Wednesday, November 30, 2016

America Ferrera Defies her Inner Critic

I began to have a real conversation with my mean, scared voice. I even began to understand her fear. She’d only wanted to save me from humiliation and failure. She was protecting me the best way she knew how, and I learned to appreciate that, even if I no longer required her services.
- America Ferrera


I didn’t just complete a triathlon. For five months, I showed up to defend myself against a scared and angry voice. In the end, I didn’t eradicate her. But I had transformed her.

With every step, stroke and pedal, I turned “No, I can’t” into “Yes, I can,” “I’m limited” into “Look what I’m capable of,” and “I’m weak” into “I am whole, healthy and strong.”

I finally got my answer to that question: Who do you think you are?

I am whoever I say I am. And I am a triathlete.

- America Ferrera

Article

Julius Lester

“To write and not tell the truth? That would be death for any writer. But more, it would be death to the imagination. And if the imagination dies, what would happen to the souls of children?”
― Julius Lester

“Perhaps one of the writer's tasks is to weave himself into others' pain.”
― Julius Lester, When Dad Killed Mom

“Faith is not something that one has; faith is something that one practices at the very moment in your life when you really don't believe anything, and you're in the worst kind of despair.”
― Julius Lester

“Just because you're born to someone, it doesn't mean you belong to them.”
― Julius Lester, Pharaoh's Daughter: A Novel of Ancient Egypt

Julius Lester: Our Lives are the Same Story

Dying ain't important. Everyone does that. What's important is how well you do your living.”
― Julius Lester

“There was an end to weeping. Mourning, however, ebbed and surged but never ceased flowing.”
― Julius Lester, The Autobiography of God

“I write because the lives of all of us are stories. If enough of those stories are told, then perhaps we will begin to see that our lives are the same story. The differences are merely in the details.”
― Julius Lester

Ram Dass

“We're all just walking each other home.”
― Ram Dass

“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”
― Ram Dass

“We're fascinated by the words--but where we meet is in the silence behind them.”
― Ram Dass

“It is important to expect nothing, to take every experience, including the negative ones, as merely steps on the path, and to proceed.”
― Ram Dass

“The most exquisite paradox… as soon as you give it all up, you can have it all. As long as you want power, you can't have it. The minute you don't want power, you'll have more than you ever dreamed possible.”
― Ram Dass

“I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion--and where it isn't, that's where my work lies.”
― Ram Dass

“The heart surrenders everything to the moment. The mind judges and holds back.”
― Ram Dass

“In most of our human relationships, we spend much of our time reassuring one another that our costumes of identity are on straight.”
― Ram Dass

“Be here now.”
― Ram Dass, Be Here Now

“Your problem is you are too busy holding on to your unworthiness.”
― Ram Dass

“As long as you have certain desires about how it ought to be you can't see how it is.”
― Ram Dass

“Treat everyone you meet like God in drag.”
― Ram Dass

“Suffering is part of our training program for becoming wise.”
― Ram Dass

“The most important aspect of love is not in giving or the receiving: it's in the being. When I need love from others, or need to give love to others, I'm caught in an unstable situation. Being in love, rather than giving or taking love, is the only thing that provides stability. Being in love means seeing the Beloved all around me.”
― Ram Dass

“What you meet in another being is the projection of your own level of evolution.”
― Ram Dass

“The spiritual journey is individual, highly personal. It can't be organized or regulated. It isn't true that everyone should follow one path. Listen to your own truth.”
― Ram Dass

“Let's trade in all our judging for appreciating. Let's lay down our righteousness and just be together.”
― Ram Dass

“The next message you need is always right where you are.”
― Ram Dass

“Only that in you which is me can hear what I'm saying.”
― Ram Dass

“We are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not. Our actions and states of mind matter, because we are so deeply interconnected with one another.”
― Ram Dass

“Everything changes once we identify with being the witness to the story, instead of the actor in it.”
― Ram Dass

“I would say that the thrust of my life has been initially about getting free, and then realizing that my freedom is not independent of everybody else. Then I am arriving at that circle where one works on oneself as a gift to other people so that one doesn't create more suffering. I help people as a work on myself and I work on myself to help people.”
― Ram Dass

James Baldwin

“The victim who is able to articulate the situation of the victim has ceased to be a victim: he or she has become a threat.”
― James Baldwin

James Baldwin

“Whoever debases others is debasing himself.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

“No man is a devil in his own mind.”
― James Baldwin

“Hatred, which could destroy so much, never failed to destroy the man who hated, and this was an immutable law.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

James Baldwin: Trust Life

“Trust life, and it will teach you, in joy and sorrow, all you need to know.”
― James Baldwin

