A figure in a meadow reflecting under the moon

Photography by Ivana Cajina/ Unsplash


Dear friends,

When I was a child, we learned the mythology of the Salmon of Knowledge. The story goes that there’s a particular salmon full of the knowledge of the world. If you could catch and eat this salmon, the knowledge would pass on to you. A poet was in search of the salmon for years. Eventually, he caught it, and gave it to his servant, a boy named Fionn, to prepare. When Fionn was cooking it, he burnt his finger on the hot meat, and then sucked his finger to ease the pain. All knowledge passed to Fionn. (Afterword: angry poet.) I loved this story, but it wasn’t much use in becoming wise or knowledgeable. 

When I was a little older, I read the story of Solomon in the Hebrew Bible. He received the gift of wisdom by asking for it. The wisest man in the world. I liked this story too, but also, not very helpful.  

Older again, a friend of mine told me to buy Becoming A Man: Half a Life Story by Paul Monette. A classic of gay coming-out and coming-of-age literature. At one point, Paul Monette finds himself face to face with someone he’d been in school with. They’re young men now. Both gay, neither out, both falling apart. “How are you handling being queer?” Monette asks his acquaintance, even though neither of them has ever spoken of it to the other before, “Because all I seem to do is to f**k it up.” I didn’t realize I was looking for wisdom when I read this book. But I was. And I found it in the invitation to tell stories; sometimes beautiful, sometimes brutal. 

Our On Being interview this week features Krista in conversation with Olympic gold medalist and World Cup soccer champion Abby Wambach, and her wife, the blogger, author, activist, and philanthropist Glennon Doyle. So much of this conversation can be approached as what it means to tell the truth in all its complexity, beauty, brutality, and possibility. Both Abby and Glennon are wise about their presence in the world: when Abby retired, she was honored alongside two male sporting heroes, the two men able to retire comfortably while Abby needed to continue work, even though her achievements are enormous— including, at the time, being the record holder for most goals scored for any person (of any gender) on the planet. Nevertheless, her motto for retirement was “forget me,” because for her, sports will — and should — always continue to grow and improve. Wisdom: growth, change, letting go, and embracing obscurity.

Krista navigates Glennon Doyle’s brilliant quips as she summarizes Glennon’s well-known story of marriage, divorce, and remarriage in order to ask her about what it is that she sees now. Speaking of how to live in the world by telling truths, Glennon has amassed a huge following of people for whom her truth-telling in writing and speaking has meant that they, too, can tell truths: messy, inconvenient, complicated, joyous, enriching, sad, and triumphant truths. Such truth-telling isn’t the final goal for Glennon, though. She’s been interested in systemic change too, where the institutions and powers that cause impoverishment can be forced to change, rather than quick-fix solutions applied at the product-end of inequality. She speaks of radical honesty, collective giving, and sistering — a carpentry term — as practices of wisdom to locate a life. 

This hour of conversation is replete with warmth, wisecracks, confession, struggle, tension, joy, and love. Its accessibility both contains and hides its timeless wisdom: a life of community, truth-telling, challenging inequities, solidarity, and relationship is what might save us. 

For us at On Being, we are always interested in our offerings — our radio, podcast, and other media, as well as our social healing work — contributing to the ache for grounded wisdom in this world. All of those offerings will continue; and as we’ve mentioned in the last few weeks, we’re adding to them with our new Wisdom app. We’re delighted to welcome so many of you to join us in listening, reflecting, learning, practicing, and being in community as we endeavor to grow together into a deeper wisdom. The app is a major new undertaking for us, supported through paid membership; but we also have a fair pricing commitment, and we mean: pay what you can. We hope you’ll join us for Practicing Hope, our community gathering to launch the Wisdom app, where we’ll engage your questions and offer an experience of what is there and to come. More below on that.

Friends, in all the avenues you use for deepening wisdom in your life: speaking to trusted friends, meditation, practice, activism, campaigning, policy change, work, leisure, self-care, and learning, we are pleased to be with you, sharing and growing in wisdom together. 


Beir bua, 

Pádraig Ó Tuama
host of Poetry Unbound


Week 2 of Wisdom App In The World

“On Being Wisdom isn’t just an app. In the short time I’ve been using it, it’s been a rich and rewarding experience. I've gained enough already in wisdom, insight, and encouragement to make it well worth the investment. I intend to make it a regular part of my self and spiritual development” - App Store Reviewer

We’ve received many good questions and positive feedback about the app. Here are some of the things we’ve heard we need to lay out more clearly: 

  • The Wisdom app is made for iPhone and Android mobile phones and is free to download. You can search “On Being Wisdom” in the app stores to sample the first three sessions of the Hope Is a Muscle course and listen to episodes of On Being.
  • You can purchase your membership in the app or on our website to access all the course sessions, and the community of accompaniment. Purchasing through our website means more of your membership supports us directly. Our website also explains our fair pricing options. We have created something of value – and are also committed to making it possible for everyone to join.
  • The Hope Is a Muscle course is truly a new experience, additive to listening to the weekly show. Krista is in the role of both learner and teacher, identifying and illuminating insights that can be picked up as accessible practices in the everyday from her conversations with Bryan Stevenson, Maria Popova, Devendra Banhart, Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Rebeccca Solnit, Rabbi Ariel Burger, Br. David Steindl-Rast, Joanna Macy, Jane Goodall, Jericho Brown, and more. It’s nourishing, stimulating, and delightful.

We’re excited to have you on this journey with us. Your questions and feedback — both critical and appreciative — will help us refine the app and shape it in service to you. To share more with us, help, or inquire about the app, please email [email protected]



This Week at The On Being Project

Our Latest Episode

On Being Logo

On Being with Krista Tippett
Glennon Doyle & Abby Wambach
‘Courage is the presence of fear, and going anyway.’

The writer/activist and the soccer icon on how courage turns up in their lives apart and together — from addiction to social activism to blended family parenting.

Listen on:
Apple Podcasts
Google Podcasts
Our Website


Community Gathering and Wisdom App Launch: Practicing Hope


Tuesday, July 27th, 2021
5pm PST / 7pm CST / 8pm EST

  • Advance registration is required to receive the link to join this Zoom webinar.
  • Those who’ve registered will receive an email on the day of the event with a link to join. 
  • Attendance is free.
  • Attendees will not be on video or audio.
  • In addition to hearing from Krista, this event includes a listening experience and time for personal reflection — bring pen and paper.

If you have any questions, please visit our FAQ page or contact us at [email protected] We look forward to sharing in this new beginning with you.


In Case You Missed It

The Wind Down: Sunday Edition with On Being’s Krista Tippett

This one hour event was beautifully curated by our friends at the Meditative Story podcast — a kindred podcast to On Being, created by the great people at WaitWhat. It features Krista sharing her meditative story and includes a musical performance by Ryan Holliday, meditation prompts from Rohan Gunatillake, and wonderful video and motion graphics.  

Fetzer banner





The On Being Project
1619 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403
United States