What is the solution to life? How can it be lived “well”?
“There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
Full quote here.
“The word ‘aspiration’ has a breathing sense to it. …We have to breathe and to find reasons to stay alive on our own terms.”
“Every human generation has its own illusions with regard to civilization; some believe they are taking part in its upsurge, others that they are witnesses of its extinction. In fact, it always both flames and smolders and is extinguished, according to the place and the angle of view.”
–Ivo Andrić, The Bridge on the Drina
“i am running into a new year
and the old years blow back
like a wind
that i catch in my hair
like strong fingers like
all my old promises”
–Lucille Clifton, from “I Am Running Into a New Year”
The above text (above the lovely poem) an excerpt from a birthday card given to me on my birthday (which happens to be on the first day of the year). Good friends always somehow have a clearer image of who we are, and our flaws, than we do ourselves, don’t they? Or at least, an intriguing image–I never would have suspected that my knowledge of halloumi cheese (which has a higher boiling point than other cheeses and can therefore be fried) was a notable and possibly essential part of my personality and character, but there it is.
Anyway, as the card suggests–don’t all of our self-improvement goals come down to doing less of the bad, hurtful, counterproductive things and more of the good, creative flourishing things?
Whatever good you want to do more of this year, and whatever bad things you are trying to do less of, best of luck achieving that as we run into the new year.
Photo source: unknown
Last month, during Turkey’s kurban holiday, I traveled to Georgia where I visited Tbilisi (the capital), Mtskheta (a historical religious center), and Kazbegi (a town in the mountains near Russia). I can’t even begin to give a full account of everything we did that week, much less give a worthy overview of Georgia as a travel destination and country, so below I simply posted a gallery of photos, which also don’t do any justice but at least prove I was there and give a small taste of Georgia’s awesomeness. Enjoy.
The world is so full of a number of things,
I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.
–Robert Louis Stevenson, “Happy Thought” (From A Child’s Garden of Verses)
Photo walks are when I pick up my camera, take a walk to some familiar place, and go looking for photos. I have done it for years now–my first photo-walk photos were taken on a camera that stored the pics on floppy disks. The photos I take on these walks have never been spectacular, just glimpses of ordinary things that seem extraordinary at the time, such as a crane resting on the river, or the reflection of leaves on a windowpane…
A childish imp with rusty fingers….
A lavender and green ladder of flowers to the sky…
The shape and rhythm of raindrops sprinkling the canal…
The dancing speckled emerald glow of sunlight filtering through wind-kissed leaves…
Balloons mimicking the sky and puffy white clouds…
And lots of other little, ordinary things.
Photos are not the purposes of a photo walk but a mean to the ends of reconnecting with my past, getting in touch with my environment, rekindling my creative juices, and meditating. The camera is just an excuse to reflect on my environment and exercise my creative eye.
The best part is that during and after one of these walks, my mind feels extraordinarily clear, calm, and peaceful. I highly recommend you create your own ritual that helps you meditate and create.
All photos by: Me
I will sail into the future on mystery’s wings and I will not look back. … our hearts yearn backward. We long to be found, hoping our searchers have not given up and gone home. But I no longer hope to be found… Do not follow me! Let’s just be fabulously where we are and who we are. You be you and I’ll be me, today and today and today, and let’s trust the future to tomorrow. Let the stars keep track of us. Let us ride our own orbits and trust that they will meet. May our reunion be not a finding but a sweet collision of destinies!
— Jerry Spinelli, Love, Stargirl
Photo by fenk
All the materials of a poem
Are lying scattered about, as in this garden
The lovely lumber of Spring.
All is profusion, confusion: hundred-eyed
The primulae in crimsion pink and purple,
Golden at the pupil;
prodigal the nectarine and plum
That fret their petals against a rosy wall.
Flame of the tulip, fume of the blue anemone,
White Alps of blossom in the giant pear-tree,
Peaks and glaciers, rise from the same drab soil.
Far too much joy for comfort:
The images that hurt because they won’t connect.
No poem, no possession, therefore pain.
And struggling now to use
These images that bud from the bed of my mind
I grope about for a form,
As much in the dark, this white and dazzling day,
As the bulb at midwinter; as filled with longing
Even in this green garden
As those who gaze from the cliff at the depths of sea
And know they cannot possess it, being of the shore
And severed from that element for ever.
— “The Images that Hurt” by W.H. Auden
And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind
–from “Poetry” by Pablo Neruda
Photo by Lauren Murray
How I Would Paint Happiness
Something sudden, a windfall,
a meteor shower. No –
a flowering tree releasing
all its blossoms at once,
and the one standing beneath it
unexpectedly robed in bloom,
transformed into a stranger
too beautiful to touch.
— Lisel Mueller, “Imaginary Paintings,” Alive Together: New And Selected Poems
But listen to me. For one moment
quit being sad. Hear blessings
dropping their blossoms
— Jalal-al-Din Rumi