(Early) Saturday Morning

paul-schneggenburger-sleep

The mind cannot fall asleep as long as it watches itself. Only when the mind moves unwatched and becomes absorbed in images that tug it as it were to one side does self-consciousness dissolve and sleep with its healing, brilliantly detailed fictions pour in upon the jittery spirit. Falling asleep is a study in trust. Likewise, religion tries to put us at ease with the world. Being human cannot be borne alone. We need other presences. We need soft night noises – a mother speaking downstairs. We need the little clicks and sighs of a sustaining otherness. We need the gods.

– John Updike, Self-Consciousness: Memoirs

 


Notes: Quote – Thank you Whiskey River.  Photo: Paul Maria Schneggenburger with his long exposure photography with series titled “Sleep of the Beloved” (via beautifuldecay.com)

Saturday Morning

sleep-dream-jpg

What I see in dreams
makes me breathe
shallow
like golden trout
floating just beneath
the skin of water
warmed by
late autumn’s
ticklish light

~ M.J. Iuppa, opening lines to “Something Brief, But Bright,” Small Worlds Floating: Poems

 


Notes: Art Source: mennyfox55. Poem Source: Memory’s Landscape

Happy? Now? What about how? And Now?

ruth-whippman-america-the-anxious

At the playground, the mantra of mellow parenting is “I don’t care, as long as he’s happy.” Whippman notices after a while that her reflexively sardonic British brain is suddenly looping around a new set of questions: Am I happy? Right at this moment? What about now? And now? Am I happy enough? As happy as everyone else? What about Meghan? Is she happier than me?

Tuning into this alien internal monologue reveals her grand thesis about America: The problem with our quest for happiness is that, apparently, it’s making us miserable. After some idle Googling, her suspicions are confirmed. Various clever studies by psychologists at the University of California, Berkeley, show that “paradoxically, the more people valued and were encouraged to value happiness as a separate life goal, the less happy they were.” When it comes to emotional temperament, America is the clumsy suitor of nations. We yearn and obsess and plot new elaborate strategies as the object of our desire shrinks ever farther away. It’s a little embarrassing.

~ Hanna Rosin, Why Are Americans So Anxious?, Book review of “America the Anxious. How Our Pursuit of Happiness Is Creating a Nation of Nervous Wrecks” by Ruth Whippman.

Sunday Morning

human-body-woman-beautiful

To be on the level with the dust of the earth,

this is the mysterious virtue.

~ Marion Milner, A Life of One’s Own (1934)

 


Notes:

  • Inspired by another passage by Marion Milner:

I thought: this ‘inner fact’ – is it really so mystical? Isn’t it just the astonishing fact of being alive – but felt from the inside not looked at from the outside – and relating oneself to whatever it is?

~ Marion Milner, A Life of One’s Own

Saturday Morning

cat-stretch-fall-autumn

Complete relaxing never happened all at once. I found that it was a matter of at least five or ten minutes before the body would reach a profound repose. So I made a rule for myself, that as long as I felt an impulse to get up or turn over, then I had not lain long enough, but as soon as I felt I had never wanted to move again, then it was all right to get up at once. But I usually did not, I lay still for a little longer, lay still, while all the cells of my body came alive, like parched earth after rain. And then I discovered the most fitting end to my rest – a long cat-like stretch, which leaves one so at peace with the world, smooth and shining like wet sands, that it is worth indulging in deliberately, even when not prompted by a natural impulse.

~ Marion Milner, A Life of One’s Own (First Published, 1934)

 


Notes:

T.G.I.F.: the chatter of blind effortful thought

balloon-tgif-let-go

People had often told me to ‘let go’ more, to give myself up to music or impulse, or rest, and I had always thought it meant a passive plunging in to the oblivion of my blind thought. But always, when given its head, my blind thought had carried me away into hot, fussy anxieties or long-winded scheming for things it wanted, some plan or another which would not let me rest. And this state had spread from my mind to my body, so that my muscles were always taut with the effort to get what I wanted. Now, however, when I had at last learnt the restraining act which was real ‘letting go’, the chatter of blind effortful thought dwindled from an exhausting distraction to the far-away twitter of sparrows high up in the eaves.

~ Marion Milner, A Life of One’s Own (First Published, 1934)

 


Notes:

This is your brain. This is drugs. This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?

patty-maher-ceremony-of-waiting

A mind fed on words such as heaven, earth, dew, essence, cinnabar, moonlight, stillness, jade, pearl, cedar, and winter plum is likely to have a serenity not to be found in minds ringing with the vocabulary of the present age–computer, tractor, jumbo jet, speedball, pop, dollar, liquidation, napalm, overkill! Who would thrill at the prospect of rocketing to the moon in a billion-dollar spacecraft if he knew how to summon a shimmering gold and scarlet dragon at any time of the day or night and soar among the stars?

John Blofeld, What Words Does Your Mind Feed on? “Taoism: The Road to Immortality” (Shambhala, August 8, 2000)

 


Notes:

Thundering Hubbub

patty-maher

Nothing is wrong.
The mind says that
Something is wrong which activates
An inner drive to do something
It is thought alone that destroys your peace.

~ Wu Hsin, excerpt from Morning Statements from This Too: The Water Cave Tutelage


Photograph: Patty Maher via Aberrant Beauty

 

Flaubert and Socks.

socks-color

My deplorable mania for analysis exhausts me. I doubt everything, even my doubt.”

It started with these words, Gustave Flaubert’s words in his letter to Louise Colet. And spiraled from there. A middle aged man crippled with analysis, dragging his lame foot behind him as he trudges ahead.

I run the math. 10 years in this house. 365 days a year. Deduct 500 days for vacation, travel, walking the floors au naturel. Round it. We’re talking 3000 discrete events.  3000 discrete events.

And as I sit pecking this post out, I couldn’t tell you if the drawer handle is circular or square, platinum color or brass, a smooth or a rough finish.

But for 3000 events, mostly mornings, with a few afternoon and evenings sprinkled in, I open the drawer, peer in, and stare at my socks. The first big decision of the day.

Color? Must match the pants. And because socks are put on first (Why? Just because) the decision is momentous – the first domino tripping the shirt, suit, tie and shoe selection. Like an algorithmic equation forced on a poet, I’m paralyzed by the complexity. A lab rat for Barry Schwartz’s Paradox of Choice.
[Read more…]

It’s been a long day

woman-long-day-struggle
Kafka said, “In man’s struggle against the world, bet on the world.”
Oh Yeah?
Do you agree?
No.
I’m with you.
People like us you bet on the man.
You most definitely bet on the man.

~ Ray Donovan, The Kalamazoo


Notes:

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