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In 2001, renowned zoologist and conservationist Alan Rabinowitz was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Having spent his career until then researching wild cats around the world, he briefly considered taking a step back from his work:

“For a little while I thought, ‘OK. Well, then I'm going to try to prolong my life and I'll go in the field less. I'll stay at home more.’ I was going crazy, and I wasn't the father I wanted to be to my children.”

But he recalled one moment with his son that changed his decision:

“One day, I came out of one of the rooms of my house, and I watched my son watching a videotape of me, a show that was done years ago, called ‘Champions of the Wild,’ about me with jaguars ... It just shows how fate intervenes because that was the point at which I realized that regardless of what happened because of it, I had to live the life that defined me the best, both to myself and to my family.”

Alan Rabinowitz passed away earlier this month, 17 years after he first wrestled with whether or not to continue living the life he most loved. Had he not made the intentional decision to devote himself to his work through the end of his life, initiatives like Panthera’s jaguar corridor, which broadens conservation efforts to include changes to human landscapes, may have never come to fruition.

I was moved thinking about all that Alan Rabinowitz was able to accomplish because of the life-affirming love he felt for his work. His story reminds me of a question that physician and writer Atul Gawande wrestles with when working with his patients: What does a good day look like? Alan Rabinowitz came to learn that his “good day” included spending time with jaguars in Belize. Aretha Franklin, whose beautiful music has been floating through our office since we learned of her passing on Thursday, was singing and performing up until last November. And for still others, a good day might look like teaching piano or spending time with a good book in peace and quiet.

Wherever and whatever shape it might take, I hope that you find yourself embarking on the adventure of a good day today.

Kristin Lin
Editor, On Being Studios

P.S. — In the spirit of embracing good days, our office — and thus this newsletter — is on a short break for the last two weeks of August. The Pause will be back in your inbox on September 8.

In the meantime, we’re seeking your input on the On Being Blog and would be grateful if you could share your thoughts through this survey.

It has been wonderful to hear from you, and we’re all so grateful to be in community with you.

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This Week At On Being Studios
Our Latest Episodes
Jaguar hides in jungle foliage.
On Being
Alan Rabinowitz
“We Are All Wildlife”

How to get to the heart of the human experience without speaking? This question drove Alan Rabinowitz, after a childhood with a severe stutter, to become a wildlife biologist and explorer — “the Indiana Jones of wildlife conservation.” He died this month at age 64.

Listen on:
Our Website | Apple Podcasts | Google Play
A white russian drink sits on a mustard yellow studio sweep.
This Movie Changed Me
Scott Oliver
“The Big Lebowski”

Looking for some chill in your life? For the 20th anniversary of The Big Lebowski, Scott Oliver talks about how the movie helped him keep perspective in a time of chaos. 

Listen on:
Our Website | Apple Podcasts | Google Play
Hands play the piano in evening light.
On Being
Joe Carter Sings the Spirituals

A special release of Joe Carter’s most beloved recordings from the On Being episode “Joe Carter — The Spirituals.” These songs were never made available as an album in his lifetime. All tracks were recorded live in studio in 2003 with Tom West on piano.

You can hear all of Joe Carter's songs here.

From the On Being Blog

Here are three pieces that illuminate the concept of presence in our daily lives.

“Generous Listening: A Poem” by Marilyn Nelson
“Who is this miracle speaking to me? And who is this miracle listening? What amazingness are we creating?”

“Silence and the Space to Be Amazed” by Annie Rosenbauer
As a society, we tend not to prioritize silence. When we take a moment to listen and to notice, we make space to be amazed. A meditation on silence, slowing down, and paying attention.

“Church Is What We Create with Each Other” by Erin O. White
A story about love, loss, and surprise in a small town church and the extraordinary things that can happen when we step outside our familiar social circles — and ourselves. 

“At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

Jane Kenyon
What We’re Loving

Listen | Bodies | Allison Behringer & KCRW
“Really great podcast raising questions about how we relate to ourselves and to the world. I love that it brings a social and political lens to medicine.”
Recommended by editor Kristin Lin

Watch | “No Fear” and “Double Up” | Harold Green
“Harold Green is one of my favorite spoken word poets. “No Fear” uses water and depth as an analogy for love in relationships, and “Double Up” is a poem about his experience with parenthood.”
Recommended by engagement manager Profit Idowu

Watch | Song of the Sea | Tomm Moore
“I loved watching this with my littles. It's a gorgeous film; the story is slow and winding, beautifully brought to life through the eyes of a young boy and his sister. We loved the conversations this sparked about our connections to ourselves, our ancestors, and each other — and all of the magical spaces in between.” 
Recommended by COO Erinn Farrell

Image: Banner for the Fetzer Institute — "Helping build the spiritual foundation for a loving world."
News & Announcements
Help us make our website better!

Some of you who've been with us awhile know that we're redesigning our website with new offerings to embolden and accompany you on your adventures through life. We would love to get early feedback on an idea we’re exploring: centering around curated offerings that speak to the lives we're living now. One of the ways we’re doing this is to gather various content from our archives organized into themes and topics that speak to the big questions we’re living.

So, if you’re working through the loss of a loved one you’ll be able to find Krista’s conversation with Ira Byock on Contemplating Mortality and a guided meditation on encountering grief with Joan Halifax in our collection, “Losing a Loved One.” Or if you’re trying to introduce a friend to On Being, you’ll be able to find our John O’Donohue episode in “New to On Being? Start Here.”

We want to hear your ideas. What topics and themes would be most helpful, inspiring, and emboldening? Click here to access a short survey and tell us what you think.

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