Release

breathe-relax-rest-fatigue-let-go

The spintop wobbles after a dizzying week. It spins, the revolutions breathless. It turns, slower now, spinning on wisps of the remaining adrenaline.

He’s got it half right. It is the steady pounding of days that is our undoing.

I’ve seen what’s to come—
it is the days,
the steady pounding of days,
like gentle rain,
that will be our undoing.

— John Philip Johnson, from “There Have Come Soft Rains,” Rattle (No. 45)

And it’s Yoko Ono’s memories of the Summer of 1961 that beckon. “Stand in the evening light until you become transparent or until you fall asleep.”

Let it go.

Release.

Evaporate into the night.

Bring on the grace of Saturday morning.


Credits:

  • Photograph – Maria Stolan (Blue Lights Wake Me)
  • Yoko Ono, 1961 Summer, “Body Piece” from “Grapefruit.”

 

We are habituated to noise.

woman-blur-dizzy-noise-peace

“By embarking on the spiritual path, an aspirant is attempting to encounter silence firsthand. This is the quintessential journey in life–the inner sojourn. It is returning to a source long ago forgotten but often glimpsed at moment unawares. Recapturing that which flitters on the periphery of awareness is the goal of the mystic. …The mystic consciously dives into silence, at first unfelt. With repeated practice it becomes a living, palpable Presence filled with immeasurable vitality and boundless, nondual continuity. But what causes this gradual revelation?

First we need to discover why we do not experience silence. The simplest answer is that we are habituated to noise. We are addicted to novelty, sensation, to ourselves. Fuss and commotion, mental chattering, and outer stimulation occupy our minds from dawn to dusk. The twentieth-century Japanese Zen master Nan-in rightly noted that we are overflowing with our own ideas and opinions; to learn Zen we must first empty our minds. But there is no room for such emptiness. When one is clattering away on a keyboard sixteen hours every day, the capacious pockets of silence are kept well at bay. We thereby deafen ourselves to the underlying silence we would otherwise clearly hear.

By intentionally quieting our restless minds and calling a temporary halt to the random noise–inner and outer–to which we are subject, we create an environment conducive to the manifestations of silence. Welling up from within, this silence subtly engulfs us, drowning out all the noise of existence. The Jewish mystics refer to God as “ayin,” nothingness. When we quell the somethingness of our lives, this nothingness emerges. But as long as we dwell in the realm of substance, it remains elusive.”

–John Roger Barrie, in Parabola Magazine: “Silence.” 


Notes:

 

Word, Please

tired-fatigue-woman-portrait

Your body aches.
You can feel yourself sighing all the way to your knees.
Now tell me:
what is the word for that.

— shinji-moon, from A Physician’s Handbook


Notes: Photography:maja via eikadan. Quotes: tohs–kah

 

 

New Year’s Resolutions worth keeping

black and white

15 Phrases That Will Change Your Life In 2015, The Huffington Post, Lindsay Holmes:

“How we speak — to others and to ourselves — has a huge impact on our overall outlook. So isn’t it about time we started paying more attention to what we’re communicating? Below are 15 phrases that will transform the way you think, feel and act in the coming year. Using your words to change your life? Now that’s a resolution worth keeping.”

  1. “Because”
  2. “Can you help me?”
  3. “I”m too busy”
  4. “I don’t”
  5. “No”
  6. “I’m grateful for _______”
  7. “Oh well”
  8. “Let’s Go”
  9. “Just breathe

The entire list and the background explanation on each word/phrase: 15 Phrases That Will Change Your Life In 2015.


Photograph by Bruce Weber of River Phoenix from Live Journal

It will hush if you give it an egg

egg-over-easy

“It can never be satisfied, the mind, never.” Wallace Stevens wrote that, and in the long run he was right. The mind wants to live forever, or to learn a very good reason why not. The mind wants the world to return its love, or its awareness; the mind wants to know all the world, and all eternity, and God. The mind’s sidekick, however, will settle for two eggs over easy. The dear, stupid body is as easily satisfied as a spaniel. And, incredibly, the simple spaniel can lure the brawling mind to its dish. It is everlastingly funny that the proud, metaphysically ambitious, clamoring mind will hush if you give it an egg.

~ Annie Dillard, Total Eclipse. Teaching a Stone to Talk


Image: Photobucket


Running. On Christmas Day.

lights-highway-christmas-holiday

5:30am. Christmas Day. 2014.

