Last week Tina, in her comment, wrote: “I feel I have spent my whole life searching for a better kinder self. It’s why I visit here everyday. If you would recommend one book to read .. what would it be?? I want help!” It was a good question, but I couldn’t answer it — I couldn’t recommend just one book. There have been too many different ones at different times. I meandered at length through a maze of thoughts & feelings and finally wrote a long response …. but somehow my response disappeared into the ether, into the Virtual Dark Hole. Then, when I sat down to try to reconstruct it yesterday, I had total writer’s block.
I’ll write more next week but, in the meantime, if any of you have suggestions, please put them in today’s comments to share with all the circle. Thank you so much! We’re all in this together.
This morning my dreams wanted to keep me trapped in their web & the down-filled duvet was so warm, so comforting. But a whisper came, a line by Rumi:
“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell. Don’t go back to sleep.”
I got up and raised the blinds — opened my eyes to the beautiful world. The pale sky was filled with several different amazing patterns of light gray clouds moving in some stately dance . As I watched, the still-invisible sun began to stain them a deep magenta that gradually spread upward & outward — every moment different — gradually changing — through coral to a more golden tint.
It was pure gift.
I was totally engaged — embraced by the world, experiencing more comfort than any quilt could offer. Just before the fading began, I finally tore myself loose to take a photo. I wanted to share the gift with you.
[And only now, as I write this & look at today’s photo, do I remember the dawn I saw out the hospital window when I was 18. I’d had a bad bicycle accident, with a concussion, and that dawn was my first awareness of coming back into myself. Another gift.]
Then — after breakfast, I turned on my computer, and found this beautiful December Reflection from The Center for Education, Imagination and the Natural World: http://www.beholdnature.org .
Again, pure gift.
“The experiences that we have spoken of as we look up at the starry sky at night, and as, in the morning, we see the landscape revealed as the sun dawns over the Earth – these experiences reveal a physical world but also a more profound world that cannot be bought with money, cannot be manufactured with technology, cannot be listed on the stock market, cannot be made in the chemical laboratory, cannot be reproduced with all our genetic engineering – cannot be sent by e-mail. These experiences require only that we follow the deepest feelings of the human soul.
What we look for is no longer the Pax Romana, the peace among humans, but the Pax Gaia, the peace of Earth and every being on the Earth. This is the original and final peace, the peace granted by whatever power it is that brings our world into being. ….”
~ Thomas Berry, Evening Thoughts (from The Center for Education, Imagination and the Natural World, December Reflection, http://www.beholdnature.org )
Even in difficult, ugly times, the Earth offers so much Beauty….
“The world will be saved by beauty.”Fyodor Dostoevsky
(As an aside, dear Tina,you are one of the kindest and most generous women that I am privileged to call friend.)
A book I turn to time and time again, is Anam Cara, a book of Celtic Wisdom by John O’Donohue. John was an Irish ex priest, poet, writer and philosopher. Anam Cara are the Gaelic words for soul friend. “The anam cara was the person you could reveal the hidden intimacies of your life. This friendship was an act of recognition and belonging.” The book covers all aspects of what it is to be human, to feel and love and doubt and grow. It is divided into these headings: The Mystery of Friendship, Toward A Spirituality of the Senses, Solitude is Luminous, Work as a Poetics of Growth, Aging: The Beauty of the Inner Harvest and Death: The Horizon is in the Well.
One of John’s beliefs that is so important to me is the notion of belonging: “Central here is the recognition and awakening of of the ancient belonging between two friends. Since the birth of the human heart is an ongoing process, love is the continuous birth of creativity between and within us”
Nearing the end of the book, John has some words that so reflect times in my life. We tend to be hard on ourselves, wondering if we have done enough, have been good enough, have helped others enough, been kind and caring enough, listened enough; simply, are we enough… John’s answer- “It is precisely when times are difficult and you are vulnerable that you really have to mind yourself. He quotes Blaise Pascal who said, “”in difficult times, you should always keep something beautiful in your heart.”. John adds, “how you view your future, actually shapes it.” I take from this that if we stay true to our best instincts, to love and care and be kind, it will serve us well, individually and collectively.
Lastly, those of us who come here, and to other blogs, are a community, we belong to a circle. John notes that “the Celtic mind never liked the line but always loved the shape of the circle. Within the circle beginning and ending are sisters and they belong within the shelter which the eternal offers of the unity of the year and the earth.”
Thank you, dear Marti, for sending this gift.
Marti big thanks .. the last paragraph here is everything I believe us to be. I will try and find the book you’re writing about here .. thank you!!
Hello Tina — we’ve never met, even here.
i am Warren Peace & can only say to you what i say to myself many times each day (& often when i waken in the darkest time of night).
“I am on a path because i don’t know the path”.
so let there be scrabbling on the way, don’t lose heart & above all Be Well!
this past summer i had a wonderful conversation with a stranger, who bore a prominent tattoo on her right forearm:
” NOT ALL WHO WANDER ARE LOST”
… neat complement to the hexagram on my left arm.
Thank you Warren for sharing your thoughts.
I came back here, from Margery’s last post. I appreciate the comments of those before me. I’d like to say:
1. Tina I already see you as so kind…as in SO KIND. I believe none of us are ever all we want to be, in all ways. We are always a work in progress. But, that being said, I also believe along the trail of life – wherever we are, we are enough. Unless of course one is a horrible, vindictive, awful person…and there are those and that is another story…But, for most of us, MOST of us, we are enough. My mother, in hospice, asked to see a Rabbi. She was concerned she was not ‘Jewish enough’ (as we were not very practicing of religious aspects). We were so shocked that she even thought this thought.
Why are we harder on ourselves than we’d ever be on others?
2. As far as a book…Whowee! That’s a tough one because I believe books speak to us in different ways at different times in our lives – even the same book. I also believe no matter how much we love or look to certain writings, what works for us is what we absorb, what becomes a part of our authentic selves. Maybe it is one quote, or a piece of art…a painting that brings peace and we think “Yes, this is me”. For each of us it is different and ever-evolving. I may suggest a book that does not speak to you in the same way at all. But, you requested a book title, so Today, I offer this book: “The Three Questions”, based on Tolstoy’s writing, this beautiful, beautiful picture book is both deep and simple. It leaves room for your own thoughts. So perhaps this is one that will feel good to you (and others).
I will think on this some more, so thank you for bravely putting your question forth for all who come here.
Thank you, Nancy. The book sounds lovely. Your Part #2 expresses exactly what I feel about how we are changed by different things at different times in our own unique evolution. And yes — it is not just reading or seeing or even physically experiencing that changes us but what we absorb, what we incorporate into ourselves at a deeper than merely mental level. I’ve “known” things for a long time that I am only now beginning to realize, to embody — and, I hope, there will be more.
Thank you all .. I do totally agree that the same book can be interpreted in different ways depending on who is reading it and where they are in their lives. That’s the things about books .. movies .. people. I just returned from a wonderful weekend with friends in Iron Mountain MI. Other than eating and sleeping we spent all our time in her newly built quilt studio .. quilting. There were 3 of us .. each different in our quilting styles and go to fabrics and yet totally in love with each others quilts. I do so love that no matter our backgrounds our upbringing or education we can LEARN and LOVE each other. I’ll end here with my heart filled with gratitude and appreciation.
this is Beauty FULL Tina
Iron Mountain Michigan
iron mountain michigan michigan, where i was born….lived
i love so much, ALL this and love that it came fron an Honest Genuine Question that all of Us would have…..