ex libris

For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.
~Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

I’ve spent the evening packing up books in preparation for my move to North Carolina. It’s going to take a while, because everywhere I turn, in every room, there are a lot of books. Although I’ve let go of a fair number of books in recent years, and I’ve been trying to patronize my local library recently instead of buying books, I’m a little amazed to realize how many books I still have.

Books are spiritual and mental comfort food for me; I’ve rarely been in a place where I didn’t have a book close at hand. In fact, the only exceptions I can think of are two ten-day meditation retreats I attended in Massachusetts back in the mid-90s. (To ensure that we maintained our inward focus, we weren’t allowed to have reading materials.) Reading has always been a big part of my life, and I usually have a couple of books going at any given time.

When I’m stuck emotionally or wrestling with a problem, I often end up at a bookstore, wandering the aisles and waiting for the right book to jump off the shelf Continue reading

quote du jour ~lamott – writing and reading…

Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.

~Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

the heart’s path

I still find myself in a place of pushing words away. I’ve done no writing to speak of, and I keep setting books aside unless they speak of the things for which words are hard to find. I’ve done a lot of walking lately, and I’ve found myself turning to music instead of books, especially the kind of music that grabs you by the heart and reaches into your soul, into the places that have no words. I’m feeling for feelings, for magic and wonder, for parts of me that have been covered up for a long time and for reasons no longer important. I’m often solitary these days, yet somehow feel more connected than ever to the world and the people around me. I feel joy and contentment and peace and love a lot of the time, which is a new—and lovely—way of being for me. Most importantly, I’m glad to be here, exactly where I am, eager for what’s around the corner, even though I have no idea what’s ahead on my path.

Thank you, dear readers and friends, for traveling with me as I find my way. I wish you joy and peace and contentment and love, too. Namaste.

carving peace out of chaos

I read Pico Iyer’s article about the joy of quiet a few days ago, nodding my head and murmuring agreement throughout. I’ve increasingly been craving “quiet” in the past year, especially in the last two or three months, and I’ve been doing whatever I can to achieve it.

It’s rare that I turn on the television now.  I’ve never been an “anti-television” person; I enjoyed a lot of what was on TV when I was younger.  However, much of what’s on television now is just silly or completely outrageous, and the news shows all seem to focus on negativity, so it’s much easier for me to “just say no” these days. Continue reading