“We say to the confused,
as if knowing yourself was not the fifth and most difficult of human arithmetical operations,
we say to the apathetic,
Where there’s a will, there’s a way,
as if the brute realities of the world did not amuse themselves each day by turning that phrase on its head,
we say to the indecisive,
Begin at the beginning,
as if beginning were the clearly visible point of a loosely wound thread and all we had to do was to keep pulling until we reached the other end, and as if, between the former and the latter, we had held in our hands a smooth, continuous thread with no knots to untie, no snarls to untangle, a complete impossibility in the life of a skein, or indeed, if we may be permitted one more stock phrase, in the skein of life.”
For the New Year—I still live, I still think; I must still live, for I must still think. Sum, ergo cogito: cogito, ergo sum. To-day everyone takes the liberty of expressing his wish and his favorite thought: well, I also mean to tell what I have wished for myself today, and what thought first crossed my mind this year,—a thought which ought to be the basis, the pledge and the sweetening of all my future life! I want more and more to perceive the necessary characters in things as the beautiful:—I shall thus be one of those who beautify things. Amor fati: let that henceforth be my love! I do not want to wage war with the ugly. I do not want to accuse, I do not want even to accuse the accusers. Looking aside, let that be my sole negation! And all in all, to sum up: I wish to be at any time hereafter only a yea-sayer!
~ Friedrich Nietzsche, January of 1882, Sanctus Januarius in The Gay Science
“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
Having a good dog is the closest some of us are ever going to come to knowing the direct love of a mother or God.
~ Anne Lamott, “This Dog’s Life.” Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace
Note: True today, as it was in 100 BC.
Hillel the Elder, born in Babylon in 110 BC, was known as the author of two sayings: (1) “If I am not for myself who is for me? And being for my own self, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?” and (2) the expression of the ethic of reciprocity, or “Golden Rule“: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.” Hillel was a famous Jewish religious leader, one of the most important figures in Jewish history.
Image Source: preciousandfregilethings
Thank you Kurt @ culturaloffeirng
Caleb, his harem and baby Albino out for a walk on Hump Day…
Source: Benoit Cappronnier. Camels and baby albino camel taken in Massawa, Etritrea.
Source: chikita banana. SMWI*=Saturday Morning Work-out Inspiration
Credits: Image – Jaimejustelaphoto. Blog Title: Mikhail Gorbachev (Russian President of the Soviet Union (1985-91)
Not just the body but all natural things, when left undisturbed, move naturally toward beauty and wholeness. If you don’t keep repaving it every few years, an ugly parking lot will crack, grass will come up, and after 100 years or so you’ll probably have a beautiful forest. Your body is the same way. Stop “paving it over” with artificial ways of being, stop trying to be other than what you are, and it will move towards its natural state of health and beauty. It happens sooner than you think. Why else is rest so healing? Have you ever noticed how beautiful a sleeping person looks?
Don’t you just love these two (especially the ear flaps UP on queue)
(Note to Self: How many times can you watch this loop, when you know the outcome?)
it may take years, Dr. Ming whispers,
to wash them out,
telling me to breathe deep, to breathe
the body is nothing but a map of the
—Len Roberts, closing lines to “Acupuncture and Cleansing at Forty-Eight.”
“On his own at sixteen after being raised by an alcoholic father and an abusive mother, Len Roberts is best known for poems of stark imagery that concentrate on his progress in life and how he has come to an acceptance of life’s flux.”
- Len Roberts bio. Poem from The Trouble-Making Finch: Poems.
- Poem Source: A Poet Reflects.
- Image Source: k-omakino.
MWAH! Pucker up and give Caleb a kiss on Hump Day!
Source: Retired Army Gal
“Mom, this might be my last chance to tell you I love you.”
- A text from a high school student who was aboard the ferry that capsized yesterday off South Korea’s southern coast. Four passengers were killed, 55 were injured and more than 280 are missing. (via latimes)
I have never wanted anything more than the wild creatures have, a broad waft of clean air, a day to lie on the grass at times, with nothing to do but to slip the blades through my fingers, and look as long as I pleased at the whole blue arch, and the screens of green and white between; leave for a month to float and float along the salt crests and among the foam, or roll with my naked skin over a clean long stretch of sunshiny sand; food that I liked, straight from the cool ground, and time to taste its sweetness, and time to rest after tasting; sleep when it came, and stillness, that the sleep might leave me when it would, not sooner … This is what I wanted,—this, and free contact with my fellows … not to love and lie, and be ashamed, but to love and say I love, and be glad of it; to feel the currents of ten thousand years of passion flooding me, body to body, as the wild things meet. I have asked no more.
~ Voltairine De Cleyre (1866-1912)
“…We’re now trained to expect the worst. Lies rule the land…They have numbed us to the core. They are, as Engber says, “the ironic acid that corrodes our sense of wonder.” Ergo, we believe nothing. Everyone is suspect. The authentic thing is never really authentic. Society’s collective goodwill, the natural human instinct to trust you when you say this is legit and honest and true – no really it is I swear – this instinct has been molested. Perhaps beyond repair. You think?
Maybe. Maybe our collective Hoax Fatigue has gotten so bad that we’ll soon reach critical mass, and it will all flip around completely, so when another “First Kiss” comes along, instead of feeling a giddy thrill in the heart, we’ll instead feel bitter and disbelieving, waiting for the rug to be pulled at any second. What a fun way to live.
