T.G.I.F.

As he grew older, his life turned into an agreeable routine, with enough human contact to sustain and divert, but not disturb, him. He knew the contentment of feeling less. His emotional life was recast as a social life. He was on nodding and smiling terms with many… He prized stoicism and calm, which he had achieved less through some exercise of philosophy, more from a slow growth within him; a growth like coral, which in most weathers was strong enough to keep out the ocean breakers. Except when it wasn’t.

~ Julian Barnes, The Only Story (Alfred A. Knopf, April 17, 2018)


Art: Phenomenon no. 1 by WanJim Gim (Seoul, Korea)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

john-o-donohue

We do have a deadening desire to reduce the mystery, the uncertainty of our lives…. We bind our lives in solid chains of forced connections that block and fixate us. …. Our sense of uncertainty and our need for security nail our world down. …. Each time we go out, the world is open and free; it offers itself so graciously to our hearts, to create something new and wholesome from it each day. It is a travesty of possibility and freedom to think we have no choice, that things are the way they are and that the one street, the one right way is all that is allotted to us. Certainty is a subtle destroyer…” “We confine our mystery within the prison of routine and repetition. One of the most deadening forces of all is repetition. Your response to the invitation and edge of your life becomes reduced to a series of automatic reflexes. For example, you are so used to getting up in the morning and observing the morning rituals of washing and dressing. You are still somewhat sleepy, your mind is thinking of things you have to do in the day that lies ahead. You go through these first gestures of the morning often without even noticing that you are doing them. This is a disturbing little image, because it suggests that you live so much of your one life with the same automatic blindness of adaptation…” “Habit is a strong invisible prison. Habits are styles of feeling, perception, or action that have now become second nature to us. A habit is a sure cell of predictability; it can close you off from the unknown, the new, and the unexpected. You were sent to the earth to become a receiver of the unknown. From ancient times, these gifts were prepared for you; now they come towards you across eternal distances. Their destination is the altar of your heart.”

~ John O’Donohue, from Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong

 


Notes: O’Donohue Quote – Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels. O’Donohue Photo – Barry Kibrick

Driving I-95 N. With 45s Spinning.

woman-hide-mask

Picture the old 45 spinning on the RCA, with its slight wobble.

It hits a notch and repeats, and repeats and repeats.

Karen, a blogger friend, from “Healing Grief” had all of the Nacre she could stand.  She gently lifted the arm and suggested a new groove:

Love what Milner suggests practising bead memories. I have a challenge for you Mr K. In your next bead experience, tell us what You feel and see just “being.” No driving, no running, no working, just here, now.”

Healing Grief. Advice from a Woman who has felt Grief. Incomprehensible loss.

Would I be standing as she is, if I was hit? [Read more…]

Driving I-95 S. With Nacre.

spencer-tunick-sunrise

Milner suggests that you select bead memories, and write about the most important thing that happened yesterday. What simple instructions! What a Herculean task. There wasn’t a single gleaming pearl, no, but layer upon layer of nacre, various moments wrapped in a montage of the day. And these moments, they aren’t lustrous, they are insignificant, ordinary really. There I stand watching me, buffeted by winds, gripping a rail, they pass suspended.

4:36 am. T.G.I.F. Yes, an Ungodly hour to be on I-95 heading to work. Yet, some force propels one forward, amped up on achievement dopamine, a member of the Walking Dead at this hour – hulking Truckers, red tail lights of Insomniacs, and Me.

The highway fuel stop.  Mobil Oil. The attendant takes the credit card, rings up the charges and hands the patron his pack of Lucky Strikes – he watches him shuffle out. His shoulders are slumped, his face expressionless, he’s anchored in the fifth hour of his graveyard shift. He breathes ever so slowly, sipping oxygen and his black coffee, teetering on the edge of Thoreau’s zone of quiet desperation. The television perched overhead has breaking news, a warhead hits a hospital in Aleppo. [Read more…]

Walking Cross-Town. 47th, wrong side.

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6:32 a.m. I exit Grand Central onto 47th. I glance at my watch, plenty of time for the 7 a.m. breakfast.

The crane’s steel arm groans and stretches up four floors. One worker guides the load of sheet rock in through the window. Another waves off the early morning commuters with his red caution flag. He looks me in the eye and directs me to the other side of the street.

I cross.

Have you ever walked this side of 47th? Ever? Eight years. 100’s of cross-town walks. Zero recollection of ever walking on the other side.