A Charcoal black morning with low hanging fog.  52° F and drizzling. Christmas Day or Halloween?

A graceful leaning pushes me out the door early. I haven’t run outside in over a month. Divinity? Metaphysics? Hang-belly?

Traffic in the distance is muffled by a rain-soaked I-95. Where is everyone going?

You are strangely at Peace running in the Dark. With the Rocks. With the Potholes. Don’t you see it forces you to slow down? To pay attention with each step? In Daylight, You Rush. You don’t See. You don’t Feel.

A quasi-country tune by Five Way Friday pops up. Who is Five Way Friday? How did they get on my playlist?  Coincidence? Divinity? Metaphysics? Synchronicity?

A chill in the air…Outrunning the weather one more day…I cherish the feeling of my downtime…A moment to laugh my tears away…I like the rain but only sometimes…Living my life just a little too crazy…Could be wrong, but I don’t know…Taking the wonder out of maybe…Smelling the flowers as I go…

[Read more…]

Christmas Day, 1914, when guns fell silent.


This is Sainsbury’s Christmas ad.

Presenting the new Sainsbury’s Christmas advert. Made in partnership with The Royal British Legion. Inspired by real events from 100 years ago. This year’s Christmas ad from Sainsbury’s – Christmas is for sharing. Made in partnership with The Royal British Legion, it commemorates the extraordinary events of Christmas Day, 1914, when the guns fell silent and two armies met in no-man’s land, sharing gifts – and even playing football together. The chocolate bar featured in the ad is on sale now at Sainsbury’s. All profits (50p per bar) will go to The Royal British Legion and will benefit our armed forces and their families, past and present.

The Youtube video that explains the making of the video is worth a look. Sainsbury’s Christmas 2014 – The Making of Our Christmas Ad


Stillness Arises


Wonderful. Watch. Wow!

I just want to rise so high that no one can reach me and nothing to prove. I just want to get where you just awaken your body and soul to something. Stillness arises within me. Nature brought me to stillness.

Find full transcript full below. [Read more…]

Some keep the Sabbath going to Church. I keep it, staying at Home.

peace,rest,calm,still,quiet

Pico Iyer, Chapter 5: “A Secular Sabbath” from “The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere.”:

The need for an empty space, a pause, is something we have all felt in our bones; it’s the rest in a piece of music that gives it resonance and shape…the reason a certain kind of writer will include a lot of blank space on a page, so his sentences have room to breathe (and his readers, too). The one word for which the adjective “holy” is used in the Ten Commandments is Sabbath…

These days, in the age of movement and connection, space, as Marx had it in another context, has been annihilated by time; we feel as though we can make contact with almost anywhere at any moment. But as fast as geography is coming under our control, the clock is exerting more and more tyranny over us. And the more we can contact others, the more, it sometimes seems, we lose contact with ourselves…

This is what the principle of the Sabbath enshrines…the one day a week we take off becomes a vast empty space through which we can wander, without agenda, as through the light-filled passageways of Notre Dame. Of course, for a religious person, it’s also very much about community and ritual and refreshing one’s relationship with God and ages past. But even for the rest of us, it’s like a retreat house that ensures we’ll have something bright and purposeful to carry back into the other six days…

The Sabbath recalls to us that, in the end, all our journeys have to bring us home. And we do not have to travel far to get away from our less considered habits. The places that move us most deeply, as I found in the monastery, are often the ones we recognize like long-lost friends; we come to them with a piercing sense of familiarity, as if returning to some source we already know. “Some keep the Sabbath going to Church—” Emily Dickinson wrote. “I keep it, staying at Home.”


Notes:

It works!

gif-zen-peace-relax

“If you follow the paintbrush with your eyes while not moving your head, it forces you to use emdr which is a therapeutic technique to calm anxiety/panic. Watching fish swim causes the same effect.”


Source: Disintegrated Insanity

 

Lightly child, lightly

peace,slow,still,quiet
I now realize that
I habitually fight against a leisurely pace;
I resist giving in to slowness.

~ Daniel Klein, Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life


Notes:

  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”
  • Image (edited) Source: Patterns in Chaos

In Sync

inspirational

“A baby dolphin earns its jumping stripes as it swims alongside its mother and leaps out of the water next to her. The dolphin calf was virtually stuck to its mother’s side as they swam before simultaneously jumping a metre out of the water near the Sao Miguel Island of the Azores region, Portugal.”


