Sand castles

“You are lucky to be one of those people who wishes to build sand castles with words, who is willing to create a place where your imagination can wander. We build this place with the sand of memories; these castles are our memories and inventiveness made tangible. So part of us believes that when the tide starts coming in, we won’t really have lost anything, because actually only a symbol of it was there in the sand. Another part of us thinks we’ll figure out a way to divert the ocean. This is what separates artists from ordinary people: the belief, deep in our hearts, that if we build our castles well enough, somehow the ocean won’t wash them away. I think this is a wonderful kind of person to be.” ~ Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

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Beginning

“Beginning well or beginning poorly, what is important is simply to begin, but the ability to make a good beginning is also an art form, beginning well involves a courageous clearing away of the confusing, the cluttered and the complicated to find the beautiful, often hidden lineaments of the essential and the necessary.

Beginning is difficult, and our procrastination is a fine, ever-present measure of our reluctance in taking that first close-in, courageous step to reclaiming our happiness. Perhaps, because taking a new step always begins from the central foundational core of the body and leads to an equally physical, radical and internal simplification; where, suddenly, very large parts of us, parts of us we have kept gainfully employed for years, parts of us still rehearsing the old complicated story, are suddenly out of a job. There occurs in effect, a form of internal corporate downsizing, where the parts of us too afraid to participate or having nothing new to offer, are let go, with all of the accompanying death-like trauma. In effect we must sit by the death bed of our own old, now departing wishes and come to the new step, learning that this new, less complicated self, and this very simple step, is all that is needed for the new possibilities ahead.

It is always hard to believe that the courageous step is so close to us, that it is closer than we ever could imagine, that in fact, we already know what it is, and that the step is simpler, more radical than we had thought: which is why we so often prefer to live in an almost world, why we prefer the story to be more elaborate, our identities to be safely clouded by fear, why we want the horizon to remain always in the distance, the promise never fully and simply made, the essay longer than it needs to be and the answer safely in the realm of impossibility.”

~ David Whyte – From CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words

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Every Year

We are celebrating our 42nd anniversary today and this poem expresses my thoughts and feelings of those years. It was also four years ago that I started this blog while we were celebrating our 38th anniversary in Savannah, Georgia.

“Every year that I’m with you
Has been better than before;
It’s hard for me to even think
How I could love you more.

Every year you’ve graced my life
Has been full of happiness;
I love your caring face, your voice,
Your tender, sweet caress.

Every year when this day comes,
I’m filled with love and pleasure;
Happy Anniversary, Love,
My joy, my delight, my treasure.”

~ Joanna Fuchs

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Feelings

“…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.” ~ Pema Chödrön

Resentment

Desire

“Desire demands only a constant attention to the unknown gravitational field which surrounds us and from which we can recharge ourselves every moment, as if breathing from the atmosphere of possibility itself. A life’s work is not a series of stepping-stones onto which we calmly place our feet, but more like an ocean crossing where there is no path, only a heading, a direction, which, of itself, is in conversation with the elements.” ~ David Whyte, Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity

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Trying to live your life

“I now fully believe there are people who spread pain wherever they go. They aren’t necessarily bad like a Hitler or some other outsized villains. Often they are just you and me’s trying to live their lives. But somehow pain bringers are cursed with a dark talent for making things go bad; leaving behind them suspiciously long trails of angry broken hearts, or dreams, or plans… Whether it’s conscious or unconscious they continuously mess life up, or make jobs harder for others to do, confuse where confusion is not necessary, grate where smoothness was once the norm before they arrived. It can be on a small scale or large. Whenever they enter a life or situation they tramp a kind of psychic mud onto clean floors that is difficult to clean and sometimes permanently stains. Now and then these people are unquestionably mean or selfish, but not as a rule. Like those poor souls who are struck by lightning again and again for some mysterious reason throughout their lives, pain bringers only have to become involved in something and too frequently for it to be chance or coincidence, they cause it to go south in very negative ways. I was thinking about this for a long time today and could specifically name three people I have known who fall into this category. You couldn’t identify it by looking at any of them. They’re often compelling, passionate, funny, capable, alluring, attractive, or even generous people. But bond with them in any other than a superficial way and you can almost be certain you’ll be hit by *their* lightning. Beyond any doubt it will leave some kind of nasty scorch mark on your psyche/heart/life/business/confidence/values/beliefs/soul or otherwise”.

~ Jonathan Carroll

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