I take the seashell from my jeans pocket and rub my fingers across its silken, indented surface, shallow as my own open hand. This chalice, subtly shaped by some divine intelligence to allow water to flow in and out with ease, is what I aspire to become: a vessel through which feelings can pour in and spill right out again, without all the grasping and holding that obstructs the flow. Can I be as serene and simple as this bleached shell, rubbed smooth by wind and water, receiving and releasing, filling and emptying and filling again, eternally receptive to the currents of life?
~ Katrina Kenison, Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment
A paragraph from Lucas’ first chapter, “The Value of Style,” will suffice to render his point of view, with its fine sense of perspective and proportion, plain: It is unlikely that many of us will be famous, or even remembered. But not less important than the brilliant few that lead a nation or a literature to fresh achievements, are the unknown many whose patient efforts keep the world from running backward; who guard and maintain the ancient values, even if they do not conquer new; whose inconspicuous triumph it is to pass on what they inherited from their fathers, unimpaired and undiminished, to their sons. Enough, for almost all of us, if we can hand on the torch, and not let it down; content to win the affection, if it may be, of a few who know us and to be forgotten when they in their turn have vanished. The destiny of mankind is not governed wholly by its “stars.”
~ Joseph Epstein, A Literary Education and Other Essays
Photo: Lachlan von Nubia
What I want to say to you, my dear, is this: Just for today, live the passionate truth of who you are. Stop looking at what is undone, what you haven’t achieved, where you’ve fallen short. Look, instead, into your own full heart…Your own strong roots are in place – in your own body, in the earth, in the ongoing story of your life, just as it is. Put your faith in those roots, and allow yourself to go with the flow. Let go and breathe into the goodness that you already are. Move with the current, not against it. Resist nothing. Let life carry you. You have work to do. Begin it.
~ Katrina Kenison, Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment
It’s difficult to understand how an innocuous glance out the window could start a cascade of nonsense. But, it did. And it does.
It’s Tuesday. I’m home on a late evening conference call. I see him through the window in the backyard. He’s chubby-cheeked, hanging upside down, and clutching the iron cover of the bird feeder.
My call continued. And so did Chubby-Cheeks. The bird feeder is swinging from the pole. He’s shaking the cr*p out of it. And gorging on prime seed intended for goldfinches. Had I been outside and not two floors up, I would have run the S.O.B. down.
My call continued. I watched him. And wondered how this creature could manage to raise my ire. This man, a college educated adult, 210 pounds (and counting) vs. a foot-long squirrel weighing a pound or two. There he was. Blissfully feeding. And I’m clenching a pencil between my teeth, tasting graphite on my tongue.
The call ended. I ran down the stairs and out the door to find that he had vanished. Squirrel 483. DK: O.
Fast forward to Wednesday morning. I’m heading out the door to walk to the train station.
There he was to my right. Staring at me from the base of the evergreen tree in the front yard. Beady eyes. His under carriage dragging on the grass, belly bursting from the bird seed. [Read more…]
Source: poppins-me (struggling to keep head above water)
They say this far and not further
They draw lines and call it the limit
They tell you dreamers can’t be doers
And that every Road has been walked before
But when it is what every fibre of your being craves
When it is your all
Your Morning, Your Noon, and Night
When it is what frustrates you
And rewards you
When it is what you fight for
What you lose sleep and sometimes your mind for
When it is the very fire within you
When it is your greatest strength
And your one weakness
When it born not of need
Not even of desire
But of raw passion
How can it ever be enough?
How can there ever be an end?
They say the sky is the limit
Little do they know
You don’t stop at the limit
You start from it.
Born of Passion
SMWI* = Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration
For the past 30 years I have been pitching up to work at the same place, week in, week out, interrupted only by a succession of maternity leaves – all of which are now in the distant past…There is something mildly shameful about being almost the longest-serving journalist on the newspaper…
But last Thursday I cycled into work in the early morning sun, making a journey I’ve made many thousands of times before, and as I passed St Paul’s Cathedral I found myself feeling not only unstale, but borderline joyful… When I got to the office on impulse I fired off an email to the entire newspaper inviting them to eat cake with me that very afternoon – and soliciting reflections on what 30 years’ service means.
Loyalty – mixed with stupidity, one colleague replied. Wrong, I thought…
Narrow, suggested another…
A third colleague, also a long-timer, complained that staying in the same place meant getting dragged down by politics and that old grievances fester. Possibly; though I see it the other way round. Long service has cut me adrift from politics and has meant I don’t have to waste time working out who is trustworthy and who isn’t, as I know that already. [Read more…]
Most of us do not live a life of monastic rigor. Our days are full of jagged edges and jangling moments. But most of us do have quiet routines that inform our lives. We rise each morning and greet our day in the same fashion. A first cup of coffee, a glance at the paper, a certain way we bathe and prepare for our entry into the day — these do not change. They are the rituals by which we shape our days. But we do not value them as rituals. To us they are the ordinary — sometimes comforting, sometimes mind-deadening — activities that give a familiar sameness to our life. Far from honoring them, we pay them no heed. We see them as routines, not as paths to awareness. My time in the monastery taught me otherwise. To be sure, the monks lived a life of deep sacramentality and prayer, and that was the true source of their spiritual vision. But the mindful practice of their spiritual exercises spilled over into the way they carried on their daily affairs. They were present to nuance, aware of the space around events. A cup of tea, a meal partaken, a moment shared with another — all commanded their absolute focus. They had tuned their spirits to a fine and subtle sensitivity, and nothing passed unnoticed or unhonored.
~ Kent Nerburn, Of Coffee Mugs and Monks in Small Graces: The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life (New World Library. 2010)