The beauty is forever there before us, forever piping to us, and we are forever failing to dance. We could not help but dance if we could see things as they really are. Then we should kiss both hands to Fate and fling our bodies, hearts, minds, and souls into life with a glorious abandonment, an extravagant delighted loyalty, knowing that our wildest enthusiasm cannot more than brush the hem of the real beauty and joy and wonder that are always there.
~Margaret Prescott Montague
If peace comes from seeing the whole,
then misery stems from a loss of perspective.
We begin so aware and grateful. The sun somehow hangs there in the sky. The little bird sings. The miracle of life just happens. Then we stub our toe, and in that moment of pain, the whole world is reduced to our poor little toe. Now, for a day or two, it is difficult to walk. With every step, we are reminded of our poor little toe.
Our vigilance becomes: Which defines our day—the pinch we feel in walking on a bruised toe, or the miracle still happening?
It is the giving over to smallness that opens us to misery. In truth, we begin taking nothing for granted, grateful that we have enough to eat, that we are well enough to eat. But somehow, through the living of our days, our focus narrows like a camera that shutters down, cropping out the horizon, and one day we’re miffed at a diner because the eggs are runny or the hash isn’t seasoned just the way we like.
When we narrow our focus, the problem seems everything. Continue reading
The following is an excerpt from Anne Lamott’s Facebook post this morning:
Home, in bed, smothered in dogs like biscuit gravy; they are exhausted after giving me the ritual cleansing and have gone back to sleep, so I have this early morning all to myself. The sun has streaked highlights into my flowering pear tree like Vidal Sassoon, and I am wearing my Ethel Mertz jammies and eating peanut butter toast. This is what grace looks like: amazed gratitude and relief at your plain old gorgeous life.
I was up at 3:30 Tuesday, headed to Tennessee for two talks—one on Writing, one on faith—and then to Chicago for a talk on the Search for Meaning. They are all, at core, the same—the decision on how we choose to live this one short, precious life. The decision to stop hitting the snooze button. The willingness not to be good at things right away, to be clueless but committed; to make more messes and mistakes in the interest of living with spaciousness and a sense of presence; to find out who we truly are, who we were born to be, and to learn to love that screwed up, disappointing, heartbreakingly dear self of ours.
~Anne Lamott, Facebook, 9/22/12
Mom & me – last year on her 82nd birthday
A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people,
promptly announces she never did care for pie.
I found a lot of quotes about mothers when I went looking online a couple of days ago, but I kept coming back to this one, because it sums up so well who my mother is. She is kind, compassionate, and open-minded in ways that some others of her generation and upbringing aren’t. She is unfailingly accepting of others and always sees the best in people; you can be certain that anyone who gets on her bad side pretty much deserves to be there.
When we were growing up, our friends were always welcome at our house, and they still ask after her, Continue reading
One insight that completely changed my life came from the writings of Thomas Merton, from an entry in his journal describing a hot summer afternoon. He noted the color of the sunset and how the breeze bent the flowers and how the bulls were resting under the shade of a tree because of the heat. He focused his attention on the simplicity of nature, on all that was silent and beautiful, and he ended his journal entry that day with this sentence: “This day will never come again.” I read that line again and again Continue reading
We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have. ~Frederick Koenig