Kissing: Can it reboot the soul?
Think of things that disappear . . .
writes poet Naomi Shibab Nye
Things evanescent as infancy, childhood, youth,
a glass of wine,
Think of beings, or moments, that blend in so well we seldom notice them.
You might miss a person, or a pet, whose company you’ve cherished. Perhaps they’re gone now, or changed in some essential way.
You might miss what once defined normal days. Time and circumstance have dumped your files, deleted your template. (Feels that way at our place.)
Biologically alive, like the Greek word, Bios, we’re living, breathing, functioning, coping. Even laughing.
But fully alive?
Centuries ago, William Blake, another poet wrote:
He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy
He who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise
What is “kissing the joy as it flies” if not delighting in the mundane?
“‘Delight‘ is a word that might scare people,” a friend of mine once wrote. “If I heard it in a disengaged conversation in a crowded room, it would probably snap my head around.”
After reading my last post, he (gently) re-sent me his essay. (A friend notices when we lose touch with “kissing the joy as it flies.”)
My friend spoke about “the person who has made a conscious decision to not only find more joy in her own life, but to make her zest available to others, while not jamming it down their throats.”
Recognition flared in me, charged as air after a lightning strike. Point (gratefully) taken.
Into our humdrum, getting-it-done, daily mindsets a small recognition arrives, freighted with meaning. We feel lucky, even rich, having brushed up against Beauty.
Pause, exhale, savor each tiny, once-in-a-blue-moon event.
Zoe, the Greeks call this: vital, abundant, eternal aliveness.
(Poet Nye again:)
Think of what you love best,
what brings tears into your eyes.
Something that said adios to you
before you knew what it meant
or how long it was for.
Last weekend a soap bubble at our grandson’s birthday party kissed my imagination awake: another invitation to Zoe.
. . . Lessons following lessons,
like silence following sound.*
The kissing theme re-appeared when I recently read a poem for Seattle NPR: “Maple Grove” describes a kiss (Read, or listen, here, or below.) A year ago, the poem languished in my Compost File. Time plus distance revealed the gap; then, something to fill it.
Poet Nye seconds this observation:
“I have always loved the gaps, the spaces between things, as much as the things. I love staring, pondering, mulling, puttering. I love the times when someone or something is late—there’s that rich possibility of noticing more, in the meantime . . .
“Poetry calls us to pause. There is so much we overlook, while the abundance around us continues to shimmer, on its own.”
Absorb today’s abundance, I tell myself—before it disappears.
What joy is flying past you this week? Might it want to grow into something more?
*”Adios,” by Naomi Shibab Nye
“Eternity,” by William Blake
“Maple Grove,” by Laurie Klein