I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
~ John 15:5, NIV Bible
slower
The truly sacred attitude toward life is in no sense an escape from the sense of nothingness that assails us when we are left alone with ourselves. On the contrary, it penetrates into that darkness and that nothingness, realizing that the mercy of God has transformed our nothingness into his temple and believing that in our darkness his light has hidden itself. Hence, the sacred attitude is one that does not recoil from our own inner emptiness but rather penetrates into it with awe and reverence, and the awareness of mystery. This is a most important discovery in the interior life.
~ Thomas Merton in THE INNER EXPERIENCE
Thomas Merton THE INNER EXPERIENCE slower
In order to wish to be present, I must see that I am asleep. "I" am not here. I am enclosed in a circle of petty interests and avidity in which my "I" is lost. And it will remain lost unless I can relate to something higher.

I need to understand that by myself, without a relation with something higher, I am nothing. I can do nothing. By myself alone, I can only remain lost in this circle of interests. I have no quality that allows me to escape. I can escape only if I feel my absolute nothingness and begin to feel the need for help. I must feel the need to relate myself to something higher.

Nothing real in me can be hurt.
~ Madame de Salzmann in THE REALITY OF BEING
Madame de Salzmann The Reality Of Being slower
Progress comes through the voluntary acceptance of constriction and diminishment. And that's the unpleasant bottom line. Because all of us think that evolution comes through expansion. And we automatically equate our larger personhood with expanded space, expanded agency, endless opportunity, a whole canvas to paint on.

But it's actually, spiritually speaking, in the opposite direction. It's in the leaning into the conditions that you at first experience as intolerable, that you gradually realize that they are exactly the conditions that bring forth something new, something that can't be born forth in any other way.
~ Cynthia Bourgeault, 2023 Wisdom School at Claymont
Cynthia Bourgeault slower
We have entered a time of descent that takes us down into a different geography. In this shadowed terrain, we encounter a landscape familiar to soul—loss, grief, death, vulnerability, and fear. We have, in the old language of Alchemy, crossed into the Nigredo...This is a season of decay, of shedding and endings, of falling apart and undoing. This is not a time of rising and growth. It is not a time of confidence and ease. No. We are hunkered down. Down being the operative word. From the perspective of soul, down is holy ground.
~ Francis Weller in IN THE ABSENCE OF THE ORDINARY
Francis Weller IN THE ABSENCE OF THE ORDINARY slower
The divine way is indeed the downward way.
~ Henri Nouwen in THE SELFLESS WAY OF CHRIST
Henri Nouwen THE SELFLESS WAY OF CHRIST slower

To awaken means to realize one's nothingness, that is, to realize one's complete and absolute mechanicalness, and one's complete and absolute helplessness. And it is not sufficient to realize it philosophically in words. It is necessary for us to realize it in clear, simple and concrete facts, in our own facts.

Until we reach the stage of realizing our own nothingness, we cannot change. To begin to realize one's own nothingness as a practical experience is to begin to cease identifying with oneself.

~ Maurice Nicoll in PSYCHOLOGICAL COMMENTARIES ON THE TEACHING OF GURDJIEFF AND OUSPENSKY, VOL 1
Maurice Nicoll PSYCHOLOGICAL COMMENTARIES ON THE TEACHING OF GURDJIEFF AND OUSPENSKY, VOL 1 slower

Sometimes a grief like storm-wind sweeps away
All the words I found to bring to you
I shake helpless, silent as a corpse
'Be happy' you say 'Now you are nothing'

~ Jalal-ud-Din Rumi in A YEAR WITH RUMI
Rumi A YEAR WITH RUMI slower
Awakening is messy. You don't transcend into some paradisiacal, elitist inner garden— It doesn't perfect you. You first come into all the reasons you've so wanted to stay asleep. And there are many good reasons. To awaken, really, is to begin to feel. Awakening is bit by bit coming out of denial around all the reasons you've needed to wield that terrible tool of othering— because so much is unbearable inside of our own self.

Awakening doesn't come from spiritual mastery defined as overcoming enough of our shortcomings. It is found in doing our fumbling best to grow into arms strong and loving enough to hold and hug our aching humanity. The myth that awakening looks anything like spiritual perfectionism is perhaps the best sleeping pill. Awakening is the at times compass-less and often inglorious inner odyssey toward the rough ruby of all that is bruised and true in our hearts. Awakening isn't only for special people. We're all on our way toward coming out of the sleep cycle.
~ Chelan Harkin in WILD GRACE
Chelan Harkin WILD GRACE slower
May I have enough being to be nothing.
~ Rafe, hermit monk at St. Benedict's monastery
Rafe slower
Find your practice and practice it. Find your teaching and follow it. Find your community and be faithful to it. Otherwise, you will tend to float around with no accountability system for what you too easily "believe" in your head. Your own ego will end up being the decider and chooser moment by moment.

At any given time we are likely to have not a single practice but rather a constellation of practices, often with one of them as our primary practice. Others may surround it, each carrying its own special place in our life... As the months and years go by the constellation changes. New practices emerge. Practices that have been present for years fall out of the picture.
~ James Finley from the "Contemplation and Action" podcast
James Finley slower

"You don't have to prove anything," my mother said. "Just be ready for what God sends."

I listened and put my hand out in the sun again. It was easy.

~ William Stafford, last poem before he died, "Are You Mr. William Stafford?" in ASK ME: 100 ESSENTIAL POEMS OF WILLIAM STAFFORD
William Stafford ASK ME: 100 ESSENTIAL POEMS OF WILLIAM STAFFORD slower

Give over thine own willing. Give over thine own running. Give over thine own desiring to know or be anything, and sink down to the seed which God chose in thy heart, and let that grow in thee, and be in thee, and breathe in thee, and act in thee, and thou shalt find by sweet experience that the Lord knows that, and loves and owns that, and will lead it to the inheritance of life, which is God's portion.

~ Isaac Penington, Quaker mystic, in EXPLORING ISAAC PENINGTON
Isaac Penington EXPLORING ISAAC PENINGTON slower

Don't let people pull you into their storm. But instead, pull them into your peace and make all things new.

~ Pema Chödrön in WHEN THINGS FALL APART
Pema Chodron When Things Fall Apart slower
May 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 5)
And yet, I know artists whose medium is Life itself, and who express the inexpressible without brush, pencil, chisel, or guitar. They neither paint nor dance. Their medium is Being. Whatever their hand touches has increased Life. They SEE and don’t have to draw. They are the artists of being alive.
~ Frederick Franck in THE ZEN OF SEEING
Frederick Franck The Zen Of Seeing create
May 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 5)
I have come to believe that unless we are making something, we cannot know the depth of God’s being and God’s grace permeating our lives and God’s creation.
~ Makoto Fujimura in ART AND FAITH: A THEOLOGY OF MAKING
Makoto Fujimura ART AND FAITH: A THEOLOGY OF MAKING create
May 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 5)
Our spiritual traditions have carried virtues across time. They are tools for the art of living. They are pieces of intelligence about human behavior that neuroscience is now exploring with new words and images: what we practice, we become. What’s true of playing the piano or throwing a ball also holds for our capacity to move through the world mindlessly and destructively or generously and gracefully. I’ve come to think of virtues and rituals as spiritual technologies for being our best selves in flesh and blood, time and space. There are superstar virtues that come most readily to mind and can be the work of a day or a lifetime—love, compassion, forgiveness. And there are gentle shifts of mind and habit that make those possible, working patiently through the raw materials of our lives.
~ Krista Tippett in BECOMING WISE: AN INQUIRY INTO THE MYSTERY AND ART OF LIVING
Krista Tippett BECOMING WISE: AN INQUIRY INTO THE MYSTERY AND ART OF LIVING create
May 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 5)

Compose. (No ideas
but in things) Invent!

~ William Carlos Williams from "A Sort Of A Song" in THE WEDGE
William Carlos Williams THE WEDGE create
May 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 5)
The man who has many answers
is often found
in the theaters of information
where he offers, graciously,
his deep findings.
While the man who has only questions,
to comfort himself, makes music.
~ Mary Oliver, "The Man Who Has Many Answers", in A THOUSAND MORNINGS: POEMS
Mary Oliver A THOUSAND MORNINGS: POEMS create
May 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 5)
Education is...a drawing out of one’s own genius, nature, and heart. The manifestation of one’s essence, the unfolding of one’s capacities, the revelation of one’s heretofore hidden possibilities... From another side, study amplifies the speech and song of the world so that it’s more palpably present.

Education in the soul leads to the enchantment of the world and the attunement of self.
~ Thomas Moore in MEDITATIONS
Thomas Moore Meditations create
May 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 5)
There are always two poems—the one you want to write and the other that must write itself.
~ M. NourbeSe Philip in ZONG!
M. NourbeSe Philip ZONG! create
May 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 5)
Because of the routines we follow, we often forget that life is an ongoing adventure...and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art: to bring all our energies to each encounter, to remain flexible enough to notice and admit when what we expected to happen did not happen. We need to remember that we are created creative...
~ Maya Angelou in WOULDN’T TAKE NOTHING FOR MY JOURNEY NOW
Maya Angelou WOULDN’T TAKE NOTHING FOR MY JOURNEY NOW create
May 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 5)
Let us sing to the Creator of the cosmos,
to the divine power of love!
When we look at the wondrous display
of the heavens,
at the Earth with its infinite
variety of life,
Who are we that You love us, that You
rejoice in our being;
that You trust us to care for creation
in all its splendor,
inviting us to become co-creators
with You?
Let us celebrate the mystery of life!
Let us commit our lives to
the Divine Plan!
~ Nan Merrill from MEDITATIONS AND MANDALAS
Nan Merrill Meditations And Mandalas create
May 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 5)
The spring is back. The earth is like a child
who’s learnt a heap of poems off by heart:
so many of them, and how hard she toiled!
But she wins prizes now; she has them pat.

At school, her teacher was a strict old man,
although we liked the whiteness of his beard.
Now, when we ask her please to give a name
to colours green or blue, she knows the word!

Earth, you’re in luck; today’s a holiday.
We children want to catch you; come and play.
Whoever laughs the most will win the game.

Her teacher’s lessons, wearisome and long,
are printed in each root, each stiff, straight stem.
And listen now: she’s turned them into song!
~ Rainer Maria Rilke, "Sonnets to Orpheus Part One: XXI", as translated by John Richmond
Rainer Maria Rilke, John Richmond create
May 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 5)
It does not cost much. It is pleasant: one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with peace, and the house filled with one of the world's sweetest smells. But it takes a lot of time. If you can find that, the rest is easy. And if you cannot rightly find it, make it, for probably there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation in a music-throbbing chapel, that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.
~ M.F.K. Fisher in HOW TO COOK A WOLF
M.F.K. Fisher HOW TO COOK A WOLF create
May 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 5)

An awake heart is like a sky that pours light.

~ Hafiz
Hafiz create
April 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 4)
The cosmos dreams in me
while I wait in stillness,
ready to lean a little further
into the heart of the Holy.

I, a little blip of life,
a wisp of unassuming love,
a quickly passing breeze,
come once more into Lent.

No need to sign me
with the black bleeding ash
of palms, fried and baked.
I know my humus place.

This Lent I will sail
on the graced wings of desire,
yearning to go deeper
to the place where
I am one in the One.

Oh, may I go there soon,
in the same breath
that takes me to the stars
when the cosmos dreams in me.
~ Joyce Rupp, "Poem for Lent"
Joyce Rupp beyond hope
April 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 4)
What would it be like to surrender to Mystery? What would it be like to slow down, to stop trying to fix the world for ourselves, for our grandchildren, and for all the creatures of this planet, and instead take their hands, and the hands of our ancestors, and the hands of our great great grandchildren, and with fierce love make a path by walking it?
~ Lindsay McLaughlin
Lindsay McLaughlin beyond hope
April 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 4)

Communion is a deeper, wordless connection in which we acknowledge the sacred woven within each individual life, holding all. Holy within, between, among, and beyond. From the beginning...we live and move and have our being in the flow of mystery. In reclaiming our soul, we reconnect to the soul of the world.

Learning to live in edge times in ways that allow us all to flourish in beauty and joy in the midst of deep sorrow and loss will require brave and committed souls....We must engage in the requisite work that will enable us to live in deep recognition of life in communion.

~ Leah Rampy in EARTH & SOUL: RECONNECTING AMID CLIMATE CHAOS
Leah Rampy EARTH & SOUL: RECONNECTING AMID CLIMATE CHAOS beyond hope
April 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 4)

Practicing Silence is the art of letting down the barrier that separates our rational consciousness from the depth of our soul ... of coming into touch with the spiritual world in a way that opens our whole being to the reality of the creative and integrating center... In silence we meet the reality of the inner voice from God which gives inspiration, guidance and direction, and transformation.

~ Morton T. Kelsey in THE OTHER SIDE OF SILENCE
Morton T. Kelsey The Other Side Of Silence beyond hope
April 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 4)

In the frozen fields of my life
there are no shortcuts to spring,
but stories of great birds in migration
carrying small ones on their backs,
predators flying next to warblers
they would, in a different season, eat.

Stunned by the astonishing mix in this uneasy world
that plunges in a single day from despair
to hope and back again, I commend my life
to Ruskin's difficult duty of delight,
and to that most beautiful form of courage,
to be happy.

~ Jeanne Lohmann from "What the Day Gives" in THE LIGHT OF INVISIBLE BODIES
Jeanne Lohmann THE LIGHT OF INVISIBLE BODIES beyond hope
April 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 4)
We are beings of Earth who feel the mysterious rhythms of life unfolding. We sense this in the arc from sunrise to sunset, in the migrating patterns of birds and wild animals, in the call of whales in the depths of the oceans...in the smell of spring soil appearing through winter's snow. All of it sings to us in the movement of seasons as the planet finds its way around the sun and back again. These rhythms will ground us anew in the Earth that has brought forth and sustained life for billions of years. The rhythms have changed, yes, with climate change and extinction. We are being uprooted from predictable seasonal time, yet we dare to uncover ways forward. Deep time grounds us...Rediscovering who we are. Finding our purpose as humans to enhance life, not diminish it. This is our endless prayer...
~ Mary Evelyn Tucker, "Learning to Navigate Amid Loss", preface to GREAT TIDE RISING by Kathleen Dean Moore
Mary Evelyn Tucker Great Tide Rising beyond hope
April 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 4)

Compline always ends with what monastics call the "great silence." We move into the healing silence of the night...Silence is like a river of grace inviting us to leap unafraid into its beckoning depths. It is dark and mysterious in the waters of grace. Yet in the silent darkness we are given new eyes. In the heart of the divine we can see more clearly who we are. We are renewed and cleansed in this river of silence.

~ Macrina Wiederkehr in SEVEN SACRED PAUSES
Macrina Wiederkehr SEVEN SACRED PAUSES beyond hope
April 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 4)

The days are cold and brown,
Brown fields, no sign of green,
Brown twigs, not even swelling,
And dirty snow in the woods.
But as the dark flows in
The tree frogs begin
Their shrill sweet singing,
And we lie on our beds
Through the ecstatic night,
Wide awake, cracked open.
There will be no going back.

~ May Sarton, "April in Maine" in COLLECTED POEMS: 1930-1993
May Sarton COLLECTED POEMS: 1930-1993 beyond hope
April 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 4)
Sanctuary is slowing down. The times are urgent, let us make sanctuary. The times are urgent, let us go slowly down to sanctuary. The times are urgent, let us be slowed down by the beings that exceed us. The times are urgent, let us be released from the traps of the things we already know.
~ Bayo Akomolafe from "Let Us Make Sanctuary" in Insights at the Edge podcast with Tami Simon
Bayo Akomolafe beyond hope
May 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 5)

Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.

Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives...

Here’s an assignment for tonight...Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed...But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing...

Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash receptacles. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.

~ Kurt Vonnegut in MORE LETTERS OF NOTE
Kurt Vonnegut MORE LETTERS OF NOTE create
April 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 4)

My friends, do not lose heart.. ...One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires...causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these—to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity...Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes in DO NOT LOSE HEART
Clarissa Pinkola Estes Do Not Lose Heart beyond hope
March 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 3)
You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don't know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don't know who your friends are, you don't know what you owe anybody, you don't know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.
~ Joseph Campbell in THE POWER OF MYTH
Joseph Campbell The Power Of Myth daydream
March 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 3)
Though we do not wholly believe it yet, the interior life is a real life, and the intangible dreams of people have a tangible effect on the world.
~ James Baldwin in NOBODY KNOWS MY NAME
James Baldwin NOBODY KNOWS MY NAME daydream
March 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 3)
It is a kind of love, is it not?
How the cup holds the tea,
How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes
Or toes. How soles of feet know
Where they're supposed to be.
I've been thinking about the patience
Of ordinary things, how clothes
Wait respectfully in closets
And soap dries quietly in the dish,
And towels drink the wet
From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs.
And what is more generous than a window?
~ Pat Schneider, "The Patience of Ordinary Things" in ANOTHER RIVER: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS
Pat Schneider ANOTHER RIVER: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS daydream
March 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 3)

For me, imagination is synonymous with discovery. To imagine, to discover, to carry our bit of light to the living penumbra where all the infinite possibilities, forms, and numbers exist. I do not believe in creation but in discovery, and I don't believe in the seated artist but in the one who is walking the road. The imagination is a spiritual apparatus, a luminous explorer of the world it discovers. The imagination fixes and gives clear life to fragments of the invisible reality where [we are] stirring.

~ Federico Garcia Lorca from the article "Imagination, Inspiration, Evasion" in Harpers Magazine
Federico Garcia Lorca daydream
March 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 3)

I think often we get sidetracked around the public responsibility of the poet. We don't spend a lot of time talking about the private responsibility of the poet. Which maybe we should. Very recently, I had my thesis students start "required daydreaming." They have to sit there and daydream. And they can't do anything else.

~ Meg Day from the article "Interview with Meg Day" in Inscape Journal
Meg Day daydream
March 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 3)
Can we talk about the moon
tonight? Low & full
in the baby-blue sky. A friend
at my door, the sound
of her laugh & well-loved
heart. I want to be held
up like that. I need a poem
about happiness I haven't
written yet, an ode
to the ducks in my neighbour's
pool, another for the pink
magnolias of spring—some trees
make it look so easy: Yes,
I can hold all this beauty up.
~ Kyla Jamieson, "I Need A Poem" in BODY COUNT
Kyla Jamieson BODY COUNT daydream
March 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 3)

We all — adults and children, writers and readers — have an obligation to daydream. We have an obligation to imagine. It is easy to pretend that nobody can change anything, that we are in a world in which society is huge and the individual is less than nothing: an atom in a wall, a grain of rice in a rice field. But the truth is, individuals change their world over and over, individuals make the future, and they do it by imagining that things can be different.

~ Neil Gaiman from the article "Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming" in The Guardian
Neil Gaiman daydream
March 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 3)
The multiplication of technologies in the name of efficiency is actually eradicating free time by making it possible to maximize the time and place for production and minimize the unstructured travel time in between...Too, the rhetoric of efficiency around these technologies suggests that what cannot be quantified cannot be valued-that that vast array of pleasures which fall into the category of doing nothing in particular, of woolgathering, cloud-gazing, wandering, window-shopping, are nothing but voids to be filled by something more definite, more production, or faster-paced...I like walking because it is slow, and I suspect that the mind, like the feet, works at about three miles an hour. If this is so, then modern life is moving faster than the speed of thought or thoughtfulness.
~ Rebecca Solnit in WANDERLUST
Rebecca Solnit WANDERLUST daydream
March 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 3)
I go among the trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
where I left them, asleep like cattle.
~ Wendell Berry from "I go among the trees and sit still" in SABBATHS
Wendell Berry Sabbaths daydream
March 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 3)
Knowing how to be solitary
is central to the art
of loving.

When we can be alone,
we can be with others
without using them
as a means of escape.
~ bell hooks, "knowing how to be solitary" in ALL ABOUT LOVE: NEW VISIONS
bell hooks ALL ABOUT LOVE: NEW VISIONS daydream
March 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 3)
May you grow still enough to hear
The trickling of water seeping
Into the ground, so that your soul may
Be softened and healed, and guided
In its flow.
~ Brother David Steindl-Rast from "Winter Blessing" in 99 BLESSINGS: AN INVITATION TO LIFE
Brother David Steindl-Rast 99 BLESSINGS: AN INVITATION TO LIFE daydream
March 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 3)

Imagine what it would feel like, taste like, and smell like to believe you don't have to prove who you are by your accomplishments and labor...The culture we live under does not point you toward this deep truth. It instead has told you and reinforced the idea that you came into the world to be a machine, to accomplish, to labor, and to do. Nothing can be further from the truth and when you slowly begin to believe and understand your inherent worth, rest becomes possible in many ways.

~ Tricia Hersey in REST IS RESISTANCE: A MANIFESTO
Tricia Hersey REST IS RESISTANCE: A MANIFESTO daydream
February 2024 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 2)
What is one to do with such moments, such memories, but cherish them? Who knows what is beyond the known? And if you think that any day the secret of light might come, would you not keep the house of your mind ready? Would you not cleanse your study of all that is cheap, or trivial? Would you not live in continual hope, and pleasure, and excitement?
~ Mary Oliver in WINTER HOURS: PROSE, PROSE POEMS, AND POEMS
Mary Oliver WINTER HOURS: PROSE, PROSE POEMS, AND POEMS warmth