seizures of happiness


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Mary Oliver, a favourite poet of mine, captures the fleeting moments of Happiness; seizures as such, perfectly, in her usual elusive yet expressive style.
Today, I too, was described to be both elusive and expressive by a friend and that really resonated with me. So, here I share with you (and a reminder to me) Oliver’s words:

On the windless days, when the maples have put forth their deep canopies, and the sky is wearing its new blue immensities, and the wind has dusted itself not an hour ago in some spicy field and hardly touches us as it passes by, what is it we do? We lie down and rest upon the generous earth. Very likely we fall asleep.

Once, years ago, I emerged from the woods in the early morning at the end of a walk and — it was the most casual of moments — as I stepped from under the trees into the mild, pouring-down sunlight I experienced a sudden impact, a seizure of happiness. It was not the drowning sort of happiness, rather the floating sort. I made no struggle toward it; it was given.

Time seemed to vanish. Urgency vanished. Any important difference between myself and all other things vanished. I knew that I belonged to the world, and felt comfortably my own containment in the totality. I did not feel that I understood any mystery, not at all; rather that I could be happy and feel blessed within the perplexity — the summer morning, its gentleness, the sense of the great work being done though the grass where I stood scarcely trembled. As I say, it was the most casual of moments, not mystical as the word is usually meant, for there was no vision, or anything extraordinary at all, but only a sudden awareness of the citizenry of all things within one world: leaves, dust, thrushes and finches, men and women. And yet it was a moment I have never forgotten, and upon which I have based many decisions in the years since.

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desire, does not, equate to being valued


value5

what I never
learned
from my mother
was that
just because
someone desires you
does
not mean they value you.
desire is the kind of thing that
eats you
and
leaves you starving.

“Just because someone desires you, does not mean that they value you”.

Read it over.

Again.

“Just because someone desires you, does not mean that they value you”.

Let these words seep deep through you, through your veins, your bones, and settle, albeit uncomfortably, in your mind.

These are the colours of your self-esteem.

I encourage you to do so because these are profound and meaningful words from a wonderful poet/artist, Nayyirah Waheed. And with anything profound, you need to read it more than once for once is never enough.  Read it a hundred times if you can. And if you can, leave some space between each reading, as each time a different word or phrase will embed itself within your soul.

Now when I say soul I don’t mean soul in the overused new-age sort of way.  No.

When I say SOUL, I mean SOUL.

value2

When I say soul I am talking about who YOU are at the very CORE of your being.

The centre of your SELF. The ESSENCE of you.

That part of you that lies right the centre of your chest or in the depth of your belly that when you press hard, it hurts.  It is the ‘I’ within that you may have just started to explore its existence. The ‘I’ in you that you may probably spend your entire lifetime trying to figure out.  And you never will.  So give up. And just be. I have.

Anyway.

Nayyirah Waheed is phenomenal. She is phenomenal because she has the capacity to talk to me even though we’ve never met in a language that surpasses mere words. She reminds me that I’m alive. And I’m grateful to anyone who can do that. Her words have the capacity to remove all the debris that have formed and gathered itself on your psyche like rust on steel; cutting through the crap, stripping it away, leaving your heart bare and raw. She then leaves you to do the polishing work yourself. She starts the process but you do the work.

I’ve posted some of her pieces on my blog before from her anthology of poems called ‘salt’.  Perhaps her words may resonate with you too?  Let me know, if you want.

Be kind.

speak softly


speak softly

I am in a slightly more melancholic mood today; finding myself being pulled towards soft voices and dulcet tones and it got me thinking.

The tone of a person’s voice has tremendous power over us.

Sometimes it’s less what people say but more of how they say it. Words spoken from a place of intellect very rarely touches me inside, it only merely brushes off the surface of my psyche. I may be impressed with one’s intelligence but to really move me inside, well, now it’s not so much what you say but it is how you say what you say to me.

Have you ever heard Maya Angelou speak? If you haven’t, I would recommend that you do. Go to YouTube, type her name in and you’ll find out why I have urged you to do so. The minute she utters her first word, that’s it. You are under her spell. You are drawn to her for reasons you will find hard to explain. You yearn to hear her speak. You want her to keep going on and not stop. And when she does stop, you will miss her.

You see her voice has a direct transmission to your heart.

speak softly5It is a bit like when someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. I think it has something to do with where the words are coming from. If it is merely from the intellect then they leave one cold and dry. But if they come from the heart, they will most certainly touch another’s heart.

heart little
Nietzsche once said:

“the voice of beauty speaks softly; it creeps only into the most fully awakened souls”

And I think if he and I were taking a stroll in a park on this wonderful crisp winter morning in London I may be tempted to agree with him.

So how do you speak to others and how do you speak to the ones you say you love?

Rumi gently reminds us that:

“there is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen”

speak softly6

So imagine Rumi is sitting with you right now in a lovely room filled with beautiful burnt-orange cushions and dark plush deep-red carpets; you’re sharing a pot of steaming hot masala chai, how well will you listen and what will you hear, not with your ears but with your heart?

I think I may have an inkling to what Rumi is referring to. I would love to ask him myself (hey I’d love to be in a room filled with burnt-orange cushions and plush deep-red carpets!) but for now, I think I will need to be content in finding it out for myself.

Have a softly spoken weekend and may it be gentle, kind and peaceful.

And listen to a voice that speaks without words.