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A Monday meander: What does it mean to be human?

Watching the skipjack races from the water.

…And, gratitude is the same thing as not taking for granted. Really it’s all part of the via positiva that the mystics talk about. Awe, wonder, gratitude. And, I think we as a species today, we have to ingest this in a deeper way. I think during previous moments in history or eras of history, we were more grateful. I think our secularizing of life has taken things for granted. However, science and the new creation story from science — I mean, 13.8 billion years has brought us here, each of us and all the species that we know — ups the ante on gratitude to know that this is a pretty surprising event that we call the Earth, and the human species, and the rest.

So, yeah, I think when that really seeps in, the new creation story from science, I think a lot of awe, wonder, and gratitude will rise. But we don’t have much time for that seeping to happen. So I think that’s part of the rattling of the cages we have to do today is to take in the new creation story and then draw conclusions from that about how fragile and special this Earth is and our species is.

~ Matthew Fox

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Morning light and shadows

Sunrise through the raindrops resting on the kitchen window.

By opening up our heart then, the blessings come in. If our hearts are closed, then, like they say, like the sun is shining, but if you close all the shutters and the curtains, then the room is dark. If you open it up, then the sun is always there. It will lighten you if we open up to it. So from the Mahayana point of view, the whole universe is filled with blessings. All we have to learn how to do from our side is to learn how to develop that quality of openness and devotion and trust in order for those blessings to percolate into our own heart.

~ Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

To perceive the world through other senses is to find splendor in familiarity, wilderness in one’s backyard, the sacred in the mundane.

~ Ed Yong

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Posted in A bit of history, Art, Art journal, Change, Covid-19, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Fire, Gifts, Gratitude, Heartfulness, Home, In these strange times, Life, Love, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Sky, Spirit, Spiritual practices, Summer, Up North, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Wonder, Word/Theme for the Year, Words

A little throwback and some new walking shoes

A throwback to 2017.

In the psychological climate of our own times, our emotions are almost always considered to be virtually identical with our personal authenticity, and the more freely they flow, the more we are seen to be honest and “in touch.” A person who gravitates to a mental mode of operation is criticized for being “in his head”; when feeling dominates, we proclaim with approval that such a person is “in his heart.”

In the Wisdom tradition, this would be a serious misuse of the term heart. Far from revealing the heart, Wisdom teaches that the emotions are in fact the primary culprits that obscure and confuse it. The real mark of personal authenticity is not how intensely we can express our feelings but how honestly we can look at where they’re coming from and spot the elements of clinging, manipulation, and personal agendas that make up so much of what we experience as our emotional life today. . . .

~ Cynthia Bourgeault, from Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations

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Posted in Art, Art journal, Change, Earth, Fire, In these strange times, My POV, Nature, Quotes, Soapbox, Spring

A story

A peace mandala.

I cannot understand anti-abortion arguments that centre on the sanctity of life. As a species we’ve fairly comprehensively demonstrated that we don’t believe in the sanctity of life. The shrugging acceptance of war, famine, epidemic, pain and life-long poverty shows us that, whatever we tell ourselves, we’ve made only the most feeble of efforts to really treat human life as sacred.

~ Caitlin Moran, How to be a Woman

Your religion should help you make the decision if you find yourself in that situation, but the policy should exist for you to have the right to make it in the first place.

When you say you can’t do something because your religion forbids it, that’s a good thing. When you say I can’t do something because YOUR religion forbids it, that’s a problem.

~ Jodi Picoult, A Spark of Light

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Beautiful acts

Hints of a season to come.

Look closely. The beautiful may be small.

~ Immanuel Kant

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Matins

Morning has broken.  (Groundhog Day)
mat·ins
/ˈmatnz/
noun
  1. a service of morning prayer in various churches, especially the Anglican Church.
    • a service forming part of the traditional Divine Office of the Western Christian Church, originally said (or chanted) at or after midnight, but historically often held with lauds on the previous evening.
    • LITERARY
      the morning song of birds.

Matins

~an excerpt from Morning Prayer Poem by John O’Donohue

1
Somewhere, out at the edges, the night
Is turning and the waves of darkness
Begin to brighten the shore of dawn

The heavy dark falls back to earth
And the freed air goes wild with light,
The heart fills with fresh, bright breath
And thoughts stir to give birth to color.

2
I arise today

In the name of Silence
Womb of the Word,
In the name of Stillness
Home of Belonging,
In the name of the Solitude
Of the Soul and the Earth.

(You can find the rest of this beautiful poem here.)

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A Monday meander: Striving for perfection

Through the lattice

Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.

~ Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird:  Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Perfectionism doesn’t believe in practice shots. It doesn’t believe in improvement. Perfectionism has never heard that anything worth doing is worth doing badly–and that if we allow ourselves to do something badly we might in time become quite good at it. Perfectionism measures our beginner’s work against the finished work of masters. Perfectionism thrives on comparison and competition. It doesn’t know how to say, “Good try,” or “Job well done.” The critic does not believe in creative glee–or any glee at all, for that matter. No, perfectionism is a serious matter.

~ Julia Cameron, Finding Water:  The Art of Perseverance

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