Saturday, February 13, 2010

Saturday Morning Coffee

 First, let me establish the saturday morning convention. I blog every saturday morning, always with coffee in hand. I have been calling the posts 'TMCNL' - (today's morning coffee and nordic lesson) - but I have decided to be a bit more generic in my title so that there's a bit more room to move. So the convention is NOT that I necessarily give you some wisdom about the north, but that I write on saturday mornings about something you can read while you too have your coffee time. I hope that they can be a bit more interactive, too - I want to hear your thoughts. The other convention is that I have to take a picture of myself that morning...just so we can connect in real time. So, this morning Rosie, sporting her nifty purple tights and pioneer camp hoodie, joined me in my bedheaded and pyjamaed photo shoot.

I digress.

Years ago I read something lastingly profound in what turned out to be one of the most influential books I have ever read. It’s an image that, while incredibly and specifically  pertinent to that season of my life at that particular time 10 years ago, still anchors me, still speaks volumes of simple wisdom to me.

Here it is:
 [God] wants to bring man to a state of mind in which he could design the best cathedral in the world, and KNOW it to be the best, and rejoice in the fact, without being any more (or less) or otherwise glad at having done it than he would be if it had been done by another. [God] wants him in the end to be so free from any bias in his own favour that he can rejoice in his own talents as frankly and gratefully as in his neighbor’s talents – or in a sunrise, an elephant, or a waterfall

The wisdom goes on and on from there. That whole chapter reeks (a sweet patchouli-nag champa-tea tree-mint-citrus-infused reeking) of freedom, celebration, and vision. That we might be able to REALLY enjoy who we are, and not have to stoop to a kind of false humility that causes us to pretend we’re no good, or on the flip side, to become so obsessed with or paranoid about who we are that we can’t escape our own narcissistic grip.

That we might truly care about seeing the world, this proverbial cathedral, being built to house its global congregation – and to not care so much about being recognized for having our hand in it as to truly truly truly desire to see it built, knowing it is GOOD! To have the vision and hope it takes to foresee what the cathedral could truly be. To be so moved by the vision that it becomes impossible not to act, and yet to truly be free to do so. To experience freedom from the overwhelming anxiety that comes with an expectation to contribute, by replacing obligation with desire, by means of a renewed perspective of what it really means to LIVE.

A million and one wonderful thoughts (not necessarily classifiable as conclusions) can be drawn from this man’s wise view of the world, even if just from these few pages. I’ll try not to beat a dead horse here…I have been known to exhaust a thought by being too verbose. If you have a thought to contribute to this, please share your thoughts below. Let’s get some audience interaction going here.

PS- I’m stealing Kerianne and Cory’s idea  from their blogged journey through south America: first person to tell me what book I’m quoting from (and who the author is) gets a special NWT postcard from yours truly. No cheating! Your guess must from your own mental archives… not google  J  


  1. I love that this is your journey and we get to parallel each other this way. I cannot interact with this without quoting Virginia Satir's wise words, "the world is a better place because I am in it". This is my mantra, and I continue to strive towards a steady belief in this phrase. These words transform my whole sense of being when I am grounded in them.

  2. Thank you for this post, Joanne . . . it couldn't have been more timely for me. It's a long-ish story but your post spurred me to remember to not only rest in who I am, but rejoice in it, instead of continually wrestling with who I'm not or who I should be.
    And if no one else guesses the author - can you at least tell me? :)

  3. niiiiceee...i just read this. little behind sorry. the websites look great too! i can´t believe how far apart we are, literally speaking. missyou...