In 2023, be like a cat

When a cat falls out of a tree, it let’s go of itself. The cat becomes completely relaxed, and lands lightly on the ground. But if a cat were about to fall out of a tree, and suddenly make up its mind that it didnt want to fall, it would become tense and rigid, and would be just a bag of broken bones upon landing.

It is the philosophy of the Tao that…the moment we were born we were kicked off a precipice and we are falling, and there is nothing that can stop it.

So instead of living in a state of chronic tension and clinging to all sorts of things that are actually falling with us because the whole world is impermanent, be like a cat.

Alan Watts, What is Tao?

Trusting whatever arrives

There’s that long bend in the river on the way home. Fluffy bursts of milkweed are floating through shafts of sunlight or disappearing where trees reach out from their deep dark roots. 

 Maybe people have to go in and out of shadows till they learn that floating,

that immensity waiting to receive whatever arrives with trust. 

Maybe somebody has to explore what happens when one of us wanders over near the edge and falls for awhile.

Maybe it was your turn.  

William Stafford, Afterwards

Three lessons

Last Sunday I passed some young children gathering chestnuts, which was always a big thing this time of year when I was young. We would gather then to play the game of “conkers” in school, a yearly challenge which was taken very seriously. The chestnut plays a role in different traditions and cultures including in Italy where carrying one around in your pocket for winter was thought to prevent colds.

Seeing one of them on the ground reminded me of this passage and its message of trust.

And I saw a tiny thing, the size of a nut, lying in the palm of my hand, as it seemed. And it was as round as any ball. I looked at it and thought: ‘What is this?’ And this is the answer that came to me: ‘It is all that is made.’ I marvelled how it could survive, it was so small that I thought that it might disintegrate. And in my mind I heard this answer: It lasts and ever shall, for God loves it.

In this little thing I saw three properties. The first is that God made it. The second that God loves it. And the third, that God keeps it.

Julian of Norwich c. 1342–c. 1416, Revelations


I worried a lot.

Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally, I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

Mary Oliver, I Worried


Wait on the Lord” is a constant refrain in the Psalms, and it is a necessary word, for God often keeps us waiting. He is not in such a hurry as we are, and it is not his way to give more light on the future than we need for action in the present, or to guide us more than one step at a time. When in doubt, do nothing, but continue to wait ….. When action is needed, light will come.

J.I. Parker, 1926 – 2020 Canadian evangelical theologian, cleric and writer