quote du jour ~mark nepo

…when things fall apart, they make a lot of noise. When things come together, they do so quietly and slowly. And so, we often miss them. Our culture is obsessed with how things fall apart. The news reports only the noise of things breaking down. The weather is even called Storm Watch. Yet things are constantly coming together, though we have forgotten how to hear them.

~Mark Nepo, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen

be the lake…

It was on another shore, later in life, that I sat on a worn cliff… I spent that afternoon in silence, just watching the vast ocean spray the stone and re-form itself, coating every surface, as if to soothe the stone’s hardness. I came away convinced that the sea is a great teacher of receiving. Always rising and falling like the clear blood of the earth, the formless water receives every thing that enters it. It rejects nothing. Always transparent, the open water gently covers everything; softening whatever it touches, giving itself completely without losing any of itself. The more I watched, the more I realized that the sea is both strong and gentle, sensitive and unwavering, it only takes the shape of what holds it or enters it. Whatever breaks its surface ripples through its entire being. So much like the heart of God. So much like the heart of experience, God’s smaller face in the world. I came away with spray on my face wanting to be like the sea, to love like the sea: to receive and give myself to everything I meet, softening its way while making it glisten.

~Mark Nepo, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen

I’ve searched in recent years for an image that could be a touchstone for me when life’s storms blow up, when I’m faced with difficult people or situations, when I encounter pain and heartache both in myself and in others. I’m one of those people who, for better or worse, is like a tuning fork for other people’s feelings and moods—what they’re feeling resonates in me, and I often have to distance myself to regain my balance. Continue reading

the sustenance of solitude

There is no doubt that solitude is a challenge and to maintain balance within it a precarious business. But I must not forget that, for me, being with people or even with one beloved person for any length of time without solitude is even worse. I lose my center. I feel dispersed, scattered, in pieces. I must have time alone in which to mull over my encounter, and to extract its juice, its essence, to understand what has really happened to me as a consequence of it.
~May Sarton,
Journal of a Solitude

I figured out while I was still in my twenties that when I spent a fair amount of time around other people, I then had to spend some time by myself to recharge. At the time, I never would have called myself an introvert. After all, I liked being around other people. I was a performer. I choreographed and taught dance. I went out disco-dancing with friends till the wee hours of the morning.

Back then, the generally accepted image of an introvert was a painfully shy person who could barely look you in the eye or have a conversation and would rather stay home and read than be around other people. (They certainly wouldn’t be comfortable getting up in front of people to perform!) Nowadays, however, introverts and extroverts are a little better understood, and I’ve come to realize that, although there are people who would be surprised to hear me say so, I’m a classic introvert.

There are a lot of articles out there these days about introverts and extroverts. You can take any number of quizzes to see which you are. One article I read  a few months ago observed (correctly) that it ultimately comes down to energy: introverts give or expend energy when they’re around other people, and extroverts receive or absorb energy when they’re around people. This is why introverts feel drained when they’re around other people for too long without some alone time to refuel and recharge.

“I lose my center. I feel dispersed, scattered, in pieces.” Continue reading

excerpt du jour ~nepo

. . . Can we hear the sound of light being folded in a river passing under a bridge? . . . Can we listen for truth like music to come out of silence and return to silence? . . . Can we listen in the way a cloud receives light and lets it through? . . .

~Mark Nepo, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen