"The brain appears to possess a special area which we might call poetic memory and which records everything that charms or touches us, that makes our lives beautiful."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

whole-hearted aspirations

"What they had in common was a sense of courage. And I want to separate courage and bravery for you for a minute. Courage, the original definition of courage, when it first came into the English language -- it's from the Latin word cor, meaning heart -- and the original definition was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. And so these folks had, very simply, the courage to be imperfect.They had the compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others, because, as it turns out, we can't practice compassion with other people if we can't treat ourselves kindly.And the last was they had connection, and -- this was the hard part -- as a result of authenticity, they were willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were, which you have to absolutely do that for connection.
The other thing that they had in common was this: They fully embraced vulnerability. They believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful. They didn't talk about vulnerability being comfortable, nor did they really talk about it being excruciating -- as I had heard it earlier in the shame interviewing. They just talked about it being necessary. They talked about the willingness to say, "I love you" first, the willingness to do something where there are no guarantees, the willingness to breathe through waiting for the doctor to call after your mammogram. They're willing to invest in a relationship that may or may not work out.They thought this was fundamental." 

Friday, February 10, 2012

If Pain Were Lambent

"Sometimes they rose up inside her, these moments of fierce happiness, kindling out of their own substance like a spark igniting a mound of grass. It was a joy to be alive, a strange and savage joy, and she stood there in the warmth and destruction of it knowing it could not last. That it was too big for her to contain."

"Everyone had his own portion of pain to carry. At first, when you were young, you imposed it on yourself. Then, when you were older, the world stepped in to impose it for you. You might be given a few years of rest between the pain you caused yourself and the pain the world made you suffer, but only a few, and only if you were lucky."

"he had never been exactly sure what he believed. He believed in holding on. He believed in keeping up. He believed in causing as little trouble as possible, which meant, he supposed, that he believed in squeaking by. He believed in English Breakfast tea and egg-white omelettes. He believed in pocket watches and comfortable shoes. He believed in going to bed at a reasonable hour. He believed in exercising three times a week. He believed there was a mystery at the center of the great big why-is-there-anything called the universe, and that it did not speak to us, or not in any language we could understand, and that it was an insult to the mystery to pretend that it did. He believed nevertheless that his sister was watching him from somewhere just out of sight, that even if her affection for him had died along with her body, her attention—her interest—had not. He believed that his life would make sense to him one day. He believed there was more light, more pain, in the world than ever before."

"She was the type of person who never read her horoscope, never saved the slips from her fortune cookies, and yet there were times when she was all too willing to be guided by coincidence and intimation, those fleeting signals that flagged the air like torches and suggested the universe had lit a trail for her."

"It made me feel like I was reliving my past.” “Mm-hmm. Very esque-ish.” “What?” “Esque-ish. It’s a word me and Coop came up with. First esque and then ish. Something that reminds you of something that reminds you of something.”

The Illumination: A Novel by Kevin Brockmeier

Monday, January 02, 2012

love and light

“And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been” 
- Rilke -

Saturday, December 31, 2011

an endlessly changing horizon

"The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun."

— Chris McCandless ---
Into the Wild

Monday, October 10, 2011

The clock is ticking OR scraping the barrel

Friend: I told "so and so" that I want to set you up with him

Me: I thought you said he was gay?

Friend: well, you never know.

Me: in fact, I'd argue that you absolutely do

Friday, August 19, 2011

being human is a guest house

This being human is a guest house. 
Every morning a new arrival. 

A joy, a depression, a meanness, 
some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. 

Welcome and entertain them all! 

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, 
who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, 
still, treat each guest honorably. 
He may be clearing you out for some new delight. 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. 

Be grateful for whoever comes, 
because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.


Monday, August 08, 2011

On Patience or Stop Waiting for the Pancake to Cook

"Patience is a hard discipline. It is not just waiting until something happens over which we have no control: the arrival of the bus, the end of the rain, the return of a friend, the resolution of a conflict. Patience is not waiting passively until someone else does something. Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient, we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later, and somewhere else. Let’s be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand."

 from Broken Open, by Elizabeth Lesser

Monday, July 18, 2011

the bend in the road

Ballycastle, 2007

"I shall give life here my best, and I believe it will give its best to me in return. When I left... my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don't know what lies around the bend, but I'm going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own, that bend. I wonder how the road beyond it goes--what there is of green glory and soft, checkered light and shadows--what new landscapes--what new beauties--what curves and hills and valleys further on."

Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

On Resistance

Nantwich, Cheshire, 2010

"Her hoe encounters orach, charlock, thistles, couch-grass - progress is slow; the field is choked with weeds...Now at the edge of the forest, (she) has found a clump of red willow herb - it's a damp little hollow, where the potatoes are small and mouldy but the willow-herb thrives...She hacks away vigorously, her lips pressed shut. She's learned to hate weeds, those useless, destructive things, and she chops away at them implacably...

The red willow-herb lies piled up on the ground; it's been defeated for now. Yes it will grow back, that's what weeds do, and really you should pick it up out of the loosened ground after ploughing, because each bit of individual root left underground will put forth new shoots. But (she) knows the place now; she'll keep an eye on it and she'll keep coming back until the willow-herb is gone for good."

