NANCY G. SHAPIRO

FINDING CALM IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE

Embracing Every Moment

March 2, 2017

 

I am short on words today after handing in The Book of Calm manuscript to my publisher this week, and am sharing others' words to express what I have been thinking and feeling during February (and here it is, March). They are wise words, thoughts to ponder and consider, to compassionately embody during these paradoxically turbulent and grace-filled times.  

 

First is a line from the movie Arrival, spoken by the main character Louise:

 

"Despite knowing the journey, and where it leads, I embrace every moment of it."

 

Second is a poem by Mark Nepo from his new book, The Way Under the Way:

 

Things No One Asks About

 

I have been called heroic

for merely surviving,

which is like championing an eagle

for flying to its nest

 

and I have been condemned as selfish

for following the call of truth,

which is like blaming a turtle

for finding the deep

 

and I have escaped death more than once

but not the dying.

 

I have been worn slowly by experience

and torn apart instantly by crisis and revelation

and all I can say is Life is Food:

to love is to chew; to forgive,

to swallow.

 

I cough up these bits:

the heart like a wing

is of no use tucked

and distrust in the world

like an eye swollen shut

stops the work of love.

 

Like a worried glassblower

trying to refigure his clear and shattered heart,

I have cut myself on all that I was,

surprised at the wisdom

hiding in the edges.

 

Photograph by Gerri Davis

 

 

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Calming Practice: Daydreaming

 

Friends recently told me that poet Billy Collins revealed to the packed auditorium at the 2017 San Miguel Writer's Conference that daydreaming profoundly informs his poetry, and his life.

 

To stare into the distance from under a tree, or laze in your favorite chair, or sit on a sun-warmed spot on your porch surrounded by last week's snow, to let yourself daydream – to allow your thoughts to melt into the ethers, and be curious and willing and open to what visits you in that silent, free-form space – this is daydreaming. May it free you from the hamster wheel of your habitual thoughts, may it allow you to re-imagine and rejuvenate.

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