As you do

The self is relatedness. Only when the self mirrors itself in so many mirrors does it really exist. . . You can never come to your self by building a meditation hut on top of Mount Everest; you will only be visited by your own ghosts and that is not individuation. . . . 

The self only exists inasmuch as you appear. 

Not that you are, but that you do the self. 

The self appears in your deeds and deeds always mean relationship.

Jung, Seminar on Nietzsche’s Zarathustra,

As they are

The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them. 

Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island

An accepting gaze

File:Birch tree leaves.jpg

In a true you-and-I relationship, we are present mindfully, non-intrusively, the way we are present with things in nature. We do not tell a birch tree it should be more like an elm. We face it with no agenda, only an appreciation that becomes participation: ‘I love looking at this birch’ becomes ‘I am this birch’ and then ‘I and this birch are opening to a mystery that transcends and holds us both.”

David Richo, When the Past is Present

May 1st: Growth after a period of cold


The month of May is called Bealtaine  in Ireland, after the ancient Celtic feast that was celebrated on May 1st. It marks the midpoint in the progress of the sun  between the spring equinox and the summer solstice, and announced the beginning of Summer. Hard to believe this year. Here in France it is the custom today to give as a gift the traditional flower for the first of May –  the  muguet, or lily of the valley.  This flower is a symbol of springtime and of beauty, used frequently in bridal bouquets,  and has traditionally been associated with the return of happiness after a period of darkness.   And yet this is despite the fact that its stalk, flowers, and berries are all extremely poisonous. A strange mix, but one that we find elsewhere in our lives. Often the places of greatest growth and energy, the places we learn most and reflect most upon,  are the places where we have been most hurt.  And frequently we find most freedom when we move from the places where we have been stuck, or the things that we feared most, without them being able to poison us any more.

Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses, who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us. So you must not be frightened…..if a sadness rises up before you larger than any you have ever seen; if a restiveness, like light and cloud-shadows, passes over your hands and over all you do. You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall. . . .


Photo: Lily-of-the-valley, Gordon E. Robertson