-Hans Fallada, Alone in Berlin (p 370-373)-

Monday, March 28, 2011

i'm watching you (or 'holy semicolons, batman)

Flowers provided by Kim - Easter 2010

"... They had heaps of theories, always theories, as young people have. It was to explain the feeling they had of dissatisfaction; not knowing people; not being known. For how could they know each other? You met every day; then not for six months, or years. It was unsatisfactory, they agreed, how little one knew people. But she said... she felt herself everywhere; not "here, here, here"; she tapped the back of the seat; but everywhere...So that to know her, or any one, one must seek out the people who completed them; even the places. Odd affinities she had with people she had never spoken to, some woman in the street, some man behind a counter-even trees, or barns. It ended in a transcendental theory which...allowed her to believe...that since our apparitions, the part of us which appears, are so momentary compared with the other, the unseen part of us, which spreads wide, the unseen might survive, be recovered somehow attached to this person or that...

Looking back over that long friendship of almost thirty years her theory worked to this extent. Brief, broken, often painful as their actual meetings had been what with his absences and interruptions...the effect of them on his life were immeasurable. There was a mystery about it. You were given... the actual meeting...In absence, in the most unlikely places, it would flower out, open, shed its scent, let you touch, taste, look about you, get the whole feel of it and understanding, after years of laying lost. Thus she had come to him; on board ship; in the Himalayas; suggested by the oddest things. She had influenced him more than any person he had ever known."

p 152-153


"She would not say of any one in the world now that they were this or were that. She felt very young; at the same time unspeakably aged. She sliced like a knife through everything; at the same time was outside, looking on...she would not say of herself, I am this, I am that" p. 8-9

Virginial Woolf "Mrs. Dalloway"

Sunday, September 26, 2010

twuuuue looooove

me: he's clearly excited to see me. He's waiting by the door when I get home. He follows me around the house. He insists on cuddling before we go to sleep. When you find a guy like that...you keep him forever... you marry him... you know?

swede: yes. i know. when you find a MAN like that. not when you find a male of any species like that.

me: oh.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Some Souls

Some souls have gotten free of their bodies.
Do you see them? Open your eyes for those
who escape to meet with other escapees,

whose hearts associate in a way they have
of leaving their false selves
to live in a truer self.

I don't mind if my companions
wander away for a while.

They will come back like a smiling drunk.
The thirsty ones die of their thirst.

The nightingale sometimes flies from a garden
to sing in the forest.

Drumsound rises on the air,
its throb, my heart.

A voice inside the beat says,
"I know you're tired,
but come, this is the way."
-also rumi-

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Found Hearts

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” little prince

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A sketch of country life

Overheard on the farm:
"...Well he's not afraid to spend a pretty penny on a bit of semen..."

Saturday, June 12, 2010

If I can't have a dog I want a cow...

“To my mind, the only possible pet is a cow. Cows love you. . . . They will listen to your problems and never ask a thing in return. They will be your friends forever. And when you get tired of them, you can kill and eat them. Perfect.”

Bill Bryson quotes (American Writer, b.1946)


"Anybody can be good in the country."
Oscar Wilde

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Book of Love - Rumi

"You dance inside my chest where no one sees you..."

"Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground."

"What sort of person says that he or she wants to be polished and pure, then complains about being handled roughly?"

"There's a shredding that's really a healing, that makes you more alive!"

"Friend, our closeness is this:

anywhere you put your foot, feel me in the firmness under you.

How is it with this love,

I see your world and not you?"


Friday, January 22, 2010

Howl at the Sky

"Now he wondered if he wanted to just spend another weekend in his fort. It seemed a good enough idea. He had some thinking to do, about this news about the sun expiring and the resulting void inhaling the earth...

So he had a choice. Would he stay behind the curtain and think things, marinate in his own confusion, or would he put on his white fur suit and howl and scratch and make it known who was boss of this house and all of the world known and unknown?" (Eggers p. 72)
-The Wild Things-

Monday, October 26, 2009

No use teasing the darkness...

[Christmas Letter, 1966] Most of you, even with all that you have to suffer, are much better off than you realize. Yet the heart of man can be full of so much pain, even when things are exteriorly "all right". It becomes all the more difficult because today we are used to thinking that there are explanations for everything. But there is no explanation for most of what goes on in our own hearts, and we cannot account for it all. No use resorting to mental tranquilizers that even religious explanations sometimes offer. Faith must be deeper than that, rooted in the unknown and in the abyss of darkness that is the ground of our being. No use teasing the darkness to try to make answers grow out of it. But if we learn how to have a deep inner patience, things solve themselves, or God solves them if you prefer, but do not expect to see how. Just learn to wait, and do what you can and help other people.

Thomas Merton. The Road to Joy, Robert E. Daggy, editor (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1989): 94.

Often in helping someone else we find the best way to bear with our own trouble.

The Road to Joy: 94.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

did i post this already?

The Invitation - Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, 'Yes.'

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.