why i feed the birds

bird-in-hand

once
i saw my grandmother hold out
her hand cupping a small offering
of seed to one of the wild sparrows
that frequented the bird bath she
filled with fresh water every day

she stood still
maybe stopped breathing
while the sparrow looked
at her, then the seed
then back as if he was
judging her character

he jumped into her hand
began to eat
she smiled 

a woman holding
a small god 

~ Richard Vargas, why i feed the birds

 


Image Credit. Poem Credit. Poem from Vargas’ book Guernica at Amazon here.

Till My Teeth Rattle

face-photography-portrait-color-woman

There’s no remedy, I suppose — this body
just made from the beginning to be shocked,
constantly surprised, perpetually stunned,
poked and prodded, shaken awake,
shaken again and again roughly, rudely,
then left, even more bewildered,
even more amazed.

Pattiann Rogers, closing lines to “Till My Teeth Rattle.”



We may have a ticket, but it is a valid for a ridiculously brief time

INSPIRATION,

“The world, whatever we might think about it, terrified by its vastness and by our helplessness in the face of it, embittered by its indifference to individual suffering – of people, animals, and perhaps also plants, for how can we be sure that plants are free of suffering; whatever we might think about its spaces pierced by the radiation of stars, stars around which we now have begun to discover planets, already dead? still dead? – we don’t know; whatever we might think about this immense theater, to which we may have a ticket, but it is valid for a ridiculously brief time, limited by two decisive dates; whatever else we might think about this world – it is amazing.”

~ Wisława Szymborska


Wisława Szymborska-Włodek (1923 – 2012) was a Polish poet, essayist and translator.  She was described as a “Mozart of Poetry”. Szymborska was awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature “for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality”.

The Three Oddest Words: “When I pronounce the word Future, the first syllable already belongs to the past. When I pronounce the word Silence, I destroy it.  When I pronounce the word Nothing, I make something no nonbeing can hold.” 

The Sky: “My distinguishing marks are wonder and despair.”

Quote Source: Whiskey River; Image Source: Gifs Tumblr

We must look wider than what hurts

yellow throat,bird,

“We begin so aware and grateful. The sun somehow hangs there in the sky. The little bird sings. The miracle of life just happens. Then we stub our toe, and in that moment of pain, the whole world is reduced to our poor little toe. Now, for a day or two, it is difficult to walk. With every step, we are reminded of our poor little toe.

Our vigilance becomes: Which defines our day – the pinch we feel in walking on a bruised toe, or the miracle still happening?

It is the giving over to smallness that opens us to misery. In truth, we begin taking nothing for granted, grateful that we have enough to eat, that we are well enough to eat. But somehow, through the living of our days, our focus narrows like a camera that shutters down, cropping out the horizon, and one day we’re miffed at a diner because the eggs are runny or the hash isn’t seasoned just the way we like.

When we narrow our focus, the problem seems everything. We forget when we were lonely, dreaming of a partner. We forget first beholding the beauty of another. We forget the comfort of first being seen and held and heard. When our view shuts down, we’re up in the night annoyed by the way our lover pulls the covers or leaves the dishes in the sink without soaking them first.

In actuality, misery is a moment of suffering allowed to become everything. So, when feeling miserable, we must look wider than what hurts. When feeling a splinter, we must, while trying to remove it, remember there is a body that is not splinter, and a spirit that is not splinter, and a world that is not splinter.”

~ Mark Nepo


Quote Source: Whiskeyriver. Image credit of Common Yellow Throat

There are people who will tell you that Christmas is not to them what it used to be

Charles Dickens

“Christmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused—in whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened—by the recurrence of Christmas. There are people who will tell you that Christmas is not to them what it used to be; that each succeeding Christmas has found some cherished hope, or happy prospect, of the year before, dimmed or passed away; that the present only serves to remind them of reduced circumstances and straitened incomes—of the feasts they once bestowed on hollow friends, and of the cold looks that meet them now, in adversity and misfortune. Never heed such dismal reminiscences. There are few men who have lived long enough in the world who cannot call up such thoughts any day of the year. Then do not select the merriest of the three hundred and sixty-five for your doleful recollections, but draw your chair nearer the blazing fire—fill the glass and send round the song—and if your room be smaller than it was a dozen years ago, or if your glass be filled with reeking punch, instead of sparkling wine, put a good face on the matter, and empty it offhand, and fill another, and troll off the old ditty you used to sing, and thank God it’s no worse.”

— Charles Dickens, Sketches by Boz


References and Credits:

  • Misanthrope (n), a person who dislikes humankind and avoids human society. Origin mid 16th cent.: from Greek misanthrōpos, from misein ‘to hate’ + anthrōpos ‘man.’
  • Sketches by Boz is a collection of short pieces published by Charles Dickens in 1836 with illustrations by George Cruikshank. (Wiki)
  • Portrait of Charles Dickens from the Telegraph.  He was photographed at the age of 49 by the London portrait photographer George Herbert Watkins. Watkins took several portraits of Dickens between 1858 and 1861 and they have helped define the enduring image of Dickens as a melancholy, care-worn personality.
  • Dickens quote via fables-of-the-reconstruction. Thank you.

We could be better

snoopy-thank you

“Although people say they want to be thanked more often at work, fewer than 50% of Americans polled for the John Templeton Foundation, a philanthropic organization, reported that they would be very likely to thank salespeople, their mail carriers, or cleaning crews, and just 15% express daily gratitude to friends or colleagues. 74% never or rarely express gratitude to their bosses—but 70% said they’d feel better about themselves if their bosses were more grateful.”

~ Andrew O’Connell – We Could Be Better At Giving ThanksHarvard Business Review


Credits: Stats from HBR.  Image: snoopn4pnuts.com

Inhale people and exhale skin

andrea-balt

“I’d like to answer all my phone calls, return all emails in a timely manner and mean the how-are-yous; not hide my broken hallelujahs, not save my gratitude for characters in books. Put love on sale, like I should…I’d like to whisper to only a few souls under a blanket instead of shouting at hundreds over these virtual rooftops. I’d like to inhale people and exhale skin, explore huggability and memorize the art of breathing…I’d like to get up once a week with no other agenda than laziness in bed, no time, no musts or shoulds or have tos. Eat breakfast for dinner, juice for lunch, and talk to trees, and cry, walk backwards, love my solitude, and understand my doing by undoing.”

~ Andréa Balt



Man Down

head cold

It was born on Thursday morning. Source, unknown.  Lousy night’s sleep.  Scratchy throat.  Teasing cough. Oh, oh.

By lunch, phlegm was sliding down the nasal passages.

By mid-afternoon, slow ripples…no waves, waves of low level, throbbing migraines.

I skip over major projects.  Start pushing off meetings that can be deferred.  Manage to creep through the afternoon aimlessly picking at project-lites.

Leave at 5:30.  Head home.  To rest.

“Starve a cold. Feed a fever.” (Why then, am I sitting at the table eating like a wolf?)

Vicks NyQuil Cold & Flu.  I roll the shimmering green gel tablets in my palm – calm settles, I pause, and I swallow.  (The Nightime, Sniffling, Sneezing, Coughing, Aching, Stuffyhead, Fever, So-You-Can-Rest Medicine.  Yes, as advertised.  This sh*t works.)  Magic. 30 minutes later, I’m gone.  Dream land.

Friday morning.  Eyes open.  Wary.  But feeling rested.  Hey, I feel better.

I approach the decision tree.  Stay home – contain contamination. Or, Soldier on.  Decision? Off to work it is.  Real men, work.

Steady downward spiral.  Hour by hour deterioration.  Popping Sudafed tablets.  Phlegm no longer phlegm.  Mucous. Vicious type.  Sn*t.   No longer a gentle slide.  Running. [Read more...]

6:53 am. And inspired.

Canola Field Shaun Lowe

Here’s my picks for the inspiring posts of the week.

Thank you Canadian Art Junkie for sharing the photo above in her post Shaun Lowe: Canola, Sunshine & The Sea.  See her post for more wonderful photographs of eastern Canada.

Steve Gutzler with his post titled 7 Keys to Building Irresistible Energy:I’ll be honest, one of my favorite compliments is when people take note of my energy and passion. But having such energy has been a life struggle of mine. When I was a young man in my early 20′s, I was diagnosed with a blood disorder. For over three years I woke up every day with a low grade temperature and lacking energy. I’d drag through my days. My attitude was good but my immune system was ravaged…Well, fast forward to today. I’m healthy with no hint of fatigue. I train 4-5 days a week and I eat like an athlete. I strive to get seven hours of sleep and I’m working most days by 5 AM. What I like most about where I am at is how grateful I am for what I have. I am fearfully and wonderfully made, not perfect but I’m sure grateful for what I have!”…Read entire post for Steve’s 7 Keys to Building Energy at this link.

Maybe It’s Just Me who describes herself  and her blog as “The life of a middle aged hippie on Maui, eating raw and vegan and staying healthy. I walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain in fall 2012 with my husband and son“…do we need more inspiration than this?!!  Her beautiful post shares her sensations as she returns home to the various places she’s lived.  The post is titled:  As We Relive Our Lives In What We Tell You and this excerpt is returning home to Maui: …there is no better feeling than coming home to a place that I love.  I went up onto the roof deck today to look at the clouds, the palm trees, and the volcano rising above, and again later on, to watch a glorious sunset over the ocean.  I was content to just sit and feel the warmth of the island air on my skin.  Skin that desperately cries out for sunshine and humidity, and that whispers “mahalo” every time I return home to Maui.”  Read her entire post at this link.

[Read more...]

5:28 am. And inspired.

David Tribby - Chicago Panoramic Skyline & Sunset

Thank you David Tribby for the inspiring panoramic shot of the City of Chicago. And, now, on to the inspiring posts of the week:

James Altucher, pro blogger, @ The Altucher Confidential with his post on his morning ritual titled The Six People You Must Find TodayOnce you do this, oxytocin will explode through your body, lighting up all of your pleasure centers. (1) Someone to love. Write the name and why you love this person. (2) Someone to thank. You must call them and thank them. If you can’t call them, just write their name down. (3) Someone to be grateful for…Read entire post at this link.

Judy @ petit4chocolatier with her post: Chocolate Cupcakes with Soft Blue Butter-Cream Icing with Little Chocolate Sprinkles.  She had me at her post title.  And then she stole my stomach with wave upon wave of delectable cupcake photos.  I wanted to come through the screen to get at these.  Pan through Judy’s other posts.  Amazing.

[Read more...]

4:02 am. And inspired.

Red Sea, Sea, beach, sunrise, Egypt

Thank you Sandy @ Another Lovely Day for the amazing photo share of the Egyptian sunrise over the Red Sea.

And, now, on to the inspiring posts of the week:

Julie @ jmgoyder – Wings & Things from a retired dairy farm in Western Australia…with her series of posts on Gutsy9, an abandoned baby peacock that was adopted by Julie.  Start at this post: Tips on Raising a Baby Peacock and then pan forward to the photos and updates.  I look forward with anticipation to Julie’s updates on Gutsy9.  Here’s an excerpt: So I have been raising Gutsy9 myself and he and I are totally imprinted on each other now. He is a pied, so half white and half blue so it will be interesting to watch him grow up. At night he sleeps in a box in the veranda and during the day he sits on my shoulder. Read on for the 6 tips at this link.  And, don’t miss Julie’s Bio/About page.  You won’t be disappointed.

Linda Petersen @ Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities And Remaining Sane Blog rings the bell again with a wonderful post titled Life Is Like A Tiny Bag of Jelly Bellies.  Linda shares a number of little events that give “her a boost and make her happy.”  Here’s a few of her Jelly Bellies…”(1) seeing a grandfather walking along, holding the hand of his joyous granddaughter, all dressed up with coat and fancy hat, skipping happily along, ribbons trailing, (2) hanging a picture on the wall and having it come out straight the first time, (3) finding a $10 bill in the pocket of a coat I haven’t worn in a long time, (4) a hug from a child, especially if it is accompanied by and “I love you.”  Hit this link to read more.

[Read more...]

5:03 am. And, Inspired…

canoe, canoeing, river, mist, fog, Golden Ears Mountain

Good Wednesday morning. The peaceful, easy feeling photo above of the Alouette River, Pitt Meadows, British Columbia was taken by Kevin van der Leek.