Source: Picture: Sascha Losko/Solent telegraph.co.uk via Mme Scherzo

 

And, Peace

painting,art,back,woman

If you could only keep quiet,
clear of memories and expectations,
you would be able to discern the beautiful pattern of events.
It is your restlessness that causes chaos.

— Nisargadatta


Credits: Quote – Here & Now. Bio for Nisargadatta. Thomas Saliot Painting via Art Sponge 

That’s it folks…

sequential-date

Happy Sequential Date. The last one this century. (That’s sobering)

Enjoy every moment!


Source: This Isn’t Happiness. Share inspired by Emil Cioran (The Trouble With Being Born): “This very second has vanished forever, lost in the anonymous mass of the irrevocable. It will never return. I suffer from this, and I do not. Everything is unique—and insignificant.”

Lightly child, lightly (v. Kooser)

light-sun

What does the earth’s shadow look like flying through space? A jellyfish, perhaps, swimming at the speed of light with filaments streaming behind. At sunrise or sunset, if you stand on a hilltop, with your arms spread out and your fingers fluttering like feathers, your shadow can ride at the top of that enormous, flying darkness, racing forever into the stars.

~ Ted Kooser, “December.The Wheeling Year: A Poet’s Field Book


Notes:

  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”
  • Image (edited) Source: ccanddumplins via Sensual Starfish

 

Driving I-95 S. Float On.

car-driving-highway

I read One Day three years ago.
But The Line, this line, never left me.
The words would land softly, gently.
And my veins would pulse with Gratitude.

And then some days you wake up and everything’s perfect.

I turn the dial to 70’s on 7.
The Floaters with “Float on.

The left foot begins to tap.
My body begins to sway, a rocking chair.

Take my hand, come with me, baby, to Love Land
Let me show you how sweet it could be
Sharing love with me, I want you to tell me
Float, float on (Come on, come on,
(Come on, baby, yeah, yeah)
Float on, float on (Ooh, ooh, baby)
Float, float, float on
Float on (Float with me), float on [Read more…]

Lightly child, lightly (v. Aequo animo)

bubbles

I imagine a word, a single word, that would pierce through the hardest of hearts.
*
But who am I? No one and everyone…
*
Quiet and still. There are so many things I cannot explain.
*
Be compassionate. Aequo animo.

~ Marion Blank, Note to Self


Credits:

  • Aqua Animo (latin) \ˌī-ˌkwō-ˈä-ni-ˌmō\ : with even mind :  calmly.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”
  • Image Source: Thank you Sandy @ Sundog

 

Lightly child, lightly

Dancer-gif


Credits:

  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”
  • Image Source: Daniele Pezzela via Your Eyes Blaze Out

 

The Disease of Being Busy

omid-safi

The Disease of Being Busy by Omid Safi, recipient of the 2009 Teaching Award for Professor of the Year at Duke University:

I saw a dear friend a few days ago. I stopped by to ask her how she was doing, how her family was. She looked up, voice lowered, and just whimpered: “I’m so busy… I am so busy… have so much going on.” Almost immediately after, I ran into another friend and asked him how he was. Again, same tone, same response: “I’m just so busy… got so much to do.” The tone was exacerbated, tired, even overwhelmed.

…How did we end up living like this? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we do this to our children? When did we forget that we are human beings, not human doings?

…In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask them how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? How is your haal? What is this haal that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?” When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know…

Don’t miss his entire post @ The Disease of Being Busy

or his follow-on post titled: The Thief of Intimacy, Busyness


Image Source: Duke University

 

Coffee

coffee

And coffee, for one who knows it as I do, means making it with your own hands and not having it come to you on a tray, because the bringer of the tray is also the bearer of talk, and the first coffee, the virgin of the silent morning, is spoiled by the first words. Dawn, my dawn, is antithetical to chatter. The aroma of coffee can absorb sounds and will go rancid, even if these sounds are nothing more than a gentle “Good morning!”

Coffee is the morning silence, early and unhurried, the only silence in which you can be at peace with self and things, creative, standing alone with some water that you reach for in lazy solitude and pour into a small copper pot with a mysterious shine—yellow turning to brown—that you place over a low fire. Oh, that it were a wood fire!

Stand back from the fire a little and observe a street that has been rising to search for its bread ever since the ape disentangled himself from the trees and walked on two feet. A street borne along on carts loaded with fruits and vegetables, and vendors’ cries notable for faint praise that turns produce into a mere attribute of price. Stand back a little and breathe air sent by the cool night. Then return to your low fire—If only it were a wood fire!—and watch with love and patience the contact between the two elements, fire colored green and blue and water roiling and breathing out tiny white granules that turn into a fine film and grow. Slowly they expand, then quickly swell into bubbles that grow bigger and bigger, and break. Swelling and breaking, they’re thirsty and ready to swallow two spoonfuls of coarse sugar, which no sooner penetrates than the bubbles calm down to a quiet hiss, only to sizzle again in a cry for a substance that is none other than the coffee itself—a flashy rooster of aroma and Eastern masculinity.

Remove the pot from the low fire to carry on the dialogue of a hand, free of the smell of tobacco and ink, with its first creation, which as of this moment will determine the flavor of your day and the arc of your fortune: whether you’re to work or avoid contact with anyone for the day. What emerges from this first motion and its rhythm, from what shakes it out of a world of sleep rising from the previous day, and from whatever mystery it will uncover in you, will form the identity of your new day.

Because coffee, the first cup of coffee, is the mirror of the hand. And the hand that makes the coffee reveals the person that stirs it. Therefore, coffee is the public reading of the open book of the soul. And it is the enchantress that reveals whatever secrets the day will bring.

 Mahmoud Darwish, from Memory for Forgetfulness (University of California Press, 1990)


Poem Source: The Journey Of Words. Image Source: Melanie Defazio via Coffee-Coffee


Splitting an Order

cutting-sandwich

I like to watch an old man cutting a sandwich in half,
maybe an ordinary cold roast beef on whole wheat bread,
no pickles or onion, keeping his shaky hands steady
by placing his forearms firm on the edge of the table
and using both hands, the left to hold the sandwich in place,
and the right to cut it surely, corner to corner,
observing his progress through glasses that moments before
he wiped with his napkin, and then to see him lift half
onto the extra plate that he asked the server to bring,
and then to wait, offering the plate to his wife
while she slowly unrolls her napkin and places her spoon,
her knife, and her fork in their proper places,
then smooths the starched white napkin over her knees
and meets his eyes and holds out both old hands to him.

~ Ted Kooser, Splitting an Order


Image: Dreamstime

Lightly child, lightly

fly-bird-paper-magic


Credits:

  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”
  • Image Source: Your Eyes Blaze Out

 

Mon-Tues-Wed-Thurs-Fri….Sat.

gif-fly-rush-crash-Saturday


Source:  via Flying Dream

It’s Been A Long Day

sun conure


Notes:

Lightly child, lightly

bubbles, blow bubble


Credits:

  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”
  • Image Source: Your Eyes Blaze Out.

 

Driving up I-95. With Gull.

seagull

It was three weeks ago, 6 p.m. and I’m on my evening commute home. I-95 is snarled in both directions. Heavy, slow-moving metal edging its way up, a car length at a time. I’m looking ahead to find a break. I see none. Waze flashes an update: “Your drive time is extended by 10 minutes. Accident ahead.”

But that’s not the story. No. That’s not what drifts in during my 7-mile run on Sunday. It’s not what emerges during a meeting late Monday afternoon. And it’s not what’s hanging around the edges, gently finding its place among the mental chatter of Work.

It’s a white speck 75 car lengths ahead, hovering a steady five feet above the sea of car tops.  A white speck, moving against traffic. First the speck. Then Wings. Then the gull.

The bird’s line is a straight shot.

Seagulls that I know, float in wind tunnels, they surf, they lallygag on shorelines. Not this one. This Gull’s wings are flapping, beating fiercely and maintaining the rhythm of an Olympic rowing crew free of its coxswain:  I need to get there. Quickly. I need to get there. Now.

It’s 15 car lengths now. The bird is keeping its line, passing under a bridge without interruption. Jet Gull – – at low altitude and maintaining flight speed. I’m locked in.

I bend my head to see him. He doesn’t look down, or around or even shift his glance. Focus. Hurry. Get there. Now.

Blink. He’s in my rear view mirror. Gull. Wings. A Speck. Gone.

My gaze turns back to the sea of cars in front of me. Gull, where are you going? Why the Rush?

Its 4am. Today, Hump Day.  Weeks later. I’m flicking through my Reader and I come across This.

A seagull froze, motionless, in the sky – lost in thought. Then suddenly it remembered something important, perhaps that life is as short as a blink, and went dashing off a full pelt.

Mikhail Shishkin, from The Light and the Dark

Synchronicity? Coincidence? Serendipity?

Hmmmmmm.


Notes:

The Last Frontier. Right Here. Right Now.

black and white

I think there’s still a small block of original quiet
that exists in the world.
3 a.m. to 5 a.m. —
a last natural wilderness,
time’s shrinking little Antarctica.

Steven Hall, The Raw Shark Texts

 


Credits: Quote – A Sea of Quotes. Photography: Mirellamel via youreyesblazeout

 

Riding Metro North. With Massenet.

42nd-new-york-city

I’m on the first train. I’m with my commuters deep into the morning papers. The silence is broken for three short intervals – the conductor collecting tickets and two stops on the Express. Otherwise, a library. 55 minutes of heaven.

Yet, the silence is thundering.

EBOLA. Mid-term elections. School shootings. Shooting rampage in the Canadian Parliament. Ukraine. Work-budget-goals. Man attacks NYC cops with a hatchet. Markets tumbling. Afghanistan. Iraq. Syria. Hong Kong protesters. Millions of air bag recalls. Stepfather Charged After 3-Year-Old Girl Beaten to Death at Brooklyn Shelter. OMG. Turn the page. Turn the page. Turn the page. Unable to find something Good, I put away the news, close my eyes, lean my head against the window and drift into Grand Central.

I twist in my ear buds, first right and then left. I exit the train to 42nd street with hundreds of early morning commuters.

Zibby introduces Jesse to classical music in Liberal Arts; DK had no such Muse. Yet, the impact is no less Divine. The biting winds of darkness and doubt whistling through the skull are placed on Pause. My 12-minute cross-town walk is filled with ethereal beauty, a peace, a calmness, a lightness. The delivery trucks. The yellow cabs, honey bees buzzing in and out. The shop owner opening the gate. A construction worker taking a long pull on his cigarette. A student sipping coffee in an empty Diner. The leaves on a lonely tree rustling from the gust of a passing bus. All of it, a symphony. [Read more…]

Lightly child, lightly

pop,


Credits:

 

If it were always breakfast, I would be fine

coffee-breakfast-black-and-white

I wish the whole day were like breakfast, when people are still connected to their dreams, focused inward, and not yet ready to engage with the world around them. I realized this is how I am all day; for me, unlike other people, there doesn’t come a moment after a cup of coffee or a shower or whatever when I suddenly feel alive and awake and connected to the world. If it were always breakfast, I would be fine.”

― Peter Cameron, Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You: A Novel


Notes: Peter Cameron Bio. Quote Source: Aseaofquotes. Photography: Jellyfox’s soup

The Sunday morning silence comes at last.

Eagle-Lake-Maine-autumn

The sounds of engines leave the air.
The Sunday morning silence comes at last.
At last I know the presence
of the world made without hands,
the creatures that have come to be
out of their absence.
Calls of flicker and jay fill the clear air.
Titmice and chickadees feed
among the green and the dying leaves.
Gratitude for the gifts of all the living
and the unliving,
gratitude which is the greatest gift,
quietest of all,
passes to me through the trees.

~  Wendell Berry, Sabbaths, 2007 XI


Credits:

  • Poem: Thank you Steve @ Anderson Layman’s Blog.
  • Photo from National Geographic. “Autumn’s grandeur spreads across Eagle Lake on Mount Desert Island, one of several coastal islands that make up Acadia National Park in Maine. Eagle Lake, which supplies water to nearby Bar Harbor, is deep, clear, and relatively free of plant life.”

Undone by a smell, a word, a place, the photo of a mountain of shoes

anne-michaels-author
I’ve discovered Anne Michaels, 56, an award winning Canadian poet and novelist from Toronto. Her book, Fugitive Pieces, has been added to my wish list after reading these passages:

How one becomes undone by a smell, a word, a place, a photo of a mountain of shoes:

The shadow past is shaped by everything that never happened. Invisible, it melts the present like rain through karst. A biography of longing. It steers us like magnetism, a spirit torque. This is how one becomes undone by a smell, a word, a place, the photo of a mountain of shoes. By love that closes its mouth before calling a name.

An apple screaming its sweet juice:

There was no more simple meal, no thing was less than extraordinary: a fork, a mattress, a clean shirt, a book. Not to mention such things that can make one weep: an orange, meat and vegetables, hot water. There was no ordinariness to return to, no refuge from the blinding potency of things, an apple screaming its sweet juice.

The catastrophe of grace:

But sometimes the world disrobes, slips its dress off a shoulder, stops time for a beat. If we look up at that moment, it’s not due to any ability of ours to pierce the darkness, it’s the world’s brief bestowal. The catastrophe of grace.

Stones and silence:

Some stones are so heavy only silence helps you carry them!

And I have found her poetry. Here from her Poetry collection titled The Winter Vault: [Read more…]

Hush

Charlie-Imagenes-

Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn?
Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends?
Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer
to a question you’ve been asked,
or the hush of a country road at night,
or the expectant pause of a room full of people
when someone is just about to speak, or,
most beautiful of all,
the moment after the door closes and
you’re alone in the whole house?
Each one is different, you know,
and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.

~ Norton Juster


Notes:

Take the test. How do you measure up?

Maximizer or satificer

91 total points. (If you are higher than 45, you are a Maximizer.)

“Most people fall somewhere in the middle.”

“Maximizers” like to take their time and weigh a wide range of options—sometimes every possible one—before choosing. “Satisficers” would rather be fast than thorough; they prefer to quickly choose the option that fills the minimum criteria (the word “satisfice” blends “satisfy” and “suffice”).

“Maximizers are people who want the very best. Satisficers are people who want good enough,”

“Maximizers landed better jobs. Their starting salaries were, on average, 20% higher than those of the satisficers, but they felt worse about their jobs.”

“Satisficers also have high standards, but they are happier than maximizers, he says. Maximizers tend to be more depressed and to report a lower satisfaction with life”

My Score: 60. (Oh Boy)

Read full article in wsj.com: How You Make Decisions Says a Lot About How Happy You Are

Situations running through my head

black and white,
4:00 am. Tuesday morning.

Headphones strapped on. A Pandora Mix of David Gray.

Situations running through my head.

Three good nights of sleep to rejuvenate the soul. A Southern Baptist Preacher, arms reaching for the Heavens: Praise the Lord.

If there is a God, she sang The Best Thing I Never Had on The Voice last night. Beth Spanger, a young lady from Aiken, S.C. I see Light, the woman is Light.

After fifty odd years, I find Molière and Le Misanthrope (1666). Les doutes sont fâcheux plus que toute autre chose. (Doubts are more cruel than the worst of truths. Act III, sc. v.).

I’ve ratcheted it up. Read. Watch. See. More. More. More. Faster.

Yet, not fast enough. [Read more…]

If I met the younger version of myself, we would…

liz-danzico

Liz Danzico is the creative director for NPR. Here’s how she opens her post:

I think a lot about what I would say to the younger version of myself if I met her again, if I met her through the still moments of all the motion of youth — when she was sitting at the piano, or if I saw her alone on the playground, or if I watched her read, voice quivering, her short stories in front of the class…

Don’t miss the rest of her post here: Stillness in Motion.


Credits:

Saturday Morning

kitten-cat-cute-adorable-bliss


Source: awwww-cute

 

And if 2 isn’t enough, double down

hand-sand-earth

And here’s links to 3 more excerpts from Sam Harris’ new book that hit nerve endings:

  • Our needs and desires seem to multiply by the hour.” Connect here.
  • Our feelings of accomplishment remain vivid and intoxicating for an hour, or perhaps a day, but then they subside. And the search goes on.” Connect here.
  • Just keep your foot on the gas until you run out of road.” Connect here.

Photograph Source: YourEyesBlazeOut via Taffynikte

 

 

Lurching. Lurching. Lurching.

sam_harris

This Believer of Convenience warily tiptoed into Sam Harris’ new book titled Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. I’m a 1/3 of the way in. He’s managed to settle under my skin, burrowing into my consciousness.  I’m deeply ambivalent about the message. The polarity of my emotions is stark – it’s as if I’m split in two. I drift in and out of darkness and I find myself empty in my quiet moments of contemplation. I’m certain that this wasn’t Sam’s objective with his Guide.  Yet I find it impossible to disagree with certain messages, such as yesterday’s post titled Carpe Momento. And another this morning which I’m sharing below.  I’m leaning heavily on F. Scott Fitzgerald to function: “The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function” – – as I need to function, I need to function. Here’s Sam Harris with another one of his “pow, right in the kisser” messages to me:
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Monday Mantra: Carpe Momento

black and white,gratitude

Our minds are all we have. They are all we have ever had. And they are all we can offer others. This might not be obvious, especially when there are aspects of your life that seem in need of improvement— when your goals are unrealized, or you are struggling to find a career, or you have relationships that need repairing. But it’s the truth. Every experience you have ever had has been shaped by your mind. Every relationship is as good or as bad as it is because of the minds involved. If you are perpetually angry, depressed, confused, and unloving, or your attention is elsewhere, it won’t matter how successful you become or who is in your life— you won’t enjoy any of it.

