Friday, August 3, 2018

And suddenly all that matters

Walking Through the Prehistoric Journey Exhibit

And again I recall how small we are,
how ninety nine percent of all species
that have ever lived are extinct,
how thin our stripe in geologic time,
how remarkable that we are here at all.

And suddenly all that matters
is that I love you—and what are the odds?
How many billion years in the making,
this rush of gratitude, this burgeoning
joy, this thrill in the sheer Cenozoic luck
to feel the concurrent burning and quenching,
the simultaneous bite and salve, the Quaternary
gift of thriving and failing at the same time?

If it feels as if it’s taken forever to get to this place,
lover, it has. Think trilobite. T-rex. Cave bear.
Wooly mammoth. Think how little time
has passed, and how lucky, how lucky we are.

Rosemerry Trommer

https://ahundredfallingveils.com/2018/07/08/walking-through-the-prehistoric-journey-exhibit/

Friday, June 22, 2018

Fear

The Thing Is
after Ellen Bass

To trust life, that is the thing.
To trust it even when there are gaping holes
in the walls of your certainty.

To trust it even when your foundation
feels like a strange place filled with strange people
who all feel more at home in you than you do.

And when fear enters you like a bear in your basement,
or like three bears, all of them famished,
all of them rummaging through your emergency stores,

yes, when fear offers to give you its name,
when fear brings you a ladders and says, Here,
climb down into yourself, into this chamber

of strangers and bears,
when you would rather go anywhere but in,
that is when you step onto the rungs and go down,

one rung at a time. No gun in your hand.
No bear spray. No knife. There is honey
in here somewhere. And tea. So much here

to offer these hungriest parts of yourself.
And you are ready to make peace.
You are ready to meet them and share.

Rosemerry Trommer


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Loneliness


























"I'm making a list of things I'm not allowed to say:

That I'm lonely. And that I fear this loneliness will crush me, slowly and by degrees.

...That I feel like I'm stuck behind a glass wall watching everyone else live a life I've only ever dreamt of. That it is isolation in plain sight.

.. That I have become greedy for affection. And I fear there is some threshold for loneliness that should I pass I may never recover. That it sometimes rushes in like a tidal wave, flooding levees and toppling internal infrastructure, leaving me at a crowded dinner table afraid to look up from my plate for fear that someone may see the sadness in my eyes.

That loving someone does make everything a little bit easier. There is this construct in psychology called transactive memory. It is the idea that we store information and ideas - memories even - in the minds of the people around us. I cannot help but wonder if this is true of joy and sadness too? If it is possible to share emotion in this way? And what must it feel like when a person you love carries your heaviness, if only for a moment?

That there is exposure in living one's life alone.

And that for a stretch of time I walk north on Sixth Avenue each morning and pass a man who spends the whole of his day yelling upwards at the sky. I wonder if we aren't more alike than not. It would be easy to say, No, of course not.

But loneliness, stripped of the many layers in which we dress it, is fundamentally the same."

Pages 99-100,   'Places I Stopped on the Way Home, A Memoir of Chaos and Grace', Meg Fee

Brokenness

"I wear sadness differently now than I did at eighteen or 25 or any of the years in between.

I'm more comfortable with my own brokenness - more at ease with the notion that it's the well from which I draw empathy and kindness and humour. It is so telling of what it is to be human and alive in this world."

Page 42, 'Places I Stopped on the Way Home, A Memoir of Chaos and Grace', Meg Fee

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Teaching oneself joy, over and over again




















Barbara Kingsolver was introduced to me by a random foreigner who saw me at a flea market sale and ordered me, "You MUST read this!" ('The Poisonwood Bible'). I am always moved by people who take that effort to make my experience of life a little deeper, whether or not they know me - hey, don't we share the same planet, what introductions are we waiting for? - :) - so I bought it. And was completely blown away! Kingsolver is an amazing writer.

I can so relate to this passage, it's something I do. :) On my worst days, I go out early in the morning, bruised, hollow, empty - and look at every fallen leaf and flower, every spot of colour along my way, every squirrel going crazy at the return of the light ("Oh my God, it's back!"), and allow them to fill me, one by one.

