“What was, is;
What might have been, might be.
What’s kept. What’s lost. A snap decision.”
- Adrienne Rich, from Later Poems Selected And New
“What was, is;
What might have been, might be.
What’s kept. What’s lost. A snap decision.”
- Adrienne Rich, from Later Poems Selected And New
Traffic is building.
I turn the corner to the I-95 on-ramp. Man in coveralls is standing next to his graffiti stained Seafood Delivery truck. He glances up at me, pauses briefly, and then continues to flick through a bulging wad of bills in his right hand. (You declaring that income, Friend?)
There’s a semi truck in front. A Friendly’s ad adorns its back door: “Eat More Ice Cream.” (What kind of cruel joke is this? You friend, need no more ice cream. Saliva begins to build up, quicker than the traffic flow. I’m worse than Pavlov’s dog. I could use a tall, thick Coldstone Vanilla shake. Right now. I’d skip lunch if I could indulge. I would. I might.)
I come up on a gargantuan, two-trailer Fed Ex semi. Driver sitting up high. The truck gleams in the morning sun. (Bucket list: Need to drive a Semi cross-country. Is he delivering new iPhone 6+s to Manhattan Apple Stores? Gadget man starts to twitch.)
The sun is perfect and you woke this morning.
You have enough language in your mouth to be understood.
You have a name, and someone wants to call it.
Five fingers on your hand and someone wants to hold it.
If we just start there,
every beautiful thing that has and will ever exist is possible.
If we start there, everything, for a moment, is right in the world.
~ Warsan Shire
Warsan Shire, 26, was born in 1988 in Kenya to Somali parents. She later emigrated to London. Shire thereafter began writing poetry as a way to connect with her Somali heritage and her roots in Somalia.
“But to preserve something is to delay that act indefinitely. Maybe preserves are where a historian’s urges meet a cook’s capacities. I wish that I could put up yesterday’s evening sky for all posterity, could preserve a night of love, the sound of a mountain stream, a realization as it sets my mind afire, a day of harmony, ten thousand glorious days of clouds that will instead vanish and never be seen again, line them up in jars where they might be admired in the interim and tasted again as needed. My historian’s nature regards with dismay that all these things arise and perish, though there will always be more clouds and more days, if not for me or for you. Photographs preserve a little of this, and I’ve kept tens of thousands of e-mails and letters, but there is no going back.”
—Rebecca Solnit, from The Faraway Nearby
“The secret of a full life is to live and relate to others as if they might not be there tomorrow, as if you might not be there tomorrow. It eliminates the vice of procrastination, the sin of postponement, failed communications, failed communions. This thought has made me more and more attentive to all encounters, meetings, introductions, which might contain the seed of depth that might be carelessly overlooked. This feeling has become a rarity, and rarer every day now that we have reached a hastier and more superficial rhythm, now that we believe we are in touch with a greater amount of people, more people, more countries. This is the illusion which might cheat us of being in touch deeply with the one breathing next to us. The dangerous time when mechanical voices, radios, telephones, take the place of human intimacies, and the concept of being in touch with millions brings a greater and greater poverty in intimacy and human vision.”
— Anaïs Nin, May 1946.
And this coming from Nin in 1946. “…Hastier and more superficial rhythm.” “…we believe we are in touch…” illusion of being in touch deeply.” “…mechanical voices take the place of human intimacies…”
What would she say about us today?
Anaïs Nin (1903 – 1977) was an American author born to Spanish-Cuban parents in Neuilly, France, where she was also raised. Her father, Joaquín Nin, was a Cuban pianist and composer, when he met her mother Rosa Culmell, a classically trained singer of French and Danish descent who was working in Cuba. Nin lived most of her life in the United States where she became an established author. She published journals (which span more than 60 years, beginning when she was 11 years old and ending shortly before her death), novels, critical studies, essays and short stories. Anaïs Nin is perhaps best remembered as a diarist. Her journals, which span several decades, provide a deeply explorative insight into her personal life and relationships. Nin was acquainted, often quite intimately, with a number of prominent authors, artists, psychoanalysts, and other figures, and wrote of them often. (Source: Wiki)
And if the earthly has forgotten
you, say to the still earth: I flow.
To the rushing water speak: I am.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Stack ‘em up and rumble. Dawn till dusk. Conference calls. One on one calls. Meetings. Emails + Texts: 175 and counting (the day isn’t over). Swinging a gas powered weed wacker. The day: A half-high-five. Many routine ground balls. No major drops. Grade? Falling forward.
