Friday, August 31, 2012

starting over

Temple of Bacchus
Photo by Stefan Sonntag (click to see original)
 "Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." ~Carl Bard

Thursday, August 30, 2012

change

Mortals use left door, Gods right door, please.
Photo by Steven Sonntag (click to see original)
"Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced." ~James Baldwin

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"When one door closes, another door opens...."

Door to the Church

"When one door closes, another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us." ~Alexander Graham Bell

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"This delusion is a kind of prison for us..."

Cow Bay
Photo by Christopher Morley (click to see original)

"A human being is part of a whole.... He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest -- a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures, and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security." ~Albert Einstein

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Will I be pretty?

Katie Makkai
National Poetry Slam, 2002  
Pretty

 

When I was just a little girl,
I asked my mother
What will I be?
Will I be pretty?
Will I be pretty?
Will I be pretty?
What comes next?
Oh right, will I be rich, which is almost pretty, depending on where you shop.
And the pretty question infects from conception,
passing blood and breath into cells,
the word hangs from our mothers' hearts in a shrill of fluorescent floodlight of worry:
will I be wanted; worthy; pretty?

But puberty left me this funhouse mirror dryad;
teeth set at science fiction angles, crooked nose, face donkey long and pockmarked where the hormones went fingerpainting.

My poor mother.

"How could this happen? You'll have porcelain skin as soon as we can see a dermatologist. You sucked your thumb, that's why your teeth look like that. You were hit in the face with a frisbee when you were six, otherwise your nose would have been just FINE. Don't worry, we'll get it all fixed," she would say, grasping my face, twisting it this way, then that, as though it were a cabbage she might buy.

But this is not about her.

Not her fault.

She too was raised to believe the greatest asset she could bestow upon her awkward little girl was a marketable facade.

By 16, I was pickled with ointments, medications, peroxides, teeth corralled into steel prongs, laying in a hospital bed, face packed with gauze, cushioning the brand new nose the surgeon had carved.

Belly gorged on two pints of my own blood I had swallowed under anesthesia and every convulsive twist of my gut like my body screaming at me from the inside out, "WHAT did you let them do to you??"

All the while this never ending chorus droning on and on like the IV needle dripping liquid beauty into my blood, will I be pretty, will I be pretty, like my mother unwinding the gift wrap to reveal the bouquet of daughter her $10,000 bought her: pretty... pretty.

And now I have not seen my own face in ten years.

I have not seen my own face in ten years but this is not about me.

This is about the self-mutilating circus we have painted ourselves clowns in;

about women who will prowl 30 stores in six malls to find the right cocktail dress but who haven't a clue where to find fulfillment or how to wear joy. Wandering through life shackled to a shopping bag beneath the tyranny of those two pretty syllables. About men wallowing on barstools, drearily practicing attraction and everyone who will drift home tonight crestfallen because not enough strangers found you suitably f*ckable.

This is about my own someday daughter, when you approach me, already stung, stained with insecurity, begging, "mom, will I be pretty? Will I be pretty?"

I will wipe that question from your mouth like cheap lipstick and answer, "No. The word 'pretty' is unworthy of everything you will be and no child of mine will be contained in five letters. You will be: pretty intelligent; pretty creative; pretty amazing, but you will never be merely pretty."

Friday, August 17, 2012

You do not know what wars are going on...

grumpy guy
"Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don’t want it. What seems conceit, bad manners, or cynicism is always a sign of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen. You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets the bone." –Miller Williams

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Thank you.

Butterfly that landed on her fingers
"If the only prayer you say in your whole life is "thank you," that would suffice." ~Meister Eckhart

What is meant when we use the word "I"?

Lost in thought
Photo by Stephan Guertler (click to see original on Flickr)
"I wonder what is meant when we use the word I. I have been very interested in this problem, and have come to the conclusion that what most civilized people mean by that word is a hallucination, a false sense of personal identity that is at complete variance with the facts of nature. As a result of having a false sense of identity, we act in a way that is inappropriate to our natural environment,... and when that inappropriate way of action is magnified by a very powerful technology, we see a profound discord begin to separate man and nature as is well known, we are now in the process of destroying our environment as a result of an attempt to conquer it and master it. We believe that our environment is something other than ourselves, and in assuming that, we make a great mistake and are now paying the price." ~Alan Watts.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Closure

PiN lovE 
"I think "a sense of closure" is a notion invented, as a sort of utopian emotional state, to ease ourselves through tough times. If you find yourself eating food, drinking water, sleeping and occasionally enjoying the company of other people, you can learn to live with the arrow piercing your chest, awkward though it may be to wear a shirt over it."
~ Jason Sadler

Saturday, August 4, 2012

the lessons of joy and sorrow

Jump No. 32
"It is only when one feels joy or sorrow that one knows anything about himself, and only by joy or sorrow is he instructed what to seek and what to shun." ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe