Lightly Child, Lightly.

 

When you were small, your cupped palms

each held a candlesworth under the skin,

enough light to begin…

~ Carol Ann Duffy, from The Light Gatherer in “Collected Poems

 


Notes:

  • Photo Credit.  Poem: Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels
  • 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.”

Lightly Child, Lightly.

Light staggers through the trees.
Every moment is filled with other moments…
In the silence that follows
don’t we all have to begin again? At the end of a line, the door
left open for a moment where you can fall in love, remember
what you wanted to forget, forget what you wanted to remember…
We have to light
our dark spaces with the sputtering matches of our words.
We have to follow wherever they lead us. There’s this little
hole in existence we all pass through…

—Richard Jackson, from “About This Poem” in Out of Place


Notes:

  • Photo by Andy58/András Schafer titled Morning in the forest. Poem via endless-unfolding
  • 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.”

32° F (Feels like 26° F)

Silence…

thrilling cold —

so much beauty.

Like breathing pure oxygen.

~ Susan Sontag, from “As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks 1964-1980


Notes:

  • Inspired by: “The universe is still and complete. Everything that ever was, is; everything that ever will be, is – and so on, in all possible combinations. Though in perceiving it we imagine that it is in motion, and unfinished, it is quite finished and quite astonishingly beautiful. In the end, or rather, as things really are, any event, no matter how small, is intimately and sensibly tied to all others. All rivers run full to the sea; those who are apart are brought together; the lost ones are redeemed; the dead come back to life; the perfectly blue days that have begun and ended in golden dimness continue.” ~ Mark Helprin, Winter’s Tale (via beyondthefieldsweknow.org)
  • Photo Source: Your Eyes Blaze Out

Miracle. All of It. (Miracle Fair)

Commonplace miracle:
that so many commonplace miracles happen.

An ordinary miracle:
in the dead of night
the barking of invisible dogs.

One miracle out of many:
a small, airy cloud
yet it can block a large and heavy moon.

Several miracles in one:
an alder tree reflected in the water,
and that it’s backwards left to right
and that it grows there, crown down
and never reaches the bottom,
even though the water is shallow.

An everyday miracle:
winds weak to moderate
turning gusty in storms.

First among equal miracles:
cows are cows.

Second to none:
just this orchard
from just that seed.

A miracle without a cape and top hat:
scattering white doves.

A miracle, for what else could you call it:
today the sun rose at three-fourteen
and will set at eight-o-one.

A miracle, less surprising than it should be:
even though the hand has fewer than six fingers,
it still has more than four.

A miracle, just take a look around:
the world is everywhere.

An additional miracle, as everything is additional:
the unthinkable
is thinkable.

~ Wislawa Szymborska, “Miracle Fair” (tr. Joanna Trzeciak) in “Miracle Fair: Selected Poems of Wislawa Szymborska


Notes:

  • Poem -Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels. Photo/Gif: via mennyfox55
  • Related Posts: Miracle. All of it.
  • Inspiration: Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Flying Northeast #AA2716. With Birds.

We pulled away from the gate at DFW 30 minutes late, late Friday afternoon. Not bad. Could be worse.

Exit row, reclining seat. God Bless Shara (My Assistant). We’ve been together 6 years now. This seat, this trip, the car pick-up, managing trip expenses – here and there and there, always just right.

Jet engines on this late model Boeing throb, I’m sitting over the wings. We taxi out, make a slow turn, and then…

The engines shut down, and the Pilot comes on the intercom. No. No. No. Yes.

“Folks, I’m sorry. But there is flow control at LaGuardia. We’ve been advised that the wait could be up to 90 minutes. We need to wait on the runway in the event we get cleared sooner.”

Not a free seat open on this plane. A chorus of groans, a shifting in seats. We settle in. My arrival time, now potentially 10pm on Friday night. Shoulders slump, heaviness sets in.

I grab my smartphone and tap in “P-h-o-e-n-i-x:” (in classical mythology) a unique bird that lived for five or six centuries in the Arabian desert, after this time burning itself on a funeral pyre and rising from the ashes with renewed youth to live through another cycle. 

Let’s skip the funeral pyre part. But, the rest? Bring it on. To rise from the ashes. Live through another cycle. This trip that just won’t end.  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday in Phoenix at a firm wide conference. Thursday and Friday with our team in Dallas.

What did you remember? [Read more…]

Miracle. All of it.

Hello, welcome.

My name is Julie Yip-Williams. I am grateful and deeply honored that you are here. This story begins at the ending. Which means that if you are here, then I am not. But it’s okay.

My life was good and my life was complete. It came to so much more than I ever thought possible, or than my very humble beginnings would have given me the right to expect. I was a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, an immigrant, a cancer patient, a lawyer, and now a writer. I tried to live always with good intentions and a good heart, although I am sure I have hurt people along the way. I tried my best to live a full, rewarding life, to deal with the inevitable trials with grace, and to emerge with my sense of humor and love for life intact. That’s all. Even though I am dying in my early forties, and leaving my precious children behind, I am happy.

