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
 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The mind, a squirrel caught crossing Route 80

I Remember Galileo

I remember Galileo describing the mind
as a piece of paper blown around by the wind,
and I loved the sight of it sticking to a tree,
or jumping into the backseat of a car,
and for years I watched paper leap through my cities;

but yesterday I saw the mind was a squirrel caught crossing
Route 80 between the wheels of a giant truck,
dancing back and forth like a thin leaf,
or a frightened string, for only two seconds living
on the white concrete before he got away,
his life shortened by all that terror, his head
jerking, his yellow teeth ground down to dust.

It was the speed of the squirrel and his lowness to the ground,
his great purpose and the alertness of his dancing,
that showed me the difference between him and paper.

Paper will do in theory, when there is time
to sit back in a metal chair and study shadows;
but for this life I need a squirrel,
his clawed feet spread, his whole soul quivering,
the loud noise shaking him from head to tail.

O philosophical mind, O mind of paper, I need a squirrel
finishing his wild dash across the highway,
rushing up his green ungoverned hillside.

Gerald Stern, 'This Time: New and Selected Poems'

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The ground at our feet


























A Spiritual Journey

And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles,
no matter how long,

but only by a spiritual journey,
a journey of one inch,

very arduous and humbling and joyful,
by which we arrive at the ground at our feet,

and learn to be at home.

Wendell Berry, 'Collected Poems'

Hold, one day more





















A Room

A room does not turn its back on grief.
Anger does not excite it.
Before desire, it neither responds
nor draws back in fear.

Without changing expression,
it takes
and gives back;
not a tuft in the mattress alters.

Windowsills evenly welcome
both heat and cold.
Radiators speak or fall silent as they must.
Doors are not equivocal,
floorboards do not hesitate or startle.

Impatience does not stir the curtains,
a bed is neither irritable nor rapacious.
Whatever disquiet we sense in a room
we have brought there.

And so I instruct my ribs each morning,
pointing to hinge and plaster and wood -
You are matter, as they are.

See how perfectly it can be done.
Hold, one day more, what is asked.

Jane Hirshfield, 'The Lives of the Heart'

Saturday, April 22, 2017

There are thirty-one spells for forgiveness, though

Which one to try first?

In the book of spells
I do not find the one
that helps you forget
what you want
to forget.

There is one for
making the bees
come out midwinter
and another to make
the walls speak what
they’ve seen.

There’s a spell for
making minutes go slower,
and a spell to turn a woman’s
skin green.

But no spell
to forget what we wish
not to know.

There are thirty-one spells for
forgiveness, though.

Rosemerry Trommer

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Ichigo Ichie: One opportunity, one encounter

"Ichigo Ichie literally means “one opportunity, one encounter.” The terms is often translated as “for this time only,” “never again,” or “one chance in a life time.”

Its better translation may be “Treasure every encounter, for it will never recur.”

The term is derived from Zen Buddhism and concepts of transience, and it is particularly associated with the Japanese tea ceremony and it is often brushed onto scrolls which are hung in the tea room. In the context of tea ceremony, ichigo ichie reminds participants that each single tea meeting is unique that will never recur in one’s lifetime, therefore, each moment should be treated with the utmost sincerity.

It can be applied to one’s daily life, “all we have is today, so let’s live it to the fullest.”

From here: http://calmthings.blogspot.in/2015/03/did-you-hear-that-winters-over.html

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise.




















Expect Nothing

Expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.
become a stranger
To need of pity
Or, if compassion be freely
Given out
Take only enough
Stop short of urge to plead
Then purge away the need.

Wish for nothing larger
Than your own small heart
Or greater than a star;
Tame wild disappointment
With caress unmoved and cold
Make of it a parka
For your soul.

Discover the reason why
So tiny a human midget
Exists at all
So scared unwise
But expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.

Alice Walker

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Love Letters




















Love Letters

Every day, priests minutely examine the Law
And endlessly chant complicated sutras.

Before doing that, though, they should learn
How to read the love letters sent by the wind
and rain, the snow and moon.

Ikkyu, 'Ikkyu and the Crazy Cloud Anthology', trans. by Sonya Arutzen

Friday, February 24, 2017

Miracle




















Listen. Put on lightbreak.
Waken into miracle.

W. S. Graham

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

If not, not

Two Cats
Katha Pollitt

It's better to be a cat than to be a human.
Not because of their much-noted grace and beauty—
their beauty wins them no added pleasure, grace is
only a cat's way

of getting without fuss from one place to another—
but because they see things as they are. Cats never mistake a
saucer of milk for a declaration of passion
or the crook of your knees for

a permanent address. Observing two cats on a sunporch,
you might think of them as a pair of Florentine bravoes
awaiting through slitted eyes the least lapse of attention—
then slash! the stiletto

or alternately as a long-married couple, who hardly
notice each other but find it somehow a comfort
sharing the couch, the evening news, the cocoa.
Both these ideas

are wrong. Two cats together are like two strangers
cast up by different storms on the same desert island
who manage to guard, despite the utter absence
of privacy, chocolate,

useful domestic articles, reading material,
their separate solitudes. They would not dream of
telling each other their dreams, or the plots of old movies,
or inventing a bookful

of coconut recipes. Where we would long ago have
frantically shredded our underwear into signal
flags and be dancing obscenely about on the shore in
a desperate frenzy,

they merely shift on their haunches, calm as two stoics
weighing the probable odds of the soul's immortality,
as if to say, if a ship should happen along we'll
be rescued. If not, not.

"Two Cats" by Katha Pollitt, from The Mind-Body Problem. © Random House, 2009
 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Warding off the Darkness

"If you can’t seem to make yourself happy, do little things to make other people happy. This is a very effective magic trick. Focus on others instead of yourself.

Buy coffee for the person behind you in line (I do this a lot), compliment a stranger, volunteer at a soup kitchen, help a classroom on DonorsChoose.org, buy a round of drinks for the line cooks and servers at your favorite restaurant, etc.

The little things have a big emotional payback, and guess what? Chances are, at least one person you make smile is on the front lines with you, quietly battling something nearly identical."

Tim Ferriss on How He Survived Suicidal Depression and His Tools for Warding Off the Darkness

https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/12/08/tim-ferriss-tools-of-titans-depression/

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

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