We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
A poem written by Maya Angelou
This to me is a rare time. It feels like the, i know the Dutch version of this, de schellen vielen me van de ogen. Literally this means scales fall from the eyes, but i’m not sure this is commonly used in English. This saying is originally used in the bible, Acts 9:18:
Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he could see again. Hmm, i guess i was wrong about the English translation.
But i digress. I do feel an opening in myself and a rush of thoughts coming through, looking at myself, experiencing what happens and thinking about it. Trying to find a place outside myself to deal with everything that happens.
I’m not saying this book will mean the same thing to you. I do think each and everyone of us has its own path to follow. But to me right now this book is here just at the right time. I even tried to meditate at the end of today. Not terribly successful, but i do feel i should do this more often.
Now i do know i’m not peacefully quiet right now. No, i feel myself thinking and getting to conclusions which were out of reach for me only a short time ago. I also know i should calm down. Really.
So i did throw my coins just yet. And yes, of course, it is a completely different sign. 36. Ming I / Darkening of the light.
Ellen, calm down. Please.
My apologies for this hectic post.
I am not looking for some irrational mystical guidance. Instead, I am looking for a release from the prison of competing certainties, a way of letting loose the simmering doubts and confusions that accompany all thought, so that I can take advantage of their creative richness. In other words, I use the I Ching not as a certainty machine, but as an uncertainty machine. Dissolving false certainties, it integrates the fact of unknowing into the fabric of my thinking, opening me up to hitherto unimagined possibilities, scattering the monotony of my either-or dilemmas into a myriad of forking paths.
I’m not sure when i bought the I Ching. I do know i still lived at my parents’ home. So it was before the end of 1985. The memory is vague, i’m not sure at all about it, but it could be my sister had the book. And i was mystified by it. So yes, i got me a copy.
Writing in a diary was a big part of my life over the next years. And i usually threw coins to read a hexagram of the I Ching afterwards. I don’t think i had any specific question. It was more asking for a comment on what i felt, what i had written just before.
Some throws i do remember. The one after i had bought Songs To Remember, only a few days after i made the drawings i gave away last year. That one still stands out for me. Not that i understand it. No. But it felt, well, true. Real. Number 13 ䷌ Fellowship with Men with a changing line on number 5. Confucius said the following words, connected with this line:
Life leads the thoughtful man on a path of many windings.
Now the course is checked, now it runs straight again.
Here winged thoughts may pour freely forth in words,
There the heavy burden of knowledge must be shut away in silence.
But when two people are at one in the inmost hearts,
They shatter even the strength of iron or of bronze.
And when two people understand each other in their inmost hearts,
Their words are sweet and strong, like the fragrance of orchids.
Another sign which i felt was true to me, was number 56 The Wanderer ䷷. Even though in my life i have been in one place, i don’t feel truly at home. I have found a place where i can live quietly, by myself. But that is it. It still feels like a place of transition.
This week i did read the I Ching. I focused on the preface written by Prof. Dr. C.G. Jung, the second book The Material with background information about the hexagrams and the third book with the comments about the hexagrams. The images and concepts connected with the eight trigrams are all from the old world. Parts of the body, the family, animals and the world. The wind, the sun, the mountain, water, wood, thunder and lightning are part of this. In the I Ching wikipedia article it says:
In its current form the current compilation is dated to the early decades of the reign of King Xuan of Zhou, in the last quarter of the 9th century BC.
I do enjoy reading the book in hexagrams. Throwing the coins gives you one or two hexagrams to read and think about. Sometimes it gives you a lot of information, sometimes not. I’m pretty sure it depends on yourself how the message comes through. It has given me a growing knowledge of this old world.
Today i downloaded a book called The Philosophy of the I Ching written by Carol K. Anthony.
Fate, as an obstruction, is a door that can be unlocked, but only by the proper key – which is a correct attitude. Upon correcting our attitude we find that our situation improves; but if we then become careless and revert to the incorrect attitude, the door closes once more. Fate, as an obstruction, seems to match us move for move once we have come to this impasse; where we once seemed to be free to err, with no penalty attached, now we have to immediately pay for every mistake; it is as if we have our credit card taken away.
