“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”
“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”
–e. e. cummings
“There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else. You may have noticed that the books you really love are bound together by a secret thread. You know very well what is the common quality that makes you love them, though you cannot put it into words: but most of your friends do not see it at all, and often wonder why, liking this, you should also like that. Again, you have stood before some landscape, which seems to embody what you’ve been looking for all your life; and then turned to the friend at your side who appears to be seeing what you saw – but at the first words a gulf yawns between you, and you realize that this landscape means something totally different to him, that he is pursuing an alien vision and cares nothing for the ineffable suggestion by which you were transported. Even in your hobbies, has there not always been some secret attraction which the others are curiously ignorant of – something, not to be identified with, but always on the verge of breaking through, the smell of cut wood in the workshop or the clap-clap of water against the boat’s side? Are not all lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling (but faint and uncertain even in the best) of that something which you were born desiring, and which, beneath the flux of other desires and in all the momentary silences between the louder passions, night and day, year by year, from childhood to old age, you are looking for, watching for, listening for? You have never had it. All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it – tantalizing glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear. But if it should really become manifest – if there ever came an echo that did not die away but swelled into the sound itself – you would know it. Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say ‘Here at last is the thing I was made for.’ We cannot tell each other about it. It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want, the thing we desired before we met our wives or made our friends or chose our work, and which we shall still desire on our deathbeds, when the mind no longer knows wife or friend or work. While we are, this is. If we lose this, we lose all.”
– C. S. Lewis
This post began as an effort to write a Morning Trip about Grace. The search reminded me why I haven’t made one before. I began to get a little frustrated. First I thought my frustration was because I could not locate a relative video. (laughing at this now) Then, as I was muttering to myself, I clarified the search. I shifted to gratitude. Gratitude, not as the buzzword, not as a rote thing to do or to say because someone told me it would get me somewhere, but Gratitude as Grace. For me the awe that comes, the energy that moves along with an awe inspiring moment, the thing that encourages me to utter a spontaneous outpouring of gratitude IS grace. Gratitude is the words I might try to put with the feelings.
I viewed this TED Talks presentation some time ago, and while in the moment, it was amazing. It did not fit in with the thoughts, the energy, and the concept that I wished to project. Today, it feels perfect. I am glad for the grace of the video to remind me that for a great many times, when I think that I feel frustration, it is not the thing. It is, rather, a sense of inability to express what is inside of me, thus, I attempt to paint all of these inexpressible or trapped things with sound and images and words that paint feeling or emotion that approximates or recreates it. I appreciate those people who walk alongside of me while I figure it out.
“…I lounge on the grass, that’s all. So
simple. Then I lie back until I am
inside the cloud that is just above me
but very high, and shaped like a fish.
Or, perhaps not. Then I enter the place
of not-thinking, not-remembering, not-
wanting. When the blue jay cries out his
riddle, in his carping voice, I return.
But I go back, the threshold is always
near. Over and back, over and back. Then
I rise. Maybe I rub my face as though I
have been asleep. But I have not been
asleep. I have been, as I say, inside
the cloud, or, perhaps, the lily floating
on the water. Then I go back to town,
to my own house, my own life, which has
now become brighter and simpler, some-
where I have never been before….”
– Mary Oliver
Six Recognitions of the Lord
“If you don’t climb a thousand crags,
how can you learn
all things are empty?
The mountain’s head is white and mine is too.
December dies, the year
runs out its string as all things do.
At the summit: one rude hut, the snow,
this lonely body, and the wind.
I lean on the rail, heart sudden struck
the moon rises from within Great River: there.”
– Yuan Mei
“It is not irritating to be where one is, it is only irritating to think one would like to be somewhere else.”–John Cage
“And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy of elevated thoughts;
a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the Mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.”
– William Wordsworth
“Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.”