Design

What Has Inspired You Lately?

What Has Inspired You Lately?

When we were growing up, my dad would regularly weep in the car…

While driving us to school or a snowy Michigan lake perfect for ice skating, my dad would turn on a cassette tape of a beloved opera or Beethoven’s Ninth, and slow fat tears would roll down his face. He had grown up studying music, and it always moved him deeply. Meanwhile, all three of us kids would chat in the backseat, not worried at all by our sobbing father. We had seen it before. And we would see it again.

What music, art or books move you to tears? Apparently, the Spanish word “duende,” which the dictionary defines as “elf” or “woodland spirit,” can also mean the power of art or music to deeply affect you. Isn’t it almost an exquisite pain to experience something so beautiful that your hand clutches your heart?

Maria Khoreva ballet dancer

For me, things that move me include the Russian ballet dancer Maria Khoreva. Do you follow her on Instagram? She can do turns that are achingly slow.

Mohsin Hamid of Exit West

So many lines in Mohsin Hamid’s book Exit West, including: “It might seem odd that in cities teetering at the edge of the abyss young people still go to class — in this case an evening class on corporate identity and product branding — but that is the way of things, with cities as with life, for one moment we are pottering about our errands as usual and the next we are dying, and our eternally impending ending does not put a stop to our transient beginnings and middles until the instant when it does.”

Maya Lin's wavefield at Storm King.

Maya Lin’s wavefield at Storm King. And simple things, like the shape of this fence. A flock of birds. This poem. The ocean on a windy day. My sleeping children can bring me to my knees.

What about you? What has inspired or moved you lately?

My sister sent me this video of my dad listening to an English choir at my sister’s house last year, and “Lady Gaga’s first appearance in A Star is Born destroyed me, too,” he says.

P.S. 8 great Instagram accounts, and what’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever read?

(Top photo by Kendra Smoot.)

  1. pocket moment/memory: Maybe it’s the warm sun on a cold day, maybe we’re saying goodbye to the ocean, maybe we’ve just witnessed something unexpected and beautiful. I tell my three kiddos to stop, close their eyes, look up and take a deep breath. “Remember this always,” I’ll say. (Keep this close, in your pocket.) They often roll their eyes but I think deep down they like it. And it is in those moments I always get teary.

    Also, John Denver’s “Poems, Prayers & Promises”

    Oh, and all those videos of parents in the military surprising their kids with unexpected homecomings.

  2. Maggie says...

    Dvorak’s Czech Suite, II. Polka.

    It is haunting and triumphant and grips my soul, and no one else in my family seems as enslaved by these five minutes of music as I am, but that’s okay.

  3. Abby Favro says...

    Knuffle Bunny Free! Bring a tear to my eye every time!

  4. Oneida says...

    Just like many said, my kids make me cry. Especially the older one of my two. My younger is a cute, funny, cartoon of a kid. She makes us laugh and is everyone’s favorite. But my older one is often the one that moves me. She’s very internal, quiet at school, an observer. She likes to think everything through before she tries, says, or does something. We moved this summer and the new teacher at school said she didn’t know our daughter was new until 3 weeks in. She flies under the radar and never asks to be the center of attention but sometimes worries that she isn’t doing “good” enough because she doesn’t get as many positive points or citizenship awards as other kids. We keep telling her that she’s doing great and that we are proud of her and that her teachers have LOTS of kids to watch over so they can’t always see everything. But sometimes it breaks my heart a little to see how her little perfectionist heart wonder if she’s doing enough. And it also brings me to tears sometimes when I think of how most of the time she doesn’t care at all that everyone else around her is getting praised and sung about, especially her younger sister who got student of the month and is always being commented on by others. She said that when her sister got the award, she didn’t think the school clapped long enough so she clapped extra long after everyone finished ? And it makes me think of the hundreds, maybe thousands of people out there in the world who are maybe not doing anything spectacular or noteworthy enough for others to crow about, but they are being kind, obedient, team players, they are choosing the good of all over their own shining moment, they know celebrating others doesn’t mean you are lesser yourself, they are quietly going about their days doing the work in front of them and asking for nothing in return. So if that’s anyone here, I just want to say, I see you and I’m clapping extra long for you.

    • <3

    • Joanne says...

      Long time reader, never commented. But wow, this comment just made me unexpectedly weep. What a beautiful thing to say.

    • Helen says...

      Oneida, your comment brought tears to my eyes. I will also clap extra long for people, especially those who feel that getting through the day is an accomplishment in itself. Your daughters are so lucky to have you as their mother : )

    • Sasha L says...

      What a beautiful comment. Your child sounds so wonderful, so much to be proud of. Clapping for you and her both Oneida.

    • charity says...

      Oh my gosh..i don’t even know the kid and i’m crying. :) <3

    • Jessica Hetterich says...

      Well, THIS comment made me cry!

    • Tis says...

      Well. YOU make me cry. That is lovely.

    • Mims says...

      Oneida, your daughter sounds an old soul who will touch many people in her life with her quiet determination and dedication. You should show her this post, and especially these replies, to validate her “unseen” efforts.

    • Jessica says...

      Gorgeous. Save this for her.

    • Hemingway says...

      Oh Oneida,
      I have tears streaming down my face. This is exactly my older and younger son. You put this into such beautiful words in a way I never could. Thank you.

    • June says...

      This comment made me cry. Thank you for seeing your daughter and putting her loveliness into words.

    • Amy says...

      Well, that just made me cry at my desk.
      What a lucky little soul to have a mama like you.

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      This made me feel seen, Oneida. Thank you. Keep an eye on that daughter of yours. She’s a star.

    • Laura C. says...

      You have two wonderful kids, Oneida. I clap extra long for you and for them. <3

  5. Jesse says...

    Just a few of the many things that make me cry:

    Every time I leave home. If I’m not crying yet, then just looking at my dad’s tears will do it.

    Pride and Prejudice (which I have seen maybe 20+ times, and cried every single time). Moments like when Lizzy (Keira) is leaving Pemberley and Darcy takes her hand as she’s climbing into the carriage. Flooded with feeling.

    Blackbird, The Beatles

    • Hope says...

      WHEN SHE IS STANDING ON THE CLIFFS AND THE MUSIC SWELLS! Guuuh, I love that movie so much.

  6. Anna says...

    All these comments are so beautiful they’re making me cry.

    Things that never fail to move me – Little Women, Bolero, art galleries, Call the Midwife, watching parents with their kids.

  7. A few art experiences come to mind when I think of crying… Choral Evening songs (like at a Westminister Abbey or old church, esp if it is a chorus of children), Viewing Van Gogh’s Water Lillies (stunning) and the curtain call during plays/musicals (the crowd and actors beaming with gratefulness and pride!).

    Also, yes A Star is Born is so moving and I think “Always remember us this way” is even better than Shallows which I also love! Maybe it just speaks to me more! :)

    • Christina says...

      Abby, I agree! While I have had the whole soundtrack on repeat, I particularly love Always remember us this way!

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      Same. “Always Remember Us This Way” is my favourite song in ASIB. In my opinion it’s the best song on the soundtrack.

  8. Callie says...

    The Invictis Games are on here in Australia at the moment and I absolutely started sobbing watching highlights last night. It’s not just the capacity of these veterans to push through and compete, it’s also the way they cheer each other on. In one swimming race the winner stayed in the pool until everyone had finished and swam back the length of the pool to swim beside someone struggling, cheering them on. The capacity for kindness, for spirit is so beautiful and necessary right now.

  9. Marina says...

    Such a great post! Thank you!! Your dad is adorable. Our daughter tears up when she sings )

    So, so many thing are inspiring. These are the first that came to mind..

    Today
    https://www.wired.com/story/meet-jim-allison-the-texan-who-just-won-a-nobel-cancer-breakthrough/

    Always
    Listening Adagio by Albinoni. Every. Single. Time.

    Recently
    We lost our boy a year ago and since then my husband has been exploring the mountains nearby (grief work I suppose). Last weekend he took us to one of his favorite spots on top of the mountain with 360 degree view and I burst into tears the second I saw it. It was beyond breathtaking. He then screamed out our son’s name. My heart stopped realizing that second he goes up there to somehow feel closer to our boy.

    • jen says...

      Wow, that made me cry. I am so sorry for your unspeakable loss.

    • Rhian says...

      Sending you both very much love xx

    • Lizzie says...

      Thank you for sharing, Marina. The story about your husband is so achingly beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes.

    • Bonnie says...

      Marina – Warm, enveloping hugs to you. I cannot imagine the profound grief you have experienced and share.

    • Janet says...

      Thank you for sharing this. I am sorry for your loss and so glad for the moments on the mountain top, and that there are mountains to reach the tops of in times of grief.

    • charity says...

      Those last two lines took my breath away. My thoughts are with you. <3

    • shannon says...

      I’m sorry about the loss of your son. Sending love your way.

      You might like Lindsay Ostrom’s Instagram account. Their son Afton passed in January 2017 and she writes so eloquently about their grief process.

    • alex says...

      I want to cry and hug you.

    • Laura C. says...

      Marina I am so, so, sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine the pain. You have my prayers, sending you a big hug.

    • Jill C. says...

      I am so deeply sorry for the loss of your son….

    • Valeria says...

      You both are in my heart now, Marina.

    • A Martin says...

      Tears. My heart is with you and your family.

  10. Emily says...

    Peter Doig’s painting ‘Ski Jacket.’ I saw it at the Tate Modern and it actually felt like my heart was lifting – something about it is so warm and endearing. It’s amazing how our bodies can physically feel beautiful things.

  11. MariaE. says...

    I was sick, dealing with a lot and struggling with some serious health decisions to be made and I was overwhelmed and very down. One day, I was at the lab, in the hospital, waiting for a blood test and as soon as I saw the nurse and the needle, I turned my head towards the wall and there it was: This beautiful prayer hanging on a frame. Since then, this prayer has become one very close friend of mine and it inspires and cheers me up:
    Prayer of St. Francis
    Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
    where there is hatred, let me sow love;
    where there is injury, pardon;
    where there is doubt, faith;
    where there is despair, hope;
    where there is darkness, light;
    where there is sadness, joy.
    O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
    to be consoled as to console,
    to be understood as to understand,
    to be loved as to love.
    For it is in giving that we receive,
    it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
    and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
    Amen.

    • Mims says...

      hoping you are better now. I was raised Catholic and this was a favorite song at mass. Sarah McLachlan covers this prayer beautifully
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ

  12. Carolyn says...

    Oh, the video of your dad is adorable! (And he looks like Toby!)
    I’ve watched this video dozens of times since stumbling upon it earlier this year and it always chokes me up. It’s a recording of K’s Choice performing “Not an Addict” at a show in Antwerp (their home town) with a pop-up choir of about 250 people on stage. The sound is incredibly gorgeous, but what makes it so moving for me is watching the faces of the people in the choir – every. single. one. of them is FEELING it, especially a couple minutes into the song. The passion and conviction when this group of normal people sing is just so moving and so beautiful. It totally transformed a song I hadn’t even thought about since it was released when I was in high school.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vn-X148mF8M

  13. Nancy says...

    This quote from Celeste Ng’s “Little Fires Everywhere.” Whenever my children hug me fiercely, which is every hug, I think of this quote.
    Parents, she thought, learned to survive touching their children less and less. As a baby Pearl had clung to her; she’d worn Pearl in a sling because whenever she’d set her down, Pearl would cry. There’d scarcely been a moment in the day when they had not been pressed together. As she got older, Pearl would still cling to her mother’s leg, then her waist, then her hand, as if there was something in her mother she needed to absorb through the skin. Even when she had her own bed, she would often crawl into Mia’s in the middle of the night and burrow under the old patchwork quilt, and in the morning they would wake up tangled, Mia’s arm pinned beneath Pearl’s head, or Pearl’s legs thrown across Mia’s belly. Now, as a teenager, Pearl’s caresses had become rare—a peck on the cheek, a one-armed, half-hearted hug—and all the more precious because of that. It was the way of things, Mia thought to herself, but how hard it was. The occasional embrace, a head leaned for just a moment on your shoulder, when what you really wanted more than anything was to press them to you and hold them so tight you fused together and could never be taken apart. It was like training yourself to live on the smell of an apple alone, when what you really wanted was to devour it, to sink your teeth into it and consume it, seeds, core, and all.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my goodness, takes my breath away. thank you so much for sharing.

    • Charity Suzuki says...

      oh my gosh. i want to go hold my mom now.

    • Louisa says...

      Before I had kids, a friend of mine would talk about her grown daughter and say “I miss her. I mean I physically miss her.” And I thought “how strange.” And now I have a 4 year old and I already physically miss her.

    • Val says...

      I just finished this book and I loved this quote as well. How do good authors know the human behaviors and psyche so well?

  14. I’ve had “Exit West” on my to-read list for over a year, but I think it may be too painful to read based on some recent personal experiences. This may have inspired me to give it a try!

    Movie/television scores get me every time. An excellent one to try listening to is Season 1 of “The Crown.”

  15. Oh my, that quote from Exit West got me too. That whole book was filled with the most subtly beautiful, powerful sentences. It reminded me of a lot of emotions I felt when I lived in Honduras for a year. There was so much violence and hardship but there was also so much normalcy that existed by its side. My friends, all studying at university, still went to class. Families still gathered around the dinner table at night. The media never shows us this and so opening Exit West, reading Mohsin Hamid’s words and an entire book dedicated to showing us a more balanced, complicated, honest reality tore at my heart. So good.

  16. Laura B says...

    The Temple at Burning Man never ceases to break my heart into a million pieces while simultaneously healing those shards. The raw emotion, the beauty, the sadness, the hope, the joy, and the fear all mingle into an indescribable inspiration that rocks you to your soul. Every time I leave with giant tears rolling down my cheeks and a sense of the connectedness of the human experience. Powerful.

    • Valeria says...

      Oh Laura, Burning Man is one of my current daydreams! How many times have you been there? Please tell me more! Living in Italy with two young kids, I long for it from what it seems to me an unbridgeable distance, but I can tell that there is something there for me, or, better, that there is a piece of me, a sliver of mirror in which I can see myself dancing, hidden somewhere there in the dust.

  17. Kathryn says...

    Robert Young’s “For Thy Sweet Love” gets me every time. There aren’t many good recordings out there– Spotify and NAXOS have more than YouTube. I study music, too, and the rise and fall of the music, combined with the text… some of the most beautiful, personal music I’ve ever sung.

  18. I lived in Paris for 2.5 years, and I recently was able to go visit for four days. I renewed my membership to the Musée d’Orsay to allow me to skip lines, and then I realized members gain access to the museum 30 minutes before opening time. My visit coincided with a new Picasso exhibit, so although I was not the only member ready to enter early, I was the only one who went straight to the Impressionist wing. I stood there alone with Monet, Renoir, Pissarro…and cried. My hands were shaking and happy tears rolled down my cheeks. That space always moves me deeply, but to visit it completely alone was pure magic.

  19. Chelsea Hargroves says...

    Live orchestra music ALWAYS moves me to tears. I feel it so deeply in my soul. Also, the cover of “Hurt” by Johnny Cash. And the book “The Heart’s Invisible Furies” by John Boyne. It really is an “exquisite pain.”

  20. Alice says...

    Have you seen the clip of a toddler hearing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata? You should share it with your dad, Jo, a kindred spirit. Prepare for tears. (https://www.wqxr.org/story/watch-toddler-hearing-moonlight-sonata/)

    Today I saw this and it moved me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW_ZiojrkVY). Marion Cotillard’s face says it all!

    I’m always moved by Bach’s Six Cello Suites.

    I’m a writer and find inspiration everywhere, so much so there aren’t enough years to write what I wish to. Nature is inspiring, hugely so, and human acts of kindness, like the Baby Buddy old fella in Atlanta who goes to visit preemie babies and just holds them and sings to them, or the guy in Scotland who takes lonely elderly folk out for bike rides. I’m always in awe of the beauty of humans, and, to me, that awe reigns over the sickening violence and rage people are also capable of.

  21. Alex Ball says...

    Facebook. A post from our local Humane Society shelter about kittens growing up in cages made me go there and take seven of them to foster.

  22. Lilia says...

    This blog. This blog inspires me. :) It is one of the bright spots in my day (at a time when I and many others need as many bright spots as we can get). Thank you for the beautiful, thoughtful, and inspiring content you put out every day.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh, lilia, that means so much to us. thank you.

    • Laura C. says...

      The same for me, Lilia and Jo.

  23. Amanda says...

    My sister-in-law has been so happy, bubbly, and smiling the past few times I have seen her. This is so inspiring to me, as she is the primary caregiver to her husband who is suffering from brain cancer. They are both 27 and have only been married for one year. The fact that she can fully give her energy and her care to my brother in law and still have a smile on her face astounds me. They are both an excellent reminder to me each day that I can walk easily, talk without thinking too hard…to not complain. Don’t take your days for granted and tell your people you love them!!

  24. Lucia says...

    The things that have moved me the most lately have been those unexpected nuggets of raw emotion. For example, I can’t get this haunting duet by Brandi Carlile and Sam Smith out of my mind: http://elektrarecords.lnk.to/PartyOfOne. My heart cracks wide open every time I hear it.

  25. Caitlin says...

    My dad is not a super emotional guy (or at least not a crier by any means) but every year on Christmas Eve my family watches “It’s a Wonderful Life” and during the last scene when Sam Bailey gives a toast to his big brother George, “the richest man in town”, my dad EXPLODES into a puddle of tears.

    It’s now my favorite movie of all time (not just at Christmas–I can use that life-affirming message year round), and i’m sure part of it is the intense nostalgia it invokes. NO MAN IS A FAILURE WHO HAS FRIENDS!

    • Juliette says...

      I try to watch it every year and I cry every time. The first time I watched it with a very old friends we just held hands and wept <3 probably my favourite film ever, it feels like such a huge hug at the end!

    • Sasha L says...

      Thank you for this Madi, going to give a listen. Your recommendation reminded me of this interview with Fred Rogers, gah, it’s a big sob fest when I listen! I get choked up at the mere mention of Mister Rogers, and hearing his voice, just being so kind and wise, gets me every time. The recent documentary about him is wonderful too.

      https://dianerehm.org/shows/2016-12-27/fred-rogers-on-parenting-rebroadcast

    • Mims says...

      I have listened to this interview many times too. But his “live your life” makes me sad. Living our lives is killing the planet. We need to tack on a “mindfully”.

    • Louise says...

      Ohhh, me too! I heard it for the first time in December 2012 after a super hard year. It meant the world to hear such vulnerable, honest, warm words. Someone (Christoph Niemann) made a video with illustrations accompanying a portion of the interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TH2OaaktJrw. It’s so lovely.

  26. t says...

    there is so much beauty in this world and so many things that inspire me: imperfect instagram posts by friends where they are loving on their kids, A Little Life, throwing a surprise party for someone I love, hearing children laugh, music that triggers a memory, letting go of expectations, a good movie, posts by humans of NY, A Cup of Jo.

  27. Jen says...

    My dad is your dad in that dreamy way. I get my own tendency to be moved to tears from my father. I love it, actually. My kiddos are always saying, “Mommy, are you weeping?” I just catch my breath, nod, and reach for a Kleenex to blow my nose, so I can keep crying while I still listen to, or watch or read whatever simple or sublime thing it is that is temporarily taking me to this other plane of being.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh, jen. my heart.

  28. Amy says...

    My 11 year old nephew sees you right to the soul.

    The other week my nephew, niece and I were having a conversation in the kitchen about angels and how they are always around us.

    And then casually, he nodded his head at me as he whispered to his sister, “Like that one right there.”

    I’ve been trying to live up to his perception ever since.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh! that is so deeply touching, amy.

  29. Amy says...

    Watching my baby discover leaves moving with the wind took my breath away. There were some walks that turned into “stands” because she was so in awe of those leaves and I was so in awe of her. She’s still taken by the wind at 16-months old and I still marvel at her giddiness whenever it takes her breath away. She takes my breath away.

    On a different note, the discovery of Paul Potts singing Nessun Dorma on Britain’s Got Talent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnp-8GrHOIk.

    Call the Midwife.

  30. Jen says...

    HONY. Especially this week. It really captured every single emotion for me.

    And U2’s “With or Without yYou”. It catapults me back to my youth and sends chills down my spine.

    • Marlena says...

      YES! HONY this week has shattered my heart into a million pieces in so many ways.

  31. Jenn says...

    I’ve always said I must have been in an orchestra in a past life because without fail, every single time I go to a broadway show (even cheerful Aladdin) I cry the second the orchestra starts warming up. I cried for all of Celine Dion’s concert in Vegas, all of the Mamma Mia 2 commercials and movie and the Hamilton soundtrack. I wipe away tears pretending I have allergies– but I should be proud of my duende!!

  32. Rachael says...

    Joanna- I’m a student studying classical violin, and sometimes being a musician can be really hard! Sometimes it’s easy to forget why we do it. Reading your post and all the comments about how classical music has moved people made my day. Thank you.

  33. Meg says...

    Music moves me much the way it moves your dad.

    If ever I want to feel inspired in the day to day, finding beauty in normal life and love, this is what I listen to. Gets me every time (insert crying just thinking about it)…
    Freeze Frame Time · Brandon Rhyder
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRyHJXMG3lU

  34. Rue says...

    I had a playlist on an old iPod called “so pretty I cry”. I’d love to recreate that list. I grew up studying classical music, so it’s an all-classical playlist.

