Hunger is the worst of diseases ~ the Buddha

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

All Is Well in the Cosmos: Pulling Weeds & Planting Seeds with Julian of Norwich

The cosmos has always been (not a huge surprise to myself, as a dark matter-of-fact Carl Sagan fan) 
my favorite flower.

It's now become my Official State-of-Being Flower.

I've just adopted it for myself, but since this land is your land, too, you're welcome to it.

In the kitchen garden of my grown-up mind, it was the first flower I planted from seed in my first house, in the light of a tiny 24"-square kitchen window with a claw hasp (which was the whole reason I bought that house, if I had to sum up).

That was years ago (13), and houses ago (2), but now cosmos come up wherever I am because I make sure I plant those seeds. What can I say?--they bloom well for me.

And they are facts!--my new favorite friends in living a life committed to seeing things just as they are, to reality--long, slender beautiful facts to surround oneself with: that there is a payoff to pulling weeds and planting good seeds.
No matter how scattered or random or chaotic the field may appear. The constellations are clear, as well as the relationship between effort and good fruits (or flowers).
And since I'm always stalking the wordplay, there is that too: there is the relationship between tending and cultivating tenderness in oneself.

I was drawn to cosmos then for reasons that only make sense to me now: this was before I considered myself a scientist in my own mind and in my own kitchen, before I started meditating or reading about consciousness, before I had a daughter who practically sprung from seed with the a sureness that she will be an astronaut. 
Before I realized that no matter where I am, I am and can be contemplative cooking.

14th C. Christian mystic Julian of Norwich (still mostly a mystery, and still uncanonized, for some equally mysterious reason) said, “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”

You may have heard this quote. T.S. Eliot, whom I love, copped it for his poem "Little Gidding," (which is one I teach and is a medicinal masterpiece, even if you're not a college writing student).

I have a little group of friends and we tend to use it when things seem insulatedly insurmountable: "All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well." 
Maybe just an email. Just a text. But a message like that can be like a flash-rain of goodness, can buoy your drooping stem (and is a very good use of technology).

My favorite thing about this quote is that she starts with "And."
Imagine, if we all started everything we said with that word. And.

These words are said to have been directly imparted to Julian from God. 

Since God is in the details, I make a note to myself to start using this with my children, especially my daughter. I wonder what it would be like if all parents answered more of children's real questions, always some form of: will it be okay?

Will all be well?

I can't promise them or anyone it won't change because all life (Buddhist, Christian, atheist, or flora) is impermanence, but for the first time in my life, I know I can promise it will be okay.
Not just okay, well.

The great thing about wisdom (and beauty and goodness) is that you don't have to know where it comes from for it to help you.

You don't have to research it to death or find the source--to source it in yourself.

And that line is "all manner of thing"--not things, incidentally. 
That's not a typo.
All and thing.
The everything and the One.

Because really, everything is all the same. All one.

And well, well, Now.


  1. "All one. All Well." I feel an engraved bracelet in my future. This post just brightened my day-- flash-rain goodness, indeed. xx

  2. And I can say that I've always been inclined to resist anything with the temp-tag "Well-Done." Washing away those carbonized bits of belief that SOMETHING has go to be burnt beyond a crisp-wrong is definitely a concept to circle the heart (and wrist). If I smelt bracelets, you're on the list!