Saturday Morning

We’re so driven to make ourselves “better” all the time…

We are mercilessly hard on ourselves for our losses, our defeats, our wounds, our failures, the parts of us that don’t measure up.

This is a weekend in non-self-improvement….

~ Francis Weller, in an interview with Tim McKee titled The Geography Of SorrowFrancis Weller On Navigating Our Losses


Photo: Nap time by Aku*S

Lightly Child, Lightly


Notes:

  • Photo: “The return of cold temperatures helps to create ideal outdoor skating conditions in Freeport, Maine.” (Robert F. Bukaty, AP, wsj.com December 26, 2018)
  • 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

Maybe I don’t need to be doing as much as I have been doing, on the level of trying to push my life down one path or another. And maybe there are some areas of life in which one never knows. Or maybe part of me thinks that when it comes to something as profound as a human life existing or not, it would be wrong to take it too strongly in my hands, or decide too vigorously either way.

~ Sheila Heti, How Should a Person Be?: A Novel 


Notes:

  • Photo – Sean Ellis with “Light” (via 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.”

Walking Cross Town. With Woo Woo.

It’s a blank screen.

At the bottom of the iPhone, there’s a Start arrow symbol: >

Below the arrow, is a timer.

09:00.

My finger hovers over the arrow. Oh, for God sakes DK, it’s only 9 minutes. How difficult can this be?

P: “As we get started, settle yourself in a comfortable position.”  Her voice is soothing. Or seductive? Jesus, DK, focus.

The Pacifica app’s headline: “Reduce Stress. Feel Happier.” “Apple’s Best of 2017…psychologist designed tools for mindfulness meditation, relaxation, and mood/health tracking.” Only you DK, only You, can get anxious in front of a Meditation exercise designed to reduce the same. 

P: “Sit on a chair or a cushion on the floor…If you feel comfortable doing so, close your eyes…” (Long Silence)

This pilgrimage isn’t to Mecca, not to the Wall in Jerusalem, and not with Him upstairs. But a prayer to the new God. My palms cradle my Smartphone, and the glowing screen feeds me.  I was off on the last leg of David Rome‘s journey: As we grow from childhood to adolescence to adulthood, eventually our most fundamental relationship becomes the inner relationship with ourselves. [Read more…]

Saturday Afternoon

I went to the kitchen to start making lunch, but no sooner had I picked up a knife than I realized I was no longer ravenously hungry. Instead, I was very sleepy. I got a blanket, stretched out on the living room sofa, and promptly drifted off. I had a dream, a short one. It was clear and very vivid. But I couldn’t remember anything about it. Just that it was clear and vivid. It felt as though a fragment of real life had slipped into my sleeping mind by mistake. Then the moment I awoke, it fled like a quick-footed animal, leaving no trace behind.

~ Haruki Murakami, Killing Commendatore: A Novel. (October 9, 2018)


Photo: Yourtango

Saturday Morning

Screen Shot 2018-10-06 at 8.41.09 AM

Whenever we lose track of our own obsessions,
our self-concerns, because we drift for a minute,
an hour even, of pure (almost pure)
response to that insouciant life:
cloud, bird, fox, the flow of light, the dancing
pilgrimage of water, vast stillness
of spellbound ephemerae on a lit windowpane,
animal voices, mineral hum, wind
conversing with rain, ocean with rock, stuttering
of fire to coal—then something tethered
in us…breaks free.
No one discovers
just where we’ve been, when we’re caught up again
into our own sphere (where we must
return, indeed, to evolve our destinies)
—but we have changed, a little.

~Denise Levertov, from “Sojourns in the Parallel World” in The Selected Poems of Denise Levertov


