Cousin Ernie developed a yen for flight early. His dad liked to throw him high in the air and then threaten not catch him, of course his dad did catch him, well most of the time, but these experiences instilled a deep-seated fear in Ernie.
The last time his dad threw him high into the air his instinct for fight or flight overtook him and he took to the skies floating high out beyond the horizon. They found him weeks later across the ocean living in a small village near the Yangtze River. He refused to come home. The natives had taken his great ability to fly as a lucky sign and had made him their leader. He still lives there today tethered to a pole, Stop by for a visit.
“The Guide says there is an art to flying”, said Ford, “or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”
Hey! It’s wide eyed cuteness giving you that come hither look, almost daring you with it’s abject innocence, it’s helplessness. it’s downright adorableness.
Its purr sounds so sweet, so smooth and comforting.
Eyes that speak to you, pleading.
You are my savior. The only one in the world that can help me. I cry out for you to love me, to protect me. I am innocent and small. This big bad world is much too big and bad for the likes of me.
How can one resist one such as this? Admit it, you like I are a sucker for a cute face and most of us are. Studies have shown that just looking at pictures of cute babies causes the release of dopamine, one of the chemicals released by the brain that makes us happy. Dopamine motivates us to take action and gives out a surge of reinforcing pleasure when we do.
We are awash in a sea of chemicals and emotions. Cuteness relies on this and demands our attention. And cuteness rewards that attention.
And cuteness sells. This is no big advertising secret.
People today spend more time looking at cute things than ever before. The internet is awash in cute images. A virtual zoo of furry kittens, big eyed owlets, cuddling otters and prancing baby goats.
We watch the minions bumble about on the big screen, buy Hello Kitty merchandise, or watch a Pikachu convention dance on YouTube.
The appeal of these characters may seem trivial, but it actually highlights an evolutionary force — one that can trigger billions of dollars a year of consumer spending.
THE MIGHTY POWER OF CUTENESS
Cuteness has power, never forget that. And never turn your back; cuteness can attack. Cuteness tends to be underestimated and it has much more power than it leads on. Those same cute little fuzzy paws can have retractable claws capable of ripping us to shreds. Be careful.
The Slow Loris:
Irresistibly cute. but dangerous. The only living poisonous primate on Earth. They have glands on the sides of their elbows. When slow lorises are threatened, these glands would release a foul-smelling toxic fluid. Then, this primate lick some poison from the gland and mix it with its saliva and bite the one who disturbed it. This poison could cause allergic reactions and even anaphylactic shock.
They may be our favorite stuffed toys and animals really don’t come much cuter than bears. But in reality they are also one of the most deadly and will not only kill humans, but will actively hunt them down (they are one of only a very short list of animals known to do this). Grizzly bears and polar bears are considered being the most deadly, but all large species of bear are potentially dangerous to humans… even pandas.
Poison Dart Frog:
The frogs’ poison is found in their skin, making them too toxic to touch. While most species are considered toxic but not deadly, they are distasteful to a predator and can even be fatal. The poison can cause serious swelling, nausea, and muscular paralysis.
Big Cats: They look so soft and cuddly. And they do remind me of my cat Mocha. I don’t have to tell you that if you encounter a big cat whether it be a lion, tiger, cougar, or just a stray panther in your neighborhood grocery store. Don’t pet it. Admire it from a distance. And try to refrain from flash photography.
What is cute and could I be cute already and not know it?
According to the Urban Dictionary.
(What us young and hip and happening young writer types use. )
attractive, esp. in a delicately beautiful way; pleasingly pretty; affectedly or pretty or clever; precious; mentally keen; clever; self-consciously cute mannerisms or appeal.
Konrad Lorenz’s Kindchenschema, or baby schema, as defined in the Nobel prize-winning scientist’s 1943 paper on the “innate releasing mechanisms” that prompt affection and nurture in human beings: fat cheeks, large eyes set low on the face, a high forehead, a small nose and jaw, and stubby arms and legs that move in a clumsy fashion. Not just humans: puppies, baby ducks and other young animals are included in Lorenz’s theory. ( Neil Steinberg for theguardian.com)
Often cuteness does not recognize itself and this is part of its appeal. And sometimes cute doesn’t even want to be cute, this generates even more cuteness. Odds are that you are in fact very cute and just don’t know it.
Do people ever say “awwwwww” and pat you atop your furry head? Do children stop and talk to you in sweet little voices reserved for dolls and animals? Can little old ladies resist pinching your cheeks? You just may be adorable indeed.
And what if you don’t have a furry little head, or whiskers or a bushy tail? It does help to be cute on one’s own but everyone can harness the power of cuteness not just babies, little furry animals and people like myself.
