Sunday, October 30, 2016

Wild imaginings, transformative dreams and perfect calm

Let yourself fall.
Learn to
observe snakes
Plant impossible gardens.

Invite a dangerous person for tea.
Make little characters who say "yes" and distribute them
everywhere throughout your house.

Become a friend of freedom
and uncertainty.
Look forward to dreams.
Cry at a movie.

Swing as high as you can on a swing
in the moonlight.
Provide different moods.
Refuse to be made 'responsible.'
Do it for love.

Take a lot of naps.
Give away money.
Do it now, the money will follow.
Believe in magic.
Smile a lot.
Take moon baths.

Have wild imaginings, transformative dreams and perfect calm.
Draw on walls.
Read every day.
Imagine that you are enchanted.
Play with children
listen to old people.

Open yourself,
dive into it, be free.
Praise yourself, bless yourself
drive away fear.
Play with everything.
Take care of the child in yourself.

You are innocent.
Build a fortress with blankets.
Get wet.

Embrace trees.
Write love letters.

Joseph Beuys

Things to Believe In

trees, in general; oaks, especially;
burr oaks that survive fire, in particular;
and the generosity of apples

seeds, all of them: carrots like dust,
winged maple, doubled beet, peach kernel;
the inevitability of change

frogsong in spring; cattle
lowing on the farm across the hill;
the melodies of sad old songs

comfort of savory soup;
sweet iced fruit; the aroma of yeast;
a friend’s voice; hard work

seasons; bedrock; lilacs;
moonshadows under the ash grove;
something breaking through.

Patricia Monaghan

Imagine immensities

"Cheerfulness is an achievement, and hope is something to celebrate. If optimism is important, it’s because many outcomes are determined by how much of it we bring to the task. It is an important ingredient of success.

This flies in the face of the elite view that talent is the primary requirement of a good life, but in many cases the difference between success and failure is determined by nothing more than our sense of what is possible and the energy we can muster to convince others of our due. We might be doomed not by a lack of skill, but by an absence of hope.

Put simply and poignantly, it pays to “imagine immensities.”

Alain de Botton

Not broken, but rearranged

It is not impossible to survive

You have mastered solitude, struggled to unpack
the thick realities of time and matter. Love has flattened
you. Measured, you have faced your least loveliness.

How fragile God’s graffiti, the text of us scrawled
wild, twisted into this renegade, complex sentence
of living! How the making betrays and becomes us!

Look at the tree revise its body daily, spectacularly
rendered through the small violence of loss. If nothing
else, learn this: You are not broken, but rearranged.

Lauren K. Alleyne

What we need is here

The Wild Geese

Horseback on Sunday morning,
harvest over, we taste persimmon
and wild grape, sharp sweet
of summer's end. In time's maze
over the fall fields, we name names

that went west from here, names
that rest on graves. We open
a persimmon seed to find the tree
that stands in promise,
pale, in the seed's marrow.

Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear,
in the ancient faith: what we need

is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye
clear. What we need is here.

Wendell Berry, (Collected Poems 1957-1982)

Photo: The tabebuia impetiginosas are back! They will last for a few weeks in November, covering themselves completely in a cloud of pink 2 weeks from now. To think that I get to see them again, yet another year....

Glorious Nonsense

"Why do we love nonsense? ....It is this participation in the essential glorious nonsense that is at the heart of the world, not necessarily going anywhere.

It seems that only in moments of unusual insight and illumination that we get the point of this, and find that the true meaning of life is no meaning, that its purpose is no purpose, and that its sense is non-sense.

Still, we want to use the word “significant.” Is this significant nonsense? Is this a kind of nonsense that is not just chaos, that is not just blathering balderdash, but rather has in it rhythm, fascinating complexity, and a kind of artistry?

It is in this kind of meaninglessness that we come to the profoundest meaning."

