The future is open

Everything is material for the seed of happiness, if you look into it with inquisitiveness and curiosity. The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment. There always is the potential to create an environment of blame — or one that is conducive to loving-kindness.

Pema Chodron

A New Years Resolution: Don’t hesitate

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happened better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb. 

Mary Oliver, Don’t Hesitate from Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

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