The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence. More than that, it is cooperation in violence. The frenzy of the activist…destroys his own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of his own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.
— Thomas Merton, as quoted in Courtney Martin’s weekly column for On Being, "The Spiritual Art of Saying No"
I can’t do everything, but today I can ___________ . — Fill in this blank + reblog with your answer. Then pose the challenge to your followers.
Postcard from MN: A foggy morning on Lake Washburn. The red bucket is for bailing, but it makes for nice contrast.
As you float now, where I held you
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year
stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you. —
Philip Booth, from his poem “First Lesson”
I soooo appreciate how our readers leave these lovely citations in our comments sections.
Time comes into it.
Say it. Say it.
The universe is made of stories,
not of atoms. — Muriel Rukeyser, "The Speed of Darkness"
Received this image and lovely comment from Laurie Haycraft in response to Parker Palmer’s reflection on being lost in the wilds of your life:
"I had made some stepping stones with this poem stamped into them for our cabin and placed them on a trail leading into the forest. We had some grading work done around the cabin and one of the stones, unbeknownst to me, got buried. When I went to dig up the stones the next year to create a new path, I discovered that the last stone was missing, irretrievably ‘lost’ in the woods. I know I could make a new stone with the final lines of the poem, but somehow it seems more apropos to leave it ‘lost,’ the forest knows where it is and in a way, so do I."
As I look around, I see the crumbling ruins of civilization like a vast heap of futility, yet I shall not commit the grievous sin of losing faith in man. — Rabindranath Tagore, as quoted in this show on his life and modern resonance.
Now we have half-stepped away from our long centuries of despoilment, promising, ‘Never again.’ But still we are haunted. It is as though we have run up a credit-card bill and, having pledged to charge no more, remain befuddled that the balance does not disappear. The effects of that balance, interest accruing daily, are all around us. — Ta’nehisi Coates, as quoted in Courtney E. Martin’s column, "To Be White and Reckon with the Death of Michael Brown"
To be totally honest, I don’t know who I am. And I don’t think people ever will know who they are. We have to be humble enough to learn to live with this mysterious question. Who am I? So, I am a mystery to myself. I am someone who is in this pilgrimage from the moment that I was born to the day to come that I’m going to die. And this is something that I can’t avoid, whether I like it or not, or — I’m going to die.
So, what I have to do is to honor this pilgrimage through life. And so I am this pilgrim — if I can somehow answer your question — who’s constantly amazed by this journey. Who is learning a new thing every single day. But who’s not accumulating knowledge, because then it becomes a very heavy burden in your back. I am this person who is proud to be a pilgrim, and who’s trying to honor his journey. — Paulo Coelho, from his interview with Krista Tippett in "The Alchemy of Pilgrimage"