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The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.
Ben Okri

Acceptance of one’s life has nothing to do with resignation; it does not mean running away from the struggle. On the contrary, it means accepting it as it comes, with all the handicaps of heredity, of suffering, of psychological complexes and injustices.
Paul Tournier

“Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?”
― John Keats, Letters of John Keats

I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma

“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable”

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.
Delicious Ambiguity.”
― Gilda Radner

“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”
― Isaac Asimov

The present is just a dividing line, that’s all. It has no space. It divides the past and the future; just a dividing line. You can be in the present but you cannot think; for thinking, space is needed. Thoughts need space, they are just like things…
Osho

Last week someone hacked one of my websites.

I wanted to make a few changes but could not remember my password. I kept requesting the link to reset it but the link never came. Panic set in as I logged into my host account. I sent out an SOS on Facebook and Twitter. Someone told me where to look and ah, yes: two new users with passwords that were foreign to me.

I freaked out.

I Googled, sent help tickets, slammed my fist, and spiraled into despair. I started to have those thoughts about why I even do this. What was the point in all of this work that I’m not even being paid to do (as my husband is so kind to remind me). I even thought about shutting the website down.

I wanted to unfurl on my bed and have a good cry. Instead I sat on the sofa with my husband, swirled wine in a glass and refreshed my email every 17 seconds. A few hours later I received an email letting me know that the issue was resolved.

I was back in control.

But that didn’t stop me from continuing to drink in the doubt.

You have moments like these, right? Those moments where you doubt yourself? Doubt your worth? Doubt your reason for living? Doubt your purpose?

I do. Often. There are a lot of days when I wonder if the stress is worth it. Is this stuff – the art, the writing, the long nights, being short on sleep, the over-caffeination – is it worth it?

What, exactly, is the point of all of this?

I found a copy of Jonathan Livingston Seagull when I cleaned out a bookshelf. As I read the first few pages my heart began to race. My mind was loud with a resounding “yes!” as Jonathan flew to new heights, performed daring acrobatics, and broke away from his flock.

Do you have any idea how many lives we must have gone through before we even got the first idea that there is more to life than eating, or fighting, or power in the Flock?

A thousand lives, Jon, ten thousand! And then another hundred lives until we began to learn that there is such a thing as perfection, and another hundred again to get the idea that our purpose for living is to find that perfection and show it forth.

The same rule holds for us now, of course: we choose our next world through what we learn in this one. Learn nothing, and the next world is the same as this one, all the same limitations and lead weights to over-come.
– Sullivan

(For a seagull, that Sullivan was pretty damn smart.)

If you believe in God and a heaven, that is what you are trying to do, right? Trying to get as close to perfection as you can so that you are granted eternal life after your time on earth ends?

If you believe in Karma, you believe that the good and bad you do in this life directly influence the quality of your next life.

If you’re like me, you keep pushing forward and exploring and risking expression because you know that this is the better way.

Because you know that there is more to life than just eating, and fighting, and being a part of the flock.

I didn’t get rid of my website – I’m not going to. I do this – this art, this writing, the long nights, the short sleep, the over-caffeination – because it is worth it. Because I know that it is meaningful, even if only to me.

Unlike Sully, I don’t believe that we are capable of reaching perfection; however I do believe that we can polish ourselves. That we can and should strive to learn and do what makes us shine.

And to show it forth.

Untitled by Aubry AragonAnytime you think you’ve failed, you’ve only failed to see the compassionate lesson that you’ve brought to yourself. All you’ve really done is produced a result, actual failure is impossible.

-
Jackson Kiddard

I’m really interested in the practice of “staying at home” and cultivating, as Terry suggests a deeper sense of neighborhood. It seems to me one of the deepest practices of our time. In our house, we’ve established a monthly soup night, where neighborhoods and friends are invited to our house to share food and speak about an issue or creative project in which they are deeply engaged. Friends invite friends, neighbors invite neighbors and the circle changes and gets larger. One small gesture moves a thousand waves.

How did the rose ever open its heart and give to this world all its beauty? It felt the encouragement of light against its being, otherwise we all remain too frightened.

-
Hafiz

How well did you love?
How fully did you live?
How deeply did you let go?

You don’t have to be Buddhist to appreciate the wisdom of those three questions, to which I added another:

Did you make a difference?

little cotton rabbits

A little bit about me:

I like the quiet life.

I like listening to music - Ludovico Einaudu on a sunny Sunday morning, Nick Drake when it’s raining or I’m down and Jack Johnson when I feel full of life and want to dance with the children. I like cooking and eating good food especially homemade cake, cold rhubarb crumble with custard, goat cheese with tomatoes and I like drinking tea from a nice cup.

I like being outdoors, especially the smells of mushroomy earth, cut grass and thyme and the sounds of birdsong and the wind in the trees. I like hills and woods, camping and the sound of rain on your tent when you’re warm & dry inside. I like knitting, singing when I’m happy, reading other people’s blogs, warm socks and cosy cardis and I love being a mum.

I like to share some of the quotes I post on Twitter and Facebook, with some of my expanded thoughts and feelings on it here.

“Organic Wisdom” is what I have found speaking to me in those quiet moments, that guides me and that echoes Truth in my life. Please feel free to download, or share this image in any way you’d like.

This one is a constant reminder to myself.

Talk less, love more.

Love deeper. Love better. Love with more patience and understanding.

And for God sakes, stop talking.

I think as parents, as lover and as friends, we talk too much when we ought to be listening.

Actively listening.

Deeply listening.

Not giving advice (“You know what you should do…”).

Not criticizing (“I can’t believe you did that…”).

Not reprimanding (“You know better than that…”).

Not throwing a pity party (“That is horrible! You have every right to be angry!”).

Not fixing or analyzing or giving our own opinions.

Just listening. Deeper.

To what’s happening within the other person.

No one – not a child, not an adult – needs our thoughts as much as they need our love, compassion, empathy, and support.

THOSE are the things that enable both children and adults to feel at peace and uplifted in a way that allows them to turn things around, make changes, heal, discover their own answers (yes, your children always have the answers within them; they just need your genuine support in discovering them), and most importantly, trust you.

P.S. All of this applies to your relationship with yourself too.

BASIC INGREDIENTS IN COOKING

beans, lentils, chickpeas, pulses, nuts

herbs, spices, lemons

mushrooms

potatoes

tinned tomatoes, fish etc

onions, garlic

sauces, dips, soups

rice, pasta, noodles, couscous

broths, stock cubes

vegetables, pickels, boulion powder

chicken breasts

cheese, eggs, yoghurt, hummus, coconut milk

oils, vinegars, soy sauces, mustards, chutneys, peanut butter

tortillas