“For me, the writing life doesn’t just happen when I sit at the writing desk. It is a life lived with a centering principle, and mine is this: that I will pay close attention to this world I find myself in. ‘My heart keeps open house,’ was the way the poet Theodore Roethke put it in a poem. And rendering in language what one sees through the opened windows and doors of that house is a way of bearing witness to the mystery of what it is to be alive in this world.”—Julia Alvarez, quoted in 1998 in The Writer magazine, with the quotation republished in “Great Writing Tips from 125 Years of The Writer,” in the magazine’s April 2012 issue. (via apoetreflects)
“There are days when I am convinced that Heaven starts already, now, in this ordinary life, just as it is, in all its incompleteness, yet, this is where Heaven starts. See within yourself, if you can find it.
I walked through the field in front of the house, lots of swallows flying, everywhere! Some very near me. It was magical.
We are already one, yet we know it not.”—Thomas Merton
“In a dream I am walking joyfully up the mountain. Something breaks and falls away, and all is light. Nothing has changed, yet all is amazing, luminescent, free. Released at last, I rise into the sky … This dream comes often. Sometimes I run, then lift up like a kite, high above earth, and always I sail transcendent for a time before awaking. I choose to awake, for fear of falling, yet such dreams tell me that I am a part of things, if only I would let go, and keep on going. “Do not be heavy,” Soen Roshi says. “Be light, light, light - full of light!”—Peter Matthiessen, with thanks to Whiskey River.
“True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own.”—Nikos Kazantzakis, courtesy of Whiskey River.
I stood at the glass door this morning with Bonnie and showed her the snow… She has not learned how special snow days are in the South, or how magical the world feels covered in a blanket of white. Not yet. She will. And so I think maybe the most beautiful part of becoming a child is learning to perceive the world with a conscious sense of wonder, and the struggle of adulthood is to stay awake in that consciousness….
“Thoreau and Weil were writers coming out of the Romantic tradition. For me, the Romantic movement was an attempt to create a wisdom literature for the West. A good part of that wisdom had to do with returning us to the immediacy of the world. As a poetic technique this has come to be known as defamiliarization. What it attempts to do is to destroy the world of custom, habit, stereotype, and ideology so that we can see things for what they are, so that we can see and feel the stone’s stoniness. When Walt Whitman says that his poetry is about leaves of grass, he is essentially saying, We have not been attentive. We need to look again at this leaf of grass. He wrote, ‘Bring all the art and science of the world, and baffle and humble it with one spear of grass.’”—Curtis White, The Science Delusion | Tricycle (via)