My life was not easy. That I survived infancy was something of a miracle, that I made it to America, also a miracle. Being born poor and blind in Vietnam on the losing side of a bloody civil war should have defined my life and sealed my fate. Those things marked me, but they did not stop me. Dying has taught me a great deal about living—about facing hard truths consciously, about embracing the suffering as well as the joy. Wrapping my arms around the hard parts was perhaps the great liberating experience of my life.

Directly or indirectly, we all experience the hard parts. The events that we hear about on the news or from friends, those tragedies ending in death that happen to other people in other places, which make us sad but also relieved and grateful as we think, There but for the grace of God…—destructive hurricanes and earthquakes, violent shootings and explosions, car accidents, and of course, insidious illnesses. These things shake us to the core because they remind us of our mortality, of how impotent we truly are in the face of unseen forces that would cause the earth to tremble or cells to mutate and send a body into full rebellion against itself.

I set out here to write about my experience of that, both the life lived and the trials endured—neither comprehensively, you understand, but enough to fully show you the distance I traveled and the world in which I made my life. And what began as a chronicle of an early and imminent death became—if I may be very presumptuous—something far more meaningful: an exhortation to you, the living.

Live while you’re living, friends.

From the beginning of the miracle, to the unwinding of the miracle.

Julie Yip-Williams, February 2018

~ Julie Yip-Williams, “Prologue” from The Unwinding of the Miracle: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Everything that Comes After (Random House, February 5, 2019)


Notes:

Sunday Morning

the mist
moved slowly across
the field held down
by stones, stitch of trees
what colour was the mist
x-ray grey
how still was it
the iv drip before it falls…

I stopped the car to watch it cross the field
black earth breathing its winter breath…

the field disappeared in the mist
still the bison stood

life can become so still

the iv drip
before it falls

earth of the body
where a life grows

the stillness between silence
and muteness…

– Anne Michaels, from “Bison” in All We Saw: Poems


Notes: Poem from Whiskey River. Photo: Winter Morning Mist by Sébastien Mamy

we can smell wood smoke in the air and taste snowflakes on our tongues

We’ve had decades to develop resilience. Many of us have learned that happiness is a skill and a choice. We don’t need to look at our horoscopes to know how our day will go. We know how to create a good day.

We have learned to look every day for humor, love and beauty. We’ve acquired an aptitude for appreciating life. Gratitude is not a virtue but a survival skill, and our capacity for it grows with our suffering. That is why it is the least privileged, not the most, who excel in appreciating the smallest of offerings.

Many women flourish as we learn how to make everything workable. Yes, everything. As we walk out of a friend’s funeral, we can smell wood smoke in the air and taste snowflakes on our tongues.

Our happiness is built by attitude and intention. Attitude is not everything, but it’s almost everything. I visited the jazz great Jane Jarvis when she was old, crippled and living in a tiny apartment with a window facing a brick wall. I asked if she was happy and she replied, “I have everything I need to be happy right between my ears.”…

There is an amazing calculus in old age. As much is taken away, we find more to love and appreciate. We experience bliss on a regular basis. As one friend said: “When I was young I needed sexual ecstasy or a hike to the top of a mountain to experience bliss. Now I can feel it when I look at a caterpillar on my garden path.”

Older women have learned the importance of reasonable expectations. We know that all our desires will not be fulfilled, that the world isn’t organized around pleasing us and that others, especially our children, are not waiting for our opinions and judgments. We know that the joys and sorrows of life are as mixed together as salt and water in the sea. We don’t expect perfection or even relief from suffering. A good book, a piece of homemade pie or a call from a friend can make us happy. As my aunt Grace, who lived in the Ozarks, put it, “I get what I want, but I know what to want.”

We can be kinder to ourselves as well as more honest and authentic. Our people-pleasing selves soften their voices and our true selves speak more loudly and more often. We don’t need to pretend to ourselves and others that we don’t have needs. We can say no to anything we don’t want to do. We can listen to our hearts and act in our own best interest. We are less angst-filled and more content, less driven and more able to live in the moment with all its lovely possibilities…

By the time we are 70, we have all had more tragedy and more bliss in our lives than we could have foreseen. If we are wise, we realize that we are but one drop in the great river we call life and that it has been a miracle and a privilege to be alive.

~ Mary Pipher, excerpts from The Joy of Being a Woman in Her 70s (The New York Times · January 12, 2019). Mary Pipher is a clinical psychologist in Lincoln, Neb., and the author of the forthcoming “Women Rowing North: Navigating Life’s Currents and Flourishing as We Age.”


Photo Credit

Happy New Year!

Take a breath…

Don’t swallow the sun
The moon isn’t bright enough…

I promise I’ll be a better person this time next year.

If you’re reading this…
Congratulations, you’re alive.
If that’s not something to smile about, then I don’t know what is.

Chad Sugg, from “Swallow the Sun” in Monsters Under Your Head


Notes:

Sunday Morning

Until we can comprehend the beguiling beauty of a single flower, we are woefully unable to grasp the meaning and potential of life itself.

~ Virginia Woolf


Photo: Padma Inguva (via Aberrant Beauty). Quote: via Memory’s Landscape

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