Weekly Quotes 2012

1-2-12 Weekly Quotes: Prayer for a New Year

Prayer for a New Year

May you awaken to new beginnings
With an openness of heart
And a quickening of soul.

May you step wholeheartedly into this new year,
To appreciate its abundant sweetness and
To embrace in faith its certain sadness.
May you re-awaken hopes and dreams which
Stretch your creative spirit to give them
Life and substance.

May you be for others:
  A herald of change,
  A respecter of fears;
  A softener of hard edges;
  A co-creator of yet-to-be-known meanings;
  A midwife to healing;

May you discover for your Self:
  The deepest truth of your deepest nature;
  A resting in goodness;
  An abiding with a peaceful heart;
  A living into wholeness.
-Linda Graham

1-9-12 Weekly Quotes: Stay Amazed!

Stay amazed! is the e-mail signature of my friend Susan Felix. The e-sigs of friends inspire me almost daily:

Beauty is not in outer perfection but rather in the amount of light we allow to shine through the very thing obscuring our souls.– Lynn Robinson

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder– G.K. Chesterson (via Marilynne Chophel)

And several from my friend Gary Horvitz:

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go to that. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive.– Thurman Whitman

When death finds you, let it find you alive.– African proverb

When times are tough, vision is the first casualty. Before conditions can improve, it is the first thing we must recover.– Michael Hyatt

If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.– Buddha

When the passion of the mystic for God is married to the passion of the activist for justice, a new fire is born.– Andrew Harvey

Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.– Edward Abbey

The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. On that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.– Teilhard de Chardin

[If you have a favorite e-mail signature you would like to pass on to me, I would be delighted to receive it. – Linda]

1-16-12 Weekly Quotes: Conscience and Integrity

[for however you choose to remember today the force for conscience and integrity of Martin Luther King, Jr., and for however you are called to your own conscience and integrity in any given moment:]

Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all thou shalt not be a bystander.– Holocaust Museum, Washington, D.C.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.– Martin Luther King, Jr.

The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in time of great moral crises maintain their neutrality.– Dante

To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.– Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln did not go to Gettysburg having commissioned a poll to find out what would sell in Gettysburg. There were no people with percentages for him, cautioning him about this group or that group or what they found in exit polls a year earlier. When will we have the courage of Lincoln?– Robert Coles

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.– Martin Luther King, Jr.

The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only is such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.– M. Scott Peck

Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” Vanity asks the question, “Is it popular?” But, conscience asks the question, “Is it right?” And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.– Martin Luther King, Jr.

The inability of those in power to still the voices of their own consciences is the great force leading to change.– Kenneth Kaunda

In Memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Psalm 15 translated by Stephen Mitchell

Lord, who can be trusted with power,
And who may act in your place?
Those with a passion for justice,
Who speak the truth from their hearts;
Who have let go of selfish interests
And grown beyond their lives;
Who see the wretched as their family
And the poor as their flesh and blood.
They alone are impartial
And worthy of the people’s trust.
Their compassion lights up the earth,
And their kindness endures forever.

The greatest menace to our civilization today is the conflict between giant organized systems of self-righteousness – each system only too delighted to find that the other is wicked – each only too glad that the sins give it the pretext for still deeper hatred and animosity.– Herbert Butterfield

Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.– Martin Luther King, Jr.

When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?– Eleanor Roosevelt

Every human being has a work to carry on within, duties to perform abroad, influence to exert, which are peculiarly his, and which no conscience but his own can teach.– William Ellery Channing

I long to accomplish great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.– Helen Keller

The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.– Mohandis K. Gandhi

Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.– Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is I who must begin.
Once I begin, once I try –
here and now,
right where I am,
not excusing myself
by saying things
would be easier elsewhere,
without grand speeches and
ostentatious gestures,
but all the more persistently
–to live in harmony
with the “voice of Being,” as I
understand it within myself
–as soon as I begin that,
I suddenly discover,
to my surprise, that
I am neither the only one,
nor the first,
not the most important one
to have set out upon that road.

Whether all is really lost
or not depends entirely on
whether or not I am lost.– Vaclav Havel

1-30-12 Weekly Quotes: The Dance of Fear and Courage

[the response to last week’s e-newsletter, Do One Scary Thing a Day, was quite overwhelming. Thank you! Here are a few more quotes to continue the theme:]

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.– Ambrose Redmoon

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. Except a creature be part coward, it is not a compliment to say it is brave.– Mark Twain

Fear is the father of courage and the mother of safety.– Henry H. Tweedy

Fear makes us feel our humanity.– Benjamin Disraeli

He who fears to suffer, suffers from fear.– French proverb

Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but the heart to conquer it.– Rabindranath Tagore

The wise man in the storm prays God, not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear.– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fear is a darkroom where negatives develop.– Usman B. Asif

Fear is faith that it won’t work out.– Sister Mary Tricky

You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.– Mary Manin Morrissey

There is much in the world to make us afraid. There is much more in our faith to make us unafraid.– Frederick W. Cropp

There is a time to take counsel of your fears, and there is a time to never listen to any fear.– George s. Patton

The bravest thing you can do when you are not brave is to profess courage and act accordingly.– Corra Harris

Courage is grace under pressure.– Ernest Hemingway

Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.– Ralph Waldo Emerson

2-6-12 Weekly Quotes: Poems for Hurt and Healing

Open Hand

When your hand releases
a tool carried long,
you unclench it gradual,
…or it hurts.
Eyes used to dark
need time to take light,
and many-miled feet a
are un-booted slow.
When at length you unshoulder
from your back a burden,
you straighten by degrees;
and for the war-weary,
battles aren’t over
when safety is reached.

I see better now
why I stall my growth,
as I heal, each inch;
why steps seen before
I only now take.
to go forward
I must also stop;
I can’t depart the darkness
all at once.
To un-stoop, squint, clench;
open heart, hands, eyes;
I can slowly step,
tho seldom leap.

But, after all,
journeys so worth taking
are worth taking slow.– Gordon Yaswen

Cripple

A cripple who learns to walk still believes
Himself to be a cripple who can walk
Rather than someone who can walk
Who was once a cripple.

These ghosts of former selves
Dog every step
The taken as well as the untaken.

So then Gareth,
Where are your crutches!?

Are you not standing, gloriously,
If perhaps still a bit precariously
On your own…
Or are you now carrying the crutches
That once carried you?– Gareth Loy

The Lightest Touch

Good poetry begins with
the lightest touch,
a breeze arriving from nowhere,
a whispered healing arrival,
a word in your ear,
a settling into things,
then, like a hand in the dark,
it arrests the whole body,
steeling you for revelation.

In the silence that follows
a great line,
you can feel Lazarus,
deep inside
even the laziest, most deathly afraid
part of you,
lift up his hands and walk toward the light.– David Whyte
Everything is Waiting for You

2-14-12 Weekly Quotes: Rilke on Love

[an encore of offerings from the deeply soulful poet Ranier Maria Rilke, 1875-1926]

To love is good, too: love being difficult. For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation. For this reason young people, who are beginners in everything, cannot yet know love: they have to learn it. With their whole being, with all their forces gathered close about their lonely, timid, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love.

Pathways

Understand, I’ll slip quietly
away from the noisy crowd
when I see the pale stars rising,
blooming, over the oaks.

I’ll pursue solitary pathways
through the pale twilit meadows,
with only this one dream:

You come too.

Love is at first not anything that means merging, giving over and uniting with another…Love is a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become world, to become world for himself for another’s sake. It is a great exacting claim upon him, something that chooses him out and calls him to vast things….Love is the ultimate, is perhaps that for which human lives as yet scarcely suffice.

Love Song

How can I keep my soul in me, so that
it doesn’t touch your soul? How can I raise
it high enough, past you, to other things?
I would like to shelter it, among remote
lost objects, in some dark and silent place
that doesn’t resonate when your depths resound.
Yet everything that touches us, me and you,
takes us together like a violin’s bow,
which draws one voice out of two separate strings.
Upon what instrument are we two spanned?
And what musician holds us in his hand?
Oh sweetest song!

The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. …Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue to exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which makes it possible to see each other whole against the sky.

Again and Again

Again and again however we know the landscape of love
and the little churchyard there, with its sorrowing names,
and the frighteningly silent abyss into which the others
fall: again and again the two of us walk out together
under the ancient trees,
lie down again and again among the flowers,
face to face with the sky.

The demands which the difficult work of love makes upon our development are more than life-size, and as beginners we are not up to them. But if we nevertheless hold out and take this love upon us as a burden and apprenticeship, instead of losing ourselves in all the light and frivolous play, behind which people have hidden from the most earnest earnestness of their existence – then a little progress and alleviation will perhaps be perceptible to those who come long after us; that would be much.

Physical pleasure is a sensual experience no different from pure seeing or the pure sensation with which a fine fruit fills the tongue; it is a great unending experience, which is given us, a knowing of the world, the fullness and the glory of all knowing. The bad thing is that most people misuse and squander this experience and apply it as a stimulant at the tired spots of their lives and as distraction instead of a rallying toward exalted moments.

Only one that is on the lookout for everything, who excludes nothing, not even the most enigmatic, will live the relationship to another as something alive, will himself sound the depths of his own being, will speak to the whole potential of his existence.

You are not too old
and it is not too late
to dive into your increasing depths
where life calmly gives out its own secret.

Avoid providing material for the drama that is always stretched tight between parents and children; it uses up much of the children’s strength and wastes the love of the elders, which acts and warms even if it doesn’t comprehend. Don’t ask for advice from them and don’t expect any understanding. But believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.

…and other mysteries of life:

Do not assume that he who seeks to comfort you now lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life may also have much sadness and difficulty, that remains far beyond yours. Were it otherwise, he would never have been able to find these words.

No great art has ever been made without the artist having known danger. Surely all art is the result of one’s having been in danger, of having gone through an experience all the way to the end, where no one can go further.

We have no reason to mistrust our world, for it is not against us. Has it terrors, they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abysses belong to us. Are dangers at hand, we must try to love them….Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love…..So you must not be frightened if a sadness rises up before you larger than any you have ever seen; if a restiveness, like light and cloudshadows, passes over your hands and over all you do. You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall.

Were it possible for us to see further than our knowledge reaches, perhaps we would endure our sadnesses with greater confidence than our joys. For they are moments when something new has entered into us, something unknown.

The future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, long before it happens.

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, as if they were locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live your questions now. Perhaps then, some day far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

Let everything happen to you,
beauty and terror,
just keep going,
no feeling is final.

Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always
Be of good courage; all is before you, and time passed in the difficult is never lost.

No experience has been too unimportant, and the smallest event unfolds like a fate, and fate itself is like a wonderful, wide fabric in which every thread is guided by an infinitely tender hand and laid alongside another thread and is held and supported by a hundred others.

I feel it now: there’s a power in me to grasp and give shape to my world. I know that nothing has ever been real without my beholding it. All becoming has need of me.

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

A billion stars go spinning through the night,
blazing high above your head.
But in you is the presence that will be,
when all the stars are dead.

Everyone once, once only. Just once and no more. And we also once. Never again. But this having been once, although only once, to have been of the earth, seems irrevocable.

It is obvious that most people come to know only one corner of their room, one spot near the window, one narrow strip on which they keep walking back and forth. Whoever you are: some evening take a step out of your house, which you know so well…. Enormous space is near.

Sometimes a man stands up during supper
and walks outdoors, and keeps on walking,
because of a church that stands somewhere in the East.

And his children say blessings on him as if he were dead.

And another man, who remains inside his own house,
stays there, inside the dishes and in the glasses,
so that his children have to go far out into the world
toward that same church, which he forgot.

2-20-12 Weekly Quotes: Wisdom of the Presidents

Let your heart feel for the affliction and distress of everyone.– George Washington

In matters of style, swim with the current;
in matters of principle, stand like a rock.-Thomas Jefferson

With the fearful strain that is on me night and day,
if I did not laugh I should die.– Abraham Lincoln

A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car;
but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.– Theodore Roosevelt

When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.– Franklin D. Roosevelt

Modern cynics and skeptics see no harm in paying those
to whom they entrust the minds of their children
a smaller wage than is paid to those to whom they entrust
the care of their plumbing.– John F. Kennedy

Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it’s not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.– Barack Obama

3-5-12 Weekly Quotes: This Is The World I Want To Live In

“Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal”

By Naomi Shihab Nye

After learning my flight was detained 4 hours, I heard the announcement: If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately.

Well — one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there. An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly. Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her problem? We told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she did this.

I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly. Shu dow-a, shu-biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick, sho bit se-wee? The minute she heard any words she knew — however poorly used – she stopped crying. She thought our flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the following day. I said, No, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late, who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him.

We called her son and I spoke with him in English. I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and would ride next to her. She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it. Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and found out, of course, they had ten shared friends. Then I thought, just for the heck of it, why not call some Palestinian poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours. She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering questions.

She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies — little powdered sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts — out of her bag — and was offering them to all the women at the gate. To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California, the lovely woman from Laredo — we were all covered with the same powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.

And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers — non-alcoholic — and the two little girls for our flight, one African-American, one Mexican-American — ran around serving us all apple juice and lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar, too.

And I noticed my new best friend — by now we were holding hands — had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing, with green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.

And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought, This is the world I want to live in. The shared world. Not a single person in this gate — once the crying of confusion stopped — has seemed apprehensive about any other person. They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women, too. This can still happen, anywhere.

Not everything is lost.

[I shared the prose-poem above with wonderful participants in the Neuroscience and the Art of Self Care workshop I presented last week at the 2011 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium in Washington, D.C. Very moving experience; very enthusiastic feedback. Alas, the prep time needed means the March e-newsletter on Presence will be posted in April, as will the April newsletter as well.]

3-19-12 Weekly Quotes: Love Guards the Heart from the Abyss

Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) was an Austrian psychiatrist interred for almost three years in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. After the war, he developed an existential psychotherapy called logotherapy, which he wrote about in Man’s Search for Meaning.

It was due to his and others’ suffering in these camps that he came to his hallmark conclusion that even in the most absurd, painful and dehumanized situation, life has potential meaning and that therefore even suffering is meaningful. An example of Frankl’s idea of finding meaning in the midst of extreme suffering is found in his account of an experience he had while working in the harsh conditions of the Auschwitz concentration camp:

…We stumbled on in the darkness, over big stones and through large puddles, along the one road leading from the camp. The accompanying guards kept shouting at us and driving us with the butts of their rifles. Anyone with very sore feet supported himself on his neighbor’s arm. Hardly a word was spoken; the icy wind did not encourage talk. Hiding his mouth behind his upturned collar, the man marching next to me whispered suddenly: “If our wives could see us now! I do hope they are better off in their camps and don’t know what is happening to us.”

That brought thoughts of my own wife to mind. And as we stumbled on for miles, slipping on icy spots, supporting each other time and again, dragging one another up and onward, nothing was said, but we both knew: each of us was thinking of his wife. Occasionally I looked at the sky, where the stars were fading and the pink light of the morning was beginning to spread behind a dark bank of clouds. But my mind clung to my wife’s image, imagining it with an uncanny acuteness. I heard her answering me, saw her smile, her frank and encouraging look. Real or not, her look was then more luminous than the sun which was beginning to rise.

A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way – an honorable way – in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, “The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory…”

3-26-12 Weekly Quotes: More on Man’s Search for Meaning

Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) was an Austrian psychiatrist interned for almost three years in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. After the war, he developed an existential psychotherapy called logotherapy, which he wrote about in Man’s Search for Meaning.

Further thoughts on Man’s Search for Meaning:

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.

Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.

[Quoting Nietzsche:] Those who have a ‘why’ can bear with almost any ‘how.’

4-2-12 Weekly Quotes: Rediscovering Inherent Goodness

I would love to offer a full-on e-newsletter on Rediscovering Inherent Goodness, and when I’m less immersed in writing and revising the book on resilience, I will. For now, these offerings speak to me in my own journey; may they be useful to you and yours.

The perennial favorite: The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen

When the tale begins, a mother duck’s eggs hatch. One of the little birds is perceived by the duck’s surroundings as a homely little creature and suffers much verbal and physical abuse from the other birds and animals on the farm. He wanders sadly from the barnyard and lives with wild ducks and geese until hunters slaughter the flocks. He then finds a home with an old woman but her cat and hen tease him mercilessly and again he sets off on his own. He sees a flock of migrating wild swans; he is delighted and excited but he cannot join them for he is too young and cannot fly. Winter arrives. A farmer finds and carries the freezing little bird home, but the foundling is frightened by the farmer’s noisy children and flees the house. He spends a miserable winter alone in the outdoors mostly hiding in a cave on the lake that partly freezes over. When spring arrives a flock of swans descends on the now thawing lake. The ugly duckling, now having fully grown and matured cannot endure a life of solitude and hardship anymore and decides to throw himself at the flock of swans deciding that it is better to be killed by such beautiful birds than to live a life of ugliness and misery. He is shocked when the swans welcome and accept him, only to realize by looking at his reflection in the water that he has grown into one of them. The flock takes to the air and the ugly duckling spreads his beautiful large wings and takes flight with the rest of his new family.

Andersen first conceived the story in 1842 while enjoying the beauty of nature during his stay at the country estate of Bregentved, and lavished a year’s worth of attention upon it. He initially considered “The Young Swans” as the tale’s title but, not wanting to spoil the element of surprise in the protagonist’s transformation, discarded it for “The Ugly Duckling”. He later confessed that the story was “a reflection of my own life”, and, when the critic Georg Brandes questioned Andersen about whether he would write his autobiography, the poet claimed that it had already been written – “The Ugly Duckling”.

