March 15, 2023 Day 22
March 8, 2023 Day 15
"The things we do each day, every day, often arrive without intent.
By the time we realize that they're now habits, these random behaviours have already become part of how we define ourselves and the time we spend.
Bringing intent to our rituals gives us the chance to rewire our attitudes.
But first we need to see it."
March 1, 2023 Day 8
Ash Wednesday 2023 Day 1
As we get ready to embark on another One Hundred Days of Keeping this passage seems a propos.
“Do it again” by G.K. Chesterton
“All the towering materialism which dominates the modern mind rests ultimately upon one assumption; a false assumption. It is supposed that if a thing goes on repeating itself it is probably dead; a piece of clockwork.
People feel that if the universe was personal it would vary; if the sun were alive it would dance. This is a fallacy even in relation to known fact.
For the variation in human affairs is generally brought into them, not by life, but by death; by the dying down or breaking off of their strength or desire.
A man varies his movements because of some slight element of failure or fatigue. He gets into an omnibus because he is tired of walking; or he walks because he is tired of sitting still.
But if his life and joy were so gigantic that he never tired of going to Islington, he might go to Islington as regularly as the Thames goes to Sheerness.
The very speed and ecstasy of his life would have the stillness of death. The sun rises every morning. I do not rise every morning; but the variation is due not to my activity, but to my inaction.
Now, to put the matter in a popular phrase, it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life.
The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life.
Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, ‘Do it again’; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony.
But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon.
It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them.
It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.
The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical ENCORE.”
–G.K. Chesterton, “The Ethics of Elfland,” Orthodoxy (The Christian Heritage Series; Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 1908/2020), 61.
What do you say? Are you up for Mason's revolutionary stance against a "towering materialism," defining a "Personal universe," "gigantic life and joy," as we make our way toward the enthusiasm of childhood? Welcome (back?) to the tribe of the ENCORE. (I will be drawing a daisy around each page number this year.)
Tomorrow the calendar turns to February. I wrap my deep pink scarf around the gray days…thinking of St. Valentine and being shriven (ok…mostly pancakes) and how the Church Year has taught us to return and to re-harrow. Circling through my notes I find I copied Wendell Berry’s observation that “Novelty is a new kind of loneliness.” It still rings true. Or it rings true again.
I’ve spent January thinking a lot about depth because of an article I chanced upon about having a "depth year.” Instead of lives that are "an inch deep and a mile wide,” (“ready-made,” Charlotte Mason calls them) author, David Cain writes about his longing to go deeper into the gifts already provided. Afterwards, he decides he wants every year to be a depth year.
And why not? His practice sparked a movement because it is a very human thing to want to seek meaning and to find time to answer the hunger of the perennial questions. And counter-cultural.
It reminded me of our “small, quiet, steadfast, and local” efforts at prov.en.der and our annual 100 Days of Keeping…this will be our seventh year of inviting a deeper quiet, a deeper sense of mystery, a deeper gratitude for the gifts around us. We begin February 22, Ash Wednesday. It’s not too soon to listen to what your heart wants more of.
"This book, this process was full of surprises for me. Daily practice reveals things and it’s an excellent place for ideas to turn up. Ideas like a reliable place to show up. I've already started another..." Ann Wood
Keepers are everywhere! "Ideas like a reliable place to show up!"
June 8, 2022 Day 99
"Our fault, and our very great misfortune, is, that we fail to take at regular intervals that survey of our life which must indeed cause us transports of gratitude." Charlotte Mason
That's another 100 Days of Keeping. Don't miss the chance to reflect on our journey and give yourself a hand even if there were some surprises or disappointments. "One at a time is good fishing" as they say, even
one notebook entry
one more moment of noticing
is one more life impacted.
Pentecost, the season of growing, also known as Ordinary Time, ("which is anything but ordinary") awaits. Do you feel Mason's extraordinary method has become more familiar? Has it grown your understanding of "the full life for which we are made?" Do you have any "clearer conception of Christianity?" Are you on the trail of MORE MYSTERY? I am grateful for each one of you.
June 1, 2022 Day 92
Sunday begins the Season of Pentecost and our 100 Days are winding down " but the duty of praise is not for occasional or rare seasons, it waits waits at our doors every day."
- Charlotte Mason
May 25, 2022 Day 85
Day 85 and the rhubarb is tapping its feet. But it's never too late to improve our "discriminating appreciation." What are you Keeping?
"Thus, I propose that the middle of February remind CM admirers