    One that’s stuck with me recently is the last sections of the piece “Amid the Minotaurs” by Roomful of Teeth, which is a contemporary vocal ensemble. There’s this line, “There is no subtlety in death, it’s like a hurricane” and the way the melodic line fits the words, just gut-punches me every time.

  35. Weirdly anytime I hear Taylor Swift’s “The Best Day” I get weepy. Sounds so basic white girl but it’s true!
    Allie

    • Bobbi says...

      I’m a basic white girl, too, Allie.

      I’ll play it at my wedding, I think.

    • Jessica Hetterich says...

      ME TOO ALLIE.

  36. Molly says...

    Ah I love when music or writing can bring me to tears.

    Some classical songs that bring me to tears:
    Late Summer Volker Bertelmann
    Longing Kari Bin
    Far and Beyond Charles Bolt
    Dawn (pride and prejudice) Dario Marianelli
    Oldie but goodie: Cannon In D Major Johann Pachelbel

  37. Mary says...

    The piano theme from Pretty Woman called He Sleeps always slays me. A few months into dating my first husband, I discovered he taught himself to play that song by ear. I didn’t even know he knew how to play the piano, and here he was playing my favorite song from my favorite movie. I remember standing at the top of the stairs just listening to him play, and with tears in my eyes, knew at that moment that I loved him. Fast forward two years, when we were planning our wedding, he secretly hired someone to write the sheet music (which wasn’t available) to the song so I could walk down the aisle to it. There is not a single good picture of me walking down the aisle, because I was sobbing (happy tears) the entire time. When I finally got to the altar, I asked the officiant to give us a moment so I could enjoy the music and the man who made it possible. When my husband tragically died 7 months after our wedding, the pianist played the song at his funeral. Just the name alone, He Sleeps, was so fitting and now whenever I hear the song, I’m reminded of my late husband, his talent and the lengths he went to to show me his love.

    • Rae says...

      Oh my gosh, you have me in tears. What a sad and beautiful story!

    • Bee Hogan says...

      Oh how beautiful! Thank you for sharing. Xx

    • This is so moving. Sending love.

    • kaela says...

      What a gift he was. Sending one of those good long hugs to you, Mary. xo

  38. jill c. says...

    Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams – i remember when I was in college and my professor introduced this piece to us. I remember seeing how moved he was and how moved i felt just listening to it – it has since been one of my all time favorites….to this day when i hear it I just soften a bit and get a bit lost in some dreamy state…

    also – on a lighter note…puppies – i have two young puppies (siblings) that i recently adopted for my two kids. seeing the puppies and my kids together is just an all over feel good feeling …. totally inspiring and makes my heart full. Not to mention when the kids are with their father (we are going through a divorce) the puppies bring me so much comfort and a sense of calm…they truly are therapeutic!

    • Katie says...

      Yes, The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams is absolutely beautiful. Whenever I listen to it, I picture myself flying.

    • Emily says...

      The Lark Ascending is so, so beautiful. I play the piano and my mom plays the violin. We worked on this piece on and off for about 10 years (!!!) and finally performed it for a group of friends a few years ago.

  39. Sarah says...

    The first time I remember being overcome with emotion was when I was very young and watched ‘The Land Before Time’. Littlefoot’s mother dies and I was stricken – the song at the end made me weep! I was so embarrassed even then of this deep feeling that I couldn’t control that was welling up inside of me. Finally in the last several years I’ve been able to embrace the fact that I experience emotion deeply and it’s nothing to be ashamed of – our culture can be so tough on tender hearts <3

    • C says...

      ‘The Land Before Time’ broke me! Like you I watched it as a child and I still remember pretending to go to the bathroom and then crying my eyes out.

  40. christy kruzick says...

    Sufjan Stevens’s song “To Be Alone With You” breaks my heart every. Same with Simon and Garfunkel’s “America” guts me like a fish.

    • Nicole says...

      Totally agree with “America.” Something about that song just hits me so hard.

  41. Danielle says...

    Seeing someone cry when you aren’t accustomed to it always moves me beyond belief. We had a dear friend pass away from cancer this month and seeing my husband cry just broke me apart.
    When I was a teenager I was invited to go on vacation with a friend’s family- I just needed to pay for meals. My parents wouldn’t let me go and I was so mad about it in a way that only a teenager can be. Later after I had stomped off to my room my dad came in and said that he was really sorry. He wanted me to be able to go but we simply didn’t have the money for it. My dad was a tough blue collar guy who never cried but he started crying then and boy did I feel terrible.
    My dad is flying out for a visit tomorrow. We never went on vacations growing up and I realized that this is the longest trip he’s probably had in 40 years. I feel teary just thinking of him packing his suitcase!

    • Kat says...

      I have to save the rest of this post for later because I’m getting too teary (at work!), but thinking about how much of their lives my parents poured into me and my siblings is so overwhelming to me that I can’t hold it in. This story about your dad is so sweet, I’m so excited for your time together!

      After my parents got divorced my dad had a bit of an emotional awakening and became very focused on letting us know how much he loves us pretty much all the time. Now he will write me (and my siblings) these very sweet, long emails about his life, day to day, things he’s excited for, and always closes with a very effusive, emotional sign off. Most recently, ‘Well that seems to be quite a lot of rambling on various topics. I’m so proud of you and love you all very much, dad xoxoxo’ – I love imagining him writing things like that, it makes me so grateful for him that I get weepy!

    • Danielle says...

      Oh Kat that’s so sweet! I do think that oftentimes that softness comes with age or a turning of events. My father in law is the same way. For most of my husband’s life he was very kind but pretty quiet/distant man. He had a serious cycling accident a few years ago, followed by my mother-in-law having a stroke and it’s made him much more emotional. The other day my husband was chatting with him on the phone and they were saying goodbye and he said “Tell Danielle I love her!” and my husband said “Well that took me by surprise!” You just never fully know the internal life of those close to you.

  42. PH says...

    This stunningly beautiful quote from George Eliot: “If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel”s heart beat, and we should die of that roar on the other side of silence. “

  43. I just finished Madeline Miller’s “Circe” two nights ago and it was one of those books where, after reading the last page, I just sat and stared off into space and soaked it in for a while. I felt so inspired by the whole story…the ancient myths come to life, the tension between gods and mortals, the beauty of humanity in the face of the divine…not to mention the feminist power Circe displays throughout her trial-filled life. I highly recommend it!

    • Lindsey says...

      I felt exactly the same way when I read Circe, so I finally picked up her first book, Song of Achilles, and let me tell you, that book made me WEEP. So, so beautiful and tender.

    • Jamie says...

      Oh, those last pages made me cry too!

  44. Louisa says...

    Oh goodness I needed this post!

    Science:
    Detecting gravitational waves is such a gorgeous thing. I can hardly believe we did it and it’s really real.
    Trees turn our exhalations into trees. This is also something I can hardly believe.
    And pictures of the cosmic microwave background. And just seeing the stars.

    Music:
    Candide.
    Brahms

    Motherhood

    • Sasha L says...

      Louisa, yes to all! Especially just seeing the stars…. Thank goodness for that.

  45. Laurel says...

    Anyone else crying from reading these posts? There is SOLID GOLD here people.

    • alison says...

      Yup. Sobbing all the way through.

  46. Renee says...

    This is on youtube and I am terrible at posting links. O Magnum Mysterium
    sung by Kings College choir. This must be what the angels sing when you enter heaven. I have never not cried when it begins, simply beautiful!

    • Ashley says...

      Yes – that version is sublime! I use it as my morning alarm music and love that it makes the start of every day feel sacred.

    • HH says...

      Yes! Yes! Yes!

      For similar reasons, the first strains of “Adeste Fidelis” on the Kings College Choir/Emma Kirkby album of the same title. Heavenly.

    • Laura C. says...

      I have sung O Magnum in a choir with my dad thirty years ago. It’s a very powerful song. Think of Carmina Burana. Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi is a classic. Try to hear it and not to be moved.

    • Becca says...

      <3 <3 I'm a choir teacher and sometimes my singer friends and I will pull up the PDF of the sheet music for O Magnum Mysterium on our phones and just start singing it, because we need a little bit of beautiful in that moment. I've sung it with strangers, with my colleagues, with my friends – in hot tubs, in parks, in college dorms. Can't wait for my students to be advanced enough to sing it!

  47. Brooke says...

    I’m pregnant and so most things, often surprising things, are moving me these day.

    Feeling my baby kick
    Every. single. episode. of Call the Midwife

    The other day I was given a massive parking ticket due to a stupid error on my part. The traffic cop gave me the ticket and then an hour later, came by my house and told me he’d made a mistake and just expunged the ticket for me! I’m not sure if it was my belly or just him being sweet but I could not stop crying about how kind that gesture was! First I was crying about the expensive ticket and then, with my faith in humanity restored, I was crying at the sweetness.

    Also, your father’s tears remind me of the Yiddish expression verklempt, one of my favourite words. It describes being overcome with emotion, to be moved. Beautiful!

    • Hadley says...

      I just finished the 2017 Christmas Special of Call the Midwife and cried so, so many tears. What a spectacular television show – it speaks to my soul.

  48. Stephanie says...

    Not to get too political >_< but I feel a swelling in my heart in the most recent wave of feminism in politics and everywhere for that matter. If anyone hasn't watched Abigail Spanberger's response to her opponent during the October debate I suggest you do – it took my breath away! I watched the whole thing and can't even vote for her! Also my toddler is learning to speak in full sentences and started saying "Mommy's work" when I am going to work – every time he says it as more of an exclamation than an explanation and I respond "YES! Mommies work!!!" Keep crushing it ladies.

  49. nora says...

    My family has had a bit of a rough year and the world is so dark. I find myself particularly in despair over migrant/refugee children. My children keep me going and force me to not give up. In September I won a local election and I was lucky enough to receive a Hispanic Leadership Award from the city’s council this month. I’m not tooting my own horn – when both of these happened my initial reaction was “I don’t know, it doesn’t matter.” However, having my four year old tell me “Mama, whoever voted for Obama would vote for you,” and then seeing my kids’ little faces in the crowd as I accepted a Proclamation made my heart swell. I’m not giving up.

    • Jackie says...

      So proud of you Nora. Keep fighting for us. It totally matters.

    • Vivian says...

      Congratulations. Good for you and it really does matter. Thank you. X

    • El says...

      <3 Congratulations on your win and award! We need exactly folks like you, thank you for running, supporting your community, and for raising your kids right :)

    • Maire says...

      Please don’t give up. This is amazing!

