The Blessing of nature

Went for a long walk yesterday and while out it started to  gently rain, that soft rain which is very characteristic of Ireland. 

I don’t know   
why I’m walking out here

with my coat darkening
and my boots sinking in, coming up

with a mild sucking sound   
I like to hear. I don’t care

where those girls are now.   
Whatever they’ve made of it

they can have. Today I want   
to resolve nothing.

I only want to walk
a little longer in the cold

blessing of the rain,   
and lift my face to it.

Kim Addonizio, New Year’s Day, with thanks to David Kanigan’s blog, Thrive


Delaying enjoyment

The present is truly the only place we exist. What we call the past is a construct of memory, the recollection of which constitutes a present experience. According to author Alan Watts, the future is likewise a construct, “and cannot become a part of experienced reality until it is present.” So, to know happiness in the future, we must be happy now. Delaying enjoyment of your life is to always live in Christmas Eve, with the many gifts around you staying securely wrapped. Moreover, to participate in the moment — to be fully aware, is to be unified with the experience, and free from the separating identity of being the experiencer.

[Watts:] “To understand music, you must listen to it. But so long as you are thinking, ‘I am listening to this music,’ you are not listening. To understand joy or fear, you must be wholly and undividedly aware of it. So long as you are calling it names and saying, ‘I am happy,’ or ‘I am afraid’, you are not being aware of it. This is not a psychological or spiritual discipline for self-improvement, It is simply being aware of this present experience, and realizing that you can neither define it nor divide yourself from it. There is no rule but ‘Look!’

Tom Maxwell,  No Rush, No Dawdle: The Secret Of Proper Timing

Soft eyes today

Normally when we are taken by surprise, there is a sudden narrowing of our visual periphery that exacerbates the fight or flight response… But in the Japanese self-defense art of aikido, this visual narrowing is countered by a practice called “soft eyes”, in which one learns to widen one’s periphery, to take in more of the world. If you train a person to practice soft eyes, then introduce that same sudden stimulus, the reflex is often transcended. This person will turn toward the stimulus, take it in, and then make a more authentic response — such as thinking a new thought.

Soft eyes, it seems to me, is an evocative image for what happens when we gaze on sacred reality. Now our eyes are open and receptive, able to take in the greatness of the world and the grace of great things. Eyes wide with wonder, we no longer need to resist or run when taken by surprise. Now we can open ourselves to the great mystery. 

Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach

The lesson of this day

To love someone is not first of all to do things for them,

but to reveal to them their beauty and value, to say to them through our attitude:

‘You are beautiful. You are important. I trust you. You can trust yourself.’

Jean Vanier, From Brokenness to Community

Behind the clouds

Those who gathered yesterday to see the sun rise at the burial tomb in Newgrange were disappointed, as the morning was cloudy, overcast and rainy. No sign of the sun, which in ancient times may have been quite frightening. A good lesson for us on the confidence we keep inside despite our changing moods. 

The sun doesn’t stop shining because some of us are blind.

The birds don’t stop singing because some of us are deaf.

The heart doesn’t stop loving because some of us are afraid.

What lets the flower in the forest bloom though no one is watching?

Mark Nepo, Authority of Being