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This is Dani Smith

 

I am Dani Smith, sometimes known around the web as Eglentyne. I am a writer in Texas. I like my beer and my chocolate bitter and my pens pointy.

This blog is one of my hobbies. I also knit, sew, run, parent, cook, eat, read, and procrastinate. I have too many hobbies and don’t sleep enough. Around here I talk about whatever is on my mind, mostly reading and writing, but if you hang out long enough, some knitting is bound to show up.

Thank you for respecting my intellectual property and for promoting the free-flow of information and ideas. If you’re not respecting intellectual property, then you’re stealing. Don’t be a stealer. Steelers are ok sometimes (not all of them), but don’t be a thief.

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    « I prefer purple, on democracy and disagreement | Main | Semi-Dreaming of Snow »
    Thursday
    May022013

    10 Things: Loving, living, and letting go

    By popular demand, I bring you 10 Things inspired by this quote/meme, shared on Facebook this morning:

    “In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” —Buddha

    Apologies ahead of time for the rambling philosophization that gushed out. If you want to play along in the comments, skip over my bit and write your own 10 Things first, then come back and read mine. So, the first 10 Things that come to mind after reading that quote…

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    1. I’m slicing up the three pieces of the quote and considering the value of love in all its forms as the foundation for all of our choices and actions. Quantity is implied here, but not the quantity of people or things we love but the amount we love, the amount we give love or put love into the world.

    2. One aphorism leads to another. The more you give, the more you get.

    3. I was thinking of the different ways we can love, and the marbles that started rolling around in my head were the Greek forms. I thought of eros and communitas, but then I couldn’t help myself and looked them up (I like to get things right; I have a hard time letting go of accuracy). Agape, eros, philia, storge. We are capable of loving in many ways. The deep, true love we hold rare and precious; desire and aesthetic and physical love; the love of friends and family and community that requires virtue, equality and familiarity; and, of course, tolerance (also with many forms). 

    4. None of the three statements is explicit about their antitheses. Anger, hate, abhorrence, intolerance, contempt, etc. Is the first phrase — how much you loved — or the judgment implied in the opening, like a bucket that gets filled up by love and emptied by the detrimental emotions? Is it that simple/complex?

    5. Gentle living reminds me of parenting babies and toddlers and preschoolers. Gently when you pet the cat. Gently when you hug your brother. Gently when you touch Gramma’s face so you don’t poke her eyes out. Gently. I don’t say that word out loud to the Sonars very much anymore. They have pretty decent self control, which is what we monitored with the word ‘gentle’ in their wee years. But perhaps I should still use it. Gently with your words to your peers who are entering an age of sharp-tongued anxiety. Gently with your brothers who will likely be your longest friends and fiercest allies, even though they may always know how to push your buttons. Gently on the earth. Don’t waste the water or the paper or the electricity. Gently with your mama who is both proud to watch you grow and gain your independence and fearful of seeing you stumble along the way. 

    6. How gently you live can then be kindness or conservation or through word or action it can mean minimizing the damage that we inevitably do to the people and the world around us. So that if loving much is maximizing what we give, then living gently is minimizing the harm we cause. 

    7. How gracefully we let go of what is not meant for us. In my clumsy understanding of Buddhism, letting go gracefully seems like the ultimate goal. Not allowing material goods to weigh you down. Not allowing negative thoughts or experiences or people to weigh you down. To release the weight of everything. Though in pragmatic terms for the normal human who feels angry and jealous and slighted and loves things and people and feels sentimental and attached, then letting go gracefully is challenging and requires a strong hold on the first two concepts. Maximize what we give, minimize what we take or harm. 

    8. My hand is tired and far more minutes have slipped by than a traditional 10 Things exercise usually occupies. I suppose that is the nature of philosophical contemplation. It takes time and might hurt. 

    9. The sky just turned much more dim and the wind is gusting. An imaginary line on a weather map is manifesting as a line of force in the sky that blusters across the coastal plains like a dust squeegee pulling cold air behind it. 

    10. That dust-squeegee metaphor is both hilarious and terrible. I love it and I give it to you with love, letting go of any embarrassment I feel about it as I release it into a gust of wind and into your eyeballs. Gently, I hope, for the sake of your eyeballs. 

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