  50. Kelly says...

    Ann Patchett’s essay collection, “This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage.” Every one made me cry different tears, some happy and some sad, some driven as much by her prose as the content.
    I also tear up at English folk songs, “Take It Easy” by the Eagles, and watching the natural affinity between my Nana and the young kids she’s befriended.

    • Danielle says...

      That collection of essays is so wonderful!

    • Sarah Bauer says...

      I have to get my hands on those essays!

  51. Laura says...

    Sometimes by Sheenagh Pugh

    Sometimes things don’t go, after all,
    from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
    faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail,
    sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

    A people sometimes will step back from war;
    elect an honest man, decide they care
    enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor.
    Some men become what they were born for.

    Sometimes our best efforts do not go
    amiss, sometimes we do as we meant to.
    The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
    that seemed hard frozen: may it happen for you.

  52. Jen says...

    I cry watching races! It always sneaks up on me. I’m happily cheering and clapping for the runners and all of a sudden it hits me how hard they’ve all worked to be there and I get choked up.

    I used to run competitivly but I I think it’s mostly from a memory of watching my mom finish a mini triathalon. She was in her 50s and not an athlete, but had signed up to push and prove herself after a major health recovery. She was in last place by a lot but as I was cheering “Go Mom!” Someone asked “What’s mom’s name?” And the whole crowd started cheering for her by name. As she passed me near the finish line, she just beamed and yelled “I did it!”

    • Julia says...

      Such a beautiful story!

    • apollona says...

      Awww, that is so sweet!

    • Jackie says...

      This made me cry. For you, for her, for everyone to connect that way. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Kristin says...

      Jen, I do this, as well! It is so moving to think how much work goes into those moments :)

    • Sarah says...

      That is such a sweet story! I trained for my first half marathon last year and as this mass of bodies took off early in the morning through the deserted streets of Oakland I suddenly felt overcome with pride and wonder at all the people who had put so much into being there for that experience and it brought me to tears. I totally get what you mean!

    • Lindsey says...

      This story!! I remember seeing my first marathon, and just crying- I was so overwhelmed by how hard they had all worked, and their tenacity to keep going, even when it was hard, and how everyone cheered for everyone. I love that someone asked, “What’s mom’s name?” It’s those kinds of things- that cheering for others, no matter where they’re at, that really make me believe in the goodness of humanity.

    • Nicole says...

      I was also going to comment about races- I always, always tear up when I am cheering for people. Not sure why, because if I saw someone crying while cheering for me, I would probably be confused:) But, it’s just such a moving thing for me.

  53. Andrea says...

    A mentor recently shared this link with lots of food for thought, but I especially think about this part now and again when things seem impossible:

    “You come from a long line of people who have beaten the odds. You come from people who survived the plague, who by definition survived World War II and World War I and the Middle Ages and the Dark Ages and the Inquisition and the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. You come from people who crawled out of caves and created civilization. We come from an incredible lineage. But, we often adjudicate that legacy. We think, “Oh, I’m just this kid from the suburbs.” Maybe you are, but you’re also a child of the frontier or immigration or a survivor of war. Everyone alive right now survived the greatest economic collapse in modern history, which was only a few years ago. I guess my point would be, you’re stronger than you know.”

    https://theweek.com/articles/776081/secret-loving-life

  54. Claire says...

    Inspiration to lift my spirit is often very close, if only I can see past my worries to let it in. Outdoor beauty, snow, poetry, music, art. Lately I’ve been so inspired by Jonas Elrod’s story. And 7-year-old Malea Emma singing the national anthem was so uplifting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxyio0XfE4w&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR3dMTDcWPcC3gYZcb0dhRgAmPVZZjW2f6RRjDNJZ95h3Ma2px-J9JyFeBU
    As was her follow-up appearance on Good Morning America where she did a duet with her idol, Jennifer Holliday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esWrmuuOqTU&fbclid=IwAR1TJIEga-5xd_ZrEXRL7wlPn9q3t58xXfeRYBlg0PnHGQF9kjlFU03TIRE

  55. Kate says...

    Someday I’ll Love Ocean Vuong, by Ocean Vuong

    After Frank O’Hara / After Roger Reeves

    Ocean, don’t be afraid.
    The end of the road is so far ahead
    it is already behind us.
    Don’t worry. Your father is only your father
    until one of you forgets. Like how the spine
    won’t remember its wings
    no matter how many times our knees
    kiss the pavement. Ocean,
    are you listening? The most beautiful part
    of your body is wherever
    your mother’s shadow falls.
    Here’s the house with childhood
    whittled down to a single red tripwire.
    Don’t worry. Just call it horizon
    & you’ll never reach it.
    Here’s today. Jump. I promise it’s not
    a lifeboat. Here’s the man
    whose arms are wide enough to gather
    your leaving. & here the moment,
    just after the lights go out, when you can still see
    the faint torch between his legs.
    How you use it again & again
    to find your own hands.
    You asked for a second chance
    & are given a mouth to empty into.
    Don’t be afraid, the gunfire
    is only the sound of people
    trying to live a little longer. Ocean. Ocean,
    get up. The most beautiful part of your body
    is where it’s headed. & remember,
    loneliness is still time spent
    with the world. Here’s
    the room with everyone in it.
    Your dead friends passing
    through you like wind
    through a wind chime. Here’s a desk
    with the gimp leg & a brick
    to make it last. Yes, here’s a room
    so warm & blood-close,
    I swear, you will wake—
    & mistake these walls
    for skin.

    (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/05/04/someday-ill-love-ocean-vuong)

  56. Heidi says...

    My little girl was born around the time the song “Brave” by Sara Bareilles was popular. She was a micropreemie, born at 2 pounds, 7 ounces. The part where she belts out “Show me… how big your brave is!” makes me cry every single time. I’m crying as I type this, actually. I think I was attributing it to her being in the NICU for ten weeks, but also for me to be brave for her as she grew big enough to come home. Now, I play that song for her and she loves it… sings right along in her little voice. So proud of my brave girl… she is my inspiration!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh, heidi! now i’m tearing up! so happy for your little girl.

    • Sanaa Rahman says...

      this made me so happy and made me cry and I’m pretty sure will the next time I hear this song!

    • Estelle Lee says...

      This makes my heart swell. I was born a micropreemie as twins, we were 2 pounds 8 ounces and 2 pounds 4 ounces each and in the NICU for quite some time as well. Now, whenever things get tough or I’m feeling down I think about how I’ve come so far from the moments of birth with the love of my parents and family and how lucky I am to be living a happy and healthy life. Much love to you and your brave baby girl!

  57. Dani says...

    This feeling you’re describing is why I am still in my field of art history. I’m a couple of years into the very long road to a PhD, a process that in many ways is a form of mental and emotional punishment. At the hardest moments I can close my eyes and recall entering a museum or a church (or anywhere else that might be home to something called art) that made me wonder why anyone would spend their life doing anything else.

    PS Your article about children’s art reminded me that it’s twice as sweet when the artist touches your life as well as your soul.

    PPS On another note entirely, Joni Mitchell will forever and always give me this feeling.

  58. I’m in Texas and we are feeling the heaviness of the political climate really hard right now. My husband recently played Iron & Wine’s “Waves of Galveston” for me as we were driving, and by the end of the song, I was literally sobbing. There’s a line that says, “It’s too bad Texas leans to the least of us all, ” and it’s true. It just breaks my heart. But I do feel inspired by everyone here working so hard to change things, and I’m trying to do my best, too.

    • annie says...

      love iron + wine. such poetry. love this comment, too. keep working and hopefully we’ll get there. XO

    • Colleen says...

      I feel you. I get tiny boosts of hope though when I spot Vote for Beto signs dotting front lawns across the Houston area. It helps :)

    • escondista says...

      Find some rallies for candidates you support and you’ll find your people. I got a selfie with Beto yesterday and it really helped my wounded spirit. Texas is coming along even if it’s slow going.
      “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” -mlk

    • M. says...

      I’m in Dallas which luckily is growing more and more blue, but, there are still so many deeply entrenched conservatives such as my own family. What has brought tears to my eyes though, is that my street has Beto signs outnumbering Cruz ones by a LANDSLIDE, like, 3-4 Beto to every 1 cruz. and it gives me some hope for us. I lived in College Station during election year and that was soul crushing though.

  59. Alexandra says...

    I sing in a choir, and we had a concert with “songs of rememberance” very recently. The song that moved me most amongst all the beautiful song (to the extent that whenever we rehearsed it, tears came to my eyes) was “My Child is Gone”, an achingly beautiful anti-slavery song from the 1800s, sung by an African woman whose child is taken away as a slave. I still have the lyrics in my head, and each time I hug my children I think about it with gratitude, but also with sorrow, looking at the despicable border situation and families ripped apart there as well.

  60. Joanna, I feel your dad! I don’t have any background in music and the first time I heard Beethoven’s 9th it was with student tickets at the Boston Symphony Orchestra (another first). I had such a strong feeling that I started bobbing and sobbing at the same time. When my boyfriend asked me if I was okay, I looked around me and couldn’t believe all the quietly sober people in the dim light, yawning and suppressing coughs. Were we even listening to the same music!?!

    Now, I save it for really rare occasions so that it never loses its ability to make the sublime come into view and twitch inside me. It has the ability to calm my anxiety (I listened to it on Sept 27 for this reason) and lift me up beyond buoyancy.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s incredible, emma!!!!!

      “I had such a strong feeling that I started bobbing and sobbing at the same time. When my boyfriend asked me if I was okay, I looked around me and couldn’t believe all the quietly sober people in the dim light, yawning and suppressing coughs. Were we even listening to the same music!?!”

    • Rachael says...

      I’m a music student in Boston and hearing about people having such great emotional reactions to classical music reminds me why I do this <3 The BSO and Beethoven are pretty great, ya?

  61. Shannon says...

    So many lines in Exit West. I couldn’t get over the profound life observations he could craft in just one sentence. I have half the book underlined.

    I used to run and cry to Dog Days are Over, passing hundreds of people on the Lake Michigan path in Chicago. “Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father…”

    I cry when Everything Changes from Waitress comes on Pandora, which is usually when I’m bathing my kids.

    And Gaga does it to me too! If you’ve never seen her tribute to Sting at the Kennedy Center Honors some years back, it’s worth a four minute YouTube break. She sings If I Ever Lose My Faith with an artistry that is just so visceral… she brings the song to life. Even Sting is crying by the end of it.

    And now I’m crying! Love this post.

