avenoir


avenoir – n. the desire that memory could flow backward

We take it for granted that life moves forward. But you move as a rower moves, facing backwards—you can see where you’ve been, but not where you’re going. And your boat is steered by a younger version of you. It’s hard not to wonder what life would be like facing the other way…


Source: The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

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:

Nostalgia for a lost world, an unrecoverable childhood

Quentin-tarantino

From Larissa MacFarquhar’s 2003 Profile of Quentin Tarantino:

“For every monologue he writes about an old movie or TV show, he writes one about European hamburgers or tipping waitresses or eating pork. … The love of minutiae, like the love of pop culture, is a form of nostalgia—a junk-food version of Proust’s madeleine. But, unlike madeleine-nostalgia—nostalgia for a lost world, an unrecoverable childhood—minutiae-nostalgia is nostalgia for a world that still exists, for a life you’re still living.”


(Source: newyorker.com). Photograph by Ruven Afanador

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:

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)

Just like that…

woman,stare,wonder,ponder,

“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


Poem Source: Soaked In Soul. Photograph: “Enigma”; Kenny Sweeney

Driving. Just another morning. Rollin’ down I-95.

driving-gif

6:30am.

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.)

I pass downtown Stamford and see the RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) logo towering over the city.  (Well laddies. Is it time to cut the cord from Mother England?) [Read more…]

Such raw being aches

feel-live-peace-art-woman

So often we run from feeling and yet it is only through feeling that we can know the depth of life. Only through feeling can we hold the smallest shell or bone and feel the tug of the Universe. Such raw being aches, for, as the Buddhists say, the bareness of being here is so full. I wake with this rawness and watching you sleep, I’m stopped before I start. Before I dress, I lose why I’m going anywhere. Yet wherever the day takes me- pausing to hold the groceries with the old man who packs them or seeing the neighbor’s child at the kitchen table doing homework as I walk our dog or pulling over to watch the small horse breathe his cloud over the fence- everywhere this bareness illumines. With no way to that bareness but through feeling and the listening that feeling opens. Some say I get lost in this feeling, this listening. But only if I think I know where I’m going, only if I think I know what I’m listening for. Through this bareness of being, we refresh our openness and enliven our innate connection to the one living sense. Through our unblocked, sincere response to life, we can tune our inner person with the great mysteries.

~ Mark Nepo


Credits: Thank you Make Believe Boutique, my daily inspiration, for the poem. Visual Art by Karolina Szymkiewicz via ufukorado.

Sunday Morning: I perfectly recall yesterday, the whale’s eye that blinked

eye-blink-gif

Zeke dreaming.
Our mid afternoon nap.
His paws twitching, his gentle whimpers.

The Yellow Goldfinch and his cousins.
Tiny claws clutching the perches at the feeder.
Beak on seed. Velvet hammer tap, tap, tapping.
Man still searching for a matching, lemon color palette.

Long Train Runnin’. The Doobie Brothers.
A 3.5 minute nostalgic carpet ride.
Foot tapping, lip syncing, and running the math.
40 years ago!

Family dinner.
Memories shared.
Melancolía filling the pauses.
Pending departures.

The Coldstone vanilla milk shake.
Thick gobs of deliciousness pulled through the straw.
Hit me.
Again and again.

Its lazy days.
Its hushed evenings.
August’s final murmur.

I perfectly recall the elephant’s eye and the whale’s eye that blinked.

I skipped counting individual drops in favor of the general feeling of rain.
[Read more…]

The Vacation

boat-river-Euphrates-Turkey

Excerpt from wsj.com: “Have You Twittered Away Your Summer” by Danny Heitman:

“…As a veteran journalist, I’d be wary of following Twain’s example in disregarding an editorial deadline. But his larger point—that savoring the sheer joy of travel is more important than documenting it—resonates with special urgency these days, as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram compel us to chronicle every moment of a journey in real time. Can this kind of reportorial obsession destroy the very moment we’re trying to capture? Wendell Berry, writing a generation ago, thought that it could. In “The Vacation,” a poem published in his 1994 collection, “Entries,” Berry considers a tourist intent on faithfully recording his seasonal getaway:

Once there was a man who filmed his vacation.

He went flying down the river in his boat

with his video camera to his eye, making

a moving picture of the moving river

upon which the sleek boat moved swiftly

toward the end of his vacation. . . .