Saint Francis and the Sow

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary to
to re-teach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on the brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within; of self-blessing;
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of the earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.– Galway Kinnell

A Friend Who Cares

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives
mean the most to us,
we often find that it is those who,
instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures,
have chosen rather to share our pain
and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.
The friend who can be silent with us
in a moment of despair or confusion,
who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement,
who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing
and face with us the reality of our powerlessness,
that is a friend who cares.– Henri Nouwen

Ah, the comfort,
The inexpressible comfort
Of feeling safe with a person.
Having neither to weigh out thoughts
Nor words,
But pouring them all right out, just as they are,
Chaff and grain together;
Certain that a faithful hand
Will take them and sift them;
Keeping what is worth keeping and,
With the breath of kindness,
Blow the rest away.– Dinah Craik

4-23-12 Weekly Quotes: Nourishing the Soul in Spring

[another re-post, almost to the day from last year, after spending a glorious afternoon, storms blown through, among the abundance of wildflowers at Point Reyes National Seashore]

Every spring is the only spring – a perpetual astonishment.– Ellis Peters

To see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wildflower; hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.– William Blake

Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes –
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.– Elizabeth Barrett Browning

In the hope of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.– Albert Schweitzer

I am sick of four walls and a ceiling! I have need of the sky; I have business with the grass.– Richard Hovey

Listen, can you hear it? Spring’s sweet cantata. The strains of grass pushing through the snow. The song of buds swelling on the vine. The tender timpani of a baby robin’s heart. Spring– Diane Frolov

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.– Kahlil Gibran

Springtime is the land awakening.– Lewis Grizzard

Spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world.– Virgil Kraft

Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.– Doug Larson

April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.– William Shakespeare

The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.– e.e. cummings

Earth laughs in flowers.– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be a boisterous exultation into the heart of the night.– Ranier Maria Rilke

People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.– Iris Murdoch

Can we conceive what humanity would be if it did not know the flowers?– Maurice Maeterlinck

To be overcome by the fragrance of flowers is a delectable form of defeat.– Beverly Nichols

If you pass by the color purple in a field and don’t notice it, God gets real pissed off.– Alice Walker

I might mention all the divine charms of a bright spring day, but if you had never in your life utterly forgotten yourself in the straining your eyes after the mounting lark, or in wandering through the still lanes when the fresh-opened blossoms fill them with a sacred silent beauty, what would be the use of my descriptive catalogue?– George Eliot

If you’ve never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom.– Terri Guillemets

Measure your health by your sympathy with morning and spring. If there is no response in you to the awakening of nature – if the prospect of an early morning walk does not banish sleep, if the warble of the first bluebird does not thrill you – know that the morning and spring of your life are past. Thus may you feel your pulse.– Henry David Thoreau

Who would have thought it possible that a tiny little flower could preoccupy a person so completely that there simply wasn’t room for any other thought?– Sophie Scholl

A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.– Walt Whitman

Little flower, but if I could understand what you are, root and all in all, I should know what God and man is.-Alfred Lord Tennyson

If seeds in the black earth can turn into such beautiful roses, what might not the heart of man become in its long journey toward the stars?– G.K. Chesterton

When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.– Chinese proverb

Bread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed also the soul.– The Koran

If of thy mortal goods thou are bereft,
And of thy meager store
Two loaves alone to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.– Sheikh Mushli-uddin Saadi, Shirazi

To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refresehed by a morning walk or an evening saunter…to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring…these are the rewards of the simple life.– John Burroughs

Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.– Zen proverb

I ask for a moment’s indulgence to sit by thy side. The works that I have in hand I will finish afterwards.
Away from the sight of thy face my heart knows no rest nor respite, and my work becomes an endless toil in a shoreless sea of toil.
Today the spring has come at my window with its sighs and murmurs; and the bees are plying their minstrelsy at the court of the flowering grove.
Now it is time to sit quiet, face to face with thee, and to sing dedication of life in this silent and overflowing leisure.– Rabindranath Tagore

5-1-12 Weekly Quotes: Resilience and Renewal at Esalen

Mastering the art of resilience does much more than restore you to who you once thought you were. Rather, you emerge from the experience transformed into a truer expression of who you were really meant to be.– Carol Osborn

I invite you to join me for a weekend workshop at Esalen, August 31 – September 2, 2012, exploring the neuroscience of resilience and renewal, based on the book Bouncing Back which will be finished in July (!!!), published next spring.

There is a natural and inviolable tendency in things to bloom into whatever they truly are in the core of their being. All we have to do is align ourselves with what wants to happen naturally and put in the effort that is our part in helping it happen.– David Richo

The weekend is full of experiential exercises and brain-savvy resources that teach you how to cope with the dilemmas and disasters of everyday life and restore vitality and life balance.

People have a fundamental need for transformation. We are wired for growth and healing, and we’re wired for self-righting and resuming impeded growth. We have a need for the expansion and liberation of the self, the letting down of defensive barriers, and the dismantling of the false self. [We stretch] toward maximal vitality, authenticity, and genuine contact. In the process of radical change we become more ourselves than ever before, and recognize ourselves to be so.– Diana Fosha

Esalen is a spectacularly beautiful retreat center on the Big Sur coastline of California. Mineral baths, organic meals, yoga, dance, meditation, massage.

To exist is to change; to change is to mature; to mature is to go on creating one’s self endlessly.– Henri Bergson

Registration is open at the Esalen website. I would love to meet you there.

5-14-12 Weekly Quotes: Curiosity

I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.– Eleanor Roosevelt

Millions saw the apply fall, but Newton asked why.– Bernard Baruch

Curiosity has its own reason for existing. The important thing is not to stop questioning. I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.– Albert Einstein

Only the curious will learn and only the resolute will overcome the obstacles to learning. The quest quotient has always excited me more than the intelligence quotient.– Eugene S. Wilson

Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind.– Samuel Johnson

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.– Voltaire

I keep six honest serving-men,
They taught me all I knew;
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.– Rudyard Kipling

Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.– William Arthur Ward

I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way.– Franklin P. Adams

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.– Dorothy Parker

5-21-12 Weekly Quotes: Adversity

The art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than in growing with them.– Bernard M. Baruch

The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise, and thinking that having problems is a problem.– Theodore Rubin

Man performs and engenders so much more than he can or should have to bear. That’s how he finds that he can bear anything.– William Faulkner

The world is full of suffering; it is also full of overcoming.– Helen Keller

The difficulties of life are intended to make us better, not bitter.– Author Unknown

The turning point in the process of growing up is when you discover the core of strength within you that survives all hurt.– Max Lerner

If I had a formula for bypassing trouble, I would not pass it round. Trouble creates a capacity to handle it. I don’t embrace trouble; that’s as bad as treating it as an enemy. But I do say meet it as a friend, for you’ll see a lot of it and had better be on speaking terms with it.– Oliver Wendell Holmes

Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.– Arthur Golden

That some good can be derived from every event is a better proposition than that everything happens for the best, which it assuredly does not.– James K. Feibleman

When life takes the wind out of your sails, it is to test you at the oars.– Robert Brault

The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man without trials.– Confucius

The brook would lose its song if you removed the rocks.– Fred Beck

I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.– Mother Teresa

I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders.– Jewish proverb

Happy is the man who can endure the highest and lowest fortune. He who has endured such vicissitudes with equanimity has deprived misfortune of its power.– Seneca

5-28-12 Weekly Quotes: Memorial Day – War and Peace

One is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing; that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one.– Agatha Christie

Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount.– Omar N. Bradley

The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations.– David Friedman

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.– Dwight D. Eisenhower

I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war.– Franklin Delano Roosevelt

War does not determine who is right – only who is left.”– Bertrand Russell

We tend to think the problem is human beings have this natural tendency to kill, and yet in the middle of World War II, “good war,” as it were, the US army was astonished to learn that at least three out of every four riflemen who were trained to kill and commanded to kill, could not bring themselves to pull the trigger when they could see the person they were ordered to kill. And that inner resistance to violence is a well kept secret.– William Ury

Sometime they’ll give a war and nobody will come.”– Carl Sandburg

War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.”– Thomas Mann

There never was a good war or a bad peace.– Benjamin Franklin

I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.”– Dwight David Eisenhower

True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.– Martin Luther King., Jr.

Peace is not the absence of war; it is a virtue; a state of mind; a disposition for benevolence; confidence; and justice.– Spinoza

Peace, in the sense of the absence of war, is of little value to someone who is dying of hunger or cold. It will not remove the pain of torture inflicted on a prisoner of conscience. It does not comfort those who have lost their loved ones in floods caused by senseless deforestation in a neighboring country.

Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where the people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free.– HH the Dalai Lama

Peace is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous.– George Bernard Shaw

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.– Mother Teresa

If there is light in the soul,
There will be beauty in the person.
If there is beauty in the person,
There will be harmony in the house.
If there is harmony in the house,
There will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation,
There will be peace in the world.– Chinese proverb

6-4-12 Weekly Quotes: Impossibilities

It always seems impossible until it is done.– Nelson Mandela

Writing a book on the neuroscience of resilience is small potatoes compared to the resilience needed in Nelson Mandela’s long struggle to end apartheid in South Africa.

But I am sending a 350 page manuscript tomorrow to New World Library, publisher of my Bouncing Back: Re-Wiring Your Brain for Resilience. I’ve had to learn a lot about resilience myself during this process, and am grateful.

I am always doing that which I cannot to, in order that I may learn how to do it.– Pablo Picasso

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.– Eleanor Roosevelt

What we see as risk and foolhardiness on the outside, can seem more like constant cohesive drive on the inside that holds to priorities that cannot be discerned by others, because they reside in far too private a chamber of personal experience to be shared easily. To dare everything is not necessarily trouble, but often the opposite. To have faith in a foundation you have discovered in life and which, though it is difficult to describe even to yourself, you refuse to relinquish.– David Whyte

By perseverance the snail reached the ark.– Charles Spurgeon

6-11-12 Weekly Quotes: “It doesn’t interest me…”

It doesn’t interest me if there is one God
or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel
abandoned.
If you know despair or can see it in others.
I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need
to change you. If you can look back
with firm eyes
saying this is where I stand. I want to know
if you know
how to melt into that fierce heat of living
falling toward
the center of your longing.
I want to know
if you are willing
to live, day by day, with the consequence of love
and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.

I have heard, in that fierce embrace, even
The gods speak of God.

