The end of 2015 sees dark rivers bursting their banks, and high winds blowing all before them. Everything in movement. We see what to hold onto and what to let go of.
everything I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
is salvation, whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go
Mary Oliver, Black Water Woods
photo of the River Barrow at Bagenalstown, December 30th.
We can’t travel with others in territory that we haven’t explored ourselves. It is the exploration of our own inner life that enables us to form an empathetic bridge to the other person. It’s our task to trust, to listen, and to pay careful attention to the changing experience. At the deepest level, we are being asked to cultivate a kind of fearless receptivity.
This is a journey of continuous discovery in which we will always be entering new territory. We have no idea how it will turn out, and it takes courage and flexibility. We find a balance. The journey is a mystery we need to live into, opening, risking, and forgiving constantly.
The ‘law of white spaces’ is an important piece of universal legislation that we ignore at our personal and collective peril. The law states that it is the white space between the words on a page that make it readable. Or the silence between two musical notes. Or the rest between periods of action. Without periods of silence and non-action our words and our deeds jumble up into meaningless spirals of stress. We need a web of silence spread around the world just as extensively as the web of technology.
Laurence Freeman, Web of Silence
I read in Brand’s “Popular Antiquities” that “Bishop Stillingfleet observes, that among the peoples of the northern nations, the Feast of the New Year was observed with more than ordinary jollity: thence, as Olaus Wormius and Scheffer observe, they reckoned their age by so many Iolas.” (Iola: to make merry) So may we measure our lives by our joys.
We have lived, not in proportion to the number of years that we have spent on the earth,
but in proportion as we have enjoyed
Henry David Thoreau, Journals (1860)
The flower doesn’t dream of the bee
It blossoms and the bee comes
It is no easy matter to stop short at just seeing.
photo blue plover