And so the poem continues, with Berry’s exacting traveler translating each fleeting moment of his sojourn into the comfortable permanence of videotape. He’s so busy filming his day, though, that he forgets to live it. “With a flick of the switch, there it would be,” Berry writes of this homemade travelogue. “But he would not be in it. He would never be in it…”

Read more @wsj.com: “Have You Twittered Away Your Summer


Image Source: Travel & Leisure. Photo courtesy of @danielkrieger: Halfeti along the Euphrates river in Turkey

“Hurry, hurry, hurry.”

rain-umbrella

When I was getting ready to graduate from college in 1957, I was fed up and ready to drop from exhaustion, but still my mind kept telling me, “Hurry, hurry, hurry.” I felt I had to do something, go on to the next step, whatever it was — career, graduate school, as long as it was important. This is an American disease.

~ Florence King


Be sure not to miss Florence King‘s entire letter at Brainpickings here: Finding Yourself


Photography: Thank you Carol @ Radiating Blossom

The sun is perfect and you woke this morning

hand-photography-black and white

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.


Credits:

Again I resume the long lesson: how small a thing can be pleasing

leaf-falling-gif
Again I resume the long lesson:
how small a thing can be pleasing,
how little in this hard world it takes
to satisfy the mind and bring it to its rest.

Within the ongoing havoc
the woods this morning is almost unnaturally still.
Through stalled air, unshadowed light,
a few leaves fall of their own weight.

The sky is gray.
It begins in mist almost at the ground
and rises forever.
The trees rise in silence
almost natural, but not quite,
almost eternal, but not quite.

What more did I think I wanted?
Here is what has always been.
Here is what will always be.
Even in me,
the Maker of all this returns in rest,
even to the slightest of His works,
a yellow leaf slowly falling,
and is pleased.

Wendell Berry


Notes:

Memento Mori

camera-gif-photograph

“All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.”

— Susan Sontag


Notes:

But my miracle was different

sunrise

“The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. Like, I will probably never be struck by lightening, or win a Nobel Prize, or become the dictator of a small nation in the Pacific Islands, or contract terminal ear cancer, or spontaneously combust. But if you consider all the unlikely things together, at least one of them will probably happen to each of us. I could have seen it rain frogs. I could have stepped foot on Mars. I could have been eaten by a whale. I could have married the Queen of England or survived months at sea. But my miracle was different. My miracle was this: out of all the houses in all the subdivisions in all of Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman.”

~ John Green, Paper Towns

Or, let’s change up the last sentence with an alternate version:
[Read more…]

In a job, where you wonder, a year later, what happened to that year

on-looking-alexandra-horowitz

Maria Popova (Brain Pickings) in a Conversation with Alexandra Horowitz (Cognitive Scientist): The Art of Looking: How to Live With Presence, Break the Tyranny of Productivity, and Learn to See Our Everyday Wonderland

AH: I am not encouraging productivity — and I don’t mind that that’s the case. I value the moments in my life that are productive, certainly, but only the ones that are productive and also present. So it doesn’t have to be either-or. But [I have also] spent time in a job where you then wonder, a year later, what happened to that year. And if I had bothered to sit on the subway, commuting to my office, looking — looking — I think that those moments would have been memorialized, and I would know what happened to that year…I don’t mean to be testifying against productivity per se, but I do see that it’s certainly mindless, the way that we approach there being only one route to living one’s life. And it is within us, this capacity to alter that — at any moment, even within that framework — to change your state.

MP: What’s interesting about the productivity dogma is that we live in a culture where we worship work ethic — by a very narrow definition — as some sort of this grand virtue. And we define it as showing up, day after day after day. But I often think that that’s the surest way to lull ourselves into a kind of trance of passivity, where we show up but we’re absent from our own lives. And I think one of the most beautiful things you do is you show how we can be present in our own lives, through these eleven different people and their perspectives.

AH: Thank you. You know, you are thought of as being, probably, an excessively productive person — again, in that literal sense. You have such a fertile mind — would you say you are not productive? Or, how do you achieve your productivity?

MP: For me, I read, and I hunger to know… I record, around that, my experience of understanding the world and understanding what it means to live a good life, to live a full life. Anything that I write is a byproduct of that — but that’s not the objective. So, even if it may have the appearance of “producing” something on a regular basis, it’s really about taking in, and what I put out is just … the byproduct. It’s kind of like going down the rabbit hole but digging it in the process, too.

