Continue reading | 1 month ago

The Human Scale: Oliver Sacks on How to Save Humanity from Itself

“…or there will be genocide, atomic bombs, and we’ll all perish and take the planet with us.” | Continue reading | 1 month ago

The Porcupine Dilemma: Schopenhauer’s Parable about Negotiating the Optimal Distance in Love

This is the supreme challenge of intimacy — how to reconcile the aching yearning for closeness with the painful pressures of actually being close, how to forge a bond tight enough to feel the warmth of connection but spacious enough to feel free. Kahlil Gibran knew this when he c … | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Excellent Advice for Living: Kevin Kelly’s Life-Tested Wisdom He Wished He Knew Earlier

“The chief prevention against getting old is to remain astonished.” | Continue reading | 1 month ago

The Ant, the Grasshopper, and the Antidote to the Cult of More: A Lovely Vintage Illustrated Poem About the Meaning and Measure of Enough

“Enough is so vast a sweetness, I suppose it never occurs, only pathetic counterfeits,” Emily Dickinson lamented in a love letter. In his splendid short poem about the secret of happiness, Kurt Vonnegut exposed the taproot of our modern suffering as the gnawing sense that what we … | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Simone Weil on Love and Its Counterfeit

How to tell a plaything from a necessity. | Continue reading | 1 month ago

The Donkey and the Meaning of Eternity: Nobel-Winning Spanish Poet Juan Ramón Jiménez’s Love Letter to Life

"Come with me. I'll teach you the flowers and the stars." | Continue reading | 2 months ago

How to Say Goodbye: An Illustrated Field Guide to Accompanying a Loved One at the End of Life

“If you don’t know what to say, start by saying that… That opens things up.” | Continue reading | 2 months ago

Make Yourself a Seer: The Teenage Arthur Rimbaud on How to Be a Poet and a Prophet of Possibility

“The day of a single universal language will dawn!… This language will be of the soul, for the soul, encompassing everything, scents, sounds, colors, one thought mounting another.”… | Continue reading | 2 months ago

“Little Women” Author Louisa May Alcott on the Creative Rewards of Being Single

“Liberty is a better husband than love.” | Continue reading | 2 months ago

The Wondrous Birds of the Himalayas and the Forgotten Victorian Woman Whose Illustrations Rewilded the Western Imagination

Bridging Blake and Darwin with a single-hair brush. | Continue reading | 2 months ago

Love’s Work: Philosopher Gillian Rose on the Value of Getting It Wrong

"You may be weaker than the whole world but you are always stronger than yourself. Let me send my power against my power... Let me discover what it is that I want and fear from love. Power and love, might and grace." | Continue reading | 2 months ago

Bunny & Tree: A Tender Wordless Parable of Friendship and the Improbable Saviors That Make Life Livable

Traversing the landscape of life on the wings of trust. | Continue reading | 2 months ago

How to Be Animal: An Antidote to Our Self-Expatriation from Nature

How to embrace our inheritance as “a creature of organic substance and electricity that can be eaten, injured and dissipated back into the enigmatic physics of the universe.” | Continue reading | 2 months ago

The Power of Being a Heretic: The Forgotten Visionary Jane Ellen Harrison on Critical Thinking, Emotional Imagination, and How to Rehumanize the World

"If we are to be true and worthy heretics, we need not only new heads, but new hearts, and, most of all, that new emotional imagination... begotten of enlarged sympathies and a more sensitive habit of feeling." | Continue reading | 2 months ago

How to Be More Alive: Hermann Hesse on Wonder and the Proper Aim of Education

“While wandering down the path of wonder, I briefly escape the world of separation and enter the world of unity.” | Continue reading | 2 months ago

How People Change: Psychoanalyst Allen Wheelis on the Essence of Freedom and the Two Elements of Self-Transcendence

“We create ourselves. The sequence is suffering, insight, will, action, change.” | Continue reading | 2 months ago

Look Up: The Illustrated Story of Astronomer Henrietta Leavitt, Who Laid the Groundwork for Measuring the Universe

How a brilliant woman rose against the tide of her time to fathom the mysteries of space. | Continue reading | 2 months ago

Fox and Bear: A Tender Modern Fable About Reversing the Anthropocene, Illustrated in Cut-Cardboard Dioramas

An antidote to the civilizational compulsions that rob human nature of nature. | Continue reading | 2 months ago

Reason and Emotion: Scottish Philosopher John Macmurray on the Key to Wholeness and the Fundaments of a Fulfilling Life

"The emotional life is not simply a part or an aspect of human life. It is not, as we so often think, subordinate, or subsidiary to the mind. It is the core and essence of human life. The intellect arises out of it, is rooted in it, draws its nourishment and sustenance from it." | Continue reading | 2 months ago

The Work of Happiness: May Sarton’s Stunning Poem About Being at Home in Yourself

“What is happiness but growth in peace.” | Continue reading | 2 months ago

A Shelter in Time: John Berger on the Power of Music

“Songs are like rivers: each follows its own course, yet all flow to the sea, from which everything came.” | Continue reading | 2 months ago

Archives of Joy: Reflections on Animals and the Nature of Being

An invitation to “a certain, forgotten way of seeing the world” and an exultation at “earthly life, with its duration so short it obliges us to surpass ourselves.” | Continue reading | 2 months ago

An Antidote to the Anxiety About Imperfection: Parenting Advice from Mister Rogers

“It’s part of being human to fall short of that total acceptance and ultimate understanding — and often far short.” | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Wonder-Sighting on Planet Earth: The Space Telescope Eye of the Scallop

Inside Earth’s most alien vision. | Continue reading | 3 months ago