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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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Oh, the joy

New blooms.

Healing does not require that you master the unreasonable side of your reason. Nor does healing require inner perfection of any order. A common trait shared by people who have healed is that they cease being unreasonable in ways that no longer matter in the greater scheme of life. Against the scale of life or death, how important is winning an argument? How important is holding a grudge? How important is anything other than how well we love others, how deeply we regard the value of the gift of life, and what we do with our life that makes this world a better place?

~ Caroline Myss

I believe our survival demands revolution, both cultural and political. If we are to survive the disasters that threaten, and survive our own struggle to make it new – a struggle I believe we have no choice but to commit ourselves to – we need tremendous transfusions of imaginative energy. If it is indeed revolution we are moving toward, we need life, and abundantly – we need poems of the spirit, to inform us of the essential, to help us live the revolution. And if instead it be the Last Days – then we need to taste the dearest, freshest drops before we die – why bother with anything less than that, the essential?

~ Denise Levertov, The Poet in the World

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Morning walk

A bouquet in a field of wheat.

The ancient words of the Orthodox liturgy, or the Om mani padme hum, or the Upanishads, have an incantatory power — a power of invoking that which they seek to invoke — because they have been repeatedly uttered.  But they have been repeatedly uttered because millions have trusted them.  To take etymology really seriously is to trust words.

And perhaps that’s what it’s all about.  In my less depressive moments, I think that there’s a deep and universal principle at work — which is that if you really, really trust the world (a world that includes words) and make yourself wholly vulnerable in the event of your trust being misplaced, the world always honors and rewards the trust and vulnerability.  You can call it faith or grace if you want.

~ Charles Foster, Emergence Magazine

For me, language is a freedom. As soon as you have found the words with which to express something, you are no longer incoherent, you are no longer trapped by your own emotions, by your own experiences; you can describe them, you can tell them, you can bring them out of yourself and give them to somebody else. That is an enormously liberating experience, and it worries me that more and more people are learning not to use language; they’re giving in to the banalities of the television media and shrinking their vocabulary, shrinking their own way of using this fabulous tool that human beings have refined over so many centuries into this extremely sensitive instrument. I don’t want to make it crude, I don’t want to make it into shopping-list language, I don’t want to make it into simply an exchange of information: I want to make it into the subtle, emotional, intellectual, freeing thing that it is and that it can be.

~ Jeanette Winterson

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A chilly Saturday in spring

Rooted on the dunes. (Cape Henlopen, Delaware.)

We have little needs and we have deeper needs.

We have fallen into the mistake of living from our little needs til we have almost lost our deeper needs in a kind of madness. Let us prepare now for the death of our present little life and the re-emergence in a bigger life in touch with the moving cosmos. It is a question practically of relationship. We must get back into relation, vivid and nourishing relationship to the cosmos and the universe. The way is through daily ritual and re-awakening. We must once more practice the rituals of dawn and noon and sunset, the ritual of kindling fire and pouring water, the ritual of the first breath and the last. To these rituals we must return or we must evolve them to suit our needs. For the truth is we are perishing for the lack of fulfillment of our greater needs. We are cut off from the great sources of our inward nourishment and renewal, sources which flow eternally in the universe.

Vitally, the human race is dying. It is like a great uprooted tree with its roots in the air. We must plant ourselves again in the universe.

~ D. H. Lawrence

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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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A Monday meander: So you want to write

Near the edge.  (Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia.  October 2021.)

In life, there are brief and momentary opportunities that ask us to assert our existence. Although a creative impulse, they can be destructive, because they make us veer away from our normal patterns and habits. Life is compelling us to take these small acts of rebellion so we can go beyond the edges of ourselves, and by doing so, we end up rediscovering ourselves. These moments are a great reminder that, like all other animals, we are, and will always be, wild.

~ Kamand Kojouri

What good is a dream that doesn’t test the mettle of the dreamer? What good is a path that doesn’t carry us to the edge of our capacity and then beyond that place? A true calling involves a great exposure before it can become a genuine refuge.

~ Michael Meade, Fate and Destiny, The Two Agreements of the Soul

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