See full post here: The Art of Looking: How to Live With Presence, Break the Tyranny of Productivity, and Learn to See Our Everyday Wonderland

See short video on Horowitz’s book On Looking. Find the book on Amazon here: On Looking.

Monday Mantra

T.S. Eliot


Source: Rudyoldeschulte

Monday Morning Meditation

art-breathe-face

breathe,meditation


Source: Nezart Design 1 and Nezart Design 2.

Saturday Morning

photography,inspirational

One needs a place (or so I find) where one can spiritually dig oneself in. The weather here has changed to heavy rolling mists and thick soft rain. The mountains disappear very beautifully, one by one. The lake has become grave and one feels the silence. This, instead of being depressing as it is in the South, has a sober charm. In the South there is too much light whereas exquisitely breathtaking fog is all I care about. This grass, too, waving high, with one o’clocks like bubbles and flowering fruit trees like branches of red and white coral. One looks and one becomes absorbed … Do you know what I mean? I feel, at present, I should like to have a small chalet, high up somewhere, and live there for a round year, luxuriating in solitude and harmony.

—Katherine Mansfield, from a letter dated 9 May 1921, The Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield: Volume Four, 1920-1921


Notes:

 

With each step, the wind blows

dress-wind-woman-black-and-white

The mind can go in a thousand directions,
but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace.
With each step, the wind blows.
With each step, a flower blooms.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh


Credits: Photography Source – Colombadoro. Poem Source – Thank you Make Believe Boutique

Wooed by mandarin eyes

pigeon-beach-maui

I’m slumped on a beach chair.
Earbuds are pumping in music, partially muffling the surf.
My baseball cap is pulled down low.
My Kindle is in my right hand, blocking the sun, and the rest of me.
Unrecognizable. Unapproachable. Body language spewing “Prickly Man. No Talking.”

She ambles within 3 feet.
She inches closer, determined to get my attention.
I peak out from under my hat.
Her iris’ are mandarin oranges circling jet black darkness.
And both eyes are locked on mine.
She stares. And stares. And stares.
I go back to reading.
She inches closer. And begins to preen her tail feathers.

Middle Aged Man has managed to repel all bikini clad women.
And, now he’s getting hit on by a Pigeon.  What a Stud! [Read more…]

That’s how your whole life will feel some day

chuck-palahniuk

“No matter how careful you are, there’s going to be the sense you missed something, the collapsed feeling under your skin that you didn’t experience it all. There’s that fallen heart feeling that you rushed right through the moments where you should’ve been paying attention.

“Well, get used to that feeling. That’s how your whole life will feel some day.”

Chuck Palahniuk, from Invisible Monsters


Charles Michael Palahniuk, 52, is an American novelist and freelance journalist, who describes his work as transgressional fiction. spent his early childhood living out of a mobile home in Burbank, Washington. His parents, Carol and Fred Palahniuk, separated and divorced when he was fourteen, leaving Chuck and his siblings to spend much of their time on their maternal grandparent’s cattle ranch.  Chuck graduated from the University of Oregon with a BA in journalism. He entered the workforce as a journalist for a local Portland newspaper, but soon grew tired of the job. He then gained employment as a diesel mechanic, spending his days repairing trucks and writing technical manuals. It was during this time that Chuck experienced much of what would become fodder for his early work, including working as an escort for terminally ill hospice patients and becoming a member of the notorious Cacophony Society. He was the author of the award winning novel Fight Club, which also was made into a feature film.


Quote Source: Stalwart Reader. Portrait & Bio Source: Chuck Palahniuk.net. Bio Source: Wiki.

We are gulping down undigested experiences as fast as we can stuff them in

David Kanigan:

And there is nothing to add to THIS…full stop.

Originally posted on Radiating Blossom ~ Flowers & Words:

“As it is, we are merely bolting our lives—gulping down undigested experiences as fast as we can stuff them in—because awareness of our own existence is so superficial and so narrow that nothing seems to us more boring than simple being. If I ask you what you did, saw, heard, smelled, touched, and tasted yesterday, I am likely to get nothing more than the thin, sketchy outline of the few things that you noticed, and of those only what you thought worth remembering. Is it surprising that an existence so experienced seems so empty and bare that its hunger for an infinite future is insatiable? But suppose you could answer, ‘It would take me forever to tell you, and I am much too interested in what’s happening now.’ How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and…

View original 66 more words

4 Box

chart-grid-graph-Now-4-box


Source: Paul


Something, something, something

Peter-Matthiessen

“How does that happen?” Matthiessen asked me rhetorically, posing the question of the novel. He referred back to the novel’s epigraph, a poem by Anna Akhmatova that wonders, when we are surrounded by so much death, “Why then do we not despair?” Matthiessen looked at me, eyes dancing, beating on his leg in time as he said, “Something, something, something,” unable to name the mysterious life force that allows us to rejoice…

~ Jeff Himmelman


Peter Matthiessen, 86, died last night.  R.I.P.

