I collect quotes, sayings, phrases. I write them down in my journal, or copy and paste them from websites […]
I collect quotes, sayings, phrases. I write them down in my journal, or copy and paste them from websites to sticky notes on my desktop. They often live there until I’ve turned them over in my mouth enough times to taste the different things in them – till I feel like they’ve sunk into me, into my skin and I fully understand and see all that they are. Months later I find them again, paging through the journal or in a computer file, and they often taste different.
In the past few weeks, a few phrases have found me and stayed with me. I’m still in the process of turning them over in my mouth, and for now I don’t want them to leave.When I looked at them today, I noticed a theme running through them.
Van Wyk Louw once wrote:
Life is beautiful.
Beautiful is death.
We all live between light and darkness.
This came to me through the beautiful heart of an Afrikaans poet. My interactions with him have always been via email, we are yet to meet face to face, but a gentler more compassionate soul I have yet to meet.
To live in this world
You must be able to do three things:
To love what is mortal
To hold it
Against your bones knowing
Your own life depends on it;
And, when the time comes to let it go,
To let it go
– Mary Oliver
these words were on a friend’s Facebook status. Mary Oliver is a favourite poet of mine, she has the ability to take seemingly simple words and cut through your bones. On first reading, they seem obvious enough, but read them a second, a third time and hidden worlds reveal themselves to you and continue to do so
when the time comes
to love yourself well
it takes a good solid month
to stop crying
you have to let go
– Andrea Gibson
I found this on Andrea Gibson’s website, after a friend recommended I read her work. It immediately struck me.
Each phrase feels like a signpost along my present long road. A road filled with the lessons of embracing the opposites of life through embracing the opposites within me. It requires patience, an unhurried foot unafraid to explore the unknown, unafraid to make mistakes. Mistakes and I are not friends, but I am learning to like them, to accept them. Just like I am learning to love the parts of myself that I balk at, that make me uncomfortable.It is past of loving myself well, it is part of loving what is mortal, it is how I am learning to live between light and darkness, giving both equal measure.
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