However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is.…The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden
This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds,
Watching the birth and death of beings is like looking at movements of a dance,
A lifetime is like a flash of lightning in the sky,
Rushing by, like a torrent down a steep mountain.
The Buddha, Lalitavistara Sutra, 13.79
“I’ve known rivers,” writes Langston Hughes. “I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. My soul has grown deep like the rivers“.
Am I going to flow with my river nature today, or am I going to swim against it? this is what I ask myself when I get out of bed each morning. And when I go to sleep, I apologize to the river gods for any hard strokes I made against the current, and for splashing about like a drowning person. I pray that tomorrow I may once again know the pleasure of following my soul downstream, because I’ve known rivers- and once we’ve known rivers, once we have stretched out on the dark waters, trusting the river gods, going in the direction of life even if it is headfirst toward the rapids – we want to taste that water again;
we want our souls to grow deep like the rivers again.
Elizabeth Lesser, Broken Open: How difficult times can help us grow
You continually get the teachings that you need in order to open your heart.
To the degree that you didn’t understand in the past how to stop protecting your soft spot, how to stop armoring your heart, you’re given this gift of teachings in the form of your life, to give you everything you need to learn how to open further.
To treat life as less than a miracle is to give up on it.
Wendell Berry, Life Is a Miracle: An Essay Against Modern Superstition
I worried a lot.
Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
Finally, I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
Mary Oliver, I Worried