This does remind me of the past two years. I love working in the garden. But i did have some conflicts with other people working there. I remember feeling opposed, as i feel i’m such a nice and good person. This is not true. Of course it isn’t true. I have many sides specked with darkness. Selfishness, thinking of myself alone. It requires work to deal with these parts of myself.
I won’t be able to discuss the I Ching in its entirety in this post. Hell no. There are so many parts which i need to learn more about, and i’m not sure i will have the time to do so in my life. It is the outdoor or the indoor life once again. I don’t know what life will come my way. I don’t know if i have the courage to grab it once it passes by. If it passes by. I still have hope.
I did throw my coins today. With the general idea that writing this post would be an important issue.
above TUI THE JOYOUS, LAKE
below K’UN THE RECEPTIVE, EARTH
This hexagram is related in form and meaning to Pi, HOLDING TOGETHER (8). In the latter, water is over the earth; here a lake is over the earth. But since the lake is a place where water collects, the idea of gathering together is even more strongly expressed here than in the other hexagram. The same idea also arises from the fact that in the present case it is tow strong lines (the fourth and the fifth) that bring about the gather together, whereas in the former case one strong line (the fifth) stands in the midst of weak lines.
GATHERING TOGETHER. Success.
The king approaches his temple.
It furthers one to see the great man.
This brings success. Perseverance furthers.
To bring great offerings creates good fortune.
It furthers one to undertake something.
The gathering together of people in large communities is either a natural occurrence, as in the case of the family, or an artificial one, as in the case of the state. The family gathers about the father as its head. The perpetuation of
this gathering in groups is achieved through the sacrifice to the ancestors, at which the whole clan is gathered together. Through the collective piety of the living members of the family, the ancestors become so integrated in the spiritual life of the family that it cannot be dispersed or dissolved.
Where men are to be gathered together, religious forces are needed. But there must also be a human leader to serve as the center of the group. In order to be able to bring others together, this leader must first of all be collected within himself. Only collective moral force can unite the world. Such great times of unification will leave great achievements behind them. This is the significance of the great offerings that are made. In the secular sphere likewise there is no need of great deeds in the time of GATHERING TOGETHER.
Over the earth, the lake:
The image of GATHERING TOGETHER.
Thus the superior man renews his weapons
In order to meet the unforeseen.
If the water in the lake gathers until it rises above the earth, there is danger of a break-through. Precautions must be taken to prevent this. Similarly where men gather together in great numbers, strife is likely to arise; where possessions are collected, robbery is likely to occur. hus in the time of GATHERING TOGETHER we must arm promptly to ward off the unexpected. Human woes usually come as a result of unexpected events against which we are not forearmed. If we are prepared, they can be prevented.
Six at the top means:
Lamenting and sighing, floods of tears.
It may happen that an individual would like to ally himself with another, but his good intentions are misunderstood. Then he becomes sad and laments. But this is the right course. For it may cause the other person to come to his senses, so that the alliance that has been sought and so painfully missed is after all achieved.
above CH’IEN THE CREATIVE, HEAVEN
below K’UN THE RECEPTIVE, EARTH
This hexagram is the opposite of the preceding one. Heaven is above, drawing farther and farther away, while the earth below sinks farther into the depths. The creative powers are not in relation. It is a time of standstill and decline. This hexagram is linked with the seventh month (August-September), when the year has passed its zenith and autumnal decay is setting in.
STANDSTILL. Evil people do not further
The perseverance of the superior man.
The great departs; the small approaches.
Heaven and earth are out of communion and all things are benumbed. What is above has no relation to what is below, and on earth confusion and disorder prevail. The dark power is within, the light power is without. Weakness is within, harshness without. Within are the inferior, and without are the superior. The way of inferior people is in ascent; the way of superior people is one the decline. But the superior people do not allow themselves to be turned from their principles. If the possibility of exerting influence is closed to them, they nevertheless remain faithful to their principles and withdraw into seclusion.
Heaven and earth do not unite:
The image of STANDSTILL.
Thus the superior man falls back upon his inner worth
In order to escape the difficulties.
He does not permit himself to be honored with revenue.
When, owing to the influence of inferior men, mutual mistrust prevails in public life, fruitful activity is rendered impossible, because the fundaments are wrong. Therefore the superior man knows what he must do under such circumstances; he does not allow himself to be tempted by dazzling offers to take part in public activities. This would only expose him to danger, since he cannot assent to the meanness of the others. He therefore hides his worth and withdraws into seclusion.
