Thursday, April 5, 2012

"Just To Be Alive Is A Grand Thing"

an oldie hanging out in the sunroom

"I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable,
racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly 
that just to be alive is a grand thing."
-- Agatha Christie

These days I am feeling that it is a "grand thing to be alive", really it is. Think about it, it really is kind of miraculous.  How did you get here?  Where did you come from? And how does all this apparatus called a body know how to work? And yet I haven't always felt this way.  And I have no particular idea of why I feel this way now but I am grateful that I do. I hope I can remember this when at some time in the future I am "racked with sorrow". 

Perhaps we don't remember this because we are so self centred, focused in on the minutiae of our lives, things like I wish we could get the stairs sanded or how did that mouse get into the basement. But when somehow we take ourselves out of the centre of the snapshot our view changes. I think of the poster I have seen on facebook with man at the top and animals in their descending pyramid. Next to it is another poster with the human placed somewhere in this great web of life, that's where we belong, really.  Who put us in charge anyway? Modern man hasn't been the best steward. I think we should be fired and an ad put out for new custodians of this lovely blue planet. And yet in some strange way it is all just fine. We get what we need, not what we want.  Does that sound new agey? It's not meant at all in that woo woo sort of way. It's meant in the way that actions produce results and reactions which is simply karma. Everything reverberates out into the universe. No exceptions.

But I am filling both our heads with words when really all I wanted to say was this:

the tiny heart bird
inside me
pitches a small song
into the landscape
of life

view from the kitchen
Happy Friday! And here's a small tap with the "ain't it grand to be alive" stick.


  1. Am happy for your exuberance! And love the simple Haiku... Keep singing your heart out into the Universe!

  2. Hi Carole,
    Happiness is fleeting. It changes with the time of day, the lack of sleep, the annoying dog barking in the night.
    Joy, on the other hand is something that is felt deep within the soul. Deep soulful joy cannot be ruined by bad weather or a plate breaking.
    One can be filled with joy but not feel happy in the moment.
    You my friend my friend are joy filled and you spread happiness to others. Thank you.

    1. This world is a moving target always changing with dogs, and pain and weather and goodness knows what, but you are right, there is something that holds it all up from beneath as you say, something we can rest it all on as Agatha Christie says.

      It is my great privilege to share both my sorrows and my joys here, the very thing that makes us realize we are all the same, connected by our humanity.

  3. being in a 'racked with sorrow' sort of place, i appreciate the glimmer of hope that you've sparked here. thank you for sharing!

    1. wishing the glimmer to increase in that ebb and flow sort of way. Sorrow induced by drywall????

  4. Thanks for the tap; my head's lit up!

  5. am considering myself 'tapped' and it couldn't have come at a better moment...dang pollen is layin' around like a thinck shag carpet...bringin' on a head fog...and yet...tis grand to be alive!

    1. I'm in the city today and wondering if those beautiful cherry blossoms are going to get me!

      I recommend homeopathic allergy tabs as a way to fogless joy!

  6. "Aint it great to be alive.." (from ANGIE by THE ROLLING STONES. It truly is ! "Life is a Miracle" - WENDELL BERRY....<3

    1. Your head is a virtual library of quotes. Angie, gotta go looking for that on the web, haven't heard it in years.

      Currently ear worming "Waitin On A Sunny Day" by Bruce Springsteen. I will blame it on my daughter!

    2. in the early 70's, would "dance" with was from the album "GOAT'S HEAD SOUP"...

  7. It's been a busy week, so your tap from the stick is most appreciated, Carole! ;o)
    These words by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi have always meant a lot to me, and always refresh me, "Just to be alive is enough." I think when we take the time to just drop our stories, drop all the busy-ness, let so much melt away we can tune into this wonder more. We're meant to drink richly from the river of life, and to alive is gift enough. Happy Weekend ((HUGS))

    1. I love your words, especially the Suzuki quote. And yes, it's easy with all the energy of Spring for me to get snagged into busyness! I like that, "drink richly from the river of life". Off to work outside today, gathering fallen branches from winter storms, perhaps do a little gardening.

      Happy weekend to you! hugs, Tracy.

  8. Yeah. This moment is quite interesting, quite curious, isn't it?! I don't know what it means to be alive because there's nothing to compare it to. Perhaps miracles and curiosity are the same?

    1. I like that, miracles and curiosity are the same thing. Like "training and enlightenment are the same thing" (Dogen, from Rules for Meditation). I got a chuckle, we have nothing to compare this state of aliveness to. And yet sometimes I am more conscious of being alive, more appreciative, and I must say, sometimes I feel more alive! And yet I have no recollection of being dead!

    2. Smiling, smiling smiling and chuckling, too! This all is so incredibly curious! I just don't know...

      Thanks for your unwavering, bright light, Carole!

  9. another delicious post Carole - you hit the target again - thank you xo

  10. I think it is that human quality of 'hope springs eternal"... no matter how dark some days seem to be there is always tomorrow -- a new day.

  11. This is a zen stick I don't mind being struck by, thanks. Lovely poem. Returning the favor with one I found in the same vein:

    "Every day priests minutely examine the Dharma
    and endlessly chant complicated sutras.
    Before doing that, though, they should learn
    how to read the love letters sent by the wind and rain,
    the snow and moon."

  12. For some reason this got CCR playing in my head! Ah, I love the quote by Christie. That just summed up last week for me. Thanks for knock up-side the haid. ;-)

  13. Yes, following you last week, seemed like a pretty "grand to be alive" week! Look forward to hearing more about it on your blog!

    Usually it's my own haid I'm knocking! Happy weekend!

  14. I'm new to your blog, but WOW, I'm so impressed with your work and words.

    Many a day can be filled with misery for all of us. So, it is a blessed gift when we have days filled with the kind of joy you expressed in this post.

    May it go on and on for you, even when the days are less than ideal.

    Lovely poem too.

  15. Welcome Melinda! And thanks for the kind words. It is a lovely treat to feel this way! May much joy head in your general direction. Along with some lovely Spring sunshine.

  16. the spring songbirds
    are singing
    the sun
    is shining
    is the direction now
    to be alive
    is indeed grand
    I needed this reminder today
    thanks so much...

    xox - eb.

  17. ah yes, Spring. It does lift the spirits so! I've been out walking in the forest and listening to the birds sing.