Carol A. Hand
For the first time I can remember, I awake to a sunny but silent morning. My heart aches with both tender sadness and gratitude for all those who have shared this journey with me. I think of the words I read before falling asleep.
Hold to these principles:
Grasp the essential,
And wasteful desires.
(Lao-Tzu, as interpreted by Diane Dreher, 1990, The Tao of Inner Peace, p. 77)
I remember the song – Simple Gifts, performed by Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Kraus – that I heard a few days ago on public radio, the classical station my birds (now only Queenie) listen to during the day. Like the Tao saying above, I see it as a universal message shared by people from many different cultures and spiritual paths.
Simple gifts – Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Kraus
Simple Gifts was written by Elder Joseph Brackett in 1848 while he was at the Shaker community in Alfred, Maine. These are the lyrics to Brackett’s one-verse song:
‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.
I don’t know if I will ever really achieve simplicity, but I have the luxury now to keep working on uncluttering my thoughts from distractions and my life from unnecessary things. Awakening to morning silence today gives me a moment to remember what is important in life. From this simple life, this humble home, I send out loving, healing thoughts from a heart that has been tempered by both song and silence, and grief and joy.
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