I’m on the 7:15 pm MetroNorth railroad heading home. The overhead air conditioning vent is heaven; a cool shower drying sweat from the sweltering cross-town walk. I close my eyes. And drift back to the day’s highlight. A working lunch. I’m 7 minutes late. I apologize and sit. The team waited for me before digging into lunch.
We’re 10 minutes in. The racing, charging, driving of the prior four hours burns off. My heart rate slows. I’m not tapping my foot. I’m not pushing the pace. Not glancing at my watch. Not thinking ahead to the next meeting. I’m watching. And listening. I’m actually present. [Read more...]
“How do we hold presence for others? How do we hold love for others, with no agenda? I can’t help but wonder what the world would be like if we all gave unconditionally and held presence for others, even strangers. Squeeze in beside someone so you are arm-to-arm. Stop moving away. Be fully present; listen to their story without being tempted to respond by recounting your own. be there, with words or not. Don’t check email, withdraw, or cook dinner as you listen. Recognize and own how your presence ‘changes the experiment,’ changes others. Show them that you truly care whether you see them or not. Lend them your strong, warm arm. Let them relax into you.”
~ Patti Digh
Patti Digh is a writer, a speaker, a teacher – – and she describes her most significant job being a mother to her two daughters. She was born in a small Southern town in North Carolina. She went to a small Quaker college (Guilford College) and then to graduate school in English and Art History at the University of Virginia. She landed a job in Washington, DC, as a receptionist for a nonprofit organization–and worked in nonprofit organizations for years. She’s written six books including her best seller “Life is a Verb.” She describes her work as opening space for people to say a big “YES” to their lives–before it’s too late. “I’m about living like you’re dying–because you are. Each moment is precious, and magic. It’s hard to remember that when the laundry piles up and the dishes need washing, I know. My job is to remind you that those “ordinary” things are your life–and to see what is extraordinary in them. To help you tell a story with your life that you’ll love and be proud of at the end of it.” She turned 50 and got a tattoo to mark that passage and to remind me always of three core questions from Buddha that guide her:
Source: Patti Digh Website: 37days.com
Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. And by doing it, they’re proven right. Because, I think there’s something inside of you—and inside of all of us—when we see something and we think, ‘I think I can do it, I think I can do it. But I’m afraid to.’ Bridging that gap, doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that—THAT is what life is. And I think you might be really good. You might find out something about yourself that’s special. And if you’re not good, who cares? You tried something. Now you know something about yourself. Now you know. A mystery is solved. So, I think you should just give it a try. Just inch yourself out of that back line. Step into life. Courage. Risks. Yes. Go. Now.”
— Amy Poehler
Amy Meredith Poehler, 41, is an American actress, comedian, voice artist, producer and writer. Raised in Burlington, Massachusetts, she graduated from Boston College in 1993 and moved to Chicago, Illinois, to study improv at The Second City and ImprovOlympic. Poehler was a cast member on the NBC television show Saturday Night Live (SNL) from 2001 to 2009. In 2004, she became the co-anchor of the Weekend Updatesketch along with her friend and colleague Tina Fey. Poehler’s work on SNL earned her two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Since 2009, she stars as Leslie Knope in the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation, for which she has been nominated for three Emmys forOutstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, two Golden Globe Awards, and one Screen Actors Guild Award. (Source: wiki)
The Sheer Terror of Sitting Still by Mark Morford @ SFGate, Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Pause and you get eaten…Ruthlessly forward is the only perspective, the only direction, the only proper attitude. Self reflection and mindful presence? Calm and OM and inner stillness? Sounds adorable, but holy hell have you seen the pace of the world today? Who has the time? Who has the energy? Who has the patience? And really, does meditation even work? All the hoopla, all the supposed health benefits, all the ancient Buddha wisdom, even modern science slowly coming around to the idea that clearing your mind and working the “attention muscle” is beneficial for reducing all sort of toxic things, like stress, anger, road rage…But come on. There’s so much to do! Money to make. Empires to build. Spines to slouch and hoodies to wear and souls to crush. This is America. Work is all there is. Well, work, and the Internet…Eat or get eaten, sucker…for most Americans, stillness is… how to put this honestly? Terrifying. Deep, even momentary quiet freaks people out. The hardest thing anyone can ever do in our culture is sit still for a moment. The demons! The memories! Voices! Kids! Video games! The guilt and the doubts and the FOMO, all hammering down on you like a cold rain made of fear and capitalism and shame. And it’s only been… 27 seconds. Meditation is hard. We are addicted! White noise and activity filler and lists. Do you know how many apps there are for making To-Do lists, setting alarms, organizing schedules, keeping track of appointments and tasks and urgent needs? I don’t know, either; I’m far too busy writing this column to count them all…
READ MORE including his conclusion. Worth your time. Excellent.
