It’s been a long day

If just looking could be so satisfying, why was I always striving to have things or to get things done? Certainly I had never suspected that the key to my private reality might lie in so apparently simple a skill as the ability to let the senses roam unfettered by purposes. I began to wonder whether eyes and ears might not have a wisdom of their own.

~ Marion Milner, A Life of One’s Own (First Published, 1934)


Notes:

Sunday Morning

human-body-woman-beautiful

To be on the level with the dust of the earth,

this is the mysterious virtue.

~ Marion Milner, A Life of One’s Own (1934)

 


Notes:

  • Inspired by another passage by Marion Milner:

I thought: this ‘inner fact’ – is it really so mystical? Isn’t it just the astonishing fact of being alive – but felt from the inside not looked at from the outside – and relating oneself to whatever it is?

~ Marion Milner, A Life of One’s Own

Saturday Morning

cat-stretch-fall-autumn

Complete relaxing never happened all at once. I found that it was a matter of at least five or ten minutes before the body would reach a profound repose. So I made a rule for myself, that as long as I felt an impulse to get up or turn over, then I had not lain long enough, but as soon as I felt I had never wanted to move again, then it was all right to get up at once. But I usually did not, I lay still for a little longer, lay still, while all the cells of my body came alive, like parched earth after rain. And then I discovered the most fitting end to my rest – a long cat-like stretch, which leaves one so at peace with the world, smooth and shining like wet sands, that it is worth indulging in deliberately, even when not prompted by a natural impulse.

~ Marion Milner, A Life of One’s Own (First Published, 1934)

 


Notes:

T.G.I.F.: the chatter of blind effortful thought

balloon-tgif-let-go

People had often told me to ‘let go’ more, to give myself up to music or impulse, or rest, and I had always thought it meant a passive plunging in to the oblivion of my blind thought. But always, when given its head, my blind thought had carried me away into hot, fussy anxieties or long-winded scheming for things it wanted, some plan or another which would not let me rest. And this state had spread from my mind to my body, so that my muscles were always taut with the effort to get what I wanted. Now, however, when I had at last learnt the restraining act which was real ‘letting go’, the chatter of blind effortful thought dwindled from an exhausting distraction to the far-away twitter of sparrows high up in the eaves.

~ Marion Milner, A Life of One’s Own (First Published, 1934)

 


Notes:

What is the most important thing that happened yesterday?’

marion-milner-diary

Eternity’s Sunrise explores Marion Milner’s way of keeping a diary. Recording small private moments, she builds up a store of ‘bead memories’. A carved duck, a sprig of asphodel, moments captured in her travels in Greece, Kashmir and Israel, circus clowns, a painting – each makes up a ‘bead’ that has a warmth or glow which comes in response to asking the simple question: What is the most important thing that happened yesterday?’

~ Introduction to Marion Milner‘s, Eternity’s Sunrise: A Way of Keeping a Diary

 

 

Saturday, June 18th. I want –

relax-read-hammock

“…June 18th. I want –

Time, leisure to draw and study a few things closely by feeling, not thinking – to get at things.

I want laughter, its satisfaction and balance and wide security.

I want a chance to play, to do things I choose just for the joy of doing, for no purpose of advancement.

To understand patiently the laws of growing things. I feel there is no time for these because I am driven by the crowd, filling my days with earning money, and keeping up with friends – like a ping-pong ball.”

~ Marion Milner, A Life of One’s Own (Originally published in 1934)


Notes:

like a spreading of invisible sentient feelers

sea-anemone

Although I knew what to do I hardly ever remembered to do it, like the heroes in fairy tales who used to exasperate me by forgetting to use the charm they had been expressly given. But when I did remember to do it, I was reminded of that little one-celled animal which can spread part of its own essence to flow round and envelop within itself whatever it wants for food. This spreading of some vital essence of myself was a new gesture, more diffuse than the placing of awareness beyond myself which I had tried with music; it was more like a spreading of invisible sentient feelers, as a sea anemone spreads wide its feathery fingers. Also I saw now that my usual attitude to the world was a contracted one, like the sea anemone when disturbed by a rough touch, like an amoeba shut within protective walls of its own making. I was yet to learn that state of confidence in which my feelers would always be spread whenever I wanted to perceive.

~ Marion Milner, A Life of One’s Own (Routledge, May 2011. Originally published in 1934)


Notes:

Sunday Morning

photography-black-and-white-peace

Feb. 23rd. One day I’ll make a list of points of conflict with the herd. One is – ‘They’ assume that what happens is what matters, where you go, what you do, things that happen, the good time that you have. But often I believe it’s none of these things, it’s the times between, the long days when nothing happens, the odd moments, perhaps when you open a letter, or sit alone in a restaurant, or exchange the time of day with a stranger…. Actually this was not the first time I had had an idea of this sort for on January 6th I had put: Possibly the thing that matters, that you are looking for, is like the roots of plants, hidden and happening in the gaps of your knowledge.

~ Marion Milner, A Life of One’s Own (Originally published in 1934)


Notes: Photograph by masLucena

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