PUT MY TEARS INTO YOUR BOTTLE
Here’s a biblical verse that struck me as fresh and as if I heard it for the very first time. "Put my tears into your bottle." Psalm 56:8
I learnt that this is an allusion to a very ancient custom in certain cultures of putting the tears which were shed for the death of beloved into small bottles, called lacrymatories or urnae lacrymales. They were then placed on the tomb of the deceased.
- Given this ancient custom how would you interpret the verse above?
- What do you think is the value of tears?
Photo | Philip Chircop
JEW-JITSU FOR THOSE WITH A SENSE OF HUMOUR
I came across this delightful dose of laughter on Salvador Litvak's blog The Accidental Talmudist. Laughter came in the form of a story. Here it is. Enjoy!
There once was a powerful emperor who needed a new chief Samurai. But after 2 months, only 3 people applied for the job: a Japanese man, a Chinese man, and Moishe.
The emperor first asked the Japanese man to demonstrate why he should be chief Samurai. The man opened a little silver box and out flew a little fly. Whoosh went his sword and the fly dropped dead in two pieces. The emperor was impressed.
The emperor then asked the Chinese man to demonstrate why he should be chief Samurai. The man opened a small pearl box and out flew a smaller fly. Whoosh, whoosh went his sword and the fly dropped dead in four pieces. The emperor was very impressed.
Then the emperor asked Moishe to demonstrate why he should be chief Samurai. Moishe opened a small gold box and out flew a wasp. Whoooooossshhh, whoooooossshhh, whooooooossshhh, whoooooossshhh, whoooooossshhh went Moishe’s sword, but the wasp was still alive and buzzing around the emperor.
The emperor was very disappointed and asked Moishe, “After all your sword play, why is the wasp not dead?”
Moishe replied, “A circumcision is not intended to kill.”
MORE ON SLEEP
“The worst thing in the world,” said F. Scott Fitzgerald, “is to try to sleep and not to.”
Unfortunately, for people all around the globe, lack of quality sleep is a very real problem that can, indeed, feel like the worst thing in the world. Sleep is a vital component of overall wellbeing, affecting the mental, physical and emotional health of adults and children alike.
With this in mind, allow me to share Secret Garden's Sleepsong (from their album Earthsongs). You may want to use it today and perhaps in the days to come, as you surrender to the gifts of day and embrace the necessary gifts of night. I say this fully conscious that some amongst su have to sleep in the morning due to night-shift work schedules. If this is the case, may you have enough dark for a healthy rest!
Now … click on play and surrender to this haunting melody:
Lay down your head and I’ll sing you a lullaby
Back to the years of loo-li lai-lay
And I’ll sing you to sleep and I’ll sing you tomorrow
Bless you with love for the road that you go
May you sail far to the far fields of fortune
With diamonds and pearls at your head and your feet
And may you need never to banish misfortune
May you find kindness in all that you meet
May there always be angels to watch over you
To guide you each step of the way
To guard you and keep you safe from all harm
Loo-li, loo-li, lai-lay
May you bring love and may you bring happiness
Be loved in return to the end of your days
Now fall off to sleep, I’m not meaning to keep you
I’ll just sit for a while and sing loo-li, lai-lay
ON SLEEPING, WORKING, RESTING AND PRAYING
I saw this sign in a small shop in Vancouver today. it made me smile … and also reflect a little on my work and rest habits.
- Do I sleep enough to make sure I wake up rested and ready to engage the gift of a new day?
- Do I work diligently and enthusiastically?
- And last but not least, do I make time for some still and quite moments on a daily basis, necessary moments that will keep things and life in perspective?
"The good educator insists on exercise, play, and plentiful sleep: "the great cordial of nature." — John Locke (1632-1704)
A HAPPY PLAYFUL “HAPPY BIRTHDAY”
Yesterday I was enjoying a simple, delightful evening of great conversation and a scrumptious food at a Japanese restaurant in Richmond, British Columbia (Canada). Towards the end of the meal people in the next cubicle to ours started singing happy birthday, that delightful tune known and sung worldwide! I instinctively joined in. This is the nature of festive music!
Back to where I am staying, settling down for the evening, checking my email, I found a note with a link to this unforgettable tune: Happy Birthday. Here it is rendered by Nicole Pesce imagining how the great composers would render it! Enjoy.
And remember, it does not matter how well known a tune is (substitute “tune” for anything else in your life) you can always make it your own by giving it your own twist!
COOPERATION WITH THE INEVITABLE
The modern-day spiritual teacher and Jesuit priest Anthony de Mello
once said: “Enlightenment is absolute cooperation with the inevitable.”
