Friday, January 13, 2012

spinning cobwebs, spinning gold

so earlier in the week i was going through my old childhood books and came across roald dahl's the twits, the story of two horrible folks who were once beautiful and nice but grew uglier and nastier as the years passed. the idea of someone literally being transformed on the outside by their internal thoughts and actions fascinated me when i was a young girl.

once in a while i'll hear someone say something off the cuff about a mutual acquaintance or see a rude comment towards a friend on social media and i just can't help but think why? while we are busy thinking we can do something better, comparing ourselves to others, leaving negative comments, precious moments of our lives are ticking away.

there is a principle in yoga called ahimsa. it's broad meaning is that of non-violence towards any living creature. it's very easy to think 'well, i don't hurt cats so i must be doing pretty well' but then i think of the things i sometimes say or think about myself or others and it makes me cringe. every thought we have is woven into the fabric of our life, we can spin cobwebs or spin gold. our choice. roald dahl was on to something with his story from thirty years ago. and now, in the brave age of the internet, when people are free to have interactions with others without leaving their homes, it seems even more relevant. i envision an anonymous person behind the computer typing unconstructive things about people they don't even know and wonder what that person looks like inside. are they the same people who are unpleasant in everyday life? are they conscious of what is coming out of them? maybe they suffer from depression, in which case, help is necessary to come back from a joyless place. at any rate, it is hard not to imagine the lady from the twits typing the cruel words. life is too short to not put one peaceful thought in front of the other. if one can make an ugly habit, one can break it. i caught myself thinking some unpleasant things about myself today and refocused on the word ahimsa. if i practice this towards other, i must practice this towards myself. non-violence in thought and deed. one thought in front of the other.

"if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely." - the twits

even though i don't always have good thoughts shooting out of my face like sunbeams, it's a worthwhile goal, no?


  1. Beautiful and true and I so needed to hear this today.

    I read the twits when I was little too!


  2. What a wonderful connection between the simple morals in children's books and the very real way that acting
    less-than-lovely makes us feel. When I was in college, I learned about the philosophical theory from St. Augustine, called Evil as Privation. Because evil is a lack of good, then the more we do it the less we "are" - until we become just a shadow of a person. I think of this all the time, especially whenever I see Lord Voldemort.

    Thanks for this reminder today. (and... I love Andy Goldsworthy too.)

  3. Beautiful, Elizabeth. I love this.

    I love how much we can learn from children's literature too. It's true there is so much to be learned from those books.

    Thanks for this post. I think we all need to be reminded of this sometimes.

  4. This is such a lovely perspective, thank you! Love your little pearls of wisdom.

  5. totally agree. thanks for this reminder on a monday.

  6. i loved roald dahl books as a child (and adult!) and i love andy goldworth's art too! such wise words. thank you. learning to forgive others starts with forgiving ourselves...

  7. I absolutely loved this post. Positive living is a choice, most people don't get it. Focus on the good things people and life itself have to offer. Being grateful, peaceful and happy is visible in every aspect of our life.

  8. This post REALLY speaks to me! It reminds me of something my yoga teacher Pete sometimes says, which is: if I treated my friends the way that I treat myself sometimes, I wouldn't have any more friends (I'm paraphrasing). Basically, it's his take on how HARD we are on ourselves and how good, compassionate and loving behavior really comes from within. We can't spread it into the world until we've mastered it ourselves. We MUST be loving to ourselves and others. Thanks so much for this, xo

  9. What a beautiful goal in life! I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Thank you sharing!

  10. i love this post! it was refreshing to hear, and put in such a simple lovely way! thank you for this sunbeam =)

  11. Fantastic! Absolutely~
    Rivers and Tides, if you do watch films w Elodie, it is fascinating not only for an adult but completely natural for a child's way of looking at the possibility of world and nature. I'm getting the feeling you're already familiar with the film. Anyhow, great post!

  12. a beautiful post and so true- I'll catch myself being negative in the morning (NOT a morning person!) and I have to consciously direct my thoughts in a more positive direction or my whole day will be ruined.Thanks for the reminder!