Blessed are the elderly,
for they shall know the satisfaction of a life well-lived.
Blessed are the young at heart,
for they will live always in expectation and surprise.
Blessed are the heavy of heart,
for they will be givn the comfort of sharing their burden with others.
Blessed are the sightless,
for they will be gifted with inner vision to see life honestly and completely.
Be with me today, O Holy One.
Be with me and help me to slow
my steps, my heart, my monkey mind.
Remind me that life is lived
one moment at a time,
one breath at a time,
one encounter at a time.
And when I begin to get frantic
over all that remains to be done,
fill me with the certain remembrance
of your ever-presence,
as near as my breath,
your loving, compassionate voice
whispering in my ear,
"It doesn't all depand on you."
To which I can only respond, "Thanks be to God!"
poetry...it takes my breath away
How wondrous is poetry...
how amazing this weaving together
of words, tailored in such a way
that they lay bare heart and mind,
yet clothe the spirit in a suit
of finest, dearest gossamer.
Poet, Czeslaw Milosz, on why he writes poetry:
"...to find my home in one sentence, concise, as if hammered in metal. Not to enchant anybody. Not to earn a lasting name in posterity. An unnamed need for order, for rhythm, for form, which three words are opposed to chaos and nothingness."
a different way of seeing...
From Japanese Buddhism comes the term,
wabi-sabi, which is essentially the beauty found in imperfection and impermanence and incompleteness.
It is based on certain truths about the nature of things:
all things are impermanent.
all things are imperfect.
all things are incomplete.
It reminds us that life is about both waxing and waning...reminds us to embrace the decline as much as we embrace the rise of things. It is about remembering our earthiness, our humility.
WABI is a connection to the world in its imperfection, a way of seeing imperfection as embodying beauty.
SABI is a quality of stillness and solitude, a sort of melancholy as a response to and source of beauty.
And so, wabi-sabi is the beauty of the withered, weathered, tarnished, scarred, coarse, earthy, tentative, impermanent, ephemeral...those things which we usually do not find beautiful. And it holds within it the ability, the willingness to see beauty in that which you must release.
Wabi-sabi is not found in nature at moments of bloom or freshness, but at moments of inception or subsiding. Wabi-sabi is not about gorgeous flowers, majestic trees, or bold landscapes. Wabi-sabi is about the minor and hidden, the tentative and ephemeral...The beauty of wabi-sabi is, in one respect, the condition of coming to terms with what you consider ugly. -Leonard Koren
some reflections on death...
Death is an event,
a threshold we pass
through. We go
on and on and
into light forever. -Marie Howe in "The Promise"
The Well of Grief by David Whyte
Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface on the well of grief
turning downward through its black water
to the place we cannot breathe
will never know the source from which we drink,
the secret water, cold and clear,
nor find in the darkness glimmering
the small round coins
thrown by those who wished for something else.
in celebration of life...
did happen in our lives, our stories
are not drab with its absence: but don't
expect not to return for more. Whatever more
there will be will be
unique as those were unique. -Denise Levertov in "Only Once"
Even after I have forgotten what year it is,
my middle name,
and the meaning of money,
I will still carry in my pocket
the small coin of that moment,
minted in the kingdom
that we pace through every day.
-Billy Collins in "This Much Do I Remember"
Nothing can destroy it, this road
of doors, opening, one after another,
always toward reality:
Life without calculation! -Juan Ramon Jimenez in "Life"
But our gusty emotions say to me that we have
Tasted heaven many times: these delicacies
Are left over from some larger party. -Robert Bly in "Tasting Heaven"
And here I sit at three o'clock a.m., kept awake by my pollen cough, the "gift" I am receiving along with the incredibly gorgeous blooms of springtime. After four hours of rest, I have now been awake for nearly two hours, and could think of nothing better to do with my time than work on this blog...though what I need most is more sleep.
But in the spirit of wabi-sabi, I am attempting to see the beauty of insomnia, of being awake when all around me the world of people is at rest. Even the nightbirds are silent...though I can almost hear the voice of Lady Moon singing as she peers through the trees and shines in my hall windows. My thoughts are incredibly mixed, as evidenced by my meandering writings...but such is the gift of the late-night.
May your tomorrow- or today, actually- be filled with the joys of living...and may you be blessed with the vision of wabi-sabi...a different way of looking and seeing and being. Happy April!