Reflections on journeys and the New Year

Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.― Matsuo Bashô 

Choices— Tess Gallagher
I go to the mountain side
of the house to cut saplings,
and clear a view to snow
on the mountain.
But when I look up,
saw in hand,
I see a nest clutched in
the uppermost branches.
I don’t cut that one.
I don’t cut the others either.
Suddenly, in every tree,
   an unseen nest
where a mountain   
would be.

On the New Year

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.— Neil Gaiman

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘It will be happier.’ — Alfred Lord Tennyson

And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been. — Rainer Maria Rilke

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. — Oprah Winfrey 

Seeking God

“Help us to find God,” the seeker begged the Elder. “No one can help you there,” the Elder answered. “But why not?” the seeker insisted. “For the same reason that no one can help a fish to find the ocean.” The answer is clear: There is no one who can help us find what we already have. — Sufi Story (recounted by Sr Joan Chittister with her commentary at the end)

Once upon a time, a seeker ran through the streets shouting over and over again, ‘We must put God into our lives. We must put God into our lives.’ “Ah, poor soul,” an Elder smiled wanly. “If only we realized the truth: God is always in our lives. The spiritual task is simply to recognize that.” — Sufi Story (recounted by Sr Joan Chittister)

The movement in our relationship to God is always from God to us. Always. We can’t, through our piety or goodness, move closer to God. God is always coming near to us.― Nadia Bolz-Weber

I searched for God … Finally, I looked into my own heart and there I saw Him; He was nowhere else. ― Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi

Blessing of the Magi (excerpt)
— Jan Richardson

… You thought arrival
was everything,
that your entire journey
ended with kneeling
in the place
you had spent all
to find.

When you laid down
your gift,
release came with such ease,
your treasure tumbling
from your hands
in awe and
benediction.

Now the knowledge
of your leaving
comes like a stone laid
over your heart,
the familiar path closed
and not even the solace
of a star
to guide your way.

You will set out in fear.
You will set out in dream….
We cannot show you
the route that will
take you home;
that way is yours
and will be found
in the walking.

But we tell you,
you will wonder
at how the light you thought
you had left behind
goes with you,
spilling from
your empty hands,
shimmering beneath
your homeward feet,
illuminating the road
with every step
you take.

Reflections on New Year’s Eve, ‘kairos’ and ‘chronos’ forms of time

What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?
— lyrics by Frank Loesser, performed by Ella Fitzgerald

Maybe it’s much too early in the game
Aah, but I thought I’d ask you just the same
What are you doing New Year’s, New Year’s Eve?Wonder whose arms will hold you good and tight
When it’s exactly twelve o’clock that night
Welcoming in the New Year, New Year’s EveMaybe I’m crazy to suppose
I’d ever be the one you chose
Out of a thousand invitations, You received

Aah, but in case I stand one little chance
Here comes the jackpot question in advance
What are you doing New Year’s, New Year’s Eve?


Of Time

It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one. ― George Harrison

Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.’ ― Lao Tzu

Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can. ― Dalai Lama XIV

Of Chronos

Chronology, the time which changes things, makes them grow older, wears them out, and manages to dispose of them, chronologically, forever. — Madeline L’Engle

The concept of time as a way to measure the duration of events is not only deeply intuitive, it also plays an important role in our mathematical descriptions of physical systems. phys.org

Chronos is clocks, deadlines, watches, calendars, agendas, planners, schedules, beepers … Chronos keeps track … Chronos is the world’s time … Chronos requires speed so that it won’t be wasted. Kairos requires space so that it might be savored. We do in chronos. In kairos we’re allowed to be … It takes only a moment to cross over from chronos into kairos, but it does take a moment.  ― Sarah Ban Breathnach

Of Kairos

Kairos is transcendence, infinity, reverence, joy, passion, love, the Sacred. Kairos is intimacy with the Real. Kairos is time at her best. … Kairos is Spirit’s time. We exist in chronos. We long for kairos. That’s our duality.
… It takes only a moment to cross over from chronos into kairos, but it does take a moment. All that kairos asks is our willingness to stop running long enough to hear the music of the spheres. ― Sarah Ban Breathnach

Thank God there is kairos too: again the Greeks were wiser than we are. They had two words for time: chronos and kairos. … Kairos is not measurable. Kairos is ontological … Kairos can sometimes enter, penetrate, break through chronos … The bush, the burning bush, is in kairos, not any burning bush, but the particular burning bush before which Moses removed his shoes; the bush I pass by on my way to the brook. In kairos that part of us which is not consumed in the burning is wholly awake. The artist at work is in kairos. The child at play, totally thrown outside himself in the game, be it building a sandcastle or making a daisy chain, is in kairos. In kairos, we become what we are called to be as human beings, cocreators with God, touching on the wonder of creation. — Madeline L’Engle, Walking on Water

There are moments, as I myself have emphasized on different occasions, in which “kairos,” the right time, is united with “logos,” the “eternal truth,” and in which the fate of philosophy is decided for a special period. — Paul Tillich


Oh sky, without me,
do not change,
Oh moon, without me,
do not shine;
Oh earth, without me,
do not grow,
Oh time, without me,
do not go …
― Jalaluddin Mevlana Rumi (excerpt from poem)

Seasons of Love
(lyrics by Jonathan Larson, from Rent)

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.
Five hundred twenty five thousand moments so dear.
five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.
How do you measure,
Measure a year?

In daylights?
In sunsets?
In midnights?
In cups of coffee?
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife?

In five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.
How do you measure a year in a life?

How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love…
Seasons of love…
Seasons of love…

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.
Five hundred twenty five thousand journeys to plan.
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.
How do you measure a life of a woman or a man?

In truths that she learned,
or in times that he cried?
In bridges he burned,
or the way that she died?

It’s time now to sing out,
though the story never ends.
Let’s celebrate remember a year in a life
of friends

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