Tuesday, January 10, 2017

You are standing in the sky

























“Look at your feet. You are standing in the sky. When we think of the sky, we tend to look up, but the sky actually begins at the earth. We walk through it, yell into it, rake leaves, wash the dog, and drive cars in it. We breathe it deep within us. With every breath, we inhale millions of molecules of sky, heat them briefly, and then exhale them back into the world.”

Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses

From here.

Monday, January 9, 2017

A tree stands there

























"Every year a given tree creates absolutely from scratch ninety-nine percent of its living parts. Water lifting up tree trunks can climb one hundred and fifty feet an hour; in full summer a tree can, and does, heave a ton of water every day. A big elm in a single season might make as many as six million leaves, wholly intricate, without budging an inch; I couldn't make one.

A tree stands there, accumulating deadwood, mute and rigid as an obelisk, but secretly it seethes, it splits, sucks and stretches; it heaves up tons and hurls them out in a green, fringed fling.

No person taps this free power; the dynamo in the tulip tree pumps out even more tulip tree, and it runs on rain and air."

Annie Dillard

http://transactionswithbeauty.com/home/gjxphz9aa362sj5psh3jw2dzl36egd

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Trees, Curators of Time

"Time is kept and curated in different ways by trees, and so it is experienced in different ways when one is among them. This discretion of trees, and their patience, are both affecting.

It is beyond our capacity to comprehend that the American hardwood forest waited seventy million years for people to come and live in it, though the effort of comprehension is itself worthwhile.

It is valuable and disturbing to know that grand oak trees can take three hundred years to grow, three hundred years to live and three hundred years to die. Such knowledge, seriously considered, changes the grain of the mind."

Robert Macfarlane, 'The Old Ways: A Journey On Foot'

https://www.facebook.com/SometimesIWriteSometimesIAm/photos/a.210068335788867.45859.210048145790886/431155687013463/?type=3&theater

On a related note:

Britain's mightiest oak: A staggering 1,046 years old, it's still going strong: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3685614/Britain-s-mightiest-oak-staggering-1-046-years-old-s-going-strong-getting-bit-stout-middle.html

Saturday, December 31, 2016

A New Life

























I can scarcely wait till tomorrow
when a new life begins for me,
as it does each day,
as it does each day.

from 'The Round', Stanley Kunitz

https://readalittlepoetry.wordpress.com/2016/12/31/the-round-by-stanley-kunitz

Friday, December 30, 2016

But everything glorious is around us already



























All That Is Glorious Around Us

is not, for me, these grand vistas, sublime peaks, mist-filled
overlooks, towering clouds, but doing errands on a day
of driving rain, staying dry inside the silver skin of the car,
160,000 miles, still running just fine. Or later,

sitting in a café warmed by the steam
from white chicken chili, two cups of dark coffee,
watching the red and gold leaves race down the street,
confetti from autumn's bright parade. And I think

of how my mother struggles to breathe, how few good days
she has now, how we never think about the glories
of breath, oxygen cascading down our throats to the lungs,
simple as the journey of water over a rock. It is the nature

of stone / to be satisfied / writes Mary Oliver, It is the nature
of water / to want to be somewhere else, rushing down
a rocky tor or high escarpment, the panoramic landscape
boundless behind it. But everything glorious is around

us already: black and blue graffiti shining in the rain's
bright glaze, the small rainbows of oil on the pavement,
where the last car to park has left its mark on the glistening
street, this radiant world.

Barbara Crooker

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Perpetual Becoming

"Indeed, even though all monks are committed to the same task, deep down - as doctors or hospital construction workers are - the details of their practice are as different as their wildly divergent times and cultures.

A Christian generally longs to be rooted in the home he's found in God; the Buddhist, more concerned with uncovering potential, is more interested in experiments and inquiries, always pushing deeper.

In fact Christianity works from very uncertain beginnings toward a specific end (redemption and a life with God); Buddhism starts with something very specific (the Buddha and the reality of the suffering he saw) and moves toward an always uncertain future (even after one has attained Nirvana). The image of the open road speaks for a perpetual becoming."

Page 140.
'The Open Road - The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama'
Pico Iyer

Monday, December 26, 2016

I am speaking to you

Making the House Ready for the Lord
Mary Oliver

Dear Lord, I have swept and I have washed but
still nothing is as shining as it should be
for you. Under the sink, for example, is an
uproar of mice--it is the season of their
many children. What shall I do? And under the eaves

and through the walls the squirrels
have gnawed their ragged entrances--but it is the season
when they need shelter, so what shall I do? And
the raccoon limps into the kitchen and opens the cupboard
while the dog snores, the cat hugs the pillow;

what shall I do? Beautiful is the new snow falling
in the yard and the fox who is staring boldly
up the path, to the door. And still I believe you will
come, Lord: you will, when I speak to the fox,
the sparrow, the lost dog, the shivering sea-goose, know

that really I am speaking to you whenever I say,
as I do all morning and afternoon: Come in, Come in.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Down Hysterica Passio

"We all have something within ourselves to batter down, and we get our power from this fighting. I have never 'produced' a play in verse without showing the actors that the passion of the verse comes from the fact that the speakers are holding down violence, or madness - 'down Hysterica Passio'.

All depends on the completeness of the holding down, on the stirring of the beast underneath. Without this conflict we have no passion, only sentiment and thought."

W.B.Yeats, in a letter to Dorothy Wellesley. From 'Yeats: The Man and the Masks', by Richard Ellmann

[Notebook 5, 1989]

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Shine




















One Brilliance

frost in the dried weeds—
sometimes it takes the cold
for things to find their shine.

Rosemerry Trommer

Saturday, December 17, 2016

All that is outside, is also inside

"How else could it have occurred to man to divide the cosmos, on the analogy of day and night, summer and winter, into a bright-day world and a dark night-world peopled with fabulous monsters, unless he had the prototype of such a division in himself, in the polarity between the conscious and the invisible and unknowable unconscious?

..."All that is outside, is also inside", we could say with Goethe.

But this "inside" which modern rationalism is so eager to derive from "outside" has an a priori structure of its own that antedates all conscious experience. It is quite impossible to conceive how "experience" in the widest sense, or, for that matter, anything psychic, could originate exclusively in the outside world.

Page 38, 'Psychological Aspects of the Mother Archetype', from 'Four Archetypes: Mother, Rebirth, Spirit, Trickster', by Carl Gustav Jung, 1953

Monday, November 28, 2016

A sheet of rice paper

This World
 

I am alone making guacamole, and he is on a plane
getting ready to act out marriage rituals
with people who will stop calling once the kids come.

I feel skeletal and ashamed like my insecurities
have made me instead of the other way around.
That’s when I stab myself with a serrated knife
attempting to extract a pit from an avocado.

Blood bubbles behind the bundle of loose nerves
like oil waiting to erupt from the ocean floor.
Living, I suppose, is a lot like mining.
Most days you find nothing.

But how strange and humbling it is to realize that your skin
is no tougher than a sheet of rice paper,
your heart no more resilient than a light bulb,
your love no less a stranger than an old classmate
you make eye contact with in passing at the gas station.

He will come back to me or he will not,
and I will go on living. The window into my hand,
before the blood remembers its job is to flow,
is so deep and clean I lose my breath,

and for once see the world exactly as it is—a boat
that we let carry us off. We could
just as soon throw the anchor down,
light the dynamite, and swim away.

Rae Hoffman

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Wholeness

"As you integrate ignorance and failure into your knowledge and success, do the same with all the alien parts of yourself.

Take everything that’s bright and beautiful in you and introduce it to the shadow side of yourself. Let your altruism meet your egotism, let your generosity meet your greed, let your joy meet your grief.  Everyone has a shadow… But when you are able to say, “I am all of the above, my shadow as well as my light,” the shadow’s power is put in service of the good.

Wholeness is the goal, but wholeness does not mean perfection, it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of your life.

As a person who … has made three deep dives into depression along the way, I do not speak lightly of this. I simply know that it is true."

Parker Palmer

The Six Pillars of the Wholehearted Life: Parker Palmer’s Spectacular Naropa University Commencement Address


https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/08/10/parker-palmer-naropa-university-commencement-address/

Open-hearted generosity

"What I really mean … is be passionate, fall madly in love with life. Be passionate about some part of the natural and/or human worlds and take risks on its behalf, no matter how vulnerable they make you.

No one ever died saying, “I’m sure glad for the self-centered, self-serving and self-protective life I lived.”

Offer yourself to the world — your energies, your gifts, your visions, your heart — with open-hearted generosity. But understand that when you live that way you will soon learn how little you know and how easy it is to fail.

To grow in love and service, you — I, all of us — must value ignorance as much as knowledge and failure as much as success…

Clinging to what you already know and do well is the path to an unlived life."

Parker Palmer

The Six Pillars of the Wholehearted Life: Parker Palmer’s Spectacular Naropa University Commencement Address

https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/08/10/parker-palmer-naropa-university-commencement-address/

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Generosity of Presence

Gratitude

is not a passive response to something we have been given, gratitude arises from paying attention, from being awake in the presence of everything that lives within and without us. Gratitude is not necessarily something that is shown after the event, it is the deep, a-priori state of attention that shows we understand and are equal to the gifted nature of life.

Gratitude is the understanding that many millions of things come together and live together and mesh together and breathe together in order for us to take even one more breath of air, that the underlying gift of life and incarnation as a living, participating human being is a privilege; that we are miraculously, part of something, rather than nothing. Even if that something is temporarily pain or despair, we inhabit a living world, with real faces, real voices, laughter, the color blue, the green of the fields, the freshness of a cold wind, or the tawny hue of a winter landscape.

To see the full miraculous essentiality of the color blue is to be grateful with no necessity for a word of thanks. To see fully, the beauty of a daughter’s face across the table, of a son's outline against the mountains, is to be fully grateful without having to seek a God to thank him. To sit among friends and strangers, hearing many voices, strange opinions; to intuit even stranger inner lives beneath calm surface lives, to inhabit many worlds at once in this world, to be a someone amongst all other someones, and therefore to make a conversation without saying a word, is to deepen our sense of presence and therefore our natural sense of thankfulness that everything happens both with us and without us, that we are participants and witness all at once.

Thankfulness finds its full measure in generosity of presence, both through participation and witness. We sit at the table as part of every other person’s strange world while making our own world without will or effort, this is what is extraordinary and gifted, this is the essence of gratefulness, seeing to the heart of privilege.

Thanksgiving happens when our sense of presence meets and fully beholds all other presences. Being unappreciative, feeling distant, might mean we are simply not paying attention.

© 2015 David Whyte, from ‘Gratitude’
In Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

What you read is who you will become

"What you read is who you will become.

Twyla Tharp says in The Creative Habit, “I read for growth, firmly believing that what you are today and what you will be in five years depends on two things: the people you meet and the books you read.”

And maybe the people you meet will depend on the books you read."

http://transactionswithbeauty.com/home/5nhhwzyet5pnkp93lsn7wdp56r86ek

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