Image of the sun rays draping over apartment buildings as the

city wakes up


Editor’s note from Krista Tippett:

With a deep bow of gratitude and admiration, we say farewell this week to Kristin Lin as editor of this newsletter. Kristin helped create everything from the concept to the ethos of this weekly offering. We're excited for her next adventures, starting with a prestigious fellowship at The New York Times. She is a hard act to follow, so we are delighted to announce that On Being's poet/theologian Pádraig Ó Tuama will be picking up The Pause editor’s pen for the next few months, as new Poetry Unbound episodes unfold alongside the fall season of On Being. Blessings, Kristin, and thank you.

I’ve been taking walks around my new neighborhood every morning, when the world still feels like it’s stretching itself awake. It’s been an anchoring exercise: to try to look up at the sky a little more, to understand the namesake of morning glories and to observe shadows draping onto concrete and grass.

It’s as Pema Chödrön so wisely says: “When we pause, allow a gap and breathe deeply, we can experience instant refreshment. Suddenly, we slow down, look out, and there's the world.”

I still remember the first time Krista shared that quote with our senior art director, Erin Colasacco, and me in the spring of 2018 when this newsletter was more of an idea than a reality. It seems fitting to return to it today, as I write this letter for the last time — and in the spirit of looking forward, to place it in conversation with something the brilliant and wise Pádraig Ó Tuama observed recently: “Poetry,” he says, “bows down to unexpected human encounters, to unexpected moments, to meetings with strangers that we have, something surprising that comes out of nowhere.”

For the second season of Poetry Unbound, which returns this Monday, Sept. 28, he’s curated 24 poems that are different expressions of the interplay between language and life. We’re sharing a few of them in this week’s On Being episode as well.

Each poem is a reminder of, as Krista says, “the struggle, strangeness, and possibilities of being alive in this time.” There are “the fields and boarded houses dead with summer, the filling station rowdy / with the rumor of another place,” as Molly McCully Brown writes in “Transubstantiation.” Or Roger Robinson’s proclamation that “if I speak of Paradise, / then I’m speaking of my grandmother / who told me to carry it always / on my person, concealed, so / no one else would know but me.”

Poetry may be one way to express the quiet and tectonic shifts of life around us, but writing this newsletter has taught me of all the other ways we offer this to one another too. Each time you read or responded to the words in this email, I was moved by the care of this community — the small kindnesses we extend toward one another, through the simple act of sharing a thought, a concern, a question (or technical glitch!). It is all received and nourishes what The Pause is today and will continue to grow into.

This care is the greatest gift we can offer one another. And what more can I offer back but to continue to listen with an ocean’s worth of gratitude — to look out and remember anew along with all of you, to appreciate again and again. There’s, as Pema Chödrön might say, the world.

Kristin Lin
Editor, The On Being Project


This Week at The On Being Project

Our Latest Episode

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On Being with Krista Tippett
‘Poetry Unbound’ Returns, With Wisdom For Living Now

A preview of the new podcast season, with six poems to accompany the struggle, strangeness, and possibilities of this moment.

Listen on:
Apple Podcasts
Google Podcasts
Our Website

“The Facts of Life” by Pádraig Ó Tuama

Image by Andile Buka

Listen to the Poetry Unbound host read a poem of his own. The podcast returns with new episodes starting on Monday, Sept. 28. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Overcast, or wherever you listen.

Recommended Reading & Listening

Recommended reading and listening collage: paper artwork by

Carlin Diaz; illustration by Matt Huynh; image of clouds

Listen | “A Life Worthy of Our Breath” with Ocean Vuong
Featuring the poet’s view of our world — its heartbreak, its poetry, and its possibilities of both destroying and saving.

Listen | “A Poem for All That Life Brings
From the first season of Poetry Unbound, featuring Joy Harjo’s poem “Praise the Rain.”

Listen | ‘When Things Fall Apart’ with Devendra Banhart
The musician discusses the poetic wisdom of Pema Chödrön’s book.

Find more in our Starting Point, “Poetry, the Human Voice.”


America’s Atonement 2020 with Lab/Shul
Sunday, September 27, 2020, 9 p.m. ET
Free video stream

Krista joins Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie, Yavilah McCoy, and Rev. Dr. Derrick McQueen to explore how words and practices like repentance, atonement, redemption, and repair can be part of all the reckonings underway in our life together. Watch it on Lab/Shul’s YouTube or Facebook page.

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