James Baldwin

“Most of us, no matter what we say, are walking in the dark, whistling in the dark. Nobody knows what is going to happen to him from one moment to the next, or how one will bear it. This is irreducible. And it's true of everybody. Now, it is true that the nature of society is to create, among its citizens, an illusion of safety; but it is also absolutely true that the safety is always necessarily an illusion. Artists are here to disturb the peace.”
― James Baldwin

James Baldwin

“It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”
― James Baldwin

James Baldwin

“People who treat other people as less than human must not be surprised when the bread they have cast on the waters comes floating back to them, poisoned.”
― James Baldwin

James Baldwin

“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

James Baldwin: Change the World

“You write in order to change the world ... if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way people look at reality, then you can change it.”
― James Baldwin

Scary, Hopeful, and Interesting

Article
F.D.A. Agrees to New Trials for Ecstasy as Relief for PTSD Patients
By DAVE PHILIPPS NOV. 29, 2016 New York Times

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

David Foster Wallace

“The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.”
― David Foster Wallace, This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life

“You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.”
― David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

Monday, November 28, 2016

38 Years Ago

Thirty-eight years ago I called my friend Jessica Brown. It was a desperate call made on the Sunday night of Thanksgiving weekend. She was planning on driving back to Providence Rhode Island from suburban NY, to return to Brown University. I asked her if there was room in the car for me. She said yes, and picked me up. I brought one little red backpack stuffed with a few clothes and books. She let me stay in the guest room in a big house she shared with six other Brown University students while I hunted for a job and a place to live. I have been a Rhode Islander ever since. Thank you, Jessica.

Anne Lamott

...We show up when we are needed, with grit and kindness; we try to help, we prepare for an end to the despair. And we do this together.
- Anne Lamott
source

Anne Lamott

"When you're kind to people, and you pay attention, you make a field of comfort around them..."
- Anne Lamott

"When you're kind to people, and you pay attention, you make a field of comfort around them, and you get it back--the Golden Rule meets the law of Karma meets Murphy's law."

source

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Dream

I dreamed that I was cuddling with my dog Ruby. She has been dead for many years. In the dream all of my former dogs were alive and I was about to take Lily for a walk.

Dream

I dreamed I was on horseback and my brother was seated in front of me. He was three years old. I was teasing him by blowing air on his neck. It tickled him. I was eight years old, in the dream. Someone else was seated in the front, steering the horse.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Lanie

I was out walking Lily on Thanksgiving morning when I ran into Lanie. We walked together for a few blocks.
"I get depressed on the holidays," I confessed. "I want to jump off a cliff."
"Back when I was living in California, I climbed up on the Golden Gate Bridge. If it wasn't for that policeman grabbing my ankle, I wouldn't be here today," she said.
"Wow," I said, trying to imagine a world without Lanie. "I'm so glad he did, and Lily is glad too."

John Thorne

Traditionally, Matt and I get Chinese takeout for Thanksgiving, a holiday I actively dislike. Despite its name, Thanksgiving is really the Family Holiday. Even Christmas pales beside it: that day's focus is on giving and receiving even more than togetherness. Strangely though, being alone on Christmas is to be almost hauntingly empty; you feel like a ghost. But being alone on Thanksgiving is rather wonderful, like not attending a party that you didn't want to go to and where no one will realize you're not there. At Thanksgiving, you gather with your family and stuff yourself with food as if it were love—or the next best thing —then stagger back to your regular life, oversatiated and wrung out. Christmas, however, creates expectations that are never met, so you leave hungry and depressed, with an armload of things you didn't want and can't imagine why anyone would think you did.
-John Thorne

Watching

"I have spent my life watching, not to see beyond the world, merely to see, great mystery, what is plainly before my eyes. I think the concept of transcendence is based on a misreading of creation. With all respect to heaven, the scene of the miracle is here, among us."
- Marilynne Robinson

Friday, November 25, 2016

Looking Up

Today I swam my holiday head away at the pool and walked Lily for miles. Syliva stopped by and we had some laughs. For supper Bill and I had leftover ginger garlic cranberry almond collard greens with steamed cauliflower. I made simple cocoa cornstarch chocolate pudding for dessert. Things are looking up.

Acceptance

“Being awake is an acceptance of the way the world flows, allowing it to be as it is instead of trying to change it. It recognizes that we can change only ourselves and our response to what is happening. We learn who and what we are and serve that process.”
― Ann Marie Chiasson, Energy Healing: The Essentials of Self-Care

Ann Marie Chiasson

May you be at peace.

May your heart remain open.

May you awaken to the light of your true nature.

May you be healed.

May you be a source of healing for others.

― Ann Marie Chiasson, Energy Healing: The Essentials of Self-Care

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Nuruddin Farah

“It's always fallen to women to forge the peace between all these hot-blooded men, always ready to go to war at the slightest provocation....Why do men behave the way they do, warring?"
"What do you think?" he asked.
"Maybe because they've got no sense of grief?”
― Nuruddin Farah, Links

Dream

I dreamed a carnival barker was performing at a podium holding a slapstick in each hand. As he spoke he used the slapsticks to startle, punctuate, and even distract. The wooden slapsticks were unique because between the slats of wood faces appeared which added to the distractibility.

A barker
is a person who attempts to attract patrons to entertainment events, such as a circus or funfair, by exhorting passing public, describing attractions of show and emphasizing variety, novelty, beauty, or some other feature believed to incite listeners to attend entertainment.

A slapstick is a stick or lath used by harlequins, clowns, etc., as in pantomime, for striking other performers, especially a combination of laths that make a loud, clapping noise without hurting the person struck.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Dream

I dreamed I was in a big room in an old New England farmhouse preparing for a Thanksgiving gathering. A fire in the fireplace should make it cozy, I thought. "All we need is a braided rug," I said. A young woman in a black chef's coat showed up and displayed an edible black figurine she had sculpted. It was a nude woman made out of hummus. The sculpture included long thin shapes coming from her eyes. "She's crying," the chef said. "She's crying because there's no garlic."

Monday, November 21, 2016

Singer

Life is God's novel. Let him write it.
-Isaac Bashevis Singer

Isaac Bashevis Singer

Kindness, I’ve discovered, is everything in life.
- Isaac Bashevis Singer

H.L. Mencken

“In the present case it is a little inaccurate to say I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible to any public office of trust or profit in the Republic. But I do not repine, for I am a subject of it only by force of arms.”
― H.L. Mencken

Drunk on Books

“I know some who are constantly drunk on books as other men are drunk on whiskey.”
― H.L. Mencken

H.L. Mencken

“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
― H.L. Mencken

Voltaire

“I die adoring God, loving my friends, not hating my enemies, and detesting superstition.”
- Voltaire

Isaac Bashevis Singer

“Yiddish has not yet said its last word. It contains treasures that have not yet been revealed to the eyes of the world.”
-Isaac Bashevis Singer

H.L. Mencken

“Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.”
― H.L. Mencken, Prejudices: Second Series

The Best Teacher

“The best teacher is not the one who knows most but the one who is most capable of reducing knowledge to that simple compound of the obvious and wonderful.”
― H.L. Mencken

H.L. Menken

“Happiness is the china shop; love is the bull.”
― H.L. Mencken

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sunday

Today I swam at the pool and after a bunch of laps I got into the flow. When I got home I walked Lily to the pond in the cold wind. I wore 4 sweatshirts and my hat and hood. After pushing beyond the cold it was lovely. I ran into Madison and her sister walking their Min-Pin Spud. Spud was wearing an Argyle sweater. They are such sweet kids. After we said goodbye the poignancy made me cry.

At supper time I prepared orange squash flavored elbow noodles in the pressure cooker and I decided to add fresh collards and carrots to steam with them. Then I added my cooked chick peas and leftover vegetable stock from the boiled dinner a few nights ago, along with a can of crushed tomatoes, olive oil, and Adobo. It became a fantastic minestrone soup that we enjoyed with Parmesan sprinkled on top. Then I shaped my slow growing-sourdough into loaves. They rose quickly in the warm oven and then I cranked up the temperature to 450, and baked them.

The daylight passes quickly this time of year but the nights are long. I try to get as much fresh air as possible before I am settled in for the night.

Dream

I was visiting a tall thin young man with black hair who lived in a tiny NYC apartment with high ceilings. I counted 26 turntables set up in his room. We were lying on our backs on the hardwood floor talking. He had room-mates one of whom had a refrigerated locker full of waist-high wedges of Swiss cheese.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

To Be Written

“There is something in me maybe someday
to be written; now it is folded, and folded,
and folded, like a note in school.”
― Sharon Olds

A Family

“A family is a mystery.”
― Sharon Olds

Forbidden

“It is forbidden to love where we are not loved.”
― Sharon Olds, Stag's Leap: Poems

Sharon Olds

“Once you lose someone it is never exactly
the same person who comes back.”
― Sharon Olds, Satan Says

Sharon Olds

"Whenever we give our pen some free will, we may surprise ourselves. All that wanting to seem normal in regular life, all that fitting in falls away in the face of one's own strange self on the page. [...] Writing or making anything — a poem, a bird feeder, a chocolate cake — has self-respect in it. You're working. You're trying. You're not lying down on the ground, having given up."
-Sharon Olds

Friday, November 18, 2016

Important Lessons

Article

Refuge in the Ordinary

I am grateful to find refuge in the ordinary routines of walking my dog and saying hello to people along the way. This is home. This is community and the simple things can be huge.

