Thursday, August 8, 2013

what you do not need

From Thomas Merton's diaries:

"Knowing what you do not need any more. Acting just enough. Saying enough. Stopping when there is enough."

"Yet stopping is "going on." To cling to something and want more of it, to use it more, to squeeze enjoyment out of it. This is to "stop" and not "go on." But to leave it alone at the right time, this is the right stopping, the right going on."

I suppose this is one of the secrets of life - to know when to say enough. When to change course, even if it's only a slight course change.

Walking this same path most mornings, attempting to be aware of the daily changes. To be aware, alert. Present. And really, I suppose because I have two more days of work, then am on holiday for a week, have let myself imagine what I don't often allow myself to imagine - what it would be like to have every day, to write, to photograph, to wander. To not always worry about money. To just immerse oneself in the work, to go on properly, feeling its rightness. 

There are always other paths. 

Questions. What do you need? What could you give up? What are your responsibilities? How to go on? 

What will you make of each day? 

How to keep up with the radiance and splendour of the world? How to remember to simply go on? That in going on, as Merton says, there is greatness. 

Remembering to love the beauty of the world, to slow down into that. To love the weeds, too, and the repetition, and the sameness. How to find that inner tranquility.

Merton again, contemplating a landscape, finding deep peace:

"I looked at all this in great tranquility, with my soul and spirit quiet. For me landscape seems to be important for contemplation. Anyway, I have no scruples about loving it."  


"There is only one way to peace: be reconciled that of yourself you are what you are, and it might not be especially magnificent, what you are! God has his own plan for making something else of you, and it is a plan which you are mostly too dumb to understand." 

Perhaps it's true that we're not especially magnificent, but then again, perhaps we are - that just being what you are - is in fact quite extraordinary. That just going on is quite magnificent......indeed.

And speaking of which, I'm late to walk the dog, to wander, and to dream of possible paths. That sort of going on, then.


  1. love all these images -- the clover really has me thinking of 'home' in Edmonton. Ace seems a very patient gentleman

    1. Diane, thanks, he is quite the fellow. Edmonton is such an odd place - glad the photos conjure it up in pleasant ways.

  2. What a fabulously lovely, timely post. Thank you today, as every day, dear Shawna! How perfectly you remind us of what matters, how to attend.


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