January, in Summary

In music:

“I need the darkness, someone please cut the lights.”

In words:

“… insight alone will rarely enable people to undo their emotional disturbances … There is usually no way to get better and stay better but by: continual work and practice in looking for, and finding, one’s core irrational beliefs; actively, energetically, and scientifically disputing them; replacing one’s absolutist musts with flexible preferences; changing one’s unhealthy feelings to healthy, self-helping emotions; and firmly acting against one’s dysfunctional fears and compulsions.”

(Source, wikipedia article on Rational emotive behavioral therapy)

Important to remember: Nothing terrible will happen if I don’t get into graduate school. It won’t even be terrible if I never write creative fiction again. I will be OK. To know this is to literally get my life back. That is the most valuable thing of all, to know that we can be OK. That is priceless. That is my wish for myself and for 2011, that I will find a way out of this terrible, stifling belief that I “must” “be” a certain thing or do things a certain way. It’s not easy. But battling these kinds of beliefs is the trick, so that I can live in the world as a free human being, and dance and sing and write and play in the dirt and generally be silly.

In literature:

(We read this poem this week in my writing class and I liked it a lot!)

Kindness, by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

In photos:


The tree that my grandfather planted!

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Filed under photos, poetry, quotes, self-help

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