A life without love
is a waste.
“Should I look for
spiritual love, or material, or physical love?”
Don’t ask yourself this question.
Discrimination leads to discrimination.
Love doesn’t need any name,
category or definition.
Love is a world itself.
Either you are in, at the center…
or you are out,
~ Shams Tabrizi
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals, or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain! I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine and your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it. I want to know if you can be with JOY, mine or your own: if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being human. Continue reading
The resting place of the mind is the heart. The only thing the mind hears all day is clanging bells and noise and argument, and all it wants is quietude. The only place the mind will ever find peace is inside the silence of the heart. That’s where you need to go.
~Elizabeth Gilbert; Eat, Pray, Love
So I sat and meditated—really meditated—this morning for the first time in a very long time. I’m way out of practice, and there was some serious monkey mind action going on, but I stuck it out for probably 15 minutes, and I give myself credit both for making the commitment to sit and for lasting even that long, given that my mind was a veritable pinball machine, with my thoughts pinging and dinging across my brain at lightning speed the entire time.
I know the benefits of meditation. When I was married, my husband and I attended two 10-day Vipassana meditation retreats in Massachusetts, and I meditated regularly off and on while we were married. I think my practice began to go by the wayside as the marriage began to fall apart (I know, I know…that was just when I could have used the calm and equanimity that meditation can bring), and though I’ve attempted to re-establish a regular meditation routine numerous times since then, for some reason, I just haven’t been able to get back there. I’ll meditate a day here and there, maybe even for two or three days in a row, but then I let life get in the way, and there it goes again.
But it just so happens I’m reading two books right now, both of which have passages about the authors’ time spent in an ashram and their experiences with the challenges of meditation. I guess the double hit of meditation talk is what finally got me to plunk my derriere down on the cushion this morning, and—in spite of the brevity and restlessness of my sitting this morning, and in spite of the fact that I got way too little sleep last night and was dragging physically today as a result—I did feel the difference. I felt generally more at ease, less overwhelmed by all the changes and adjustments that I’m dealing with as a result of the move.
Will I sit again tomorrow morning? I don’t know. All I can say for sure is that that’s my intention. One day at a time. Step by step. Breath by breath. Sit by sit.
…If you want to have loving feelings, do loving things. Period.
~Anne Lamott, Facebook post, 8/21/13
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
Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible.
~Thich Nhat Hanh, Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers
Maybe that’s why I want to touch people
so often—it’s only another way of talking.
I was aching and vulnerable, feeling far from home, when, through the harsh shore wind, I saw a large rock surrounded by the rough churned-up sea. The rock was covered with all kinds of animals: willet, gull, cormorant, sea lion, seal, pelican, otter. All had found refuge from the hammering of the sea; climbing, winging, hauling themselves on the rock; living together, laying on each other; finding this rock-oasis of wind and sun; too tired once on the rock to fight, each having been wrung out by the pounding of the wet, wet hours.
I realized this is how the wounded find their way, how we have found each other, even in this book. Every survivor, regardless of what they survive, knows the hammering of the sea, and the rock we find refuge on is an exposed place where we finally accept each other—too tired from swimming to think any longer about territories, too tired to talk except through simple touch.
The wellness group I attended was such a rock. The meeting rooms of recovery are such a rock. The thousand quiet rooms of therapy are such a rock. For those who have suffered, tolerance is not a political position or even a principle. For those of us who have suffered, who have hauled ourselves into the sun, anything exhausted beside us is family.
~Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
I trust the mystery. I trust what comes in silence and what comes in nature where there’s no diversion. I think the lack of stimulation allows us to hear and experience a deeper river that’s constant, still, vibrant, and real. And the process of deep listening with attention and intention catalyzes and mobilizes exactly what’s needed at that time.
One cannot be prepared for something while secretly believing it will not happen.
fold in on one another
but what cost attends
an open heart
but not opening
dare the breaking