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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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A Monday meander: In training

Queen Anne’s Lace.

We are continually aligning or relating ourselves to those energies or actions which we perceive as being favourable or desirable. Our bodies take us to food, sex, rest, recreation. Our minds take us towards knowledge of all kinds. Our feelings attract us to the arts, to nature, even to spiritual pursuits. This is all natural and desirable….But is it not strange that we do not, at the same time, turn more frequently to the supreme energy, to the Self veiled within each of us, for the profundity of which we only have human words?

~ William Segal, Openings

No man knows how much he is an optimist, even when he calls himself a pessimist, because he has not really measured the depths of his debt to whatever created him and enabled him to call himself anything. At the back of our brains… [there is] a forgotten blaze or burst of astonishment at our own existence. The object of the artistic and spiritual life [is] to dig for this submerged sunrise of wonder; so that a man sitting in a chair might suddenly understand that he [is] actually alive, and be happy.

~ G. K. Chesterton

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Stories

In the wheat field.

To argue that the current extinction event could be averted if people just cared more and were willing to make more sacrifices is not wrong, exactly; still, it misses the point. It doesn’t much matter whether people care or don’t care. What matters is that people change the world. This capacity predates modernity.

~ Elizabeth Kolbert, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

Caretaking is the utmost spiritual and physical responsibility of our time, and perhaps that stewardship is finally our place in the web of life, our work, the solution to the mystery that we are. There are already so many holes in the universe that will never again be filled, and each of them forces us to question why we permitted such loss, such tearing away at the fabric of life, and how we will live with our planet in the future.

~ Linda Hogan, Dwellings:  A Spiritual History of the Living World

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Writing

Ali (the deer who spent time in our garden last summer when her mother would leave her for the day). It’s easy to tell it’s her because she is smaller than usual.

The planet will never come alive for you unless your songs and stories give life to all the beings, seen and unseen, that inhabit a living Earth.

– Amitav Ghosh

As our world appears to spin more and more out of balance, what are the stories that speak to this darkening time? What stories are destroying us, and what stories are sustaining us, helping us to find a path that can return us to a point of balance, a place of belonging?

~ Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee, Emergence Magazine

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A Monday meander: The greening

The Green Man has been at work.

We sat in silence, letting the green in the air heal what it could.

~ Erica Bauermeister, The Scent Keeper

Life itself is as much a long walk as it is a long conversation, and the ways along which we walk are those along which we live.

~ Tim Ingold, Ways of Walking

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A visit with the dogwoods

Yesterday’s sunrise.  If you had been standing outside with me at the time, you would have heard all manner of birds conversing and singing including a wild turkey who was hanging out in that liminal space between marsh and woods, gobbling.

Gratitude is most powerful as a response to the Earth because it provides an opening to reciprocity, to the act of giving back, to living in a way that the Earth will be grateful for us.

~ Robin Wall Kimmerer

There’s a song that wants to sing itself through us. We just got to be available. Maybe the song that is to be sung through us is the most beautiful requiem for an irreplaceable planet or maybe it’s a song of joyous rebirth as we create a new culture that doesn’t destroy its world. But in any case, there’s absolutely no excuse for our making our passionate love for our world dependent on what we think of its degree of health, whether we think it’s going to go on forever. Those are just thoughts anyway. But this moment you’re alive, so you can just dial up the magic of that at any time.

~ Joanna Macy

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