Monday, August 8, 2022

If you got the notion

Maybe you think that love was made for fools
And so it makes you wise to break the rules
~Smokey Robinson and Al Cleveland


For Music Monday, a song I heard in a store a couple of days ago. It keeps popping into my head and I find myself singing! Smokey Robinson and the Miracles:




Thursday, August 4, 2022

like the spiral of lark into the light

A poet is not a jukebox for someone to shove a quarter in his ear
and get the tune they want to hear
-Dudley Randall


Happy Poetry Friday! A beautiful poem by Dudley Randall (1914-2000) today:

The Ascent
by Dudley Randall

Into the air like dandelion seed
Or like the spiral of lark into the light
Or fountain into sun. All former sight
From hill or mountain was a mere hint of this.
We gain a new dimension. What had been
Our prison, where we crawled and clung like ants,
We spurn, and vision lying far beneath us...

read the rest here

**************

I kind of wished I could present "The Ascent" as couplets...I felt like I would enjoy extra white space in this airy poem. But I didn't have the nerve to play with his format.

Nix the Comfort Zone has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Molly!

Handcrafting shoes

A shoe is not only a design, but it's a part of your body language, the way you walk. The way you're going to move is quite dictated by your shoes.
~Christian Louboutin


I was mesmerized. Crafted by Ken Kataoka & Toshihide Takai:



Sunday, July 31, 2022

Generosity (OLW, revisited)

No one can occupy your generosity except you. Who can occupy your patience when impatience roars through you? Who except you can choose not to act with judgment when all of your thoughts are judgmental?
~Gary Zukav

My "One Little Word" for the year is generosity, which I picked because I wanted to challenge myself to be more generous, to dig deep to find more kindness and charitability when it is hard. It's easy to be generous with people you love. What about with people who get on your nerves?

Two weeks ago I found myself revisiting my OLW and reaching out to several friends and family to ask that question, and I received wonderful answers which I am including below.

I realized something about myself this past week about why it was so essential for me to find more generosity -- I'm more of a "Candor" than I thought. Have you read Divergent by Veronica Roth? In it, people are divided into five groups based on their personality types. I always figured I was more nose-to-the-grindstone "Abnegation" or let's-be-friends "Amity" than anything else. Candor never appealed to me -- or so I thought.

Two things happened recently that made me reassess. I was working as a volunteer for a politician and someone came up and said she had voted for my candidate, which made me initially happy but the more she talked, the more I realized that I disagreed with her about a number of things. I said so and moved along and then wondered "Can I fake it if necessary? How does that work? Darn." Also, the incident that made me write people to ask for generosity-help was a situation where I wanted to interact with someone in a positive way and I knew that my good feelings needed to be genuine. I have to find generosity in my heart because my true feelings show.

The Generosity Suggestions:

books:
Jay Shetty: Think Like a Monk
Martha Beck: The Way of Integrity
David Whyte: Crossing the Unknown See: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity
Tara Brach: Radical Acceptance

poems:
Sometimes when I catch myself by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye

practices:
A la Jesus in the book of Matthew, try to pray for the other person in a free flowing way. What are your wishes for this person? How would you like their life to be blessed? Even if these wishes feel disingenuous at first, perhaps over time, they could feel more true and from the heart. Allow your burden to be lifted a little, with this expression of goodwill.

-Try a Buddhist lovingkindness prayer, also known as Metta. Put your hand on your heart and feel the warmth of your own care for yourself. Repeat the following statements:

May I be happy and peaceful.
May I be safe and protected.
May I be free from suffering.
May I live with ease.

Then, think of someone who you love easily. Bring their face to mind and the feeling of being in their presence. Repeat the statements, changing the pronoun to "you." May you be happy and peaceful, etc. Next, think of the person who is getting your goat, so to speak. Repeat the statements again, whether they feel natural or forced. It's okay. Lastly, visualize the entire world, and send everyone lovingkindness. May we be happy and peaceful. May we be safe and protected. May we be free from suffering. May we live with ease.

- Hebrew prayer for compassion:

Blessed One-ness, Blessed Connection
May we find relief from our hurts and fears.
And may we not, in our pain,
Lose our empathy
For the hurts and fears of others.
We pray for all who are in pain
And all who cause pain.

