Thursday, June 28, 2012

be perfectly serene

Be completely empty.
Be perfectly serene.
The ten thousand things arise together;
in their arising is their return.
Now they flower,
and flowering
sink homeward,
returning to the root.
The return to the root
is peace.
Peace: to accept what must be,
to know what endures.
In that knowledge is wisdom.

~ Lao-Tse

Today is the first day of summer holidays for our fourteen year old daughter.  And so the rhythm of days will change and we will change with them.  Always I'm giving myself writing deadlines, and somehow I've always managed to trick myself into believing they're quite real. But in summer there are times when I reluctantly grant myself some leniency.  

In summer at times it is possible to be completely empty, completely serene....but at other times, no, not at all.  Too many distractions.  Worries.  Why is it that this is the time of year when the usual worries begin to build?  

But okay.  Peace.  To accept what must be.  

And summer - an opportunity to think in ways you've never thought before:

T H I N G S   T O   T H I N K 

by Robert Bly

Think in ways you've never thought before.
If the phone rings, think of it as carrying a message
Larger than anything you've ever heard,
Vaster than a hundred lines of Yeats.

Think that someone may bring a bear to your door,
Maybe wounded and deranged; or think that a moose
Has risen out of the lake, and he's carrying on his antlers
A child of your own whom you've never seen.

When someone knocks on the door, think that he's about
To give you something large: tell you you're forgiven,
Or that it's not necessary to work all the time, or that it's
Been decided that if you lie down no one will die.

The vine that creates the 'writing room' in our backyard has found new places to cling, ways of reaching out further, and I feel like I need to find new ways to come to writing this summer. When someone knocks on my door I want to think that I'm given something large - that the message I'm given will be vaster than a hundred lines by Clarice Lispector...


  1. I like that, "...find new ways to come to writing..." This summer can be a time to slow down. I'm going to San Francisco for three weeks and what better time to find a spot, early in the morning, near the dahlia garden in Golden Gate Park and listen and feel the cool air around and about me.

    The Robert Bly poem, Things To Think, gives me pause to think in a different direction. Rather than dread the ring of the phone as is my habit, try and think outside myself and think larger than myself. Rather than move as fast as I can from book store, gallery, site to to site while on vacation sit or stroll and take in - everything. Hmmm. Thanks for this.

  2. the SF trip sounds marvellous, Pat! i'm going to keep the Bly poem handy this summer. to think larger than myself, as well.


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