“A single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”
– Henry David Thoreau
We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others, that in the end, we become disguised to ourselves.
– Francois de la Rochefoucauld, in The Goldfinch
grey light drifts humbly through the window
my ears alert for early morning whispers,
breath quiet and steady
i hear the purposeful whoosh of
heated milk landing in the bottle
my palms blanketed by the warmth
i make my way towards the
bedroom where you sleep, and
hold out the doodh,
all ingredients melted into this
moment of reverent care,
i plucked the guitar string from my essence
the vibrations echoed through the air
finding their way towards your heart
know that it is an offer, only,
you may resonate or be discordant
still, i stand here,
arm stretched and heart open.
i offered simply because my deepest self wanted to.
We may think of choosing a career path like choosing a train to ride.
We arrive at the station when we graduate from college,
We study the train map and schedule, to decide which is the ‘right’ train to get on.
This decision is agonizing, we strive to absorb as much information as possible and figure out ‘where we want to go’.
We decide, then wait on the platform for the train – the one that is destined for greatness – to arrive.
When it arrives, we board it optimistically, feeling certain that the train and tracks will conspire to carry us to the exact destination we selected, at the time that was promised on the schedule.
Our responsibility is to evaluate the train, and then choose to stay on the this one, or to get off and board another.
But a career path is not a train we board to enjoy a ride. Imagine a career path like going hiking.
When we graduate from college, we carry with us a backpack full of book knowledge and street smarts, warm blankets and extra socks.
We approach the uncharted woods, and consider what direction to head in.
To the right is a patch of evergreen trees, to the left a rocky downhill with a rushing river at the base. In the center, is flat land, with a mountain in the distance.
We choose an initial direction, and then take a step, and another and another.
Within each path, there are opportunities to shape your journey.
After walking for a bit, perhaps we come upon a new clearing, a smaller hill, a field of flowers, or a lookout point.
I suggest we pause to reflect and adjust based on our learnings and new visions.
We walk not in straight lines, but in zig zags and pivots, climbing at times and descending at other times.
We walk, hopefully enjoying the path as much as where we’re headed, and preserving our health and energy for what we hope will be a long and fruitful journey.
Tings against the ceramic in
Cadence like a small church bell
Warmth emanates to my hands
Smells of roasted oat and cardboard permeate my nostrils
Ribbons of honey and chamomile bathe my taste buds
The mug is ordinary, green,
A cricket orchestra, a soundtrack to this
i committed to stay in silence,
And should not be writing, but my
Lips curled up in
Joy and i had to
Share it with you.
You do not need fixing, she said,
You are not broken
i believed her for that moment, my
Heart’s vision stretched to encompass every One
Opened towards Love
Compassionate threads in the
Wholeness of Life
Without a word from Vasudeva, the speaker felt that the ferryman took in his words, silent, open, waiting, missing none, impatient for non, neither praising nor blaming, but only listening, Siddhartha felt what happiness it is to unburden himself to such a listener, to sink his own life into this listener’s hart, his own seeking his own suffering.Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse, translated by Joachim Neugroschel
What father, what teacher could shield him from living his own life, soiling himself with life, burdening himself with guilt, drinking the bitter drink himself, finding this path himself? Do you really believe, dear friend, that anyone at all is spared this path?Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse, translated by Joachim Neugroschel
(excerpt from discussion between Siddhartha and Vasudeva, the Ferryman, about Siddhartha’s son)
Siddhartha: How can I put him in that world? Will he not become haughty, will he not surrender to pleasure and power, will he not repeat all his father’s mistakes, will he not perhaps lose himself entirely in samsara?
Vasudeva: Do you really believe you committed your follies to spare your son? And can you shield your son against Sahara? How? …
V: Could his father’s piety, his teachers’ admonitions, his own knowing, his own seeking save his? What father, what teacher could shield him from living his own life, soiling himself with life, burdening himself with guilt, drinking the bitter drink himself, finding this path himself? Do you really believe, dear friend, that anyone at all is spared this path? Perhaps your little son because you love him, because you would like to spare hi pain and sorrow and disillusion? But even if you died for him ten times per, you could not take away even the tiniest bit of his destiny.
A lump, gray, nondescript
But in my vision it is glorious
i lay my simple tool
On the gripping surface
Scrape away one sliver
And a third
The lump changes only imperceptibly
i aim the tool to remove the excesses
Bit by bit
To reveal the form
Enveloped within the clay
There is no short cut to its birth
Each bit removed
One by one
No use to celebrate after each
Or look forward to promised success
There is none
i can only
Be here now.
Then, a feature is unearthed
From what remains
i stop to admire what became clear
Only with the loss of what was unnecessary
i do not own its intricate glory
i am the instrument
i welcome the pause
And raise my tool again
A simple reminder from my son’s classroom to not mimic what you see around you. Identify, appreciate and leverage your unique gifts.