quote du jour ~shafak

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

a path less travelled

img_0824.jpgWalking trail, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC – Photo by Viki Atkinson

I don’t remember exactly how the name pathwriter came to be. I was creating this blog, and it had to have a name, and I probably had a thought about writing being a part of my path…or writing being a way to find my path…or something. I’ve been focusing a lot of my energy on trying to navigate my personal/spiritual path these last few years, so I guess the name wasn’t a big surprise.

Along the way, I’ve been drawn to walking literal paths as well—the Poet’s Walk at Ayr Mount in Hillsborough, NC; the paths in and around Forest Hill Park and along the James River in Richmond, VA—and recently, I discovered the trails adjacent to the North Carolina Museum of Art here in Raleigh. I’ve been there probably six of the last ten days, and I love the fact that I can drive ten minutes from my house in the city and be walking in the woods. There are some paved paths that are great for an easy stroll (and strollers), but the ones I love are the ones that take you down into the woods and are “paved” with only dirt and gravel and leaves.

Of course, with a blog named pathwriter, I’m always on the lookout for “photogenic” paths that I can use for the blog’s header image. I’ve found a few over the last couple of years, and the museum trails have quite a few lovely spots that I’ve documented. Anyway, I thought it might be fun to share some of my path photos here from time to time, so here’s one from the museum trails to start things off. I hope you enjoy looking at my paths as much as I enjoy walking them.

quote du jour ~pema chodron – anxiety, heartbreak, and tenderness…

Anxiety, heartbreak, and tenderness mark the in-between state. It’s the kind of place we usually want to avoid. The challenge is to stay in the middle rather than buy into struggle and complaint. The challenge is to let it soften us rather than make us more rigid and afraid.

~Pema Chödrön

make new friends, but keep the old….

I had lunch with an old friend today. Our life paths diverged around the time I got married, and it’s probably been at least fifteen years since we’ve actually seen each other, maybe even closer to twenty, though we’ve emailed and Facebooked in recent years.

But Liz is one of those friends you can go years without seeing and pick up right where you left off. We hugged each other hard and expressed our amazement that it had been so long since we’d laid eyes on each other. The love and respect we’d always had for each other was right where we’d left it—no awkwardness, no small talk. There were catch-up questions, of course—inquiring after our respective mothers, etc.—but there was also “What are you doing to feed your creative spirit?”

How had I managed for so long without her?

Being with Liz today, seeing myself in her eyes, I touched back into a part of myself that I’d left behind on my journey these last couple of decades. It was balm for my soul, a homecoming of the heart. What a gift.

quote du jour ~beck

People who don’t resist grief, who let it flow through them, come out more resilient on the other side. They are less afraid of loss, more able to soften the pain of those around them, and quicker to appreciate whatever happiness life brings. Ironically, it is those who have accepted the most terrible grief who are capable of the greatest joy.

~Martha Beck, Finding Your Own North Star

fringe dwelling

I’m a latecomer to the Eat, Pray, Love party. I bought the book five or six years ago, but didn’t connect with it at the time, so it sat on my shelf (or, more recently, in a box in a storage facility), unread. This is not unusual for me; I’ve often bought books and not read them until later—sometime years later. I’ve come to believe that I read books when it’s the right time for me to read them, and this was certainly the case with Eat, Pray, Love.

Anyway, I began following Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook a few months ago, while I was in my limbo period at my mom’s, waiting for the house in NC to become available. I think someone re-posted a quote/status update of hers that I liked one day, and when I realized she had a page, I thought, “Why not?”

As I read more of her posts, I decided that I rather liked Liz, and suddenly I very much wanted to read her book, so I resolved to do so when I finally got to the new house. Once I’d unearthed it from the mountain of book boxes, I read a bit at a time, which allowed me to mull over things that Liz or ‘Richard from Texas’ or some other person in the book said that struck me. Several times, I found myself wanting to post whole passages from the book here on pathwriter, but kept thinking, maybe later.

Then I read Chapter 69. The tears welled, and a lump rose in my throat, and I knew this was the passage I had to post.

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quote du jour ~a course in miracles

When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him, you will see yourself. As you treat him, you will treat yourself. As you think of him, you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself.

~A Course in Miracles

quote du jour ~lozoff

Tikkun is a Hebrew word that is often translated as “world repair.” To me, tikkun is not just about external service; it starts in our most basic, almost instinctual view of being involved with life as a helper. …

This spirit of tikkun is the essence of compassionate service—not how much good we do, but rather waking and sleeping, eating and breathing, working and playing, with an unforced, underlying attitude of goodwill; no time off. When we leave from our volunteer stint at the orphanage or the soup kitchen or the AIDS hospice and stop off at the grocery store on the way home, we must understand that noticing the cashier as a human being is as significant as whatever noble cause we just volunteered for. It is nothing short of barbaric to deal with as many human beings as most of us deal with every day and have as little real human contact as many of us do.

~Bo Lozoff; It’s A Meaningful Life, It Just Takes Practice