Saturday 25 August 2012

Longing and attention

Softly raining and the wind loops playfully: Summer has been kept in after school. That's rather how I feel too - relentless work since the first day of August; need a break and not about to get one just yet. And suddenly I'm flooded with longing for other places, new faces, new words and pictures.

Longing is good. Good to reconnect with deep desires after a long, hard time when these were not in evidence, buried under fear.

And longing isn't good. A futile wishing to be anywhere but here, in anytime but now. A hopeless, unproductive tension that denies the present, which is all there ever is.

To hold and shape this, without squeezing out the life, is like throwing a delicate vase on a potter's wheel. It calls for a steadfast, not too effortful, attention to the work 'in hand' that is not synonymous with tension.

That was written earlier. So I sat here holding in my mind the image of throwing a delicate vase on the potter's wheel, and can report that it helped: not as much work done today as I'd hoped, but much more than felt possible a few hours ago. 


marja-leena said...

Oh, I love this rather mysterious image, those diagonal lines catch my eye in their strength in contrast to the delicate leaves.

It seems to me that longing can sometimes be a good motivator - but that's what you have said so eloquently and illustrated with the image: soft and strong, push and pull.

Jean said...

The photo is of a car roof and a bit of the windscreen, in the rain, with the reflection of a tree above.

Beth said...

We wouldn't be human without longing, would we? And you're right, I think, it's when the longing paralyzes us or makes us unable to be in the present that it's destructive. I wish I could always remember to just be here, now.

Lucy said...

Having something to look forward to is a pleasure, most lives need it, I think. I'm fairly sure I get more pleasure from the anticipation than I usually get from the realisation of the thing anticipated. But then if the realisation goes wrong, doesn't live up to the hopes, the disappointment is proportionately more acute! And I've become very aware of not wanting to wish life away, and the necessity of appreciating what is here and now.

When things are hard going, not pain-filled or agonising but just hard, it's often the sense of the difficult stuff going on and on without hope of respite that makes it unbearable, whereas if we could just focus on the immediate that might be eased.

I do sometimes think that the really transcendent glimpses do lie in the longing, though.