A moving essay written recently by a woman who was killed this past Tuesday while riding her bike in Cambridge. Sobering yet inspiring, a reminder of life's brevity and beauty. Also worth reading: Old Hearts, New Love And A Kiss, a beautiful piece she wrote about her 102 year old mother.
Another beautiful and devastating read: Before I Go: A Stanford neurosurgeon’s parting wisdom about life and time
Image: source. Heard often, but hard to remember. I know that often I mean well, but that I convey my stress and anxiety to those around me, spreading tension with my presence. I really want to work on this.
The ongoing quest for balance is such an interesting and difficult one. The portion of What Yoga Taught Me About the Balanced Life I found most interesting was, unsurprisingly, from the wonderful Susan Piver, who muses, “Is it ever possible to be balanced? I don’t think that it is, because then you’d have to freeze in that position. ‘Got it. Now don’t move.’” A wonderful, thought-provoking point.
On the recommendation of a number of people I recently read "True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart" by Thích Nhất Hạnh. I anticipate rereading this book many times in my life. Even just the first, short ("The Four Aspects of Love," 4 pages only) chapter was a revelation to me. Simple yet so much to think about. The way that he builds upon the 4 aspects of love to show how they can be applied to love of others, of yourself, of your body, even of answering the phone, is done so gently and clearly. The book is only 100 pages but enough lessons for a lifetime. One note: as I've seen other reviewers mention it, I will say that I don't fully agree with his take on therapy/mental health treatment, but it's not delved into deeply here, nor is it a focus of the book. I still feel that the overwhelming majority of the book is incredibly useful for anyone, so it wasn't a deal breaker for me. I personally happen to think meditation of all sorts is incredibly valuable, as are therapy, medication, and whatever other forms of self care and treatment people need to be healthy and happy. If you are someone who feels some guilt or shame or conflict about your own engagement with therapy or medication, heads up that he makes a few comments that might be triggering or uncomfortable. However, overall, I still feel strongly that this book is a "must read" for anyone seeking to better understand the process of loving and being loved.
A interesting and moving story: A Writer Moves To 'Bettyville' To Care For His Elderly Mom. I was particularly touched by a short anecdote he tells about watching "Dirty Dancing" with his mother every week. He explains that it's not simply that they watch it together, it's that they do so because she as a little crush on Patrick Swayze and he (her son) places value on this, places value on this part of his elderly mother's emotional life. That was so moving to me - his acknowledgement that this tiny crush, whatever part of her emotional life is inhabits, is of value, and that he respects and nurtures that.
“You have come to the shore. There are no instructions.” - Denise Levertov