Optimism – Jane Hirshfield

More and more I have come to admire resilience.

Not the simple resistance of a pillow, whose foam

returns over and over to the same shape, but the sinuous

tenacity of a tree: finding the light newly blocked on one side,

it turns in another. A blind intelligence, true.

But out of such persistence arose turtles, rivers,

mitochondria, figs — all this resinous, unretractable earth.

I saw this posted on Instagram by Maria Popova, the founder, writer, and curator behind BrainPickings. Her work is amazing – she published a book last year – and her insights often bring me to new thoughts at just the right time. While not all of the newsletters speak to me, most of them do, and I look forward to her twice-weekly emails for the ideas and thoughts they generate for me.

I finally did the “trendy” thing and chose a word for the year – and for 2019, it’s going to be


I toyed with the idea of grow, again. (I’ve used that in the past.)
Explore was also up there.
But exploration, while it can be used to describe what I call “inner work”, seems more focused on external explorations.

Seeking can be internal, external, spiritual, physical, emotional… I can seek adventure, but I can also seek positive relationships for where I am now in life.
I can seek a community, spiritual growth, new ideas, new knowledge.

And Jane Hirshfield’s poem highlights, for me, how I want to focus my life, and my seeking, this year.

I want to become more resilient, more tenacious, more persistent.
I don’t want to always hew to the path that I’ve chosen – sometimes, seeking, and resilience, tenacity and persistence require a new approach, a twist and a turn here and there.
But always, moving forward.
Seeking. Maybe not the way I anticipated doing so at the beginning, but still moving and driving and growing.

I love the line “…the sinuous tenacity of a tree”

Perhaps I’m not sinuous, necessarily, but tenacity? that I have.
We’ll see what my path – my branches? – look like at the end of 2019. Who knows what the new year will bring? Time to seek…and know. 

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