Friday, November 17, 2017

It is important to stay sweet and loving





















Tenderness and Rot
Kay Ryan

Tenderness and rot 
share a border. 

And rot is an 
aggressive neighbor 
whose iridescence 
keeps creeping over. 

No lessons 
can be drawn 
from this however. 

One is not 
two countries. 
One is not meat 
corrupting. 

It is important 
to stay sweet 
and loving.

From here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Choice between Bitterness and Generosity



















There are people who give what they themselves have not received. As Michael Ondaatje said, "There are those destroyed by unfairness and those who are not.” The choice is ours.

Yet another amazing story from The Humans of Bombay:

“I lost my mother when I was 5 years old. Those days were hard — my sister went off to boarding school and I was raised at my aunt’s house — but I missed my mother terribly. You know, if it’s your own mother, anytime you’re hungry you can say, ‘Mumma, I’m hungry’ and she’ll make something for you — but I grew up eating at strict meal times, craving my mother’s hand food.

I led a normal life after — went to school, Technical college, worked at a catering company in Libya after and then moved to Bombay in 1987. I established a real estate business in Borivali and an agency of about 250 nurses and ward boys that look after the elderly. Life was good — my son was settled and my wife and I were happy, but something at the back of my mind kept bothering me — the memories from my childhood didn’t leave. I kept telling my wife that I need to do something more to sleep well at night and after a few discussions she said, ‘why don’t we try and do something for the senior citizens who don’t have the luxury of a hot, home cooked meal?’ Having lost my mother at such an early age, I couldn’t imagine her not having a hot meal, when she was old and needed it the most.

Within a few days, my wife and I located 5 senior citizen couples who were in very bad shape and told them that from November 14th, 2013 they would have nothing to worry about and that we would deliver their meals to them. With 5000 Rupees and a heart full of love — my wife and I began our journey. Within the first week we knew that we would do this forever — the joy we had while watching them lick their fingers and sleep on a full stomach was unparalleled.

Since then, we deliver food to 56 senior citizens every day — we’ve hired two cooks who wake up at 5:30 every morning and along with my wife make about 300 chapatis everyday! Together, we don’t just prepare food; it’s soul food – with less salt, less oil, less ghee, in order to suit their special needs. We’re simple people, with simple needs — we operate out of our 1BHK home and use all our savings towards this without any regrets. What are we going to do with a bigger house or putting our money in the stock market? What about the people living today? What about those who raised us? When we can help out an old helpless couple whose maid ran away, or senior citizens abandoned by their own children— it is a life well lived…a life worth living.”

From here: https://www.facebook.com/humansofbombay/photos/a.188058468069805.1073741828.188056068070045/739376439604669/?type=3&theater

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Radical generosity, and Euphoros

"The Greek word for the state of happiness is 'euphoria,' and the noun 'euphoros' means the bearer of goodness. One of the fundamental elements to finding euphoria is to be that euphoros -- bearer of goodness -- for yourself and for others. This means radical generosity, starting with yourself.

If we see ourselves as the bearers of good, wherever we go we will create an atmosphere of goodness around us, and we will spread a sense of well-being to others. We will start to do good things for ourselves without thinking about it, and we will start having good thoughts about ourselves.

We will experience positive emotions and produce positive outcomes because we will be connecting to our innate goodness. And from that place we will bring it to others."

Agapi Stassinopoulos

http://www.megfee.com/megfee/2015/11/4/goodness

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Wouldn't that be so much nicer?

Nuthatch

What if a sleek, grey-feathered nuthatch
flew from a tree and offered to perch
on your left shoulder, accompany you

on all your journeys? Nowhere fancy,
just the brief everyday walks, from garage
to house, from house to mailbox, from
the store to your car in the parking lot.

The slight pressure of small claws
clasping your skin, a flutter of wings
every so often at the edge of vision.

And what if he never asked you to be
anything? Wouldn't that be so much
nicer than being alone? So much easier
than trying to think of something to say?

Kirsten Dierking

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Astonished


























In an Hour We Live a Lifetime

Walking the world of dry leaves
and rickety bridges,
there as in old letters,
we marvel at the things
we once knew that we have
just recently discovered—
How new it all is again.

How we orbit the same sun
every day and still
can be astonished
by the way things
shine.

Rosemerry Trommer

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Caring, an Act of Rebellion

We are Mad You are Sane

Do you know what I
Love most about you?
That you care.

That you care fanatically
About those things the rest of us
Have forgotten or sold our souls on.

In a world deadened
By cynicism, by laziness,
By emotional detachment
That passes off as wisdom,
Your kind of obsessive caring
Is an act of rebellion.

Don’t ever think
Or let anyone tell you
That you’re oversensitive.

I sometimes think you may be
The only sane one among us.;
Guarding your heart from
An epidemic of elasticity;
Elastic explanations.
Elastic ambitions.
Elastic morals.

So this is what I want to tell
You this morning:
We are easy-spirited
Because we have lost our way.

You are heavy-hearted
Because you are holding your ground.
We are mad.
You are sane.

Never change.

Philip John

https://www.facebook.com/Labyrinths.PhilipJohn/photos/a.1456617284574306.1073741827.1452843378285030/1810841775818520/?type=3&theater

A wealth not dependent on possessions

Journeying god
Traditional (Ghana)

Journeying god,
pitch your tent with mine
so that I may not become deterred
by hardship, strangeness, doubt.

Show me the movement I must make
towards a wealth not dependent on possessions,
towards a wisdom not based on books,
towards a strength not bolstered by might,
towards a god not confined to heaven.

Help me to find myself as I walk in others' shoes.

Prayer song from Ghana, traditional, translator unknown

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

On a Day when Hostility Rules the News

And even as the countries aim their missiles at each other
and dangle threats and hurl names, the woman
in the hair salon gives you a deal because
in an hour you’ve shared dreams, shared fears.

And the bus driver helps you find your way.
And the tall man in the grocery store sees you reaching
for a box on the top shelf and offers to hand it to you.

Even as the congress argues and quarrels and stalls,
the little blonde boy you barely know snuggles into your lap
and tells you he loves you. Kindness continues to thrive,
Kindness breeds more kindnesses. Kindness

reminds you again that wherever you are,
you are home, that the world you most want
to live in is right here at the kitchen table,
right here on the noisy, crowded street.
Rosemerry Trommer

https://ahundredfallingveils.com/2017/08/27/on-a-day-when-hostility-rules-the-news/

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Be ignited, or be gone

 




















What I Have Learned So Far

Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I
not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside,
looking into the shining world? Because, properly
attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion.

Can one be passionate about the just, the
ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit
to no labor in its cause? I don't think so.

All summations have a beginning, all effect has a
story, all kindness begins with the sown seed.

Thought buds toward radiance. The gospel of
light is the crossroads of -- indolence, or action.

Be ignited, or be gone.

Mary Oliver

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Kindness

"It's not just children who are childlike. Adults, too, are - beneath the bluster - intermittently playful, silly, fanciful, vulnerable, hysterical, terrified, pitiful and in search of consolation and forgiveness.

We're well versed at seeing the sweet and the fragile in children and offering them help and comfort accordingly. Around them, we know how to put aside the worst of our compulsions, vindictiveness and fury. We can recalibrate our expectations and demand a little less than we normally do; we're slower to anger and a bit more aware of unrealized potential.

We readily treat children with a degree of kindness that we are oddly and woefully reluctant to show to our peers.

It is a wonderful thing to live in a world where so many people are nice to children. It would be even better if we lived in one where we were a little nicer to the childlike sides of one another. "

Page 119, 'The Course of Love', Alain de Botton

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Love





















​"The child teaches the adult something else about love: that genuine love should involve a constant attempt to interpret with maximum generosity what might be going on, at any time, beneath the surface of difficult and unappealing behaviours.

The parent has to second-guess what the cry, the kick, the grief and the anger is really about. And what marks out this project of interpretation - and makes it so different from what occurs in the average adult relationship - is its charity.

Parents are apt to proceed from the assumption that their children, though they may be troubled or in pain, are fundamentally good. As soon as the particular pin that is jabbing them is correctly identified, they will be restored to native innocence. When children cry, we don't accuse them of being mean or self-pitying, we wonder what has upset them. When they bite, we know they must be frightened or momentarily vexed. We are alive to the insidious effects that hunger, a tricky digestive tract or a lack of sleep may have on mood.

How kind we would be if we managed to import even a little of this instinct into adult relationships - if here, too, we could look past the grumpiness and viciousness and recognize the fear, confusion and exhaustion which almost invariably underlie them. This is what it would mean to gaze upon the human race with love."​

Page 110, 'The Course of Love', Alain de Botton

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Caretake This Moment

Caretake this moment.
Immerse yourself in its particulars.
Respond to this person, this challenge, this deed.
Quit the evasions.
Stop giving yourself needless trouble.

It is time to really live; to fully inhabit the situation you happen to be in now.
You are not some disinterested bystander.
Exert yourself.

Respect your partnership with providence.
Ask yourself often, How may I perform this particular deed
such that it would be consistent with and acceptable to the divine will?
Heed the answer and get to work.

When your doors are shut and your room is dark you are not alone.
The will of nature is within you as your natural genius is within.
Listen to its importunings.
Follow its directives.

As concerns the art of living, the material is your own life.
No great thing is created suddenly.
There must be time.
Give your best and always be kind.

Epictetus (Epictetus: The Art of Living a New Interpretation by Sharon Lebell)
 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Content



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

This Morning

I watched the sun moving round the kitchen,
an early spring sun that strengthened and weakened,
coming and going like an old mind.

I watched like one bedridden for a long time
on their first journey back into the world
who finds it enough to be going on with:

the way the sunlight brought each possession in turn
to its attention and made of it a small still life:
the iron frying pan gleaming on its hook like an ancient find,
the powdery green cheek of a bruised clementine.

Though more beautiful still was how the light moved on,
letting go each chair and coffee cup without regret
the way my grandmother, in her final year, received me:

neither surprised by my presence, nor distressed by my leaving,
content, though, while I was there.
 
Esther Morgan

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Imagine yourself a caterpillar

"Imagine yourself a caterpillar.
There's an awful shrug and, suddenly,

You're beautiful for as long as you live."

Stephen Dunn

http://www.occupypoetry.net/poem_for_people_that_are_understandably_too_busy_to_read_poetry

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Take the present, the future’s no one’s affair

Ode I. 11

Leucon, no one’s allowed to know his fate,
Not you, not me: don’t ask, don’t hunt for answers
In tea leaves or palms. Be patient with whatever comes.

This could be our last winter, it could be many
More, pounding the Tuscan Sea on these rocks:

Do what you must, be wise, cut your vines
And forget about hope. Time goes running, even
As we talk. Take the present, the future’s no one’s affair.

Horace, 'The Essential Horace', edited and translated by Burton Raffel
 

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