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:

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

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

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.


-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


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:

Friday, July 22, 2022

Seeds and stars

I continue to do what I did as a child; dream of books, make books and collect books.
~Maurice Sendak

Happy Poetry Friday! Short poems today, plus a cool thing I saw. (Also, if you are stressed and want to watch a relaxing video, check out the one I posted last Monday. It makes me want to go to Azerbaijan.)

by Magnús Sigurðsson
translated from the Icelandic by Meg Matich

The page is a white

black seeds

I sow.


Summer Stars
by Carl Sandburg

Bend low again, night of summer stars.
So near you are, sky of summer stars,
So near, a long-arm man can pick off stars,
Pick off what he wants in the sky bowl,
So near you are, summer stars,
So near, strumming, strumming,
So lazy and hum-strumming.


Barbican Children's Library Author Map:


Denise shares our Summer Poem Swap this week.

A(nother) Year of Reading has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Mary Lee!

Thursday, July 21, 2022

DIY foraged art

An empty husk holds its head up high.
~Hungarian proverb

Raku Inoue for Art Thursday:

I also really like Inoue's dinosaurs and his Nature Does Not Hurry Yet Everything is Accomplished.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022


Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise.
~Alice Walker

Pretty often I will wonder "What is this world?" and it's not because something good has happened, but THIS TIME, IT IS!

Thank you to everybody who played a part in this! I mean it -- there are a lot of you who've supported the IMPERFECTs along the way and I am so so grateful!!

Monday, July 18, 2022

Puppies and cake

Happiness is like jam. You can't spread it without getting some on yourself.

It's not music this Monday, but it sure is nice to watch! Country Life Vlog with Making Fresh Strawberry Jam and Cake in the Village:

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Up to you, fertile vine

...War changes the meaning of words. Some are blunted and need sharpening, as a knife against a stone. Some become so sharp you cannot look at them. Some words just die and fall off. Some emerge from the past, and start to be meaningful again. They gain importance.
~Ostap Slyvynsky

Ukrainian poet Ostap Slyvynsky for Poetry Friday:

Going east is like digging deep,
maybe the truth is we didn’t stop ourselves in time,
like a crazed mole who doesn’t notice
that its paws are burning, that toxic gold has replaced the darkness?
Have we failed geography, like a student in that textbook nightmare?
Have we begun building near the earth’s mantle, consoling ourselves that we’ll have free heating?
So what now? What will we do with our bedridden loved ones, with the ones
perpetually absent? Who, besides fire,
will want to pay us a visit? Maybe
it’s up to us, the crawling vines, to set roots for our homeland,
this off-market real estate,
this overheated wall, beside which we were born:
it’s up to you, brother-ivy, it’s up to you, fertile vine,
it’s up to you, climbing rose.

Translated from the Ukrainian by Amelia Glaser and Yuliya Ilchuk.


From A War Vocabulary: Displaced Ukrainians share fragmented stories of loss, trauma, and absurdity:

BEAUTY, Kateryna, Vyshhorod
I read a story about WWII not so long ago. There was this girl who wore her mom’s worst clothes to pass by the Nazis unnoticed, to avoid being raped. I pause near my wardrobe; is it time to wear the worst already, or can I still make it? Things change so quickly. The cabs are not coming. Either the line is busy or they refuse. I will just walk to Kyiv.

In a time of war, beauty becomes dangerous. Beautiful things, people, relationships—nowadays they don’t exist to inspire. They exist to be annihilated. Not for admiration and loving touches, but for pain.

My boots get stuck in the mud along the highway. My phone beeps with an SMS: “You have just visited our beauty parlor for a manicure. Please, leave a review.”


Unexpected Intersections has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Elisabeth!

William Callow

Briefly the 'Callow youth' was plunged into a platonic love affair that went unrequited with the darling Princess Clementine.

Art by William Callow (1812-1908) for Art Thursday. After that platonic love affair, he did not marry until age 34, when he wed one of his painting pupils, composer Harriet Anne Smart (age 29). Click on these images to get a better look.

View near Madeley Manor, Staffordshire
by William Callow

The Grand Canal with San Simeon Piccolo Venice
by William Callow

A Street Scene in France
by William Callow

Walenstadt, from Weesen, Switzerland
by William Callow

Monday, July 11, 2022

The Oh Hellos

It's a song that we can all sing together and keep moving forward and sing to, even though it's the darkest times.
~Maggie Heath on why Soldier, Poet, King is one of her favorites

Sibling duo/band The Oh Hellos for Music Monday:

A bunch of people made song animations: Soldier, Poet, King Meme

Hat tip: Ariana!

Thursday, July 7, 2022

[Tentacles chittering]

They use words that perfectly capture the vibe.
It’s not just “creature walking,” it’s “squelching.”
It also shows how much thought their team put in to *every detail*. They thought about the whole experience.
~Kyle Bowe about the closed captions for the latest season of Stranger Things

True Confession: I have only seen part of the first episode of the Netflix series Stranger Things. I was too distressed by the "child in peril" storyline to keep going. But my parents and my daughter Ariana have watched it all. Ariana sent a message about the evocative closed captions -- a friend of hers had been snapping pics of some of these wonderful descriptions, e.g. "dissonant gibbering" and "tentacles chittering."

People on Twitter have been discussing the closed captions as well. One person even mentioned wanting to make found poetry from it. Sounds like a fun idea. Also, writing expressive, theatrical captions for favorite shows or movies, just as an exercise, or writing them for your life. What is happening in your soundtrack at the moment? "Coffee burbles invitingly." "Dog yips intently."

Here are more Stranger Things captions in case you want to use them for poetry/inspiration! (Clearly, I did not see them myself! Other folks reported them.)

sibilant whispering
sinister vocalizations
whimsical music turns menacing, swells
curious plucky music
desiccated withering
hand unfurling creakily
tentacles undulating moistly
eldritch thrumming
delicate, distressing music
otherworldly moaning
eerie whooshing
gate writhing wetly
ferocious guitar riff


Bookseed Studio has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Jan!


In the winter, I read next to a wood-burning stove. In the summer, we have a place up in Michigan where I like to read in a hammock. It's almost entirely hidden by cedar trees and right up by the water. You can climb in there and see nothing but water and be seen by nobody. It's perfect.
~Ethan Canin

For Art Thursday, hammock living and an oversized bloom.

Sonnenflecken, 1891
by Oda Krohg

Model from the collection of the Botanical Museum, Greifswald, Germany
photo by David Ludwig

Monday, July 4, 2022


I hope that it will have a comforting and communal effect on listeners.
~Joep Beving

A song by Joep Beving from his album Hermetism for Music Monday:

Friday, July 1, 2022

On Forever

Poetry gives me something to think about and makes me feel happy while I’m writing.
~Josephina Green

For Poetry Friday, a poem (a ghazal!) from the 2019 Rattle Young Poets Anthology:

by Josephina Green (age 8)
a ghazal

There is a road that goes on forever.
A road that is sprayed with a hose forever.

There is a girl that will paint her toes forever.
She’ll smell its odor with her nose forever.

As she takes the camera they make a pose forever.
And her dad gives her a watered rose forever...

read the rest here


More Rattle Young Poet favorites:
Question by Saoirse Stice
The Dress by Elinor Koning
Thank God for Sheep by Arthur Santos
Oranges by Caroline Blumer

Salt City Verse has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Janice!