Most of us could easily compile a list of goals we want to achieve or personal problems that need to be solved. But what is the real significance of every item on such a list? Everything we want to accomplish— to paint the house, learn a new language, find a better job— is something that promises that, if done, it would allow us to finally relax and enjoy our lives in the present. Generally speaking, this is a false hope. I’m not denying the importance of achieving one’s goals, maintaining one’s health, or keeping one’s children clothed and fed— but most of us spend our time seeking happiness and security without acknowledging the underlying purpose of our search. Each of us is looking for a path back to the present: We are trying to find good enough reasons to be satisfied now.

Acknowledging that this is the structure of the game we are playing allows us to play it differently. How we pay attention to the present moment largely determines the character of our experience and, therefore, the quality of our lives.

~ Sam Harris. Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion (Simon & Schuster. 2014)


Photographer: Sasha Onyshchenko via Thisiseverything. Blog post title is twist on Carpe Diem (Seize the Day to Seize the Moment)

Saturday Morning

rest, chill,relax


Source: jaimejustelaphoto

Home from my walk, shoes off, at peace.

read,still,quiet,morning
The weight of my old dog, Hattie —
thirty five pounds of knocking bones, sighs, tremors and dreams —
just isn’t enough to hold a patch of sun in its place, at least for very long.
While she shakes in her sleep,
its slips from beneath her and inches away,
taking the morning with it —
the music from the radio,
the tea from my cup,
the drowsy yellow hours —
picking up dust and
dog hair as it goes.

~ Ted Kooser. December 14. Home from my walk, shoes off, at peace.

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Peace

September 11, 2001


Source: Madame Scherzo

130 Seconds: August Flashback


We loved Marc Mazur’s short retrospectives on June and July.  He doesn’t disappoint with August.


 

Breathe. Beachy Head. 1:38 min.


Above Beachy Head in East Sussex, England.

That’s the factory whistle. The shift is over.

tired-fatigue-black-and-white

The best thing you and I can do at the end of the writing day is to stash our work gloves in our locker, hang our leather apron on a hook, and head for the workshop door. If we’ve truly put in our hours today, we know it. We have done enough. It won’t help to keep at it like a dog worrying a bone.

I forgot who said this (I think it was John Steinbeck in Journal of a Novel):

Let the well fill up again overnight.

~ Stephen Pressfield, The Office Is Closed


Credits: Quote – Stephen Pressfield, The Office is Closed. Photograph – ufukorada

 

Monday Morning Mantra: Swim in Your Sea

chuck-close-exhibit-03

Think of one of those Chuck Close self-portraits. The face takes up the entire image. You can see every pore. Some people try to introspect like that. But others see themselves in broader landscapes, in the context of longer narratives about forgiveness, or redemption or setback and ascent. Maturity is moving from the close-up to the landscape, focusing less on your own supposed strengths and weaknesses and more on the sea of empathy in which you swim, which is the medium necessary for understanding others, one’s self, and survival.

~ David Brooks, Introspective or Narcissistic?


Notes:

Saturday Morning

cat-kitten-bliss-black and white


Source: Atrocity Exhibition

Yes.

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”

~ Aldous Huxley, Music at Night and Other Essays


↓ click for audio (“Ruth and Sylvie” by Daniel Hart)

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Monday Mantra: Stirring the Pot

pot-boiling-stir

When the mind becomes highly relaxed and alert at the same time, three wonderful qualities of mind naturally emerge: calmness, clarity, and happiness. Here is the analogy. Imagine you have a pot of water full of sediments, and imagine that pot is constantly shaken and agitated. The water appears cloudy. Imagine that you stop agitating the pot and just let it rest on the floor. The water will become calm and, after a while, all the sediments will settle and the water will appear clear. This is the classical analogy of the mind in the alert and relaxed state. In this state, we temporarily stop agitating the mind the same way we stop agitating the pot.

~ Chade-Meng Tan, Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace) [Read more…]