The evidence certainly seems ample. It’s not just viral videos, after all: the interval between when any uplifting new offering – a video, a song, a movie, a romance, a president, a newborn puppy, you name it – is released, and when than thing is crushed by sarcasm or jadedness, this interval has been compressed in recent years to near-instantaneous, to the point of absurdity. To the point where nothing even matters and it’s almost useless to even try.
Almost. But not quite. Happily, “First Kiss”-style phenoms still light up the Internet, even in this bitter age. Thankfully, the authentic thing can still break through the ice of corrosive cynicism. Against seemingly impossible odds and for almost no budget, millions of people can still made just a little bit giddy in the heart. Amazing. And they didn’t even slip us the tongue.”
~ Mark Morford, A Kiss for the Hopelessly Jaded
Suddenly, I wonder – is all hardness justified because we are so slow in realizing that life was meant to be heroic? Greatness is required of us. That is life’s aim and justification, and we poor fools have for centuries been trying to make it convenient, manageable, pliant to our will. It is also peaceful and tender and funny and dull. Yes, all that.
~ Florida Scott-Maxwell, The Measure of My Days
If only I may grow: firmer, simpler, quieter, warmer.
~ Dag Hammarskjöld
Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961) was a Swedish diplomat, economist, and author. The second Secretary-General of the United Nations, he served from April 1953 until his death in a plane crash in September 1961. He is one of just three people to be awarded a posthumous Nobel Peace Prize. After Hammarskjöld’s death, U.S. president John F. Kennedy regretted that he opposed the UN policy in the Congo and said: “I realise now that in comparison to him, I am a small man. He was the greatest statesman of our century.”
Mindless web surfing.
Saturday morning papers in bed.
Background music on Pandora.
Shower? Shave? No. Sweatpants.
Breakfast: French Toast with hot maple cream syrup.
Old episodes of “Cheers.”
Words with Friends.
Short walk with Zeke.
Lunch: Piping hot tomato soup and Grilled Cheese.
Curl up on couch in attic. Rain (forecasted) pattering on roof.
Samuel Beckett’s “Three Novels: Molloy. Malone. Unnamable.”
Drift into Long nap.
Gentle foreign film whisking me off to Paris.
In a place like Paris, the air is so thick with dreams they clog the streets and take all the good tables at the cafés. Poets and writers, models and designers, painters and sculptors, actors and directors, lovers and escapists, they flock to the City of Lights. That night at Polly’s, the table spilled over with the rapture of pilgrims who have found their temple. That night, among new friends and safe at Shakespeare and Company, I felt it too. Hope is a most beautiful drug.
— Jeremy Mercer, Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co.
It’s Departure Day.
Eric is scheduled on the 7:40 am flight.
Rachel is returning later in the day.
There’s the awkward milling around the kitchen.
When everyone knows what’s coming next,
yet no one is a hurry to get on with it.
He’s scurrying around with his last minute packing.
I hover at a distance.
It is Dark.
And Cold. Temperature locked on 32° F.
We’re in the car.
The Kanigan Men are short (very) on small talk.
We ride in silence. [Read more…]
“What is a quote? A quote (cognate with quota) is a cut, a section, a slice of someone else’s orange. You suck the slice, toss the rind, skate away. Part of what you enjoy in a documentary technique is the sense of banditry. To loot someone else’s life or sentences and make off with a point of view.”
— Anne Carson, “Foam (Essay with Rhapsody)” (from Decreation)
Six days back at work…after a two week vacation.
Tension. Decompression. Recharge. Ramp-up. Escalation. Full engagement. Tension.
Full loop restored.
And, cycle time is compressing year over year.
Meetings. Emails. 2013 Planning. Events. Phone calls. Problems. Opportunities. Running. Faster.
In a momentary gap in my schedule…a mental image of this photo flickers by…a photo tripped into during the recharging phase of vacation. Image darts in and out for days. Pulling me back to a time when life was simpler. When picking sweet, juicy Bing cherries and filling the bucket was the task of the day.
I am here on purpose... [Read more…]
“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.
Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life. [Read more…]
A post by Amanda Patterson on Rudyard Kipling triggered a stream of thoughts this morning. Kipling was born yesterday in 1865. I couldn’t recall ever reading anything by Kipling but I’ve certainly heard of him. (DK. Mr. Contemporary. Always looking forward. Never much for history. Not much for looking back. What possibly could I learn from a life 100+ years ago? PAST IS PAST.)
Kipling, “born in India, was sent to England to live with a foster family and receive a formal British education at the age of 6. These were hard years for Kipling. His Foster mother was a brutal woman, who quickly grew to despise her young foster son. She beat and bullied Kipling, who also struggled to fit in at school. Kipling’s solace came in books and stories. With few friends, he devoted himself to reading. By the age of 11, Kipling was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. A visitor to his home saw his condition and immediately contacted his mother, who rushed back to England and rescued her son from the Holloways.”
Yet, here’s a man who survived this childhood and flourished. He said:
Small miseries, like small debts, hit us in so many places, and meet us at so many turns and corners, that what they want in weight, they make up in number, and render it less hazardous to stand the fire of one cannon ball, than a volley composed of such a shower of bullets.
I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble.
This is a brief life, but in its brevity it offers us some splendid moments, some meaningful adventures.
And a man, who produced this poem in 1895: