I am a man made of rain.

rain-raining-water-black-and-white

I could grumble about the rain and the discomfort, but after all, rain affirms what this country is. Today I stand face to face with the maker of it all, the source of its beauty and abundance, and I love the rain as desert people love the sun. I remember that the human body is ninety-eight percent water, and so, more than anything else, rain is the source of my own existence. I imagine myself transformed back to the rain from which I came. My hair is a wispy, wind-torn cloud. My eyes are rainwater ponds, glistening with tears. My mind is sometimes a clear pool, sometimes an impenetrable bank of fog. My heart is a thunderstorm, shot through with lightning and noise, pumping the flood of rainwater that surges inside my veins. My breath is the misty wind, whispering and soft one moment, laughing and raucous another. I am a man made of rain.

~ Richard Nelson, The Island Within


Photo: Journal of a Nobody

Sunday Morning: Nothing more than a face in a raindrop.

black and white, raining, rain,

At this moment, there must be more raindrops falling on the surface of the island than there are humans on earth, perhaps more than all the humans who ever lived. I’ve thought of raindrops as tiny and insignificant things, but against the scale of earth itself, they’re scarcely smaller than I am. On what basis, then, can I consider myself more important? Koyukon elders say that each kind of weather, including rain, has its own spirit and consciousness. If this is true, there must be a spirit within every raindrop, as in all else that inhabits the earth. In this sense, we are two equal forms of being who stand in mutual regard. I bend down to look at a crystal droplet hanging from a hemlock needle and know my own image is trapped inside. It’s humbling to think of myself this way. In the broader perspective of earth, I am nothing more than a face in a raindrop.

~ Richard Nelson, The Island Within


Image: freefoto.com

Would I (could I) have done it? Hmmmmm. Inspiring? Absolutely.

homeless-subway

David Brooks: Building Spiritual Capital:

Lisa Miller is a professor of psychology and education at Columbia University. One day she entered a subway car and saw that half of it was crowded but the other half was empty, except for a homeless man who had some fast food on his lap and who was screaming at anybody who came close.

At one stop, a grandmother and granddaughter, about 8, entered the car. They were elegantly dressed, wearing pastel dresses and gloves with lace trim. The homeless man spotted them and screamed, “Hey! Do you want to sit with me?” They looked at each other, nodded and replied in unison, “Thank you” and, unlike everybody else, sat directly next to him.

The man offered them some chicken from his bag. They looked at each other and nodded and said, “No, thank you.” The homeless man offered several more times, and each time they nodded to each other and gave the same polite answer. Finally, the homeless man was calmed, and they all sat contentedly in their seats.

Don’t miss entire op-ed story by David Brooks: Building Spiritual Capital


Packing our bags and leaving our worst selves for our better ones

face-moment-empathy-breathe-portrait

Empathy isn’t just something that happens to us—a meteor shower of synapses firing across the brain—it’s also a choice we make: to pay attention, to extend ourselves. It’s made of exertion, that dowdier cousin of impulse. Sometimes we care for another because we know we should, or because it’s asked for, but this doesn’t make our caring hollow. The act of choosing simply means we’ve committed ourselves to a set of behaviors greater than the sum of our individual inclinations: I will listen to his sadness, even when I’m deep in my own. To say ‘going through the motions’—this isn’t reduction so much as acknowledgment of the effort—the labor, the motions, the dance—of getting inside another person’s state of heart or mind.

This confession of effort chafes against the notion that empathy should always arise unbidden, that genuine means the same thing as unwilled, that intentionality is the enemy of love. But I believe in intention and I believe in work. I believe in waking up in the middle of the night and packing our bags and leaving our worst selves for our better ones.

~ Leslie Jamison, “The Empathy Exams


Credits: Photo: Angelhead. Quote: Invisiblestories

Foot Soldiers

shoe-shine-hand

“Finding unexpected beauty in the hands of shoe shiners”

This hand: German Orellana, 55, Ecuador.
Photographs by Christopher Griffith.

Don’t miss photos of 15 other NYC shoe shiners in The New York Times Magazine: Shoe Shine Slideshow


Opia


opia – n. the ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eye, which can feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable–their pupils glittering, bottomless and opaque–as if you were peering through a hole in the door of a house, able to tell that there’s someone standing there, but unable to tell if you’re looking in or looking out.


This Holiday: Give Presence


Thank you Rachel

Human. Roll it.

cool-gif-changing-faces-water


Source: themetapicture (Thank you Susan)

 

Happy Thanksgiving

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The email message arrived a few days ago. The sender and the location were all unidentifiable. Yet, the message was deeply personal. I read it in the silence of the early morning hours, both hands resting on top of the desk, my breath slowing as my eyes worked down the page.

“I’ve been following your blog since early 2013.  After a series of your “life is a miracle” shares, I felt I needed to reach out. While our core beings are quite similar in that our hearts’ beat, our body temperatures hover in comparable ranges, and our bodies crave food and water, many of us depart from here in our day-to-day existences…

If I’m sitting and looking out from your perch, I would enjoy the view. Married, family, job.  Fridge full of food. A warm house for shelter. Good health. A community of Followers and bloggers to banter with and share inspirations…

Kierkegaard would say that the yardstick for a human being is how long and to what degree he can bear to be alone. I continue to be tested by this yardstick. I’m quite alone. My effectiveness in bearing it? Let’s say it’s day-to-day, and I’m doing so without the benefit of your accoutrements. Yet, I find my peace, and I accept my position in this Life…swallowing hard on my down days.

Look around. I mean really look around and take stock of your life. All of this can change. It can change at any moment. And it can turn very badly. It did for me… Be grateful Now for your blessings as you have many.

[NO CLOSING SIGNATURE OR SALUATION]

Friend, if I can take the liberty of calling you that, you’ve left me Still and without many words, and I’m thankful for your message. Where ever you are and who ever you may be, on this Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., may you find nourishment, may you have shelter and warmth, and may you be surrounded by the love of family and friends.


Photograph Source: Murrskeez

 

The differences are at the 5% level. That’s pretty good.

Craig Newmark

What surprises me, in a way, is how almost universally people are trustworthy and good. There are problems, and sometimes people bicker, which is a pain in the ass, but people are good. No matter what your religious background, we share pretty much the same values. There are some minor differences that we disagree on, but the differences are at the 5 percent level. That’s pretty good.

~ Craig Newmark, Founder of Craigs List in Founders at Work


Quote: Brainpickings. Photograph: bigmarketingsmallbusiness