When life seems difficult for me – when it seems like very hard work to make a day ‘successful’ – I hope I can remember that life is always a facilitator, never a slave-driver. Every moment of every day stands ready to make things easy for me. My loyal lungs, smoothly rising and falling over and over again, make it possible for fresh life to come to me, and the faithful blood in my veins and arteries smooths the way for success throughout the day. Each and every thought opens the door to a possible whole new view of life, and every feeling oils, in various and mystifying ways, the everlasting wheels of wisdom. The music of the hours of any day can clear the way for quiet understanding and appreciation. Even sitting in a straight-backed chair in silence can assist me in seeing more clearly the miracles made all around me all day long. Seemingly hard work can disappear into smoothness and success when I allow life itself to easily facilitate everything and make moment-by-moment peace possible.
AS EASY AS THAT
(writing near the Mystic River)
Two cars came by,
then a leaf left a tree,
then a pencil started
to move across paper.
It's as easy as that.
Did the sun strain
to rise this morning?
Do stars shine
because they work hard?
This old river rolls along.
It's as easy as that.
Below, some scenes from our early morning walk on Napatree Beach (RI) yesterday …
“… a state of mind liable to melt into a minuet with other states of mind, and to find itself bowing, smiling, and giving place with polite facility.” — George Eliot, in Middlemarch
These words of George Eliot exactly describe the dance my own ideas seem to do. My mind is like an old English ballroom where ideas warmly move among each other in a strange kind of sociability and easiness. Thoughts of delight glide beside thoughts of fear, and beliefs that bad times are looming hold hands with beliefs that a bright sky is always overhead if I would only look up. What’s especially interesting about this is that my thoughts can be so cordial to each other, like English lords and ladies letting their friendliness guide the flow of the dance. Perhaps if I would simply stand back and watch them, the thoughts that move through my mind might seem as graceful as the movements of eminent manor house guests. If I stopped trying to always rule and regulate them, and gave up getting in fights with them, I might be able to enjoy the pleasant movements of my thoughts, their stylish steps and swings.
(said by Byron S., age 82)
"I don't know how to dance, but my words
seem to dance effortlessly whenever I speak.
They're instinctive dancers, these
undomesticated words of mine
that twirl and whirl, thousands
each day, dancing around on their own
inside me and then outside when I
set them loose by speaking. And isn't it
interesting that words live by their own laws,
though we like to think we command them?
The store where I work is a wonderland
of waltzing words when customers are there.
They release their words and the words
start frisking and frolicking around
and finding their own style of life,
and I sometimes stand and listen and stare."
Today, like all days, will be constantly moving forward. Indeed, its life-giving, steady progress cannot be stopped. Each moment will move ahead with both vitality and peacefulness, bringing into view realities that have never before been seen in the history of the universe. It will be a day of continual advancing for everything, each person and squirrel and street and speck of dust becoming something fresh and newfangled each moment. All the moments will be totally forward-looking, moving easily ahead into unmapped territories. I guess we could say that this day, like all days, will be ‘forward’, like a brash young person is – bold and brazen, a valiant adventurer on the hunt for thrills and breakthroughs.
No doubt I need to be always on the alert, ready to accompany this shameless, audacious new day.
Below are some scenes as we passed through Elm Grove Cemetery on our walk this morning …
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Thursday, November 25, 2021
I would like to be careless today.
I know the word ‘careless’ carries mostly negative meanings, suggesting recklessness and negligence, but I’m thinking of it as simply meaning less care – fewer worries and fears and regrets. The kind of carelessness I’m speaking of is the kind I imagine winds having as they blithely blow among trees in a forest, or rivers as they casually sweep over stones and around boulders and among downed trees. This is the kind of carelessness that could carry me along as easily as clouds are carried across the sky, or as hours unceremoniously pass by from dawn to dark. Maybe today I could say “I don’t care” more often, as in “I don’t care if I’m always happy today”, or “I don’t care if I get what I want”. Maybe my kind of carelessness simply means stepping aside and caring less about what happens and more about simply observing, understanding, and appreciating what happens. Maybe the carelessness I’m speaking of is about simply accepting life rather than scuffling with it.
I want to work hard today and be watchful and sympathetic, but I would also like to be with life in a care-less and lighthearted way, just letting it flow – and learning all I can from the flow.
And here’s a poem from a few years back on a similar theme …
A FLUID AND GRACEFUL DAY
One day, everything seemed large,
like large-scale love,
like a sizable breakout from ordinariness --
a substantial present
presented, it seemed, just to him.
There were considerable blessings everywhere,
and ample profits full of pleasure,
and expansive ideas spreading everywhere,
and fluidly and gracefully flowing
Some lovely dried leaves seen on our walk this morning …