Category Archives: quote

Go to the fields and seek the unexpected

“Imagine, adorable, if we were walking through a beautiful field, in a beautiful day and suddenly a storm fell over our heads. How wonderful! Is there greater emotion than seeing the elements producing wild power and energy? Let’s go to the fields, Mary, and seek the unexpected.” 

—Khalil Gibran, from a love letter written to Mary Haskell, May 24, 1914

Imagine, readers, if we were walking through a beautiful field, in a beautiful day with a person we love and suddenly we decided to celebrate the “wildly ever after” instead of the “happily ever after.”

How wonderful!

Is there a greater achievement than successfully withstanding the wild power and energy produced by the elements?

Forget the fairy tale and the happily-ever-after ending. How dull! (And unrealistic.) Look with delight upon the storms that fall over your head and the wild power and energy of the elements.

Go to the fields and seek the unexpected.

______________

See more of Kahlil Gibran’s love letters to Mary Haskill at the  blog: Gibran’s love letters

wild-elements

 

 

Thanksgiving for Today: Hafiz

As we celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada, may everyone in the world move slowly over the lines on God’s palm with hearts full of wonder and kindness, as Hafiz would have wanted.


TODAY

I
Do not
Want to step so quickly
Over a beautiful line on God’s palm
As I move through the earth’s
Marketplace
Today.

I do not want to touch any object in this world
Without my eyes testifying to the truth
That everything is
My Beloved.

Something has happened
To my understanding of existence
That now makes my heart always full of wonder
And kindness.

I do not
Want to step so quickly
Over this sacred place on God’s body
That is right beneath our
Own foot.

As I
Dance with
Precious life
Today.

a-line-on-God's-palm

A line on God’s palm

A fire wishing for wind: Gifts from randomness

wishing-for-wind“Wind extinguishes a candle and energizes fire. Likewise with randomness, uncertainty, chaos: you want to use them, not hide from them. You want to be the fire and wish for the wind.” —Nassim Nicholas Taleb in Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

My husband and I had to roll with randomness twice recently.

The first time was two weekends ago when we planned a trip to London, ON to see my son at university. It was my birthday, so we were fulfilling my wish to get a birthday hug from both my children before the weekend was out. Our plan was to get up on Saturday morning, relax, do some reading, maybe some gardening and then meander down to stay with some friends in Kingston, ON on Saturday night. From there we would rise early on Sunday morning and drive to London to watch my son pitch from the bullpen in baseball game and have a quick visit.

Then . . . at 9:45 on Saturday morning my son sent a text: “I’m in Toronto with the team, and I just found out I’m starting the 2:00 game.” We live a 4-hour drive away from Toronto. I hadn’t showered or packed or prepared in any way, but we ran with it. We threw a few things in an overnight back, contacted our friends in Kingston to adjust the timing, and drove like stink to Toronto.

This unexpected series of events worked out better than our original plan. We got to watch our son be the starting pitcher in a game instead of coming in out of the bullpen, I got to see him on my actual birthday instead of the day after, and when we arrived at our friend’s house in Kingston later, we had nowhere to rush off to, so we enjoyed a leisurely visit and a walk in the conservation area behind their house.

The second gift of randomness arrived on our wedding anniversary. Our plan was to attend a presentation that a friend of ours was giving at the Chateau Laurier for the Canadian Public Relations Society and then go out to dinner. We started our anniversary evening at the Chateau Laurier and enjoyed the event and the opportunity to see our friend.

But when we walked him to the front door where he planned to catch a taxi to the airport, we discovered there was not a taxi in sight. We tried the hotel down the street, where a line-up of taxis always lingers. No luck. There is unrest in the taxi industry in Ottawa at the moment. Our friend was starting to panic about missing his flight, so we said, “We’ll drive you.”

After we dropped him off, my husband and I said, “What now?” We hadn’t anticipated being in the airport part of the city. We decided to head back to our neighbourhood and go to a restaurant that used to be one of our haunts when we were newly married and childless.

Again the surprising series of events worked out better than our original plan. We would never have thought of that restaurant otherwise, so we would have ended up somewhere less meaningful. Now that we are long-married and into empty nest childlessness, we felt like we had come full circle, and the restaurant felt exactly right.

“If you are not a washing machine or a cuckoo clock—in other words, if you are alive—something deep in your soul likes a certain measure of randomness and disorder.” —Nassim Nicholas Taleb

While all this was happening, I was reading Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book Antifragile: Things That Gain from DisorderHe suggests that systems—and people, marriages and families are systems—need some stress and agitation. Instead of resisting uncertainty, chaos, chance, volatility or disorder, or being extinguished by them like a candle, we should feed off them.

Not just survive, but thrive. Be the fire and wish for the wind. Sometimes it works out better than the original plan. 

 

Chance treasures: Waiting for the good stuff

“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach—waiting for a gift from the sea.”

—from Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

In her time of simplicity at her beach house, Anne Morrow Lindbergh discovered that when she lay empty, open, choiceless as a beach, nuggets of insight, treasures of faith materialized in her mind like seashells gifted to the beach by rolling ocean waves.

“One never knows what chance treasures these east unconscious rollers may toss up, on the smooth white sand of the conscious mind, what perfectly rounded stone, what rare shell from the ocean floor.”

Relaxing by water opens one’s mind to ideas that wash into consciousness like waves to the shore.

For the next few weeks I’ll be enjoying some time by a lake. I aim to be patient and to lie empty, open and choiceless as a beach to see what washes in.

“But it must not be sought for or—heaven forbid!—dug for. No, no dredging of the sea bottom here. That would defeat one’s purpose.”

—from Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

new-horizons

 

The happiness choice

“To begin with, you have to realize that you really only have one choice in this life, and it’s not about your career, whom you want to marry, or whether you want to seek God. People tend to burden themselves with so many choices. But, in the end, you can throw it all away and just make one basic underlying decision: Do you want to be happy, or do you not want to be happy? It’s really that simple.”

—Michael A. Singer in The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

What stunning changes happened around you this summer? Did long-married friends of yours separate? Did an unexpected flower blossom in your garden from a plant that appeared out of nowhere? Has a loved one injured herself or fallen ill? Did you receive an unexpected gift of money?

We like to believe that our happiness depends upon whether we would choose or not choose the changes: separation or divorce, unhappy; beautiful flower, happy; ill loved one, unhappy; surprise money, happy.

In fact, our happiness depends on whether we choose or don’t choose the happiness. 

As Michael A. Singer points out in his book, The Untethered Soulwe unnecessarily waste a lot of energy resisting:

“. . . you’re generally using your will to resist one of two things: that which has already happened or that which hasn’t happened yet. You are sitting inside resisting impressions from the past or thoughts about the future.”

We are so busy pining for the life we wish we had, that we forget to enjoy the life we actually have. 

No matter what happens, may you enjoy a happy summer.

Happiness

Happiness

I am thinking about you

I found this beautiful poetic writing by Bishop Charleston on Healing Soul Streams.

You might wonder, “Of all the people she knows, how could she be thinking about me?”

The generic specificity of Bishop Charleston’s short piece takes me to that “All is One” place. There, I am thinking about you because we are one and the same, all seeking to discover our next miracle.

_______________

I am thinking about you, thinking about all the good that you have done in this life, all the people you have helped, all the kindness you have shown to others.

No, don’t shake your head.

I know you will want to argue that you are far from saintly and have much to regret, but counting your mistakes is not my job.

My calling is to celebrate the goodness within you, to honor you for who you are, to encourage you to keep going so you will discover the next miracle waiting for you around the corner of hope.

You go do what you do now. I will be thinking about you, thinking how wonderful you are.

—Bishop Charleston

 

 

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