The only way to start this Monday

(Source: Spotify)

Jessie Ware slaying it per usual. 

When you are washing the dishes, washing the dishes must be the most important thing in your life. Just as when you are drinking tea, drinking tea must be the most important thing in your life. Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the whole world revolves—slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment. Only this actual moment is life.

— Thich Nhat Hanh

(Source: psych-facts, via awelltraveledwoman)

It takes a phenomenal amount of courage to be a woman today. For around this world, your world, my world, there are conflicts, brutalities, humiliations, terrors, murders. You can take any Rand McNally map and close your eyes and just point, and you will find there are injustices, but in your country, particularly in your country, young women, you have, as the old folks say, your work cut out for you. For fascism is on the rise, and be assured of it, sexism, racism, ageism, every vulgarity against the human spirit is on the rise. And this is what you have inherited.

However, on the other hand, what you have first is your courage. You may lean against it, it will hold you up, you have that. And the joy of achievement, the ecstasy of achievement. It enlightens and lightens at the same time. It is a marvelous thing. Today, your joy begins, today your work begins. You are phenomenal. I believe that women are phenomenal. I know us to be.

There is a poem called “Phenomenal Woman.” I wrote the poem for black women and white women and Asian and Hispanic women, Native American women. I wrote it for fat women, women who may have posed for the before pictures in Weight Watchers. I wrote it for anorexics. I wrote it for all of us, for women in kibbutzim, and burgher women, women on the pages and front covers of Vogue and Essence, and Ebony magazine. For we are phenomenal.

Maya Angelou, 1982 Wellesley College Commencement Address

(via wellesleymag)

Seamus Heaney’s last words: ”Don’t be afraid” (Noli timere), painted by Dublin artist Maser

Seamus Heaney’s last words: ”Don’t be afraid” (Noli timere), painted by Dublin artist Maser

(Source: honeychurch, via junikornstori)

Blind spots

I learned how to drive from a remarkable man in rural Virginia.

He had a red Hyundai with two sets of brakes, one on the driver’s side and one on the passenger side. He was a local legend because rumor was that within six months of passing his course you would have an accident. I think that had more to do with being 16 than his instruction but I did break someone’s taillight three months after he passed me. 

I took an immediate liking to him.

He had a light but apparent Southern accent, a penchant for yodeling along to the Dixie Chicks, Rhinophyma (which meant much of his face was covered with raised bumps upon raised bumps), and a love of a story well told, especially related to the Civil War.

He liked me because I asked him questions while nervously navigating the paved country roads of Fauquier County. Perhaps I thought my inquisitiveness would muffle the pain of experiencing my driving. 

I bring him up because to this day I still hear his voice repeating, ‘check your blind spots’ when I’m completing a lane change.

I don’t just check my blind spots when I drive though. I check them when I walk the crowded streets of New York, when I’m on a bike, and in some metaphorical sense, I check them in my life. 

The issue is that in cars, on foot, or on a bike, I know where my blind spots are; they are well-defined, if moving, patches. I can visualize them with dotted lines and check and re-check them. In life though, blind spots are deep, dark voids. They are places where knowledge and awareness evaporate leaving me with a feeling of helplessness, surprise, and shock. I find myself saying, ‘I should have seen that coming’ after encountering one.  

As we all tumble uphill on the ever-growing mountain known as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, seeking but never quite reaching self-actualization, we begin to recognize our own weaknesses and shortcomings but not without regularly encountering blind spots suddenly, dramatically, and completely unprepared. 

We might ask ourselves, what tools do we have? What can we count on? You can count on yourself. Believe me, your self is your best ally. You know who you are, even when sometimes it becomes a little blurry and you make mistakes or seem to be veering off, just go deeper. You know who you are. You know the right thing to do. And when you make a mistake, it’s alright — just as the song goes, pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and start all over again.

— Patti Smith via Brainpicker

  • INTERVIEWER: Do the journalist and the novelist have different responsibilities in balancing truth versus the imagination?
  • GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ: In journalism just one fact that is false prejudices the entire work. In contrast, in fiction one single fact that is true gives legitimacy to the entire work. That’s the only difference, and it lies in the commitment of the writer. A novelist can do anything he wants so long as he makes people believe in it.
  • From the Paris Review

Rodney Mullen, unscripted and so full of life.