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. This month I'm focusing on themes that are on many people's minds these days, in many contexts.
As a bonus for reading to the end, I'm including a selection of photos celebrating the colorful autumn season that's drawing to a close.
[I said to Suzuki Roshi,] "I could listen to you for a thousand years and still not get it. Could you just please put it in a nutshell? Can you reduce Buddhism to one phrase? . . . He was not a man you could pin down, and he didn't like to give his students something definite to cling to. He had often said not to have "some idea" of what Buddhism was. But Suzuki did answer. He looked at me and said, "Everything changes."
-- David Chadwick
No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.
-- Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”
-- Jalaluddin Rumi
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
-- Martin Luther King Jr.
When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always.
Action is the antidote to despair.
-- Joan Baez
The narrow-minded ask, “Is this man a stranger, or is he of our tribe?” but to those in whom love dwells the whole world is but one family.
-- Anonymous (often misattributed to Buddha)
No language is neutral. To speak is to claim a life--and often our own. If more Americans speak to one another, in writing, in media, at the supermarket, we might listen better. It is difficult, I think, to hate one another when we start to understand not only why and how we hurt, but also why and how we love.
-- Ocean Vuong, poet and essayist, in Poets & Writers, September/October 2016
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.