Don’t make life more complicated than it is

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I grew up in a post-Depression household. My parents went off to work, so my grandmother did a great deal of the mothering, and I remember her bathing and washing and dressing me and making braids and preparing the kinds of foods that I liked. The only thing that she was not moved to respond to was the coming and going of childhood bouts of “I’m not happy.” I’d say, “But I’m not happy.” And she’d say, “Where is it written that you’re supposed to be happy all the time?” And I actually think it was the beginning of my spiritual practice — that life is difficult. Then 40 years later, I learned that the Buddhists said the same thing, that life is inevitably challenging, and how are we going to do it in a way that’s wise and doesn’t complicate it more than it is just by itself?

Sylvia Boorstein

photo gaijin biker

You will never be complete

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Inside the huge Romanesque church the tourists jostled in the half darkness.
Vault gaped behind vault, no complete view.
An angel with no face embraced me
and whispered through my whole body:
“Don’t be ashamed of being human, be proud!
Inside you vault opens behind vault endlessly.
You will never be complete, that’s how it’s meant to be.
Blind with tears
I was pushed out on the sun-seething piazza
together with Mr and Mrs Jones, Mr Tanaka, and Signora Sabatini,
and inside them all vault opened behind vault endlessly.

Tomas Transtromer, Romanesque Arches

photo valdavia

A yes to life

Aligning with your ‘yes!’ is about feeling nourished on every level – feeling deeply alive. I’m not talking about the shallow, quick-fix kinds of comfort that make us feel good only temporarily. The kind of feeling good that I’m talking about, which comes from aligning with your ‘yes!,’ is about listening for the deeper truth underneath all of that. It’s that knowledge that ‘I’m in the right place, at the right time, doing what I’m here to do.’ You feel grounded and at home in yourself. Your life becomes rooted in a deep ‘yes!’ You feel alive and grateful to be in direct contact with life. You are in touch with how exquisite it is to feel and be with the raw truth of all that is moving through you. This kind of alignment includes difficult emotions, pain, and tension. It can include illness and struggle. It is about being in direct, authentic contact with the wholeness of life. Nothing is denied. It is your truth and you are awake to it.

Deborah Zucker, The Vitality Map

Be firm like a rock

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This prayer is attributed to Saint Patrick, when he was in danger of being ambushed by the High King,  Lóegaire mac Neill.  To defend himself he takes in the energies associated with different elements of the natural world. The early Celtic Christians developed their inner life through paying attention  rather than seeking direct visions. They cultivated this skill, rooted in the body, tuning into the 5 senses, or as they said, learning to play  ‘the 5 stringed Harp’.

I bind onto myself today through the power of heaven!

The Light of the Sun
Brilliance of moon
Splendour of fire
Speed of lightning
Swiftness of the wind
Depth of sea
Stability of earth
Firmness of rock.

St Patrick’s Shield, 8th Century

How can you help but grow wise with such teachings as these –

the untrimmable light of the world, the oceans shine

the prayers that are made

out of grass

Mary Oliver, Why I Wake Early

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Standing in the face of disappointment

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Stay with the feeling in the body. Don’t advance into proliferating a story. Don’t retreat into denying the sense of hurt.

Not advancing, not retreating,

Not real, not empty.

There is an ocean of bright clouds.

There is an ocean of dark clouds.

Dogen, 1200 –  1253

photo Nicolas A. Tonelli