Notes: Poem from Make Believe Boutique; Photo by Coleman Guyon

Summer afternoon—summer afternoon

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon,” Henry James wrote late in his life, repeating the phrase with evident relish, as if to squeeze the full pleasure out of it, “to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” It’s easy to see his point, to follow him into the meadowland that those two words conjure effortlessly. Surely “summer afternoon” suggests a lovely aimlessness, with time as a friendly spirit guide, not a haunting, hectoring ghost. Lemonade, ice beading the glass, comes to mind, and a fat 19th-century novel that you’ll never actually finish but can drift into, and then let fall open on the grass, as you get lost (you’re in a hammock under a big shade tree) in a drift of clouds passing overhead, shaping and reshaping themselves. That’s “summer afternoon” for you. It gathers you up, paradoxically, when you give up hunting for it. Keep it simple: Walk the dog, let her sniff to her intelligent nose’s deep content—no rushing her along to get the job done. Pausing, gazing, staring idly—this is the odd discipline of leisure. Let it find you on a park bench, with a bag of stale bread for the ducks in the pond…A nap occurs somewhere in the midst of this summer afternoon, the kind where you don’t really fall asleep but glide around in your mind, surprised by a memory, a moment, a regret, maybe your mother’s hands, her rings swiveling, your father and his deep frown, or that bully in second grade you kicked in the groin, glad to hear him howl and stop teasing you. Now you’re smiling. Your mind floats among these drifting bits that suddenly seem intensely worthy of attention, valuable. Just pause over these lost details, the collection you didn’t even know you’d amassed.Maybe that’s the way to practice for the launch of a successful vacation—not with a plan for two weeks freighted with expectation but with a single afternoon at full and indulgent ease. Call it a summer afternoon, not quite vacation time. It leads you past the fretful workweek into this sweet shimmering season you’ve been waiting for all year long.

~ Patricia Hampl, from “All of Summer In a Single Afternoon” (wsj.com, June 21, 2018)


Photo by Ali de Niese titled Lemonade (“I have a great love and admiration for the paintings of the Dutch master Johannes Vermeer. I love the combination of yellow and blue with a touch of white which is used in some of his paintings (e.g. Girl With A Pearl Earring, The Milkmaid). I’ve tried to create my own version of a yellow and blue still life, ‘after but nowhere near Vermeer’, if you like.”

And how good it feels, the heat of the sun between the shoulder blades


Photo: Delano Hotel, South Beach. Post title: Mary Oliver

Saturday Morning

hammock-gif

To rise early, reconsider, rise again later
to papers and the news…
Another day of what we bring to it-
matters unfinished from days before,
regret over matters we’ve finished poorly.
Just once you’d like to start out early,
free from memory and lighter for it…
nothing
to shrink from, nothing to shirk,
no lot to carry that wasn’t by choice.
And at night, no voice to keep him awake,
no hurry to rise, no hurry not to.

Tracy K. Smith, from “The Ordinary Life


He sees that this emptiness of self—that this alone—makes a life worth living, a life worth writing. He has been rinsed of ambition, of pride in himself, rinsed of shame over his failures, emptied of his grudges. He has even let go of time, of history—the sources of our regret, our sense that we have done it all wrong. Once reality has stabbed you in the heart like this, you are indeed free—or, when that sweet pain does leave you …the realization remains, a sure memory. This realization, not your ego, is your true self. Alone, outside time, but paradoxically within the moment. There he is, a poet suspended on planet earth in that most ephemeral piece of furniture, the hammock, swinging in the eternity of the moment, and he is empty of himself—at last. The whole world rushes in.

~ Patricia Hampl, The Art of the Wasted Day (Penguin Publishing Group. April 17, 2018)

 

Nirvana (-ish)

pelican

This morning. (And not Fake News, mostly.)

Sleep in till 7:45 am. Wow. Let’s do that again, and again, and again.

Read the morning papers. Read a few chapters of Patricia Hampl’s new book: The Art of the Wasted Day. And commit to workin’ on this Art today.

A heaping breakfast. Two-egg ham and cheese omelette. Bacon. Pork sausage links. Fresh cut fruit. Fresh baked pastries. And that would be plural on the pastries x 2. These same pastries were dipped in home made strawberry jam.

A short walk to the beach. Me and my breakfast hangover land heavily on the beach chair.

81º F.  Partly sunny. (Feels like 92 F.)  Warm winds @ 7 mph from the NE.

Miles of soft sand in both directions.

The Atlantic laps the shoreline.

Wispy clouds provide intermittent relief from the sun.

Out in the distance, hulking ocean freighters and their giant steel containers carry their cargo to ports away.

Pelicans, with their massive wing spans and beaks, cruise three feet off the ocean top, and plummet, splashing in search of breakfast. And they come again, and again and again — feeding. I look closely for a wing flap wondering how the maintain their locomotion. Can’t see it. Miracle. All of it.

Paragliders float up high, held aloft by giant multicolored rainbow parachutes.  Muffled sounds of jet skis in the distance.

Families and beach goers begin to arrive. Hundreds and hundreds fill the shoreline quietly and peacefully milling, settling, reading, playing, sleeping… children pull out their plastic shovels and pails out of Mom’s beach bag and start building castles…

My toes auger into the soft sand, dark and cool a few inches down.

And, oh yea, there’s a little of something else.

[Read more…]

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