ON SOLITUDE AND LIFE

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This is the last in a series of Bert Håge Häverö (Swedish artist 1932-2014) paintings which I will feature during my holiday break this Easter. These delightful photographs were taken from our company calendar which we gave out to customers many years ago. Never having the heart to throw our copy away I came across this recently and wanted to share the beauty he saw of the Swedish landscape and people. Accompanying the paintings will be various quotations /sayings/poems that have inspired me or touched my spirit.  Comments have been turned off for this post.

 

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‘When I am feeling dreary, annoyed, and generally unimpressed by life, I imagine what it would be like to come back to this world for just a day after having been dead. I imagine how sentimental I would feel about the very things I once found stupid, hateful, or mundane. Oh, there’s a light switch! I haven’t seen a light switch in so long! I didn’t realize how much I missed light switches! Oh! Oh! And look — the stairs up to our front porch are still completely cracked! Hello cracks! Let me get a good look at you. And there’s my neighbor, standing there, fantastically alive, just the same, still punctuating her sentences with you know what I’m saying? Why did that bother me? It’s so… endearing.’

Amy Krouse Rosenthal (1965-2017)

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‘Reading it that evening was like having someone whisper to me, in elongated Germanic sentences, all the youthful affirmations I had been yearning to hear. Loneliness is just space expanding around you. Trust uncertainty. Sadness is life holding you in its hands and changing you. Make solitude your home.’

Rachel Corbett on Rainer Maria Rilke

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THE FIRST POET / THE MUSE WILL COME

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This is the first of three posts on Bert Håge Häverö (Swedish artist 1932-2014) paintings which I will feature during my holiday break this Easter. These delightful photographs were taken from our company calendar which we gave out to customers many years ago. Never having the heart to throw our copy away I came across this recently and wanted to share the beauty he saw of the Swedish landscape and people. Accompanying the paintings will be various quotations /sayings/poems that have inspired me or touched my spirit. Comments have been turned off for this post.

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‘The first poet must have suffered much when the cave-dwellers laughed at his mad words. He would have given his bow and arrows and lion skin, everything he possessed, just to have his fellow-men know the delight and the passion which the sunset had created in his soul. And yet, is it not this mystic pain — the pain of not being known — that gives birth to art and artists’  Kahlil Gibran

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‘I start all my books on January eighth. Can you imagine January seventh? It’s hell. Every year on January seventh, I prepare my physical space. I clean up everything from my other books. I just leave my dictionaries, and my first editions, and the research materials for the new one. And then on January eighth I walk seventeen steps from the kitchen to the little pool house that is my office. It’s like a journey to another world. It’s winter, it’s raining usually. I go with my umbrella and the dog following me. From those seventeen steps on, I am in another world and I am another person. I go there scared. And excited. And disappointed — because I have a sort of idea that isn’t really an idea. The first two, three, four weeks are wasted. I just show up in front of the computer. Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too. If she doesn’t show up invited, eventually she just shows up.’   Isabel Allende

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Beyond Fear

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Fearless, stoic he stands above me on the hill. As majestic in his stillness as in a walk or trot. The black horse is one of a pair I regularly encounter on my walk whilst in Sweden. At times they deign to come near the fence, but never too close; other times they’ll stand afar, then glance up. Often I stop to observe their grand stance, their all-knowing demeanour, their fearlessness. 

Fear seems to be all pervasive in our society in recent times, not only on a global political level but on on a personal, emotional one too. Fear rules so much in our lives.

Seeing the silhouette of the horse against the ethereal sky I feel its courage emanate from its very being. Fearless. A saying I used to comfort my son (and myself) comes to mind and with so few words A. A. Milne’s encapsulates the motto on how to live life and how to garner belief in ourselves. 

Meanwhile I also recall a longer speech by the esteemed former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela on his inauguration in 1994. His wonderful heart-felt speech is a declaration to ourselves, to never let fear and feeling of worthlessness rule our lives. I never fail to be drawn in by the initially alarming, unexpected first two lines: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate./ Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

Both these quotes have seen me through some tough times, supported me, given me courage, even solace. I hope you enjoy them and find them comforting, inspiring and that their spirit will equally enhance your sense of fortitude. 

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel  insecure around you.
We were all meant to shine like children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It’s not just in some of us. It’s in everyone. 
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, 
our presence automatically liberates others.

By Nelson Mandela     1994