I have been called cute on more than one occasion but seriously, it doesn’t hurt to have a little backup cuteness in your back pocket.
Last summer I was walking around downtown in the sun. A crowd had gathered around a band on the street corner. Three or four twenty something guys, not especially cute. Garage-ish sounding and not special except for the littlest member; someone’s little sister doing basic strums on an over-sized guitar, now she was cute. Everyone loved them, their jar was overflowing and the spectators were happy.
And what if you don’t have a cute little sister or a kitten in your back pocket?
We can all harness the Power of Cuteness!
Being adorable does not require a certain something beyond an attitude of adorability.
Simply put: You are as cute as you feel to be and don’t accept anything less. So get out there. Be cute. Be powerful. Know that in being yourself you can rock whatever you set your cute mind to.
Have an adorable day!!
Cute is when a person’s personality shines through their looks. Like in the way they walk, every time you see them you just want to run up and hug them.
I think people should look cute all the time.
Everything looks cute when it’s small.
I myself never feel that I’m sexy. If people call me cute, I am happier.
Tell me I’m clever, Tell me I’m kind, Tell me I’m talented, Tell me I’m cute, Tell me I’m sensitive, Graceful and wise, Tell me I’m perfect – But tell me the truth.
“There is a distinct evolutionary advantage to being fuzzy, as much of the mammal kingdom had discovered, particularly when you wanted a human to scratch your back.” ― Jeffery Russell
I’ve always wanted to write poems and nothing else.
Coming in whispers that speak to that child that lurks within
the one that plays in grassy fields and kisses the sweet spring wind
she who laughs at chickadees and muses with birds
Quietly knocking one over the head with her simple earthy words.
I have been literally brought to tears on more than one occasion by this immensely talented writer and poet.
Mary Oliver is an artist who more than paints pictures with words. She illustrates profound feeling in vivid and not so vivid colors and hues. They hit me deep down in my soul.
Never before have I so connected with another’s words. It reinforces to me the greater connection we all have with each other and our beautiful planet.
What follows are some of my favorite quotes by this Pulitzer Prize winner.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
“Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”
There is nothing better than work. Work is also play; children know that. Children play earnestly as if it were work. But people grow up, and they work with a sorrow upon them. It’s duty.
“I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.”
“Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.”
Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable. I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of praying, as you no doubt have yours. Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds, until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost unhearable sound of the roses singing. If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much.”
“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”
“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings.”
Yes…yes I do Mary Oliver… thank you for your inspiration.
Mary Oliver was born in 1935 in Maple Heights, Ohio. She attended both Ohio State University and Vassar College. As a young poet, Oliver was deeply influenced by Edna St. Vincent Millay and briefly lived in Millay’s home, helping Norma Millay organize her sister’s papers.
Oliver is notoriously reticent about her private life, but it was during this period that she met her long-time partner, Molly Malone Cook. The couple moved to Provincetown, Massachusetts, and the surrounding Cape Cod landscape has had a marked influence on Oliver’s work. Mary Oliver held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching at Bennington College until 2001. In addition to such major awards as the Pulitzer and National Book Award, Oliver has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has also won the American Academy of Arts & Letters Award, the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Prize and Alice Fay di Castagnola Award. She lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
I have always felt an affinity for the extraordinary, the misunderstood lone marcher to a different beat. I want to be an advocate for the underdog. A champion for the unique, the quiet, the humble and the meek, for the underestimated and under-appreciated, for the kind, for the strange and beautiful, for those who feel out of sorts, out of time and out of place, for the anxious and the disturbed, for the sad but hopeful, for the awkward and the shy, for the anxious and the brave, for the deep thinkers and sensitive souls, for those who feel the system is rigged and life is unfair…
For we who feel voiceless in this loud world. Fate has not forsaken us.
We not alone… We contain multitudes…
It is through alliance and unity that we the unique can make a difference as a force to be reckoned with. It is up to those of us who have a voice to speak up!
If I accomplish anything with my writing I want to tell all those who feel that society looks down upon them for their uniqueness that you are not alone. There are others who may be different from you, others from different times and places, others who who may be different in every way but share this same longing, the doubt and insecurity, the same fears. The same need for love and understanding and for peace, a need for a place to grow in the sun and become more.
There is that great untapped potential that many of us still have hidden deep inside. We all have our treasures. They should be encouraged to come out with exuberance like Spring and cultivated like exquisite orchids. Like fine art this wonderfulness should be shared with everyone.
Society gets hung up on the package and not the contents. We are a judgmental lot. So much gets lost in the roar of the crowd.
It is up to all of us to be there for us all…as they say we are after all just walking each other home.
