Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Irrational, Passionate, Beautiful & Human

As a child I collected rocks. Limestone, sandstone, mica, quartz - they all went in my box. All these years later I hardly remembered the difference between an igneous and a metamorphic rock. What I did remember was the single-mindedness with which I had picked through the woods behind my house, and the pure joy of finding something valuable enough to hold on to. It seemed reasonable to call this passion, and to think of myself - and everyone else - as a collection of passions. What this suggest is that it is not simply our ability to think, to be rational, that distinguishes humans from other species, but our ability to be irrational - to put stones in our pockets because we think they are beautiful.

Sue Halpern Four Wings and a Prayer: Caught in the Mystery of the Monarch Butterfly

Monday, July 16, 2007


Synchronicities are minor miracles, little mysteries that point to a bigger one, perhaps a central one, of which we are a part. One of the prominent images in twentieth century literature is that of the wasteland, which speaks of the absence of mystery. "The wind crosses the brown land, unheard and the nymphs are departed" wrote T.S. Eliot in his poem "The Waste Land".

The primary reality of synchronicities is emotional, not intellectual. The reason they're there is to make us feel something...the feeling that our lives are rich and worth our reflection.

Maybe the most important thing synchronicities bring us is astonishment. Synchronicities are like the glimpse of a wild animal seldom seen. Far removed from the mundaneness that seems to characterize such a vast portion of daily life, they help reconnect us to our awe.

Sychronicities remind us that the world is shot through with mystery and extravagant gesture.

From Gregg Levoy's book Callings