Receive-Mode (Expanded)

Receive-mode at its most intense is what I call the mental flu. Recently I experienced it metaphorically-speaking as a double vision. I will try to describe it here.

I struggle to be in the present moment but it's nearly impossible because I'm simultaneously grieving and sentimental about the moment I'm trying to have and anxiously anticipating the future. The kicker is I'm aware of this dissonance as it's happening. I know that I'm in a distracted swirl of head-noise chatter keeping myself ungrounded and outside of my life. It's weird to imagine if you've never experienced it. Count yourself lucky.

When I'm settled in and feeling less anxious I'm extremely relieved. I feel lucky because I've reached a manageable pace gently vacillating between thoughts about the past and doomsday scenarios about the future. I've slowed down and my tools are helping me navigate. I feel whole and contemplative.

Receive-mode at its worst is, I'm anywhere but here. It's as if 12 radios tuned to 12 different stations are blaring in my brain at once. So how do I keep from jumping off a cliff? I walk, run swim, and be physical to be out of my head and I make art knowing that things will brighten a little in a week or two. Walking and swimming can help me line up to the present but mostly I have to hang in there coping as best I can until I get my center back. It's outside of my control but physical activity helps a lot. Mornings are terrifying due to their intensity but this begins to die down after a week or two. The initial shift is a shock, moving from the outward energetic optimistic energies of 'transmit-mode' to 'receive-mode' when everything's coming in. That's why I call it receive-mode.

Margaret Atwood

“When you're young, you think everything you do is disposable. You move from now to now, crumpling time up in your hands, tossing it away. You're your own speeding car. You think you can get rid of things, and people too—leave them behind. You don't yet know about the habit they have, of coming back.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

Margaret Atwood: a Word After a Word

“A word after a word after a word is power.”
― Margaret Atwood

“Love blurs your vision; but after it recedes, you can see more clearly than ever. It's like the tide going out, revealing whatever's been thrown away and sunk: broken bottles, old gloves, rusting pop cans, nibbled fishbodies, bones. This is the kind of thing you see if you sit in the darkness with open eyes, not knowing the future.”
― Margaret Atwood, Cat's Eye

“If you knew what was going to happen, if you knew everything that was going to happen next—if you knew in advance the consequences of your own actions—you'd be doomed. You'd be ruined as God. You'd be a stone. You'd never eat or drink or laugh or get out of bed in the morning. You'd never love anyone, ever again. You'd never dare to.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

“The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date. Otherwise you begin excusing yourself. You must see the writing as emerging like a long scroll of ink from the index finger of your right hand; you must see your left hand erasing it.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

“Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow.”
― Margaret Atwood

Water Flows

“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can't go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad

Receive-Mode

Receive-mode at its most intense is what I call the mental flu. Recently I experienced it as a metaphoric double vision. I struggle to be in the present moment but it's nearly impossible because I'm simultaneously grieving and sentimental about the moment I'm trying to have. That's a tangle to imagine but trust me, it's true. If I'm lucky I'm just vacillating between thoughts about the past and doomsday scenarios about the future. Nonetheless I'm anywhere but here. It's as if 12 radios tuned to 12 different stations are blaring in my brain at once. So how do I keep from jumping off a cliff? I walk miles with my dog, I swim laps, and play my horn. I'm deliberately being physical to be out of my noisy head. I make art, and know that things will brighten a little in a week or two. Everything's coming in, that's why I call it receive-mode.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Carl Jung: The Shadow is a Tight Passage

"The shadow is a tight passage, a narrow door, whose painful constriction no one is spared who goes down to the deep well. But one must learn to know oneself in order to know who one is.

For what comes after the door is, surprisingly enough, a boundless expanse full of unprecedented uncertainty, with apparently no inside and no outside, no above and no below, no here and no there, no mine and no thine, no good and no bad.

It is the world of water, where all life floats in suspension; where the realm of the sympathetic system, the soul of everything living, begins; where I am indivisibly this and that; where I experience the other in myself and the other-than-myself experiences me."

- Carl G. Jung
Jung quoted in May Sarton's Journal of a Solitude p. 147
Originally published in Jung's book The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, vol. 9, pt. 1 p. 21

Zoe Kazan

Dragging the terrible thing into the light can strip it of its potency. I didn’t get better all at once — it took years for me to stop counting calories, stop needing a system to get through a meal. Years to get my brain back. But I set a change in motion that night, by telling that one person: This is me. I’m not perfect. Can you still love me?
Article

Movement is our Best Medicine

How a Donkey Became My Running Partner
By Christopher McDougall Article

Other Possibilities

"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly."
-Richard Bach

"It isn't necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice. There are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia."
-Frank Zappa

Perspective

"Arthur Miller said, 'The world is always ending; the exact date depends on when you came into it,'" I told Doreen.
"My father thought the world was over when the Beatles wore long hair!" She said, "And they wore suits!"

