Tag Archives: Beauty

A Wendell Berry Kind of Day

It may be that when we no longer know what to do

we have come to our real work

and that when we no longer know

which way to go we

have begun our real journey.

Wendell Berry, Standing by Words

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.

“The Peace of Wild Things,” Wendell Berry

On days when words fail, awash in my heart’s overflow, I go to “rest in the grace of the world.” What better compass than the “presence of still water?”

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

In Science There is No Silence

It is an ego kind of day, if I am not careful. Oh, I know there is no satisfying the ego for when I follow its urging, our travels never end but we don’t get anywhere, either.

Meditation has taught me to keep the ego’s chatter in the background rather than front and center. This is particularly helpful on days when words are few but thoughts are one spring canvas after another.

So much possibility, spring–the earth coming into being yet again–but my concern for the planet clouds my celebration. It is not yet Rachel Carson’s “silent spring” but I cannot let my ego lull me into a false one, either.

Now, science is under threat of silence. Without science, a silent spring is assured and for some species already accomplished. That’s discomfiting, and my ego almost goes silent.

I’m not sure we are here to be comfortable, not always, anyway. I know we are here to experience what it is to be human– self-aware, yes–as well, in awe of our place on this planet.

So often, we treat ourselves and our world as if they are not fragile. Each is capable of being lost forever.

Science asks questions, and the longer I live, the more convinced I am that to live is to question. Answers come and go but questions return time and again from different paths. Just because we are familiar with a question does not mean it is asking what it once did.

My ego does not appreciate such subtlety; it seeks the ever-elusive satisfaction and even promises such if I will just….

I will explore the cascade of spring that is in this day, for it is the moment I have but I am mindful of my place on this planet. Mary Oliver said “attention is the beginning of devotion.”

And so it is. In raised voice, may we devote ourselves to science. For if we do not, silent spring is assured.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

How My Garden Grows Or Doesn’t

I have to remind myself that sometimes a change I don’t want to see will provide me another perspective on hope and in that, beauty. After all, they grow in the same garden.

Our bodies are our gardens,

to the which our wills are gardeners.

(Othello, Act I, scene 3)

Questions are what nurture my garden, ever with an eye to my strong will. It is always best for me to step back and ask, “What else might this mean?” If I do, I stay on my garden path rather than rushing into a field of ideas newly sprouted.

Equanimity is the tending of an idea to its full expression as a question. Sometimes, I just cannot wait. I am certain I know the question before it is asked. I spoil the bloom, beauty remains a bud and withers.

That there will be another time is the promise of impermanence. Questions are eternal; answers, ephemeral.

My garden flourishes when I experience each bloom in its own time. We “ache to be worthy” of beauty Mary Oliver says. Indeed, I do.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

Derek Walcott: Feast on Your Life

Love After Love

The time will come 
when, with elation 
you will greet yourself arriving 
at your own door, in your own mirror 
and each will smile at the other’s welcome, 

and say, sit here. Eat. 
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart 
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you 

all your life, whom you ignored 
for another, who knows you by heart. 
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, 

the photographs, the desperate notes, 
peel your own image from the mirror. 
Sit. Feast on your life.

(Derek Walcott, The Poetry of Derek Walcott, 2014)

And so I do.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

 

Grace Revisited: Still a Mystery

As Anne Lamott said, the mystery of grace “meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.”

No one and no one thing is immune.

We need not understand the mystery to experience it.

Grace strips away the nonessential, revealing our core— who we are— in mind and in body.

We have one body in a lifetime, and we require much of it. It delivers, ever adapting and adjusting to offer up the best experience available.

It is the heart that must make the mind bold to life anew, and somehow, it always does.

Grace moves us to deeds we once thought impossible.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

Nature’s “Repeated Refrains”

wood-stork-0214I experience life within the frame of a single day, every day. For me, that is living in the moment. My focus is here and now, not backward or forward. I have only this moment, this day.

Things that matter take time to root

and meaning takes time to blossom.

Mark Nepo

Bud Opening 0814

It is the way of nature, “her repeated refrains” as Rachel Carson calls them.

I, too, have seeds to sow. Some will not blossom in my lifetime, which is as it should be. Others like compassion and joy or love and kindness are perennials, and I will know their blossoms time and again.

Would that I walk in a field of blossoms every day….

Too many times I do not recognize fertile ground—I only see a fallow field—I miss the opportunity to plant the seed. On those days, I escape the experience of being alive; I am elsewhere, looking back to a moment already lived or anticipating a moment that might never be.

I try to remember that what is best in me takes time to take hold. Yet, a moment of kindness or thoughtfulness is a seed well planted. It is the stuff of perennials. I am here to sow for all the life that comes after me. It is essential that I am reverent in my work.

There is something infinitely healing in the repeated

refrains of nature—the assurance that

dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.

Rachel Carson

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

Pause and Repeat: The Monarch Warrior

A week from today I have my second hip replacement surgery. It means tapering off autoimmune disease medication.

It’s always a tricky time.

Physically, my cells shift to adapt to lack. In response, my mind releases words at whim. The challenge of the sentence looms.

I remember the warrior butterfly— bodhisattva— who forsakes the firm ground for walking on air. 

Such dramatic change does not come overnight but over a series of nights.

Each stage from ground to air is fraught with life ending possibilities. From the stillness of the larva, the caterpillar stirs to search for sustenance, consuming one leaf after another.

There is a reward for all this eating, and it is not rest but pupa spinning—the chrysalis—a chamber of tissue, limbs, and organs that once crawled but will one day fly.

the-reward-012417

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly,

but rarely admit the changes it has gone

through to achieve that beauty.

 Maya Angelou

Patience, human.

No new life emerges until the old is transformed.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.