Bigging it up

The smallest of things… (thank you, David Kanigan)

Live & Learn

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The Pantheon of Smallness was a way of thinking about smallness differently. Sometimes we make small things, sometimes there are small bird songs, but it can have an enormous impact. Sometimes you have to whisper to be heard. Our culture is very much one of “bigging it up,” always upping the noise level in order to produce a louder signal. What you see in the bird world is sometimes that the smallest tweet can actually pierce through the cacophony in a different way. That became a metaphor for thinking about art. Emily Dickinson did quite miniature work that had a very profound, almost epic, impact, culturally speaking.

~ Kyo Maclear, from How a stressed woman found solace through looking at birds (Macleans, January 22, 2017)

Find Kyo Maclear’s new book on Amazon: Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation


Photo: Thank you Sawsan @ Last Tambourine

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Lightly child, lightly

I am again at a moment in my life when the value of time has become bright and focused. I sit on my porch to watch the wind blow across the mountains providing a way for trees to bend in gratitude. If there is energy to draw or read or pray, I use it with an awareness of how different things could be.
This is healing time, I know. Yet I still hear the call to ‘pay attention’. It can come from surprising places but it is the same. ‘Pay attention’ – as I read this entry from David Kanigan I was once again reminded…

Live & Learn

Benoit Courti

It’s just time:
the book I read,
the letter I write,
the window I look out of.
Just a sleeve I keep trying to mend,
the spool diminishing.
Just my one hand writing words,
my other hand weighing the silences between them.

Li-Young Lee, The Winged Seed: A Remembrance


Notes:

  • Quote Source: Memory’s Landscape. Photo:Benoit Courti  (via mennyfox55)
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

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The Heart’s Whisper

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In the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear the whisper of the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear, hope to despair.

Howard Thurman

look to the sky

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there is peace in the quiet found deep into the night. may this peace weave itself throughout the turmoil of our world, tonight and always.

Dreams

IMG_0890Within your heart, keep one still, secret spot where dreams may go.
Louise Driscoll

 

Awake at 4:30am, I wonder what has stirred me?

These past weeks I trained several new caregivers. Many hours have been spent sharing personal details and staying very alert to our every move. This type of training is much like dancing – together we learn the steps and build the trust needed to lead and follow.

Then there is the introduction to my life. Where is my family? Why did I move to Asheville? Do I like to shop, read books, watch tv… Questions begin to slow when I explain my vocation — an Episcopal priest, where I have lived — from the East Coast to the West Coast, my  schedule — time for quiet, prayer, writing projects, workshops and meeting friends for food and fun. Most caregivers are not accustomed to working with folks like me, active people who live with a disability. It takes a while to get oriented. My job– to be patient. Be patient and remember to protect the space for my dreams.

I have a dear friend who once asked how I managed to have any privacy and time for myself. She watched my life as it always seemed filled with people. People, who by necessity, must be in my rooms and touch many of my belongings. She could not imagine how I might find a way to have private time and space. “No one caregiver knows everything about me.”, I replied. “Somehow I am able to create a space that allows for privacy and solitude.”

This is not to say that finding private time is easy. And so I return to my opening question:

Awake at 4:30, I wonder what has stirred me? It is my alarm for peaceful time alone. When most of the world still sleeps, I awaken ready to revisit my dreams. My eyes open to discover a moment when images and ideas can rise to the surface and find expression.

This time is never taken for granted.  It has to be honored. All of the people who assist me with the details of my daily life rely on my ability to find these moments. It is time to remember my dreams and find ways to bring them to life.

I welcome this opportunity and give thanks for a new day.

To experience holy silence

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What an amazing picture. A little child in the midst of an ancient practice. So intent, even to the detail of his fingers. It is hard to imagine what kind of world surrounds this child’s experience.

This picture reminds me of the many times a young one has stood before me, hands open to receive communion or to reach for a blessing. They watch and listen as if the meaning of this worship is clear. With imaginations, fresh and unencumbered, children instinctively know the importance of these words and actions. They may fidget, create art on paper with crayons and speak out in a moment of silence but they are paying attention. In a flash, they express their own faith throwing us off balance–reminding us that we are in a place where the unexpected happens.

During times set aside for worship, we (yes, even clergy) often are distracted by thoughts of our schedules and activities for that day and beyond. These thoughts become our fidgets, our coloring activities, our own shout-outs in the midst of holy silence. To become quiet in mind and spirit is not easy task. With all the stimulus that fills our lives, finding a time for quiet is a challenge on its own and sometimes just not possible.

I look again at the picture of this child. Not only does it bring a smile but it can bring a moment of stillness and peace. What brings a moment of calm when noise and chaos surrounds you? No one image works for all people but we can find something that will carry our holy silence until we can hold it once again. It may be a picture, a memory, a person or a prayer. Whatever you ‘see’ – let it travel with you through your busy days. May it offer a moment that calms and quiets you in mind and spirit.

Listening in silence…

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The message behind the words is the voice of the heart. Rumi

It seems that I have had much to say recently on the topic of actions and intentions. At the moment it appears, we have plenty of examples in our world that warrants this type of reflection. As I read articles in other venues, I am aware that these topics are on the minds and hearts of many people.

Words are very powerful tools. They can build up or tear down. They can bind us together in security or sprinkle dust of anxiety. We find ourselves at a point in history when many public words are thrown around to create confusion and instill fear. And this is their intention…

Actions leave large impressions on those who witness them. They can encourage people to share goodness by example or carry anger and fear to their extreme. We find ourselves at a point in history when actions are rising in danger, giving permission for the spread of hostility and fear.

These words and actions appear larger than life attempting to destroy trust and community. It is the result of power and greed. We experience those with great power (a power we have bestowed) to tower over those who have little power (a position that has been forced). It is a situation that continues to grow as our culture is overwhelmed with the noisy distraction of talk.

So I ask – Where are the quiet places? The places that allow words to be used only when necessary and the heart’s intention is understood. The places where we begin with trust and build communities designed to care for one another because we believe it is the good and faithful thing to do. Where are these places?

Maybe this is the most important question now. If these quiet places are not found in obvious and welcoming forms then the noise that is dismantling our communities will continue to be successful toward its goal. Are we able to create environments where people can come to find rest from the noise and re-member the importance of trust and compassion? Can we help the great and the small not only talk with one another but work together to show another way of living and serving in this world? I am convinced it can be done and even more certain that people are longing for the invitation to act on the ‘voice of the heart’.

What do you think?! Have you found examples of this happening? Share what you think, what you know and where we can go to see these quiet places in action.