The quote above is an excerpt from Himmelman’s April 3, 2014 NY Times Magazine article titled Peter Matthiessen’s Homegoing.

From today’s front page story in the NY Times Peter Matthiessen, Lyrical Writer and Naturalist, Is Dead at 86:

“Zen is really just a reminder to stay alive and to be awake,” he told the British newspaper The Guardian in 2002. “We tend to daydream all the time, speculating about the future and dwelling on the past. Zen practice is about appreciating your life in this moment. If you are truly aware of five minutes a day, then you are doing pretty well. We are beset by both the future and the past, and there is no reality apart from the here and now.”

Wiki Bio:

Matthiessen was an American novelist, naturalist, and wilderness writer. He was a three-time National Book Award-winner for The Snow Leopard and Shadow Country. He was also a prominent environmental activist.  According to critic Michael Dirda, “No one writes more lyrically [than Matthiessen] about animals or describes more movingly the spiritual experience of mountaintops, savannas, and the sea.”

Matthiessen’s new book, In Paradise, is scheduled for release on April 8, 2014.


Doing. Being.

portrait-man-black and white-Brian Ingram

Most people have the hardest time relaxing. We were taught at an early age to ‘do,’ and now we are so addicted to doing that even if we take a break we think about what to do next. Very few ever realize that the priceless treasure in life is ‘Being.’

D.R. Butler

 


  • Photograph: Thank you Brian Ingram. Note that Brian also kindly permitted the use of his photograph for my blog header.
  • Quote: Thank you Karen @ Karen’s Korner.

Yes to Less

things,materialistic,peace,want,need,money



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 want the spring to come

hair,mist,fog

We want the spring to come
and the winter to pass.
We want whoever to call
or not call,
a letter,
a kiss —
we want more and more and then more of it.
But there are moments,
walking,
when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store,
and I’m gripped by a cherishing so deep
for my own blowing hair,
chapped face,
and unbuttoned coat that I’m speechless:
I am living …

~ Marie Howe


Sources/References:

Related Post:


Something else, something more

deer

The universe is always speaking to us. … Sending us little messages, causing coincidences and serendipities, reminding us to stop, to look around, to believe in something else, something more.

~ Nancy Thayer


Sources/Credits:


Who’s that spectre slapping lather on my cheeks

shaving-photography-black and white

I step out my steaming shower
and wipe mist from my shaving mirror.

Who’s that spectre slapping lather
on my cheeks with bony fingers?

He’s the Ghost of Present Tense,
although he haunts the past and future.

When he brandishes his razor,
I grin and offer him my throat.

Richard Cecil


References/Credits:


Good Mourning


One minute of Nature inspirited meditation to start your day.

The Mourning Dove is one of the most abundant and widespread of all North American birds. It is also the leading game bird.  Its ability to sustain its population under such pressure stems from its prolific breeding: in warm areas, one pair may raise up to six broods a year. Its plaintive woo-OO-oo-oo-oo call gives the bird its name. The wings can make an unusual whistling sound upon take-off and landing. The bird is a strong flier, capable of speeds up to 88 km/h (55 mph).  Males and females are similar in appearance. The species is generally monogamous, with two squabs (young) per brood. Both parents incubate and care for the young. Mourning Doves eat almost exclusively seeds, but the young are fed crop milk by their parents.

This video was taken on the MPG Ranch which is located at the north end of the Sapphire Mountain Range in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana. For more information on the producer,  mpgranch.com


Source: Thank you korraled

We have eyes yet see not. Ears that hear not. And hearts that neither feel nor understand.


I think a lot about the contrast between banality and wonder.  Between disengagement and radiant ecstacy.  Between being unaffected by the hear and now and being absolutely ravished emotionally by it. And I think one of the problems for human beings is mental habits. One we create a comfort zone, we rarely step outside of that comfort zone.  But the consequence of that is a phenomenon known as hedonic adaptation. Overstimulation to the same kind of thing, the same stimuli, again and again and again, renders said stimuli invisible.  Your brain has already mapped it in its own head and you know longer literarily have to be engaged in it.  We have eyes yet see not. Ears that hear not. And hearts that neither feel nor understand.  There is a great book called “The Wondering Brain” that says that one of ways that we elicit wonder is by scrambling the self temporarily so that the world can seep in. Henry Miller says that even grass when given proper attention becomes an infinitely magnificent world in itself.  Darwin said attention if sudden and close graduates into surprise, and this into astonishment, and this into stupefied amazement. That’s what rapture is. That’s what illumination is. That’s what infinite comprehending awe that human beings love so much. And so how do we do that?  How do we mess with our perceptual apparatus in order to have the kind of emotional and aesthetic experience from life that we render most meaningful.  Because we all know that those moments are there. Those are those moments that would make the final cut. Only in these moments we experience a fresh, the hardly bearable, ecstasy of direct energy exploding on our nerve endings. This is the rhapsodic, ecstatic, bursting forth of awe that expands our perceptual parameters beyond our previous limits. And we literally have to reconfigure our mental models of the world in order to assimilate the beauty of that download. That is what it means to be inspired. The Greek root of the term means to breathe in. To take it in. We fit the Universe through our brains and it comes out in the form of nothing less than poetry. We have a responsibilities to awe.

~ Jason Silva


Source: SwissMiss

Only later did you realize it was the rarest bliss

walking-in-snow-2

“One of the saddest realities is most people never know when their lives have reached the summit. Only after it is over and we have some kind of perspective do we realize how good we had it a day, a month, five years ago. The walk together in the December snow, the phone call that changed everything, that lovely evening in the bar by the Aegean. Back then you thought “this is so nice”. Only later did you realize it was the rarest bliss.”

Jonathan Carroll


Credits: Photograph: Gregory Bastien. Quote: Larmoyante. Post Inspiration: Thank you Mimi: “Loads of Questions, Fewer Answers.”

And what is more generous than a window

ordinary things-gratitude


Source: Thank you Read A Little Poetry via TheSensualStarfish

Note from a Follower. And a Friend.

walkaway_crop380w

Most of you reading this post are WordPress followers. I’m sure that you, like me, often wonder who the human being is behind the curtain for certain members of your comment “community.” Sonia is one of those followers for me. Except she’s not a WordPress follower, but an email subscriber. I continue to shake my head in wonder at the wonderful network that is established in blogging. I reached out to Sonia following a comment interchange and I asked her to share a bit with me about her.

In April, 2012, ~ six months after this blog was launched, Sonia signed up to receive email posts. Sonia, 25, is a Muslim. She is from Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan and the third largest city in the world. (Pop: 23 million.) Sonia is pursuing an MBA in Human Resources and is two courses and a thesis away from graduation. She also works as a Corporate Coordinator at a major multinational Health Insurance Company.

I asked Sonia how she found my blog.  She said that she “was searching the internet for articles and ended up in the world of Blogs. Now among the millions of bloggers, why did I subscribe to your Blog? A million dollar question! I used to have (write) conversations with life (in a childish diary that I have) and I was surprised to find you having a conversation with your Mind in one of your posts. I was awestruck because in last 5 years of my conversations, I never came across a person who did that. So I subscribed to follow your blog.

(Note to self: Someone halfway across the world types “Bloggers Talking To Themselves” into the Google Search box and on Page 1 of the Google Search landing page they find me.  Oh Boy.) [Read more…]

The Secret of a Full Life

Anaïs Nin

“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)


Credits: Quote – thepoetoaster.  Image: The Anais Nin Blog

Same

footprints-monk-prayer

Same.
Same. Time up each day.
Same. I-95 route to work.
Same. Desk. Chair. Computer.
Same. Head down. Back to back. 12 hours.
Same. 1-95 Route home.
Same. Time to bed.
Same.

Tomorrow:
Try. Take a different route to work.
Try. Take a walk. Leave phone behind.
Try. Call a friend. Catch up.
Try. Find a space. A moment. A breath.
Try.


Image Credit: Telegraph.co.uk – Photo of Footprints are carved into the floorboards by monk who has prayed at the same spot for 20 years

Related Posts: Driving Series

To the rushing water speak

dive

And if the earthly has forgotten
you, say to the still earth: I flow.
To the rushing water speak: I am.