– David Whyte, Self Portrait
Fire in the Earth

[written in a poetry workshop given by David Whyte:]

THE INVITATION

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for,
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love,
for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring in your moon…
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow.
If you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have you become shriveled
and closed from fear of further pain
I want to know if you can sit with pain; mine or your own,
without moving to hide it, fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy; mine or your own,
If you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy
fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic,
or to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself;
if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul;
if you can be faithless and therefore be trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty,
even when it’s not pretty, every day,
and if your can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine,
and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“YES!”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair,
weary and bruised to the bone,
and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you are, or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself,
and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

– Oriah Mountain Dreamer

If you followed your own “It doesn’t interest me,” where would it lead you?

6-18-12 Weekly Quotes: Graduation

I’ve found the message of this story meaningful for a long time. A timely reminder as people all over the country are graduating into new lives and careers:

During my second year of nursing school our professor gave us a quiz. I breezed through the questions until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” Surely this was a joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before the class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our grade. “Absolutely,” the professor said. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello.” I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.– Joann C. Jones

6-25-12 Weekly Quotes: Nearing the End of the Journey

[The completed book Bouncing Back will be turned in to the publisher a week from today. As I near the end of one exhausting/exhilarating process, new winds of change are blowing already. David Whyte’s poem from his new book Pilgrim speaks of arrival and the next calling. Tagore knew the same 100 hundred years ago.]

The road seen, then not seen, the hillside
hiding then revealing the way you should take,
the road dropping away from you as if leaving you
to walk on thin air, then catching you, holding you up,
when you thought you would fall,
and the way forward always in the end
the way that you followed, the way that carried you
into your future, that brought you to this place,
no matter that it sometimes took your promise from you,
no matter that it had to break your heart along the way:
the sense of having walked from far inside yourself
out into the revelation, to have risked yourself
for something that seemed to stand both inside you
and far beyond you, that called you back
to the only road in the end you could follow, walking
as you did, in your rags of love and speaking in the voice
that by night became a prayer for safe arrival,
so that one day you realized that what you wanted
had already happened long ago and in the dwelling place
you had lived in before you began,
and the every step along the way, you had carried
the heart and the mind and the promise
that first set you off and drew you on and that you were
more marvelous in your simple wish to find a way
than the gilded roofs of any destination you could reach:
as if, all along, you had thought the end point might be a city
with golden towers, and cheering crowds,
and turning the corner at what you thought was the end
of the road, you found just simple reflection,
and clear revelation beneath the face looking back
and beneath it another invitation, all in one glimpse:
like the person and a place you had sought forever,
like a broad field of freedom that beckoned you beyond;
like another life, and the road still stretching on.
– David Whyte, Pilgrim

I thought that my voyage had come to its end
at the last limit of my power,
that the path before me was closed,
that provisions were exhausted
and the time come to take shelter
in a silent obscurity.

But I find that thy will knows no end in me.
And when old words die out on the tongue,
new melodies break forth from the heart;
and where the old tracks are lost,
new country is revealed with its wonders.
– Rabindranth Tagore, Gitanjali

7-2-12 Weekly Quotes: Ode to Joy

[More than a year ago, before the book contract, before the writing of Bouncing Back, I had put on the calendar hearing the San Francisco Symphony perform Beethoven’s 9th Symphony last Friday. The synchronicity of hearing the finale’s Ode to Joy three days before the final, final deadline to turn Bouncing Back into the publisher became a great incentive as I neared the finish line. The book is in; the clean-up after has begun. My body is beginning to relax from months of diligence and focus. I am savoring deep joy again.]

What I know for sure is that you feel real joy in direct proportion to how connected you are to living your truth. Joy is a sustained sense of well-being and internal peace – a connection to what matters.– Oprah Winfrey

The closer you come to your core, the greater is your joy.– Torkom Saraydarian

Always remember, joy is not incidental to the spiritual quest. It is vital.– Rebbe Nachman

If you are not living in joy, you are out of integrity with your soul.– Michael Bernard Beckwith

Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow.– Helen Keller

Now and then it is good to pause in our pursuit of joy and just be joyful.– Appollinaire

7-9-12 Weekly Quotes: Quotes from Bouncing Backr

[I turned in the manuscript for Bouncing Back last Monday. I’ve spent the last week researching references, including citations for the many quotations in the book. The research has led to some delightful discoveries.

An example: Grace Hopper, who said, “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for,” was a rear-admiral in the U.S. Navy. She taught mathematics at Vassar College from 1930 to 1943, then became the “grandmother of the computer age,” working on the first U.S. computer, the Mark I. Grace was a key player for another 40 years, developing the computer technology that is now so much a part of our lives, working on the UNIVAC computer and the COBOL programming language, among other projects.

She coined the term “bug” to refer to glitches in the hardware. The first bug was actually a moth that flew through an open window and into one of the Mark II’s relays, temporarily shutting down the system. Hopper and her team had to “de-bug” the system. The remains of the moth can be seen in the logbook at the Naval Surface Weapons Center.

This posting is a compilation of some of my other favorite quotes from the book. You may recognize some from previous e-postings; may they en-courage-your resilience.]

I’m no longer afraid of storms, for I’m learning to sail my ship.– Louise May Alcott

We all accept that no one controls the weather. Good sailors learn to read it carefully and respect its power. They will avoid storms if possible, but then caught in one, they know when to take down the sails, batten down the hatches, drop anchor and ride things out, controlling what is controllable and letting go of the rest. Training, practice, and a lot of firsthand experience in all sorts of weather are required to develop such skills so that they work for you when you need them. Developing skill in facing and effectively handling the various “weather conditions” in your life is what we mean by the art of conscious living.– Jon Kabat-Zinn

The moment we cease to hold each other, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.– James Baldwin

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.– Lao Tzu

Love guards the heart from the abyss.– Mozart

Love makes your soul crawl out of its hiding place.– Zora Neale Hurston

At times our own light goes out and is re-kindled by the spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.– Albert Schweitzer

People will forget what you said; people will forget what you did. People will never forget how you made them feel.– Maya Angelou

I am larger and better than I thought,
I did not think I held so much goodness.– Walt Whitman

There is a natural and inviolable tendency in things to bloom into whatever they truly are in the core of their being. All we have to do is align ourselves with what wants to happen naturally and put in the effort that is our part in helping it happen.– David Richo

Mastering the art of resilience does much more than restore you to who you once thought you were. Rather, you emerge from the experience transformed into a truer expression of who you were really meant to be.– Carol Orsborn

Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it’s not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.– Barack Obama

The difference between try and triumph is a little “umph.”– Author Unknown

Yes, risk-taking is inherently failure-prone. Otherwise, It would be called sure thing-taking.– Tim McMahon

Failure to change is not fatal, but failure to change might be.– John Wooden

Success is not final; failure is not fatal. Success is moving from one failure to another without loss of enthusiasm. It is the courage to continue that counts.– Winston Churchill

All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming.– Helen Keller

In every community there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart there is the power to do it.– Marianne Williamson

Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.– John Wesley

7-16-12 Weekly Quotes: Emptying Out

[I plan to resume posting original e-newsletters again next Monday. In the transition from this year-long process of writing a book to the unfolding of the next phase, I’m treasuring the emptying out, clearing space in my mind, in my home, in my schedule. Resting in being rather than doing. Another way of saying that:]

We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.– Tao Te Ching,
Trans. Stephen Mitchell

7-30-12 Weekly Quotes: Transitions

To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.– Henri Bergson

Change and growth take place when a person has risked himself and dares to become involved with experimenting with his own life.– Herbert Otto

Wanderer, your footsteps are
the road, and nothing more;
wanderer, there is no road,
the road is made by walking.
By walking one makes the road,
and upon glancing behind
one sees the path
that never will be trod again.
Wanderer, there is no road-
Only wakes upon the sea.-Antonio Machado

Any transition serious enough to alter your definition of self will require not just small adjustments in your way of living and thinking but a full-on metamorphosis.– Martha Beck

Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.– Anais Nin

Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.– John Wooden

Want the change…

What locks itself in sameness has congealed.
Is it safer to be gray and numb?
What turns hard becomes rigid
and is easily shattered.

Pour yourself out like a fountain.
Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking
finishes often at the start, and, with ending, begins.– Ranier Maria Rilke,
Sonnets to Orpheus XII
translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows

You may wonder: How can I leave it all behind if I am just coming back to it? How can I make a new beginning if I simply return to the old? The answer lies in the return. You will not come back to the same old thing. What you return to has changed because you have changed. Your perceptions will be altered. You will not incorporate into the same body, status, or world you left behind. The river has been flowing while you were gone. Now it does not look like the same river.– Steven Foster

May my life flow like a river, ever surprised by its own unfolding.– John O’Donohue

So long as a person is capable of self-renewal, they are a living being.– Henri-Frederic Amiel

We know what we are, but know not what we may be.– William Shakespeare

The most important thing to remember is this: To be ready at any moment to give up what you are for what you might become.– W.E.B Dubois

Read the book of your life which has
been given you. A voice comes to
your soul saying,

Lift your foot;
cross over; move into the emptiness
of question and answer and question.– Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it. If change is the essence of existence one would have thought it only sensible to make it the premise of our philosophy.– W. Somerset Maugham

Forget
Forget the suffering
You caused others.
Forget the suffering
Others caused you.
The waters run and run,
Springs sparkle and are done,
You walk the earth you are forgetting.

