Sunday, December 11, 2011

A RIVER OF STONES

A while ago I ran across a small book called A River of Stones, and was so enchanted that I wrote about it on The Buddha Diaries. A couple of months later, while visiting my sister in an English town not far from where the book's editors live, I wrote to see if they'd meet me for lunch--and indeed, I sat down together with Fiona and Kaspa over lunch in Cirencester a few weeks later. They're fun to spend time with, dedicated to their work as writer/teachers, and to the great idea they have been promoting with considerable success online.

The idea--if I have it right--is to encourage people throughout the world to stop for a moment in their busy lives, to sidestep all the distractions, and to pay attention to a singular moment in its passing. And then to write it down: a "stone"--a short, precise, haiku-like construction in words that conveys the essence of the moment they have experienced. And then, of course, to add their stone to the "river" hosted by Kaspa and Fiona at their site, Writing Our Way Home. They call it "helping to connect the work through writing."

Their latest invitation/challenge is for January 2012, to write a daily "stone," whether privately in a notebook or journal or for publication on a website or blog (they have some suggestions) or eventually, perhaps, in a second edition of the book that originally attracted my attention. They offer quick-and-easy or more detailed instructions for anyone who wants to take part in the month-long celebration of paying attention and writing, and hope to inspire the world to join them in their vision of greater awareness and greater compassion amongst all us human beings. The whole project, it seems to me, is a slightly greater stone dropped into the pond of our common human experience--a pond that we have for too long muddied with our inattention to its fragile ecology and its often ignored beauties.

I'm planning to join up. This is a challenge for me. I remind myself how busy I'm going to be in January, preparing for the release, the following month, of my new book, Mind Work (site under construction, but a nice cover, no?) If I look a little closer, though, I discover darker reasons: my often unchallenged laziness, for example; my fears about returning to the medium with which I started out as a writer; my easy judgments about "good" and "bad" poetry, including my own. Still, I find it good to have a challenge that will ask me not only to do the work, but to explore some of those inner reservations and find, perhaps, their origin. If I manage to release my attachment to results, I will find myself at home in the flow of the "river of stones."

Here's one small stone, from last night:

One twenty
A.M. Wide
awake, brain
busy with those
trivial pursuits
it deems important.
Oh, for God's
sake, shut up
and let me
sleep.
Please check out Fiona and Kaspa's project and consider joining in. You'll do yourself a favor, and the world.

3 comments:

Kaspalita said...

Thanks for sharing Peter, it will be great to have you in the river. Also - what a great book cover!

Karin E. said...

moments every day
if you live in Gods beauty,
this ever changing branch just
outside my window, the sounds
of dripping melting snow,
the smell of toast and
jam, and my hand cupped,
around my cup of tea,
how blessed I feel.

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks for the lovely stone, Karin. Blessed, indeed!