Rainer Maria Rilke


Credits: poem – lifeinpoetry.  Image: Hungarian Soul.  Rilke poem from “Sonnets to Orpheus

Look for those small openings

natalie goldberg

We have this life. We live it day by day. It passes quickly. Sometimes not quickly enough- we get despondent, sullen, downcast. Those are good words. In those slow moments something might appear- a chance to fall through our blistering fast-paced lives to the other side, where we can turn around and view ourselves, take a curious interest. Underneath everything we long to know ourselves. We wouldn’t know it though by the way we act- chugging down another whiskey, not listening to our daughter at breakfast, going sixty in a twenty zone. Reaching to get away; longing to come home. In writing, in sitting, in slow walking, a flash, a moment appears when we fall through and what we are fighting, running from, struggling with becomes open, luminous- or, even better, not a problem, just what it is. Look for those small openings.

~ Natalie Goldberg


Natalie Goldberg, 65, is an American popular New Age author, speaker, teacher and painter. She is best known for a series of books which explore and practice writing as Zen practice. Her 1986 book Writing Down the Bones sold over a million copies and is considered an influential work on the craft of writing. Her 2013 book, The True Secret of Writing, is a follow-up to that work.  Goldberg has studied Zen Buddhism for more than thirty years. She has been teaching seminars in writing as a practice for the last thirty years. People from around the world attend her life-changing workshops and she has earned a reputation as a great teacher. The Oprah Winfrey Show sent a film crew to spend the day with Natalie for a segment on Spirituality that covered her writing, teaching, painting, and walking meditation. (Sources: Wiki & NatalieGoldberg.com)


Credits: Quote – Thank you makebelieveboutique.com.  Photograph: kripalu.org

Riding MetroNorth. In reflection.

team

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…]

Let them relax into you

patti digh

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:

  1. How well did you love?
  2. How fully did you live?
  3. How deeply did you let go?
  4. Did you make a difference?

Source: Patti Digh Website:  37days.com


Credits: Quote – Thank you makebelieveboutique.com. Image & Bio Background: 37days.com

Pause and you get eaten. The sheer terror of sitting still.

Mark Morford Yoga

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.


Image: Mark Morford Yoga. Article: SFGate – The Sheer Terror of Sitting Still.  Mark Morford bio.

This is now, and now, and now.

woman, portrait, black and white

“Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now. Live it, feel it, cling to it. I want to become acutely aware of all I’ve taken for granted.”

~ Sylvia Plath


Credits: Portrait by Theo Papadopoulos.  Quote – Poetoaster.

Moments. Hold them.

baby-and-dad-sleeping-590x410

Zeke’s paws are scratching. He’s dreaming.  His body twitching.  I steal a glance at the clock.  1:15 am.  I smile. You go from refusing a dog for 20 years, to the animal taking center stage on your bed. Every night.  What a tough guy.

He knows.  Dogs have a second sense.  Even when he’s sleeping, he hears.

Car door shuts.  It’s Rachel.  Rolling in from her evening out.

I lumber down to her room.  Bathroom door is closed.  Water is running.  I lie down on her bed.  Stare at the ceiling.  And wait.

Mind whirs back to a moment during the week.  I’m driving into Manhattan.  Rush hour.  Traffic stalled.  GPS flashes a 3-mile backup to the Triboro bridge.  Beach Avenue and Bruckner.  Young girl is holding her Dad’s hand.  They are crossing the walkway over I-278.  Her passion pink backpack sharply contrasting with the streaks of graffiti.  The pair offering up a burst of illumination against the grey of the housing projects and the trash lining the freeway.  Their hands and arms sway in unison.  Dad smiling.    She’s skipping to keep up.

That day, Mind was crocheting stitches of a majestic tapestry. One of family.  Of warm spring days.  Of light breezes.  All storm clouds pushed way south.  And the Moment hovered.  All week.

Why this moment?  This was not an impressionist by Monet.  Not a intricate passage by Joyce or a dreamy segue by Murakami. No deep existential words here by Kierkegaard.  Not  a big win at Work.  A Father. A daughter.  A pink backpack.  Walking over a dilapidated bridge in the Projects.

