Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

What links us

During times of division and stress, it's easy to lose perspective. We steep ourselves in the news and become more anxious or angry. We build up barricades of our beliefs, turned rock hard, and stand behind them, lobbing words and worse at each other.

So what do you do to pull yourself back into a quieter space of mind or to stay calm?

I've been reading daily from A Year with Rilke, bits of the poet's prose and poetry translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows.

And I'd like to share today's fragment. It's from Sonnets to Orpheus I, 12, by Rainer Marie Rilke. (Apologies for the odd form but the software won't let me make spaces between the stanzas.)

What Links Us

Bless the spirit that makes connections,

for truly we live in what we imagine.

Clocks move alongside our real life

with steps that are ever the same.

Though we do not know our exact location,

we are held in place by what links us.

Across trackless distances

antennas sense each other.

Pure attention, the essence of the powers!

Distracted by each day's doing,

how can we hear the signals?

Even as the farmer labors

there where the seed turns into summer,

it is not his work. It is the Earth who gives.

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