We can help each other. It is through alliance that we the different, the unique and the misunderstood can make a difference. We are a force to be reckoned with. We can celebrate our uniqueness and that of others. Our strength lies in our diversity, our unity and our willingness to speak up for each other.
There are many more of us than them…
I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” ― Walt Whitman
“You can present the material, but you can’t make me care.” ― Bill Watterson
Just another winter’s day, just another icy commute in the dark. You can hear the shuffling of footsteps on the frozen ground. No one speaks, no one smiles, we all just keep moving..
People waking to and fro, many in a hurry, most of them with the same look; that same glazed over gaze which extends beyond the person right next to them as if the other person, the fellow human is not there at all. It is a tunnel vision of sorts, it could be more of a selective vision. It is an acquired ability. We are not born with it; this talent for ignoring the obvious.
It comes out of necessity and takes practice. In this rapidly changing world, many of us are getting a lot of practice. If you live in a large urban area you probably know what I mean…
I know you’ve seen them: Their swelling number are almost impossible to ignore. The tents and blue tarps under bridges, the huddled sleeping figures in crowded doorways. It’s not just in my city or yours, it’s everywhere.
And it scares the hell out of me. And I shiver. From the cold or that icy fear or both I don’t know.
Last night in my city of Portland, Oregon a newborn baby died possibly from exposure, sitting in its homeless mothers arms. This would be the 5th person to die from the cold in the last 2 weeks here.
What kind of people are we? We forsake our most vulnerable citizens. It is a sickness I think this indifference. One of ills of our society and one that just seems to be growing.
We are told those less unfortunate deserve their fate. It is easy to want to believe that. That means if I work hard and toe the line and do what I am told. I too won’t be one of those less unfortunate ones, it is tempting to want to believe this; it feels safer.
At least I think it does…
I think of all the people in the US who have just lost their health insurance. Again I could be indifferent here, I have mine. To me, seeing a doctor is not a luxury…yet.
I have a warm home and enough food to eat.
Why should I worry about these strangers? Many of them are probably drug addled or mentally ill. They probably want to be out here. They like living on the fringes of society. No bills , no responsibilities. Not my problem… Right?
The man at the bus stop with the unkempt beard and the wild eyes. He is hard not to notice; wrapped in a tattered blanket he is shouting obscenities at the sky. My pulse quickens; I am scared and I tiptoe past him hoping he doesn’t notice me, I walk down to the next stop.
Nothing is all black or white. But we are all human from the innocent babe to the wild man at the bus stop. We are all part of the same human family. I admit it is easier to care about the pretty, the untarnished, the salvageable.
I imagine the man with the wild eyes was that too once; pretty, untarnished, salvageable. Now he is just part of the wreckage left behind to lurk in the shadows, in the cold doorways, watching everyone look away…
Something to ponder on…
“The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent, but if we can come to terms with this indifference, then our existence as a species can have genuine meaning. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.”
― Stanley Kubrick
Kindness is magic.. It is a warm glow that uplifts the heart and nurtures the soul. We are social creatures and we rely on the milk of human kindness. It is simple yes, but too eluding in this world. It is all too rare and oh so beautiful like a lone purple wildflower among a sea of indifferent green.
As I’ve grown older I appreciate simple acts of kindness more and more.
There are two sides to kindness; the giving and the receiving. Both teach us valuable and distinct lessons and at some point in our lives we will have experienced each side to varying degrees.
I have found those who have suffered the most, endured the most, to be some of the most understanding, generous and kindest people I’ve ever met, but that road is not easy, these are the exceptional ones, the stronger ones, there are others, ones that have fallen by the wayside. The ones that society is all to eager to overlook. There are those with hard outer shells forged out of fear, the ones that seem too tough to crack. They may be gruff, indifferent or just plain mean. All of them are human beings and nine times out of ten all they need is some simple human kindness. One could say that there are those who don’t deserve such a precious commodity as kindness. I say they are the ones that need it the most. It’s not easy to be kind to some. Be the stronger one.
Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.
To openly express empathy for someone else, especially a stranger is sometimes looked upon as weak or at least eccentric in our society. How off the mark is that? It requires strength to practice compassion. Being kind is not always so easy. It often requires putting aside our natural selfishness to put someone else first. It may involve some sort of sacrifice however small or large, and no one said it would be easy. We have all heard stories of great kindnesses done upon others. It makes my heart sing to hear of these good deeds but it is those simple kindnesses; the one’s we do everyday unto each other, the one’s that seldom get noticed. To me, they are the most important, the most crucial in adding some peace, love and understanding to this eclectic mix of lifeforms on this lovely planet of ours.
If we as a society can collectively decide to put a greater focus on kindness and it’s cultivation, our world would be a kinder place. Kindness is an asset to our civilization and it should be treated as a precious commodity.
Empathy and kindness should not only be encouraged in schools but taught. We are not born being kind. It isn’t until at least the age of two before we show our natural capacity for empathy and it isn’t until four or five before we exhibit a theory of mind, meaning that we are able to understand that other people may have feelings and beliefs that are different from our own.
We learn kindness from others; by how we are treated and our experiences. We are shaped by this. Those of us who have experienced kindness, gentleness and love in our lives, especially in our younger years are more apt and more able to express those very same emotions and sensitivities to others. It is our young people who will form the world of the future. It is these same people that are being exposed to constant messages of civil unrest, violence, bigotry and hatred. Our society tells us one thing and does another. The civilness of what we deem a civilization is eroding at the edges. I fear we are being desensitized to the suffering of others–there’s so much of it. The media puts this suffering on center stage dressed up as infotainment and presented to us through the safety of our screens. It’s easier to be indifferent, it’s easier not to care.
All the more reason to care…
I am compelled to make up for every little pain I have endured in my life, every unkindness done to me, through indifference or pure malice. I try not to take the acts and attitudes of others personally. I’ve found most of those who strike out in anger do so not out of hate for the victim but out of a hatred for themselves. Hurt travels. It is infectious; a vicious cycle of contagion. This is something I try not to succumb to.
It is kindness that I like to spread as my defiant act against a cold and heartless world. For every unkindness done to me, I try to do a kindness to make up for it. That warm glow is priceless my friends and it feel so good. Simply put: Doing good makes us feel good.
This is the stuff that can change the world. We can change the world! One smile at at a time, one act of kindness multiplied by seven billion..and then some and then some more..until those acts of kindness cover us all and heals the hurt that ails us.
Music effects me like nothing else; pure sound melts into my body and fills my every pore. It travels down deep through my veins and capillaries straight to the heart then to the soul where it lingers a while, resonating like a fine wine. I am intoxicated. Even amid what may seem like chaos one can feel those fine melodic tones pushing through to the surface. They cover me like a soft blanket of warm sand. They scintillate and tickle me, tantalizing my arm’s and legs. I feel a rush of joy like a child in the sun. I am warmed and revived. Music does that to me. Good music, harmonious music.
I carry this with me, in snippets of memory; in songs that get stuck in my mind and play as a soundtrack to accompany parts of my day. This inner soundtrack lifts my mood and encourages me. It strengthens my spirit and resolve. It calms me, makes me happy but also allows me to feel a million moods from sunny yellow to deep stone black. Through music I hear the song of the singer. I feel their thoughts and hear their dreams, even experience their heartbreak in a small way. I hear their soul singing out and I hear a hundred million others.
Music is that powerful.
According to string theory, absolutely everything in the universe, all of the particles that make up matter and forces, including you and I and my cat Mario are comprised of tiny vibrating strings. Because of this some have likened the universe to a symphony.
Michio Kaku the famous Physicist once said ” We are nothing but melodies. We are nothing but cosmic music played out on vibrating strings and membranes. Obeying the laws of physics, which is nothing but the laws of harmony of vibrating strings.”
Playing the song of the cosmos I suppose…
I think that is how we are connected and why music holds a universal appeal with us. It’s something we can all share. It is a ancient connection that’s been wired into us since the beginning. It is the ultimate in communication.
I’ve had musicians tell me that playing with others in concert operates on a very intimate level and that doesn’t surprise me. I have felt similar feelings when engaged in a slow dance with a partner. I think most of us possess the ability to connect with others through music and with music itself.
This makes me think how life on earth is like a orchestra and we are all members of that orchestra. We hum along, creating our own music in everything we do, think and feel. I can see how imbalances could cause the music to distort and become unpleasant. Only when harmony is restored are we whole and playing beautifully once again.
I believe we on the planet are in a state of extreme disharmony. There are too many voices that sing songs of hate and exclusion, inequality, indifference and greed. Songs that disrespect and pillage our planet, songs that kill the soul and lull desire. We need to sing together for the common good; for peace and love, for kindness and understanding in concert with the earth and with the universe itself.
Most of us go about our lives encased in a hard shell that we have developed from our own personal experiences of being alive and living in the world we do. Many of us hide our true thoughts and feelings from each other and to an extent I think we rarely realize, we are all connected by circumstance, by fate and by our very atoms themselves, down to those tiny vibrating strings but we act like strangers to each other. I think society teaches us this; that we should be wary of the different, have disdain for the unusual and mistrust the independent minded. Our mutual fear of each other causes misunderstanding and disharmony. Children have a natural affinity for other beings. They don’t see what adults have been trained by society to see. We share so much and yes we are capable of singing a beautiful song in harmony made up of beautiful voices, of varied colors and hues of thoughts and ideas.