Henry Miller

“The one thing we can never get enough of is love. And the one thing we never give enough of is love.”
― Henry Miller

“Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music - the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.”
― Henry Miller

“The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.”
― Henry Miller

“I need to be alone. I need to ponder my shame and my despair in seclusion; I need the sunshine and the paving stones of the streets without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself, with only the music of my heart for company.”
― Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

“Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. there is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, only to discover what is already there.”
― Henry Miller

“Life moves on, whether we act as cowards or heroes. Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.”
― Henry Miller

“One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”
― Henry Miller

“Everybody says sex is obscene. The only true obscenity is war.”
― Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

“Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate, or despise, serves to defeat us in the end.”
― Henry Miller

“Destiny is what you are supposed to do in life. Fate is what kicks you in the ass to make you do it.”
― Henry Miller

“Serenity is when you get above all this, when it doesn't matter what they think, say or want, but when you do as you are, and see God and Devil as one.”
― Henry Miller

“To be joyous is to be a madman in a world of sad ghosts.”
― Henry Miller

“There is no salvation in becoming adapted to a world which is crazy.”
― Henry Miller

“Imagination is the voice of daring. If there is anything godlike about God, it is that. He dared to imagine everything.”
― Henry Miller, Sexus

Colson Whitehead

“And America, too, is a delusion, the grandest one of all. The white race believes--believes with all its heart--that it is their right to take the land. To kill Indians. Make war. Enslave their brothers. This nation shouldn't exist, if there is any justice in the world, for its foundations are murder, theft, and cruelty. Yet here we are.”
― Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad

“There will be no redemption because the men who run this place do not want redemption. They want to be as near to hell as they can.”
― Colson Whitehead, The Intuitionist

Focusing on the Redeeming Power of Art

“Be kind to everybody, make art and fight the power.”
- Colson Whitehead
Article

Dream

I dreamed I was in a theater in NYC and the rotund executive director came out in tight black leather pants and a purple shirt and sang a tune from a Broadway musical on stage. This was a surprise because the house lights were on and people were still finding their seats. There was a commotion in the back of the theater and everyone turned around. While this was happening another man jumped up on stage and urinated on the back of a man seated in the front row. His pale blue dress-shirt got soaked. This was part of the performance.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Isaiah Lopaz

Article

Film by Nancy Wyllie


Moth Vitals

4 minutes
MOTH VITALS is an experimental film about two extraordinary cases seen by RI Department of Environmental Management Veterinarian Dr. Peter Belinsky. His reflections on the requests made by long time clients who share an extraordinary reverence for life ask all of us to make no distinction between higher and lower organisms; to extend our circle of compassion to all living things and to fully embrace the mystery that is life.

My decision to make MOTH VITALS grew out of my 30 year relationship with Dr. Peter Belinsky. During that time he has shared many stories of heartbreak and abuse involving companion animals and those held in captivity. Together we have witnessed the plight of diverse species and have treated a variety of animals in homes, zoos and on the sea yet it is the memory of two very special clients that has lingered longest.

- Nancy Wyllie

José Saramago

“Whether we like it or not, the one justification for the existence of all religions is death, they need death as much as we need bread to eat.”
― José Saramago, Death with Interruptions

Blind

“Perhaps only in a world of the blind will things be what they truly are.”
― José Saramago, Blindness

Understanding

“The difficult thing isn't living with other people, it's understanding them.”
― José Saramago, Blindness

Saramango

“Forgive me if what has seemed little to you, to me is all.”
― José Saramago

Chaos

“Chaos is merely order waiting to be deciphered.”
― José Saramago, The Double

No Name

“Inside us there is something that has no name, that something is what we are.”
― José Saramago, Blindness

Time

“You never know beforehand what people are capable of, you have to wait, give it time, it's time that rules, time is our gambling partner on the other side of the table and it holds all the cards of the deck in its hand, we have to guess the winning cards of life, our lives.”
― José Saramago, Blindness

Sincere

“If I'm sincere today, what does it matter if I regret it tomorrow?”
― José Saramago, Blindness

Words

“Words are like that, they deceive, they pile up, it seems they do not know where to go, and, suddenly, because of two or three or four that suddenly come out, simple in themselves, a personal pronoun, an adverb, an adjective, we have the excitement of seeing them coming irresistibly to the surface through the skin and the eyes and upsetting the composure of our feelings, sometimes the nerves that can not bear it any longer, they put up with a great deal, they put up with everything, it was as if they were wearing armor, we might say.”
― José Saramago, Blindness

“One cannot be too careful with words, they change their minds just as people do.”
― José Saramago, Death with Interruptions

“Words were not given to man in order to conceal his thoughts.”
― José Saramago

“We use words to understand each other and even, sometimes, to find each other.”
― José Saramago

Human Beings

“If we cannot live entirely like human beings, at least let us do everything in our power not to live entirely like animals.”
― José Saramago, Blindness

José Saramago

“Don't be afraid, the darkness you're in is no greater than the darkness inside your own body, they are two darknesses separated by a skin, I bet you've never thought of that, you carry a darkness about with you all the time and that doesn't frighten you...my dear chap, you have to learn to live with the darkness outside just as you learned to live with the darkness inside.”
― José Saramago, All the Names

José Saramago

“Words that come from the heart are never spoken, they get caught in the throat and can only be read in ones's eyes.”
― José Saramago

Mask Dancing

“The world is like a Mask dancing. If you want to see it well, you do not stand in one place.”
― Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe

“Then listen to me,' he said and cleared his throat. 'It's true that a child belongs to its father. But when a father beats his child, it seeks sympathy in its mother's hut. A man belongs to his fatherland when things are good and life is sweet. But when there is sorrow and bitterness he finds refuge in his motherland. Your mother is there to protect you. She is buried there. And that is why we say that mother is supreme. Is it right that you, Okonkwo, should bring your mother a heavy face and refuse to be comforted? Be careful or you may displease the dead. Your duty is to comfort your wives and children and take them back to your fatherland after seven years. But if you allow sorrow to weigh you down and kill you, they will all die in exile.”
― Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart

Chinua Achebe

“When suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool.”
― Chinua Achebe

The Storyteller

“Storytellers are a threat. They threaten all champions of control, they frighten usurpers of the right-to-freedom of the human spirit -- in state, in church or mosque, in party congress, in the university or wherever.”
― Chinua Achebe, Anthills of the Savannah

“Among the Igbo the art of conversation is regarded very highly, and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten.”
― Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart

“People create stories create people; or rather stories create people create stories.”
― Chinua Achebe

“If you don't like my story, write your own.”
― Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart

“It is the storyteller who makes us what we are, who creates history. The storyteller creates the memory that the survivors must have — otherwise their surviving would have no meaning.”
― Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe

“We cannot trample upon the humanity of others without devaluing our own. The Igbo, always practical, put it concretely in their proverb Onye ji onye n'ani ji onwe ya: "He who will hold another down in the mud must stay in the mud to keep him down.”
― Chinua Achebe, The Education of a British-Protected Child: Essays

“A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving. They all have food in their own homes. When we gather together in the moonlit village ground it is not because of the moon. Every man can see it in his own compound. We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so.”
― Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Willing to Trust You

“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson

“Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Georgia O'Keefe: Making Your Unknown Known

“I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.”
― Georgia O'Keeffe

“I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free.”
― Georgia O'Keeffe

“Nobody sees a flower - really - it is so small it takes time - we haven't time - and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”
― Georgia O'Keeffe, Georgia O'Keeffe

“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing--and keeping the unknown always beyond you.”
― Georgia O'Keeffe

“If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for a moment.”
― Georgia O'Keeffe

“Where I was born and where and how I have lived is unimportant. It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest.”
― Georgia O'Keeffe

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way... things I had no words for.”
― Georgia O'Keeffe

“I think it's so foolish for people to want to be happy. Happy is so momentary--you're happy for an instant and then you start thinking again. Interest is the most important thing in life; happiness is temporary, but interest is continuous.”
― Georgia O'Keeffe

“To create one's world in any of the arts takes courage.”
― Georgia O'Keeffe

“I wish people were all trees and I think I could enjoy them then.”
― Georgia O'Keeffe

“My first memory is of light -- the brightness of light -- light all around.”
― Georgia O'Keeffe

“I can't live where I want to, I can't go where I want to go, I can't do what I want to, I can't even say what I want to. I decided I was a very stupid fool not to at least paint as I wanted to.”
― Georgia O'Keeffe

“To create one's own world takes courage.”
― Georgia O'Keeffe

“I have things in my head that are not like what anyone taught me — shapes and ideas so near to me, so natural to my way of being and thinking.”
― Georgia O'Keeffe

“One day a hummingbird flew in--
It fluttered against the window til I got it down where I could reach it with an open umbrella--
--When I had it in my hand it was so small I couldn't believe I had it--but I could feel the intense life--so intense and so tiny--
...You were like the humming bird to me...
And I am rather inclined to feel that you and I know the best part of one another without spending much time together--
--It is not that I fear the knowing--
It is that I am at this moment willing to let you be what you are to me--it is beautiful and pure and very intensely alive.”
― Georgia O'Keeffe

Never Smother Your Sorrow

Kierkegaard observed that you don’t change God when you pray, you change yourself. Perhaps it is the same with regret. I can’t rewind and expunge my past actions, but perhaps I change who I am in my act of remorse. Henry David Thoreau advised: “Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.” To live afresh is to be morally born again.

