Hold firm

Whatever disquiet we sense in a room
we have brought there.

And so I instruct my ribs each morning,
pointing to hinge and plaster and wood –

You are matter, as they are.
See how perfectly it can be done.

Hold, one day more, what is asked.

Jane Hirshfield, A Room [extract]

Love and fear

Happiness, anxiety, joy, resentment — we have many words for the many emotions we experience in our lifetimes. But deep down, there are only two emotions: love and fearAll positive emotions come from love, all negative emotions from fear. From love flows happiness, contentment, peace, and joy. From fear comes anger, hate, anxiety and guilt.

We have to make a decision to be in one place or the other. If you don’t actively choose love, you will find yourself in a place of either fear or one of its component feelings. Every moment offers the choice to choose one or the other. And we must continually make these choices, especially in difficult circumstances when our commitment to love, instead of fear, is challenged.

Elizabeth Kubler Ross

Two extremes

There is a deep hole in your being, like an abyss.

You will never succeed in filling that hole, because your needs are inexhaustible. You have to work around it so that gradually the abyss closes. Since the hole is so enormous and your anguish so deep, you will always be tempted to flee from it.

There are two extremes to avoid: being completely absorbed in your pain and being distracted by so many things that you stay far away from the wound you want to heal.


Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love

Taste everything

O taste and see

the subway Bible poster said,
meaning The Lord, meaning
if anything, all that lives
to the imagination’s tongue,

grief, mercy, language,
tangerine, weather,

to breathe them, bite,
savor, chew, swallow, transform
into our flesh our
deaths, crossing the street, plum, quince,
living in the orchard and being
hungry, and plucking
the fruit.

Denise Levertov, O Taste and See