How difficulties can be creative…

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A different way of seeing the challenges in life, and maybe a more helpful way of looking at the slow diversions which life obliges us to take:

Une difficulte est une lumiere. Une difficulte insurmontable est un soleil. Paul Valery

(A difficulty is a light; an insurmountable difficulty is a sun)

We tend to perceive difficulty as disturbance. Ironically, difficulty can be a great friend of creativity… I love these lines from Paul Valery: this is a completely different way of considering the awkward, the uneven, and the difficult. Deep within us, there is a terrible impulse and drive toward perfection. We want everything flattened into one shape. We do not like unexpected shapes… The imagination in its loyalty to possibility often takes the curved path rather than the linear way. Such risk and openness inherit the harvest of creativity, beauty and spirit.

 John O’Donohue Anam Chara

photo kilabs

The gift of life

A reminder to see each day as a gift to be celebrated: 

God has given us the gift of life

It is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living fully

(Dieu nous a donné le vivre; c’est à nous de nous donner le bien vivre)

Voltaire, 1694–1778, French writer, philosopher and public activist,  Œuvres complètes de Voltaire: melanges. commentaires sur corneille. 

Surviving or celebrating?

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Harley Swift Deer, a Native American teacher, says that each of us has a survival dance and a sacred dance, but the survival dance must come first. Our survival dance, a foundational component of self-reliance, is what we do for a living — our way of supporting ourselves physically and economically. For most people, this means a paid job. Everybody has to have a survival dance. Finding and creating one is our first task upon leaving our parents’ or guardians’ home.

Once you have your survival dance established, you can wander, inwardly and outwardly, searching for clues to your sacred dance, the work you were born to do. This work may have no relation to your job. Your sacred dance sparks your greatest fulfillment and extends your truest service to others. You know you’ve found it when there’s little else you’d rather be doing. Getting paid for it is superfluous. You would gladly pay others, if necessary, for the opportunity. Hence, the importance of self-reliance, not merely the economic kind implied by a survival dance but also of the social, psychological, and spiritual kind. To find your sacred dance, after all, you will need to take significant risks. You might need to move against the grain of your family and friends.  Swift Deer says that once you discover your sacred dance and learn effective ways of embodying it, the world will support you in doing just that.

Bill Plotkin, SoulCraft


All we get are glimpses

Saints and bodhisattvas may achieve what Christians call mystical union or Buddhists call satori — a perpetual awareness of the force at the heart of things. For these enlightened few, the world is always lit. For the rest of us, such clarity comes only fitfully, in sudden glimpses or slow revelations. Quakers refer to these insights as ‘openings.’ When I first heard the term … I thought of how, on an overcast day, sunlight pours through a break in the clouds. After the clouds drift on, eclipsing the sun, the sun keeps shining behind the veil, the memory of its light shines on in the mind.

Scott Russell Sanders, A Private History of Awe