Posts tagged ‘Sue Monk Kidd’

August 5, 2014

Live the whole glorious hazard

I like this passage from the memoir Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor:

There is no immunity from life — that’s what I’ve learned. I will never be the kind of person to volunteer from the audience at Cirque du Soleil, but I won’t be satisfied with being draperies either. I don’t want to miss out on what the Greeks call zoe. Life. I want to live all of it, the whole glorious hazard.

What a great way to describe life: “the whole glorious hazard.”

I want to live the whole glorious hazard, too. I want to greet each day excited about what it might bring, not worried about what may come to pass. I want to focus on what I have in life, rather than what I don’t have. I want to reach old age and still have a sparkle in my eye and a desire to try new things. I want to always have a true understanding of what zoe is because of all the zoe flowing through my body and my mind and my heart every single day.

Let’s get out there and live the hazard.

May 13, 2014

Soul: fire and clay and everything in between

From the novel The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd:

Soul. The word rebounded in me, and I wondered, as I often had, what it was exactly. People talked about it all the time, but did anybody actually know? Sometimes I’d pictured it like a pilot light burning inside a person — a drop of fire from the invisible inferno people called God. Or a squashy substance, like a piece of clay or dental mold, which collected the sum a person’s experiences — a million indentations of happiness, desperation, fear, all the small piercings of beauty we’ve ever known.

Soul. What is yours made of?

July 4, 2012

Secrets vs. storytelling

I recently read the novel The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd, and this quote jumped out at me:

They say you can bear anything if you can tell a story about it.

The concept here is that even the worst experience you’ve had — the deepest, darkest secret you hold — loses its weight if you are able to speak openly about it.

Kelly Winters also writes about this idea in her book Walking Home.  From her perspective:

Secrets carry power, but too often, if you keep a big part of your life secret, it gives people power over you.  The power of fear, the fear that they’ll take your secret away and expose you.  It’s better to expose yourself, and do it early on.

I think we’ve all had moments like these in our lives:  something “big and bad” has happened to us, but we are afraid to speak out about it — to share our story — for fear of being judged, or appearing “weak,” or alienating people, or whatever.  But the act of carrying that secret around on our own weighs us down, and the longer we do it, the larger our associated fears become.  Eventually, a part of us crumbles under the burden of it all.

Speaking out under such circumstances might seem impossible, absurd, like emotional suicide.  But do it, and everything changes.  All that accumulated pressure evaporates into the air.  Our secret, we find, wasn’t so big or bad after all.  We are still standing, people haven’t deserted us, and — most interesting — some folks have had similar experiences to our own, and they share those experiences with us, and we learn that we are not alone in our fear or shame or guilt or sadness or what have you.  We are left lighter, fresher, cleaner and more connected to the people around us, our anxieties unfounded.

To quote author and philosopher Howard Thurman:

You must go through some things crying all the way if you’re ever going to live with them without crying.

A catharsis worth risking.

Be well.

June 18, 2012

“Shovel your anger daily”

More wisdom and a great metaphor from Sue Monk Kidd in Firstlight:

My local newspaper carried a picture of a house with a caved-in roof.  The living room was waist-high with snow.  It covered the sofa, the chairs, and the tables.  The caption read, “Roof gives way under weeks of accumulated snow.”  The owner had let the drifts pile up till it all came tumbling down at once.

It is easy to be critical of this kind of negligence, but I’ve done the same thing with anger.  Storing it up in bits and pieces — a few silent irritations here, some inward resentments there — until I have an overloaded roof ready to cave in on someone.

There is both spiritual and psychological wisdom in the adage, “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.”  I made a promise to myself to shovel it daily.


June 14, 2012

“Now here” vs. “nowhere” — the difference is just a pause

I’m now reading the book Firstlight by Sue Monk Kidd — mostly because I finally got around to reading The Secret Life of Bees, and that launched me into a bit of a Sue-Monk-Kidd kick.

(A note on The Secret Life of Bees:  Wow.  Jaw-dropping, heart-swelling, tear-inducing wow, to be exact.  What an absolutely fabulous book.  Can that woman ever write!  I already count several of Sue Monk Kidd’s books among those deserving of a permanent slot in my bookcase, and I will certainly be creating space for this one alongside Dance of the Dissident Daughter, The Mermaid Chair, and Travelling with Pomegranates, which she co-wrote with her daughter Anne Kidd-Taylor.)

The thing I like most about Sue’s writing is that she takes the time and makes the effort to delve into the deeper questions of life — questions about who she is, what matters most to her, and how she can find and maintain a fulfilling connection to her own senses of spirituality and self as she moves through the journey of life.

Reading Firstlight, this quote jumped out at me:

“Someone pointed out to me that the words now, here and nowhere have the same arrangement of letters, but differ when a small space is inserted.”

Sue goes on to suggest that “a fine space [also] separates us from experiencing our life as nowhere or now here,” but I take more from it than that….

  • What if “now here” and “nowhere” are actually one and the same thing, in a way — that to truly be “now here,” you have to be “nowhere” else?
  • Or, perhaps all you need to get from “nowhere” to “now here” (which I equate with presence) is simply to pause. . . take a breath. . . create a moment of stillness and quiet so that your awareness itself has space to breathe and grow.

Thoughts to ponder….