Source: Thank you Jessica Hagy
Michael’s in my head again. Jabbing. Jabbing. Jabbing. Gracefully dancing and landing punches like Sugar Ray. With similar effectiveness. Each one leaving a mark. Punch line popping: You are RUDE.
If you want to pay someone a quiet compliment, give them some serious attention when they are speaking.
Most days I cling to a single word.
It is a mild-mannered creature made of thought.
Future, or Past.
Never the other, obvious word.
Whenever I reach out to touch that one, it scurries away.
—Laura Kasischke, opening lines to “Riddle” from Space, in Chains
Laura Kasischke was awarded the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry for Space, In Chains. She is currently a Professor of English Language at the University of Michigan. She attended the University of Michigan (MFA 1987) and Columbia University.
Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?
Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?
When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life -
What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?
- William Stafford (The Way It Is)
Good Wednesday morning. Two missions today: sharing inspiring posts of the week from several of my favorite bloggers and blogger award nominations.
In the category of just so-very-good, is a post from Thomas Ross @ “Only Here Only Now”with his post titled: Affliction.“The worst thing, the most terrible thing, was to see the reflection of my critical gaze in the people I love the most- to understand how I had fed their self doubt all those years. How I had harmed those I loved so deeply…”
In the bucket of yanking on my heart strings, Ray Visotski @ Simple, Village Undertaker with his post “Butterfly Kisses”: I remember Kelliann playing it for me for the first time when the song was a hit. We decided that it would be the song we danced to at her wedding…It may or may not be the first song, as I cannot listen to it without sobbing…) Me too Ray. Me too…
In the bucket of growth and re-birth, Brenna Gee @ Space2Live with her post title Steven Tyler and an Introvert: Expanding Through Music, Stillness and the Inner Garden:(Steven Tyler) Just recently my dad came over to the house – he’s ninety-three now! And I sat down next to him at the piano and he played Debussy’s Clair de Lune… It was so deep and invoked so much of that early emotion laid on top of my adult emotions that I wept like a baby…(and then Brenna)…As for me, I went through a withdrawal process that started with caring for my body…”
Good Wednesday morning. Two missions today. Sharing inspiring posts of the week from several of my favorite bloggers and blogger award nominations.
FeyGirl @ Serenity Spell with her post: Anoles of the Rainbow — and a Newly Discovered Color Variant!
Sandy @ Another Lovely Day with her poem: breathing in the quiet
The tide gently,
in between the spaces,
covering the shore,
clearing all traces,
that are but ripples,
lapping…(hit link for more)
And now on to the Blogger awards of the week:
Thank you Glenn Weissel for nominating me for the Sunshine Award. Thank you for Cristi Moise @ Simple. Interesting., ForOnePlease and Ivon Prefontaine @ Teacher As Transformer for nominating me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I’m humbled by your nominations.
As to seven facts about me: (1) I’ve never been to Paris. New Zealand. Or Australia. (2) I’m the breadwinner in our family but have absolutely no clout. (3) I have insomnia (like now). The excuse tonight, Zeke crowded me out of bed. (4) We’re empty nesters in less than 3 weeks. (sigh) (5) I’m afraid of heights yet have no fear of flying. (6) I’m a sap with babies and animals (not fish so much). (7) I relish Saturday afternoon naps (and Sunday afternoon naps for that matter). (Bonus Fact) I’m a lucky man in so many ways. Too many too count. And I’m grateful for it all.
In return, I’d like to nominate the following bloggers for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award:
To accept the award, the rules are:
And here’s a few of the inspiring bloggers’ posts of the week:
No, I have something else in mind.
Today I hold a flame in my left hand
and a sword in my right.
There will be no damage control today.
For God is in a mood
to plunder your riches and
fling you nakedly
into such breathtaking poverty
that all that will be left of you
will be a tendency to shine.
So don’t just sit around this flame
choking on your mind.