  62. Hadley Rolf says...

    I wonder if this is a particularly English characteristic. My dad – also a Brit – is so, so sentimental. He weeps almost constantly and almost always in relation to something that requires the extreme determination of the human spirit. (The chief example, any and all things related to the Blitz – I told you he was a Brit!) I now work at a school that was founded by a group of Episcopal nuns that, prior to becoming a school, was a convalescent home to children suffering from polio. There is a small room on campus dedicated to the sister’s original work with a sign reading, “We had polio victims in every room of the house. We had to give each child four hours of massage … it means we worked around the clock. There were 80 polio-stricken children who were carried into St. Anne’s. All but one walked out.” When I showed this to my dad, as expected, the tears streamed down his face.

  63. Ana says...

    What a good time for a post like this! With the news and state of things getting ever more depressing, it’s such a relief to turn towards what gives us a little bit of hope and sunshine! Quite a few of the comments made me teary, but in a good, renewing faith in humanity sort of way!
    A few things that wake up my soul –
    The second movement of Rachmaninov’s 2nd piano concerto
    Keith Jarret’s album – the melody at night with you
    Cheryl Strayed’s book Tiny Beautiful Things
    Tina Fey’s sheet-caking protest on SNL
    Maggie Smith’s poem Good Bones, and The Sky Bright after Summer-Ending Rain by Wendell Berry.
    A proper scottish Ceilidh night with a live band
    Wild flowers and morning light
    A dementia patient who desribed her grand-daughter to me as ‘her sunshine’

    Thanks for this inspiring post xxx

  64. Nina says...

    Most things with my son. He just turned 11. He’s in 5th grade. Those seem incompatible to me. 5th grade sounds SOOOO old. 10 (11 last week) sounds oh so young.

    Perhaps because my parents started their divorce when I was in 6th grade and by then I felt fully prepared (and needed to) take care of myself. My food. My clothes. My homework. I was doing it all.

    How can my child, who was less than 4 lbs 10 years ago, be so old? He can’t take care of himself! He just can’t. Or is it that I don’t want him to? I want to still snuggle. and have him tell me about his crappy day. and drone on and on about fortnite because at least he’s still talking to me. When he sleeps I stare at his face, seeing the baby he was and the man he’s becoming. And when he talks I hear my voice – my old, mature way of speaking…sometimes… coming out of him and I ponder if people will like him as an adult, will he be happy, will he achieve his dreams? What will his dreams be then? And I wonder if he will get stuck in those dreams and not realize that we can change – every day – we can change them.

    The idea that we can change. I’m taking a sales and marketing course. I remember when I was in law school – how my mind and way of thinking SHIFTED dramatically. It took those 3 years, and much heartache, but I processed information differently. Now this sales and marketing is doing the same for me. I’m amazed. The human mind. so powerful. Able to be so much…why do we limit ourselves? Almost 50 and I’m learning all new things…I hope I never say “ok mind, you’re old and you’re done” and I stop.

    • Sue says...

      Beautifully expressed. I’m a 30-something mom to two beans and I love the way you describe the way you stare at your son’s face. They are like the universe that way, vast and endless, still full of possibilities.

  65. Abbey Leroux says...

    I love this post. It is one of my top priorities in life to be open to inspiration like this every single day. If something hasn’t moved me to goosebumps, tingles, tears, or an irrepressible smile then I feel like I must have really wasted the day.
    You mention some subtle, poignant, seemingly small things and I really believe paying attention to these moments deepens and widens a space within us we can go to in more and more situations. For instance, I went to an unbelievably great inspiring rock concert last week (Arctic Monkeys — OMFG) and even though it was loud and there were a few thousand people, I felt like I was able to occupy that wide open space within me that allowed me to reeeeaaaalllly milk every moment in the same way all those more delicate moments happen. Somehow my body sustained tingly goosebumps for two hours! That’s inspiration!
    Also lately quiet nights in bed with dim lights, fragrant oil I rub in between my toes and soles, and Leonard Cohen’s last book of poetry “The Flame” has been buzzing me.

  66. Erin says...

    The beauty and magic of nature often inspires joyful tears. I get teary when looking at beautiful pictures of Lake Michigan or the woods and orchards and bays in the area of MI I grew up in.

    One piece of music I can’t not tear up to is Adagio For Strings by Samuel Barber. Every time I hear it on the classical radio station, my heart starts to swell and then breaks. It’s such an achingly cathartic piece of music- the crescendo feels like a ray of light shining down into a dark and vast cathedral. Also Buffalo Springfield’s Expecting To Fly. So much majesty and longing in that one. For some reason, I always think of gorgeous sunsets when I hear it.

    I rewatched the movie Contact awhile back and the scene where Jodie Foster’s character goes though the wormhole for the first time made me tear up with excitement, wonder, and awe! I had butterflies in my stomach!

  67. Ann from Buffalo says...

    I love that video of your dad. I cry to music in the car frequently so it made me laugh and my kids make fun of me for it. The Beatles’ “Because” gets me every time.

    • Brooke says...

      Check out Elliott Smith’s cover of Because, it’s so haunting!

  68. Lili says...

    Honestly, Purple Rain in almost any way, shape, or form can level me in an instant. Sometimes even just thinking about this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6KUTL0PXl0) of the cast of The Color Purple can make me cry so hard I have to pull over, JUST THINKING NOT EVEN WATCHING. Feels good to feel though.

    • jen says...

      Oh god, yes, Purple Rain and Prince. I cried and cried and cried when he died. It was like my sun went out.

      I’d forgotten about this Color Purple tribute – thanks for sharing. What extraordinary voices!

  69. escondista says...

    My mom died this January and I had miscarriages in May and then again this month.
    Lately, I have been looking for the positive stories; people who endured some of these sad, lonely, devastating events and came out on the other side with a happy story of weathering the storm and finding something good on the other side.

    • Anne says...

      Sending you love ?

    • Silvia says...

      You will too come out on the other side, sending lots and lots of love to you

    • Ana says...

      I’m so sorry Escondista. Wishing you courage and inspiration. You’re not on your own. xx

    • Laurel says...

      Also sending love from Australia. ???

    • molly says...

      sending you a big hug!

    • Sanaa Rahman says...

      I don’t know why you have been chosen to be tested like this Escondista, but I hope and pray that this year, you have completed your share of heartache for your lifetime and every other year for you is beautiful. I am so sorry.

    • Marina says...

      So sorry for your losses! Hugs

  70. Robin says...

    I saw an exhibit on Nelson Mandela recently and it slayed me. But I left so hopeful. He was in it for the long game.

    A few weeks back, Aminatou Sow shared a story reminding us that change is a long journey. We are holding a space from and for our ancestors. I want my ancestors to watch me and feel proud. And I want my children to carry on the work of being and finding good.

    So, I’m in.

  71. Amanda G says...

    Here in Colorado, one of the things I like to do is climb Fourteeners (mountains with summits over 14,000 feet above sea level). I am not a super dedicated 14er climber, but I have climbed eight of them since the first one I summitted ten years ago. And for the last few, regardless of how much I try, I can not help but cry when I reach the summit. The view is always so beautiful, and I have worked so hard to reach it, that it absolutely leads to full-on ugly crying. Even now, sitting at my desk, the thought of it makes me misty-eyed!

    • Betsy says...

      Just finished watching I Love All Lovely Things. Thank you for sharing. Chills.

  72. Kiley M says...

    Love reading what’s inspiring everyone! For me lately it’s been musicals that I listen to in the car. I’m pregnant so songs like Proud of Your Boy (Aladdin) and Dear Theodosia (Hamilton) really get to me.

    • Kristin says...

      Dear Theodosia always gets me too. Honestly, I often cry at the first measures of the first track now, just because I know what is coming.

    • Sarah in DC says...

      Dear Theodosia gets me every time. I attended the Keep Families Together march in DC in June and Lin Manuel sang it and I just stood there with tears streaming down my face. It was so very moving.

  73. Cassie says...

    I teach literature at a public university and have included Margaret Edson’s play Wit on my syllabus almost every semester. The play focuses on Vivian Bearing, a professor of English, as she comes to terms with her terminal oviarian cancer diagnosis. The audience watches as she is poked and proddded by insincere doctors and as she reassesses her own life choices. In, what is for me the most moving moment of the play, Vivian’s old profressor comes to visit her. The professor climbs into the hospital bed with Vivian and reads her the children’s story The Runaway Bunny. The moment is so completely heart wrenching and human that I cry every time (and I have read the play no less than ten times). My students, most of whom are only 18 or 19 years old, are so deeply moved by this tender moment that I am often more inspired by their response than by my initial reading. Their connection to the text reflects the complexity of human actions and emotions, but demonstrates an abundance of compassion and kindness. And for that I teach it, even knowing I will cry.

    • Stephanie says...

      I watched the film while in nursing school and I will never forget it

  74. Steph says...

    At the risk of sounding corny (this may also be due to the fact that I’m 9 months pregnant), my amazing family and in-laws inspire me to be a better person every day. Learning from their strength and unconditional love has recently moved me to tears on multiple occasions and made me realize how fortunate my husband and I are to have these people in our lives guiding and supporting us.

  75. Lindsey says...

    Listening to Bon Iver always makes me cry. As my friend’s kid said once (about Bon Iver!), “This sounds like my soul!”

    Also, I recently watched the Chef’s Table episode with Christina Martinez, and her story, tenacity, and care for other immigrants moved me deeply. I just sat on the couch and cried and cried. We need more people like Christina!

    • Renee says...

      Yes to Bon Ever and double Yes to Christina Martinez’s story! I’m right there with you.

    • Summer says...

      Bon Iver makes me cry also…

  76. Maryann says...

    I love posts like this. For what inspires you, and for what inspires all of your readers in the comments. Thank you for sharing.

  77. Natalia says...

    I recently going through an ectopic pregnancy, which nearly took my life. It was the second miscarriage I had. I took this incident really hard, I thought God is punishing me because I displeased Him in some way.

    A month after the surgery, I randomly listened to Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel and was sobbing uncontrollably while listening to it. I feel God spoke to me through the lyrics.

    The lyrics “Sail on silver girl, sail on by. Your time has come to shine, all your dreams are on their way” hit me really hard. That song changed my perspective towards the incident, and it gave me hope.

    • Justine Clark says...

      Sending you the most enormous hug.

    • escondista says...

      I had two miscarriages in a row this year. I am so sorry. I know how devastating they feel.
      You’re not alone even though it might feel that way and I’m rooting for you.

    • sally says...

      I never comment, but I just heard that song too and felt the same way. I’ve had a lot of stress, and untimely family deaths in the last year, and felt the same way.

  78. Ooooof that sentence from Exit West! Wow. That just punched me in the gut. Definitely need to read that.

    As for things that have inspired me/moved me to tears? How bout the entirety of “Won’t you be my neighbor,” the Mr. Rogers docu. Oh man, sometimes I wanna cry just thinking about how hard I bawled through that entire movie. (This coming from someone who DOES. NOT. CRY. AT MOVIES.)

