On the last Wednesday of every month, I serve up a potpourri of advice, inspiration and other tidbits I've come across in recent weeks. Here's this months' serving of Last Wednesday Wisdom. As always, you get a reward for reading to the end, this time, a preview of coming attractions!
What is life?
It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.
It is the little shadow which runs across the grass
and loses itself in the sunset.
-- Crowfoot, (ca 1830-1890), Blackfoot warrior and orator
We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise, we harden.
-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Once someone asked a well-known Thai meditation master, "In this world where everything changes, where nothing remains the same, where loss and grief are inherent in our very coming into existence, how can there be any happiness? How can we find security when we see that we can't count on anything being the way we want it to be?" The teacher, looking compassionately at this fellow, held up a drinking glass that had been given to him earlier in the morning and said, "You see this goblet? For me, this glass is already broken. I enjoy it. I drink out of it. It holds my water admirably, sometimes even reflecting the sun in beautiful patterns. If I should tap it, it has a lovely ring to it. But when I put this glass on a shelf and the wind knocks it over, or my elbow brushes it off the table and it falls to the ground and shatters, I say, 'Of course.' When I understand that this glass is already broken, every moment with it is precious. Every moment is just as it is, and nothing need be otherwise."
-- Stephen Levine in Who Dies?: An Investigation of Conscious Living and Conscious Dying (Anchor, 1982)
The intellect can understand a story--but only the imagination can tell it.
-- Stephen Koch in The Modern Library Writer's Workshop: A Guide to the Craft of Fiction (Modern Library Paperbacks, 2009)
He who has made a thousand things and he who has made none, both feel the same desire: to make something.
-- Antonio Porchia
I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.
-- Sylvia Plath
Be joyful/though you have considered all the facts.
-- Wendell Berry (in "Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front:)
Written from the heart,
from the heart of the woods
Read the introduction to HeartWood here.
Nan Sanders Pokerwinski, a former journalist, writes memoir and personal essays, makes collages and likes to play outside. She lives in West Michigan with her husband, Ray.