Lightly Child, Lightly

I was sitting on the seashore…Unconsciously to myself, I looked at a film of sand I had picked up on my hand, when I suddenly saw the exquisite beauty of every little grain of it; instead of being dull, I saw that each particle was made up on a perfect geometrical pattern, with sharp angles, from each of which a brilliant shaft of light was reflected, while each tiny crystal shone like a rainbow. The rays crossed and recrossed, making exquisite patterns of such beauty that they left me breathless… Then, suddenly, my consciousness was lighted up from within and I saw in a vivid way how the whole universe was made up of particles of material which, no matter how dull and lifeless they might seem, were nevertheless filled with this intense and vital beauty. For a second or two the whole world appeared as a blaze of glory. When it died down, it left me with something I have never forgotten and which constantly reminds me of the beauty locked up in every minute speck of material around us.

~ Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell


Notes:

  • Photo: via Zen > WabiSabi
  • 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.”

Miracle. All of it.


Notes:

  • Photo: A ‘super blue blood moon’ hangs in the sky above mountains in Longyearbyen, Norway. The reddish brown color occurs as light rays, which usually brighten the lunar surface, are blocked; the moon also appears larger as it is near its closest orbit point to Earth. (Heiko Junge/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images, Feb 1, 2018, WSJ.com)
  • 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.”
  • Related Posts: Miracle. All of it.

Take the Test


Source: Ed Batista

T.G.I.F.: When?


Source: Kelsey MacDonald @writeskelsey

Running to 2018. (Not.) Grounded.

It’s the morning weigh-in, the same weigh-in that takes place every morning during the prior 365 days, but there are differences. Major similarities and major differences. A few notables.

It’s New Year’s Day.

It’s early morning, and I’m in the bathroom.

For the pre-weigh-in ritual, I prepare. I sit on the toilet and drain every ounce of excess weight. Every ounce counts.  And then, I strip the body of all clothing. Socks. Undershirt. Undershorts. And, Smartwatch. Yes, I sleep with to measure sleep time, even though measuring the inverse, insomnia, would be a more useful and interesting data point for researchers.

While I’m sitting pondering life on the toilet, I admire the new scale sitting on the floor in front of me. A Xmas gift from the Kids. An electronic scale from Nokia, the “Body Cardio.” It has a smooth, gunmetal finish, and was manufactured by some craftsman (craftswoman?) in Espoo, Finland. You step on the scale and its gremlins beam your weight, heart rate, fat mass, muscle mass, water and bone mass, directly to your Health Mate smartphone app. A miracle, really, all of it.

I reach for the counter to raise myself ever so gently from the toilet, trying to avoid ripping the sutures. The eyes skitter frantically trying to avoid the midsection. But as hard as they try, they can’t: Unavoidable. From the waist down to the upper thigh, the skin is discolored, a dark, deep purple – Skin’s way of saying: “Listen Pal, while you were resting peacefully under anesthesia for this ‘routine’ surgery, I was getting chopped up.” And if that wasn’t enough, there was swelling, significant swelling around the incision and freakish skin discoloration of all of Man’s reproductive organs. And this swelling is not that which you find part of the normal, reproductive process. Routine surgery? Will this all work again? A nightmare, really.

The heat is turned down overnight, I’m standing on cold floor tile, I shiver. Can’t bear to look.

I look back up.  I take a deep breath, and deliberately take one step and then the other to stand on the cool metal scale. The eyes are panicked, doing everything possible to bypass the midsection carnage and focus on the digital readout.

The scale recognizes the weight, which triggers a digital read-out: “Happy New Year David.” The ‘Happy New Year’ is wrapped in beautiful white fireworks. Nice touch. I hope the Happy part commences soon. The scale mechanically proceeds through its sequence of weight (including day over day up/down change), my heart rate, BMI, muscle mass, water and bone mass. Then it offers up the previous day’s step count. And, shares today’s weather, the high and low temperature.  Miracle, all of it.

So, we can stop here. Breath deeply and say, ok, life goes on.

But there’s more. A wee bit more to this story. [Read more…]

Dawn

Every morning all year round I can see the sunrise. It’s a sight that is hard to get used to. Not that it is surprising, for of course I know that the sun rises every morning, and that its light makes the darkness yield, but rather because it happens in so many different ways, and perhaps most importantly that it feels so fundamentally good. The feeling is a little like taking a hot bath when one is feeling chilly, satisfaction that the body is somehow restored to its basic state. When the basic state has been re-established, the satisfaction disappears, we rarely think about the fact that our body temperature is perfectly regulated. The same is the case with the sunrise. It isn’t the light in itself that feels good, for once it’s here, say, at around 2.30 in the afternoon, we take it for granted. What matters is the actual transition. Not the light from the immobile sun, which shoots across the horizon as the earth’s sphere turns towards it, but the faint glow cast by this light in the minutes before, visible as a pale streak in the darkness of night, so faint it almost doesn’t seem to be light at all, merely a kind of enfeebling of the darkness. How this infinitely subtle, dim, grey-marbled gleam slowly spreads out and imperceptibly enters the garden around me, where the trees and the walls of the houses just as slowly emerge. If the sky is clear, it turns blue in the east, and then the first beams of sunlight shoot forth, bright orange. At first it is as if they are just showing off and don’t have any other attributes than this colour, but the next moment, when the rays plummet in vast chutes across the landscape, they show their true qualities, filling the landscape with colours and brightness. If the sky isn’t clear but overcast, all this happens as if by stealth: the trees and the house emerge from the darkness, which vanishes, and the landscape fills with colour and brightness but without the source of this transformation being visible as anything more than an area of greater luminosity in the sky, sometimes round, if the cloud cover is thin, sometimes indeterminate, when it seems as if the clouds themselves are shining. Through this phenomenon, which occurs every single day of our lives, we also understand ourselves…light represents life and goodness, these two transitional zones between night and day become manifestations of the great existential drama we are caught up in, which is something I rarely think about as I stand in the garden gazing towards the growing light in the east, but which must still resonate in me somehow, since watching it feels so good…Light and life are anomalies, the dawn is their continual affirmation.