Sometimes you hear a distant refrain.
What does it mean, you ask, who is singing?
A childlike sun grows warm.
A grandson and a great-grandson are born.
You are led by the hand once again.

The names of the rivers remain with you.
How endless those rivers seem!
Your fields lie fallow,
The city towers are not as they were.
You stand at the threshold mute.– Czeslaw Milosz
(translation by Robert Hass)

8-6-12 Weekly Quotes: Truth and Error

My first ever essay in these posts preceding the weekly e-quotes. Jonah Lehrer, author of Imagine: How Creativity Works (see May 2012 e-newsletter) was fired as a writer for the New Yorker last week after the discovery of his fabrication of quotes by Bob Dylan in Imagine.

Heartache for me and many others that such a brilliant and creative thinker would, indeed, be a flawed human being and take such a tumble. Rather like the Greek myth of Icarus, whose father gave him a pair of wings of feathers adhered to a wooden frame with wax. The father, Daedalus, warned Icarus that flying too near the sun would cause the wax to melt. But Icarus became ecstatic with the ability to fly and forgot his father’s warning. The feathers came loose and Icarus plunged to his death in the sea.

The news of Lehrer’s fall broke a few days after I had seen the play All the Way at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. A provocative look at Lyndon Baines Johnson and the complexity of a “president by accident” who, by all accounts, cared deeply about empowering the poor and the disenfranchised, yet was ruthless in his political scheming to bring his ideals to fruition. LBJ sweet-talked, strong-armed, threatened and punished friend and foe alike to create the congressional coalitions that resulted in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Medicare, the War on Poverty, etc.

In light of the swift and severe punishment of Lehrer’s transgressions, what stands out in my memory from the play now is the firing of Johnson’s hard-working and loyal aide Walter Jenkins. In the play, LBJ seemed to embrace Jenkins almost like a beloved son. But when Jenkins was caught in a homosexual liaison, Johnson not only fired him but had him quickly placed in a mental hospital to avoid any further embarrassment to the presidency.

Truthfulness and integrity are the foundations of our free press. Those values were deeply ingrained in my own early training as a journalist at Northwestern University. In the evolution of my values since then, I’ve come to focus on the root meaning of integrity – the practice of wholeness. Not getting mired in right v. wrong of the facts, but grasping the whole picture of larger than life events like a Johnson presidency or 9/11 or our government’s lack of response to Katrina or the lack of integrity that led to the financial collapse of 2008, where issues of integrity are complex on all sides.

In navigating the complexities of human society and the human soul, I’ve come to add to practices of integrity and truthfulness, practices of understanding, compassion and forgiveness. As I wrote in my first-ever letter to the editor of the New York Times: “Jesus asked the righteous people who brought to him a woman caught in adultery, ‘Ye who are without sin shall cast the first stone.’ And they all went home chagrined.”

Lehrer is a creative thinker and writer; we need more of that kind of courage and risk-taking in our society, and less of people jumping on the bandwagon of a vendetta to destroy the career of someone who can learn a hard lesson and contribute much.

Love truth, and pardon error.– Voltaire

Knowledge is based not upon truth alone but upon error also.– Carl G. Jung

The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.– Oscar Wilde

Truth is not only violated by falsehood; it may be equally outraged by silence.– Henri-Frederic Amiel

Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of that is the beginning of wisdom.– Theordore Rubin

We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success. We often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never make a mistake never made a discovery.– Samuel Smiles

A life spent making mistakes in not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing.– George Bernard Shaw

Never does the human soul appear so strong as when it foregoes revenge, and dares forgive an injury.– E.H. Chapin

Out beyond right and wrong, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.– Rumi

8-13-12 Weekly Quotes: Resistance and Protest

[I just saw the film Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, a brilliant documentary of China’s most celebrated contemporary artist – sculptor, photographer, filmmaker – and its most outspoken domestic critic. [http://www.cafilm.org/rfc/films/1737.html] ArtReview calls Ai Weiwei the most powerful artist in the world; Time named him a runner-up for 2011 Person of the Year.

The film documents Ai Weiwei’s challenge of the Chinese government’s denial of its culpability in the deaths of 5,000 students when shoddy “tofu” construction materials caused public schools to collapse in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. And his protests of the imprisonment of hundreds of activists, artists and intellectuals, including Liu Xiaobo who was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize while still imprisoned by the Chinese authorities for inciting subversion of the state. When prohibited by the government from using other media, Ai Weiwei organized international protests by tweeting on twitter. A brilliant portrayal of the courage and perseverance it takes to be resilient in the face of dishonesty and repression.]

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.– Elie Wiesel

A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.– Edward Abbey

You just need to be a flea against injustice. Enough committed fleas biting strategically can make even the biggest dog uncomfortable and transform even the biggest nation.– Marian Wright Edelman

We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.– Elie Wiesel

To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.– Abraham Lincoln

Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.– Mahatma Gandhi

If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity.– Albert Einstein

Who can protest an injustice, but does not, is an accomplice to the act– The Talmud

Urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest. I will not equivocate. I will not excuse. I will not retreat a single inch. And I will be heard.– William Lloyd Garrison

Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth– William Faulkner

It hurts to care; the courage to care is the profoundest courage there is.– Julia Butterfly Hill

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.– Edmund Burke

If one is forever cautious, can one remain a human being?– Aleksander Solzhenitsyn

To dare – is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare – is to lose oneself.– Soren Kierkegaard

He who risks and fails can be forgiven. He who never risks and never fails is a failure in his whole being.– Paul Tillich

It is only by risking our person from one hour to another that we live at all.– William James

8-27-12 Weekly Quotes: Learning Never Ends

[I just watched the film The First Grader, the compelling true story of Kimani Ng’ang’a Maruge, who persevered in his determination to begin an education long denied him under British colonial rule in Kenya and years of imprisonment for fighting that colonial rule. At 84, he began his education under Kenya’s promise to provide free education for every citizen; he holds the Guinness world record for the oldest person to start primary school. He says in the film, “I’ll learn until there’s soil in my ears.”

The film deepened my interest in Daraja Academy, a privately-supported high school for girls in Kenya, because it’s true: “Educated girls can transcend poverty and change the world.”

As my two god-children, Elijah and Emma, return to middle school this week and next, I’m amazed at the power of education to open minds and grow lives.]

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.– John Dewey

Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.– G. K. Chesterton

The simplest schoolboy is now familiar with truths for which Archimedes would have given his life.– Ernest Renan

Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.– Malcolm Forbes

If someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn’t need motivation to speed him up. What he needs is education to turn him around.– Jim Rohn

It is in fact a part of the function of education to help us escape, not from our own time – for we are bound by that – but from the intellectual and emotional limitations of our time.– T.S. Eliot

Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.– Robert Frost

Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.– Albert Einstein

Why should society feel responsible only for the education of children, and not for the education of all adults of every age?– Erich Fromm

You don’t need fancy highbrow traditions or money to really learn. You just need people with the desire to better themselves.– Adam Cooper and Boll Collage

An educational system isn’t worth a great deal if it teaches young people how to make a living but doesn’t teach them how to make a life.– Author Unknown

Education is not filling a pail but the lighting of a fire.– William Butler Yeats

Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve.– Roger Lewin

The great aim of education is not knowledge but action.– Herbert Spencer

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.– Derek Bok

It’ll be a great day when education gets all the money it wants and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy bombers.– author unknown

9-3-12 Weekly Quotes: Meaningful and Purposeful Work

[for Labor Day]

It’s more important to know that words don’t move mountains. Work, exacting work, moves mountains.– Danilo Dolci

Never work just for money or for power. They won’t save your soul or help you sleep at night.– Marian Wright Edelman

Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. And it will leave you unfulfilled.– Barack Obama

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.– Winston Churchill

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.– Oriah Mountain Dreamer,
The Invitation (excerpt)

Make your work to be in keeping with your purpose.– Leonardo da Vinci

The purpose of a life is a life of purpose.– Robert Byrne

Those who have failed to work toward the truth have missed the purpose of living.– Buddha

One needs something to believe in, something for which one can have whole-hearted enthusiasm. One needs to feel that one’s life has meaning, that one is needed in this world.– Hannah Senesh

The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.– David Viscott

What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.– Viktor Frankl

Nothing on earth is more gladdening than knowing we must roll up our sleeves and move back the boundaries of the humanly possible once more.– Annie Dillard

In every community there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart there is the power to do it.– Marianne Williamson

I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all, to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.– Leo Rosten

This is the true joy of life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.– George Bernard Shaw

Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.– Theodore Roosevelt

To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth.– Pearl S. Buck

Many people have a wrong idea of what constitutes happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.– Helen Keller

That is happiness; to be dissolved into something completely great.– Willa Cather

Purpose is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s needs.– Frederick Buechner

The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.– Nelson Henderson

I long to accomplish great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.– Helen Keller

We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences, that we often cannot foresee.– Marian Wright Edelman

In a world where there is so much to be done, I feel strongly impressed that there must be something for me to do.– Dorothea Dix

I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.– Edward Everett Hale

Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.– John Wesley

Every noble work is at first impossible.– Thomas Carlyle

Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose-not the one you began with perhaps, but one you’ll be glad to remember.– Anne Sullivan

It is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly. Do not mistake activity for achievement.– Mabel Newcomber

Stop allowing your day-to-day life to be clouded by busy nothingness.– Steve Maraboli

It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?– Henry David Thoreau

There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.– Peter Drucker

A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.– Albert Einstein

Don’t waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it.– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it’s not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.-Barack Obama

But there is suffering in life, and there are defeats. No one can avoid them. But it’s better to lose some of the battles in the struggles for your dreams than to be defeated without ever knowing what you’re fighting for.– Paulo Coelho

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.– The Talmud

What we need is what the ancient Israelites called hochma – the science of the heart…the capacity to see, to feel, and then to act as if the future depended on you. Believe me, it does.– Bill Moyers

Live your beliefs, and you can turn the world around.– Henry David Thoreau

Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.– Saint Augustine

9-10-12 Weekly Quotes: Miracles

[the poem below was a spontaneous composition by Peter Fettis, a 3rd year environmental studies major at U.C. Santa Barbara and a participant in my Neuroscience of Resilience and Renewal workshop at Esalen last weekend. Posted here with his permission, Peter’s musings prompted the further offerings on miracles – the extraordinary in the everyday.]

“Mental Miracles”

Feel yourself through space and time
Heal the wealth that is your mind
The energy of this place I find
Is peace and trust, I can unwind.

Connected by something we cannot see
We are one with the earth and sea
Rocketing through space, I climb a tree
Found a pocket of grace, my mind is free.

Resilience is brilliance, I bounce back
The universe has trillions of secrets to track
Affection and reflection, wisdom I can stack
Eternity from now, just ancient artifacts

Please, make the most of here and now
You don’t know when and you don’t know how.

*   *   *   *   *

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.– Albert Einstein

According to Vedanta, there are only two symptoms of enlightenment, just two indications that a transformation is taking place within you toward a higher consciousness. The first symptom is that you stop worrying. Things don’t bother you anymore. You become light-hearted and full of joy. The second symptom is that you encounter more and more meaningful coincidences in your life, more and more synchronicities. And this accelerates to the point where you actually experience the miraculous.– Deepak Chopra

Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only to what we know about nature.– Saint Augustine

I think miracles exist in part as gifts and in part as clues that there is something beyond the flat world we see.– Peggy Noonan

The miracles of nature do not seem miracles because they are so common. If no one had ever seen a flower, even a dandelion would be the most startling event in the world.– Unknown

We can see a thousand miracles around us every day. What is more supernatural than an egg yolk turning into a chicken?– Rutherford Platt

Everything is a miracle. It is a miracle that one does not dissolve in one’s bath like a lump of sugar.– Pablo Picasso

We are the miracle of force and matter making itself over into imagination and will. Incredible. The Life Force experimenting with forms. You for one. Me for another. The Universe has shouted itself alive. We are one of the shouts.– Ray Bradbury

Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each others’ eyes for an instant?– Henry David Thoreau

Deep listening is miraculous for both listener and speaker. When someone receives us with open-hearted, non-judging, intensely interested listening, our spirits expand.

The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him.– Pablo Casals

Forgiveness is the answer to the child’s dream of a miracle by which what is broken is made whole again, and is soiled is made clean again.– Dag Hammerskjold

Suffering is everywhere. Don’t ever think it isn’t. So are miracles. Don’t ever think they aren’t.– Unknown

9-17-12 Weekly Quotes: Mother Theresa

[I came upon the first quote from Mother Teresa below in A Year of Living Mindfully: 52 Quotes and Weekly Mindfulness Practices, a wonderful collection of quotes chosen by mindfulness teachers who have presented at FACES conferences on Mindfulness and Psychotherapy. (I will be presenting at the October 2012 conference in Seattle and the February 2013 conference in San Diego.) The teachers wrote a brief commentary about the quote they chose, and then suggested a mindfulness practice to cultivate the wisdom the quote was pointing to. A rich treasure, available through www.facesconferences.com. I was inspired to research other quotes by this remarkable nun whose compassionate service to the poor in India became a modern-day legend. May they guide and inspire.]

The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis but rather the feeling of not belonging.

There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.

Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.

People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I do know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, How many good things have you done in your life? Rather he will ask, How much love did you put into what you did?

In the West we have a tendency to be profit-oriented, where everything is measured according to the results and we get caught up in being more and more active to generate results. In the East – especially in India – I find that people are more content to just be, to just sit around under a banyan tree for half a day chatting to each other. We Westerners would probably call that wasting time. But there is value to it. Being with someone, listening without a clock and without anticipation of results, teaches us about love. The success of love is in the loving – it is not in the result of loving.

It is not the magnitude of our actions but the amount of love that is put into them that matters.

10-1-12 Weekly Quotes: Sharing a Meal with Friends

[after a scrumptious mutual birthday dinner with friends]

The shared meal elevates eating from a mechanical process of fueling the body to a ritual of family and community, from the mere animal biology to an act of culture.– Michael Pollan

Dining with one’s friends and beloved family is certainly one of life’s primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal.– Julia Child

We should look for someone to eat and drink with, before looking for something to eat and drink.– Epicurus

A small garden, figs, a little cheese, and along with this, three or four good friends – such was luxury to Epicurus.– Freiedrich Nietzsche

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.– M.F.K. Fisher

Too few of us, perhaps, feel that breaking of bread, the sharing of salt, the common dipping into one bowl, mean more than satisfaction of a need. We make such primal things as casual as tunes heard over a radio, forgetting the mystery and strength in both.– M.F. K. Fisher

All sorrows are less with bread.– Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

It’s the company, not the cooking, that makes a meal.– Kirby Larson

Cooking, we know, has a way of cutting through things, and to things, which have nothing to do with the kitchen. This is why it matters.– Nigella Lawson

Food is so primal, so essential a part of our lives, often the mere sharing of recipes with strangers turns them into good friends.– Jasmine Heiler

Preserve and treat food as you would your body, remembering that in time food will be your body.– B.W. Richardson

The body becomes what the foods are, as the spirit becomes what the thoughts are.– Kemetic Saying

We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.– Adelle Davis

You are what what you eat eats.– Michael Pollan

Did you ever stop to taste a carrot? Not just eat it, but taste it? You can’t taste the beauty and energy of the earth in a Twinkie.– Astrid Alauda

It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a home-grown tomato.– Lewis Grizzard

Shipping is a terrible thing to do to vegetables. They probably get jet-lagged, just like people.– Elizabeth Berry

If we’re not willing to settle for junk living we certainly shouldn’t settle for junk food.– Sally Edwards

How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenix?– Julia Child

As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists.– Joan Gussow

When eating fruit, remember who planted the tree; when drinking water, remember who dug the well.– Vietnamese proverb

If you wish to make an apple pie truly from scratch, you must first invent the universe.– Carl Sagan

When I add a spoon of honey to my tea, I give thanks to a dozen bees for the work of their whole lives. When my finger sweeps the final drop of sweetness from the jar, I know we’ve enjoyed the nectar from over a million flowers. This is what honey is: the souls of flowers, a good to please the gods. Honeyeaters know that to have a joyful heart one must live life like the bees, sipping the sweet nectar from each moment as it blooms. And Life, like the world of honey, has its enchantments and its stings.– Ingrid Goff-Maidoff, The Honey Sutras

10-8-12 Weekly Quotes: Seeing Clearly…Seeing At All

[October 11 is World Sight Day, focusing on preventing and curing blindness for millions of people, especially in developing countries, around the world. A mission dear to my heart: my grandmother became blind from glaucoma when I was two years old. I grew up learning to “read” Braille with my eyes as my grandmother and I sat together on the living room couch, she reading Braille with her fingers. I learned to set aside the sharp knives as we did the dishes together, and learned how she kept the $1’s, $5’s, and $10’s in separate compartments in her wallet so she could know how much money she was handing to the store clerk.

After my grandmother died, I began contributing to the work of SEVA, the non-profit organization that trains local doctors in under-developed countries to perform cataract surgery, saving the eyesight of more than 3 million poor people to date. [www.seva.org] I’ve also become a passionate practitioner of the mindfulness practices that allow us to see clearly, both with our senses and with our hearts and minds. May the wisdom offered below spark new ways of seeing “seeing.”]

The whole of life lies in the verb seeing.– Teilhard de Chardin

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.– Antoine de Saint Exupery

Vision: the art of seeing the invisible.– Jonathan Swift

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.– Edgar Degas

The question is not what you look at, but what you see.– Henry David Thoreau

We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.– Anais Nin

What we see depends mainly on what we look for.– John Lubbock

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.– Carl G. Jung

Close both eyes to see with the other eye.– Rumi

To see clearly is poetry, prophecy, and religion—all in one.– John Ruskin

If we could see a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.– Buddha

The eyes see only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.– Henri Louis Bergson

You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.– Mark Twain

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting – a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.– Camille Pissarro

Where there is great love there are always miracles. Miracles rest not so much upon faces or voices or healing power coming to us from far off, but on our perceptions being made finer, so that for a moment our eyes can see and our ears can hear what is there about us always.– Willa Cather

Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God: But only he who sees takes off his shoes.– Elizabeth Barrett Browning

It is the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive.– C. W. Leadbeater

Learn to see, and then you’ll know that there is no end to the new worlds of our vision.– Carlos Casteneda

If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.– William Blake

A poor life this if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.– William Henry Davies

To look at any thing,
If you would know that thing,
You must look at it long:
To look at this green and say,
“I have seen spring in these
Woods,” will not do – you must
Be the thing you see:
You must be the dark snakes of
Stems and ferny plumes of leaves,
You must enter in
To the small silences between
The leaves,
You must take your time
And touch the very peace
They issue from.– John Moffitt

