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“We have to earn silence, then, to work for it: to make it not an absence but a presence; not emptiness but repletion. Silence is something more than just a pause; it is that enchanted place where space is cleared and time is stayed and the horizon itself expands. In silence, we often say, we can hear ourselves think; but what is truer to say is that in silence we can hear ourselves not think, and so sink below our selves into a place far deeper than mere thought allows. In silence, we might better say, we can hear someone else think.” –from The Eloquent Sounds of Silence by Pico Iyer

Just one of the juicy tidbits from the Poetica podcast “Silence.”

Video description: “Wu Wei is a key concept within Daoism – and refers to a serene acceptance of events. It’s a wisdom we’re very uninclined to remember in our own times.”

“Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale”
By Dan Albergotti

Measure the walls. Count the ribs. Notch the long days.
Look up for blue sky through the spout. Make small fires
with the broken hulls of fishing boats. Practice smoke signals.
Call old friends, and listen for echoes of distant voices.
Organize your calendar. Dream of the beach. Look each way
for the dim glow of light. Work on your reports. Review
each of your life’s ten million choices. Endure moments
of self-loathing. Find the evidence of those before you.
Destroy it. Try to be very quiet, and listen for the sound
of gears and moving water. Listen for the sound of your heart.
Be thankful that you are here, swallowed with all hope,
where you can rest and wait. Be nostalgic. Think of all
the things you did and could have done. Remember
treading water in the center of the still night sea, your toes
pointing again and again down, down into the black depths.

“We gaze up at the same stars; the sky covers us all; the same universe encompasses us. Does it matter what practical system we adopt in our search for the Truth? The heart of so great a mystery cannot be reached by following one road only.” –Quintus Aurelius Symmachus

“At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint, or even remember it. It is enough.”

–Toni Morrison

“Own Your Own Pain”
by Patricia Roth Schwartz

Own your own pain.
Why not? It’s yours.

You’ve hawked it, pushed it, pimped it –
now,

Your body, breathing, life, guts, luster,
sweetness, softness,
pays the price.

So own your own pain. Why not?

You’ve eaten it for breakfast,
Sung it to sleep at night,
Rinsed it out in the basin,
Watched it rise with the bread.

So- take it, turn it,
Let it slither,
Into blood-beat, breast-bone, cell-song,
skin.

Give it a name.
What you possess
Cannot possess you.

I practice turning people into trees

“[W]hen you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You appreciate it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree.The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying “You’re too this, or I’m toothis.” That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees.” —Ram Dass

[Hat tip to Pete for the quote.]

“The problem isn’t to learn to love humanity, but to learn to love those members of it who happen to be at hand.”

–Samuel R. Delany

“What does it mean to hold space for someone else? It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control.”

Read the full, lovely piece What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well by Heather Plett.

I'm Such an AFROholic

Audre Lorde said something to me that has continued even now to inform me. She made it very clear that none of us comes with our consciousness fully developed; it is a constant work that we have to be ever vigilant about. I’m counseling myself these days around patience. I’m counseling myself around understanding that we come to issues not only from different sites of experience but with different levels of consciousness, so as not to be so quick, not to be so judgmental, not to be so rapid around closing a door, around writing someone off.

Essex Hemphill, Living the Word/Looking for Home

(via Learning Everyday…)

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