Blessed be the longing that brought you here
And quickens your soul with wonder.
May you have the courage to listen to the voice of desire
That disturbs you when you have settled for something safe.
May you have the wisdom to enter generously into your own unease
To discover the new direction your longing wants you to take.
May the forms of your belonging–in love, creativity, and friendship–
Be equal to the grandeur and the call of your soul.
May the one you long for long for you.
May your dreams gradually reveal the destination of your desire.
May a secret Providence guide your thought and nurture your feeling.
May your mind inhabit your life with the sureness with which your body inhabits the world.
May your heart never be haunted by ghost structures of old damage.
May you come to accept your longing as divine urgency.
May you know the urgency with which God longs for you.
~John O’Donohue, from To Bless the Space Between Us. All rights reserved.
Don’t surrender your loneliness so quickly. Let it cut you more deeply. Let it ferment and season you as few humans and even divine ingredients can. Something missing in my heart tonight has made my eyes so soft, my voice so tender, my need for God absolutely clear.
When a sense of dissatisfaction persists, that means it was put there by God for one reason only: you have to change everything and move forward.
~Paulo Coelho, Aleph
Patience does not mean to passively endure. It means to be farsighted enough to trust the end result of a process. What does patience mean? It means to look at the thorn and see the rose, to look at the night and see the dawn. Impatience means to be so shortsighted as to not be able to see the outcome. The lovers of God never run out of patience, for they know that time is needed for the crescent moon to become full.
~Elif Shafak, The Forty Rules of Love
I’m sitting down to write without really knowing what’s going to come out. I’m doing this because I tend to obsess over what I should write about, and whether I can carry through the thought to the end, and whether anyone will get what I’m trying to say, and whether what I write will sound like just so much metaphysical/spiritual drivel. Who wants to read this stuff, anyway? And, of course, all this fretting keeps me from writing. (I’m sure plenty of you out there are nodding your heads, being well acquainted with this state.)
On the other hand, I’ve always done well with assignments and deadlines. When I was the dance writer for a weekly publication here in NC, I was invited to participate in the American Dance Festival’s Dance Critics Conference. The format for the conference was that we would attend performances by modern dance companies from all over the world, then immediately return to a room full of computers and write our reviews in the space of an hour and a half or so.
When I learned this, I panicked. After all, I’d only been doing this for a year and a half, and I’d pretty much lucked into the job, and I was used to writing for a weekly. I was used to having a LOT of time to edit and rework what I wrote. What the hell would my reviews be like with only an hour and a half to complete them? Continue reading
The path to God doesn’t require scaling mountains, slaying dragons, or living in caves while dining on meager rations of locusts and wild honey. It only requires the eyes of the mind to recognize what the heart has always known. The Ground of our Being is love.
~Joan Borysenko, A Woman’s Path to God
I can’t seem to get my thoughts together enough these days to write anything coherent about what I’ve been going through lately, so there are a number of unfinished drafts in my posts folder. Perhaps time and distance will provide clarity and insight and the ability to communicate the jumble of events and emotions that have marked the past year, especially the past three or four months, but it’s not going to happen any time soon. I’ve only recently accepted this as being what is and stopped beating myself up for it.
In fact, acceptance of what is seems to be the task in front of me right now. It’s not that I’ve stopped envisioning what I want. I’ve been doing that for some time now, and still do. However, a big part of my struggles of late has been my disappointment that what I’ve envisioned isn’t exactly what’s materialized.
But that’s a subject for another post.
As has always been the case with me, I often look to others to find the words that will express what I want to express or the words that will inspire some shift in my head and my heart. Searching out and sharing the words of others has been a huge part of this blog from the beginning, and in spite of the short circuit in my own head that’s keeping me from writing about my stuff, I’ve managed to continue to post quotes du jour and other articles and readings by writers whose work I admire.
This has been my way of heeding the words of Bhagavan Das, “Be here now” (which inspired the book by Ram Dass). If I can’t write, at least I can continue to share the writing of others. It is what it is. Be here now. Continue reading
Path to God
Made me such an old sweet beggar.
I was starving until one night
My love tricked God Himself
To fall into my bowl.
Now Hafiz is infinitely rich,
But all I ever want to do
Is keep emptying out
~Hafiz, The Subject Tonight is Love: 60 Wild and Sweet Poems of Hafiz
If you can’t see what you’re looking for,
see what’s there.
One of the most difficult things for us to accept is that beneath all our dreams and disappointments, we live and breathe in abundance. It is hard when in pain to believe that all we ever need is before us, around us, within us. And yet it is true.
Like leafless trees waiting for morning, something as great and as constant as the Earth holds us up and turns us ever so slowly toward the light. Our task is only to be rooted and patient.
Never was this more painfully true for me than during the aftermath of my first chemo treatment. I was in a Holiday Inn at five in the morning after twenty-four hours of vomiting every twenty minutes. I was slumped on the floor, holding the space of a rib that had been removed three weeks earlier. And my wife—in anger, in panic, in desperation—called out, “Where is God?” And from some unknown place in me, through my pale slouched form, I uttered, “Here…right here.”
The presence of God has never eliminated pain, only made it more bearable. Now, when things don’t go the way I want, Continue reading
pathwriter’s note: What a gift Anne Lamott is. I’m so glad her son and her editor talked her into getting on Facebook, because it means she writes posts like this from time to time—and usually just when I need them, like today.
This is a true story.
I have been doing a bunch of radio interviews to promote the coming paperback edition of Some Assembly Required, and so was in San Francisco recently. There was no street parking to be found, so I parked in an underground garage. I stuck the ticket in my wallet, went and did the interview, came back to the car, and got ready to leave.
But I couldn’t find my ticket. It wasn’t in my wallet. I looked for it there, again and again, but couldn’t find it, so I rifled through my purse. The ticket wasn’t there, either. I took everything out of the purse, put it on the passenger seat, and pawed through it, like a Samuel Becket character.
Sighing loudly, I looked everywhere it could have fallen—the console between the front seats, the ashtray, the floor, the glovebox. Then I got out, exasperated with myself. I am getting so spaced out.
I don’t want to be put in a home yet! Continue reading
My belief is that when you’re telling the truth, you’re close to God. If you say to God, “I am exhausted and depressed beyond words, and I don’t like You at all right now, and I recoil from most people who believe in You,” that might be the most honest thing you’ve ever said. If you told me you had said to God, “It is all hopeless, and I don’t have a clue if You exist, but I could use a hand,” it would almost bring tears to my eyes, tears of pride in you, for the courage it takes to get real—really real. It would make me want to sit next to you at the dinner table.
So prayer is our sometimes real selves trying to communicate with the Real, with Truth, with the Light. It is us reaching out to be heard, hoping to be found by a light and warmth in the world, instead of darkness and cold. Even mushrooms respond to light—I suppose they blink their mushroomy eyes, like the rest of us.
Light reveals us to ourselves, which is not always so great if you find yourself in a big disgusting mess, possibly of your own creation. But like sunflowers we turn toward light. Light warms, and in most cases it draws us to itself. And in this light, we can see beyond our modest receptors, to what is way beyond us, and deep inside.
~Anne Lamott, Help Thanks Wow: Three Essential Prayers
If our emotional stability is based on what other people do or do not do, then we have no stability. If our emotional stability is based on love that is changeless and unalterable, then we attain the stability of God.
~Marianne Williamson, Enchanted Love: The Mystical Power Of Intimate Relationships