No longer so tightly wound. Little shards of self fly off into the wind.


Art, attention, gratitude and grace. A quiet healing, ordinary joy. I know these things in my own body. For several years now, my head has felt loose on my shoulders, and I too have felt oddly permeable, no longer so tightly wound. Little shards of self fly off into the wind, and frankly, I am glad to see them go.

In the same way as one pulls the petals from a daisy, she loves me, she loves me not, so too one can pluck one letter at a time from familiar words, revealing the core beneath. Verandah Porche (who invented the term “pluck words”) is especially fond of examples like “slaughter” and “laughter” where the missing letter not only transforms the meaning of the word, but alters its sound as well.

My own favorites center on a little cluster of words that seem, like koans, to conceal a deeper meaning. It is as if one bit into a juicy peach to find its wizened stone, or broke apart an egg to show its golden yolk. For example, when where is plucked, it reveals the answer here; less is the hidden wisdom crouching inside bless; your gives way to the more generous-hearted our; and the small domestic hearth expands into the cosmic earth. Most miraculous of all, perhaps, eyes open into an all-confirming yes.

In the I Ching, when a line of the oracle reaches its most extreme, expansive state, it swings back, like a pendulum, into its own opposite. The technical term for this is enantiodromia.

It seems possible to me that our culture of speed and confusion, busyness and overwhelm, has reached just such a state, and that the time has come for the quick double-flip of transformation, from greed to gratitude, from isolation and depression to community and calm. “Let your last thinks all be thanks,” said W. H. Auden, and certainly there is much to be thankful for.

Or, as Wu-Men put it long ago,

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.

~ Christian McEwen, “A Day So Happy” from World Enough & Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down



  1. Beautiful truth..I think thank

    Liked by 1 person

  2. i absolutely love this message and love words. my post today has to do with plucking letters too, in a different way, but still to simplify.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So much we have for which to be grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love all the words and the many thoughts that fly up behind them 💛
    From greed to gratitude. YES!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Un-clouding. All the time. Lovely thoughts in this post. 💘

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I believe human beings live more on a continuum rather than a pendulum. This wisdom has been around for centuries, practiced by peoples all over the world. There will be no flip in the Modern world as it isn’t profitable, just a few more people sliding toward peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ok…
    I’m waiting for you to change the photo one more time before I open my mouth.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. wonderful post. Thank You.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. “When our minds are not clouded by unnecessary thoughts of things” we can feel deep gratitude and see how precious life is. 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Fantastic. And now I’m going to be busy looking for words within words. What have you done to me?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Searching for something profound to add to the conversation and this fabulous post, and at the moment, I got nothin’. So I’m going to leave it at LOVE….

    Liked by 1 person

  12. fabulous perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

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