Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Christmas present to myself.

I went out and bought a journal a few days ago, not to keep my own thoughts in, but rather, to take note of the thoughts of others that speak to me. I like the idea of having something with me that, when those moments in life come a creepin' and the intellect or the soul are curious or seek nourishment, all I need do is open it, flip a few pages, and read.

But, as I well know after the experience of having so many countless things of mine misplaced, forgotten or stolen over the course of my bouncing around, anything physical can be lost. So I'm going to create a digital copy. Tumblr does the job well:

qz / selections

Here's to hoping I get a kick out of this when I look back years from now and see what still speaks to me, and what at one time did.

A year ago at this time I was reading Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. There were a few quotes from it that resonated, but two, now, remain. One for lessons already learned, one for lessons learning:

"I never told her that - what her affectionate and unconditional acceptance meant to me. So much, too much, of the good that I felt in those years of exile was locked in the prison cell of my heart: those tall walls of fear; that small, barred window of hope; that hard bed of shame. I do speak out now. I know now that when the loving, honest moment comes it should be seized, and spoken, because it may never come again. And unvoiced, unmoving, unlived in the things we declare from heart to heart, those true and real feelings wither and crumble in the remembering hand that tried too late to reach for them."

"What characterizes the human race more, Karla once asked me, cruelty, or the capacity to feel shame for it? I thought the question acutely clever then, when I first heard it, but I'm lonelier and wiser now, and I know it isn't cruelty or shame that characterizes the human race. It's forgiveness that makes us what we are. Without forgiveness, our species would've annihilated itself in endless retributions. Without forgiveness, there would be no history. Without that hope, there would be no art, for every work of art is in some way an act of forgiveness. Without that dream, there would be no love, for every act of love is in some way a promise to forgive. We live on because we can love, and we love because we can forgive."

Happy holidays to all.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The life ideal.

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” - Louise Erdrich

Beautiful quote, it resonates. There are moments in my life when I acknowledge that my idealism creates the foundation for suffering. In some respects, that idealism is both my greatest strength and greatest weakness. And yet even in those moments when the suffering surfaces I've always refused to forsake the idealism that is responsible for it, because I know what sits on the other side, and I trust that it is there that I find my happiness, my redemption, my truth, and myself.