New life

The trees are coming into leaf

Like something almost being said;

The recent buds relax and spread

Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again

and we grow old? No, they die too.

Their yearly trick of looking new

Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still unresting castles thresh

In fullgrown thickness every May.

Last year is dead, they seem to say,

Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

Philip Larkin

Contemplate water

When I want to summon strength and power in the midst of awfulness and hate, I contemplate water.

Our ideas of strength so often surround images of things that are hard — like rock or even a clenched fist. Perhaps that’s why we think love doesn’t include strength, just softness. We are thinking in only one dimension. That’s why I think of water, in all its manifestations. Look at the many ways we experience water: It trickles, spurts, floods, pours, streams, soaks, and shows itself in many more modes. All these convey evanescence, release, flow. They are all about not being stuck.

Water is flexible, taking the shape of whatever vessel it flows into. It’s always interacting, changing, in motion, yet revealing continual patterns of connection. Water can be so expressive, a signal of our most heartfelt feelings. We cry tears of sorrow, tears of outrage, tears of gratitude, and tears of joy. Water can be puzzling, seeming weak or ineffectual, yielding too much, not holding firm. And yet over time water will carve its own pathway, even through rock. And yes, water freezes. But it also melts.

Human beings have always found uplift and inspiration in metaphors, like water, but we also take inspiration from other people, and their strength and resiliency in the face of difficult circumstances—the ways in which they unfreeze themselves and make change.

Sharon Salzberg, Real Change

Unlooked for

The classic sign of our acceptance of God’s mystery is welcoming and making room for the stranger, the other, the surprising, the unlooked for and unwanted.

It means learning to read the world better, that we may better know our place in it

Kathleen Norris, Dakota, A Spiritual Geography

Dance

Our physical space may be more restricted, but our hearts can still dance

May my ashes, when you have them, friend,

and give them to the ocean

leap in the froth of the waves,

still loving the moment,

still ready, beyond all else,

to dance for the world.

Mary Oliver, Prayer

The angels will sing

Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing. Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength

August Wilson,  1945 – 2005, American Pulitzer Prize winning playwright