Wisdom to replenish and orient. Conversations to live by.
New episodes dropping every Thursday from September 21. On the intelligence that lives in the human body: love and loss, comedy and ecology, social creativity and poetry. Also, beyond the hype and the doom, what does the new AI call us to as human beings? With Kate Bowler, Kerry Washington, Nick Cave, Reid Hoffman, Latanya Sweeney, Baratunde Thurston … and more.
Also: classic, celebrated, beloved conversations in our 20-year archive: Mary Oliver. John O'Donohue. Thich Nhat Hanh. Desmond Tutu. And so much more.
Kerry Washington — Acting as a Devotional Practice
“Becoming other people” for a living, as Kerry Washington likes to describe her craft, turns out to be a revelatory lens on the high drama that is the human condition. As a “learning actor,” a kind of actor/anthropologist, she has brought elegance and moral rigor to all kinds of roles: as the uber-glamorous, tough-as-nails Olivia Pope on Scandal; as the wife of Idi Amin and the wife of Ray Charles; from Little Fires Everywhere to Django Unchained. Just after Scandal ended seven triumphant seasons, she starred on Broadway as Kendra, a jeans-clad mother in a Miami police station waiting to hear what has happened to her beloved son. Krista was in that audience, and saw how Kerry attended not just to her role on stage but to bringing a beautifully racially mixed audience to participating and reflecting together.
So this conversation has been a while in coming. It is rich with grace and surprising angles of insight — on the roles we all learn to play in the stories of the lives that we are given, and the evolution that is possible in how we assume those characters and leave them behind and grow them up.
This episode of On Being was produced with consideration of the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike and with external legal guidance. In distributing this episode, we attest to our belief that no statements made involve promotion of struck work in violation of the SAG-AFTRA Strike Order.
Kate Bowler — On Being in a Body
We love the theologian Kate Bowler's allergy to every platitude and her wisdom and wit about the strange and messy fullness of what it means to be in a human body. She's best known for her 2018 book Everything Happens for a Reason (And Other Lies I've Loved) — a poetic and powerful reflection on learning at age 35 that she had Stage IV colon cancer.
From a reset on how to think about aging, to the new reality in our time of living with cancer as a chronic illness, to the telling of truths to our young, this beautiful conversation is full of the vividly whole humanity that Kate Bowler singularly embodies.
(Also, as you'll hear, if she hadn't become a theologian, she might have been a stand-up comedian.)
Krista and Kate spoke as part of the 2023 Aspen Ideas Festival.
Kate Bowler — A Blessing for the Life You Didn't Choose
This blessing is featured in Kate’s conversation with Krista, “On Being in a Body.” It's published in her book The Lives We Actually Have: 100 Blessings for Imperfect Days.
A New Season of On Being Is Coming
A big conversation to live by starting NEXT WEEK — every Thursday — from September 21.
Loss — and love. AI — and the intelligence that lives in our bodies.
Kerry Washington, Kate Bowler, Reid Hoffman, Latanya Sweeney, Nick Cave, Baratunde Thurston … and more.
Subscribe, tell your friends, and buckle your (metaphorical) seatbelts.
"Love is still the only revenge. It grows each time the earth is set on fire."
From Krista: I have been texting this exquisite poem from our archives to my beloveds. Perhaps it will touch you — hold you — as it is touching and holding me.
ON ANOTHER PANEL ABOUT CLIMATE, THEY ASK ME TO SELL THE FUTURE AND ALL I'VE GOT IS A LOVE POEM
To call the young Pakistani-American poet, Ayisha Siddiqa, a "climate activist" feels too simple. She describes herself as a storyteller and human rights and land defender. She is a climate advisor to the U.N. Secretary General, and was a 2023 TIME Woman of the Year.
The poem is read by the also extraordinary young marine biologist Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, from her On Being conversation with Krista, What If We Get This Right?
From Poetry Unbound: Benjamin Gucciardi — The Rungs
Hello friends, it is a joy to introduce the new season of Poetry Unbound, which is underway. As Krista shares at the top, this episode has everything in it that makes Poetry Unbound such a gift in a noisy podcast world.
If you enjoy this episode, subscribe to Poetry Unbound for new episodes every Monday and Friday through July — and stay tuned for a new season of On Being this fall.
We’re pleased to offer Benjamin Gucciardi’s poem, “The Rungs,” and invite you to connect with Poetry Unbound throughout this season.
Thank God you’re back
On Being was my intro to podcasts. I started with the best and that set a very high bar! I’ve missed the intelligence, humor and thoughtfulness I find every week with Krista. Like an old friend coming home, thank you Krista for “being on” for all of us!
Thank so much for being here for all of us! Sharing beautiful stories and thoughts ✌️🙏
Thank God you’re back
Oh how I’ve missed this podcast during it’s seasonal hiatus! Krista is a master at getting deep on the subjects her guests bring to the table, she is a master. I savor every episode like I would a favorite poem or a glass of wine after a long day, it’s satiating to the soul. Thank you Krista 🙏