I don’t know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, ‘well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,’ that’s all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, ‘I’m sorry,’ and then you say to yourself, ‘I’m sorry.’ If we all hold on to the mistake, we can’t see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can’t see what we’re capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one’s own self. I think that young men and women are so caught by the way they see themselves. Now mind you. When a larger society sees them as unattractive, as threats, as too black or too white or too poor or too fat or too thin or too sexual or too asexual, that’s rough. But you can overcome that. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don’t have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach.
– Maya Angelou
Tara Brach’s podcast on Equanimity: A Heart That is Ready for Anything kept me company this afternoon while I sat at home going through an entire Kleenex box nursing a cold.
She read what she called a duck meditation, and I just looked up the source. It’s a poem that was published in The New Yorker on October 4, 1947. I wanted to share it with you, along with a personal note at the end.
The Little Duck
By Donald C. Babcock
Now we are ready to look at something pretty special.
It is a duck riding the ocean a hundred feet beyond the surf.
No, it isn’t a gull.
A gull always has a raucous touch about him.
This is some sort of duck, and he cuddles in the swells.
He isn’t cold, and he is thinking things over.
There is a big heaving in the Atlantic,
And he is part of it.
He looks a bit like a mandarin, or the Lord Buddha meditating under the Bo tree.
But he has hardly enough above the eyes to be a philosopher.
He has poise, however, which is what philosophers must have.
He can rest while the Atlantic heaves, because he rests in the Atlantic.
Probably he doesn’t know how large the ocean is.
And neither do you.
But he realizes it.
And what does he do, I ask you. He sits down in it.
He reposes in the immediate as if it were infinity—which it is.
That is religion, and the duck has it.
He has made himself a part of the boundless, by easing himself into it just where it
It’s been a month of many waves, the biggest of which was Greg’s Mom dying two weeks ago. She had been ill for awhile so it wasn’t a surprise, but it’s hard nonetheless. Both of us getting sick right afterward–Greg last week, me this week–hasn’t helped matters, but all in all I think we’re both being compassionate with ourselves and with each other. I’ve had you all in my heart even though I haven’t been around online very much.
Image found on etsy.com
After all, I don’t see why I am always asking for private, individual, selfish miracles when every year there are miracles like white dogwood. –Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Miracles, in the sense of phenomena we cannot explain, surround us on every hand: life itself is the miracle of miracles. –George Bernard Shaw
Miracles come in moments. Be ready and willing. –Wayne Dyer
Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see. –C.S. Lewis
A gentle word, a kind look, a good-natured smile can work wonders and accomplish miracles. –William Hazlitt
Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature. –Saint Augustine
Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle. –Walt Whitman
Friends, February is almost over, and I am running out of hearts. I think sometime I’ll try to make some of my own clay hearts so I can add whatever words I want. When I started this series I was sleeping really poorly and waking up at 4:30 in the morning and posting then. I found out I woke someone up because their computer beeped when my post came through (she swears she was awake anyway). I’ve gradually posted later and later, and right now it is evening. We’ve just come back from the gym and are going to watch a Seinfeld episode. (And in case you read yesterday’s post, Lily is going to the vet tomorrow.)
I really don’t think about the word prosperity very much, but I do like this quote I found.
We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own. –Cesar Chavez
This was my first post in the #tinyheart series: Hearthstones.
I just perused quotes on “surrender” and didn’t find any that I liked. So I’m going to tell you a story instead.
My dog peed on me today. She was on my lap, a blanket between us, and when we got up, I was all wet. This happened a few days ago, too, but I wasn’t sure what had happened then. My pants were wet, but I thought maybe I had gotten water on them while I was doing dishes and hadn’t noticed. But when it happened again today, I smelled more carefully and realized this was urine.
She has had bladder and kidney stones (Bichons are prone to them). She has had two surgeries and is on special diet. I thought she was doing better, but apparently not. It is so confusing…I guess with the stones maybe she doesn’t have the sensation that she has to go? I just can’t imagine her leaking all over me, sleeping all curled up like nothing was going on.
Of course, I’ll call the vet tomorrow. But right now, I’m upset. I’m envisioning years of a dog wearing diapers. Just when I’m launching my son out into the world (I think he’s about to get his first “real” job after graduating from college) I have this creature totally attached to me, dependent on me, and incontinent!
Right after I changed clothes, put them in the washer, and cleaned myself up, she grabbed a toy and wanted to play. And she had to look so darn cute. It took every ounce of patience to play with her. I know it’s not her fault.
So I feel like surrender is a good word for tonight. Sometimes we have so little control, it really stinks (literally and figuratively in this case).