Each Venture Is A New Beginning

V. 

“So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years-
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l’entre deux guerres-
Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholy new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate,
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate – but there is no competition –
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
the world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.” 

~ T. S. Eliot, East Coker from Four Quartets 

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A poem for the new week. I think that more and more our weekends are filled with the “still and the still moving.” We’re so busy during the week that when the weekend hits, we crave a period of down-time – to be still, to sleep, to catch our breath. But every week, the things that didn’t get accomplished, the projects and deadlines and future thoughts push us to “still move.” It’s something that I need to learn, I realize: how to be still (calm in my heart and my mind) and still moving (determined to work hard towards my goals and face challenges head-on; to hold my head up high and remember that each venture is a new beginning).

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There’s a new coffee shop on the block that a best friend and I went to on Saturday, and then again on Sunday, because: free coffee. It’s not too good to be true! A month and a half of espresso + milk, iced coffee, plain black coffee in a mug thank-you-very-much, in any size, every day, if your heart so desires. And the place is beautiful – minimalist gray and white, touches of oak, and a long counter-top for sitting, reading, talking. Businessmen in fitted suits, morning joggers, hipster couples in rolled jeans and fedoras and artsy tattoos, the elderly man with a newspaper tucked under his canvas-coloured coat – all roll in at various times, chat with the baristas, sip coffee and ponder over the glass case of blueberry muffins and lemon scones. And time passes just as it should in the lovely light-filled space – slowly, easily, comfortably. The blissful Saturday and Sunday mornings were just what I needed to remember how to be still and still moving – to appreciate the moment and to look forward to what is to come. Have a Happy Monday – here’s to this week!

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