I was first a bit caught off guard by the second sign, Standstill. In my understanding this sign is not a positive one; a time of standstill and decline. But, the final paragraph of The Philosophy of the I Ching says the following.
Our job is no less than to put the world in order. We can do this only by being responsive to the Divine Will. The ability of man to act as a conduit for the Divine Will makes him the third primal power, giving him a unique capacity and responsibility to “further.” As the top of Standstill (12) says, “left to itself,” everything changes toward “stagnation and disintegration. The time of disintegration… does not change back automatically to a condition of peace and prosperity; effort must be put forth to end it. This shows the creative attitude that man must take if the world is to be put in order.” This creative work falls to each person who sees that the job must be undertaken, and who cannot turn his back upon the task.
To me, this does say something about my current situation. For the past two and a half years i felt woken up, that sledgehammer feeling i talked about here at times. I have worked hard, these past two years. Actually, today, 9 February, the day i’m writing this post, it is exactly two years that this blog exists.
I have touched many areas. I have written about very personal things here. I have tried new things. And yes, i am surprised that not more people are coming here. I am. But, parts of me thought that living with this blog in the shade was giving me time to think my life through, to come to some sort of decision.
To say yes?
Escape to the Country is one of my favourite programs on the BBC channel. It shows 5 times a week, usually around three or four o’clock. Dutch time that is, in the UK it is on an hour earlier. I do admit people with a large budget, of more than £ 500.000 are my favourite. Larger gardens, larger houses, larger kitchens. I like that. My favourite presenter is Alistair Appleton. Yeah, i go for the pretty boy.
I sometimes dream away of my special house i would love to live in. An old industrial building? A large loft in New York? A house on the beach? All houses far away from my little apartment in the center of Rotterdam. Which i do love! It’s like, i hardly can imagine myself living anywhere else. I am living in this same house for the past 21 years, so yes, it is hard to really see myself living somewhere else. But dreaming does take me away sometimes.
To be honest, I don’t really see myself living in the countryside. Maybe when i’m older and live a more relaxed life. But i’d like to see myself living in cities, as i do now. Amongst the people.
Grand Designs is another program i enjoy watching. It is not on that much now, and mostly on repeats.
First of all, I do love the presenter Kevin McCloud. Very sympathetic, knowledgable. A good face, pleasant voice. Seems to get along with most of the people participating.
When i did some searches i found this all time favourite episode with Ben Law and his woodland house. I even remembered his face. Not the house though.
There is one other episode which i do remember, the one with an old industrial building, no longer used. Completely redone by the people who bought it. At the end they drove a car into it and used it as furniture. I did do a search, twice. I went through all the listing hoping to see the episode quickly, but i missed it. Most likely it is no described the way i remember it.
I do love both these shows. I don’t always watch it. But when i can, i enjoy it. A few shows i found on youtube. There are loads more on.
I don’t think much about alterior motives to make these shows. They could be good for houses retail. They could be good for showing the countryside. For showing landmarks. But i don’t think about that a lot. I prefer to sit on my couch with a cup of tea or some fruit and yoghurt. Dreaming away a bit.
A short selection. Feel free to either watch it on tv, or do a search yourself in youtube or vimeo. Or watch in live on the BBC or Channel 4.
Escape to the Country – Hampshire [16-68]
Escape to the Country – North Devon [16:59]
Escape to the Country – Dorset [15:36]
Ben Law’s Woodland House
Grand Designs | Season 16 Episode 4 | Worcestershire 2015
Popular Videos – Grand Designs
By separating the knower from the known, writing makes possible increasingly articulate introspectivity, opening the psyche as never before not only to the external objective world quite distinct from itself but also to the interior self against whom the objective world is set.
Walter J. Ong
Orality and Literacy
Music-Hall, a anthology of works from Paul van Ostaijen. I bought this book 3 June 1978.
Today, King’s Day here in the Netherlands, i was thinking about my post for tomorrow. I really loved bumping into Lucebert’s poem yesterday. So i was thinking of making a post about him. It’s just, i don’t have a history with Lucebert. Apart from the line alles van waarde is weerloos. So my mind jumped to one other person i know. This book i have for a very long time. His poem Polonaise is used in a book from Tonke Dragt, Torenhoog en mijlenbreed (High as a tower and miles wide).
