Time-traveling care packages

Lately life (or, rather, my brain) has been doing that thing that it does, where it feels like joys are more fleeting than they used to be, and dark moments are deeper than I remember them having been in the past. I don’t think this feeling is rooted in reality, except that of course a feeling is a reality to itself, and so it doesn’t really matter if it’s objectively “true” or not.

I’ve accidentally fallen into a small practice in recent years that comes in handy at times like this. The practice involes something I’ve started calling “intentionally poor tab maintenance.” On my phone’s browser, I’ve started leaving tabs to interesting or funny or beautiful things – if it made me laugh, or made me cry, or rocked me back on my heels for a minute, I leave it there until I need that feeling again. When I do need it, I flip through those open tabs till I find the one that has something for me and read/watch/listen to what’s there again. It’s a weird little thing that makes me feel like I’ve received a small care package from a thoughtful past version of myself.

Today’s care package is one of my favorites, and turns out to be something that I really needed to hear. In case you do, as well, here it is:

Let This Darkness Be A Bell Tower

Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

Rainer Maria Rilke, from Sonnets to Orpheus
Translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows

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3 thoughts on “Time-traveling care packages

  1. Sue Frey June 12, 2019

    OK…I know I’m your Mother…but how beautiful…and what a gift you have given yourself!
    Reminded me of a week end retreat a few years ago facilitated by your Aunt Trish….darkness and light…do not fear the darkness…embrace it to see what you can learn..breathe it in…relax with it……..often it is exactly where we need to be to grow.
    Thanks Jason

  2. Paulita June 13, 2019



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