Just yesterday I watched an ant crossing a path, through the tumbled pine needles she toiled. And I thought: she will never live another life but this one. And I thought: if she lives her life with all her strength is she not wonderful and wise? And I continued this up the miraculous pyramid of everything until I came to myself.
how would it be to allow for knowing and not knowing: allowing room for the mystery of creating to be able to wonder softly without needing to understand everything to trust in the process to trust in love to trust in the mystery and wonder of the universe that beats softly wildly true all round about us, that is hidden in the mists in the clouds and the rain in the wind blowing and the rain lashing down on your window, reminding you poetically prosaically that this is where you are, on the island, at the edge, in a place of finding and refinding, and remembering to remember the feel of the mist, wind and rain.
Author Unknown, sometimes attributed to John O’Donohue
Today’s midwinter solstice begins the gradual rebirth of light in the Northern Hemisphere after the shortest days of the year. It marks a turning point, a reversal of the lengthening of night and shortening of days. Slow stirrings of light and life. Whatever is now just germinating will be full of life in due time. As humans we like to see immediate results. However, for now, all we can do is wait and trust. We move on, and look to the future, even if we do not know what shape it will take.
In times like these, I turn back into the heart of our faith traditions, searching for hope. And hope is there to be found, in great abundance. This is not mere optimism. This is not about how we see, what we see. No, it’s about something more rooted in faith: its about hope, “Go back to your fortresses, ye prisoners of hope.” This message in the Bible is also taught by the Prophet Mohammad: “If the Hour of Resurrection comes up, and one of you is holding a sapling, finish planting it“
It is an amazing saying. If the End of Days is upon you, still, finish planting. Go ahead with the act, even if it — and you — will not survive to fruition. How powerful this is for us. We are so often tied to the results of our work, the fruits of our labor. What Muhammad offers us is hope; faith is hope in the unseen.
It is faith in the loveliness of a simple act of kindness — apart from whether it will be reciprocated, whether we will live long enough to see its fruits. Acts of beauty are redemptive in and of themselves. So let us, friends, keep planting. Yes, there are days that it seems like the world around us is coming to an end. It may — or it may not. But let us keep planting. Let us have hope that the accumulation of our collective planting may save this small planet, and our own souls.
Another storm system passed over last evening. A very unsettled start to the winter season, reflecting a general belief here that climate patterns are changing resulting in greater extremes of weather. On the emotional level, the key is finding the still point within.
Even in the middle of a hurricane, the bottom of the sea is calm. As the storm rages and the winds howl, the deep waters sway in gentle rhythm, a light movement of fish and plant life. Below there is no storm.
Wayne Muller, How Then, Shall We Live?: Four Simple Questions That Reveal the Beauty and Meaning of Our Lives
Moving towards the shortest day of the year this week, dark mornings and evenings. Very wild and wet again overnight. Easy to see that life is constantly changing, going up and down, with both darkness and life as just natural parts of the overall whole.
Everything — every tree, every blade of grass, all the animals, insects, human beings, buildings, the animate and the inanimate — is always changing, moment to moment. We don’t have to be mystics or physicists to know this. Yet at the level of personal experience, we resist this basic fact. It means that life isn’t always going to go our way. It means there’s loss as well as gain. And we don’t like that.