Sunday, December 20, 2015

Friendship has no survival value, rather it gives value to survival (by C.S. Lewis)

Photo unknown

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival."

― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Monday, November 30, 2015

My father... often said that the 80s had been one of the most enjoyable decades of his life..." by Oliver Sacks

"My father, who lived to 94, often said that the 80s had been one of the most enjoyable decades of his life. He felt, as I begin to feel, not a shrinking but an enlargement of mental life and perspective. One has had a long experience of life, not only one's own life, but others', too. One has seen triumphs and tragedies, booms and busts, revolutions and wars, great achievements and deep ambiguities, too. One has seen grand theories rise, only to be toppled by stubborn facts. One is more conscious of transience and, perhaps, of beauty. At 80, one can take a long view and have a vivid, lived sense of history not possible at an earlier age. I can imagine, feel in my bones, what a century is like, which I could not do when I was 40 or 60. I do not think of old age as an ever grimmer time that one must somehow endure and make the best of, but as a time of leisure and freedom, freed from the factitious urgencies of earlier days, free to explore whatever I wish, and to bind the thoughts and feelings of a lifetime together."

Oliver Sacks

Sunday, November 29, 2015

"A pointed finger is a victim's logo..." by Joseph Brodsky

"A pointed finger is a victim's logo... No matter how abominable your condition may be, try not to blame anything or anybody: history, the state, superiors, race, parents, the phase of the moon, childhood, toilet training, etc. The menu is vast and tedious, and this vastness and tedium alone should be offensive enough to set one's intelligence against choosing from it. The moment that you place blame somewhere, you undermine your resolve to change anything."

Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Brave And Startling Truth, by Maya Angelou

Photo credit unknown

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.

(Sent from my phone)

Saturday, November 7, 2015

"Sensitive people are the most genuine and honest people you will ever meet," by Shannon L. Alder

"Sensitive people are the most genuine and honest people you will ever meet. There is nothing they won't tell you about themselves if they trust your kindness. However, the moment you betray them, reject them or devalue them, they become the worse type of person. Unfortunately, they end up hurting themselves in the long run. They don't want to hurt other people. It is against their very nature. They want to make amends and undo the wrong they did. Their life is a wave of highs and lows. They live with guilt and constant pain over unresolved situations and misunderstandings. They are tortured souls that are not able to live with hatred or being hated. This type of person needs the most love anyone can give them because their soul has been constantly bruised by others. However, despite the tragedy of what they have to go through in life, they remain the most compassionate people worth knowing, and the ones that often become activists for the broken hearted, forgotten and the misunderstood. They are angels with broken wings that only fly when loved."
― Shannon L. Alder

Saturday, October 24, 2015

SOJA, Used to Matter

So you die when you turn 22,
But they're gonna wait to bury you.
Cause you've got a 9-5 to do,
And that's supposed to matter.

And you replace your time in between,
With other people's hopes and dreams.
And live their lives on your T.V.,
And now you don't even matter.

SOJA, Used to Matter

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The best medicine is love

A physician 
once said,
"The best medicine
for humans is
love." Someone
asked, "What if it
doesn't work?"
He smiled and said,
"Increase the dose."

Thursday, August 27, 2015

See Paris First

A photo posted by Wavian Arts (@wavianarts) on

Suppose what you fear
could be trapped
and held in Paris.

Then you would have the courage
to go everywhere in the world.
All the directions of the compass
open to you,
except the degrees east or west
of true north
that lead to Paris.

Still, you wouldn’t dare
to put your toes smack dab
on the city limit line.

And you’re not really willing to stand on a mountainside
miles away
and watch the Paris lights
come up at night.
And just to be on the safe side, you decide to stay completely
out of France.

But then danger
seems too close
even to those boundaries,
and you feel the timid part of you
covering the whole globe again.

You need the kind of friend
who learns your secret and says,
“See Paris first.”

—M. Truman Cooper

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

This is my symphony

To live content with small means;
Illustration by Takot Ako Krakotz
to seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion;
to be worthy, not respectable,
and wealthy, not rich;
to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart;
to study hard;
to think quietly,
act frankly,
talk gently,
await occasions,
hurry never;
in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious,
grow up through the common –
this is my symphony.
–William Henry Channing (1810-1884)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Photo by Timothy Brown
I saw many humans on whom there were no clothes,
I saw many clothes in which there were no humans.
- Rumi

Monday, May 11, 2015

You become. (The Velveteen Rabbit)

He said, "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and are very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

The Velveteen Rabbit

Monday, April 27, 2015

"Grief is big and can fill a house.

"Grief is big and can fill a house.

"As you may remember, we've been renovating our bathroom and, as we enter week four, we're finally at a stage where we are tiling. Our tiler is a lovely, congenial man and he is also in deep, deep grief. He lost his 28-year old son to a heroin overdose just four weeks ago and he comes to work at my house, because he doesn't know what else to do with himself. He doesn't know the future. He's not sure about the present. He's lost nis only son and his daily work companion -- his beloved boy and the young man he had hoped would take over the business one day.

"I hear him, trudging up and down my stairs, each step reminding him that his son is gone.

"'The steps are hard. I'm sixty years old, you know? And normally...' His voice catches in pain. "Well, normally my son would help with this part of the job..."

"'But it is what it is,' he says with finality, as he signs and turns back to his work.

"His grief is big and it fills my house. But it's okay, because this home is built with enough love and joy to hold space for his sorrow--for any sadness that comes into our lives in whatever form.

"Up and down the stairs he goes, each step a reminder of the love he has for a boy he lost and I send him peace. And I send his son peace. And I also send you peace, for whatever sorrow you may have today, big or small. This house is big enough to contain whatever is within you, too.

"Your grief is welcome here."

-- Jessica Steward

Monday, April 20, 2015

Mass media; mass disappointment

"I get in the elevator at work, and see CNN playing on mute in the little screen above the numbered floor buttons. They flash up a screen shot of a tweet: "Why does the media keep showing the young, pretty Hillary? They should show the old hag that she is today." (I don't remember this type of discussion ever going on about any male presidential candidate.)

"I read 'Girl in a Band,' Kim Gordon's new memoir about her time in the seminal experimental band Sonic Youth, and the book is threaded with asides about her appearance-related worries due to her being the only female in the band: Should she downplay her naturally good looks, try to look ugly and androgynous? Should she be sexier, to help 'sell' the band's inaccessible, dissonant sound? Should they put her front and center on the stage (they did), should they feature her prominently in band photos on their album covers (they didn't)? (None of the guy members of the band dealt with any of these concerns.)

"Just you try and tell me we no longer need feminism in our modern, enlightened Western world."

Christie Kimball

Sunday, March 15, 2015

On the grit you need to be an artist

"You may not know this, but in terms of artistic endeavors or craftsmanship, people don't really think all that highly of shirt-makers. Not everybody, but when you're out there selling shit, people kinda talk down to you like "oh shirts, how cute" and sort of talk about how screen printing is this thing they could do some afternoon if they felt like bothering.

"And it's like, sure; screenprinting isn't heart surgery, and there are a million easier ways to get a shirt made these days than opening up shop; so when people ask me about getting into making shirts it's like, Do you really want to make shirts? Do you believe in your clever idea enough to see it through to fruition, to tear up half your place and buy a bunch of nasty chemicals and expensive equipment, to research technique and learn through practice, trial and error; is your shirt design good enough to work all night printing them out, in every size and shape and color, just in case! And after ALL of that, can you handle folding up your heart and soul and laying it bare on a sheet-covered table, and stand there and smile while people saunter by, sometimes for hours with only a scattering of pauses, points, and maybe a polite chuckle? CAN you swallow back all of your pride and fury in place of a resolve; that against all odds, your own thoughts and ideas, the ones you loved so much as to create them from nothing, will resonate with another person, enough they want to pay you for the privilege of wearing it on their body?

"Motherfucker do you really want to make t-shirts??"

~Nick Min D'Jacquette

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Then you hold life like a face between your palms

Then you hold life like a
face between your palms, a
plain face, no charming
smile, no violet eyes, and
you say, yes, I will take
you I will love you,

Ellen Bass 

Monday, January 12, 2015

"When you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation..." by Neil DeGrasse Tyson

"The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you." ~Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Everybody needs to be understood, by Sherwin Nuland

"When you recognize that pain — and response to pain — is a universal thing, it helps explain so many things about others, just as it explains so much about yourself. It teaches you forbearance. It teaches you a moderation in your responses to other people’s behavior. It teaches you a sort of understanding. It essentially tells you what everybody needs. You know what everybody needs? You want to put it in a single word?

"Everybody needs to be understood.

"And out of that comes every form of love.

"If someone truly feels that you understand them, an awful lot of neurotic behavior just disappears — disappears on your part, disappears on their part. So if you’re talking about what motivates this world to continue existing as a community, you’ve got to talk about love… And my argument is it comes out of your biology because on some level we understand all of this. We put it into religious forms. It’s almost like an excuse to deny our biology. We put it into pithy, sententious aphorisms, but it’s really coming out of our deepest physiological nature."

~Sherwin Nuland

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