Fear of being frightened

My favourite poem from David Wagoner is ‘Lost’:

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger.

The truth of the poem is an old truth. There are places you wish to go, there are places you desperately wish you never left. there are places you imagine you should be, and there is the place called here. In the…poem, it is the rooted things – trees and bushes – that tell the truth to the person who is lost, the person with legs and fear who wishes to be elsewhere. The person must stand still, feel their body still on the ground where they are, in order to learn the wisdom….It is true there are some things that we fear, but there is, even deeper, a fear of fear. So we are prevented from being here not only by being frightened of certain places, but by the fear of being frightened of certain places.

from Padraig O’Tuama’s lovely book, In the Shelter: Finding a Home in the World

The still mind of winter

Very unlike the mild winter we are having here in Ireland, but a mind that is perfect for meditation

One must have a mind of winter to regard the frost and the boughs of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time to behold the junipers shagged with ice, the spruces rough in the distant glitter of the January sun;

and not to think of any misery in the sound of the wind, in the sound of a few leaves, which is the sound of the land

full of the same wind that is blowing in the same bare place
for the listener, who listens in the snow, 

And, nothing himself, beholds

Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is. 

Wallace Stevens

In our power

My motto has always been: “Always merry and bright.” Perhaps that is why I never tire of quoting Rabelais: “For all your ills I give you laughter.” As I look back on my life, which has been full of tragic moments, I see it more as a comedy than a tragedy. The man who takes himself seriously is doomed…

There is nothing wrong with life itself. It is the ocean in which we swim and we either adapt to it or sink to the bottom. But it is in our power as human beings not to pollute the waters of life, not to destroy the spirit which animates us.

The most difficult thing for a creative individual is to refrain from the effort to make the world to his liking and to accept his fellow man for what he is, whether good, bad or indifferent.

Henry Miller, 1891 – 1980, American writer and artist.

Earth stuff and star stuff

The practice of cultivating a loving and kind attitude towards ourselves and others, is not a self-improvement technique but an act of quiet daring. As we let down our habitual guard, as we soften and relax, allowing ourselves to loosen the grip of the thoughts and fears that haunt us, we remember the life is here, quietly offering itself to us in this very moment. We remember that we inhabit bodies that come to us from ancestors who endured and overcame much. We remember our deep connection to the earth and also to the stars. We are made of earth stuff and star stuff.

Tracy Cochran

Sent out

God speaks to each of us as he makes us, then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear: “You, sent out beyond your recall, go to the limits of your longing….

Flare up like a flame and make big shadows I can move in.

Rilke, The Book of Hours I, 59