Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday Morning with Vincent, Mary, and Lao Tzu



Waking early and not wanting to do anything but relax into the written word, I decided to open a book of Mary Oliver's poems (at random, of course), and see what she had to say. Lately, I've been appreciating images with small bursts of color, or words that immediately bring a certain color to mind, particularly in the form of a berry:


"This Morning I Watched the Deer"

This morning I watched the deer
   with beautiful lips touching the tips
of the cranberries, setting their hooves down
   in the dampness carelessly, isn’t it after all
the carpet of their house, their home, whose roof
   is the sky?

Why, then, was I suddenly miserable?

Well, this is nothing much.
This is just the heaviness of the body watching the swallows
   gliding just under that roof.

This is the wish that the deer would not lift their heads
   and leap away, leaving me there alone.
This is the wish to touch their faces, their brown wrists-
   to sing some sparkling poem into
the folds of their ears,

then walk with them,
over the hills
and over the hills

and into the impossible trees.

~ Mary Oliver


After sitting with this for several minutes, I turned to Lao Tzu for illumination on a question I had posed to myself as I lay in bed this morning. The answer came in the form of a poem I opened to, first the book and then my heart:


Thinking and talking about the Integral Way are not
   the same as practicing it.
Who ever became a good rider by talking about
   horses?
If you wish to embody the Tao, stop chattering and
   start practicing.
Relax your body and quiet your senses.
Return your mind to its original clarity.
Forget about being separated from others and from the
   Divine source.

As you return to Oneness, do not think of it or be
   in awe of it. This is just another way of separating
   from it.
Simply merge into truth, and allow it to surround you.

~ Lao Tzu









Both images are by Vincent van Gogh

24 comments:

  1. A lovely series of thoughts and images. It leaves a person wanting to be very quiet...yet I want to say thank you.

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    1. Hi Nancy, I hope your winter is going well, though it sounds like the flu found you... hope you're feeling better today...

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  2. Beautiful. Both poems and both pictures. Thank you, and I continue to feel blessed to have you in my life.

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    1. I have fun discovering the elements that speak to where I am. Thank you so much, DJan.

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  3. You're keeping good company, Teresa. As Lao-tzu says and all artists know, whether they be Van Gogh or Mary Oliver, everything comes down to practice. It's what you do that counts, not what you think or believe.

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    1. They are quite the trio... :) Yes, it's all in the doing...

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  4. The Van Goghs are beautiful, and Lao Tzu, as always, is wise. Thinking about and talking about surely are not practice, and if I were reminded of that every day, it would not be too often.

    A lovely post, one to relax into with gratitude.

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    1. So nice to see you. I've been remiss in leaving comments on fine blogs such as yours. You're such a good writer.

      I need a daily reminder myself, every morning learning the same lesson or a different aspect of it...

      Thank you.

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  5. This "oneness" has always spoken to me. I have sought it for guidance. I have chased it into the clouds. I have looked underneath rocks and behind the leaves of forest plants. Somehow it escapes me. I can feel it, I can even taste it. I just can't get it to ooze into my body and mind.

    Wonderful words throughout this post Teresa. Thank you.

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    1. What a beautiful comment, Bill. I seek it continually, with occasional moments of divine consciousness and other times when it feels distant... and still I seek it, knowing it's where understanding lies...

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  6. Opening poetry books at random seeking messages is an attractive way to approach life. I will give it a try.

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    1. It never fails to deliver... I hope you do.

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  7. I like Your Style Evangeline.Comparing the two in an I~Ching fashion ?
    Yes.It's the Truth.It is a human weakness to try & possess the beauty we see.It's a fine line between a embracing & smoothering........

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    1. Yes! I knew you would see it!

      A fine line, indeed....

      Thank you, Tony.

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  8. Mary Oliver and Lao Tzu are two of my favorites.
    I had not read this poem by Mary yet.

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    1. Hi Cat, I hope you had a lovely day yesterday... wishing you a good weekend.

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  9. Vincent has a supportive quality to the guest writers you offer up to us today -- wonderful -- barbara

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    1. "Guest writers," is such a nice way to state this. Thank you for that, Barbara. Yes, Vincent's paintings seemed just right.

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  10. It is hard to find that balance between the two forces but most often walking the woods with my faithful GSD works for me. And listening to Don McLean sing Vincent reminds me of my eldest son....

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    1. Every day, when I walk in the meadow with my Buddy, I feel refreshed, as though all is right with the world again. It makes all the difference, doesn't it? Vincent remains one of my favorite songs. I love Don McLean's voice and if this is the son you lost, it must feel beyond poignant....I hope you have a very fine weekend.

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  11. Both of these very good poems, but the second one speaks to me more at present.

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    1. HI Jenny, Throughout the week, I have returned to it myself as a reminder...

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  12. Dear Teresa, thank you for so many aspects of this posting--the art work by Van Gogh, one of my favorite artists; the poem by Mary Oliver, which is so evocative of the deep down desire we both have for Oneness; and finally, the writing of Lao Tzu, which captures what often eludes me because I'm trying too hard. "Go with the flow," a friend often advises me. Let us meet in the river. Peace.

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    1. Yes, Dee, our desire for Oneness, the thread between us and all and what floats between us on this river... Your thoughts always inspire me.

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