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In my cupboard, I find you: Cinnamon, cardamon, cloves, so listen:
Everything good. A specialty. Cinnamon is a party, a celebration, its tawny bark and invitation to be happy, rich with favor. It tickles the inside of the nostrils and warms the throat in a beverage. It expands as it slides down the tongue and fortifies. It provides what is not there before it appears. A sprinkle of cinnamon is a play.
Picturesque. Exotique. A langorus yawn to venture into, the opening of a cave and a wish to enter, explore, taste and see. A secret, which, when penetrated, will change your life, open it, keep opening. A channel to the unknown with wide perfume, a gust of the ever unfolding. Oh yes, that is cardamon, the unknown and wide-ranging alleyway.
Cloves scare. They prickle. They wince. They speckle. And they press you further into their haughty noise. They announce, they decide, they insist. Just a sprinkle whispers but a spray, watch out. Like earth, cloves demand and desist soft attention. They want you. They demand you. Please, just a touch. Ah, the happy consonance. The pinch of the universe.
And you? Yours???
Dawn. I stepped onto the deck. I lay back and exposed myself to the sun rising in warm, soft air. I had just climbed from the cold stream, preceded by the hot, mineral spring. A prize, dawn, still and priceless, scent of manzanita wafting over me. I would meditate, burrow into the sublimity, my heart showing.
All at once, a terrific rumble. From overhead, racing down the hillside, a boulder, careening, down, down. Before I knew it, it crashed five inches from my head, splintering into segments, one of which landed on the bench behind me, the other vaulting across the redwood span. I lay pinioned by the sudden silence, and then peered at the rock sized stone hooked into the plank as if by a claw. Dark-brown, coppery with bronze flecks, this slab, five inches from my ear, my temple, my skin.
Slowly, I pulled myself up. Around the deck, the trees still stood. The railing still held, and, as I inched back, I saw the moist oblong where I had lain. Beside it, the yellow striped towel, still folded. There, I thought, just there. I bent and pulled out the stone from the wood and lay it on my palm. Warm it felt and smelled burnt, as if it had flown through fire on its run to the ground. Of course it told me none of that. Nor its name, purpose, or plan.
I turned it over. over. Who sent you I wanted to say, but kept the silence the speeding missile whistled to, turning me witness rather than victim.
“So, this is how it is then,” I said, “this.”
Every day, I study this messenger, its blank presence impelling me to wake.
During the holiday season, please take some time off to take care of yourself, your loved ones, and friends. Find time to be with nature, to enjoy the stars, and the white clouds and to truly come home and be at home within ourselves, as Thay always encourages us to do. You may like to write love letters instead of spending money and consuming more. The New Year is a wonderful opportunity to begin anew with ourselves and let go of resentments and regret.
from Thich Nhat Hahn sangha, Dec 13th, 2014
The best artists give us everything of themselves. We rarely think about how much it costs them to be the person we turn to in times of need. Robin Williams used to tell a joke: “A man goes to the doctor and claims of being depressed. He feels hopeless, like he has nothing to live for. The doctor says, “You’re in luck. I have the perfect cure. The famous clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. See his show and laugh and forget your troubles for a while.’ The patient says: “But Doctor, I am Pagliacci.”
There will always be a hole where Robin Williams was.
RACHEL SHUKART, THE TABLET, AUGUST 12, 2014
Suppose we are out on a lake and it’s a bit foggy–not too foggy, but a bit foggy–and we’re rowing along in our little boat having a good time. And then, all of a sudden, coming out of the fog, there’s this other rowboat and it’s heading right at us. And…crash! Well, for a second we’re really angry–what is that fool doing? I just painted my boat! And here he comes–crash!–right into it. And then suddenly we notice that the rowboat is empty. What happens to our anger? Well, the anger collapses…I’ll just have to paint my boat again, that’s all. But if that rowboat that hit ours had another person in it, how would we react? You know what would happen! Now our encounters with life, with other people, with events, are like being bumped by an empty rowboat. But we don’t experience it that way. We experience it as though there are people in that other rowboat and we’re really getting clobbered by them. …
from Everyday Zen: love and work, by Charlotte Joko Beck
You have affected us all.
You have given us love.
You have given us courage.
In you we took our first steps.
In you we took our first nourishment.
You were brave and strong and insistent.
We learned to insist from you.
We learned to hold up our heads.
We learned to dance and sing and play our own music again.
Our brave and stalwart woman.
Thank you for all your wise words, your daring truths, your dedicated care.
We miss you already.