Insights at the Edge Podcast: Finding Beauty in a Broken World with Terry Tempest Williams

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A good friend of mine said, “You are married to sorrow.” And I looked at him and said, “I am not married to sorrow. I just choose not to look away.”

And I think there is deep beauty in not averting our gaze.

No matter how hard it is, no matter how heartbreaking it can be. It is about presence. It is about bearing witness.

I used to think bearing witness was a passive act. I don’t believe that anymore. I think that when we are present, when we bear witness, when we do not divert our gaze, something is revealed—the very marrow of life. We change. A transformation occurs. Our consciousness shifts.

—Terry Tempest Williams

Nearly a decade ago, I had the great good fortune of interviewing writer, naturalist, and environmental activist Terry Tempest Williams.

Terry was in the Sounds True studio recording an original audio of her book Finding Beauty in a Broken World. I remember our conversation as one of the first episodes of Insights at the Edge that felt “historic” to me, like something was happening in the space between us that stopped time and caused my heart to break open.

This week’s podcast is a rebroadcast of that conversation.

In this podcast, Terry describes how a plea she made to the universe—”give me one wild word, and I promise I will follow”—led her on a life-changing journey in which she discovered how broken pieces can be put together to make something surprising, glorious, and whole. We also discuss:
  • Making peace with our own contradictions
  • How artists “find beauty in a broken world and create beauty in the world they find”
  • The dignity of work, and how Terry learned from her great-grandmother that “faith without work is dead”
  • How writers can create community through their writing and help us feel less lonely in the world
  • Becoming fully who we are so we can be of maximum use


Click Here to Listen to Podcast

In my experience, listening to Terry Tempest Williams is inspiring under any circumstances, but particularly now, in the midst of loss and disruption, when we are each being asked to creatively find our way forward. Terry inspires us to bear witness and embrace what is directly in front of us, to get right to the marrow of life, and to share our very human hearts with others.

With love on the journey,

Tami Simon
Founder and Publisher, Sounds True

P.S. To support our Sounds True community during this time when many people are feeling a heightened sense of financial, physical, and emotional stress, our team at Sounds True has created a new collection of free resources, “Resilience in Challenging Times.” We are in this together and want to support you and love you through this challenging time. Please click here to learn more.

Tami Simon Sounds True Founder

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