… A walk, buttered toast, a child’s soccer game. You’re afforded the opportunity to stop doing and can instead just be here. Wow. Yet you don’t have to be near death or have the depth of Thomas Merton to love and seek it. It’s not navel gazing. Contemplation is the opposite. It’s being a human being, implicit in the job description, what my very old friends have loved most at the end. They can’t look anymore to power, stature, schedules, or fame to fill them up, and they sure as hell don’t feel like entertaining you. All those things turn out not to have been real and eternal. Love did and is, that’s all.
The reason to draw close to death when we’re younger is to practice finding and living in the soul. This grows our muscles for living. In the absence of the illusion of power and majesty, we see that the soul was right here all along, everywhere, and consequently we can once again feel charmed by the world.
Can you even imagine living this way, charmed by the world, in the light of gratitude, for what is real, for the truth of who we always have been and will continue to be, no matter how much ground we lose?Anne Lamott, from Almost Everything — Notes on Hope P. 119
People are truth-seeking missiles, but not many of us were encouraged to challenge our convictions and identities, except by writers and certain teachers, so we extracted meaning by selecting certain variables that agreed with our parents’ worldview. Yet the more variables we decide to include, the greater breadth of writing, the bigger bandwidth of truth, the more our understanding aligns with what truth is; paradoxically, the more expansively we can see, the more simple truth seems.Anne Lamott, from Almost Everything — Notes on Hope P. 100
All truth is paradox. Everything true in the world has innate contradictions…
… and this turns out to be a reason for hope.
If you arrive at a place in life that is miserable, it will change, and something else about it will also be true. So paradox is an invitation to go deeper into life, to see a bigger screen, instead of the nice, safe lower left-quadrant where you see work, home, and the country. Try a wider reality, through curiosity,awareness, and breath. Try actually being here. What a concept.Anne Lamott, from “Almost Everything – Notes on Hope” P. 19