misery ~mark nepo

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

wherever you go, there you are…

An old man was sitting on the porch of the general store when a young man from the city drove up. The young man got out of the car and walked up to the old man and said, “I’m thinking of moving to this town, old man. What’s it like living here?”

The old man took a pull on his pipe and asked, “Well, young man, what’s it like where you come from?” The young man scowled. “It’s a terrible place!” he grumbled. “The people are incredibly rude and unfriendly. I can’t wait to leave!”

The old man nodded his head. “I see. Well, that’s pretty much what it’d be like around here, too.”

The next day, another young man drove up and stopped at the general store. Continue reading

quote du jour ~lesser – at any given moment…

At any given moment…you have your soul—what [Viktor] Frankl called the last of the human freedoms, the freedom to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances. When you exercise the last of the human freedoms—when you choose to learn and to grow from the weight of the world—you are putting your soul in charge of your life. You are choosing not the attitude of your smaller and more fearful self but rather the attitude of your soul, which is hopeful, expansive, and eternal. You are living for the deeper truth hidden in the pain of circumstance…

~Elizabeth Lesser, Broken Open