We need a litany, a rosary, a sutra, a mantra

morel-mushroom

After a run of darkness (Orlando, Baton Rouge, Dallas, Minnesota, Nice), Rebecca Solnit writes an essay for The Guardian titled “Hope is an Embrace of the Unknown” on living in dark times. I’ve shared a few excerpts below.


After a rain mushrooms appear on the surface of the earth as if from nowhere. Many come from a sometimes vast underground fungus that remains invisible and largely unknown. What we call mushrooms, mycologists call the fruiting body of the larger, less visible fungus. Uprisings and revolutions are often considered to be spontaneous, but it is the less visible long-term organising and groundwork – or underground work – that often laid the foundation…

…our hope is in the dark around the edges, not the limelight of centre stage. Our hope and often our power…

What startled me about the response to disaster was not the virtue, since virtue is often the result of diligence and dutifulness, but the passionate joy that shone out from accounts by people who had barely survived. These people who had lost everything, who were living in rubble or ruins, had found agency, meaning, community, immediacy in their work together with other survivors…But people return to those selves, those ways of self-organising, as if by instinct when the situation demands it. Thus a disaster is a lot like a revolution when it comes to disruption and improvisation, to new roles and an unnerving or exhilarating sense that now anything is possible…

Together we are very powerful, and we have a seldom-told, seldom-remembered history of victories and transformations that can give us confidence that, yes, we can change the world because we have many times before. You row forward looking back, and telling this history is part of helping people navigate toward the future. We need a litany, a rosary, a sutra, a mantra, a war chant of our victories. The past is set in daylight, and it can become a torch we can carry into the night that is the future.

~ Rebecca SolnitHope is an embrace of the unknown’: Rebecca Solnit on living in dark times


Photo: Morel Mushroom by Kim Fleming

 

Watch. Watch this.

I’ve been told that I’m the only one on the planet that hasn’t seen this 12-year old ukulele singer-songwriter play a song she wrote on America’s Got Talent. Grace VanderWaal’s amazing audition has been seen over 60,000,000 times and counting. This sweet, genuine, modest young lady from Suffern, NY steps up in front of millions and nails it. Simon Cowell describes her as the next Taylor Swift.

Watch. Watch this.


Thank you Susan.

Switchback: From Bliss and Back

2A17E4AD-B394-4F8A-BA7A-76D0A0E567DF

A vicious switchback,
the bliss of last Saturday Morning,
to a routine checkup with the Good Shepherd Vet,
to this.

I clench my jaw while he opens his.
The steroids, tiny pink buttons, are wrapped in lunch meat.
He swallows the care package whole, nose up, sniffing for more.
“Sit!”
He sits.
The medicine dissolves, his belly warms from the Buttons.
His glassy eyes look up drawing up Hirshfield’s Hope and Love:
“I know that hope is the hardest love we carry.” [Read more…]

inability to grasp the most central aspects of human life

martin-stranka

It is to say, though, that if you believe that science provides no basis for God, then you are almost obligated to conclude that science provides no basis for meaning and, therefore, life itself doesn’t have any. In other words, existential claims have no weight; all knowledge is scientific knowledge. Yet the paradox is that scientific methodology is the product of human hands and thus cannot reach some permanent truth. We build scientific theories to organize and manipulate the world, to reduce phenomena into manageable units. Science is based on reproducibility and manufactured objectivity. As strong as that makes its ability to generate claims about matter and energy, it also makes scientific knowledge inapplicable to the existential, visceral nature of human life, which is unique and subjective and unpredictable. Science may provide the most useful way to organize empirical, reproducible data, but its power to do so is predicated on its inability to grasp the most central aspects of human life: hope, fear, love, hate, beauty, envy, honor, weakness, striving, suffering, virtue.

~ Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air 


Notes:

Lightly child, lightly.

bottle-pitcher-blue

Perhaps we are here in order to say: house,
bridge, fountain, gate, pitcher, fruit-tree, window . . .
To say them more intensely
than the Things themselves
ever dreamed of existing.


Notes:

  • Quotes: Thank you Whiskey River
  • Photo: Mennyfox55
  • 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.”

Lightly child, lightly.

light-portrait

People always said Ove and Ove’s wife were like night and day. Ove realized full well, of course, that he was the night. It didn’t matter to him. On the other hand it always amused his wife when someone said it, because she could then point out while giggling that people only thought Ove was the night because he was too mean to turn on the sun. He never understood why she chose him. She loved only abstract things like music and books and strange words. Ove was a man entirely filled with tangible things. He liked screwdrivers and oil filters. He went through life with his hands firmly shoved into his pockets. She danced. “You only need one ray of light to chase all the shadows away,” she said to him once, when he asked her why she had to be so upbeat the whole time. Apparently some monk called Francis had written as much in one of her books. “You don’t fool me, darling,” she said with a playful little smile and crept into his big arms. “You’re dancing on the inside, Ove, when no one’s watching. And I’ll always love you for that. Whether you like it or not.”

~ Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove: A Novel

Notes:

  • Photo: mwozniak
  • 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.”

Lightly child, lightly.

red-paint-painting-drip

Grief is an amputation,
but hope is incurable haemophilia:
you bleed and bleed and bleed.

~ David Mitchell, Slade House

Notes:

  • Photo: via Mennyfox55. Quotes: Quotes From Books
  • 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.”

Walking Cross-Town. Heal the wounds. Heal the wounds from the ground up.

pope-francis-1

“Pray for me.”

Soft spoken and gentle, he leans into a man and his child amid the throng on the streets of DC.

He repeats.

“Please pray for me.”

I ponder that for a moment.  And, I keep walking.

Barricades are coming up. Husky NYPD officers are manning their stations. NYPD Commissioner Bratton quipped that the pontiff will have “6,000 guardian angels watching him.” He means “Six thousand police officers, 1,173 police cars, 818 tons of concrete barriers and 39 miles of metal and wood barricades are what is needed to help protect Pope Francis on his visit to NYC.”

6000 Guardian Angels. 818 tons of concrete. 39 miles of metal and wood barricades.

I walk.

The flock is amassing.

Man with Gramophone stands in front of Madison Square Garden warning of Armageddon. [Read more…]

Lightly child, lightly

dive-fly-black-and-white

An absurd lightness
draped itself around him;
all things were possible,
all things were manageable.

~ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, from Half of a Yellow Sun


Credits:

  • Image Source: Precious Things. Photographer: Samo Vidic. Athlete: Jorge Ferzuli
  • Poem Source: the distance between two doors
  • 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.”

Hope


Jake Isaac is a singer songwriter from London. You can find him on Facebook.

Interview excerpt from Figure8Magazine:

Q: You’ve mentioned in that past that your father is a vicar; did that religious upbringing have an effect on your song writing?

JI: My father being a minister affects me, definitely my ethics and where my head is at. But also just my father’s taste in music, at an early age he was into Paul Simon’s Graceland record, and a bit of Mozart and Ladysmith Black Mambazo and I think his taste in music has had a bigger effect on me than I realised.


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