Together we are the song of the universe.
And as I go about my week I am going to keep this in mind and try to remember that we are all connected, even those that may disagree with me. We all share the same needs, wants and fears. We can attune ourselves to the same frequency if we listen and find some common chords.
“Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.” ― Alan W. Watts
From our earliest beginnings we as a species have striven to become more than what we are. It is inborn within us and it is more than the simple will to live but to thrive and dominate. This is us; what we come from. It is by no mistake that we Homo Sapiens rule the world and all life upon it. And it is by no peaceful means either. We fought hard, tooth and claw, to get on top of the food chain. Our mutual family history is littered with war upon war, conquest upon conquest. We have erected (what we deem) civilization built on a culture of want, propelled by the rampant machine of consumerism and paid for by we the people and our children.
It’s easy to be judgmental. Pessimistic even about the human race and it’s future. I have heard a rumbling dislike for our own species from some. I do not echo that feeling. I cannot hate my own kind which would include myself, my children, my family and friends and basically everyone. This is defeatist and makes no sense to me. We are all in this together.
If we are to be judged, are we to be judged not only by our faults but by our graces as well? We are an amalgam of the worst and the best of us.
And so we begin at the dawn of man. We Homo Sapiens were not the first humanoid. That honor belongs to Australopithecus Afarensis and there have been many. The exact number has not been agreed upon. Here is a link to a list.
We alone survived. Our last competitors, the ultra-hardy Neanderthals died out about 40,000 years ago. We scaled that evolutionary ladder higher and embraced “civilization” instead of living a marginal existence by the whim of cruel nature. We overcame it and become masters of our fate.
We strove to succeed in this way and progress; onward and upward. Nothing stood in our way. We were out to conquer nature and each other and we have done so and most infamously.
Whether what we have put together constitutes a civilization I am not convinced. I look at the world at large and the small goings-on in the microcosm that surrounds me and I have my doubts. It seems that we are losing ground as well on a whole and as time goes by and resources grow scarcer if we are not careful we will stray even further from the path of true civilization.
Civilization is the stage of human social development and organization that is considered most advanced.
When I read Webster’s
Simple Definition of civilization
The condition that exists when people have developed effective ways of organizing a society and care about art, science, etc.
A particular well-organized and developed society.
I realize just how not civilized we are. This brings to mind Gandhi’s famous reply to being asked the question of what he thought of Western civilization.
I think it would be a very good idea. Said Gandhi and so do I.
We are like a clever child. We have harnessed great power, we have made great strides, and cured many diseases. We have extinguished much suffering in the world, but we have also caused much of it too. We do not yet possess the wisdom required to wield great power. We have squandered a lot of resources. We have raped and pillaged the planet and now we stand on a precipice staring into an abyss and instead of jumping over the cliff , we need to walk away from the edge and get to the business of saving ourselves; that is what our business should be. Like any child who has a messy room, we need to clean it up but there is no adult around to make sure we do it. It’s time for us to grow up and become that adult. We have remained a child far too long.
It’s time for us to stop finding reasons to divide each other and look for ones that unite us.
We need to work together and stop the destructiveness, the pettiness, the greed.
That is being civilized.
We who can harness the atom are in the process of shaping our world; the world we’ll leave to the future.
What will we leave?
One of our many brilliant strengths as a species is our ability to adapt. Events play out in a fluid motion; constantly swirling and changing. Nothing is forever, and we have not only kept up with the changes, we have thrived on and benefited from them. Our rise would not have been possible without the downfall of the previous rulers of this planet. The Dinosaurs dominated for more than 180 million years.
No matter how terrible that “Terrible Lizard” was, it had it’s day and we are having ours.
The dinosaurs couldn’t adapt, but we can. We have it within ourselves if we can take our collective human cleverness and temper it with some good common sense and painfully acquired wisdom that we can glean from our current challenges. Circumstance forces us to act not in our time but it’s own.
That time is coming I’m afraid, we all know it.
We can be our own worst enemy but we are also our own greatest hope.
Of course change is not new and every generation faces it’s own challenges, some more than others. Climate change is our challenge but that is only part of the picture. We must change ourselves and put aside our childish ways because the way we’ve been doing things just isn’t cutting it.
We can’t stop the planet from changing. We have no choice but to adapt but we will grow stronger and wiser because of it and perhaps one day we will be truly civilized. I am but one faint voice, there have been many before me and there will be many after me, this I believe. This is the one constant.