For this is no campfire song
to mindlessly mantra yourself to sleep with.
Jump now into the space
and exit this dream
before I burn the damn place down.
GOOD SUNNY WEDNESDAY MORNING!!!!
Here’s my selection of the most inspiring posts and moments of the week:
My Rachel was looking for research for a summer internship project to answer the question: “Are Leaders Born or Made.” The first person that came to mind to help was Susan Barrett Kelley @ Great Moments. Prior to jumping on this blogging train in 4Q11, I had never spoke to or met Susan but had come to admire her blog posts. And, yet I didn’t hesitate to drop her an email asking for help. (Love these blogging connections. Powerful.) Within several hours of my request, Susan had replied and the opening line in her email was: “Oh, this question is like handing a microphone to Charlie Sheen and asking if he has anything to say…” She proceeded to offer links to research papers, web sites and her own point of view on the subject. My reaction: Inspired. How I managed to get wired to fantastic human beings on this ride…
Mimi @ Waiting for the Karma Truck in a return visit to inspiration row with her post titled: Post This: “The Post-It notes had one of three messages – “You’re Terrific”, “Smile” or “Have A Wonderful Day”… I started at the gym, surreptitiously placing notes on the handle of an exercise bike, on the mirror in the locker room and on the windshields of two cars in the parking lot. Honestly? I felt both tremendously silly (and I do silly very well) and sneaky (I don’t do that as well) . Onto a quick meeting, where I left one Post-It on the panel of the receptionist’s desk and again on a windshield. At Starbucks I put one on the cash register (there was no one behind me in line – the place was empty for a change), left one on the sugar/cream counter and in the ladies’ room…Talk about stepping outside one’s comfort zone…(Finish reading this awesome post at this link.)
No video clips…
No warm up bands…
No puppy or baby pictures…
We’re jumping right into the inspiring posts of the week:
Tony Caselli, a professional stage director from Williamston, Michigan, with his post: A Beautiful Night. “It’s gorgeous out. I’m on the back deck, just got back from a terrific night at the theatre – a great show, fabulous audience, good feelings all around. Sitting out here, 68 degrees, everything’s wet from the rain, the wind blowing gently, the dogs chasing the ball, and each other, playing…(Hit this link to read the rest…you won’t be disappointed.)
Erin @ Analyfe is back for another visit to inspiration row with a post titled: Fear, Secret Identities, and Superpowers…Here’s a few random nuggets: “Consider this: you already have superpowers…The opposite of fear is surrender…learn to untangle, both from criticism and praise…When someone says that they’re disappointed with you, that simply means that you’re not living out their script for you…If you can figure out confidence, your life will be awesomer sooner…If you don’t earn it, you don’t win…don’t get big on yourself…(hit this link for the entire post as I’ve cherry picked a few of my favorite lines and butchered the glue and flow from Erin’s exceptional post.)
We’re opening Hump Day with a short two minute clip shared with me by Lori @ Donna & Diablo called The Future Is Ours. “We truly live in a extraordinary time…we forget this.” (Thank you Lori!) And then on to my inspiring posts of the week…
Rob Firchau @ The Hammock Papers, a 5th grade teacher, who is a fountain of inspirational posts and profound shares including this Abraham Lincoln quote that I’d never heard before that he calls Teach: “…Teach (your son) him that for every enemy there is a friend…teach him if you can, that a dollar earned is of far more value than five found…Teach him the secret of quiet laughter. Let him learn early that bullies are easiest to lick. Teach him, if you can, the wonder of books…but also give him quiet time to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun and flowers on a green hillside. In school, teach him it is far more honorable to fail than to cheat. Teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even if everyone tells him they are wrong. Teach him to be gentle with [gentle] people and tough with the tough… (Read the rest of this quote @ Teach)
We’re opening Hump Day with a short one minute clip about Pandas. (Now who doesn’t just love Panda cubs.) And then on to my inspiring posts of the week…
From Baltimore, MD, George Amoss Jr. @ The Post Modern Quaker with his post: The Zen of Quakerism. “If, when I’m feeling a little playful, someone were to ask me to summarize Quakerism in a sentence or two, I might say this: You have a heart. Use it.”
Make up your mind that nothing is more important than how I feel now, because now is everything. Now is the whole enchilada. Now is the power of me. Now, now, now, now, now… You might as well start somewhere, and it might as well be now. Why not start improving your life now, now, now?
Quote Source: john449