Wednesday, March 9, 2016

March 9: Choice and repetition

I've long been fascinated by the idea of alchemy – the transformation of dross to gold. The idea that you can take a handful of basic ingredients, and through the laying on of hands transform them into something greater than the sum of their parts – what greater magic is there on this earth? Take the alphabet and form words, then sentences, then paragraphs, then books; take flour, yeast and water and bake a loaf of bread. Sticks and string make a sweater; seeds, soil and sun will eventually yield a crop.

Of course it's not quite that simple – there's the matter of focused attention and deliberate repetition. Even the most basic creative tasks require your presence: choose the words, knead the bread, knit the stitches, weed the garden, say "I love you," again and again. Sometimes you can coast along, but momentum only gets you so far.

Better then to make the choice, again and again: look at the options, weigh the outcomes and choose the one that fosters growth and serves a larger purpose. Make the choice and get to work: even when it's boring, especially when it's challenging and uncomfortable.

Maybe it's a sock you're making, maybe it's yourself, but without the choice, the work, the transformation, you'll never get the gold.

The Wild Rose
Sometimes hidden from me
in daily custom and in trust,
so that I live by you unaware
as by the beating of my heart,

Suddenly you flare in my sight,
a wild rose blooming at the edge
of thicket, grace and light
where yesterday was only shade,

and once again I am blessed, choosing
once again what I chose before.

–Wendell Berry


  1. pleasure to read your posts....I'm copying this poem to share


  2. oh, this is one of my favourite daily posts this month. Truly, alchemy is all around us.


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