~ Karl Ove Knausgaard,, excerpt from “Dawn” in Chapter titled “November” from “Autumn


Notes:

  • Photo: Dawn by Tim Messer (Dawn. Shot while listening to Black Grouse, bubbling in the hills above Callander, Stirlingshire in Scotland)
  • Related Posts: Karl Ove Knausgaard

Oh, if I could be more like a tree on this Sunday morning

See how the trees
Reach up and outward
As if their entire existence
Were an elegant gesture of prayer.
See how they welcome the breath of spirit,
In all its visible and invisible forms.
See how the roots reach downward and out,
Embracing the physical,
The body and bones
Of its soul of earth and stone,
Allowing half its life to be sheltered
in the most quiet and secret places.

Oh, if I could be more like a tree on this Sunday morning,
To feel the breath of invisible spirit
Touch me as tenderly as a kiss on the forehead.
If I could courageously and confidently
Dig down into the dark
Where the ground water runs deep,
Where shelter and sanctuary
Can be had and held.

Ah, to be like a tree
With all its bent and unbent places,
A whole and holy thing
From its topmost twigs
To the deepest taproot
To all the good and graceful
Spaces between.

~ Carrie Newcomer, “To Be Like A Tree” from The Beautiful Not Yet: Poems, Essays and Lyrics


Notes:

 

DK: Proust Questionnaire

  1. What is your current state of mind? Unsettled. Restless. (Permanent Status.)
  2. What is your favorite journey? To stay home.
  3. What is your idea of perfect happiness? Solitude. Followed closely by Donuts.
  4. What is your greatest fear? Mortality. 
  5. What is your most marked characteristic? Impatience. Volatility.
  6. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Introversion. Restlessness.
  7. What is the trait you most deplore in others? Cruelty. Arrogance.
  8. What is your greatest extravagance? Gadgets. (Latest edition. Don’t ask how many.)
  9. What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Optimism.
  10. On what occasion do you lie? It’s rare.
  11. Dislike most about your appearance? I’m at peace with it all (except morning weigh-ins)
  12. Which living person do you most despise? Despise, such a strong word. No one.
  13. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Are you prepared to hear this?”
  14. What is your greatest regret? Memories of cruelty.
  15. What or who is the greatest love of your life? Family.
  16. When and where were you happiest? Right now.
  17. Which talent would you most like to have? Pianist like Beethoven. Writer like Steinbeck.
  18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Less introverted.
  19. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be? Accept that the Patriarch is right.
  20. What do you consider your greatest achievement? Our two children.
  21. What is your most treasured possession? Gadgets. All of them.
  22. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? The poor, the cold and the hungry in winter. Cruelty to animals.
  23. Where would you like to live? Home. Wherever home is.
  24. What is your favorite occupation? The one I’m in. Love it or leave it.
  25. What is the quality you most like in a man? Humor and humility.
  26. What is the quality you most like in a woman? Grace and kindness.
  27. What do you most value in your friends? Truth.
  28. Who are your favorite writers? Haruki Murakami. Mary Oliver. Steinbeck. Ted Kooser.
  29. Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Bugs Bunny.
  30. What is it that you most dislike? Meals without prodigious amounts of dessert.
  31. Who are your heroes in real life? No heros. I admire the gentle, the kind, the humble.
  32. How would you like to die? I wouldn’t.
  33. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? A Golden Retriever. Or Bruce Springsteen.
  34. What is your motto? Never look back.

The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.  (Source: Vanity Fair)

 

T.G.I.F.


Notes: Just Chillin’ by street photographer Tom Rothery on UPSP (via Newthom)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

This day, then, ends in rain
but almost everyone will live through it.
Tomorrow’s thousands losing their loved ones
have not yet stepped into never being the same again.
Maybe the sun’s first light will hit me
in those moments, but I’d gladly wake to feel it:
the dramatic opening of a day,
clean blood pumping from the heart.

Michael Ryan, from Poem at Thirty in New and Selected Poems


Notes: Poem: Thank you Whiskey River.  Photo: Kelly Winton Photography for a book cover for “Pages For Her” by Sylvia Brownrigg (via mennyfox55)

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