  79. Sanaa Rahman says...

    I am a muslim but given the blur and insanity of young-working-motherdom, I have recently drifted about from my practice, until a recent evening after a particularly tough day when it felt like everything was falling apart (sick baby and husband, work imploding, nanny issues etc), I retreated to my bed, opened the Quran to a random page and the line “God does not burden the soul beyond its capacity” is the first my eyes fell upon. That affirmation that I can do it- so random and coincidental, took my breath away. Oh, and Cat Steven’s “The Wind”– those chords get me EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.

    • Nancey says...

      love this

  80. Cara says...

    My husband and I recently watched “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” and we were both so moved by it. Mr. Rogers was a beautiful person who was so wonderfully different from the world he lived in.

    Afterward I went to read his Darmouth commencement speech, which they briefly mentioned in the film. This quote from the end moved me the most: “You don’t ever have to do anything sensational for people to love you.” I think everyone should read that speech before they start each day—I certainly want to.

    https://news.dartmouth.edu/news/2018/03/revisiting-fred-rogers-2002-commencement-address

    • Megan says...

      I have never been in a theater where every single person was crying on the way out, but “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” was the exception. The scene where everyone being interviewed was asked to imagine how proud someone they had lost would be of them, and they all stated crying? MY HEART. People were audibly sobbing (I’m tearing now just thinking about it!).

      The entire movie was an inspiration to live with more empathy and compassion.

  81. Rachel says...

    We drive the same route to my childrens’ schools every morning (and have for years now), and we pass an otherwise pretty gritty little triangle where a giant flock of birds resides. The birds are always flying in the most wonderous ways, and it never fails to silence our otherwise noisy commute. There was a moment recently when my youngest took notice for the first time, and it was such a lovely moment to meditate on growth and change and routine.

  82. Una says...

    So as per usual I am the last to catch on to things (I only recently watched Call Me By Your Name and so had to go back into Cup of Jo archives to fully embrace the fan-girling.) I’ll check in this time next year when I’ve finally seen A Star is Born and I want to rave about it belatedly! But I’ve just started watching the Great British Bake Off And gosh I love it – for the food, but more so for the kindness and genuine warmth. My husband told me that he read that when contestants really break down, the hosts would go stand next to them and chant things like “Heinz Ketchup” or “Colgate Toothpaste” so that the footage can’t be used in the episode – allowing that person privacy in their moment of need. I don’t know if that’s true (always beware what you read on the internet) but I don’t care – it’s the idea that matters more than the truth of it. Especially now with all the division and heartbreak in the news, it’s thinking about those simple surges of kindness that inspire me.

    • Danielle says...

      Oh my gosh the warmth of the British Bake off! I love it so much, I just love the way that you feel like your rooting for everyone and even though they are competing that they are cheering each other on as well. It’s such a special show!

    • Shana says...

      Una, I loved hearing this story about the Great British Bake Off. I am choosing to believe it is true. I went through chemo for 5 months last year and had a lot of difficulty sleeping. I would watch it every night for hours. It was so “easy” to watch. Unlike a lot of tv or movies which inevitably end up with someone dying of cancer. Everyone seemed lovely. It honestly makes me weepy thinking about how happy watching that show made me.

  83. Sarah says...

    I go to “Good Bones” by Maggie Smith again and again for that fulsome ache in my throat.

    Those last lines:

    “Any decent realtor,
    walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
    about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
    right? You could make this place beautiful.”

    • Sanaa Rahman says...

      me too.

  84. Mallory Schulte says...

    I only recently finished A Little Life. I cried the last four hundred pages. The story was so beautiful. It also helped me see the beauty of my own relationships. Small gestures by my husband now move me to tears.

    • t says...

      Yes. A little life inspires me and certainly moved me. Oh my, so good and so hard.

    • Laurel says...

      Jude has gotten into my bones. I think about him as if he were real. That book wrecked me; I full on ugly cried through most of it.
      I’ve also made friends as a result of A Little Life. I’ve rarely read a book that felt like more than a story.

    • Anna says...

      Oh my gosh I came here to say the same thing about A Little Life. Laurel I ugly cried through huge parts of it too (my husband was like, what are you doing to yourself?!). Jude and Willem and Harold have stuck with me in a profound way. The lengths they went to love each other just broke me.

  85. Char says...

    The sound of rocks tumbling under the waves on our local beach, or beautiful sunsets move me. We made a lifestyle change and moved to Wales to experience those moments more often.

  86. Mary says...

    A group of young children singing elicits almost immediate tears from me. This is completely embarrassing at every one of my children’s concerts and pageants but the sound is so beautiful and innocent and sweet.

    • Marcella says...

      The children’s choir at the royal wedding!!!

  87. Prairie says...

    When people are able and willing to foster children. This act of selflessness moves me and inspires me.

  88. Marci says...

    I love all kinds of music, but I’m not a big fan of rap. My son shared Drake’s song “God’s Plan” with me and said, “You’ll like this one.” I did – big sobbing tears of love. I am inspired by Drake, LeBron James and others who give back to their communities. As one YouTube commenter wrote: “Most expensive video clip of all time: no champagne, golden Rolex, Rolls Royce, Lambo or Ferrari or naked girls in sight. Respect.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpVfcZ0ZcFM

    • Kim says...

      Oh man I was not expecting a Drake video to make me sob!

  89. Jo says...

    Looking up and seeing the sunshine through the yellow leaves as they gently move in the breeze is mesmerizing to me. It’s so comforting to know there is beauty all around me at any given moment.

    • Abbey Leroux says...

      I agree. It’s so comforting to know beauty will be wherever you look for it. Especially leaves in the breeze :)

  90. Natalie says...

    I finished East of Eden by John Steinbeck while standing at a bus stop in the middle of downtown Boston during morning rush hour. The ending unexpectedly brought me to tears, not because it was sad, because it so beautifully summed up what it meant to be human.

    • I’ll never forget that ending!

  91. Heidi says...

    “Shallow” of “A star is born” also moves me so much. My father used to drink and also tried to kill himself once (he is bipolar), so the whole movie made me very sad, yet I loved it so much.

    • Adrienne says...

      Yes to this Heidi. I grew up with an alcoholic father and had so many feelings throughout the movie. My dad passed almost 20 years ago due to his drinking and I miss him so much.

  92. Rachel says...

    Leonard Cohen ‘Vienna Waltz’ (inspired on a Lorca’s poem). I love the song so much and the poem too (as well as the spanish version of the poem by Silvia Perez Cruz). It touches my heart in hidden places.
    This also reminds me of a boyfriend I had, who had the most tender heart and would point out to me all these sweet moments in life. I used to joke with him that his soul was too much for him.

  93. Michelle says...

    Poem-a-Day from The Academy of American Poets (poets.org). When you sign up you get a poem in your email inbox every morning. It’s an inspiring way to wake up each morning.

  94. Christi says...

    A dear friend passed away a couple of weeks ago after a battle with cancer. At her funeral last week, her adult son gave the most beautiful and eloquent eulogy. The kind where you laugh through your tears. She was a librarian, and her favorite book to read to him and his sisters was The Giving Tree. He quoted it and it almost brought me to my knees. It was such a wonderful tribute to a wonderful woman and mom. That night, through tears, I read The Giving Tree to my own four-year old son.

  95. Katie says...

    This list of inspiration is life-giving! Someone mentioned Dvorak’s 9th Symphony and I second that! I also love Mary Oliver’s poem “Invitation” at the end where she says, in stopping for a minute to listen to the goldfinches:
    It could mean something.
    It could mean everything.
    It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
    You must change your life.
    (I always cry)

  96. Brigid says...

    My all-time favorite movie is “Beaches” and it has been from a very young age (I was sick a lot as a kid and when you’re the youngest of four, you get away with watching things that might not quite be deemed age appropriate!). I watched it recently and I don’t know what it is about it, but that movie causes me to ugly cry EVERY TIME. The songs, the friendship, the heartache…it’s just the best.

  97. Whitney says...

    Have you seen “Salt Fat Acid Heat”? That scene when she cooked with her mother brought tears to my eyes. Such a simple, poignant moment. The entire series was so thoughtfully done and well crafted.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Yes, Whitney! Agreed!!!

  98. Court says...

    When I was pregnant with my son, I got super into the Hamilton soundtrack. Something about it comforted me and I literally listened to it constantly. Once my son was born and even to this day (he’s almost two!), he is instantly calmed by me singing the lyrics that Angelica Schuyler sings when she heads off to London from “Nonstop”.
    Anyhow, I am currently pregnant with a baby girl and now any time I hear that little part of the song, I cry. While none of these are related-the overwhelming thoughts of how scared and sad Angelica must have been to go to London with her husband that was old ( and read: a total STRANGER!) and leave her family combined with that fact that I first heard the song when my son was in my belly and now he is walking around and talking and being a full-blown human person while I grow another one of those in my belly is just too much.

    • Lindsey says...

      Oh my gosh, I have yet to listen to the soundtrack and not cry. Sometimes I make it all the way to the end, but then Eliza sings, “The orphanage” and I break down. I also always cry when John Laurence sings “We’ll never be free until we end slavery!” The fact that there was a massive war going on, but he had the foresight to care about this other large, systemic issue (and fight for both) way before anyone else in the country did…it just gets me.

    • Cassie says...

      I relate to your comment so much and too would cry when listening to the Hamilton soundtrack (with both pregnancies!). But for me, it’s “Dear Theodosia” every time. I even tried to convince my husband to name our baby girl Theodosia ;)

    • Kristen says...

      The 5th graders at my son’s elementary school performed a couple of songs from Hamilton at an assembly last year, and Dear Theodosia almost wrecked me. It was a few months after the school shooting in Parkland, FL and just after the March for Our Lives. To have a group of children sing to an audience of parents: “I’ll do whatever it takes. I’ll make a million mistakes. I’ll make the world safe and sound for you”…man, it was beautiful and heavy.

  99. sarah says...

    i cry at (almost) every live concert i attend. the wood brothers performing “the muse” acoustic in our local theater is one of those moments i will never forget.

    others–signs from those who have this earth. i had two friends die almost exactly a year apart, both in their twenties, and i have yet to stand on a mountaintop since they’ve passed without seeing a pair of ravens (birds that very rarely fly at such a high altitude). i have seen rainbows periodically, most often on some of my hardest days, since one of them died. i have burst into tears more times than i can count from these subtle reminders of their presence.

    • Laura says...

      Wow, that is amazing, Sarah – now I’m tearing up! I’m so sorry you have experienced this pain, but how special that the universe is reaching out to your spirit in this way… thank you for sharing.
      Hugs <3

  100. Nancey says...

    We have a neighborhood here in MA called South Bolton and the people there are so happy and artistic and wonderful, recently we had a block party celebration to install a sign between two street signs that says simply ‘Happiness’ and it has an arrow in both directions. We had a local folk singer come and sing and play guitar, all of the neighbors brought food and drinks, and we had the Pastor come and bless the sign. I actually cried because he said ‘Happiness, it lives in our hearts and it lives here’.

    It took a bit of work to get that sign approved, but now it’s there forever.

    • Marci says...

      So cool! Brings together so many awesome elements: potluck + community + music = happiness :)

  101. Ana says...

    I’ve never connected with music or art as deeply as some people, sometimes I feel like I “don’t get it.” But I can think of two things that move me deeply: (1) The view from the top of some of the mountains I’ve hiked. I could probably prattle on for an hour about how lucky I feel to live near mountains and how I love that climbing them make me feel small and insignificant but also powerful and capable at the same time, and what an incredibly beautiful planet we live on. I do not think I will ever tire of those views earned through sweat and gasping breaths, and I view every hike in the mountains as a gift that I will cherish when I’m old and unable to do it anymore. (2) Watching accomplished athletes excel in their sport. Especially in sports I’ve never even tried. Lately I’ve been enamored with watching videos of Simone Biles. The power and control that she generates is astounding to me and it makes my jaw drop. Other examples are: Serena William’s serve, watching elite runners’ steady cadence even after 25 miles, and the bodily control and precision of the dancers when I go to the ballet. I am in awe of what the human body is capable of.

  102. Annie says...

    My seven-year-old daughter has started to cry at movies (CoCo, The Lego Movie, etc) and I love it so much because it means she’s emotionally connecting to it. She’ll say “I don’t know why, but I just want to cry!!!” or she’ll hide her head under her pillow and sob when it’s a particularly emotional scene. It’s hard for us not to laugh because it’s so freaking sweet. I cried in basically every book I have ever read, so she must be her mother’s daughter!

    • Annelies says...

      I love that! I still remember locking myself in the bathroom after seeing Little Mermaid for the first time. Sobbing “she left her FAMILY?!”

    • Danielle says...

      This!

  103. Emily says...

    This poem

    A Ritual to Read to Each Other
    BY WILLIAM E. STAFFORD

    If you don’t know the kind of person I am
    and I don’t know the kind of person you are
    a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
    and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

    For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
    a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
    sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
    storming out to play through the broken dike.

    And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
    but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
    I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
    to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

    And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
    a remote important region in all who talk:
    though we could fool each other, we should consider—
    lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

    For it is important that awake people be awake,
    or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
    the signals we give — yes or no, or maybe —
    should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

    • Lindsey says...

      Wow…thank you for sharing that!

  104. kash says...

    this poem by sandra cisneros, “god breaks the heart again and again until it stays open”: http://aaknopf.tumblr.com/post/159751886252/a-new-poem-from-sandra-cisneros-the-author-most

    and also, watching people give themselves small treats, if that makes sense? nothing will make me tear up more than watching someone alone buy themselves an ice cream or obviously slow down to walk through a nice park. people enjoying little small slices of life makes my heart feel big and broken at the same time!

    • Dawn says...

      Kash, this makes perfect sense. I recently ran into the father of a friend of mine. He was walking down the street with a giant ice cream cone and a huge grin on his face. He has a demanding job, a wife, and six kids but he stopped to buy himself an ice cream cone. Every time I think about this I tear up.

  105. Denise says...

    Right now, my latest favorite is “Julep” by Punch Brothers. So pretty, so quiet, so other-worldly, so this-worldly too, ultimately satisfying piece of music.
    Also, the sunrise & sunset during two weeks or so in Fall when they correspond to my waking and home commute in the evening are tear-worthy and heartening.
    Also, the rain. Finally it’s raining! It’s been far too sunny this Fall for my Oregon heart. Everything feels better when it’s rainy.

  106. Rebekah L Nowak says...

    “Dear Theodosia” from Hamilton gets me every time. It doesn’t matter if my kids are in the backseat screaming each other.

    • Cassie says...

      Yes! I just responded to another post with this same sentiment.

  107. Tracy M. says...

    Your dad is the cutest!

    My husband makes fun of me and I totally deny it, but I kind of subscribe to the Sunday edition of the NY Times so I can sit and read the Wedding Vows section while my children nap. Almost every story makes me choke up, and it is just such a nice way to spend an hour on the weekend. When everything else in the news can feel so grim, it’s nice to hear about all the wonderful people who are able to be together.

  108. Stacy S. says...

    The music video for Sara Baraeilles’ “I Choose You” always gets me. I watch it all the time. I love love! So much so that I picked this song to walk down the aisle to at my own wedding!

    Also, reading the comments on this post. This community of readers always have such heartwarmingly wonderful things to say!

  109. Gabriella says...

    I was lucky enough to witness Andrew Bird live at Stern Grove Park in San Francisco, not knowing who he was or what sort of music he played, I was torn to pieces by his orchestra and beautiful compositions.

    “Hover I” and “Pulaski at Night” by Andrew Bird can make even the hardest people turn a little soft.

    • Rebecca Silber says...

      I love Pulaski at Night. I’m almost crying just hearing it in my head right now. It reminds me of when I lived in Chicago right out of college, so young and confused, even though I didn’t know that I was either of those at the time.

  110. Cathy says...

    Paul Simon sing Bridge Over Troubled Water on SNL recently moved me to tears in light of all that has happened recently in the country and in our family- it really struck a chord.

    • Gaby says...

      I watched him live a couple of months ago and when he started “Homeward Bound” I muttered to my friend, “oh this song makes me cry,” even though it had never made me cry before that! Now it does though, every time. The girl next to me wept through The Boxer.

  111. Andrea says...

    Different scripture has a way of touching my inmost being:

    “My dwelling, like a shepherd’s tent, is struck down and borne away from me. You have folded up my life, like a weaver
    who severs me from the last thread.” Came to mind when I heard a former coworker died unexpectedly.

    “Cast your cares on Him, because He cares for you”. This pops to mind when I need it.

    I also love certain hymns. I love that communities of faith have recited psalms, read scriptures and sung these hymns I love so much for millennia.

  112. Wink says...

    Saint-Saens Gymnopedie,
    Chopin’s Noturnes
    Bach’s Goldberg Variations
    The Beatles (specifically “Because”)
    Matisse’s work
    Virginia Woolf’s prose
    My little boy’s incredible, vivid, story-telling.
    My own dreams.
    Is it odd to admit I am inspired by my own unconscious mind? I’ve always been a vivid dreamer with good recall and I must say that I never cease to amaze myself—even when the dreams are disturbing or terrifying. they never fail to interest me. If I have a few moments upon waking, I try to recall all I can. My son is the same way and we often regale each other over breakfast.

  113. Emily says...

    Oh also, I am re-reading Anne of Green Gables and Marilla’s silent love and adoration for Anne is so special!

  114. Eva says...

    My dad died a year ago when I was 22. He inspired my love of music, and now I tear up when listening to almost any kind of music. Last night, it was “Stars and Stripes Forever”. But anything from Dvorak’s 9th symphony (his and my favorite) to “Octopus’ Garden” by the Beatles. Thinking of him, I cried over the weekend watching the movie “Airplane!” with friends. It was a weird moment :)

  115. Ashley Marie says...

    Lately, it was the ending of ‘A Star is Born’; so heart-breaking! In the past, I’ve also been moved by the epilogue in Paul’s book, the scene between Elio and his father at the end of ‘Call Me By Your Name’, and rediscovering songs I listened to when I was younger and thinking about how far I’ve come. Happy tears, sad tears — it all feels good to let out now and then.

    • Claire says...

      Oh my gosh, YES. That scene with Elio and his dad just kills me. I also love the closing shot of just Elio’s face experiencing so many emotions at once…the book and movie are both so powerful!

  116. Becky says...

    Black and white photographs.
    A new roll of film.
    Song lyrics that are like poetry.
    Wilma Rudolph.
    Waking up early, as if the whole world is still asleep.

  117. Emily says...

    My most recent source of inspiration is probably A Star is Born. The song shallows is so moving!

  118. Dee says...

    At the moment I feel mostly anxiety for the state of the world so I’m easily moved to tears. There was a study recently that said most of the plastic in the ocean is from ten rivers mainly in Asia. It was used as an argument that Western companies should not pay a tax for cleaning up single use plastics made in the West. The next day a story revealed that’s because Western countries have been exporting our waste to these countries thinking they are sorting it. And they have been throwing it in the sea and incinerating it on our behalf. Most of what we recycle in our garbage ends up not being recycled because it is not economic for governments or companies to do so. Sunday Bolsonaro will be elected in Brazil and mining and logging companies are gleeful because it will be a free for all for them in the rain forest. Instagram promotes rampant envy and consumerism, the dichotomy between the saccharine fake way we want life to look and the dirt we are sweeping under the rug really gets me.. The world is going to hell in a hand basket, and what moves me is that we are so asleep about all this, I could weep for the ignorance of our species. Sorry to be a downer!

    • annie says...

      just want you to know: there are a LOT of people who are very much awake about this, myself included. yes, you have to work to find them sometimes—but like mr rogers said, “look for the helpers.” we’re out here, picking up trash on the sidewalks, taking care to wash out glass jars and plastic bags to reuse later, and generally reducing our carbon footprint by walking/biking everywhere (i don’t own a car) and taking care of what we have. solidarity!!
      (PS might help you to see what @readtealeaves, @litterless and @greenindyblog post on instagram.)

    • Dee says...

      Thank you! Suitably inspired now, as per the original post :)

    • Adley says...

      Wow- this is exactly how I have been feeling lately too.

    • Mims says...

      Dee, I feel this way all the time. I can only take solace in that I try to make choices that are less harmful than more. Vegan, one child, grow food, waste nothing, emphasize reduce and restore. But it just seems a drop in the bucket compared to the the juggernaut of consumerism. I try to enjoy each day and cherish the clean water that flows from the tap and, in small ways, subversibly point out how messed up it all is to those who will listen. Thanks for speaking your truth, more need to do the same.

  119. Sarah says...

    The Netflix documentary Feminists: What Were They Thinking? As other commentators have noted, it may be due to the times we live in, but watching Lily Tomlin et al from 40 years ago protesting and pushing for equal rights moved me to tears.

  120. Maggie says...

    My Mom recently decided to generously sponsor the online streaming of live concerts performed by our local philharmonic. In the interview they filmed to promote the online streaming she described how she experiences the emotions behind the music and feels she understand the story the composer was telling. She was surprised by the tears that came to her eyes as she talked about it. She wanted to help share that experience with people everywhere, some of whom don’t have the opportunity to attend a concert. Watching her, I couldn’t help but hope that children today will find that kind of connection to the arts. I think feeling that connection, whether it be with music or live performances or words, seems like a moment of meditation as it removes you from your day-to-day stress and allows you, for a moment, to just be in awe. Hand clutching your heart – like you said!

