Posted in A bit of history, Air, Assateague Island, Autumn, Beach, Books, Change, Covid-19, Critters, Cycling, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Gifts, Gratitude, Health & Well-Being, Hiking, Home, In these strange times, Life, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Sky, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Wonder, Woods

Cleaning house

When autumn begins decluttering.

We dream of having a clean  house — but who dreams of actually doing the cleaning?  We don’t have to dream about doing the work, because doing the work is always within our grasp; the dream, in this sense, is to attain the goal without the work.

~ Marcus Buckingham

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  Lower the bar.  Actually spending ten minutes clearing off one shelf is better than fantasizing about spending the weekend cleaning out the basement.

~ Gretchen Rubin

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Posted in Air, Autumn, Change, Covid-19, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Faith, Gifts, Gratitude, Heartfulness, Hiking, In these strange times, Life, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Sky, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Wonder, Woods, Yoga

Autumn dressed up for the occasion

When the fog reflected the colors of sunrise.

Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded.  It’s a relationship between equals.  Only when we know our own darkness well, can we be present with the darkness of others.  Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.

~ Pema Chodron

The early Greeks defined presence as the fundamental characteristic of being alive.

I believe it is not easy for any of us to be fully present, and that we settle for shadows and glimpses, for fleeting moments that sift through our hands and are gone. We may become clouded from impinging distractions as we are carried into countless pressures, anxieties, and demands; or else we try to escape through the many abundant and tempting means at our disposal; or we seek to overpower obstacles through adrenalin-driven pursuits, or with our intellects, determination, and skillful maneuvers, or by other strengths and capabilities, continually striving for something out of reach, or once attained, soon abandoned, while we silently lack what we most want.

As flawed human beings, it can be difficult to see beyond ourselves and understand each other intimately and compassionately. Being hampered by our limitations and the context of our past experience (or inexperience), we can be blind to each other even when we don’t want to be. Our failings can also blind us to ourselves, preventing us from reaching a deeper understanding below the surface of self-awareness.

~ John Justin David, from Parabola, October 26, 2020

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Posted in Air, Autumn, Change, Covid-19, Critters, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Garden, Gifts, Grandparenthood, Gratitude, Heartfulness, Hope, In these strange times, Life, Listening, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Sky, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Wonder, Woods, Yoga

Random bits and pieces

Yellow rumped warbler in the woods.

Oh, the sweetness of realizing: I am not other than what I’m experiencing.  I am this breathing.  I am this moment, and it is changing, continually arising in the fountain of life.

~ Joanna Macy, World As Lover, World As Self

Hokusai says look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing.

He says look forward to getting old.
He says keep changing,
you just get more who you really are.
He says get stuck, accept it, repeat
yourself as long as it is interesting.

He says keep doing what you love.

He says keep praying.

He says everyone of us is a child,
everyone of us is ancient,
everyone of us has a body.
He says everyone of us is frightened.
He says everyone of us has to find
a way to live with fear.

He says everything is alive–
shells, buildings, people, fish,
mountains, trees, wood is alive.
Water is alive.

Everything has its own life.

Everything lives inside us.

He says live with the world inside you.

He says it doesn’t matter if you draw,
or write books. It doesn’t matter
if you saw wood, or catch fish.
It doesn’t matter if you sit at home
and stare at the ants on your veranda
or the shadows of the trees
and grasses in your garden.
It matters that you care.

It matters that you feel.

It matters that you notice.

It matters that life lives through you.

Contentment is life living through you.
Joy is life living through you.
Satisfaction and strength
is life living through you.

He says don’t be afraid.
Don’t be afraid.

Love, feel, let life take you by the hand.

Let life live through you.

~ Roger Keyes

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Posted in Air, Autumn, Change, Covid-19, Earth, Eastern Shore, Endings, Exploring, Gifts, Gratitude, Hope, In these strange times, Life, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Quotes, Soapbox, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Walktober, Water, Woods

On my soapbox: The myth of positive thinking

A family tree.

I do not write this in a spirit of sourness or personal disappointment of any kind, nor do I have any romantic attachment to suffering as a source of insight or virtue. On the contrary, I would like to see more smiles, more laughter, more hugs, more happiness and, better yet, joy. In my own vision of utopia, there is not only more comfort, and security for everyone — better jobs, health care, and so forth — there are also more parties, festivities, and opportunities for dancing in the streets. Once our basic material needs are met — in my utopia, anyway — life becomes a perpetual celebration in which everyone has a talent to contribute. But we cannot levitate ourselves into that blessed condition by wishing it. We need to brace ourselves for a struggle against terrifying obstacles, both of our own making and imposed by the natural world. And the first step is to recover from the mass delusion that is positive thinking.

~ Barbara Ehrenreich, Bright-Sided:  How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America

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Smoke on the water

Sign of the times.

History has the cruel reality of a nightmare, and the grandeur of man consists in his making beautiful and lasting works out of the real substance of that nightmare. Or, to put it another way, it consists in transforming the nightmare into vision; in freeing ourselves from the shapeless horror of reality – if only for an instant – by means of creation.

~ Octavio Paz

I think of the trees and how simply they let go, let fall the riches of a season, how without grief (it seems) they can let go and go deep into their roots for renewal and sleep…. Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go.

~ May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude

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Posted in Air, Beginnings, Change, Covid-19, Critters, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Fire, Garden, Gifts, Gratitude, Health & Well-Being, Heartfulness, Home, In these strange times, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Ohio, Photography, Poetry, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Spirit, Summer, The Bogs, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather

The transition

Two in the Joe Pye Weed.

I want to unfold.
I don’t want to be folded anywhere,
because where I am folded,
there I am a lie.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke’s Book of Hours

Find meaning. Distinguish melancholy from sadness. Go out for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a romantic walk in the park, spring at its most spectacular moment, flowers and smells and outstanding poetical imagery smoothly transferring you into another world. It doesn’t have to be a walk during which you’ll have multiple life epiphanies and discover meanings no other brain ever managed to encounter. Do not be afraid of spending quality time by yourself. Find meaning or don’t find meaning but ‘steal’ some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self. Opt for privacy and solitude. That doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject the rest of the world. But you need to breathe. And you need to be.

~ Albert Camus, Notebooks 1951-1959

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Posted in Change, Covid-19, Critters, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Fire, Garden, Gifts, Gratitude, Home, In these strange times, Life, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Play, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Spirit, Spring, Walking & Wandering

Playing with circles

In the rock.

The resolution of a koan requires a certain trust of mystery, a faith that there is an answer which will come in time.

~ Rachel Naomi Remen

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