comfort

Focus on Emotionally Neutral Spots

Focus on Emotionally Neutral Spots

"Although emotional sensations can arise anywhere in the body, they are much more likely to arise in the belly, chest, throat, or face. These are the emotional hotspots in the body, the regions where emotional sensations can get huge. That means that other areas are much less likely to host gigantic emotional sensations, which turns out to be a useful and convenient thing."

~ Michael Taft

Waiting Strategies for Giving and Receiving Care

Waiting Strategies for Giving and Receiving Care

Whether we are giving or receiving care, we come face-to-face with time’s elasticity – how it seems to speed up and slow down.

No One Could Do Nothing But Let It Happen

HOARDERS, Raven Series, (raven, bird, coins, crow) etching on paper, 5 inch x 7 inch, by Larry Vienneau, 2012

Grief
by Mary Ruefle, from Indeed I Was Pleased with the World

First, it will comfort you to know there are crows.
And calipers for measuring the amount of sunshine
that can escape from under the shadows
of thought. Far out at sea ships go down
in a crippled light, and bunches of black iris
are sent to the remaining crew.
You, too, shall have lived and died
a jot, with the queer feeling you were vast and
ageless, with a good education in sleep, prepared
to die with one regret, that you could not devote
more years in vain. And no one could do nothing
but let it happen. Whatever was tied to the mast
the waves have come here they are:
after anxiety turns into pain and pain
turns into rain and the rain
into a doorbell on the face,
the forehead splits open.
Crows come for that speck of gold
you were saving for you eyelids at the point of death
and turn away, wildly happy.

The Indispensable Silver Lining

Consolation
by Wisława Szymborska, from Poetry (April 2006)

Darwin.
They say he read novels to relax,
But only certain kinds:
nothing that ended unhappily.
If anything like that turned up,
enraged, he flung the book into the fire.   

True or not,
I’m ready to believe it.

Scanning in his mind so many times and places,
he’d had enough of dying species,
the triumphs of the strong over the weak,
the endless struggles to survive,
all doomed sooner or later.
He’d earned the right to happy endings,
at least in fiction
with its diminutions.

Hence the indispensable
silver lining,
the lovers reunited, the families reconciled,
the doubts dispelled, fidelity rewarded,
fortunes regained, treasures uncovered,
stiff-necked neighbors mending their ways,
good names restored, greed daunted,
old maids married off to worthy parsons,
troublemakers banished to other hemispheres,
forgers of documents tossed down the stairs,   
seducers scurrying to the altar,
orphans sheltered, widows comforted,
pride humbled, wounds healed over,
prodigal sons summoned home,
cups of sorrow thrown into the ocean,   
hankies drenched with tears of reconciliation,
general merriment and celebration,
and the dog Fido,
gone astray in the first chapter,
turns up barking gladly
in the last.

See also: "Wisława Szymborska," by Janusz R. Kowalczyk, Culture.Pl  

 


Charlie Darwin

by Low Anthem, from Oh My God, Charlie Darwin

Set the sails I feel the winds a'stirring
Toward the bright horizon set the way
Cast your wreckless dreams upon our Mayflower
Haven from the world and her decay

And who could heed the words of Charlie Darwin
Fighting for a system built to fail
Spooning water from their broken vessels
As far as I can see there is no land

Oh my god, the water's all around us
Oh my god, it's all around

And who could heed the words of Charlie Darwin
The lords of war just profit from decay
And trade their children's promise for the jingle
The way we trade our hard earned time for pay

Oh my god, the water's cold and shapeless
Oh my god, it's all around
Oh my god, life is cold and formless
Oh my god, it's all around

This Insatiable Need for Perpetuation


Brookline Reservoir Park, March 18, 2012

"Everyone tries to make his life a work of art. We want love to last and we know that it does not last; even if, by some miracle, it were to last a whole lifetime, it would still be incomplete. Perhaps, in this insatiable need for perpetuation, we should better understand human suffering, if we knew that it was eternal. It appears that great minds are, sometimes, less horrified by suffering than by the fact that it does not endure. In default of inexhaustible happiness, eternal suffering would at least give us a destiny. But we do not even have that consolation, and our worst agonies come to an end one day. One morning, after many dark nights of despair, an irrepressible longing to live will announce to us the fact that all is finished and that suffering has no more meaning than happiness."

~ Albert CamusThe Rebel: An Essay on Man in Revolt 
[whiskey river]

Mended

One Day
by Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, from American Life in Poetry: Column 325

One day, you will awake from your covering
and that heart of yours will be totally mended,
and there will be no more burning within.
The owl, calling in the setting of the sun
and the deer path, all erased.
And there will be no more need for love
or lovers or fears of losing lovers
and there will be no more burning timbers
with which to light a new fire,
and there will be no more husbands or people
related to husbands, and there will be no more
tears or reason to shed your tears.
You will be as mended as the bridge
the working crew has just reopened.
The thick air will be vanquished with the tide
and the river that was corrupted by lies
will be cleansed and totally free.
And the rooster will call in the setting sun
and the sun will beckon homeward,
hiding behind your one tree that was not felled.

Seeing the Other Side of Things

magritte-rock

René Magritte wrote, "To equate my painting with symbolism, conscious or unconscious, is to ignore its true nature. People are quite willing to use objects without looking for any symbolic intention in them, but when they look at paintings, they can't find any use for them. So they hunt around for a meaning to get themselves out of the quandary, and because they don't understand what they are supposed to think when they confront the painting. They want something to lean on, so they can be comfortable. They want something secure to hang on to, so they can save themselves from the void. People who look for symbolic meanings fail to grasp the inherent poetry and mystery of the image. No doubt they sense this mystery, but they wish to get rid of it. They are afraid. By asking ‘what does this mean?’ they express a wish that everything be understandable. But if one does not reject the mystery, one has quite a different response. One asks other things."

"To the extent that my pictures have any value," [Magritte] once said, lobbing a grenade at the experts and explainers, "they do not lend themselves to analysis." He quoted Victor Hugo, "We never see but one side of things." And to this he added, "it's precisely this 'other side' that I'm trying to express."

From "The Artist Who Was Master of the Double Take," by Bennett Schiff, Smithsonian Magazine (September 1992)

Matinee

by Patrick Phillips

After the biopsy,
after the bone scan,
after the consult and the crying,

for a few hours no one could find them,
not even my sister,
because it turns out

they'd gone to the movies.
Something tragic was playing,
something epic,
and so they went to the comedy
with their popcorn
and their cokes,

the old wife whispering everything twice,
the old husband
cupping a palm to his ear,

as the late sun lit up an orchard
behind the strip mall,
and they sat in the dark holding hands.

[American Life in Poetry: Column 124]