It has an edge. It opens your eyes. Quickens your ears.

James hillman

“Not just any talk is conversation; not any talk raises consciousness. Good conversation has an edge: it opens your eyes to something, quickens your ears. And good conversation reverberates: it keeps on talking in your mind later in the day; the next day, you find yourself still conversing with what was said. That reverberation afterward is the very raising of consciousness; your mind’s been moved. You are at another level with your reflections.”

– James Hillman, We’ve Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy and the World is Getting Worse


James Hillman (1926 – 2011) was an American psychologist born in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He studied at, and then guided studies for, the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, founded a movement toward archetypal psychology and retired into private practice, writing and traveling to lecture, until his death at his home in Thompson, Connecticut on October 27, 2011.  After high school, he studied at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University for two years.  He served in the US Navy Hospital Corps from 1944 to 1946, after which he attended the Sorbonne in Paris, studying English Literature, and Trinity College, Dublin, graduating with a degree in mental and moral science in 1950. In 1970, Hillman became editor of Spring Publications, a publishing company devoted to advancing Archetypal Psychology as well as publishing books on mythology, philosophy and art. His magnum opus, Re-visioning Psychology, was written in 1975 and nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. (Source: Wiki)


Source: Image – Circololettori.  Quote: Whiskey River.

I am pleased enough with the surfaces

woman walking barefoot

“I am pleased enough with the surfaces – in fact they alone seem to me to be of much importance. Such things for example as the grasp of a child’s hand in your own, the flavor of an apple, the embrace of a friend or lover, the silk of a girl’s thigh, the sunlight on the rock and leaves, the feel of music, the bark of a tree, the abrasion of granite and sand, the plunge of clear water into a pool, the face of the wind – what else is there? What else do we need?”

– Edward Abbey



There it is; the light across the water.

black and white photography, family, portrait

“There it is; the light across the water. Your story. Mine. His. It has to be seen to be believed. And it has to be heard. In the endless babble of narrative, in spite of the daily noise, the story waits to be heard.

Some people say that the best stories have no words. It is true that words drop away, and that the important things are often left unsaid. The important things are learned in faces, in gestures, not in our locked tongues. The true things are too big or too small, or in any case always the wrong size to fit in the template called language.”

– Jeanette Winterson


Looking, we do not see. Listening, we do not hear. Loving, we do not feel.

John Daido Loori - 1

“The thing that blinds us and deafens us is the ceaselessly moving mind, the preoccupation we have with our thoughts. It is the incessant internal dialogue that shuts out everything else. That is the problem with trying to take a preconceived photograph. Before you even walk out of the building, you blind yourself. All day long we talk to ourselves. We preoccupy ourselves with the past, or we preoccupy ourselves with the future, and while we preoccupy ourselves, we miss the moment and miss our lives. Looking, we do not see. It is as if we were blind. Listening, we do not hear. It is as if we were deaf. Loving, we do not feel. It is as if we were dead. Preoccupied, we do not notice the reality around us. How can we be present? How can we taste and touch our lives? The answer to these questions is not outside yourself. To see this truth requires the backward step, going very deep into yourself to find the foundation of reality and of your life. To see it is not the same as understanding it or believing it. To see it means to realize it with the whole body and mind. To realize it transforms one’s life, one’s way of perceiving the universe and the self, and of expressing what has been realized…When you practice the Zen arts, practice your life – trust yourself completely. Trust the process of sitting. Know that deep within each and every one of us, under layers of conditioning, there is an enlightened being, alive and well. In order to function, it needs to be discovered. To discover this buddha is wisdom. To make it function in the world is compassion. That wisdom and compassion is the life of each one of us. It is up to you what you do with it.”

~ John Daido Loori [Read more…]

Stalk the gaps. Spend the Afternoon. You can’t take it with you.

“Thomas Merton wrote, “there is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues.” There is always an enormous temptation in all of life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end. It is so self-conscious, so apparently moral, simply to step aside from the gaps where the creeks and winds pour down, saying, I never merited this grace, quite rightly, and then to sulk along the rest of your days on the edge of rage.

I won’t have it. The world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright. We are making hay when we should be making whoopee; we are raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain, or Lazarus.

Go up into the gaps. If you can find them; they shift and vanish too. Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn, and unlock – more than a maple – a universe. This is how you spend this afternoon, and tomorrow morning, and tomorrow afternoon. Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.”

–Annie Dillard. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek


With thanks (again) to Crashingly Beautiful for quote via Whiskey River. Image from A Collection of Things.

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Week in Review: Transience…

“Transience is the most general phenomenon of the cosmos. Change is the only changeless reality. Seasons, livelihoods, personal relationships – all of these will change. Our experiences in life are transient and relative. Only death is certain, completing the cycle of life that begins with birth. By meditating upon this truth, we recognize that we, too, are manifestations of transience. When we understand this teaching deeply, we become humble and sincere. We treasure each moment and endeavor to do our best. We feel less stress and become more accepting of the diverse phenomena of life. If something good happens we can feel the joy and be thankful. But we know that the conditions for the situation will not last forever, and we do not become attached to the feeling. We will simply consider every moment and every experience as a blessing.”

– Ilchi Lee (via Whiskey River)

A colleague had announced his resignation. It has taken a few weeks for the news to settle in – – and it has with mixed emotions. I’m happy for him…a fresh start with a young, rapidly growing enterprise. He has his skip back in his step – a gleam in his eye. A firm that has identified someone with an abundance of soft and hard skills. With cross functional expertise. With an ability to develop relationships. Not a glory hound, he delivered results.  Period.  And he didn’t care to blow smoke up the line. As one of my colleagues would say: “He’s all steak, no sizzle.” I didn’t ever see him raise his voice. Or get angry. I never saw him cave to political winds. He held his ground firmly and professionally and if the decision turned the other way, he’d “pick up his tools” and go back to work.

On one of his last days, he made his 1.5 hour commute (each way) just to have breakfast with me and to say thank you. I hired him into the firm and he said he “was grateful for the experience and for our relationship.” I sat across from him at the table…melancholy.

He’s picking up and moving south to re-fire his career. He’ll lose the nasty commute and finally get his close knit family into that house on the lake that he’s long been dreaming about.

In HR terms, he’ll be described as a “Regrettable Leave.” I’ll just call it a friend and a very good man lost. Lost to me and the firm.


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