We have no reason to harbor any mistrust against our world, for it is not against us. If it has terrors, they are our terrors; if it has abysses, these abysses belong to us; if there are dangers, we must try to love them. And if only we arrange our life in accordance with the principle which tells us that we must always trust in the difficult, then what now appears to us as the most alien will become our most intimate and trusted experience. How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.
~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
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.
Your way begins at the other side.
Become the sky.
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.
Do it now.
The photos below were taken early this evening between sundown and twilight, as I walked the trails at the North Carolina Museum of Art park. I’m only working with an iPhone 4, so the pics don’t quite do the views justice, but I can assure you, the sky was absolutely breathtaking tonight. The moon rose before the sun had finished setting…I turned from a western sky ablaze with light to see the moon rise in a pale eastern sky that quickly darkened to a deep cobalt blue. It was amazing to see.
Evening star (to the right of the ring sculpture)
Photos by Viki Atkinson
The search for contentment is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but also a generous gift to the world. Clearing out all your misery gets you out of the way. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself, but to anyone else. Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people.
~Elizabeth Gilbert; Eat, Pray, Love
Wisdom consists in doing the next thing you have to do, doing it with your whole heart, and finding delight in doing it.
North Carolina Museum of Art walking trail, Raleigh, NC – Photo by Viki Atkinson
Friendship is the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words.
I don’t understand it any more than you do, but one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t have to understand things for them to be.
~Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
Peace is not a result inside us from everything around us. Peace is not submissive nor passive. On the contrary, peace is an overwhelming force which comes from within us, disrespectful of everything around us, a firm coalition of spirit and soul standing against all the unrest that abounds.
~C. JoyBell C.
Above all, do not lose your desire to walk: every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it…Thus if one keeps on walking, everything will be alright.
Walking is also an ambulation of mind.
Every walker is a guard on patrol to protect the ineffable.
~Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking
The quotes above describe pretty well the way I’ve come to feel about walking lately. I’ve done a lot of walking in the last month, more than usual, primarily because I’ve found a beautiful place to walk that allows me to surround myself with nature, minus the cars and sidewalks of my neighborhood. The trails at the North Carolina Museum of Art (a 10-minute drive from my house) are well-designed and offer both paved and gravel paths that wind through gently rolling hills and woodland glens. They’re varied enough that I can choose a route based on my mood and energy level, as well as how much time I have.
The move back to North Carolina has been a good one, but it has also come with some challenges, and walking the museum trails has become a meditative, centering activity for me. Continue reading
In every adult there lurks a child—an eternal child, something that is always becoming, is never completed, and calls for unceasing care, attention, and education. That is the part of the human personality which wants to develop and become whole.