I glance over. It’s now free of construction. The wind whistles. Come back. Now. Come Home to me.

I lean right but resist. No.  Not today. Live dangerously DK.  Go way out on a limb.

I walk.

The legs and feet are heavy. I trudge on alien ground. The Amygdala twitches.

I pass delivery upon delivery truck offloading the day’s supplies.

“Fiji Water. Fiji. Untouched by man. Every drop is green.”

I pass the jewelry district

“Time in Motion – Watch Repair”
[Read more…]

Nothing passed unnoticed or unhonored

mudraZuisei1

Most of us do not live a life of monastic rigor. Our days are full of jagged edges and jangling moments. But most of us do have quiet routines that inform our lives. We rise each morning and greet our day in the same fashion. A first cup of coffee, a glance at the paper, a certain way we bathe and prepare for our entry into the day — these do not change. They are the rituals by which we shape our days. But we do not value them as rituals. To us they are the ordinary — sometimes comforting, sometimes mind-deadening — activities that give a familiar sameness to our life. Far from honoring them, we pay them no heed. We see them as routines, not as paths to awareness. My time in the monastery taught me otherwise. To be sure, the monks lived a life of deep sacramentality and prayer, and that was the true source of their spiritual vision. But the mindful practice of their spiritual exercises spilled over into the way they carried on their daily affairs. They were present to nuance, aware of the space around events. A cup of tea, a meal partaken, a moment shared with another — all commanded their absolute focus. They had tuned their spirits to a fine and subtle sensitivity, and nothing passed unnoticed or unhonored.

~ Kent Nerburn, Of Coffee Mugs and Monks in Small Graces: The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life (New World Library. 2010)


Notes:

Riding Metro-North. Off-Peak.

blur-portrait

My early morning routine, My zone, My sweet spot, is detonated.
I’m on the mid-afternoon train to Manhattan.
Everything is out of order. Way out of order.

It’s a sparsely occupied train.
A few Suits. Students. Tourists chattering. Children buzzing.
All rules of order violated. Quiet Car? What’s that?

The landscape is foreign as it flashes by the window.
The whites of winter turn to the darks of buildings, and back. Strobe lights. Disco. Discombobulating.
Pulse quickens. Wrong train? No. Daylight. Mr. Hyde makes his appearance in Light, flings his robe back, and works to shake off his lethargy.

Eyes are heavy from scanning emails. Words are merging together.  Regurgitation, without nourishment. Chewing, remembering nothing, looping back to re-read. Sigh.

I give up. [Read more…]

It’s moving day

diet,exercise,walk,run,walking,running,weight loss,inspiration,steps

This is what the Jawbone’s surveys show are the average steps per day for users of fitness step counters. (Saturday biggest day. Sunday, day of rest, apparently.)

Now here is my reality for the week of 9/8/14 based on steps counted by my Vivofit Fitness tracker:

[Read more…]

Summer. Stretch it.

beach, summer,boardwalk,ocean, clouds, photography


“…if you’ve experienced enough summers, you know how quickly the season can come and go: Just blink and it will be autumn. Is there some way to prolong the lazy days, to stretch summer out? Perhaps—in the mind at least…We all know the dark side of time passing slowly. A terrified person in a life-or-death situation commonly reports that the whole experience felt as if it took place in slow motion. Time also creeps along…if you are made to believe that a whole room full of strangers don’t like you. A 20-minute wait on a windy railway platform seems endless, but the same 20 minutes spent grabbing a sandwich for lunch with a friend feels gone in an instant.  Fortunately, psychological research also points to techniques that allow us to extend happier feelings, including our enjoyment of the blossoms, sunshine and long evenings of summer.”  Here’s excerpts on 3 mind tricks on how to accomplish this: [Read more…]

Same

footprints-monk-prayer

Same.
Same. Time up each day.
Same. I-95 route to work.
Same. Desk. Chair. Computer.
Same. Head down. Back to back. 12 hours.
Same. 1-95 Route home.
Same. Time to bed.
Same.

Tomorrow:
Try. Take a different route to work.
Try. Take a walk. Leave phone behind.
Try. Call a friend. Catch up.
Try. Find a space. A moment. A breath.
Try.


Image Credit: Telegraph.co.uk – Photo of Footprints are carved into the floorboards by monk who has prayed at the same spot for 20 years

Related Posts: Driving Series

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