“The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth. Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson – that everything we do matters – is the meaning of the people’s struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think, when we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back.” ― Howard Zinn
The words of Hafiz: How they enchant. They move, they writhe and wiggle up and down from right to left; dancing like crazy….inspiring me like crazy… Hafiz is another one of my favorite poets. Never mind he wrote these words in the 1300’s. They are timeless, ideas even more so. Translation adds a twist to these quotes. Daniel Ladinsky does a superb job. It’s hard to tell how much of himself he adds to the text. I concentrate more on the pleasure of reading and the places my thoughts travel to, invoked by the ideas, the whimsy and the thoughtfulness.
LOVE is always inspiring. Poetry lends the power of words and ideas and Hafiz adds the magic. Enjoy!
The following quotes are by Hafiz
Your heart and my heart are very, very old friends
I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.
You carry all the ingredients
To turn your existence into joy
“I caught the happy virus last night When I was out singing beneath the stars. It is remarkably contagious – So kiss me.”
Love sometimes wants to do us a great favor: hold us upside down and shake all the nonsense out.
Your love Should never be offered to the mouth of a Stranger, Only to someone Who has the valor and daring To cut pieces of their soul off with a knife Then weave them into a blanket To protect you.
The tide of my love Has risen so high let me flood over
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.
Let us be like
Two falling stars in the day sky.
Let no one know of our sublime beauty
As we hold hands with God
Into a sacred existence that defies –
Every description of ecstasy
Hafiz (also spelled Hafez), whose given name was Shams-ud-din Muhammad, was one of the greatest of Persia’s mystical and lyrical Sufi poets. He was born in Shiraz in southeast Persia (modern Iran) c. 1320 and died c. 1389. He is affectionately known as “The Tongue of the Invisible”. His poems were artfully translated and interpreted by American poet Daniel Ladinsky.
References and Related Articles and Recommended Reading
An elderly neighbor of mine passed away last autumn. I didn’t realize this until the following spring when I saw people pull up in front of her little green house on the corner to carry away her things. First it was the chair, then a couch and a tall lamp. This came as a surprise as change tends to do. Abrupt and unexpected. She was old and frail and we’d seen less and less of her over the years. Her son Lenny lived with her and tended to the maintenance of the house and yard. He was a shy and gentle soul who never let anyone get to know him except for the neighborhood cats, which he attracted in droves.
As neighbors go they were my favorites. I like shy and gentle people, the elderly and cats. I was a bit pissed at myself for not knowing what had happened for almost 6 months.
MM suggested we go over and take a look at the obvious to us now, estate sale that was happening at the little green house on the corner. I admit I was curious as I had never been inside. I wondered where her son was as I got on my shoes and we headed over.
Half the neighborhood was there sprinkled among the other shoppers. I was stricken at first at how cramped it was, full of people pawing through Angie’s things. I felt funny. I didn’t know her all that well but now I felt sort of protective of her stuff and her memory. I took a quick tour of the downstairs bedroom. I saw her hairbrushes and clothes for sale. It seemed all too intimate, all too strange and all too much.
Oh I had spoken to her several times over the years exchanging cards at Christmas and the like. I knew she had lived there for over 40 years and had raised a family, watched most her children move away and start lives of their own. I know her husband had died there. I know that she seemed somewhat hard and no nonsense. I know that my preconceived notions about her had allowed me to keep her at arms length like I do with most people.
But now it was so different, so final..
The rooms were tiny and jam packed with various things. It was overwhelming right away: there was so much. It was difficult to take it all in. The first thing I zeroed in on was a set of commemorative dishes priced at $650 dollars next to a tin of cocoa marked “new” and on sale for one dollar. Along with old dishes and salt and pepper shakers shaped like Minnie and Mickey, there was a package of paper towels for sale and paper napkins. Who buys this stuff? I wondered to myself and more importantly who sells this? I was tempted to open the refrigerator to see if there was some old milk for sale but decided against it.
MM beckoned me up the flight of steep creaky stairs that led to the upstairs bedrooms, all small and filled to the brim with stuff. Old holiday decorations and kids toys neatly arranged in boxes. It was hard to believe they had hung on to these items for so long.
The atmosphere was oppressive, it was thick with oldness and stagnation. I could feel the 40 years of history there. This was once a place of life and hopes and dreams and now only lost memories remained. It was as if the remains of a sweetness had stagnated and turned acrid; buried under the heaviness of the years.
It wasn’t long before I had to get out. Needless to say I didn’t buy anything, I wasn’t planning to.
Time passes so quickly. It’s too easy to just go with the flow and let circumstance carry you along. I am in the midst of that and I sensed my neighbor was too but only she had floated farther than I…and stayed too long, accumulated too many things with too many links to the past. So many that there was scant room for anything or anyone else.