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.– William Blake

10-15-12 Weekly Quotes: Walk Down Another Street

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost…I am helpless
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I’m in the same place
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

III

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in…it’s a habit
My eyes are open,
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

IV

I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

V

I walk down another street.-Portia Nelson

10-22-12 Weekly Quotes: Memory

[having crossed a threshold where more and more present moments seem to be becoming “senior” moments…]

A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen.– Edward de Bono

Life is all memory, except for the one present moment that goes by you so quickly you hardly catch it going.– Tennessee Williams

The true art of memory is the art of attention.– Samuel Johnson

God gave us memories that we might have roses is December.– James M. Barrie

It is said that God gave us memory so we could have roses in winter. But it is also true that without memory we could not have self in any season. The more memories you have, the more “you” you have. That is why, as Swift said, No wise man ever wished to be younger.– George Will

Every man’s memory is his private literature.– Aldous Huxley

And even if you were in some prison, the walls of which let none of the sounds of the world come to your senses – would you not then still have your childhood, that precious, kingly possession, that treasure-house of memories?– Rainer Maria Rilke

Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.– Saul Bellow

We each need to make peace with our own memories. We have all done things that make us flinch.– Lama Surya Das

You can fall ill with just a memory.– Paolo Giordano

We are able to find everything in our memory, which is like a dispensary or chemical laboratory in which chance steers our hand sometimes to a soothing drug and sometimes to a dangerous poison.– Marcel Proust

I’ve never tried to block out the memories of the past, even though some are painful. I don’t understand people who hide from their past. Everything you live through helps to make you the person you are now.– Sophia Loren

We cannot change our memories but we can change their meaning and the power they have over us.– David Seamands

Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.– Lewis B. Smedes

The best memory is that which forgets nothing but injuries. Write kindness in marble and write injuries in the dust.– French proverb

We do not remember days; we remember moments.– Cesare Pavese

Human memory is a marvelous but fallacious instrument. The memories which lie within us are not carved in stone; not only do they tend to become erased as the years go by, but often they change, or even increase by incorporating extraneous features.– Primo Levi

When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not.– Mark Twain

The light of memory, or rather the light that memory lends to things, is the palest light of all. I am not quite sure whether I am dreaming or remembering, whether I have lived my life or dreamed it. Just as dreams do, memory makes me profoundly aware of the unreality, the evanescence of the world, and fleeting images in the moving water.– Eugene Ionesco

It is singular how soon we lose the impression of what ceases to be constantly before us. There is little distinct left without an effort of memory, then indeed the lights are re-kindled for a moment. But who can be sure that imagination is not the torch-bearer?– Lord Byron

Some memories are realities, and are better than anything that can ever happen to one again.– Willa Cather

The charm, one might say the genius of memory, is that it is choosey, chancy, and temperamental. It rejects the edifying cathedral and indelibly photographs the small boy outside, chewing a hunk of melon in the dust.– Elizabeth Bowen

Memory is a complicated thing, a relative to truth, but not its twin.– Barbara Kingsolver

It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life.– P.D. James

Memory is the greatest of artists, and effaces from your mind what is unnecessary.– Maurice Baring

Not the power to remember, but its very opposite, the power to forget, is a necessary condition for our existence.– Sholem Asch

Each day brings its petty dust our soon-choked souls to fill, and we forget because we must, and not because we will.– Matthew Arnold

I cannot walk through the suburbs in the solitude of the night without thinking that the night pleases us because it suppresses idle details, just as our memory does.– Jorge Luis Borges

Why is our memory good enough to recall to the last detail things that have happened to us, yet not good enough to recall how often we have told them to the same person?– Francois de la Rochefoucauld

I always have trouble remembering three things: faces, names, and – I can’t remember what the third thing is.– Fred Allen

11-6-12 Weekly Quotes: Leadership

[on the eve of national elections, where so much rides on the results]

Lord, who can be trusted with power,
And who may act in your place?
Those with a passion for justice,
Who speak the truth from their hearts;
Who have let go of selfish interests
And grown beyond their lives;
Who see the wretched as their family
And the poor as their flesh and blood.
They alone are impartial
And worthy of the people’s trust.
Their compassion lights up the earth,
And their kindness endures forever.– Psalm 15 translated by Stephen Mitchell

For One Who Holds Power

May the gift of leadership awaken in you as a vocation,
Keep you mindful of the providence that calls you to serve.

As high over the mountains the eagle spreads it wings,
May your perspective be larger than the view from the foothills.

When the way is flat and dull in times of gray endurance,
May your imagination continue to evoke horizons.

When thirst burns in times of drought,
May you be blessed to find the wells.

May you have the wisdom to read time clearly
And know when the seed of change will flourish.

In your heart may there be a sanctuary
For the stillness where clarity is born.

May your work be infused with passion and creativity
And have the wisdom to balance compassion and challenge.

May your soul find the graciousness
To rise above the fester of small mediocrities.
May your power never become a shell
Wherein your heart would silently atrophy.
May you welcome your own vulnerability
As the ground where healing and truth join.

May integrity of soul be your first ideal,
The source that will guide and bless your work.– John O’Donohue

A great nation is like a great man:
When he makes a mistake, he realizes it.
Having realized it, he admits it.
Having admitted it, he corrects it.
He considers those who point out his faults
As his most benevolent teachers.
He things of his enemy
As the shadow that he himself casts.– excerpted from the Tao Te Ching,
Translated by Stephen Mitchell

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches it arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action –
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.– Rabindranath Tagore

11-12-12 Weekly Quotes: Writing: Gateway to Transformation II

[a re-post from 8-22-11. I’ve been surfing a sea of red ink – the copy edits of Bouncing Back. Thank you for your patience as I practice resilience.]

If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.
– Toni Morrison

I want to write books that unlock the traffic jam in everybody’s head.
– John Updike

Writers…fashioning nets to sustain and support the reader as he falls helplessly through the chaos of his own existence.
– Fay Weldon

I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.
– Richard Wright

Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.
– Ranier Maria Rilke

This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simply “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse.
– Ranier Maria Rilke

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.
– Isaac Asimov

Every word born of an inner necessity – writing must never be anything else.
– Etty Hillesum

No great art has ever been made without the artist having known danger. Surely all art is the result of one’s having been in danger, of having gone through an experience all the way to the end, where no one can go further.
– Ranier Maria Rilke

Our passions shape our books; repose writes them in the intervals.
– Marcel Proust

The most beautiful things are those that madness prompts and reason writes.
– Andre Gide

The good writing of any age has always been the product of someone’s neurosis. We’d have a might dull literature if all the writers that came along were a bunch of happy chuckleheads.
– William Styron

One ought only to write when one leaves a piece of one’s own flesh in the inkpot, each time one dips one’s pen.
– Leo Tolstoy

Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.
– Gene Fowler

There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.
– Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith

Writers are not just people who sit down and write. They hazard themselves. Every time you compose a book, your composition of yourself is at stake.
– E. L. Doctorow

Do not assume that he who seeks to comfort you now lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life may also have much sadness and difficulty, that remains far beyond yours. Were it otherwise, he would never have been able to find these words.
– Ranier Maria Rilke

A writer and nothing else: a man alone in a room with the English language, trying to get human feelings right.
– John K. Hutchens

A man will turn over half a library to make one book.
– Samuel Johnson

You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.
– Arthur Polotnik

The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.
– Norbet Platt

There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes.
– William Makepeace Thackeray

What no wife of writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he’s staring out of the window.
– Burton Rascoe

The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.
– Agatha Christie

Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say.
– Sharon O’Brien

The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say.
– Mark Twain

Sit down, and put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.
– Colette

He that uses many words for the explaining of any subject doth, like the cuttlefish, hide himself for the most part in his own ink.
– John Ray

The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof shit detector. This is the writer’s radar and all great writers have had it.
– Ernest Hemingway

The best style is the style you don’t notice. What is written should seem a happy accident.
– W. Somerset Maugham

When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.
– Enrique Jardiel Poncela

Easy reading is damn hard writing.
– Nathaniel Hawthorne

Hard writing makes easy reading.
– Wallace Stegner

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
– Anton Chekhov

Whether or not you write well, write bravely.
– Bill Stout

There is no royal path to good writing; and such paths as do exist do not lead through neat ciritical gardens, various as they are, but through the jungles of self, the world, and of craft. Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely necessary.
– Jessamyn West

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.
-Henry David Thoreau

Writing, I think, is not apart from living. Writing is a kind of double living. The writer experiences everything twice. Once in reality and once in that mirror which waits always before or behind.
– Catherine Drinker Brown

Words are but the vague shadows of the volumes we mean. Little audible links, they are, chaining together great inaudible feelings and purposes.
– Theodore Dreiser

Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression. The chasm is never completely bridged. We all have the conviction, perhaps illusory, that we have much more to say than appears on the paper.
– Isaac Bashevis Singer

The writer writes in order to teach himself, to understand himself, to satisfy himself; the publishing of his ideas, though it brings gratification, is a curious anticlimax.
– Alfred Kazin

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, as if they were locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live your questions now. Perhaps then, some day far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
– Ranier Maria Rilke

If any man wish to write in a clear style, let him be first clear in his thoughts; if any would write in a noble style, let him first possess a noble soul.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.
– William Wordsworth

For fun:

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.
– Mark Twain

Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
– author unknown

Do not put statements in the negative form.
And don’t start sentences with a conjunction.
If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
Never us a long word when a diminutive one will do.
Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
De-access euphemisms.
If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
Last, but not least, avoid clichés like the plague.
– William Safire, “Great Rules of Writing”

11-26-12 Weekly Quotes: Worry…and Wellness

Worry is a misuse of imagination.– Dan Zadra

Worry is a complete cycle of inefficient thought revolving about a pivot of fear.– Author Unknown

Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.– Arthur Somers Roche

Troubles are a lot like people – they grow bigger if you nurse them.– Author Unknown

Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.– Swedish Proverb

Love looks forward, hate looks back; anxiety has eyes all over its head.– Mignon McLaughlin

You can never worry your way to enlightenment.– Terri Guillemets

That the birds of worry and care fly over your head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent.– Chinese Proverb

Loneliness, insomnia, and change: the fear of these is even worse than the reality.– Mignon McLaughlin

There are more things, Lucilius, that frighten us than injure us, and we suffer more in imagination than in reality.– Seneca

He who fears he shall suffer, already suffers what he fears.– Michel de Montaigne

Grief has limits, whereas apprehension has none. For we grieve only for what we know has happened, but we fear all that possibly may happen.– Pliny the Younger

Some men storm imaginary Alps all their lives, and die in the foothills cursing difficulties which do not exist.– Edgar Watson Howe

How much pain they have cost us, the evils which never happened.– Thomas Jefferson

Some of your hurts you have cured,
And the sharpest you still have survived,
But what torments of grief you endured
From the evil which never arrived.– Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are people who are always anticipating trouble, and in this way they manage to enjoy many sorrows that never really happen to them.– Josh Billings

If I had my life to live over, I would perhaps have more actual troubles but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.– Don Herold

Let us be of good cheer, remembering that the misfortunes hardest to bear are those which will never happen.– James Russell Lowell

Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He’s going to be up all night anyway.– Mary C. Crowley

Do not be afraid of tomorrow, for God is already there.– Author Unknown

Only man clogs his happiness with care, destroying what is with thoughts of what may be.– John Dryden

If things go wrong, don’t go with them.– Roger Babson

Drag your thoughts away from your troubles…by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.– Mark Twain

The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.– Elbert Hubbard

If you treat every situation as a life and death matter, you’ll die a lot of times.– Dean Smith

For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe.– Author Unknown

Nerves and butterflies are fine – they’re a physical sign that you’re mentally ready and eager. You have to get the butterflies to fly in formation, that’s the trick.– Steve Bull

I highly recommend worrying. It is much more effective than dieting.– William Powell

A day of worry is more exhausting than a day of work.– John Lubbock

Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere.– Glenn Turner

I keep the telephone of my mind open to peace, harmony, health, love and abundance. Then, whenever doubt, anxiety or fear try to call me, they keep getting a busy signal – and soon they’ll forget my number.– Edith Armstrong

If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep.– Dale Carnegie

You can’t wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time.– Pat Schroeder

Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.– Leo Buscaglia

Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday.– Author Unknown

If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today.– E. Joseph Cossman

Never bear more than one kind of trouble at a time. Some people bear three – all they have had, all they have now, and all they expect to have.– Edward Everett Hale

We are, perhaps, uniquely among the earth’s creatures, the worrying animal. We worry away our lives.– Lewis Thomas

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.– Wendell Berry

12-3-12 Weekly Quotes: Winter Is Upon Us

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.– Andrew Wyeth

There is a privacy about winter which no other season gives you. In spring, summer and fall, people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.– Ruth Stout

Winter is the time of promise because there is so little to do – or because you can now and then permit yourself the luxury of thinking so.– Stanley Crawford

In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.– William Blake

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.– Edith Sitwell

Winter is the time of love and of taking the light within.– Terry Lynn Taylor

One kind word can warm three months of winter.– Japanese proverb

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant. If we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.– Anne Bradstreet

Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in winter. Who would think that those branches would turn green again and blossom, but we hope it, we know it.– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us, even in the leafless winter. I am thinking now of grief and getting past it. I feel my boots trying to leave the ground, I feel my heart pumping hard. I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable, beautiful, and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings.– Mary Oliver

12-10-12 Weekly Quotes: Giving of Gifts

[to keep perspective in this holiday season…]

If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give.– George MacDonald

It isn’t the size of the gift that matters, but the size of the heart that gives it.– Eileen Elias Freeman

You can’t wrap love in a box, but you can wrap a person in a hug.– Author Unknown

Every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.– Maya Angelou

A hug is a great gift – one size fits all, and it’s easy to exchange.– Author Unknown

Hugging has no unpleasant side effects and is all natural. There are no batteries to replace; it’s inflation-proof and non-fattening with no monthly payments. It’s non-taxable, non-polluting, and is, of course, fully refundable.– Author Unknown

If you’re angry at a loved one, hug that person. And mean it. You may not want to hug – which is all the more reason to do so. It’s hard to stay angry when someone shows they love you, and that’s precisely what happens when we hug each other.– Walther Anderson

I will not play at tug o’war
I’d rather play at hug o war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs…– Shel Silverstein

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you?’

We used to build civilizations. Now we build shopping malls.– Bill Bryson

The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a load of bread are three billion to one.– Erma Bombeck

He who covets more is evermore a slave.– Robert Herrick

The secret of happiness is to admire without desiring.– Francis H. Bradley

You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.– Vernon Howard

The gap in our economy is between what we have and what we think we ought to have – and that is a moral problem, not an economic one.– Paul Heyne

What we are is God’s gift to us. What we become is our gift to God.– Eleanor Powell

You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.– Kahlil Gibran

12-17-12 Weekly Quotes: Insomnia

[shared by someone in the Deepening Joy group; so fitting for these times, for any time.]

Insomnia

All over the world, people can’t sleep.
In different time zones, they are lying awake,
Bodies still, minds trudging along like child laborers.

They worry about bills. They worry
Whether the shoes they just bought
are really too small. One’s husband died,
her son left for college, and she doesn’t
know how to program the VCR.

Another was beating by her husband.
One is planning a getaway.
One holding stolen goods.

One’s on the plaid couch in ICU. His daughter,
it turned out, actually does have a brain tumor
even though the doctor said they’d do the MRI just
to rule it out. The woman on the other couch
is snoring – which is strangely soothing-
evidence that people do sleep.

Some are lying on Charisma sheets.
Some in hammocks. Some in jail. Some
under bridges. One is at the North Pole
studying the impact of pollution.

A man in Massachusetts thinks about a lover
he once had in Dar es Salaam and the jasmine
blossoms she strung along the shaft of a silver
pin, fastened in her hair at night. Coincidentally,
the lover, now in Rome, remembers
looking out the window over the sink
when she was washing dishes. He was reading
in a lawn chair and she thought how,
perhaps for the first time, she wasn’t lonely.

Some are too cold. Some
too hot. Some hungry. Some in pain.
Some are in hotels listening to people having sex
in the next room. Some are crying.
One the cat woke up
and now she’s worried about the rash
she noticed in the evening and wonders
if her daughter, who’s afraid to swim,
should be pushed.

Some get up. Others stay in bed.
They eat Oreo’s or drink wine – or both.
Many read. A few make intricate
Halloween costumes; a peacock
with eight real feathers in the tail.
Some check their e-mail. They try
sleep tapes, hypnosis, drugs.
And listen to their clocks tick, smartly
as women in high heels.

Those who can, cling to their mates,
an ear pressed to those neighboring lungs like a
stethoscope, hoping to catch a ride
on the steady sleep breath of the other, to be carried
like a seed on the body of the one who is able.

Right now, in Japan, dawn is coming
and everyone who’s been up all night
is relieved. They can stop trying.
In Guatemala, though, the insomniacs are just
getting started and have the whole
night ahead of them. It’s like a wave
at the baseball stadium, hands
around the world.

So here’s a prayer
for the wakeful, the souls who can’t rest:
As you lie with eyes
open or closed, may something
comfort you – a mockingbird, a breeze, the smell
of crushed mint, Chopin’s Nocturnes,
your child’s birth, a kiss,
or even me – in my chilly kitchen
with my coat over my nightgown – thinking of you.– Ellen Bass, Mules of Love

12-24-12 Weekly Quotes: Christmas from a Tree Elf’s Point of View

Was on a quest to find the perfect Xmas tree
a bushy, vital tree… smelling of pine;
a dwarf tree whose consciousness
contained the stories of Xmas trees
from every where and every time:
the folk tales, the fairy tales,
“Oh Tannenbaum!”
A tree that accepted
the personal sacrifice necessary
to gloriously hold the spirit space
where all the joys of Xmas
could gather round
“Fa la la la la…la la la la!”
Accepted being being cut down
and dragged thrugh the forest;
enjoyed being decorated
with strings of lights,
ornaments, and a star on top.
Felt gladness.
“Joy to the World!”
A tree proud to shelter
presents until Christmas morn;
to keep them safe from children who couldn’t wait;
a happy tree that feels a deep connection
to the blazing yule, to Santa covered wth soot,
to the reindeer’s hooves tapping on the roof.

I kept last year’s tree
until it was gray/green, dry and crackly;
’til the needles were dusty
and went rat-a-tat-tat when they fell.
I don’t think it remembered the forest…
still, it was with resistance
that I burned it in February,
(there were already buds on the trees,)
and I will burn this tree, too.
Did you know that wisps of smoke,
can be contained in small wooden boxes?
Soon I will have a forest of tree spirits,
hidden away, to decorate with memories.– True Heitz