“The world you see is just a movie in your mind” by Jack Kerouac

The world you see is just a movie in your mind.
Rocks dont see it.
Bless and sit down.
Forgive and forget.
Practice kindness all day to everybody
and you will realize you’re already
in heaven now.
That’s the story.
That’s the message.
Nobody understands it,
nobody listens, they’re
all running around like chickens with heads cut
off. I will try to teach it but it will
be in vain, s’why I’ll
end up in a shack
praying and being
cool and singing
by my woodstove
making pancakes.

–  Jack Kerouac, Untitled poem from a letter to his first wife, Edie Kerouac Parker, in late January of 1957.

From that same letter:

“I have lots of things to teach you now, in case we ever meet, concerning the message that was transmitted to me under a pine tree in North Carolina on a cold winter moonlit night. It said that Nothing Ever Happened, so don’t worry. It’s all like a dream. Everything is ecstasy, inside. We just don’t know it because of our thinking-minds. But in our true blissful essence of mind is known that everything is alright forever and forever and forever. Close your eyes, let your hands and nerve-ends drop, stop breathing for 3 seconds, listen to the silence inside the illusion of the world, and you will remember the lesson you forgot, which was taught in immense milky way soft cloud innumerable worlds long ago and not even at all. It is all one vast awakened thing. I call it the golden eternity. It is perfect. We were never really born, we will never really die. It has nothing to do with the imaginary idea of a personal self, other selves, many selves everywhere: Self is only an idea, a mortal idea. That which passes into everything is one thing. It’s a dream already ended. There’s nothing to be afraid of and nothing to be glad about. I know this from staring at mountains months on end. They never show any expression, they are like empty space. Do you think the emptiness of space will ever crumble away? Mountains will crumble, but the emptiness of space, which is the one universal essence of mind, the vast awakenerhood, empty and awake, will never crumble away because it was never born.”


^This video is truly beautiful. I found it via BrainPickings. From Maria Popova’s description:

Sergi Castella and filmmaker Hector Ferreño transformed the writer’s words into a magnificent cinematic adaptation for Dosnoventa Bikes, with a haunting, Johnny-Cashlike voiceover by James Phillips and beautifully curated music by Pink Floyd and Cash himself. As an intense lover of both bikes and literature, it makes my heart sing in multiple octaves.



Exhaust the Little Moment by Anna Quindlen

Exhaust the Little Moment

I was 19 years old when I was told that my mother had ovarian cancer and was not going to live much longer. I’d just finished my first year of university, but I was the oldest of five children, and my mother was dying. So at the beginning of what would have been my second year, I packed up my university things and found myself instead making meatloaf and administering doses of morphine in a house in the suburbs.

It is amazing how much you can learn in one year. I went home in September and my mother died in January. By April, I realized I had salvaged one thing out of the ruin of my life as I had known it: I was still alive, and I could actually take pleasure in the feeling of my lungs filling and emptying again. I looked at the daffodils and the azaleas, and Lord, they were beautiful.

I went back to university and I looked around at all the kids who found life kind of a drag. And I knew I had undergone a sea change. Because I was never again going to be able to see life as anything except a gift.

Oh, I’ve lost this feeling from time to time. Bad days and good days. Life cycles and dark moods. We’ve lived through a period in which pessimism was the fashion. And some days we wake up and find on the front page of the papers that we have totally underestimated the human ability to be sadistic and destructive.

And yet… and yet. It’s all so terrific – the conversation and the relationships and the scenery in the midst of all our troubles. That’s why we feel so deeply when it’s endangered – because if we think about life, we know how quietly wonderful it can be. We know that if we had only six moths of it left, we’d hold on as tight as we could with both hands to every day, every hour.

It’s ironic that we forget this. We have more time than ever before to remember it, those of us who are surrounded by high-tech appliances, cars, family rooms – the kinds of things our grandparents thought only rich people had.

Yet instead of rejoicing, we find the glass half empty. Our jobs take too much out of us. Our kids are an awful responsibility.

Let’s be honest. We have an embarrassment of riches. Life is good. And that’s why we have an obligation to make it better. If each of us doesn’t give something back, it makes a mockery of all we’ve been given.

It is easy to say to yourself, I cannot give a minute more. There aren’t enough hours in the day. Whenever I feel that way, I remember a day I spent with a woman who worked twice a week at a neighborhood soup kitchen. She had a busy husband and two kids to take care of along with a job, and I was standing at a sink watching her scrape carrots. And I said to her, “How can you find the time to do this?”

She looked up at the line of men and women forming outside. And with scarcely a pause in her peeling, she answered, “How could I not?”

The question is not whether we will do this. Because we must. But first we have to recognize how much we have. Life is divine. I don’t mean in any cosmic way, but in all its small component parts: the feeling of one of my kid’s hands inside mine, the way my husband looks when he reads with the lamp behind him, fettucine Alfredo, fudge, Pride and Prejudice. Life is made of moments, small pieces of silver amid long stretched of gravel. It would be nice if they came unsummoned, but given our busy lives, that won’t happen. We have to make the time for them.

So I offer this challenge: Learn to be happy. Learn to look at all the good in the world and to give some of it back because you believe in it passionately.

Embrace the little things of life that sometimes get left in the dust of our frenetic schedules. Without the inner satisfaction that comes with them, our accomplishments will be nothing more than the stuff of résumés. And a résumé is cold comfort on a winter night.

Gwendolyn Brooks wrote:

Exhaust the little moment. Soon it dies.
And be it gush or gold it will not come.
Again in this identical disguise.

Sometimes we lose that wonder. And sometimes we regain it through hard lessons, the way I did. Because the year my mother died, I learned something enduring about life: that it is glorious, and we have no business taking it for granted.

Anna Quindlen, A Short Guide to a Happy Life

Good read: “A Short Guide to a Happy Life: Anna Quindlen on Work, Joy, and How to Live Rather Than Exist,” via BrainPickings.org