The trick is to maintain a kind of naive amazement at each instant of experience—but, as Montaigne learned, one of the best techniques for doing this is to write about everything. Simply describing an object on your table, or the view from your window, opens your eyes to how marvelous such ordinary things are. To look inside yourself is to open up an even more fantastical realm …
Observing the play of inner states is the writer’s job. Yet this was not a common notion before Montaigne, and his peculiarly restless, free-form way of doing it was entirely unknown.
Sarah Bakewell, HOW TO LIVE: OR A LIFE OF MONTAIGNE IN ONE QUESTION AND TWENTY ATTEMPTS AT AN ANSWER (h/t BrainPickings)
For Friday, January 25, 2019:
Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement, [to] get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.
(Rabbi) Abraham Joshua Heschel (h/t LA)
For Friday, January 18, 2019:
For those who don’t know, beloved poet Mary Oliver passed from this mortal plane on January 17th from lymphoma. She will be missed, but at least we have her words still. Let’s honor her, her life, her words by taking walks among the oaks and beeches, on the beach, along the edges of a pond, by listening to a grasshopper and a bear and the deer, singing with a mockingbird, whispering to the geese as they fly to heaven.
… When it’s over, I want to say all my life/I was a bride married to amazement …
Mary Oliver (1935-2019), ‘When Death Comes’
For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, some-thing as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry.