Barely there

Art, daily living, illustration, Life, LOVE, poetry, wellbeing, zen

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With That Moon Language

Admit something: Everyone you see, you say to them, “Love me.”

Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise someone would call the cops.

Still though, think about this, this great pull in us to connect. Why not become the one who lives with a full moon in each eye that is always saying, with that sweet moon language, What every other eye in this world is dying to hear?

-Hafiz

Images  Anne Corr

Renounce and Enjoy – oh, and read alot.

blogging, Life, literature, wellbeing

lifeI love that. Renounce and Enjoy. Three words that make a mantra. Yesterday I was listening to a great podcast by a blogger I follow, Jacke Wilson (History of Literature – Upanishads II)

I was soothed by his voice, and interested by his content because;

a) I love literature and it was titled ‘ History of Literature’ – no brainer then.

c) I have been fascinated by the history of spiritual development ( wanting to have some myself, being a Godless creature. I may need to realign that – I don’t think I am Godless, but unwilling to belong to the nomenclature ‘God’ as it  carries so many connotations.

I really enjoyed sharing his curiosity- it mirrors my own- what is there? who am I? and I have been discovering slowly over the past few years that I am drawn to the understanding about the connectivity of everything to everything else.  I have moments that beam into my day where I feel this truth. There’s no reason for it, no rational explanation that I can expound, no theology that I can share, just that momentarily I FEEL it.

This week has been extraordinary for one reason – Death is in it.  It is playing as a soundtrack in my head and I have no idea why – this is how it started.  I was driving across the country as is our usual custom on a Sunday, preparing for the work week in a different county to our home.  I spend this time either talking to my husband, listening to the radio, or in quiet contemplation.  On Sunday I talked.  I talk to him and he listens. It is a way of thinking for me. I had been considering a T.V drama I had  watched wherein a potential terrorist was going to blow him and his partner to smithereens in a public place to maximise the devastation. In the drama it shows the young man with his wife, explaining how they would be together after death, and used the metaphor of it being like moving from one room to another. Bear with me – I do not advocate terrorism (au contraire) but this is important.  Watching the drama play out brought something positive to me.  The metaphor was one that I could feel.  I have no strong belief about afterlife – my gut feeling is the body dies and we are gone. But my whole life  I have understood something other than this rationalisation. I was 11 when I encountered a death that was meaningful – my uncle, much beloved.  He has remained alive in me all my life, he has influenced my thoughts and my behaviours, he has helped me to be more the person I want to be than I would otherwise have been.  Is this life after death then? My husband and I have always been disturbed by the possibility of either of us dying- we don’t want to be left alone.  This is what this drama brought out in me. We will never be alone.  If I die first I know my loving presence will be felt every day by him, his presence will be felt by me if he dies.  It occurred to me in that discussion that possibly those who have died may feel  the vibration (forgive the word) of the love that continues in the living. Who knows?  Maybe Shakespeare knows I love him. Perhaps not personally, but maybe he feels the weight of love. How heavy is love anyway? Perhaps it should be better described as the lightness of love – for isn’t that what love does? Illumines and sheds burden?

Later that morning the radio played a marvellous monologue by a Bishop about Death – and learning to live well  with the knowledge of its inevitabality -“Courage is not being unafraid. It is to be very afraid, yet to overcome our fear and refuse to flinch. It is the best lesson life teaches us.”

Three Score Years and Ten

Jacke Wilson explains that Gandhi said if all the Upanishad and Hindu scriptures were to disappear but the first verse of the Upanishads were to remain, Hinduism would still exist. On being asked to make a summary of Hinduism , Gandhi chose three words  ‘ Renounce and Enjoy’.

And what Jacke does on the podcast is to bring his humanity to his attempt to understand what he’s doing on earth – he speaks directly to me, tells me it’s o.k to be human in the face of spiritual challenges. Like me he wants much of the world but not all of it, he wants some of religion, but not all of it, he wants more from the world, and more from religion than is available.

I fall down all the time at trying to be the person I want to be – but I keep trying , and I don’t even know what direction I am travelling in, I have no ultimate destination in mind even, I just know there is more to me than the me I have found to date. And like Jacke, its literature that led me to that well of sustenance.

And literature generally leads back to people, so really it’s other people that have illumined parts of my psyche that would otherwise remain in the dark – dead people too – Shakespeare, Montaigne (via Sarah Bakewell- thank you!), T. S. Eliot, Rumi, Iris Murdoch, William Golding, Herman Hesse.

 

Many thanks go to Jacke Wilson for bothering to do all thinking, the reading and the recording for the podcasts.  They are on my list of what to listen to – I recommend them heartily. Here’s the link to the first part of the one on the Upanishads HIstory of Literature, Upanishads Part 1

The Daily Conundrum

Art, blogging, Life, wellbeing

I have woken up this morning in a conundrum.  I don’t know what to do.  This is not a new feeling for me – but it is uncomfortable.  There is much I COULD do, mainly of the domestic nature – that never goes away. There is some of what I  MUST do – the arrangements for food, the dog walk, the reading of son’s draft for his dissertation ( though why he wants me to is questionable as I understand so little in it).  At the end of all that remains the burning question what do I WANT to do.

I spend alot of my creative time playing at illustration,  a little of my time actually making, and too much of my time trying to promote myself via the new technologies – and all without a great deal of success since my social media savvy is minute.  I have decided to try and be brave and do what I want to do more – which is create, and less time at the  techy end. That doesn’t sound that brave does it?

The more time is sucked up by t’Internet, the less time there is to do what nurtures me.  I realise this is slightly paradoxical as I am here, typing my resolution to stop trying so hard.

This is the plan then,

Coffee, Muesli, planning strategy to limit time spent on promotion. This may involve some research , so that will demand more time. See what I mean?  I need to reach a decision whether to commit to a new start with Folksy which is a U.K based online crafts seller.  I have been there in the past without much successs, but I like the look of it much more now, and Etsy has changed considerably since it opened up to the stock market.

Already then my first plan is unravelling, as the decisions I need to make suck up the time I wanted to reinvest in making.

And I havn’t even touched on whether I should consider my own website. A step too far methinks.

I have to go now. I have to start something. Now.

Here’s something I made earlier. If you want to investigate more of what I am up to in the handmade arena of my little life, then leap over to my Etsy store here,www.etsy.com/uk/shop/modestly  where I have some books and cards ready for your delictation.  I generally make to order, so the ones displayed are examples of the finished article.  The covers vary , as I like to make each order individual. If you go over to my facebook page, you can see photos there of completed books.

My illustration work is sold via a variety of sites, and is fairly eclectic in style.  I tend not to box myself in. The downside of this approach is that I don’t fit anywhere.  Sounds somewhat familiar, and it is this that I need to resolve.  Does it matter that I don’t fit? What am I trying to achieve?   I will never be ‘successful’ in any way that means anything to the outside world. I love the affirmation that selling something gives me – it is a reward that someone values something enough to pay for it. But it isn’t WHY I do what I do. I do it to stay sane in a mad, mad world.

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Why have ye no routhe on my child?

Life, poetry, society, world

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Why have ye no routhe on my child?

Have routhe on me ful of mourning;

Tak doun o rode my derworth child,

Or prik me o rode with my derling!

More pine ne may me ben y-don

Than lete me live in sorwe and shame;

As love me bindëth to my sone,

So let us deyen bothe y-same.

A medieval  lament for a lost child sums up my feelings today. ‘Routhe’ means compassion , those lacking in compassion are thus said to be ruthless.

Message from the heart

buddhism, daily living, Life, LOVE, wellbeing

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If our species could just try to hold this thought in the forefront of the mind, wouldn’t we be looking on at a different world?  We have such a marvellous potential from the start.

Be kind to one another.  Even when its tough. Love is the remarkable ineffable force that enables us to continue to hope .  When we love well,  the world changes.

Practice – its all it takes. Iris Murdoch once encapsulated the imperative of what love is-

‘Love is the difficult realization that something other than ourselves is real’

Which by extension involves examining our own reactions and behaviours and reflecting on whether we are loving enough. It’s that giant leap when you are in the middle of feeling justified in your own feelings, and suddenly you stop to think ‘How would I feel if someone said/did that to me? ‘

12th century French

The Universe in a Flower

Art, buddhism, photogaphy, zen

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I took my camera out yesterday, not really expecting to achieve anything – rather in the hope that I might kickstart my mojo, as I am climbing out of that hole in my head and I will try anything as soon as I am able!  So imagine my delight when the universe sent me a heart shaped message amongst the briars.

I remembered the  Buddhist monk Sengai Gibon who made simplicity look , well simple- managing at the same time to raise the deepest questions we ask ourselves- what and why is the Universe?

Go quietly in the world. Be kind.

Kopong

anthropology, culture, daily living, earth, Life, mankind

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This seems particularly pertinent and moving at a time when the world is watching the displacement of people from all over the globe.  Perhaps we need to ritualise a little more, eat together, work beside one another to feel we are all living the same history.

Among the Ku Waru people of New Guinea, for example, children become kin through an essential substance called kopong (grease) which originates in the soil. The Ku Waru call both father’s sperm and mother’s milk kopong, and it is through these two sources that conception of a child is said to occur. However, sweet potatoes and pork also contain kopong, and when people share these foods, the same fundamental connection emerges between them as does between parent and child: they become kin. The offspring of two Ku Waru brothers, Sahlins says, are ‘as much related because they were sustained by the same soil as because their fathers were born of the same parents’. The children of immigrants to the community become full kin with those who share no genes with them by carrying out socially inscribed practices around kopong.

Barbara J King is professor of anthropology at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia

Everybody cries -everybody hurts sometimes.

meditation, wellbeing

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 “Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.” Camus

In Great Regard

blogging, lifemeaning, LOVE, meditation, Parenting, wellbeing

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We are all one, and paradoxically we all are individual.  Isn’t this life a constant wonder?  To understand our seperateness is to have a level of self awareness that can challenge and reward.  It challenges our sense of belonging and our feelings of being loved entirely, and rewards by its observation of each person’s individual choice to take their own decisions and be responsible for their own moral choices. I lloved Kahlil Gibran’s take on having children – that they are arrows from the parents bows – they go on to be fully developed , seperate beings.

My hardest times are when my loved ones do not seem to acknowledge me – they are disinterested in some way in my feelings.  That is the challenge of understanding our seperateness – their love is no less, but it is a fluid river on which I sail. It is not my boat. And sometimes it is a stormy ride. I look forward to those passages when the river is calm, and the view is tranquil.

Enjoy your week my friends. mr adn Mrss

Equanimity

blogging, conservation, culture, meditation

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                   Equanimity  is a perfect, unshakable balance of mind, rooted in insight.

Says the Master:

For one who clings, motion exists; but for one who clings not, there is no motion. Where no motion is, there is stillness. Where stillness is, there is no craving. Where no craving is, there is neither coming nor going. Where no coming nor going is, there is neither arising nor passing away. Where neither arising nor passing away is, there is neither this world nor a world beyond, nor a state between. This, verily, is the end of suffering.

— Udana 8:3

From  “The Four Sublime States: Contemplations on Love, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity”, by Nyanaponika Thera. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 30 November