So much stuff with so many memories attached to them. It’s easy to do; hang on to things. I too have that pack rat mentality. Sometimes you never know when you may need something.
More importantly, these cherished bits of happiness; intangible memories encased in tangible objects enable us to hold a piece of the past. It seems holding on to these things brings us closer to what we miss. It’s a little silly when you think about the significance we give to objects, it’s not logical. But who is logical? Especially not when we love someone. It wasn’t until I became a parent that I truly understood how important mere objects can become.
I have limited myself a few items, tokens of memory, attached to a person not so much as a time. A few items: a Buddha statue of my father’s and his namesake tree in the front yard. A tiny doll my teenage daughter played with when she was younger, The blue striped blanket my son came home from the hospital with. I have kept the odd concert ticket, a tiny figurine from when I was 4. There isn’t much.
I’ve been ruminating on this experience all summer. It’s prompted me to re think the way I’m living my life. How I hang on to needless things. The tangible and the not so tangible. Outdated stuff, old baggage, outgrown ideas and ways of thinking. How possessions can possess the possessor and how little by little all this stuff we accumulate weigh us down… keeps us from flying.
Perhaps my neighbor missed her chance to fly, maybe her son being thrown out of the nest so late is in flight now. At any rate we all must go someway, somehow. I ponder this as I watch my neighbor’s tree come down foot by foot until it’s gone and I realize it’s been blocking what I see now is a great view of the mountains.
“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh
He was a poet, diplomat, bohemian and political activist. He was born Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto but borrowed his pen name from another poet; Jan Neruda. He was a controversial character. A diplomat and senator from Chile he embraced communism and wrote poetry in tribute to Stalin and Castro. You don’t have to agree with his politics to appreciate the sincerity in his work. The man was an artist; a heartfelt poet who won the Nobel Prize in literature.
Words are words no matter who wrote them and some messages are bigger than the messenger. As a writer there are times I feel I am only a conduit for something else. A something that whispers ever so softly in my ear. I only write what is given to me; words. And it’s the words of Neruda that I celebrate today. The dark dreamy words that evoke images of a hothouse world; a lush tropical jungle where love scintillates along the cool breeze of the night. He brought to his poetry a sense of quiet longing, of sadness and regret but with a spirit that burned… fiery passion and darkness; wanton and thirsty.
When I read his words I am transported to this world….I become a hothouse flower sipping in the cool night air, gazing up at the midnight stars that dare shine through the gaps between the leaves of the trees. Themes of bittersweet longing; of lust and love and all in between. Neruda puts his heart out there with brushstrokes of raw emotion tinged with the fragility of love that weaves itself between the lines of this beautiful poetry.
Have a nice day and enjoy the Neruda.
FRESH QUOTES: PABLO NERUDA
The words of Pablo Neruda
“I should like to sleep like a cat, with all the fur of time, with a tongue rough as flint, with the dry sex of fire; and after speaking to no one, stretch myself over the world, over roofs and landscapes, with a passionate desire to hunt the rats in my dreams.”
“And one by one the nights between our separated cities are joined to the night that unites us.”
“And I, infinitesimal being, drunk with the great starry void, likeness, image of mystery, I felt myself a pure part of the abyss, I wheeled with the stars, my heart broke loose on the wind.”
“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.”
“At night I dream that you and I are two plants that grew together, roots entwined, and that you know the earth and the rain like my mouth, since we are made of earth and rain.”
“I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.”
“I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair. Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets. Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.”
“So I wait for you like a lonely house till you will see me again and live in me. Till then my windows ache.”
Pablo Neruda July 12, 1904 – September 23, 1973) was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean poet, diplomat and politician Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. He chose his pen name after the Czech poet Jan Neruda. In 1971 Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
There was a time when our ancestors roamed in hunter-gatherer bands who lived on the frayed edges of existence. Outsiders were seen as a threat, a valid one indeed. Our survival was insured by this protective, cloistered behavior. We as many other species thrive in a group, a pack or tribe. This us vs. them is a part of us. It is inborn and innate and it starts early.
At one time this tribal mentality worked to our advantage, but as global populations swelled and competition for resources increased, our survival depended not only on the cooperation of a small group but on the greater one at large. It truly does take a a village to survive for most of us. We are not only connected in this village but we are dependent on each other. At the very least, what I do effects my neighbor and vice versa.
This is not a choice. It is a fact.
Another fact: the earth is changing. Regardless of why, it is and we as a species must adapt. This requires cooperation and understanding. This at least requires an honest and constructive discourse with each other and ourselves.
Circumstances and surroundings change faster than we do. It is our ability to adapt paired with luck that has gotten us this far.
