Tag Archives: calm

Pleasure in the pathless woods

“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is society, where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but Nature more…”  —Lord Byron There’s something very calming about nature that neutralizes the toxic overload of a …

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The maxim of the British

“The maxim of the British people is ‘Business as usual.’” — Winston Churchill This quote, and the photo posted above, capture one reason why I love being in England.  I must not be the only one, because the now-ubiquitous, quintessentially British wartime quote “Keep Calm and Carry On” has been revived and printed on all …

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Enter this wild wood

Stranger, if thou hast learned a truth which needs No school of long experience, that the world Is full of guilt and misery, and hast seen Enough of all its sorrows, crimes, and cares, To tire thee of it, enter this wild wood And view the haunts of nature…  — William Cullen Bryant The poem from …

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An art of balance

“What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of  troubling or depressing subject matter – a soothing, calming influence on the  mind, rather like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue.”  — Henri Matisse I understand and agree that art is meant to do a variety of things.  …

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Clarity from stillness

“If water derives clarity from stillness, how much more so does the mind!” — Zhuangzi In a recent post, I discussed the fascination of watching moving waters.  But still waters are captivating as well, particularly when they mirror beautiful scenery. Stillness is a trait that doesn’t come naturally to me.  Even when my body is not …

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Going to the desert

“Modern life is becoming so full that we need our own ways of going to the desert to be relieved of our plenty.” – Thomas Moore The first time we ever drove across the United States en route to our new home in California, we thought we were making pretty good time when we arrived in …

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No time

“I have no time to be in a hurry.”— Henry David Thoreau When I was a child, I often heard talk of “the lazy days of summer.”  I haven’t heard that phrase in a very long time.  Indeed, summer seems more hectic than any other season, with vacations, activities and daily obligations packed so tightly …

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You will flow

“As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit.” — author unknown; attributed to Emmanuel Tanay Among the most ultimately comforting but persistently difficult teachings …

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Connected to something bigger

“When everything around you is changing, turn to the part of you that doesn’t change, that is calm, centered, and connected to something bigger.”  — Ariane de Bonvoisin Churchgoing people are accustomed to hearing various metaphors for faith.  It’s spoken of as an anchor, a rock, a fortress, and a shield.  It’s described as “the substance of things …

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Delicate enjoyment

“Another novelty is the tea-party, an extraordinary meal in that, being offered to persons that have already dined well, it supposes neither appetite nor thirst, and has no object but distraction, no basis but delicate enjoyment.” — Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin Whatever else can be said of contemporary culture, it seldom suggests “delicate enjoyment” or for that …

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Whatever we lose

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) it’s always ourselves that we find in the sea” —E. E. Cummings I can scarcely remember a time when I went to the beach without these words from Cummings’ lovely poem running through my head.  How simply and perfectly he captures the endless allure of the ocean! I feel …

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The incubator of the spirit

“The great omission in American life is solitude; not loneliness, for this is an alienation that thrives most in the midst of crowds, but that zone of time and space, free from the outside pressures, which is the incubator of the spirit.” — Marya Mannes I relish solitude, but loneliness is one of the most …

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The last refuge

“I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex.” — Oscar Wilde I know very few people who do not lead complex lives, and most of us yearn for simplicity.  Yet the complexity is also a blessing; a rich fabric woven with countless threads that add color, durability or utility.  Thus I …

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Patience and faith

“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient… Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith.” — Anne Morrow Lindbergh Few women of any generation could claim a life as full of adventure, triumph and tragedy as Anne Morrow Lindbergh.  Yet her concerns were similar to …

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Like fragments of heaven

“It is strange how deeply colours seem to penetrate one, like scent…They look like fragments of heaven.” – George Eliot I’ve always marveled at how some scents can bypass the conscious mind and go straight to memories we didn’t even know were there. Until I read this quote (from one of my all-time most admired …

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From the insistence

“Much of the bothersomeness of daily life arises not from circumstances themselves, but from the insistence that they ought to be other than they are.” – Oliver Burkeman When I read that quote, I was struck immediately with how truly it describes most of the stress I face each day. As far back as I …

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Hints of gladness

When I am among the trees, especially the willows and the honey locust, equally the beech, the oaks and the pines, they give off such hints of gladness. I would almost say that they save me, and daily.    – Mary Oliver I had already begun putting this post together when I looked for a link …

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Excitement and peace

“It was the sort of storm that rarely happened…and the steady white flakes, the silence, filled him with a sense of excitement and peace. It was a moment when all the disparate shards of his life seemed to knit themselves together, every past sadness and disappointment, every anxious secret and uncertainty hidden now beneath the …

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Never far

“Tea is quiet and our thirst for tea is never far from our craving for beauty.” —James Norwood Pratt It seems contradictory that a chatterbox such as I would love silence as much as I do, but there it is. Perhaps it comes of having lived with Jeff for so many years. Or perhaps, in …

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Leisured coziness

“The cup of tea on arrival at a country house is a thing which, as a rule, I particularly enjoy. I like the crackling logs, the shaded lights, the scent of buttered toast, the general atmosphere of leisured coziness.” ― P.G. Wodehouse Autumn is a wonderful season for tea lovers, and “leisured coziness” is a …

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Sometimes we do

Sometimes Sometimes things don’t go, after all, from bad to worse.  Some years, muscadel faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail, sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well. A people sometimes will step back from war; elect an honest man, decide they care enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor. …

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Heart melodies

Bring me all of your dreams You dreamers, Bring me all of your Heart melodies That I may wrap them In a blue cloud-cloth Away from the too-rough fingers Of the world.  — Langston Hughes One great thing about dreaming, whether asleep or awake, is how portable it is. No place is more conducive to …

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Anything valuable

“Anything valuable is going to take time. Be patient and tolerant with yourself and others.” — Alexandra Stoddard I think technology is training us to be impatient. Recently I turned on an old computer so I could use it while the one I typically use was in the midst of a lengthy maintenance procedure. At …

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An obscure comfort

“It comforted her, in the confused unhappy welter of her emotions, to see the mountains always tranquil, remote, in their lonely splendour; untouchable, serenely inviolate. It was an obscure comfort to her to know that man’s hectic world wasn’t the only one — that there were others, where agitation and passion and bewilderment had no …

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A thin stream of fear

“Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.” — Arthur Somers Roche Waterfalls start out a lot smaller and more quiet than they end up. If you’ve ever stood at the foot of a fairly large waterfall, you know the …

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