Gordon Marino, a professor of philosophy at St. Olaf College, is the editor of “The Quotable Kierkegaard.”

Article

Leonard Cohen

“Man was born for toil, since his perfection is always being actualized but is never actual,” he observed in an essay on frivolity. “And insofar as he attains perfection, something is missing in him.

In such a being, perfection is a shortcoming and a lack.” Leonard Cohen was the poet laureate of the lack, the psalmist of the privation, who made imperfection gorgeous.

Article

Monday, November 14, 2016

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Love is Larger

Community means taking a walk, even when you're blue, and letting the love come through.

James Agee

“... understanding, and action proceeding from understanding and guided by it, is the one weapon against the world's bombardment, the one medicine, the one instrument by which liberty, health, and joy may be shaped or shaped towards, in the individual, and in the race.”
― James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

James Agee

“Just spunk won't be enough; you've got to have gumption. You've got to bear it in mind that nobody that ever lived is specially privileged; the axe can fall at any moment, on any neck, without any warning or any regard for justice. You've got to keep your mind off of pitying your own rotten luck and setting up any kind of howl about it. You've got to remember that things as bad as this and a hell of a lot worse have happened to millions of people before and that they've come through it and you can too. You'll bear it because there isn't any choice--except to go to pieces. . . It's kind of a test, Mary, and it's the only kind that amounts to anything. When something rotten like this happens. Then you have your choice. You start to really be alive, or you start to die. That's all.”
― James Agee, A Death in the Family

Emperor Hirohito

"...the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage..."

- Emperor Hirohito, Accepting the Potsdam Declaration, Radio Broadcast.
Transmitted by Domei and Recorded by the Federal Communications Commission, 14 August 1945

source

Maria Popova: Light Bearing Purpose

There is hardly a greater jackpot than a long life of light-bearing purpose. Thank you, Leonard Cohen, for everything.
-Maria Popova
Article

Leonard Cohen

Before I can discard the verse, I have to write it… It’s just as hard to write a bad verse as a good verse. I can’t discard a verse before it is written because it is the writing of the verse that produces whatever delights or interests or facets that are going to catch the light. The cutting of the gem has to be finished before you can see whether it shines.
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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Rest of Your Life Soup

When I opened the fridge all the vegetables shouted at me. So I took out my stock pot and began rinsing two heads of kale in the sink and then chopping them into bite sized bits. I cut up celery, carrots and potatoes too. I added water and then defrosted a tomato sauce to serve as the soup stock. I chopped two frozen boneless chicken breasts into cubes and added them to the pot. I sprinkled in Adobo and added bloops of olive oil and salt. The soup simmered for a while and we ate it for supper. It was delicious. "We still have four green peppers and a cabbage that I could add," I said to my husband. "But if I keep on adding things the soup will go on forever. We'd have to eat it all winter, or worse, for the rest of our lives. I don't want to make rest-of-your-life soup."

Friday, November 11, 2016

James Baldwin

“I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
― James Baldwin

James Baldwin

“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

James Baldwin

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”
― James Baldwin

Elizabeth Warren

Article

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Wireless Brain-Spine Connection

Article

Are You Okay, Honey?

Yesterday on my walk I saw my elderly neighbor Alice walking her min pin. "Are you okay, honey?" she said. "I'm worried about our country," I said.
"We'll get through it," she said and we hugged.
When I got to the pool Danielle and I commiserated and hugged. It was almost refreshing to have Eileen and Arthur complaining about swim lanes.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Paul Krugman

Ending the American Romance

Some morning-after thoughts: what hits me and other so hard isn’t just the immense damage Trump will surely do, to climate above all. There’s also a vast disillusionment that as of now I think of as the end of the romantic vision of America (which I still love).

What I mean is the notion of US history as a sort of novel in which there may be great tragedy, but there’s always a happy ending. That is, we tell a story in which at times of crisis we always find the leader — Lincoln, FDR — and the moral courage we need.

It’s a particular kind of American exceptionalism; other countries don’t tell that kind of story about themselves. But I, like others, believed it.

Now it doesn’t look very good, does it? But giving up is not an option. The world needs a decent, democratic America, or we’re all lost. And there’s still a lot of decency in the nation — it’s just not as dominant as I imagined. Time to rethink, for sure. But not to surrender.

source

Shine Light into Dark Corners

Article

Al Giordano

Article

Anne Lamott

You can probably guess how I feel today, exhausted, in despair, and like hiding from it all. But my Good Dog Lady Bird and I are about to go hiking, and nature will heal us, sustain and renew us--for at least an hour. I'll take it! Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote, "The world is charged with the grandeur of God," and the divine electrical field of love and beauty will all but leave my mouth hanging open in awe. I've said before that if birdsong were the only pooof that there is another, deeper, wider reality, it would be proof enough for me.

Then I'll go hang out with some sober women, many of whom have had decades of sobriety and slow jerky-jerky resurrection; some of whom will only have a few weeks. All of them know exactly what the end of the world feels like, and maybe feel it in different form, but for every one of us, the end of the world was where new life began. Hitting bottom was the beginning of everything beautiful and true and full of integrity in our lives. We'll stick together, get each other lovely cups of tea or bad coffee, eat our body weight in cookies, and get through another hour in gratitude. Someone will be sure to remind us that we thought we were hotshots when we first got sober, but we helped each work our way up to servants. And that is the path of joy.

Then I'll go see the oldest woman in my galaxy, who is 93, and beginning to show it. I will sit with her and share the Grace of not not spouting platitudes or bumper sticker thoughts. I'll just listen. I'll tell her how much I love her. No one can make her laugh like I do. Ram Dass said that ultimately, we are all just walking each other home, and this is what she and and I do together. In two Sundays, she will become the newest member of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Marin City. I will go crazy with happiness that day. You can come too!

Then I'll pick up two short crazy banshees from school, and my house will become monkey island. For three hours, I will be under constant threat of severe Lego injury. We'll over-eat, because God came by earlier and told me that this was Her will for me: "Strengthen me with raisin cakes, comfort me with apples. And M&M's."

Then my son and the man I love will arrive, and I'll bet you hundreds of thousands of dollars that there will be delicious, nourishing food tonight. Wow. That is just not true for much of the world, so before they get here, I am going to send money to Oxfam, and Tyranny Watch*, and Doctors Without Borders, designated for poor Americans. On my honor. This is the Drive Through ATM way to feel hope again, because you are providing it.

Molly Ivins said that freedom fighters don't always win, but they're always right. I'm going to write that on the mirror. It is written on my sad old heart. We don't know what the future holds--we really, really don't. During the Vietnam War, Zhou Enlai was asked what he thought about about the French Revolution, and after inhaling on his Gauloise said, "Too Soon to Tell." We think we know what the future holds, but we are a tense and irritable people. However, we DO know who holds the future. So buckle up, practice radical self care, serve the poor, and rest up for what awaits us. We are up to this moment.

-Anne Lamott
*I meant Human Rights Watch, not Tyranny Watch, on this Facebook post.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Dalai Lama

Article

Dream

I dreamed I was at a banquet fundraiser sponsored by Indian families. There was a decorated elephant on stage. I love Indian food, I thought to myself. I wondered why the first course was coleslaw. I woke up wanting to know the meaning of the elephant in Hindu mythology. This is what I found.
Ganesha - Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganesha
Although he is known by many attributes, Ganesha's elephant head makes him easy to identify. Ganesha is widely revered as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom. As the god of beginnings, he is honoured at the start of rituals and ceremonies.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Francine

"I've been thinking of you because I am listening to my French radio station and I love it," I told Francine.
"I learned English listening to the TV show MASH," she said.
"Really, that is so funny," I said.
"I would talk back to them. You should try talking back to your radio. It's good to hear yourself say the words out-loud for practice," Francine said. "By the way you can correct my English, any time," she said.
"No way," I said. "I love the way you say things, like the time I asked you if you like to swim and you said 'I swim like a rock.'"

Friday, November 04, 2016

Spine Happy from Standing

My version of a summer getaway was working in my dining room. It was cool on hot days and I could easily let my dog in and out of the backyard. This was a fun contrast to my office. Now that I have gone back into winter-mode I am relieved to return to my standing desk. My spine is thanking me.

Michelle Fiordaliso

Article

Dream

I dreamed we were living in a house where the upstairs neighbors would walk though our kitchen to get to their apartment. They are lovely people I thought but this is not okay.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Short Hat Story

As I was about to go to the pool this morning I couldn't find my hat. I tried to remain calm as I walked around the house looking under the bed, couch, chair, and repeating a few more times. I began grieving over how I've lost and found this hat many times over 20 years. "Give up," I told myself. "Go swim." I grabbed my swim bag and there it was tucked in between my suit and towel. I was so relieved.