It’s been a long day

The Chinese poet Po Chü-I (772-846) recounts in a poem how he’d traveled so long on horseback that he’d fallen asleep in the saddle. For a moment, his reins had slackened. It seemed like an instant but he’d gone a hundred lengths while asleep. He’d exhausted himself all day; prodding the horse to push on; to go here, then there. But in his sleep, he loosened his grip, gave up control, and the horse, which seemed to wait for this chance, carried him easily. This is the tension between will and surrender. We push and push; insistent on keeping pace with the urgency of our dream. All for the moment that we exhaust ourselves. And letting go the reins, the horse of spirit quickens its pace and carries us on.

~ Mark Nepo, Will and Surrender (Huffpost, Nov 6, 2017)


Notes:

Flying over I-40 W. With Orange Sticks and Ashes.

6:15 a.m. But for two rows of ambient lights lining the aisle, the cabin is dark and quiet.

A few minutes earlier, the flight attendant completes her routine: “You are seated in the emergency-exit row of this aircraft. Are you ready, willing and able to open the exit hatch if needed?” It’s the right of passage for extra legroom. 11 of us mumble “yes.”

She’s Asian. Japanese, actually. I see two of her colleagues down the aisle, Japanese too.  Kermit the frog on Sesame Street: Today, I’m going to tell you about the word ‘Same.’ 3 flight attendants. All female. All Asian. All Japanese. All ~ 5’5″. Blue skirts. Dark navy pumps. Silver wings on lapel. Hair down, long, dark. Red lipstick applied just so, no coloring outside the lines. Robert Palmer’s hits come flashing in Simply Irresistible and Addicted to Love. Ladies, cloned, playing guitars, dancing.

You can’t sleep, you can’t eat
There’s no doubt, you’re in deep
Your throat is tight, you can’t breathe

I dip my hand in my pocket to check my boarding pass. Dallas. Yes. Tokyo. No.

I steal a glance at my seat mate. There’s a soft cover book on his lap:  “Thy Kingdom Come: Tracing God’s Kingdom Program” by J. Dwight Pentecost. He’s attentive. She walks through the FAA regulatory requirements…”Life vests are located beneath, or between your seats. Remove the vest from the pouch by pulling on the tab. Place the vest over your head, and fasten the straps to the front of the vest. Adjust the straps loosely around your waist. As you leave the aircraft, inflate the vest by pulling down on the red tabs, or manually inflate by blowing into the tubes on either side…”

His finger runs down the multi-fold laminated instructional card on emergency evacuations, his lips twitching as he follows along. No, no, not twitching, He’s Praying. JesusHe closes his eyes, both hands grip the arm rests.

[Read more…]

Unglove Yourself. Can you feel this?

Anne Bancroft at a school for the deaf and blind in Spring Valley, NY, preparing for her role in The Miracle Worker photographed by Nina Leen (1959)


Notes:

  • Photo Source: Annebancrofts
  • Post Title Inspired by: It’s like wearing gloves every time we touch something, and then, forgetting we chose to put them on, we complain that nothing feels quite real. Our challenge each day is not to get dressed to face the world but to unglove ourselves so that the doorknob feels cold and the car handle feels wet and the kiss goodbye feels like the lips of another being, soft and unrepeatable. ― Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have

Take the gloves off

touch, hands,love,feel

We waste so much energy trying to cover up who we are when beneath every attitude is the want to be loved, and beneath every anger is a wound to be healed and beneath every sadness is the fear that there will not be enough time.

When we hesitate in being direct, we unknowingly slip something on, some added layer of protection that keeps us from feeling the world, and often that thin covering is the beginning of a loneliness which, if not put down, diminishes our chances of joy.

It’s like wearing gloves every time we touch something, and then, forgetting we chose to put them on, we complain that nothing feels quite real. Our challenge each day is not to get dressed to face the world but to unglove ourselves so that the doorknob feels cold and the car handle feels wet and the kiss goodbye feels like the lips of another being, soft and unrepeatable.

― Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

 


Sources: Photo: Inside Silence by Laura Makabresku. Quote: Waves of Beauty

Such raw being aches

feel-live-peace-art-woman

So often we run from feeling and yet it is only through feeling that we can know the depth of life. Only through feeling can we hold the smallest shell or bone and feel the tug of the Universe. Such raw being aches, for, as the Buddhists say, the bareness of being here is so full. I wake with this rawness and watching you sleep, I’m stopped before I start. Before I dress, I lose why I’m going anywhere. Yet wherever the day takes me- pausing to hold the groceries with the old man who packs them or seeing the neighbor’s child at the kitchen table doing homework as I walk our dog or pulling over to watch the small horse breathe his cloud over the fence- everywhere this bareness illumines. With no way to that bareness but through feeling and the listening that feeling opens. Some say I get lost in this feeling, this listening. But only if I think I know where I’m going, only if I think I know what I’m listening for. Through this bareness of being, we refresh our openness and enliven our innate connection to the one living sense. Through our unblocked, sincere response to life, we can tune our inner person with the great mysteries.

~ Mark Nepo


Credits: Thank you Make Believe Boutique, my daily inspiration, for the poem. Visual Art by Karolina Szymkiewicz via ufukorado.

We must look wider than what hurts

yellow throat,bird,

“We begin so aware and grateful. The sun somehow hangs there in the sky. The little bird sings. The miracle of life just happens. Then we stub our toe, and in that moment of pain, the whole world is reduced to our poor little toe. Now, for a day or two, it is difficult to walk. With every step, we are reminded of our poor little toe.

Our vigilance becomes: Which defines our day – the pinch we feel in walking on a bruised toe, or the miracle still happening?

It is the giving over to smallness that opens us to misery. In truth, we begin taking nothing for granted, grateful that we have enough to eat, that we are well enough to eat. But somehow, through the living of our days, our focus narrows like a camera that shutters down, cropping out the horizon, and one day we’re miffed at a diner because the eggs are runny or the hash isn’t seasoned just the way we like.

When we narrow our focus, the problem seems everything. We forget when we were lonely, dreaming of a partner. We forget first beholding the beauty of another. We forget the comfort of first being seen and held and heard. When our view shuts down, we’re up in the night annoyed by the way our lover pulls the covers or leaves the dishes in the sink without soaking them first.

In actuality, misery is a moment of suffering allowed to become everything. So, when feeling miserable, we must look wider than what hurts. When feeling a splinter, we must, while trying to remove it, remember there is a body that is not splinter, and a spirit that is not splinter, and a world that is not splinter.”

~ Mark Nepo


Quote Source: Whiskeyriver. Image credit of Common Yellow Throat

For aren’t we all ground over time to what matters

dancer

“For aren’t we all ground over time to what matters, unrecognizable and richer for it? It seems very little actually happens the first time around. Until we are worn to the smallest part of beauty, the smallest part of truth. Isn’t this the way? In time, the mountain trying to reach the sky crumbles softly to join the sea. In time, we outlive our ambitions, happy to land as the grain of sand a small fish mouths. Eventually, when moved to be still way inside, I somehow open like an iris no one sees and a tear falls within, nowhere to be found, though it sends being through my blood into my arms, into my hands, into my very fingers. Then, I am compelled to barely touch anything coming alive: the closed eye of a dog sleeping or the bluebird egg waiting to hatch. Then, I am refreshed by snow quieting the gash in the earth and the snow-like silence coating the wound in my heart.”

~ Mark Nepo


Credits:


%d bloggers like this: