On Being Tumblr

Aug 01

Recently, I moved from Harvard to a place near Toronto called Daybreak. That is, from an institution for the best and brightest to a community where mentally handicapped people and their assistants try to live together in the spirit of the Beatitudes. In my house, 10 of us form a family. Gradually, I’m forgetting who is handicapped and who is not. We are simply John, Bill, Trevor, Raymond, Rose, Steve, Jane, Naomi, Henri, and Adam.

I want to tell you Adam’s story. After a month of working with Adam, something started to happen to me that had never happened before. This severely handicapped young man, whom outsiders sometimes describe with very hurtful words, started to become my dearest companion. As I carried him into his bath and made waves to let the water run fast around him and told him all sorts of stories, I knew that two friends were communicating far beyond the realm of thought.

Before this, I had come to believe that what makes us human is our mind. But Adam keeps showing me that what makes us human is our heart, the center of our being where God has hidden trust, hope, and love. Whoever sees in Adam merely a burden to society misses the sacred mystery that Adam is fully capable of receiving and giving love. He is fully human—not half human, not nearly human, but fully, completely human because he is all heart. The longer I stay with Adam, the more clearly I see him as a gentle teacher, teaching me what no book or professor ever could.

Once, when Adam’s parents came for a visit I asked, ‘Tell me, during all the years you had Adam in your house, what did he give you?’ His father smiled and said without hesitation, ‘He brought us peace.’ I know he is right. After months of being with Adam, I am discovering within myself an inner quiet that I did not know before. Adam is one of the most broken persons among us, but without doubt our strongest bond. Because of Adam there is always someone home. Because of Adam there is a quiet rhythm in the house. Because of Adam there are moments of silence. Because of Adam there are always words of affection and tenderness. Because of Adam there is patience and endurance. Because of Adam there are smiles and tears visible to all. Because of Adam there is always time and space for forgiveness and healing. Yes, because of Adam there is peace among us.

” — Henri Nouwen, quoted in this show on the L’Arche community.

Jul 29

“If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform a million realities.” — Maya Angelou

Jul 26

“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.” —

Pema Chödrön

(via nymphetgarden)

(via clothedinsky)

The architectural art of stacking bales. Admiring this farmer’s mastery.
Photo by Trent Gilliss.

The architectural art of stacking bales. Admiring this farmer’s mastery.

Photo by Trent Gilliss.

[video]


"Ask a cloud: What is your date of birth? Before you were born, where were you?" ~Thich Nhat Hanh

For some reason, this resonates with me today. I can’t articulate why so much. Call me out if I’m getting a bit fluffy here; you may be justified.
(via trentgilliss)

"Ask a cloud: What is your date of birth? Before you were born, where were you?"
~Thich Nhat Hanh

For some reason, this resonates with me today. I can’t articulate why so much. Call me out if I’m getting a bit fluffy here; you may be justified.

(via trentgilliss)

Jul 25

“I cannot discover God in myself and myself in others unless I have the courage to face myself exactly as I am, with all my limitations, and to accept others as they are, with all their limitations. The religious answer is not religion if it is not fully real.” — Thomas Merton, quoted in this radio pilgrimage to L’Arche.

Jul 24

"Breathe and everything changes."
—Seane Corn, in Yoga, Meditation in Action.
(Photo by Lyn Tally)

"Breathe and everything changes."

—Seane Corn, in Yoga, Meditation in Action.

(Photo by Lyn Tally)

Jul 23

“We do not ask for what useful purpose the birds do sing, for song is their pleasure since they were created for singing. Similarly, we ought not to ask why the human mind troubles to fathom the secrets of the heavens. The diversity of the phenomena of nature is so great and the treasures hidden in the heavens so rich precisely in order that the human mind shall never be lacking in fresh nourishment.” — Johannes Kepler, quoted in this program on exoplanets and the cosmos with research astronomer Natalie Batalha.

Buttercup walk by Alex J White. Inspired by this poem from Willow Harth.

Buttercup walk by Alex J White. Inspired by this poem from Willow Harth.

Jul 22

"I have come face to face with wild tigers. I’ve come face to face with jaguars, lions, all of them. And I felt great fear. But I also felt flattered to be in the presence of this unbelievable wildness that we don’t feel during our everyday lives. Could I bond with them? And yet in a way, I almost learned the opposite. By spending so much time in the jungle with these wild cats, I also came to realize that there would always be a wall between us, a wall that couldn’t be breached and really shouldn’t be breached because we were of two different worlds, worlds that could come together on certain things but that just had to be apart on others for both of us to live properly within this larger world."
— Alan Rabinowitz, in "A Voice for the Animals"
(Photo by Paulo/Flickr)

"I have come face to face with wild tigers. I’ve come face to face with jaguars, lions, all of them. And I felt great fear. But I also felt flattered to be in the presence of this unbelievable wildness that we don’t feel during our everyday lives. Could I bond with them? And yet in a way, I almost learned the opposite. By spending so much time in the jungle with these wild cats, I also came to realize that there would always be a wall between us, a wall that couldn’t be breached and really shouldn’t be breached because we were of two different worlds, worlds that could come together on certain things but that just had to be apart on others for both of us to live properly within this larger world."

Alan Rabinowitz, in "A Voice for the Animals"

(Photo by Paulo/Flickr)

Jul 21

[video]

“Man came silently into the world. As a matter of fact he trod so softly that, when we first catch sight of him as revealed by those indestructible stone instruments, we find him sprawling all over the old world from the Cape of Good Hope to Peking. Without doubt he already speaks and lives in groups; he already makes fire…. Thus, in the eyes of science, which at long range can only see things in bulk, the ‘first man’ is and can only be a crowd, and his infancy is made up of thousands and thousands of years….” — Teilhard de Chardin, in The Phenomenon of Man

Jul 19

This quote took. Six degrees of separation seems to be the key here.

This quote took. Six degrees of separation seems to be the key here.

How do a NASA scientist working on the Kepler mission and a translator of Rilke come together in this photo? By way an On Being listener:

Pancho heard Joanna Macy and I in interviews with @kristatippett and brought us together. Gratitude. @Beingtweets pic.twitter.com/mPDCdrQsku
— Natalie Batalha (@nbatalha)
July 18, 2014
Thanks, Pancho!

How do a NASA scientist working on the Kepler mission and a translator of Rilke come together in this photo? By way an On Being listener:

Pancho heard Joanna Macy and I in interviews with @kristatippett and brought us together. Gratitude. @Beingtweets pic.twitter.com/mPDCdrQsku

— Natalie Batalha (@nbatalha)
July 18, 2014

Thanks, Pancho!