immensity of light-years…

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Horsehead Nebula by NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team

Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. So are our emotions in the presence of great art or music or literature, or of acts of exemplary selfless courage such as those of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.
~ Carl Sagan
(Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark)

all the great questions…

"Portrait of a Girl" by Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1946) Finnish Realist Painter

“Portrait of a Girl” by Helene Schjerfbeck

Childhood is a mystery: the soul is timeless, the body new, and the world complex.  What a conjunction: the great unfolding in the small.

Childhood asks us what reality really is, what the world is, and where it came from.  Childhood asks where life came from, and where it goes. Does the soul exist?  Where was the soul before birth?  How many realms are there?  Are fairies real?  Do ghosts and spirits exist?  Why are some people lucky and others unlucky, why is there suffering?  Why are we here?  Are there more things in the innocent-seeming world than we can see?  These are some of the questions that the state of childhood asks, and which perplex us all our days.

Childhood is an enigma, a labyrinth, an existential question, a conundrum.  It is the home of all the great questions about life and death, reality and dream, meaning and purpose, freedom and society, the spiritual and the secular, nature and culture, education and self-discovery.

~ Ben Okri
(A Time for New Dreams)

far enough out…

“Earth at Night” image by NASA

If you go far enough out
you can see the Universe itself,
all the billion light years summed up time
only as a flash, just as lonely, as distant
as a star on a June night
if you go far enough out.

And still, my friend, if you go far enough out
you are only at the beginning

- of yourself.

~ Rolf Jacobsen
(Night Open: Selected Poems of Rolf Jacobsen)

Be Filled with Light

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…My tree on May 27th…

It had been well over a week since I had last visited Grandmother Elm.  Almost two weeks – thirteen days to be exact.  I might not be visiting her as often as I had hoped to in the days ahead.  As you might imagine, having a cancer patient in the house has made planning our days unpredictable, as we slowly adjust to expecting the unexpected.  But look how well the elm’s leaf canopy has filled in during my absence!

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Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

~ Mary Oliver
(Thirst: Poems)

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According to one Celtic tree calendar, my birth date (January 12-24 and July 15-25) makes the elm, the good-tempered tree, my guardian tree.  And my gemstone is the moonstone. Deposits of moonstone can be found in Norway!

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You are probably quite unaware of the value of your ability to conquer anxiety, just as you are unaware that you are hard-working, reliable and creative.  You don’t try to belong to any group and you don’t want to be organised.  On the contrary, you are allergic to labels, even respectable ones.  You are overcome by embarrassment when the spotlight falls on you.  Your sense of moderation alerts you to the fact that an excess of light for one person can soon become too little for someone else.  You would rather hide your own light under a bushel than take it away from anyone else.  You prefer to praise your fellow men than to be exposed to their praise.
~ Michael Vescoli
(The Celtic Tree Calendar: Your Tree Sign & You)

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Well, all those things above do describe me well, not only am I overcome by embarrassment when a spotlight falls on me, I blush to a very bright red, which only adds to my distress.  Oh how I love to keep a low profile and hang around in the background!  :) The things I am discovering by means of my elm tree!

contradiction and paradox…

“Little Girl in Blue” by Amedeo Modigliani

How is one to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in life, when one finds darkness not only in one’s culture but within oneself?  If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox.  One must live in the middle of contradiction, because if all contradiction were eliminated at once life would collapse.  There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions.  You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.
~ Barry Lopez
(Arctic Dreams)

spirit-beams…

"Rocky Mountain" by Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) German-American Painter

“Rocky Mountain” by Albert Bierstadt

To lovers of the wild, these mountains are not a hundred miles away. Their spiritual power and the goodness of the sky make them near, as a circle of friends.  …  You cannot feel yourself out of doors; plain, sky, and mountains ray beauty which you feel.  You bathe in these spirit-beams, turning round and round, as if warming at a camp-fire.  Presently you lose consciousness of your own separate existence: you blend with the landscape, and become part and parcel of nature.
~ John Muir
(A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf)