Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

Yes,

even when I don’t believe—

there is a place in me inaccessible to unbelief,

a patch of wild grace,

a stubborn preserve, impenetrable…

music that builds its nest in silence.

If I have me, what else do I need?

One thing people would be surprised to know about you?

That often times I just sit in silence. Sometimes I don’t like to talk. Sometimes I have nothing to say.

What’s the one thing you hope to see change in the world?

For people to stop seeing society as a zero-sum game. We’ve convinced ourselves that in order for one person to win, another has to lose.

What’s the one thing you would grab from your house (after family members and pets) if it caught fire?

I don’t have children. So it would be weird for me to be grabbing children in a fire. Where did they come from? My photos are in the cloud. I wonder if I’d grab anything. To be honest, I don’t think I would. I mean, if I have me, what else do I need?

—  Trevor Noah, from The One Joke That Always Works, According to Trevor Noah (WSJ Magazine, September, 19, 2020.

Saturday Morning

“The multiplication of our society’s demons has been accompanied by a ratcheting up of the sources and volume of its background noise. The chatter and diversions of our lives (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, texts . . .) serve to keep the demons at bay, even as we are creating demons faster than we can create noise to drown them out: environmental devastation, global warming, the growing gap between the rich and the poor, uncontrolled population growth, unlimited consumption held up by international media and most of our leaders as the glittering purpose of life. The appropriate response is not more noise. The appropriate response is more silence. To choose to be alone is to bait the trap, to create a space the demons cannot resist entering. And that’s the good news; the demons that enter can be named, written about, and tamed through the miracle of the healing word, the miracle of art, the miracle of silence.”

Fenton Johnson, At the Center of All Beauty: Solitude and the Creative Life (W. W. Norton & Company, March 10, 2020)


Photo: DK: 5:31 am. Daybreak. June 4, 2020. 64° F. Cloud Cover: 44%. Wind: 6 mph. Weed Ave & Cove Island Park Beach, Stamford, CT.  

 

Lightly Child, Lightly

Working in silence, I try to do each task, from stir-fry to writing, as silently as possible—no radio or television or speakerphone—a consummately pleasant exercise to see how quietly I can work, how completely I may cultivate a light hand. Everything is improved in the process, including the task, its doing, and its outcome. The painter’s task—the writer’s task—the composer’s task—the gardener’s task—the cook’s task—the teacher’s task—the meditator’s task—the solitary’s task is to get out of the way, to dissolve and efface the self into the work at hand so as to permit its subject’s essence to shine forth. Cézanne wrote, “You don’t paint souls. You paint bodies; and when the bodies are well-painted, dammit, the soul—if they have one—the soul shines through all over the place.”

Fenton Johnson, At the Center of All Beauty: Solitude and the Creative Life (W. W. Norton & Company, March 10, 2020)


Notes:

  • Image: Handwriting by Ecriture Infinie
  • 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.”

 

Saturday Morning

Silence can also be a friend. A comfort and a source of deeper riches. In The Silence That Follows, the poet Rolf Jacobsen wrote:

The silence that lives in the grass
on the underside of each blade
and in the blue space between the stones.

The silence that rests like a young bird in your palms. It is easy to see oneself in Rolf Jacobsen’s experience. Alone out on the ocean, you can hear the water; in the forest, a babbling brook or else branches swaying in the wind; on the mountain, tiny movements between stones and moss. These are times when silence is reassuring. I look for that within myself.

Erling Kagge, Silence: In the Age of Noise

 


Notes: Photo by Chris Jones with Blades of Grass.  Prior Erling Kagge posts here.

Sunday Morning

  • sit in the sun without anything to do, feel the heat of the rays hit your skin, realize that this sunlight has travelled a very long way to reach you
  • Walk around barefoot and try to feel as much of the ground under your feet as you can, notice every rock and blade of grass
  • Sit quietly for a while and notice the touch of breath in your nostrils, feel how the air gets cooler as you inhale and warmer as you exhale

~ sara, from “ways to start feeling again


Notes:

Hi Ho, Hi Ho. Off to Work We Go.

May you hear in your own stories
the moan of wind around the corners
of half-forgotten houses
and the silence in rooms you remember…

May you study your craft as you would study
a new friend or a long time, much loved lover.
And all the while, lost though you may be in the forest,
drop your own words on the path like pebbles
and write your way home.

– Pat Schneider, from “Blessing for a Writer” in “How the Light Gets In: Writing as a Spiritual Practice” 


Source: Thank you Whiskey River. Photo: Anka Zhuravleva.  Inspired: “This is what poetry is: not a kind of public posturing but a private language of music and imagery that is strange and compelling enough that it can speak privately to thousands of people at the same time.” ~ Ilya Kaminsky, from “Still Dancing: An Interview With Ilya Kaminsky” by Garth Greenwell, March/April 2019 (Feb 13, 2019)

Sunday Morning. A Minute of Silence.

Tom Hanks as Mr. Fred Rogers in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” With an all-star performance by Matthew Rhys.  Movie, Highly Recommended.

Sunday Morning

You are the doubter and the doubt,
worshipping a book you can’t read.

The awful quiet in your heart
is not the peace you were promised,

not the trembling hush before a revelation,
not a prelude to an earthquake,

not God’s silence, but his breathlessness.

~ Traci Brimhall, from “Gnostic Fugue,”  from Our Lady of the Ruins

 


Photo: Noell Oszvald.  Post inspired by quote from Mindfulbalance: “In our own lives the voice of God speaks slowly, a syllable at a time. Reaching the peak of years, dispelling some of our intimate illusions and learning how to spell the meaning of life-experiences backwards, some of us discover how the scattered syllables form a single phrase.” ~ Rabbi Joshua Herschel, Between God and Man.

 

Saturday Morning

Let my words become like a skilled
Potter’s hands,
Quieting,
Smoothing your life
With their knowledge,
Reaching into your tender core
And spreading you out
Like the morning …

~ Hafiz (1315-1390), from “Your Shape of Laughter” in “The Subject Tonight Is Love. 60 Wild and Sweet Poems of Hafiz


Photo: katrinauld. Poem via finita–la–commedia

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