Tuesday, October 15, 2013

a chance to live more wondrously

That which interests me above all else is the calligraphy of a tree or the tiles of a roof, and I mean leaf by leaf, branch by branch, blade by blade of grass.

- Joan Miro

I went for a walk one morning this weekend, a bit earlier than I usually do. I went out saying to myself, Life is not perfect. And returned saying, Life is perfect.

I came home saying, I met a leaf. 

I encountered the most beautiful leaf, and the sun met the leaf, also. And I took many photographs of said leaf, though none quite do it justice.

In a book called, In the Company of Rilke, Stephanie Dowrick talks about the idea of "the Open" as a force which runs through Rilke's work. She says the realm of the Open is ineffable, rich. "...even a partial understanding of the "Open" brings an increase of "life" to life," she says, "a chance to live more wondrously."

"... Animals stepped trustingly
into his open gaze as they pastured,
and the caged lions
stared in, as into unthinkable freedom.
Birds flew straight through it,
feeling its welcome; flowers
gazed back into it
hugely, as they do with children...."  

- Rilke

Dowrick quotes various people regarding this idea of the Open. It is a 'posture of vulnerability' guiding us 'beyond the known toward the depths we yearn for.' It is 'the fifth dimension of our nature, the transcendent within us.'

She calls it,"'a vision of life in its ungraspable vastness, shedding ideas that close us in or down with false certainty, and especially shedding ideas that direct our attention away from this world rather than more courageously into it in all its mysterious depths and dimensions..."

In cultivating this openness in ourselves, in daring to delve into the mysterious depths, the vastness, we give ourselves the chance to live more wondrously. No matter the imperfections of our life. Maybe because of them.

Fall, as it has been said elsewhere, is a very wabi sabi season.

“Beauty can be coaxed out of ugliness. Wabi-sabi is ambivalent about separating beauty from non-beauty or ugliness. The beauty of wabi-sabi is in one respect, the condition of coming to terms with what you consider ugly. Wabi-sabi suggests that beauty is a dynamic event that occurs between you and something else. Beauty can spontaneously occur at any moment given the proper circumstances, context, or point of view. Beauty is thus an altered state of consciousness, an extraordinary moment of poetry and grace.”

- Leonard Koren

I walked out into the dim morning and was drawn to a particular suburban forest about 10 minutes from my front door. I was feeling acutely all my imperfections. I was feeling soul weary. Heavy. Lonely. Wishing that certain things could be other than what they are. But my encounter with the light in the forest, with all the fading leaves, reminded me that I too, have a chance to live more wondrously.....

The sun rises so slowly, and then, quickly, quickly.

"Work of the eyes is done,
begin heartwork now
on those images in you, those captive ones;
for you conquered them: but you still don't know them...."

- Rilke

I leave you with one last question:

"Can anything happen to you for which you are not ready?"

- Schopenhauer


  1. Another beautiful post. I now feel inspired to go on a walk of my own. Autumn really is the greatest season.

  2. You have given me so much to think about here...probably why I love your blog so much...that and your incredibly beautiful images.

  3. What a gorgeous, heart-lifting post--I thank the universe for you every day, dear Shawna. Your blog is a gift of the highest order, every day. Thank you.

  4. And what heart-lifting comments.....thank you...!

  5. I've just walked through such loveliness, and thought-provoking-ness while here. I'm listening to Lachrimae Antiquae (as suggested above).
    Am smitten with that leaf
    "the calligraphy of a tree"

    1. Diane - thank you! Always lovely when you make it here :)

  6. soft colors, radiant... this is a place to breathe.


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