When my friend gave me this Christmas gift (a small canvas to hang on the tree), I'm not sure she realized she was giving me two gifts-in-one: a lovely piece of art and an introduction to a new-to-me and now a favourite artist: Heather Johnston. Thank you, Theresa.
Virginia Woolf on How to Read a Book by Maria Popova (Brain Pickings)
Vladimir Nabokov on What Makes a Good Reader (Brain Pickings)
In her latest On Being blog post, Courtney E. Martin thoughtfully and honestly considers what we lose (and save) by moving from engaged participants to selective curators.
“[Using technology such as the iPhone and Instagram to capture, curate and share] can be a creative act, a celebratory act, an act of connection across distance and time. It can also be an act that pulls us out of the moment and out of the rare bliss that is unselfconscious and fully absorbed existence. Taken to the extreme, there aren’t enough “likes” in the universe for that kind of loss.”
“One is left to wonder, not without wistfulness, how the glowing screens into which we stare day and night, and through which we both consume and communicate so much of our experience of life, might be dimming the inner light of that interior rectangle where the wholeness of thought takes shape.”
“The object we call a book is not the real book, but its potential, like a musical score or seed. It exists fully only in the act of being read; and its real home is inside the head of the reader, where the symphony resounds, the seed germinates. A book is a heart that only beats in the chest of another.”
~Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby
“As long as we are wedded to 'effectiveness' we will take on smaller and smaller tasks, for they are the only ones with which we can get results. If we want to witness to important but impossible values like love, truth and justice, there must be a standard that trumps effectiveness. The name of that standard is 'faithfulness.' At the end of the road, I will not be asking about outcomes. I’ll be asking if I was faithful to my gifts, to the needs I saw around me, to the ways in which my gifts might meet those needs, to 'the truth of the work itself.'”
~ Parker Palmer, A Friendship, A Love, A Rescue
Am I being/doing my best?
“The best is not proud; it is humble; the best is not what is pleasing; it is challenging; the best is not what is selfish; it is going beyond the self. And for those reasons, the best is not easy; it is perilous; the best is not definite; it is uncertain; it is not what is triumphant; it is what is worthy. The great question we must ask every day is this: what are the best things that we can do with our lives, our moments, and our dreams? And to answer it, we must remember: they are things that make the world a truly better place. For it is only in the struggle to do our best that our insignificant, improbable lives discover meaning.”
Source: Umair Haque, How to Have a Year that Counts
“Writers open our hearts and minds, and give us maps to our own selves.”
~Alain de Botton
On the first day of 2015, I read and I walked.
In the morning I immersed myself in The Faraway Nearby and other writing by and about Rebecca Solnit; just before noon I re-emerged into the here and now: a rare clear, blue, winter day in Vancouver. And so it was easy and natural to set my intention and destination for the afternoon: a long, city walk with my faithful companion that would eventually lead us to the trails alongside Lost Lagoon and Beaver Lake at Stanley Park.
We stayed until daylight waned, and then retraced our steps home along the seawall, pausing at Sunset Beach to sit on a log and watch the moon rise over downtown Vancouver.
On the first evening and night of 2015, sleep came easily and early, and was long and deep.
On the second day of the new year, I woke up early to write. I wrote for as long as I had walked the day before, trying to make my words as perfect as the day had been, before realizing the shortest, simplest way to the truth of my experience is the best version to save and share. So here it is.
Hibernation restores us to our nourishing, grounding source and, in so doing, frees us to become a force of reason, reflection, and kindness. (Source)
How did you begin 2015? And have you been "hibernating" this winter?
“Gentleness forms the under-song of survival — the hidden face of evolution, wars, famine — and the partner of resilience. It is the loving touch that reminds us we are not alone, and there is hope.”
~ Andréana E. Lefton