{this moment}

{this moment} – A Friday ritual, inspired by SouleMama. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Pale Blue Dot.

That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

~ Carl Sagan

Absence.

If anyone is reading this blog, I apologize for my mysterious absence over the last couple of months.  I found out at the end of November that I was pregnant with my second child, and between fatigue and morning-noon-and-night sickness, I just haven’t had the inspiration to blog.  I will return to this space when I am feeling better – hopefully soon!

“Fetus” by George Chamaa

Compassion

I have spent a great deal of time lately thinking about suffering, more specifically about the suffering of others and the endless suffering of animals. Religion always offered a cut and dry answer, a reason, for why there is so much suffering in the world. Now I am having doubts, and without God’s “master plan”, there seems to be no explanation for the pain and misery of countless living things. Not that the religious answer brought any real comfort. My therapist is a wonderful woman, and we have worked a lot with this idea. Today, she gave me an excerpt from Seeking the Heart of Wisdom, by Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield, who write,

We may have compassion for the victims of social or political injustice, but can we feel compassion for those who perpetrate that injustice? Our tendency might be to feel a righteous anger toward such people, forgetting that their actions are coming out of an ignorance…Can our compassion recognize that ignorance and embrace them as well?

This is not something that comes naturally to me, but I think it is very important work. To have compassion for the perpetrator is difficult, but essential if one wishes to acknowledge the reality of suffering without becoming overwhelmed by it.

The excerpt is followed by a beautiful poem, by Thich Nhat Hanh, called “Please Call Me by My True Names”:

Do not say that I’ll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive.
Look deeply; I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope,
the rhythm of my heart is the birth and death
of all that are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing on
the surface of the river,
and I am the bird which, when spring comes,
arrives in time to eat the mayfly.

I am a frog swimming happily in the clear
water of a pond,
and I am the grass-snake, who, approaching
in silence, feeds itself on the frog.
I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons
to Uganda.

I am the twelve year old girl, refugee on a
small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean
after being raped by a sea pirate,
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet
capable of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the Politburo with plenty
of power in my hands,
And I am the man who has to pay his debt of
blood to my people dying slowly in a
forced labor camp.

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes
flowers bloom in all walks of life.
My pain is like a river of tears, so full
it fills all four oceans.
Please call me by my true names,
So I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,
So I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names
So I can wake up and so the door of my heart
can be left open,
The door of compassion.

The Golden Ratio

Back in middle school art class, we learned about something called the “golden ratio.” It is basically a mathematical concept where two given numbers follow this basic rule: the ratio of the sum of the numbers to the larger of the two numbers is the same as the ratio of the larger number to the smaller number. The ratio is typically represented by the Greek letter phi (φ) and is equal to approximately 1.618.

It gets really interesting when Fibonacci is involved. In the Fibonacci sequence, the first two numbers are 0 and 1, with each subsequent number being the sum of the previous two. For example, the first ten numbers in the sequence are 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34. Using this series of numbers, and creating arcs in each rectangle, one can create an approximate logarithmic spiral (though not a true logarithmic spiral, which involves a lot of mathematics that I don’t understand, though I really wish I did!).

So this:

Gives you this:

Which in turn can be found throughout the universe…

…even in your ear! Amazing!