Amen

-1% rule: No need to be perfect in non-annoyance... but perhaps it would be possible to relax the body even 1%? To settle into feeling 1% more generosity toward them?

-We are not golden retrievers: To be annoyed is to be human! When you find yourself getting frustrated, think "ah, how human of me!" Perhaps you could even find yourself smiling a little bit. "Here I am, becoming annoyed, like every other human who has ever lived, yes yes, this is true." A label of the emotion and a lightness of touch with your response to it... sometimes this alone can help diffuse the situation

-Mindfulness of sensation & curiosity: could you observe your annoyance like a scientist? Instead of pushing this emotion away, could you feel the heat rise in your chest? Does it feel like a fire? Or does it feel more like a breaking ocean wave? How long does the annoyance last if you allow it to pass through without distraction? What exactly makes it spike the most? What color is it? If you had to draw it, I wonder what it would look like. If you had to describe it to an alien who never felt that way, I wonder how you would describe it. Maybe the next time the annoyance is triggered, you could focus on turning inward and observing it closely, like a fascinating phenomenon-- this sensation of aliveness

-a conversation: in your journal (or on a blank sheet of paper), write about the conflict from your point of view for four minutes. next, write about the conflict from their point of view for four minutes-- this may take some imagination. for the last four minute segment, write from the point of view of a wise observer. this could be anyone from your higher self, to a favorite teacher, to the Virgin Mary or Dalai Lama. Anyone who may bring a wise, neutral perspective to the issue at hand. see what kind of insights arise from this brief exercise.

*******

I have started using the Buddhist prayer and it is helpful. Hope you spot something helpful if you seek it!

Friday, July 29, 2022

May we serve each other

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.
~Dalai Lama


Happy Poetry Friday! Sharing a Buddhist wedding blessing today, plus two poems that go well with it.

I Bow Deeply
Thich Nhat Hanh

Standing quietly by the fence,
you smile your wondrous smile,
I am speechless,
and my senses are filled
By the sounds of your beautiful song,
Beginningless and endless.
I bow deeply to you.

***************

A Blessing for The Journey
Sensei Wendy Egyoku Nakao

Let us vow to bear witness to the wholeness of life,
realizing the completeness of each and every thing.
Embracing our differences,
I shall know myself as you,
and you as myself.
May we serve each other
for all our days,
here, there, and everywhere.
Let us vow to open ourselves to the abundance of life.
Freely giving and receiving, I shall care for you,
for the trees and stars,
as treasures of my very own.
May we be grateful
for all our days,
here, there, and everywhere.
Let us vow to forgive all hurt,
caused by ourselves and others,
and to never condone hurtful ways.
Being responsible for my actions,
I shall free myself and you.
Will you free me, too?
May we be kind
for all our days,
here, there, and everywhere.
Let us vow to remember that all that appears will disappear.
In the midst of uncertainty,
I shall sow love.
Here! Now! I call to you:
Let us together live
The Great Peace that we are.
May we give no fear
for all our days,
here, there, and everywhere.

***************

To the Reader
by Vijay Seshadri

I’m writing this so I can tell you that what you’re thinking
about me is exactly what I’m thinking
about you.

What you’re reading is exactly what you’re writing,
by the light of a taper, deep inside yourself,
at your walnut secretary.

These words are saying
what those words say, and these and those

are those and these, mine and yours, and have no meaning,

read the rest here

***************

Marcie Flinchum Atkins has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Marcie!

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Busy Beach

[George] Bellows offered Comins introductions in the New York art world, but was turned down after Comins said he was dedicated to teaching art.
~Richard Morris


A summery work by Eben Comins for Art Thursday:

Good Harbor Beach
by Eben Comins


Musical note: Want to see wonderful online concerts by the Berlin Philharmonic? You can see them free for seven days or pay $16 for a month of concerts. Both include their amazing archives.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Cellostrada

In 1948 the first severe crash occurred in my life when Stalin put out his decree on 'formalism.' There was a bulletin board in the Moscow Conservatory. They posted the decree, which said Shostakovich's compositions and Prokofiev's were no longer to be played.
~Mstislav Rostropovich


One more quote:
Poor Dimitri Shostakovich: In the Soviet Union, he was condemned as being too radical; in the West, for being too conservative. He could please no one but the musical public.
~Edward Abbey


Polish quintet Cellostrada with Shostakovich's Waltz 2 from Jazz Suite No. 2: