Lightly child, lightly.


I exist.
It’s sweet,
so sweet, so slow.
And light:
you’d think it floated all by itself.
It stirs.
It brushes by me,
melts and vanishes.
Gently, gently.

— Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea


Notes:

  • Photo:  Nima Chaichi. Quote: Hidden Sanctuary
  • 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.”

Sunday Morning

light-hand-jpg

We need to trust this: in the midst of our daily life activities, the possibility to slow down, to stop, and then to appreciate naturally unfolds. For a fleeting moment we pause and note the sunlight on the sheets as we make the bed, note the warm sun on our cup as we sip tea, or note the fading light on the curtain as we enter the room. And we let out a breath or sigh…

— Elizabeth Searle Lamb, from “Pausing” in Haiku Mind: 108 Poems to Cultivate Awareness and Open Your Heart By Patricia Donegan


Notes: Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels. Photo: via Mennyfox55

Saturday Morning

elephant

In one of his insightful talks Zen master Shunryu Suzuki said that in your practice you should walk like an elephant. “If you can walk slowly, without any idea of gain, then you are already a good Zen student.” There’s a mantra for your religion: Walk like an elephant. It means to move at a comfortable pace. No rushing toward a goal. No push to make it all meaningful. The sometimes inscrutable texts of Taoism and Zen teach that it’s important to do what you do without trying to accomplish anything. One of the benefits of a religion of one’s own is its ordinariness and simplicity. You don’t need a magnificent ceremony, a specially ordained minister, or a revered revelation to give you authority. You don’t have to get anywhere. There are no goals and objectives: nothing to succeed in, and nothing in which to fail. You can sit in your house, as Thoreau did, and be attentive— his suggestion. “We are surrounded by a rich and fertile mystery. May we not probe it, pry into it, employ ourselves about it— a little? . . . If by watching all day and all night I may detect some trace of the Ineffable, then will it not be worth the while to watch?”

~ Thomas Moore, A Religion of One’s Own: A Guide to Creating a Personal Spirituality in a Secular World.


Notes:

It’s been a long day

hands-art-cullen.jpg

My hands.

In the kitchen, at the stove.
In the prairie. The shed.
Under the blanket. In the bath.
Behind the barn. In the garden.
The cornfield. The river.

By stone. By thorn. By childbirth.

Slow. Like fog.

Jeanann Verlee, Said the Manic to the Muse 

 


Notes:

It’s been a long day

rest-fatigue-float 

I empty myself with light
Until I become morning.

— Charles Wright, from “33,” Littlefoot: A Poem


Notes:

It’s been a long day

donatella-marraoni-enough-is-enough

There is joy to be found in the most minuscule of choices, in the pockets of slowness concealed inside each ordinary day: ten minutes in the morning in which to write down our dreams, five minutes in the late afternoon in which to stand by a window and watch the changing colors of the sunset, another pause before bed for a brief moment of prayer. Such things do not demand an inordinate commitment. From outside, our lives may look much as they have always done. We alone will recognize the small, rejuvenating pleasures, the invisible sustenance: the difference between skimming a text and taking the time to read it slowly and in depth; between emailing our friend, and making time to sit with her and talk; between rushing through our days, and honoring “the space between,” allowing space to muse and brood and wonder and exult, to bask in our accomplishments.

~ Christian McEwen, World Enough & Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down.


Notes:

No longer so tightly wound. Little shards of self fly off into the wind.

..

Art, attention, gratitude and grace. A quiet healing, ordinary joy. I know these things in my own body. For several years now, my head has felt loose on my shoulders, and I too have felt oddly permeable, no longer so tightly wound. Little shards of self fly off into the wind, and frankly, I am glad to see them go.

In the same way as one pulls the petals from a daisy, she loves me, she loves me not, so too one can pluck one letter at a time from familiar words, revealing the core beneath. Verandah Porche (who invented the term “pluck words”) is especially fond of examples like “slaughter” and “laughter” where the missing letter not only transforms the meaning of the word, but alters its sound as well.

My own favorites center on a little cluster of words that seem, like koans, to conceal a deeper meaning. It is as if one bit into a juicy peach to find its wizened stone, or broke apart an egg to show its golden yolk. For example, when where is plucked, it reveals the answer here; less is the hidden wisdom crouching inside bless; your gives way to the more generous-hearted our; and the small domestic hearth expands into the cosmic earth. Most miraculous of all, perhaps, eyes open into an all-confirming yes. [Read more…]

Oryoki

japanese-garden-brooklyn-fish

“Stay here forever,” said the little girl in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. We were in the Japanese Pavilion, leaning over the rail to watch the fish.

Cherry blossoms swirled like confetti in the dark water. “No,” said her father. “Gonna see more fish—” and he dragged her away from the ones she was already looking at: their shadowy bodies, their smiling mouths, their multicolored scales. Black and gold and pure albino white; cadmium yellow/charcoal; silver-blue-green-gray. The little girl protested, but her father didn’t listen. “More fish,” he said, as if more and different were always, unquestionably better. More fish. Again more fish.

Oryoki, the Japanese word for a begging bowl, means “just enough.” The Irish word go leor (anglicized as “galore”) also meant “sufficiency,” at least at first, sufficiency being a synonym for plenty. But over time, “plenty” has metastasized into “more than enough,” and finally into “too much.” There is nothing wrong with having “too much of a good thing” on a feast day, or for a celebration. But when one comes to take that “more” for granted, requiring excess on every ordinary day, then its celebratory aspect is destroyed.

“Stay here forever,” said the little girl. All she wanted was to watch the fish: to dissolve into that moment of enchantment.

~ Christian McEwen, “Slow is Beautiful.” From World Enough & Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down


Photo: faungg’s photos with fish in Japanese Garden, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

How did we get so fast? Is it possible, or even desirable, to slow down?

erin-cone
Because that’s kind of the world that we live in now, a world stuck in fast-forward. A world obsessed with speed, with doing everything faster, with cramming more and more into less and less time. Every moment of the day feels like a race against the clock. To borrow a phrase from Carrie Fisher, which is in my bio there; I’ll just toss it out again — “These days even instant gratification takes too long.” […]

I think that in the headlong dash of daily life, we often lose sight of the damage that this roadrunner form of living does to us. We’re so marinated in the culture of speed that we almost fail to notice the toll it takes on every aspect of our lives — on our health, our diet, our work, our relationships, the environment and our community. And sometimes it takes a wake-up call, doesn’t it, to alert us to the fact that we’re hurrying through our lives, instead of actually living them; that we’re living the fast life, instead of the good life. And I think for many people, that wake-up call takes the form of an illness. You know, a burnout, or eventually the body says, “I can’t take it anymore,” and throws in the towel. […]

And I had two questions in my head.

The first was, how did we get so fast?

And the second is, is it possible, or even desirable, to slow down?

~ Carl Honore, In Praise of Slowness


Art: Erin Cone with Traverse” from the exhibition “Ineffable” (via Mennyfox55)

Saturday Morning

toes-feet-hands-fingers-black-and-white

A balanced life has a rhythym. But we live in a time, and in a culture, that encourages everyone to just move faster. I’m learning that if I don’t take the time to tune in to my own more deliberate pace, I end up moving to someone else’s, the speed of events around me setting a tempo that leaves me feeling scattered and out of touch with myself. I know now that I can’t write fast; that words, my own thoughts and ideas, come to the surface slowly and in silence. A close relationship with myself requires slowness. . .

A thoughtful life is not rushed.


Notes:

 

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