There is no room for us vs them. This way of thinking leads to the inclusion of some at the exclusion of others. It is a childish attitude that must be eradicated. We need to grow beyond all this. We all belong to each other on this beautiful planet we share. We are beyond boundary lines and colored shapes on a map.
We as a species have always seemed to thrive on war. Is it even possible for the human race not to have war? Will fate allow us the time it takes to evolve past this ultimately self-destructive inclination?
Is it even possible for us to evolve past this? Is it within the capabilities of humankind to not only see humanity as a whole but as a connected and thriving whole capable of almost limitless potential?
Can we even entertain this as a realistic outcome to our present manic state?
“Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.”
― Thomas A. Edison
I am reminded of the story of the Scorpion and the frog.
One fine spring morning a scorpion spied a frog at the edge of a stream. “Hello friend frog.” said the scorpion with a smile. “Could you please ferry me across to the other side of the stream?” At first the frog refused; bringing up the valid point that it feared the scorpion would sting it. After much sweet talk the scorpion convinces the frog it will not. “After all…” said the scorpion to the frog: “I cannot swim therefore if I sting you we shall surely both perish.” The frog finally consents and allows the scorpion to climb on its back. It proceeds to make the swim across the stream. Suddenly the scorpions stings the frog. “Why did you do that?!” asks the frog as they both sink below the surface. “It ismy nature”. The scorpion explains.
Isn’t it fortunate we are human beings and not scorpions or frogs? It is possible to evolve past our violent and self-destructive nature into something wondrous and incredible. We are a thinking, reasoning species and we do have the advantage over other animals because we can and do play a a major role in guiding our evolution.
We as a species are about to embark on a great challenge and opportunity. It can be an opportunity if we see it that way.
What is it that takes over one’s mind and compels them to create? Is it sickness? Or madness? What is it that runs through the long corridors of souls and haunts hearts with this need to make something where once there was nothing; be it a blank page or a white canvas…or a pile of wood…empty bandwidth or file space or…. just empty silence? Whatever the emptiness, it is the artist that yearns to fill it.
How does one fill emptiness ? I suppose there are as many different ways to create as there are individual artists. The nature of creativity is that it is centered in the new and the untried. There is always a risk to creation. It takes a lot of backbone to present ones work to be judged by the eyes of others, to be put up on display in front of the crowd…. it’s a gusty thing to do.
Art is definitely meant to be appreciated and the role of appreciator can be just as important as the artist. Art can be a group experience–community wide. Art encourages more art…which is a beautiful thing.
L I F E is A R T
Art comes in endless various forms..shapes and hues. It is a rich phenomena, experience, wonder…whatever you call it it..it is sheer delight. Art can awaken and excite the senses.
It can be exhilarating, scintillating, sensual even, but also fun and whimsical…it can also be deep and rich and sometimes sad..it is emotional and it is real. You can feel it. It is that feeling that makes it great art in whatever form.
Artists, good ones, anyway…infuse an essence of themselves into their creation; a small taste of their inner soul…the really good ones make you feel what they feel.
Life is color…
It is vivid-intense, sometimes stark and sad, but a great bright and spirited thing with wings.
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
― Ray Bradbury
It’s a mad compulsion, speaking here from experience. Writing is infused into me…I need to write, it is a thirst that is never quite quenched. As a shy child I spent many hours alone. Writing was my only outlet. I would pour out my feelings to paper, writing as fast as I could. I would keep everything I wrote and I never showed anyone. Whenever I was happy or sad or confused my thoughts would go straight to paper. I was never much for talking. I kept my feelings deeply contained inside me.
I still do write everything out. I have made the mistake in the past of publishing things perhaps I shouldn’t have. I am a sensitive sort and at times I cannot move past something without writing it out.
I can become quite testy when I don’t have a chance to write. I become like a caged animal; I pace, looking out the window. I get anxious and tense. It is not fun to be around me at those times. I must admit I do have my dark moods but once I get at them by writing I am as free as a bird–totally unencumbered and at ease with the world.
It’s like I am a junkie who has just had a fix. I am never as happy as when I am in the middle of it all; writing away…fingers tapping, when I reach an especially engaging patch my fingers get faster and faster, the tapping gets harder and louder. When I am going at full tilt it is total ecstasy!
That is my personal madness and I claim it as my own. Are you a bit mad? Do you engage in a creative endeavor that demands your engagement? Tell me about your madness and we can compare notes.
Have a fantastic day full of loveliness,
“You have to be an artist and a madman, a creature of infinite melancholy, with a bubble of hot poison in your loins and a super-voluptuous flame permanently aglow in your subtle spine