I read this as an invitation to be fully open to life as it is.
- What if we were to surrender to the present currents of life?
- What if we choose to slow down on a daily basis to align ourselves to the fresh rhythms that every morning gifts us with?
- What if we moved with the flow of what is?
- What would that mean for you in your life, right now?
FAVOURITE PART OF MASS
The innocence of childhood is often a goldmine for comedy and some serious reflection! Here’s one child’s response to "Draw your favourite part of mass.”
And for us adults, what if the most important part of mass is indeed the very last word “GO” …
- Go and be what you have received
- Go and proclaim good news everywhere and to everyone
- Go and be bread blessed and broken for a hungry world
- Go and be wine overflowing, harbingers of joy
- Go and be a “real presence” of mercy, compassion and forgiveness
BROKEN YET CALLED BY LOVE TO BE LOVE
Still, God, you are our Father.
We’re the clay and you’re our potter:
We are all the work of your hand. | Isaiah 64:8
We are - each and every single one of us - earthen vessels beholding a precious treasure (2 Corinthians 4:7). We are God’s work of art (Ephesians 2:10)
Imagine you are a unique masterpiece, the work of a master potter. Have you ever wondered why this potter is a “master” potter?
What if s/he is a master potter because of the agility to work with flaws and cracks? What if it is because s/he can make new what seems to be old, make fresh what seems to be stale? What if it is because this artist is amazingly great at using mistakes in life’s favour!
This is the God I believe in: the God who revels and marvels at broken pieces, rejected by others. I believe in the God who sees in each piece a taste of what the whole and the holy can be. The God who not once but every single moment breathes life’s breath into the most ordinary chaos - as discomforting as that may feel - transforming it into a new creation, a new beginning: uniquely precious and perhaps even more beautiful than ever before.
between and betwist
the imperfect and the perfect
dwells immaculate imperfection
a space pregnant with potential
where the bruised and broken
radiate hidden blessings
where those crushed by dark sorrow
are breathless with bliss
where those still longing to belong
breathe wholeness and integrity
where even the fearful hoarders who cling and grasp
know the gentle art of letting go
a space pregnant with potential
that can only be sensed standing on the horizon
preferably and yes, foolishly upside-down
where the below and the above kiss
where earth and heaven embrace
where humanity and divinity intercourse
like an earthen piece of clay, soft and moist
fashioned into art and utensil by the hands of the artist
now shattered and broken,
in a moment of clumsy inattention
not thrown away, but pieces picked up
re-collected, refashioned and re-memebred
indulging in kintsugi* mending cracks with gold
imperfections not hidden nor ignored,
brokenness honoured, engoldened
* Kintsugi: The Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with a lacquer resin sprinkled with powdered gold.
Poem | Philip Chircop
Image | Gerda Tschörda
I learnt a new word and I love the sound of it: kintsukuroi. It is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with seams of gold. Kintsugi repairs the brokenness in a way that makes the container even more beautiful than it was prior to being broken. Not a very common idea in western culture!
Instead of diminishing the bowl’s appeal and appreciation, the “break” offers the container a new sense of its vitality and resilience. The bowl has become more beautiful for having been broken. One can say that the true life of the bowl began the moment it was dropped!
Imagine you are that clay pot: celebrate your flaws and imperfections. Remember that you being you is what makes you uniquely beautiful.
And remember: “The world breaks everyone, then some become strong at the broken places.” Ernest Hemingway
An interesting essay on the art of kintsukuroi can be found in Flickwerk, The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics.
Photos source | Kintsugi Japan
A CHANTAR M’ER
This morning while exploring and researching some music I came across this piece of music here executed beautifully by Angels of Venice. It is held that A Chantar m’er was composed by Beatriz de Dia of Provence, sometime around 1175. It is also believed that this is the only canso by a female troubadour to survive intact. This version consists of the first four verses.
A chantar m’er de so qu’ien no volria,
Tant me rancur de lui cui sui amia,
Car l’ieu am mais que nuilla ren que sia,
Vas lui no*m val merces ni cortesia
Ni ma beltatz, ni mos pretz ni mos sens,
C’atressi*m sui enganad’e trahia
Com degr’esser s’ieu fos desavinens.
Of things I’d rather keep in silence I must sing
So bitter do I feel toward him
Whom I love more than anything,
With him my mercy and courtesy are in vain,
My beauty, virtue and intelligence.
For I am deceived and betrayed
As much as I should be, if I were ugly.
For more on this piece of music go here.