Saturday, August 23, 2014

Seahorse Days of August

August 2010

I can sit in the cheap garden chair, coffee in a yellow cup on the arm and the small fountain that Oliver built gurgling beside me, reading. I hear the yips of the neighbor's dog, lift my head to wonder from where the constant hum of a chain-saw comes, notice my irritation and notice it drift away.

If we wish to live well in the world, not just amble along through life without any examination of our being, then we must engage in the effort to find meaning in our lives. In order to do this, we have to find a way to balance our own interiority with an empathic recognition of others. Without this balance, we can become invested in our needs and performance while forgetting that there are others in the animal, vegetable, and mineral world. Or we can become so outwardly directed, perhaps even to the point of interfering, as to fail to see our own shortcomings. We must ask: for whom do we practice? We see the paradox of self in the world, focusing inwardly in order to manifest outwardly. The inward look is the outward view. Ultimately we practice for others as our inward polishing manifests itself as good action in our activities.

-from Following the Way of Ryokan in the Fall 2014 issue of Tricycle Magazine

There is goodness and gratitude everywhere. Yesterday, as I made my way through the day, caring for my children and worrying about Sophie, I thought much, probably too much, about the criticism thrown at me. I tried to give it space, to open myself up not to the words, the venom in the words,  but to my own reaction to the words. That takes away the sting in the same way that breathing through physical pain lessens its impact, if not the pain itself. Does that make sense? Last night, this post, one that I wrote in response to overwhelming generosity afforded me in the midst of that person's horrific pain, appeared on my Facebook feed. I will take this as a sign of grace and am stunned, again, by the wonder of the world and this community.


  1. When people e-mail me to tell me that something I've written has made a difference in their lives I know exactly why I am doing what I do. Other times, it can be easy to forget.
    Try not to forget, Elizabeth. You are making incredible AND powerful differences in people's lives. Not just with your words but with your actions.
    What more can there be? What more do you need to know? Feel sure of what you're doing. Don't let anyone else's anger get in the way of that.

  2. Thank you for this. I've copied it and will keep it to remind me.

  3. I think your candidness--what you call your sharp tongue--is bound to set people off from time to time. I think the debate is necessary. But sometimes people get mean, which has got to be hard. Hang in there. You are making a difference in ways you can't even imagine.



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