  121. Heather says...

    Lately, children’s books. I cannot get through Owl Moon; I get so choked up that I can’t get the words out. If my son asks for it at bedtime, I make my husband read it while I cry quietly into a pillow. I’m tearing up now just thinking about it. “When you go owling, you don’t need words/ or warm/ or anything but hope.” DAMMIT JANE YOLEN.

    • Alison Briggs says...

      Oh my goodness me too! I was reading my son We’re All Wonders and I could barely get through it! And I was just talking about it to some co-workers and started to tear up!

    • I love this comment!! Yes!

    • Blythe says...

      You should read “You Belong Here” if you haven’t already… oh my gosh. Brings both my seven year old and me to tears almost every night! It is so beautiful, so touching…

    • Duffy says...

      Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco. I can’t get through the last line without getting lump in my throat.

  122. Caroline says...

    My goodness, that video of your dad – that makes me cry beautiful tears!

    • Erin D LaDue says...

      just the sweetest

  123. Emily says...

    I find music so moving, and since we lived in Chapel hill, NC, for 15 years, country has become my jam. Kacey Musgraves’ album Golden Hour is on all the time in my house, and my girls love it too- they are age 8 and 10. We are trying to figure out a way to see her in concert and we might end up driving to Knoxville, TN to do so. I think this will be a perfect first concert for them. Kacey is so cool and soulful, and unapologetic. Her music is old school and new school at once- and in my mind it is perfection.

  124. Erin says...

    It’s crazy the emotions that music can bring out. I lost my dad to cancer in 2016 and any time I want to feel connected to his memory I put on Motown (his favorite) and it instantly transports me back to happier times.

  125. Sarah says...

    I just read “She Wants It” by Jill Soloway and am totally pumped. Her journey is so inspiring, it was just the read I needed this week.

    I want to burn down the patriarchy. I want to love more. I want to open my heart. I want my love to change the world.

    That video of your sweet Dad is just the best. xx

    • Denise says...

      I want to burn down the patriarchy too! Plus that other lovey stuff you said, but mostly burn down the patriarchy.

  126. Oh, and: My fellow New Yorkers, always and especially lately. There was a sudden, tremendous rain storm a few weeks ago, and I saw a young guy in a suit sprint down the block to catch up with an elderly woman rolling her husband and his wheelchair down the street…so he could hand her the umbrella he’d just ducked into a dollar store to buy for them.

    • Nancey says...

      I love this so much

    • Christi says...

      This is so beautiful.

  127. Heather says...

    I’ve been having a tough fall and actually don’t know how to answer this question right now, which is telling in its own way. Feeling a little stuck. I gotta work on finding some fresh inspiration…. Anyone else with me?

    • Dani says...

      totally with you Heather! It’s been a tough one at times.

    • gfy says...

      This quote:
      “Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.” ― Mary Oliver

      It has been keeping me going and I think of it at least once a day to keep my head on straight!

    • Em says...

      With you.

  128. It’s usually only a story that can actually move me to tears, be it a book or tv show or movie. This year I’ve been in a reread/rewatch mode (pregnancy side effect? I don’t know) where I’ve been rereading and rewatching my faves instead of seeking out new stuff. I keep reaching for stuff that makes me cry, too — I think I just need the outlet!

  129. L says...

    I started crying during that scene in last year’s Wonder Woman when she steps onto the battlefield and the camera slowly pans up as she literally shields an army of men, ultimately winning the battle.

  130. A few lines from Heather Havrilesky’s “Ask Polly” column from yesterday (https://www.thecut.com/2018/10/ask-polly-im-slow-at-everything-and-its-ruining-my-life.html) had me crying as I walked home with my groceries:

    “[Y}ou get to do what you do. You get to do things at your speed. There comes a time in every life when we are asked to stand up for who we are in spite of great fear. You can stand up for this.”

    The whole response thrums with compassion, but that bit just stopped me in my tracks.

    • MA says...

      Thank you for pointing this column out. Goodness. I will think about that for awhile.

  131. Elizabeth says...

    Lovely post, Joanna.

    Something that made me cry: Maurice Sendak’s interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air a few years ago made me pull over on the side of the road and sob (and I rarely cry).

    And I could cry after reading the citation of Mohsin Hamid’s book, thinking of a University of Utah student, Lauren McClusky, murdered two days ago by a convicted rapist, as she headed toward her dorm after a night class. No place seems safe anymore.

    • Abbey Leroux says...

      That interview! I remember weeping while listening to that too.

  132. Annelies says...

    Your dad is so sweet! I cry easily and often just witnessing every day interactions. I was at a farmers market recently, sitting at a picnic table eating sandwiches with my mom and husband. I spotted an elderly couple swaying and dancing to a busker’s music with what must have been their new grandbaby in their arms. They were SO happy and lit up from within, looking from each other to the baby…their daughter was standing by the stroller looking on. I choked on a sob, it was just too sweet. My mom and husband patted my back and chuckled as they kept eating their sandwiches.

    • Alison Briggs says...

      Just reading your description of this made me tear up. That is so beautiful and I love that you stopped to notice it!

  133. Erica says...

    Beautiful post!
    Am I the only one that seems to have periods of time where I feel like a LOT of things are inspiring and impactful to me, and then other times I haven’t felt that way about anything in a while? Fortunately though, lately there have been two things: the new song Suspirium by Thom Yorke, it’s haunting and beautiful to me and I’ve been listening to it on repeat while walking around the city. And I’m finally reading the Handmaid’s Tale.. talk about profound!

  134. Soppu says...

    <3

  135. laura says...

    That last song in LaLaLand with the montage!!! every once in a while I’ll blast it when I’m driving alone in my car and I just start sobbing. It’s so cathartic. Also, a really cute dog.

    • Wow…so agree with you about the La La Land song! I just love that movie, and the music in it is beautiful.

    • Emily says...

      Yes! That montage is so beautiful and heartbreaking.

  136. Isabel says...

    I love this! Art and photography really moves me, to the point of tears sometimes.

    PS: I am a native Spanish speaker and “duende” usually means elf or goblin. I didn’t know about that it always meant painfully exquisite.

    • Laura C. says...

      Never heard of the “Andalusian duende”, Isabel? ;)

  137. Rachel says...

    Carmen Maria Machado’s “Her Body and Other Parties”, specifically the first story, “The Husband Stitch”. I think I read the last few paragraphs ten times and I still couldn’t believe what I was reading.

    Small bouts of activism in my neighborhood — little handwritten RESIST signs posted in windows, lemonade sales benefitting social justice causes.

    This work by Do Ho Suh currently on view at the Brooklyn Museum: https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/one_do_ho_suh

    • gfy says...

      ooo that exhibit is goood! Thx!

  138. Chandra says...

    I believe more and more that your 30s are about crying at screens. Lately everything brings me to tears…maybe it’s anxiety of the current state of political affairs and/or just growing up and becoming more in tune with my emotions but recently the most moving thing for me was a kind message from a friend that simply said “ I care for you and I care about what you deal with.” It was admission that even though we live wildly different lives she sees me and that my experience through the world is challenging in ways she cannot imagine. It meant a lot to me considering all that we’re enduring.

  139. Danielle says...

    The other day I was stopped at a stoplight, and I saw the kindest-looking Asian man and his 7-year-old-ish son trying to decide if they had enough time to cross the street before the timer ran out. They decided to run for it, and they grabbed each other’s hands and sprinted across the street. The little boy had pure GLEE on his face while they ran and his hair was flapping up and down. When they made it just in time, they high-fived and the dad pulled his kid in for a quick face-nestled-in-stomach hug. They looked so happy to be together. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen all year; it made me cry.

    • Carrie says...

      It almost makes me want to cry just reading your recount of it. So precious.

    • Jeannie Pham says...

      This story made me cry, and be warm all over!

    • Dvluu7 says...

      Reading this made me tear up. Thank you.

    • Andrea says...

      Wow, even your account of this makes me cry! Thank you for sharing

    • Erin G. says...

      Just reading about it made me cry! Beautiful.

    • Karen says...

      That’s beautiful.

    • Ditto w/Carrie. Watching people light each other up is The Best.

  140. Fridit says...

    Music. There’s music so beautiful to me that I feel my heart grow tender—if that makes any sense. But I’ve only been moved to tears once, when a friend played Clair de Lune on the piano for a couple of us and it was so beautiful, I teared up (which surprised me so much I thought I was crazy haha).

  141. Toni says...

    Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. It never fails to move me to tears. The music alone is all it takes.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh yes!

  142. Bren says...

    Your dad sounds so sweet! My dad has become so tender hearted in his older age as well. The last time my parents visited he was holding my daughter (she is 2 and is my little mini me) and she was just being her hilarious self trying to make everyone laugh, and I just saw the tears well up in my dad’s eyes. It’s like you could see him going back in time as he watched her. “Don’t wish these days away” he said. “These are the best days of your life.”

    • Diana says...

      this made me tear. happy tears.

    • Amanda says...

      Openly weeping at my desk because I can imagine my father doing the same. All the feels!

    • Katherine says...

      As the mom of an occasionally-difficult 14 month-old, that last sentence slayed me. Crying desk tears right now…

  143. Allie says...

    My brother has been going through some really dark times recently struggling with substance abuse/depression/his type 1 diabetes and more. I’ve been trying my best to be a rock for him – and when I listen to ‘You Will Be Found’ from Evan Hansen in my car, the tears start to flow. Such a sad, yet hopeful tune.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh, allie, that’s so moving. i”ll be thinking of you and rooting for your brother during these hard times.

    • Carrie says...

      Sorry you’re going through that Allie. I struggled with depression and substance abuse for 4 years during my early 20’s and I am now 5 years clean and my life in every way, shape and form is different from what it was. Sometimes I doesn’t even feel like those memories belong to me because things are so much better now. I don’t really know exactly how I moved past it all other than just knowing full well that the oppressive misery I put myself in did NOT have to be my reality. Plus I fully believe you have to move as far away from any/all connections as possible. Sever every tie and never look back.

  144. Carrie says...

    One small thing, among so many things, is Max Richter’s re-composition of Vivaldi’s Spring 1. It fills me completely with profound gratitude and joy for life. Amazing indeed what music is capable of.

    • Hayley says...

      oh my god, thank you so so much for mentioning this. I am listening right now and it is mind blowing.

    • Sarah says...

      I was going to mention this one too! One of my faves.

    • Carrie says...

      Hayley, I’m so glad you like it. It is one of the most moving pieces of music I’ve ever heard- I hope everyone gets a chance to listen to it!

    • Natalie says...

      Just added it to my happy playlist:) thank you for sharing!