A Girl Named Leney

THE JOURNAL

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I Dwell In Possibility

i read this poem recently, and it's theme is quite prevalent for me right now.
by which i mean, there is so much possibility swirling around these days and i am filled with anticipation in the witnessing and acknowledging of it


I dwell in Possibility — (#466)

by Emily Dickinson

 

I dwell in Possibility —

A fairer House than Prose —

More numerous of Windows —

Superior — for Doors —

 

Of Chambers as the Cedars —

Impregnable of eye —

And for an everlasting Roof

The Gambrels of the Sky —

 

Of Visitors — the fairest —

For Occupation — This —

The spreading wide my narrow Hands

To gather Paradise —

 

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Scintillating Beauty

yesterday i read Martin Luther King Jr.’s thoughts in Letter From Birmingham Jail and was struck by their immense wisdom and meaning. i wanted to share some of my favorite lines and statements from it. there were some much larger passages which i especially loved but i refrained from stating larger ones as i want to encourage you to read it for yourself as a whole if you haven't. 
it is such an incredibly applicable and relevant piece for our world's present struggles.
//

- so am i compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town.

-injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

-whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

-in any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: 
1. collection of the facts to determine wether injustices exist
2. negotiation
3. self-purification
4. direct action

-i must confess that i am not afraid of the word “tension.” i have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, non violent tension which is necessary for growth.

-we know that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

-and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness towards white people.

-all segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distort the soul and damages the personality. it gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an “I-it” relationship for an “I-thou” relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things.

-lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

-society must protect the robbed and punish the robber.

-human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this “hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. we must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.

-the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be — extremists for hate or for love? will we be extremist for the preservation of injustice or the extension of justice?

-there can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.

-i have tried to make clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. but now i must affirm that it is just as wrong, or perhaps even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends. 

-in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty

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The Journey

The Journey by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice--

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

"Mend my life!"

each voice cried.

But you didn't stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do--

determined to save

the only life you could save.


Mary Oliver's work has been popping up in my life a lot lately. A friend recently mentioned this poem and after reading it, and loving it, I looked up an analysis which helped me love it even more.

I hope you are staying strong in your journey friend.
That you are brave enough to not only recognize it's direction, but brave enough to walk it. 

Goodnight Things I Love

"i always say goodnight to the things i love. just as i would people. i think they like it."

— anne of green gables



goodnight brooklyn red rug.
goodnight plants.
goodnight blue chair.
goodnight stack of books.
goodnight bed.
goodnight lamp.
goodnight little spot on the wall.
goodnight favorite mug.
goodnight slightly ajar window.
goodnight home.
goodnight rain.
goodnight moon.

//
Photos taken during a rainstorm in Quicksburg Virginia

My Solitude
Photo by  Meagan Abell

Photo by Meagan Abell

My alone feels so good, I’ll only have you if you’re sweeter than my solitude. —Warsan Shire

Solitude.
This is something I'm accustomed to. 
Growing up we, my siblings and I, were often left alone for hours on end. 
It wasn't neglect, it was an allowance.
An allowance to discover, to play, to explore, to create, to be.
I know that I wouldn't be the person I am today if I hadn't been allowed that time of self discovery and becoming, at such a young age.
I was put in the creative mindset simply by being left alone. I had to learn to figure things out on my own, be resourceful, come up with new solutions to problems and create things of my own accord and so I did.

As I've grown older I realize how rare a quality and ability that is, and as a result it's one I'm more so thankful for possessing.
I don't shy away from doing things by myself. Traveling, eating out, going to the movies, exploring, shopping, going to concerts, and many other pastimes that often are seen as a you-do-this-with-someone sort of activity. 

I even live alone, which is something I've discovered is such a foreign and strange idea for so many people. Something I was unaware of until I did it. 
I'm not saying living alone is for everyone, it's definitely not, and personalities and preferences differ greatly from person to person. But I do think it's important to learn how to be alone. To enjoy it. Because who's with you more often than... well, you? If you don't like spending time with yourself, why would others? This is a cheesy way to look at it sure, but hopefully you get my point. 
I think it's an underestimated trait in a person. To be content in ones own skin and abilities to the extent of not needing to rely on others for your centering and "okay-ness" and sense of worth.
Of course you can swing too far in that direction and then be closed off from people, relationships, and community completely which is something I'm definitely not abdicating for by any means. 
However, I think the stronger and more sure of yourself you are alone, the more capable you are of adding value to those relationships and communities you are in.
Because it's not others, their presence or opinions, that make up our worth and value. And I think we can often forget that when we're constantly surrounded by people.

"Curiously, and importantly, mastering the art of solitude doesn’t make us more antisocial but, to the contrary, better able to connect. By being intimate with our own inner life that frightening and often foreign landscape that philosopher Martha Nussbaum so eloquently urged us to explore despite our fear— frees us to reach greater, more dimensional intimacy with others."

The above quote is from this article on how to be alone which I ask you to please please please read.
It has far more eloquent and making-more-sense thoughts than mine on this subject. It's one I wholeheartedly agree with and re-read often ever since coming across it.
This quote on cherishing your solitude is one I blogged three years ago but also still relevant.

Feel free to share your thoughts on any of this.
I'd love to hear them. 

We Searchers

"I am one of the searchers. There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life, hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand. We like to walk along the beach, we are drawn by the ocean, taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mystery and unspeakable beauty. We like forests and mountains, deserts and hidden rivers, and the lonely cities as well. Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as is our laughter. To share our sadness with one we love is perhaps as great a joy as we can know - unless it be to share our laughter. 

We searchers are ambitious only for life itself, for everything beautiful it can provide. Most of all we love and want to be loved. We want to live in a relationship that will not impede our wandering, nor prevent our search, nor lock us in prison walls; that will take us for what little we have to give. We do not want to prove ourselves to another or compete for love.

For wanderers, dreamers, and lovers, for lonely men and women who dare to ask of life everything good and beautiful. It is for those who are too gentle to live among wolves."  — James Kavanaugh || There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves


Had the privilege of photographing these two fellow adventurers yesterday on a little road trip with Meagan
Ben and Lulu are the kind of souls I meet and instantly connect with. So looking forward to meeting up with them again sometime in the future for more adventures. 

You Don’t Tell The Ocean To Behave

being emotional is not a bad thing, it's what we do with those emotions that has potential for disaster.
i have been told countless times that i feel too deeply, too intensely.
that i am irrational. crazy. ridiculous. sensitive.
that i over share and am overly vulnerable.
i'm too much of any one emotion or feeling.

i will warrant that i have been all of those things at certain times, when i've reacted poorly to my emotions.
but to say that every time i feel something deeply is abnormal and something that should be suppressed-denied-retstrained... that's not right.
god created me as this being who has these emotions inside of her.
sometimes one at a time.
sometimes all at once. 
and that's a beautiful thing. 
i think a lot more of us were created to be that way than the world allows for, or than we let on.

we should not suppress-deny-restrain that.
because girl or boy: we are emotional creatures.

the following words are from Eve Ensler's TED Talk and I find them so profoundly moving.
my friend also wrote a post about this with some very wonderful thoughts that i encourage you to read as well.
//

I love being a girl.

I can feel what you’re feeling

as you’re feeling it inside

the feeling

before.

I am an emotional creature.

Things do not come to me

as intellectual theories or hard-shaped ideas.

They pulse through my organs and legs

and burn up my ears.

I know when your girlfriend’s really pissed off

even though she appears to give you what

you want.

I know when a storm is coming.

I can feel the invisible stirrings in the air.

I can tell you he won’t call back.

It’s a vibe I share.

I am an emotional creature.

I love that I do not take things lightly.

Everything is intense to me.

The way I walk in the street.

The way my mother wakes me up.

The way I hear bad news.

The way it’s unbearable when I lose.

I am an emotional creature.

I am connected to everything and everyone.

I was born like that.

Don’t you dare say all negative that it’s a

teenage thing

or it’s only only because I’m a girl.

These feelings make me better.

They make me ready.

They make me present.

They make me strong.

I am an emotional creature.

There is a particular way of knowing.

It’s like the older women somehow forgot.

I rejoice that it’s still in my body.

I know when the coconut’s about to fall.

I know that we’ve pushed the earth too far.

I know my father isn’t coming back.

That no one’s prepared for the fire.

I know that lipstick means

more than show.

I know that boys feel super-insecure

and so-called terrorists are made, not born.

I know that one kiss can take

away all my decision-making ability

and sometimes, you know, it should.

This is not extreme.

It’s a girl thing.

What we would all be

if the big door inside us flew open.

Don’t tell me not to cry.

To calm it down

Not to be so extreme

To be reasonable.

I am an emotional creature.

It’s how the earth got made.

How the wind continues to pollinate.

You don’t tell the Atlantic ocean

to behave.

I am an emotional creature.

Why would you want to shut me down

or turn me off?

I am your remaining memory.

I am connecting you to your source.

Nothing’s been diluted.

Nothing’s leaked out.

I can take you back.

I love that I can feel the inside

of the feelings in you,

even if it stops my life

even if it hurts too much

or takes me off track

even if it breaks my heart.

It makes me responsible.

I am an emotional

I am an emotional, devotional,

incandotional, creature.

And I love, hear me,

I love love love

being a girl.

Don't Go Back To Sleep

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill

where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.

— Rumi, from “Quatrains”.