Sense of Nonsense: Alan Watts on How We Find Meaning by Surrendering to Meaninglessness

21.30 mins

Monday, October 24, 2016

Fluid Reflections on Keeping a Solid Center

10 Learnings from 10 Years of Brain Pickings, Maria Popova

Fluid reflections on keeping a solid center

1. Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind.’s infinitely more rewarding to understand than to be right — even if that means changing your mind about a topic, an ideology, or, above all, yourself.

2. Do nothing for prestige or status or money or approval alone.

...prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like.

3. Be generous.

Be generous with your time and your resources and with giving credit and, especially, with your words. It’s so much easier to be a critic than a celebrator.

4. Build pockets of stillness into your life.

What could possibly be more important than your health and your sanity, from which all else springs?

5. When people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them.

You are the only custodian of your own integrity.

6. Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity.

“how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

7. Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.

...the flower doesn’t go from bud to blossom in one spritely burst and yet, as a culture, we’re disinterested in the tedium of the blossoming. But that’s where all the real magic unfolds - in the making of one’s character and destiny.

8. Seek out what magnifies your spirit.

Who are the people, ideas, and books that magnify your spirit? Find them, hold on to them, and visit them often.

9. Don’t be afraid to be an idealist.

Supply creates its own demand. Only by consistently supplying it can we hope to increase the demand for the substantive over the superficial — in our individual lives and in the collective dream called culture.

10. Don’t just resist cynicism — fight it actively.

There is nothing more difficult yet more gratifying in our society than living with sincerity and acting from a place of largehearted, constructive, rational faith in the human spirit, continually bending toward growth and betterment. This remains the most potent antidote to cynicism. Today, especially, it is an act of courage and resistance.

Thank you, Maria Popova.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Hui: China’s other Muslims

"By choosing assimilation, China’s Hui have become one of the world’s most successful Muslim minorities."

"Surprisingly, the Hui have not lost their religion or identity despite centuries of assimilation. Mr Ma, the retired professor, says Hui people often form close-knit communities and pursue similar occupations; restaurants and taxis in many cities are run by Hui. But their religion is “still the most important binding factor”, he says. The Hui maintain a delicate balance. They can practise their religion undisturbed thanks to assimilation. But it is their religion that makes them distinct."

The Space Between Flowers

Beautiful video. The book sounds amazing too.

"Japanese photographer Masao Yamamoto (born 1957) trained as an oil painter before discovering that photography was the ideal medium for the theme that most interested him--the ability of the image to evoke memories. Small Things in Silence surveys the 20-year career of one of Japan's most important photographers. Yamamoto's portraits, landscapes and still lifes are made into small, delicate prints, which the photographer frequently overpaints, dyes or steeps in tea."

The Space Between Flowers [5 min 31 seconds]

Small Things in Silence

From here:


I am fascinated by them.

On Thin Brown Wings

Perhaps not as many days of sun
as they might have wanted,
perhaps not as much warmth,
perhaps not as much rain—
rain that soaks in like a lover’s
lingering glance, and still
beside the trail in late fall
they are everywhere,

the seeds of next year’s flowers
giving their everything to the world.

Rosemerry Trommer

My Seed Album:

On Falling

"Antaeus would challenge all passers-by to wrestling matches and remained invincible as long as he remained in contact with his mother, the earth. As Greek wrestling, like its modern equivalent, typically attempted to force opponents to the ground, he always won, killing his opponents."

On Falling

Says one teacher: where you stumble and fall,
there you'll find gold.
Says another: first there's the fall
and then we recover from the fall.
Both are the mercy of God.

And we can't forget Antaeus,
legendary wrestler and son of Terra Mater,
a fellow whose strength was renewed
whenever it happened, for every time he fell
(hurled to the ground by some opponent)
he'd land right in his mother's arms.

Teddy Macker, 'This World'

Thanks, K. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

And catch the heart off guard and blow it open


And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other

So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,

Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you’ll park and capture it

More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.

Seamus Heaney, from 'The Spirit Level'

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