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

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

camel-sahara-hump-day-wednesday


Notes:

It’s been a long day

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Sometimes I grow weary with all the days, with their fits and starts. I want to climb some old gray mountain, slowly, taking the rest of my lifetime to do it, resting often, sleeping under the pines or, above them, on the unclothed rocks. I want to see how many stars are still in the sky that we have smothered for years now, a century at least. I want to look back at everything, forgiving it all, and peaceful, knowing the last thing there is to know.

All that urgency! Not what the earth is about!

How silent the trees, their poetry being of themselves only. I want to take slow steps, and think appropriate thoughts.

In ten thousand years, maybe, a piece of the mountain will fall.

~ Mary Oliver, The Poet Dreams of the Mountain. Swan: Poems and Prose Poems


Photo: NerySoul

But right now I’m happy, happier, ish

steve-coogan

Michael Hainey in an interview with Steve CooganComedian Steve Coogan is Happyish:

MH: If you look at yourself now—a man nearing 50—what would you have said to the young Steve Coogan?

SC: It’s a very good question. Well, I would have… [long pause] aimed higher. I don’t just mean that in a career sense, I mean be better, strive to be better in all things, and work harder, because you’ll find it rewarding. I’d say, Be comfortable with who you are as well, just listen to yourself more. I suppose when I was younger, I wanted to get on and have a career and be successful. And try to be all things to all men. I don’t do that anymore. Now I want to do things I believe in, and have a sort of honesty, in work and in life. When I was younger, I didn’t really want to say anything contentious, because I thought it might alienate people who liked my work.

MH: Is there anything you sacrificed to be in your position that you regret?

SC: In my quest for authenticity and sincerity, I can be a bit annoying. In my quest to try to bring some love into things, I can be a bit acerbic and nasty. I love that quote that Aldous Huxley said at the end of his life: Through all his writing and everything, all he’d learned at the end of his life was that people should just be a bit nicer to each other. I love the simplicity of that. And I do well to remember it. Sometimes I need to just be nice to people. I have been quite driven over the years. But right now I’m happy, happier, ish, than I’ve been before. I’m fortunate in that I can make choices, and I think I try to make the right ones. And I don’t do anything I don’t believe in. And that’ a real luxury.

Don’t miss full interview here: Comedian Steve Coogan is Happyish


Photo: wegotthisdiscovered.com

 

 

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

camel-hump-day-wednesday


Notes:

A blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others

tatiana-maslany

By: Lili Loofbourow, The Many Faces of Tatiana Maslany:

Tatiana Maslany, the 29-year old actress, is a native of Regina, Saskatchewan. She is the leading lady on the set of “Orphan Black,” the BBC America television show that has the same star many times over. “Orphan Black,” you see, is about a group of persecuted clones, and all of them are played by Tatiana Maslany.

Despite Maslany’s reluctance, I managed to steer our conversation back to her magical quick-change act. I still wanted to know how she does it. “I think there’s something about being prepared enough that you can surrender,” she said. Then she quoted to me something the dancer Martha Graham told the choreographer Agnes de Mille in 1943.

At the time, de Mille was confused and bewildered by her sudden rise to fame, and Graham offered her words of encouragement.  […] De Mille asked Graham when she would feel satisfied, and Graham replied: “There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” I asked Maslany what her divine dissatisfaction was. “I don’t know how I would label it right now,” she said. “I think if I looked back on this time, I’d probably see where it lived.”

Don’t miss entire NY Times Magazine article here: The Many Faces of Tatiana Maslany.


Now. Now.

debbie-millman

As Robert Frost once wrote, “A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness. It is never a thought to begin with.”

I recommend the following course of action for those, like you, who are just starting out, or who, like me, may be re-configuring midway through. Heed the words of Robert Frost. Start with a big fat lump in your throat. Start with a profound sense of wrong, a deep homesickness, a crazy lovesickness, and run with it. If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve. Do what you love. And don’t stop until you get what you love. Work as hard as you can. Imagine immensities. Don’t compromise and don’t waste time. In order to strive for a remarkable life, you have to decide that you want one. Start now. Not twenty years from now. Not thirty years from now. Not two weeks from now. Now.

~ Debbie Millman, 2013 Commencement Address at San Jose State University 


Notes: Quote – Brainpickings via makebelieveboutique. Photography – howtoholdapencil.

Blue

blue-mist-dreamy-photography

The photographer is marco andres argüello. He was born and raised in McAllen, Texas and is currently living in Miami Beach, Florida.  Be sure to check out his amazing web site here. My favorite collections are Greek Isles, Island and Ultraviolet.


Soure: eikadan


9° F. March 6. When?

portrait,photography,lips

And then there are the times
when I close my eyes and just sit there,
with the breeze blowing on my face,
and the light inside the air,
all around me and just beyond my eyes,
and the world all red,
a beautiful red inside my eyes,
with the sun shining on me and my eyes.

— Paul Auster, City of Glass


Source: Quote: The Journey of Words. Photograph: Alice Calypso via Your Eyes Blaze Out

More Manguso Memories

sarah-manguso

After yesterday’s post introducing Sarah Manguso in Manguso Magnificent, we’re back with more.

Sarah Manguso, Ongoingness: The End of a Diary:

I assumed that maximizing the breadth and depth of my autobiographical memory would be good for me, force me to write and live with greater care, but in the last thing one writer ever published, when he was almost ninety years old, he wrote a terrible warning. He said he’d liked remembering almost as much as he’d liked living but that in his old age , if he indulged in certain nostalgias, he would get lost in his memories. He’d have to wander them all night until morning. He responded to my fan letter when he was ninety. When he was ninety-one, he died. I just wanted to retain the whole memory of my life, to control the itinerary of my visitations , and to forget what I wanted to forget. Good luck with that, whispered the dead. 

And here:

The least contaminated memory might exist in the brain of a patient with amnesia— in the brain of someone who cannot contaminate it by remembering it. With each recollection, the memory of it further degrades. The memory and maybe the fact of every kiss start disappearing the moment the two mouths part.

[Read more…]