Tag Archives: contemplation

Sit silently

“We sit silently and watch the world around us. This has taken a lifetime to learn …silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox.” ― Nicholas Sparks In keeping with the truth of this quote, …

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Sometimes to go

“Oh, how one wants sometimes to go from such giftlessly high-flown, cheerless human wordiness into the seeming silence of nature, into the arduous soundlessness of long, persistent labor, into the wordlessness of deep sleep, of true music, and of a quiet, heartfelt touch grown mute from fullness of soul!” — Boris Pasternak Probably nobody I …

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Museums, formed from the heart

“In poetically well built museums, formed from the heart’s compulsions, we are consoled not by finding in them old objects that we love, but by losing all sense of Time.” — Orhan Pamuk On a recent day while Matt was at camp, Jeff took a day off from work and we went to the National …

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Outwardly and inwardly

“To live fully, outwardly and inwardly, not to ignore the external reality for the sake of the inner life, or the reverse, that’s quite a task.” — Etty Hillesum Of all the frustrations I feel about time constraints, perhaps none is greater than wishing I had the time to stay in closer touch with so …

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Tranquility within

“When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.”― François La Rochefoucauld We’ve all known people who are restless and never satisfied.  Often these types are blessed with better-than-average advantages in life, but they seem to end up agitated and critical no matter how many times they change …

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The voice of the sea

“The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation.” — Kate Chopin The California Coast is wild and beautiful, rocky and cold, pounded relentlessly by crashing surf.  Though much of it is …

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Our consolation

“Gladly do we quit the dust and din …to go and breathe peacefully in some far-off nook of the woods, all surprise that the brook is so limpid, the forest so still, the solitude so enchanting. Thank God there are yet these uninvaded corners…The realm of silence is vaster than the realm of noise. Herein …

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A perfect ratio

“There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount , a perfect ratio of water to rock, water to sand, insuring that wide, free, open, generous spacing among plants and animals…There is no lack of water here unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.” — …

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We need quiet

“Others inspire us, information feeds us, practice improves our performance, but we need quiet time to figure things out, to emerge with new discoveries, to unearth original answers.” ― Ester Buchholz Of all the seasons, winter seems most linked with quiet; short days, long nights, the silence of snowfall and the calming blank canvas of …

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I challenge you to a dare

“Can I challenge you to a dare?  Today, stop praying for anything other than the life you have!…before we begin the year, with a sense of adventure, give thanks for your most “ordinary” life.  This is how the miracle begins, as we embark with a sense of adventure seeking the splendid in the simple gift …

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Voices at the door

“I sit beside the fire and think Of all that I have seen Of meadow flowers and butterflies In summers that have been Of yellow leaves and gossamer In autumns that there were With morning mist and silver sun And wind upon my hair I sit beside the fire and think Of how the world …

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Beautiful and joyful

“Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying.  The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.” — Elise Boulding …

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Remembering: Promises to keep

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep.  But I have promises to keep,  And miles to go before I sleep…”  — Robert Frost It’s tempting to be drawn into our own ruminations. Trouble can be an isolating experience, and solitude is a seductive force, both healing and dangerous. If we withdraw too long or too …

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Stimulating loneliness

“The loneliness you get by the sea is personal and alive. It doesn’t subdue you and make you feel abject. It’s stimulating loneliness.” — Anne Morrow Lindbergh I connected immediately with Lindbergh’s words in the quote.  I’m seldom if ever at the sea all alone, but it always wraps me in a calming sense of …

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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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A safety place

“It is strange how a man believes he can think better in a special place. I have such a place, have always had it, but I know it isn’t thinking I do there, but feeling and experiencing and remembering.  It’s a safety place. Everyone must have one, although I never heard a man tell of …

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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 sense of the beautiful

“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe In the centuries since Goethe penned this sound …

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Twilight and dawn

“…day and night meet fleetingly at twilight and dawn…their merging sometimes affords the beholder the most enchanted moments of all the twenty-four hours.” — Mary Balogh I have always thought there’s something enchanting about dusk, when the light is waning and paints everything in muted but clearly visible colors.  Dawn is just as magical, although I …

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Welcomed and recorded

“Each thought that is welcomed and recorded is a nest egg, by the side of which more will be laid” — Henry David Thoreau For me, writing is an effective way to train my thinking.  I find that most people give more thought to what they write than to what they say, and this may …

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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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Strength that will endure

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” — Rachel Carson The deep connection most of us feel to the earth’s grandeur is awe-inspiring yet reassuring, an interesting combination of emotions that cannot adequately be described.  However, poets and writers have attempted for …

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Life of ceaseless variety

“A forest is like the ocean, monotonous only to the ignorant.  It is a life of ceaseless variety.” — Benjamin Disraeli The giant redwoods first come to mind when someone mentions Muir Woods, but the park is actually teeming with diverse life forms, flora and fauna.  Much of it is hidden from sight, or seen …

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Even more beautiful

“The point is that things can be repaired. That they are even more beautiful for having been repaired.” — Sonali Dev I’ve read a few articles in recent years about “wabi sabi,” a term applied to a variety of philosophical contexts. The aspect of wabi sabi that first captured attention is the idea that flaws …

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