[Read more…]

There are moments when you…


…There are moments on the brink, when you can give yourself to a lover, or not; give in to self-doubt, uncertainty, and admonishment, or not; dive into a different culture, or not; set sail for the unknown, or not; walk out onto a stage, or not. A moment only a few seconds long, when your future hangs in the balance, poised above a chasm. It is a crossroads. Resist then, and there is no returning to the known world. If you turn back, there is only what might have been. Above that invisible crossroads are inscribed the words: Give up your will, all who travel here…”

~ Diane Ackerman


Passage Excerpt from nytimes.com.

Eddie Catlin – Actor. Peter Batchelor - Narrator / Voice.  Music Credits: “Preparing” by In The Nusery. “Hope Renewed – Instrumental” by Martin Sebastian Holm.

Held my breath as we sometimes do to stop time

snow-geese-flying-by-the-sun-joel-sartore
Snow Geese

Oh, to love what is lovely, and will not last!
What a task
to ask
of anything, or anyone,
yet it is ours,
and not by the century or the year, but by the hours.
One fall day I heard
above me, and above the sting of the wind, a sound
I did not know, and my look shot upward; it was
a flock of snow geese, winging it
faster than the ones we usually see,
and, being the color of snow, catching the sun [Read more…]

The Life of a Day

trees, woods, forest, winter, photography, black and white

“Like people or dogs, each day is unique and has its own personality quirks which can easily be seen if you look closely. But there are so few days as compared to people, not to mention dogs, that it would be surprising if a day were not a hundred times more interesting than most people. But usually they just pass, mostly unnoticed, unless they are wildly nice, like autumn ones full of red maple trees and hazy sunlight, or if they are grimly awful ones in a winter blizzard that kills the lost traveler and bunches of cattle. For some reason we like to see days pass, even though most of us claim we don’t want to reach our last one for a long time. We examine each day before us with barely a glance and say, no, this isn’t one I’ve been looking for, and wait in a bored sort of way for the next, when, we are convinced, our lives will start for real. Meanwhile, this day is going by perfectly well-adjusted, as some days are, with the right amounts of sunlight and shade, and a light breeze scented with a perfume made from the mixture of fallen apples, corn stubble, dry oak leaves, and the faint odor of last night’s meandering skunk.”

~ Tom Hennen


Tom Hennen, author of six books of poetry, was born and raised in rural Minnesota. After abandoning college, he married and began work as a letterpress and offset printer. He helped found the Minnesota Writer’s Publishing House, then worked for the Department of Natural Resources wildlife section, and later at the Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge in South Dakota. Now retired, he lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.


Image Source: Andreas Wonisch

Hold the moment…

woman portrait black and white

“Every moment is a poem if you hold it right.”

~ Lauren Zuniga

 


Sources: Lauren Zuniga web site. Image from Adrian’s Little Universe.  Quote from apoetreflects

Related Posts:

Joy

puppy, car ride, bliss, joy, happy, cute, dog

“Is happiness a lesser version of joy, or something totally different?  I’d argue it’s different and not only because it’s more prevalent. Many more things can cause happiness than joy. Also, happiness is somewhat within our control. We can create it through our decisions. Joy happens to you. It’s unruly. You submit to it. It usually comes as a surprise, as it did every morning with our newborns

…Certain experiences lift you out of yourself. They enable you to exist fully in the moment. (A singular serving of French toast in my late teens on the corner of 62nd and Lex at Burger Heaven; Christmas 1963, when Skippy, our first dog, popped out of a box pocked with ventilation holes.)

…What distinguishes joy is that it doesn’t come around that often. Indeed, you’re rather aware of its perishability, its evanescence, even when you’re in the midst of it.

…But it may be the thing that unites French toast and lifting a newborn out of its crib in the morning and bringing the child into bed with you. I’m not necessarily talking about one-on-one love, but the universal, John Lennon “All you need is…” variety that connects us to something beyond ourselves, and seems to be floating out there…

…We spend the majority of our lives worrying, even when we’re happy. We’re worried about catching the bus or subway or whether there’s a cab that isn’t off duty; we’re worried about our work; we’re worried we offended somebody; we’re worried about money; we’re worried about sleep; we’re worried about being worried.

…If there’s any dread, it’s in the way we create barriers, denying ourselves access to it (joy) more frequently.”

~ Ralph Gardner, Joy Spills Over, Wall Street Journal (Excerpts)


Sources: Image – BJLove.  Quote: Wall Street Journal