Kindness itself is a way of life. There will always be those who wait for others to lift the heavy load, those who count on you or me to make the extra effort. Do not begrudge them. For though they suffer, they have not suffered enough. They cause themselves more harm than they know. When you lend a hand, you open a way for your heart to touch the heart of everything. This is a wealth that only grows. While those we help may leave or die or simply grow into their own beauty and be loved by others, the closeness uncovered by kindness turns to light in the body, until the closeness generated by kindness makes a lamp of the heart.
~Mark Nepo, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen: Staying Close to What is Sacred
pathwriter’s note: I highly recommend this (or any other) book by Mark Nepo. He has been a constant spiritual companion/teacher for me for the past four or five years.
Speak a new language so that the world will be a new world.
Whatever is happening, whatever is changing, whatever is going or not going according to my plans—I release my hold on all of it. I leave behind who I think I am, who I want to be, what I want the world to be. I come home to the great peace of the present moment.
~Elizabeth Lesser, Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow
Umstead State Park, Raleigh, NC – Photo by Viki Atkinson
There’s a quote that’s been around for years, something along the lines of “growing old ain’t for sissies.” I’d like to propose that living your life by following (or trying to follow) spiritual guidance ain’t for sissies, either.
That stepping out in faith thing? A lot of the time it’s like that scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in which he comes upon an impossibly wide bottomless abyss that he has to cross to continue his quest—only there’s no bridge or Tarzan swing or anything that might help him do that. His only option is to take a step out over the abyss and hope like hell something will happen to help him across. When he finally does step out (spoiler alert!), his foot lands on something solid—invisible, but solid. So he takes another step, and he makes it all the way across on an invisible bridge that never would have shown itself if he hadn’t taken that first trusting step.
For five or six years now, I’ve been feeling as though I’m being led to and prepared for some…purpose…and yet the specifics of that purpose remain elusive. Continue reading
If light is in your heart, you will find your way home.
Some days, just getting through the day is like slogging through molasses. Sometimes, even when you can list a thousand things for which you are immensely grateful, and point to many things that are going well, the wet blanket of all-that’s-wrong/all-that’s-lacking/all-that-could-go-wrong covers everything, even the good stuff, in a heavy, grey, cloudy mass. Eventually, you reach a point where trying to throw off the blanket seems like so. much. work.
How do you get out of those periods? How do you scrabble your way up through the murk to the light again? I don’t think there’s one way that’s right for everyone. However, I do think there is a truth inherent in such periods of darkness. This truth is that, just as the body signals disease with physical symptoms, these periods of dark discomfort let us know there is something that needs our attention, something that needs to be looked at more closely, something that we’ve been sweeping under the rug, hiding behind the door, shutting away in a closet.
This is where I’ve been in recent months. First, I swept because I was busy. Then I hid because I was exhausted and not ready to look. Then I shut because it had become too painful. Continue reading
I have learned that the path is not a physical one and there is no map to find it; rather, it is an idea that dwells in each of us, waiting to be awakened.
Love is the whole thing. We are only pieces.
All great spirituality teaches about letting go of what you don’t need and who you are not. Then, when you can get little enough and naked enough and poor enough, you’ll find that the little place where you really are is ironically more than enough and is all that you need. At that place, you will have nothing to prove to anybody and nothing to protect.
That place is called freedom. It’s the freedom of the children of God. Such people can connect with everybody. They don’t feel the need to eliminate anybody . . .
~Richard Rohr, Healing Our Violence through the Journey of Centering Prayer (Compact disc edition)
I popped in here last night and was surprised to see that I hadn’t posted anything in more than a week—not even a quote du jour. Then again, my schedule the last couple of months has been morning til night, seven days a week (plus a house guest for ten days)—and this coming on top of a 6- to 8-month period that’s been pretty intense emotionally. No sudden, earth-shaking events or anything, just a lot of emotions coming up, recognition of patterns and realizations about my life, about where I’ve been and where I am now and where I want to be. Big life stuff…yet outer things have demanded my attention and left me little time to sit and sort and assimilate these thoughts and feelings.
When I finally got past a big deadline on the 12th (opening night for a show I’d choreographed), it all fell down around me, so to speak. I felt heavy and sad and listless and overwhelmed, depressed and unable to focus. The ice storm and single-digit weather last week didn’t help, keeping me mostly indoors for several days running, layering cabin fever on top of the cloud that was already hanging over me.
Now, ten days later, I’m finally feeling a bit more normal, but there’s still a sense of “Now what? Where do I start? What do I think? How do I feel? How do I sort this all out?” I’ve been pushing hard the last few months, but now that the pushing is over and I have some breathing room, I don’t know how to act.
So…I’m trying to give myself some time to adjust, to find my center (which has been AWOL for some time now) again. I need some long(er) walks in the woods, less time on the computer, more time reading and writing, a lot of time in the garden, and a lot of time just being. I need to find my inner rhythm again, to find the middle ground between fast forward and full stop.
Thanks for your patience in my absence. I am (sort of) back now, and I’ll be posting quotes du jour and sharing random thoughts on a regular basis soon.
Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.
The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.