Friday, February 21, 2014

What you tell the devil


There is great ugliness in the world. Without exception its source is human.

Not that nature is kind. Nature is indifferent. Nature just is. Good luck being thrown out into nature.

But humans have what nothing else does. Choice. That should be a longer word. Long enough to encompass the chaos, suffering, pain that result from poor choices, easy choices, thoughtless choices, deliberate choices.

There is beauty, of course. Great, grand beauty - the mountains, the woods,  the horizons, the ocean meeting the beach. The things so big they clean you. And there are the small beauties of the minutiae of our lives. The tulips in the vase. The way the little girl laughs. The lady pointing out the rainbow on Lenox Avenue. The tall man in the subway who stops panhandling for a few seconds and addresses you as, 'Hey Red, how you doin'? You be blessed.' The one woman to the other woman with gold lashes in the laundromat: 'Be encouraged. Be encouraged! And fight the good fight. Fight.' So that, folding my husband's T-shirts, I arrange my hair so they can't see I'm crying.  And then the first woman introduces herself to Gold Eyelashes and says, 'My name is Jen.'

The small beauties sustain you.

But sometimes the cloud swallows them whole, too. You know, from experience (the young do not know this, nor have the experience, and I am sure this is why more young people kill themselves) that if you sit still long enough, and hold on, that it will lift again.

And then sometimes the devil turns round and asks over his shoulder, But what is the point? So what? There is just more of the same, down this road.

And it's true.

And that is the devil you must choose to resist, and that is when you have to say, Fuck you, devil, there will be flowers on that road, too. And I will bend down, and I will smell those flowers.

Because what is the alternative?

42 comments:

  1. Sorry to see you are sad, I hope your family is okay?

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  2. Eeh. I have been feeling similar. It's a hard slog. We get weary and our pace slows. And ole devil catches up..You are right about the little things of beauty and joy, each is a tiny stair to get us back to a better place. Jen is right. Be encouraged. Fight. Spring and glorious bloom are around the corner xx Amy Lee

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  3. It sounds like you are processing some bad news... Hang in there Marie. In the end it is about the small beauties that just are. No guarantees.

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  4. Marie, you point out the rainbows to us. And you remind us that if you sit still long enough, the clouds will lift again. Hold on tight, and know that there's lots of good thoughts because of, and for, you.

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  5. Only one more month until Spring.

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  6. This winter has been horrendous, and February is always the worst. Sending you some warm desert light.

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  7. I too am sorry that you are feeling so down - it is tough, I know. You're right of course, it will lift and the rotten devil will be sent on his way. We are, for the most part, stronger than he is.

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  8. It is hard to hold onto beauty and hope when everything feels dark, but as a person who suffers from depression I also know that there is sun, rainbows and people who love me. So, I tell the devil to go back to hell and go on living. Its the hopeful thing to do.

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  9. As Marcus Aurelius so wisely pointed out, why worry, when we'll all be dead soon? The light you shed makes it all a bit easier to endure. xo

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  10. Hi Marie,

    You have unknowingly helped me in a time of great travail, when I lost my job, my house and my mother, all at the same time, while fighting off the forces of evil and ugliness. I would daily turn to your site last thing in the day, to dwell upon the focused beauties that you brought to us, as the grandiosity of a fig leaf, the glories of a multi-chambered pink rose, and the awe and wonder of a rolling green sea against a grey mountaintop. I imbued my mind with these beauties before sleep. Or mentally recited a recipe from your website. I am doing much better now, but all is not well. I came across a hauntingly beautiful sea chanty on you tube, today, that I am sending to you..."shoals of herring," which I am certain, are on the other side of the third wave, rolling your way. www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ov81aogaxg.




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  11. So beautifully written, Marie. Know that you, your blog, your writing, bring people to that place of beauty and peace. Sending you love and light.

    -Beth

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  12. Dear Marie. Thank you for sharing your sadness with us. Somehow it makes us feel less alone...I loved a while back when you shared that great W.H. Auden poem, "as I walked out one evening". Maybe it's time for it again.
    "Life remains a blessing,
    Although we cannot bless."
    Tonight perhaps we will make a circle around us all of attempted blessings.. T


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  13. It´s an evil time we live in, and evil I guess has been present almost forever on earth, and the most wicked thing is that there is truths preached about God but also lies. There is a true Christianity and a false one. There is a lie told to humans about God, by the devil and sadly the truth about God is beeing concealed by evil and even more sadly - there are humans who prefer the lie about God rather than the truth = God is good and decent.
    The hardest thing for people is to admit to their sinning and even to admit that sinning is bad and God is right about that. We hurt eachother when we sin but as Jesus teaches us, humans don´t sin by their own free will rather we are slaves to sinning. A slavery that excists because of evil spirits that are all over the place and no human is safe from them - only Holy Spirit will free us from them.
    Gods peace
    Ann-sofie

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  14. We have to have the rain to appreciate the sunshine - whatever it is - it will pass. Keep thinking positive thoughts.

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  15. The February blue's, the hungry month, the starkness of city brick and steel with nothing green to soften it. Take a weekend out and go walk among the tree's of a forest, they have the most healing and uplifting karma I know.

