He had many strange sights to keep him cheerful or to make him sad. I asked him had he ever seen the faeries, and got the reply, ‘Am I not annoyed with them?’ I asked too if he had ever seen the banshee. ‘I have seen it,’ he said, ‘down there by the water, batting the river with its hands.’
~ W. B. Yeats, The Celtic Twilight: Faerie and Folklore
A Wednesday morning
I wake up, open my eyes, and a world appears. It is a familiar world – more so than usual in these days of semi-lockdown – but even more familiar is the experience of ‘self’ – of being me – that glides into consciousness at more-or-less the same time. This experience of selfhood is so mundane that its appearance goes by entirely unnoticed, unless actively paid attention to. We take our selves for granted, but we shouldn’t.
~ Anil Seth, Catching Sight of Yourself
Beauty kick-starts our attention. The real sublime. To behold it is almost scary because we suddenly have a longing to stand for something. Beauty not as generic but specific, troubling in what it may call forth in us.
~ Martin Shaw, How to Recapture Your Imagination
Wishing you the happiest of holidays possible given the circumstances this year. Find the light in the darkness and allow it to grow. Or, as the song goes, may your days be merry and bright.
For those that might want a little music with that: Sunny Christmas. It’s a cheerful song with wonderful lyrics. Enjoy.
…Withdrawing. If you do this, a lot of people will call you a ‘defeatist’ or a ‘doomer’, or claim you are ‘burned out’. They will tell you that you have an obligation to work for climate justice or world peace or the end of bad things everywhere, and that ‘fighting’ is always better than ‘quitting’. Ignore them, and take part in a very ancient practical and spiritual tradition: withdrawing from the fray. Withdraw not with cynicism, but with a questing mind. Withdraw so that you can allow yourself to sit back quietly and feel – intuit – work out what is right for you, and what nature might need from you. Withdraw because refusing to help the machine advance – refusing to tighten the ratchet further – is a deeply moral position. Withdraw because action is not always more effective than inaction. Withdraw to examine your worldview: the cosmology, the paradigm, the assumptions, the direction of travel. All real change starts with withdrawal.
~ Paul Kingsnorth, Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist and Other Essays
The power of the heart
I trust so much in the power of the heart and the soul; I know that the answer to what we need to do next is in our own hearts. All we have to do is listen, then take that one step further and trust what we hear. We will be taught what we need to learn.
~ Melody Beattie