Paul van Ostaijen is a Belgian poet and writer. He died young, when he was 32 years old. Polonaise and Marc groet ‘s morgens de dingen are the main poems i know. I’ve read more, but these two have stuck to me.
Polonaise Ik zag Cecilia komen op een zomernacht twee oren om te horen twee ogen om te zien twee handen om te grijpen en verre vingers tien Ik zag Cecilia komen op een zomernacht aan haar rechterhand is Hansje aan haar linkerhand is Grietje Hansje heeft een rozekransje Grietje een vergeet-mij-nietje de menseëter heeft ze niet gegeten ik heb ze niet vergeten ei ei ik en gij de ezel speelt schalmei voor Hansje en voor Grietje Hansje met zijn rozekransje Grietje met haar vergeet-mij-nietje zijn langs de sterren gegaan Venus is van koper de andere zijn goedkoper de andere zijn van blik en van safraan is Janneke-maan Twee oren om te oren twee ogen om te zien Twee handen in het lege en verre vingers tien
Polonaise – Gerard Kockelmans (1925-1965)
Another poem i really like.
Marc groet 's morgens de dingen Dag ventje met de fiets op de vaas met de bloem ploem ploem dag stoel naast de tafel dag brood op de tafel dag visserke-vis met de pijp en dag visserke-vis met de pet pet en pijp van het visserke-vis goeiendag Daa-ag vis dag lieve vis dag klein visselijn mijn
Marc groet ‘s morgens de dingen
The library used to be one of my favourite places to go. But it’s been years since i’ve been inside. To look for books. I don’t read that much anymore. And really, i do think i read most books i wanted to read and which are available in the library.
I loved poems from W.H. Auden. There was this thick book, it might have been Collected Poems. I got it like three four times, at least.
I do admit, this was how far my poetry went. Over the past year i did read the poetry page in the NRC on Thursday. But i never really dived into it.
Today, when i was going through my old present pages on lfs.nl, i came across this poem i published there on 31 December 1999, Lullaby.
Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.
Soul and body have no bounds:
To lovers as they lie upon
Her tolerant enchanted slope
In their ordinary swoon,
Grave the vision Venus sends
Of supernatural sympathy,
Universal love and hope;
While an abstract insight wakes
Among the glaciers and the rocks
The hermit’s sensual ecstasy.
On the stroke of midnight pass
Like vibrations of a bell,
And fashionable madmen raise
Their pedantic boring cry:
Every farthing of the cost,
All the dreaded cards foretell,
Shall be paid, but from this night
Not a whisper, not a thought,
Not a kiss nor look be lost.
Beauty, midnight, vision dies:
Let the winds of dawn that blow
Softly round your dreaming head
Such a day of sweetness show
Eye and knocking heart may bless,
Find the mortal world enough;
Noons of dryness see you fed
By the involuntary powers,
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love.
W. H. Auden (1907-1973)
I had to think about the category into which i would place this post. First i picked Beauty. Still good. But i decided against it and picked World. And then i thought stupid me! it should go in Books and TV!
Still in a bit of a in between world right now. An easy post, about stuff i read.
Yesterday i read this post What World Are We Building?.
It’s easy to love or hate technology, to blame it for social ills or to imagine that it will fix what people cannot. But technology is made by people. In a society. And it has a tendency to mirror and magnify the issues that affect everyday life. The good, bad, and ugly.
It does remind me of the early days when i was online. I started around October 1995. At my work we had bought a modem, which i took home with me over the weekend. I loved it. Looking around, reading stuff. I was intrigued by muds and muses. One of the first ones i entered was MicroMuse. The first person i talked to was a journalist living on the west coast of the US. A far cry of the biollions of people being online right now.
This afternoon i went into Donner, the biggest bookstore in Rotterdam. I went after a book from Frissen. I asked someone there working at an info box. Frissen. He was on television in the book program Boeken (Books). He walked up to it straightaway. Het geheim van de laatste staat. The secret of the last state. I don’t know if i agree with him, but i do think the book will give me lots to think about. I will take this book with me to London. A book to read in the bus on my way over there.