Saturday Morning


Bernard Toustrate wrote in the Forum Catholique, summarizing one degree of Sister Marie-Aimée’s “twelve degrees of silence” [Les Douze degrés du silence]: “If the tongue is mute, if the senses are calm, if the imagination, memory and creatures keep quiet and form a solitude, if not throughout the soul, then at least in the innermost part of it, then the heart will make only a few noises. Silence of one’s likes and dislikes, silence of desires insofar as they are too intense, silence of zeal insofar as it is indiscreet; silence of fervor insofar as it is exaggerated; silence to the point of sighing.

~ Cardinal Robert Sarah, excerpts from “The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise” (April, 2017).


Photo: Verwunschlicht

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

For all matters having to do with that four chambered, fist-shaped muscle we carry – that carries us – with constancy. That beats – did you know? – more than one hundred thousand times a day. Imagine that. Even when we’re pressing snooze and rolling over in bed, folding ourselves into our covers and postponing the day’s bubbling over, and soon after notching cold butter on warm toast, or later coming to a halt as we bound up a flight of subway stairs only to stall behind an elderly woman whose left leg trails behind her right leg – one leaden step at a time – even then, when time decelerates and the relative importance of our lives, of our hurry, undergoes a sudden audit, even then, our heart never stops…My heart continues as ever, pulsing towards its daily quota. More than one hundred thousand times a day. Eighty beats per minute.

~ Durga Chew-Bose, from “Heart Museum” in Too Much and Not the Mood: Essays


Photo: Durga Chew-Bose @ Twitter

Monday Morning Wake-up Call

drums

I hear a sound, reverberating, like a drum with poor memory.
A thing that the wind thumps again and again
against some other object the earth is holding tight…
The sound of a slow heart heard through a stethoscope.

— Tomas Tranströmer, from “Start of a Late Autumn Novel,” The Half-Finished Heaven


Notes: Poem Source – Hidden Sanctuary. Photo – Precious Things

the experience altered him

bird-in-hand

The musician became a bird lover at the aviary. He tells a story of holding a dying finch one day and feeling overwhelmed by its tiny heartbeat. He had never studied a bird so closely before, never observed its delicate and immaculate plumage, and the experience altered him.

~ Kyo Maclear, Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation 

 


Notes:

A thread that runs through all of us. A stab to the heart.

la-et-ms-keith-richards-announces-first-solo-album-in-more-than-20-years-20150709

In a way you want to stretch yourself into other people’s hearts. You want to plant yourself there, or at least get a resonance, where other people become a bigger instrument than the one you’re playing. It becomes almost an obsession to touch other people.

To write a song that is remembered and taken to heart is a connection, a touching of bases. A thread that runs through all of us. A stab to the heart. Sometimes I think songwriting is about tightening the heartstrings as much as possible without bringing on a heart attack.

And you listen to some of that meticulous Mozart stuff and Vivaldi and you realize that they knew that too. They knew when to leave one note just hanging up there where it illegally belongs and let it dangle in the wind and turn a dead body into a living beauty.

~ Keith Richards, Life


Notes:

 

Lightly child, lightly.

blue

Not often,
but now and again there’s a moment
when the heart cries aloud:
yes, I am willing to be
that wild darkness,
that long, blue body of light.

— Mary Oliver, from “Whelks,” New and Selected Poems: Vol. 1.


Notes:

  • Poem: The Vale of Soulmaking.
  • Photograph: Ahsan Uzzaman with Blue (Taupo, Waikato, New Zealand)
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • 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.”

 

 

Saturday Morning

green-tea

And the heart, unscrolled,
is comforted by such small things:
a cup of green tea rescues us, grows deep and large, a lake.”

—Jane Hirschfield, from “Recalling a Sung Dynasty Landscape” in Of Gravity and Angels 

 


Notes: Poem – thank you Beth at Alive on All Channels. Photo: Green tea with mint by Kookoo sabzi.

 

It’s been a long day

The Storm by machihuahua

But most hearts say, I want, I want,
I want, I want. My heart
is more duplicitous,
though no twin as I once thought.
It says, I want, I don’t want, I
want, and then a pause.
It forces me to listen […]

It is a constant pestering
in my ears, a caught moth, limping drum,
a child’s fist beating
itself against the bedsprings:
I want, I don’t want.
How can one live with such a heart?

Long ago I gave up singing
to it, it will never be satisfied or lulled.
One night I will say to it:
Heart, be still,
and it will.

– Margaret Atwood, excerpts from The Woman Who Could Not Live With Her Faulty Heart from Selected Poems II: 1976 – 1986 

 


Notes:

We might lose this child

boy-clouds-reach-light

The team knows and I know that we are running out of time. The anesthesiologist looks up at me and I see the fear in his eyes. . . We might lose this child. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is like trying to clutch-start a car in second gear—it’s not very reliable, especially as we are continuing to lose blood. I am working blind, so I open my heart to a possibility beyond reason, beyond skill, and I begin to do what I was taught decades ago, not in residency, not in medical school, but in the back room of a small magic shop in the California desert. I calm my mind. I relax my body. I visualize the retracted vessel. I see it in my mind’s eye, folded into this young boy’s neurovascular highway. I reach in blindly but knowing that there is more to this life than we can possibly see, and that each of us is capable of doing amazing things far beyond what we think is possible. We control our own fates, and I don’t accept that this four-year-old is destined to die today on the operating table. I reach down into the pool of blood with the open clip, close it, and slowly pull my hand away. The bleeding stops, and then, as if far away, I hear the slow blip of the heart monitor. It’s faint at first. Uneven. But soon it gets stronger and steadier, as all hearts do when they begin to come to life. I feel my own heartbeat begin to match the rhythm on the monitor. Later, in post-op, I will give his mother the remnants from his first haircut, and my little buddy will come out of the anesthetic a survivor. He will be completely normal. In forty-eight hours, he will be talking and even laughing, and I will be able to tell him that the Ugly Thing is gone.”

~ James Doty, MD, from “Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart


Notes:

It’s been a long day

floriane-de-lassee-Presence

Sleep comes its little while. Then I wake
in the valley of midnight or three a.m.
to the first fragrances of spring

which is coming, all by itself, no matter what.
My heart says, what you thought you have you do not have.
My body says, will this pounding ever stop?

~ Mary Oliver, from “An Old Story,” A Thousand Mornings


Notes:

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