We’re all — trees, humans, insects, birds, bacteria — pluralities. Life is embodied network. These living networks are not places of omnibenevolent Oneness. Instead, they are where ecological and evolutionary tensions between cooperation and conflict are negotiated and resolved. These struggles often result not in the evolution of stronger, more disconnected selves but in the dissolution of the self into relationship.
Because life is network, there is no “nature” or “environment,” separate and apart from humans. We are part of the community of life, composed of relationships with “others,” so the human/nature duality that lives near the heart of many philosophies is, from a biological perspective, illusory. We are not, in the words of the folk hymn, wayfaring strangers traveling through this world.
Nor are we the estranged creatures of Wordsworth’s lyrical ballads, fallen out of Nature into a “stagnant pool” of artifice where we misshape “the beauteous forms of things.” Our bodies and minds, our “Science and Art,” are as natural and wild as they ever were.
We cannot step outside life’s songs. This music made us; it is our nature.
—David George Haskell
Take my hand.
We will walk.
We will only walk.
We will enjoy our walk
without thinking of arriving anywhere.
Our walk is a peace walk.
Our walk is a happiness walk.
Then we learn
that there is no peace walk;
that peace is the walk;
that there is no happiness walk;
that happiness is the walk.
We walk for ourselves.
We walk for everyone
always hand in hand.
Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom under our feet.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Print on Earth your love and happiness.
Earth will be safe
when we feel in us enough safety.
(from “Call me by My True Names – The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh”, Parallax Press, 2005.)
• Hardcover: 384 pages
• Publisher: National Geographic (March 29, 2016)
Bestselling author 14,000 Things to Be Happy About Dr. Barbara Ann Kipfer pours her creativity into an irresistible book of bite-size inspiration for leading an adventurous, happy, and fulfilling life. 1,001 Ways to Live Wild is filled with light-hearted quick hits of encouragement for anyone looking for a jolt of “get out there and live.” Short entries—musings, things to do, and inspirational quotes—are paired with stunning artwork, creating a beautiful keepsake to give as a gift or to keep on your bedside table. Presented as one continuous list accompanied by whimsical sidebars and thought-provoking quotes, the text touches on many and varied themes such as: following your passions, staying curious, appreciating nature, traveling, trying new things, and living life with courage.
About Dr. Barbara Ann Kipfer
Barbara Ann Kipfer has written more than 60 books of wit and inspiration, including 14,000 Things to Be Happy About, The Wish List, Instant Karma as well as numerous others. Kipfer holds Ph.D.s in linguistics, archaeology, and Buddhist studies.
“Solstice: from the Latin sol stetit meaning sun stood still. For six days in the northern hemisphere’s December, the sun ceases its southerly crawl on the horizon and appears to rise and set in almost the same spot. The ancients watched this quiet drama with drawn breath. Would the sun begin to move again? Would the light grow anew on the great wheel of life? Would life itself continue?
… Since time out of mind humans have marked the externally vital crossing from dark to light. For the perennial truth is this: Without the sun, there is no life. Green plants, those remarkable beings who are able to make their own food out of nothing but the sun’s light, are food for every other being on earth, all of whom, to stay alive, must eat either green plants or other beings who eat green plants. Though we now light our world with bulbs and take for granted not only the external day but often even our food, we still make of the return of the sun’s light a joyful metaphor for social and personal renewal.”
~ Carolyn McVickar Edwards, The Return of the Light: Twelve Tales from Around the World for the Winter Solstice
Balance. It was all about balance. That had been one of the first things that she had learned: the centre of the seesaw has neither up nor down, but upness and downness flow through it while it remains unmoved. You had to be the centre of the seesaw so the pain flowed through you, not into you. It was very hard. But she could do it!
~ Terry Pratchett, I Shall Wear Midnight
There is something perfect to be found in the imperfect: the law keeps balance through the juxtaposition of beauty, which gains perfection through nurtured imperfection.
~ Dejan Stojanovic
I’m on a short break, sort of. There is a lot going on right now, and I’ll soon be heading off for another mini adventure. I’ll post when I can, but in the meantime, I’ve set up some posts to fill in for me using the Capture Your 365 prompts. Today’s is Balancing, and boy, am I working hard at that right now. Osho said there is no true balance in life, no way to live in the middle, and that to live in the middle is to die. He compared it to tightrope walking, and how the tightrope walker has to weave back and forth, only briefly finding himself in the middle. It’s like the gap between breaths where all is still and quiet. Every now and then, I rest in those gaps. In between, I weave back and forth, maintaining my balance.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. And have a wonder-filled weekend! 🙂
We begin so aware and grateful. The sun somehow hangs there in the sky. The little bird sings. The miracle of life just happens. Then we stub our toe, and in that moment of pain, the whole world is reduced to our poor little toe. Now, for a day or two, it is difficult to walk. With every step, we are reminded of our poor little toe.
Our vigilance becomes: Which defines our day — the pinch we feel in walking on a buised toe, or the miracle still happening?
It is the giving over to smallness that opens us to misery. In truth, we begin taking nothing for granted, grateful that we have enough to eat, that we are well enough to eat. But somehow, through the living of our days, our focus narrows like a camera that shutters down, cropping out the horizon, and one day we’re miffed at a diner because the eggs are runny or the hash isn’t seasoned just the way we like.
When we narrow our focus, the problem seems everything. We forget when we were lonely dreaming of a partner. We forget first beholding the beauty of another. We forget the comfort of first being seen and held and heard. When our view shuts down, we’re up in the night annoyed by the way our lover pulls the covers or leaves the dishes in the sink without soaking them first.
In actuality, misery is a moment of suffering allowed to become everything. So, when feeling miserable, we must look wider than what hurts. When feeling a splinter, we must, while trying to remove it, remember there is a body that is not splinter, and a spirit that is not splinter, and a world that is not splinter.
~ Mark Nepo