Paulette Mahurin @ The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap with her post The Touch That Changed My Life: “While in grad school at UCLA, I had a clinical rotation at a VA outpatient hospital, when a homeless man was brought in to the emergency room. He was filthy with a foul odor, as if he hadn’t changed his clothes in days nor took them off to go to the bathroom. I saw him come with the paramedics and the commotion that ensued with a lull before anyone started treatment, to gown and glove up, goggles over eyes, all body parts covered…Read More at this link.  Inspiring.  Period.

Linda Petersen @ Raising Five Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane Blog with her post I Have Raised My Children Right in the Most Important Area: “I am sure that every parent questions how they have raised their children. I know I have.  I have not been strict enough in making them eat all of their vegetables and clean their rooms, (mainly because I don’t eat all of my vegetables and clean my room.) I know to some people  this is a major parenting faux pas.  However, I have raised my children right in the most important area…caring for others…”  Read the rest of this inspiring story at this link.  And don’t miss Linda’s ABOUT page.

[Read more...]

7:40 am. And, Inspired…

Nitzus Wheatfields and Vineyards near Waikerie Riverland Region South Australia

Good Wednesday morning. Nitzus kicks us off with a photo he titles “Land of Gold” - wheat fields and vineyards near  Waikerie in the Riverland region in South Australia.  Be sure to check out his blog and other great photos.  And now on to my selection of the inspiring posts of the week from my favorite bloggers:

Don Carnagey~Lanier with his post Giving Gratefulness and Being Lonely: “All of our lives are a cycle and a river that we must each travel one our own. The destination is set, but the method of our journeying is up to us. We can cruise down the middle of the river at top speed, or we can hug the shore and spin around in eddies. We can crash over rapids or chart a safer path between obstacles. We can slum along the bottom in the mire and slime of sediment, or we can glide along the sparkling surface where the air is clean. The river is ours from birth to death. How we’ll navigate it is determined by the hundreds of small choices we make each day.”  Read entire post at this link.

Make Believe Boutique with another of her steady stream of thought provoking posts titled The Fresh Blush of Color in the Transpersonal Soul:  “What capacities lie unrecognized within us? What currently unfathomable abilities lie dormant, and what can we do to speed their appearance? These are humbling questions that remind us that for all we know our potentials may exceed our wildest dreams. Plotinus claimed that humankind stands poised midway between the beasts and the gods. Perhaps this is another way of saying that we stand midway on our developmental and evolutionary trajectory to full human potential…”  Read entire post at this link. [Read more...]

Thank you…

Thanksgiving, Thanks, Thank you, Blog, Blogger, Blogging, Grateful

…for your inspiring posts, your comments, your friendship and your followership.  B.G. captured my thoughts this morning, I’m grateful for you.

Susan, Mimi, LaDona, Lori, Lorne, Alex, Anake, Anneli, Ashi, Beth, BeckyBonnie, Brenna, Caitlin, Carol, Carolyn, Christian, Clanmother, Cristi, Currie, David, Dale, Darlene, Dogdaz, Frank, Frank, Feygirl, Francine, George, Gretchen, Grisa, Indira, Ioanna, Ivon, Jaz, Jeff, Jenni, John, John, John, Joyce, Kalabalu, Katrina, Keith, Kevin, Kim, Kristin, Kurt, Laurie, Leonard, Lu, LukeManoli, Maralee, Marina, Marion, Mark, MBB, Meikah, Melody, Misafusa, MindfulDiary, MixandMatchmeme, Michael, Michael, Michael, Mirta, OneHot(Mess), Ophelia, Naomikko, Nat, Nia, Peter, Paul Mark, Ray, Refeatheringthenest, Renee, Rich, Rick, Rob, Sandy, Sandy Sue, Sarah, Senczyjawa, Simplecherishes, S.L., Sonia, Susan, Stephen, Stephen, Steve, Steve, Sylvia, Todd, Thomas, Tony, Tina, Val, Verna, Wally, Zezil…and for all of my other followers that I didn’t recognize…my apologies…and thank you.


Image Source: Modified Carl Richards Circle of Gratitude | Behavior Gap Behavior Gap

Quinquennium

You get up today.  You may be tired.  You may be lonely.  You may be ill.  You may be angry.  You may be scared.  You may be feeling despair.  You may be sad.  You may not be looking forward to going to work.  And, you may need to have your face pressed right up against the glass to see

Hit this link