Bring love to the moment


At a certain moment in [Nietzsche’s] life, the idea came to him of what he called ‘the love of your fate.’ Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, ‘This is what I need.’ It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment — not discouragement — you will find the strength is there. This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow.

Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see that this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.

Joseph Campbell

Always hoping

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A lot of conversation in Ireland revolves around the weather. These days we wonder what the Summer will be like, or even stress about whether the weekend will allow a walk or a barbeque. In a way this unpredictability can support our practice and can lead to a reduction in stress: it reminds us that reality is always changing and that we have to be with the present however it manifests, open to possibility and not too fixed in expectations:

A large degree of life happens independent of, and often contrary to, your expectations. At first this may seem dismaying, but as you develop more and more awareness, you eventually start to realize that carrying around this jumble of expectations in your head is a burden  and that it gets in the way of being present in,  and responding to, the life you have.

Phillip Moffitt, Emotional Chaos to Clarity

photo of Lough Dan in Wicklow by Hugh C

A hidden stream within


Silence comes from the Latin word, silens, meaning to be still, quiet, or at rest. Other words related to it are: calm, peace, serenity, tranquility, poise, composure, noiselessness, hush, and solitude. In his description of stillness, Romano Guardini cuts to its very essence: “Stillness is the tranquility of the inner life; the quiet at the depths of its hidden streams. It is a collected, total presence, a being ‘all there,’ receptive, alert, ready . . . It is when the soul abandons the restlessness of purposeful activity.”  Within this definition we learn silence’s first fundamental lesson: It is not so much a lack of sound as it is a cultivation of interior stillness.

Eugene Hemrick, Silence: Taken from the promise of virtue

Learning from the birds these days

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The phoebe sits on her nest
Hour after hour,
Day after day,
Waiting for life to burst out
From under her warmth.

Can I weave a nest for silence,
Weave it out of listening,
Listening, Layer upon layer?

But one must first become small,
Nothing but a presence,
Attentive as a nesting bird,
Proffering no slightest wish,
No tendril of a wish
Toward anything that might happen
Or be given,
Only the warm, faithful waiting,
Contained in one’s smallness.
Beyond the question, the silence.
Before the answer, the silence.

May Sarton, Beyond the question, 1