“In my own worst seasons I’ve come back from the colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a single glorious thing: a flame of red geranium outside my bedroom window. And then another: my daughter in a yellow dress. And another: the perfect outline of a full, dark sphere behind the crescent moon. Until I learned to be in love with my life again.

Like a stroke victim retraining new parts of the brain to grasp lost skills, I have taught myself joy, over and over again.”

Barbara Kingsolver from 'High Tide in Tucson'

From here: http://transactionswithbeauty.com/home/geranium

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Our every day life is what will save us


























"Adams raises the questions, “Is art a sufficient consolation for life? Can Beauty make suffering tolerable?” His answer, while not an all-out endorsement for art, is real, and tangible. He says: “The fact is, I think that they are only partly sufficient. If we are not too burdened by disappointment or loneliness or pain, there are certainly times when art can help; there are moments when great pictures can heal. Views by Masaccio and Rembrandt and Cezanne and Stieglitz, among others, have all been important to me in this way.”

He goes on to say:

“Sometimes it has been enough to search out a cafe blessed with a jukebox, rattling dishes, and human voices. Family and friends are better though. What a relief there is in an anecdote, a jumping dog, or the brush of a hand. All of these things are disorderly, but no plan for survival stands a chance without them.”

Our every day life is what will save us, perhaps, in the end. The beauty of that, whether it's captured in a photograph, or in a poem, or paragraph."

Shawna Lemay

http://transactionswithbeauty.com/home/beautyinphotography

Saturday, February 10, 2018

It just opens a door, quietly

A Poem Never Says Anything
Uttaran Chaudhuri

translated from Bengali by the poet

A poem never says anything.
It just opens a door, quietly.

Sleepless and bent
just like my aged father
waiting for me in a lonely winter night.

https://www.amazon.in/100-Great-Indian-Poems-Abhay/dp/9386950936

Reaching for each other

That Winter Evening
for Billy Miller

When the man pulled my father
from the icy waters of Lake Michigan,
he did not know years later my step-daughter
would need someone to buy her a sweater
so she would feel nurtured, did not know

that my son would need someone
to make a mosaic with him so that he
could feel loved, did not know
that my daughter would need
someone to tell her that she
was beautiful. When the man

pulled my father from the water
when he fell in while fishing alone,
that man couldn’t know that
years later this daughter
would sit beside her father and hold his hand
and weep at the simple gift
of being able to hold his hand.

The man was doing what he knew to do—
to rush to the person in need of help.
He didn’t think then of the other lives
blessed by the man. Did not think
of the other lives blessed by his hands
when he chose to try, though the odds
were low. He knew only to reach.

Years later, my mother still sleeps
beside the man that was pulled
from the winter lake.

Give us hands that know to reach
for each other—stranger, neighbor,
friend. Give us hands that unthinkingly
choose to save the family
we’ve never met.

Rosemerry Trommer

https://ahundredfallingveils.com/2018/02/10/that-winter-evening/

Monday, January 15, 2018

When loneliness comes stalking
















When loneliness comes stalking, go into the fields, consider
the orderliness of the world. Notice
something you have never noticed before,

like the tambourine sound of the snow-cricket
whose pale green body is no longer than your thumb.

Stare hard at the hummingbird, in the summer rain,
shaking the water-sparks from its wings.

Let grief be your sister, she will whether or not.
Rise up from the stump of sorrow, and be green also,
like the diligent leaves.

A lifetime isn't long enough for the beauty of this world
and the responsibilities of your life.

Scatter your flowers over the graves, and walk away.
Be good-natured and untidy in your exuberance.

In the glare of your mind, be modest.
And beholden to what is tactile, and thrilling.

Live with the beetle, and the wind.

Mary Oliver

From The Leaf and the Cloud: A Poem

Friday, December 22, 2017

Tipping ourselves over










"Ray Bradbury has said, “We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”

Your Turn: http://transactionswithbeauty.com/home/dkp3wn35k9tcyhgwep9x9f7fmt4fwn

The lines in the picture are from Mary Oliver's 'Devotions'

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

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