    Lisa, London

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  16. Oh Marie. Hugs for comfort and for bravery. Sometimes I don't even see the flowers along the road.

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  17. Across the cold Atlantic, a warm hug is coming your way. Hang in there, Red.

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  18. "What you tell the devil" sounds more severe than a case of the winter blahs but perhaps NOW is the time to plant some seeds. In fact I think I need to do this too. The anticipation and joy at seeing those specks of green emerge from the brown soil is truly life confirming.

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  19. Marie, This is just so, so beautiful. And right. Thinking of you.

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  20. Thank you for this Marie- Your passion and articulation are truly beautiful- The buddhists say,"go with the darkness", and indeed, it is sometimes necessary-

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  21. Though we've never met, i turn to you often in times of self doubt. Thank you always being true. Your honesty is the true light behind your blog.

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  22. Hi Marie, sorry you're feeling so blue. This time of year can do it to you. Maybe an outing farther north would help. In case you missed this article in the Travel section of the NYT here's the link.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/23/travel/36-hours-in-upper-manhattan.html?hpw&rref=travel&_r=0

    Hope the sunshine today and tomorrow helps. (It is sunny upstate anyway.) Also, if you reread what you wrote, the beauty of it shines through the pain. One gets consistently good writing when one visits your blog. What a gift!

    Nancy Mc

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  23. Marie... So moving and beautifully written. The devils are always near..sometimes even with the face of those we love..sometimes in disappointments so heavy we think we will falter under the burden. But you are so right...we have the choice. When my feet,thankfully, touch the floor each day, I can choose to feed my devils or leave them to languish. Sunshine and warm hugs to you...Susan

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  24. All I can say Marie - is "I hear ya, boy do I hear ya". The next time I bend down to smell the flowers, or bury my face in the belly of my own black cat or breath in the aroma of fallen leaves, moss & decay I'll think of you and this very beautiful post. Much love from me & the gang xoxo Susan

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  25. If you are running thru hell don't look back.

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  26. My friend, the lovely Judith Ross, forwarded me the link to this post as she knows that I have been going through a challenging time as of late. And I am so grateful. This is my favorite piece of writing that I have read on the internet in...maybe forever. Thank you so much and please know that there are many behind you, fighting the good fight as well.
    With all of my Best from Provence,
    Heather

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  27. 27 people took the time to say that you are part of the sunshine in our lives ... make that 28. Can i help? xoxo

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  28. Marie, thank you for your beautiful sentiments. Your words have led me to the light many times. Be well and keep smelling the flowers. Don't forget that you have many supporters who will help you if you reach out.

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  29. oh my.....please take care and maybe talk to someone. Your book brings me joy each time I open it....I hope it can do the same for you.

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  30. Thank you to each of you. It is perhaps disingenuous to write something like this with no explanation of the circumstances.But I think in the end I pressed Publish because we have all been in this place, or will find ourselves there, and must find a way out of it. Writing has always helped. I am lucky to have the Frenchman intact and available as a source of support and reason, as well as a handful of close friends. Thanks to the Internet some of you are those real-life friends, too...:-)

    I am afraid that God or god means little to me. But I believe that positive energy and integrity are perhaps the same thing, a source of great strength and good, and you have all helped bring some here. Thank you.

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  31. this is a really timely post for me marie, thank you for writing this. indeed, what is the alternative? we must endure. and we must be grateful that there's beauty and love that help sustain us. it is hard, though.

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  32. So beautifully written and ably expressed. This is a keeper.
    Thank you and take care of yourself.

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  33. Thank you for posting, Marie. Indeed, we have all been in that place (or will at some time). There is universal suffering; being human, that is a given. It may appear disingenuous to some of us, but we all must remember we are separate from you, and must allow you to have your distance if that is your choice. You are beautiful, inside and out!! Jan

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  34. Marie, thank you for writing this beautiful post. Thank you for reminding us all of our humanity and the choices we need to make to help ourselves and others along this road. Whatever trial and tribulations are casting long shadows and wreaking havoc I really do hope they pass through quickly. Be well.

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  35. Found you again via Lily. Ja. I hear you. Sheesh. February. Onder draai die duiwels rond. Londonside this weekend, the devil tickled us also. Dammit - the crocuses in the churchyard flowering their crocusey hearts out in the rare sunshine this morning almost make it better. Almost. Thanks for posting.

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  36. As so many have already said, you frequently point out the beauty in things and bring them into my life as a result. You make the world more beautiful and for that I am very, very grateful. Thank you, sincerely, for sharing. Hugs.

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  37. Rumi's poem The Guest House may 'speak to your condition' as the Quakers so beautifully put it.

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  38. Sending love from another one who feels the sadness.

    Keli'i

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  39. Those black dogs nip at my heels too, dammit. You are not alone. :) Here's something: I was walking down Bay Street in Toronto and there in the window of the venerated Ben McNally's Bookstore was 66 Square Feet! I cheered.

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  40. 'You be blessed,' Marie. And we be blessed to have you.

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