Holding on

by Wolf Pascoe on September 17, 2012

AUTHORIAL NOTE: Last week a pixie gremlin entered Just Add Father’s premises and for no good reason caused the release of a couple of caged posts into the ethers. If you’re an RSS or e-list subscriber you may have noticed the commotion. I’ll have more to say about this in next week’s post, but for now the danger has passed, the guilty party has been apprehended, and normalcy is returned. Just thought you’d like to know.


row your boat
down the stream
merrily merrily
life is but
a dream

Home from Portland now, and in a reflecting mood.  Can’t find the merry stream in Hokusai’s painting, grasshopper? Look under the clouds.

No sudden rush of nostalgia for my home town. No overflowing relief at being back this time, no tears. In their place a wherever-you-go-there-you-are sort of feeling, everything clearer and more strange. I can’t tell if I’m the man dreaming or the butterfly.

Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully. — Samuel Johnson

I’ll drink to that. If your time somewhere is limited, you notice things about the place.




It seems synchronous to be greeted by a new reader of this blog, and a slew of comments from her. In particular, one in response to Starting Over, a post about my moving-to-Portland problem that I wrote some months ago:

We spend much of our time living our lives as if they are problems to be solved over seeing them as being mysteries to be lieved. Having moved numerous time in several countries – it isn’t an easy challenge but it is an enlightening adventure. And it doesn’t take moving for it to happen – trying facing unemployment or any huge life change… adventure – a mystery to be savored and lived.

No, it doesn’t take moving (or the thought of moving) to turn your life upside down. Your life can turn upside down all by itself.

I was struck by the typo in mysteries to be lieved. I think she meant mysteries to be lived, in Rilke’s sense of living the questions. But I also like mysteries to be believed, as in the mystery of the Trinity, for example. Or the mystery every morning.

I read again that “Starting Over” post, and the rest of the comments, which seemed to me wiser than before, perhaps because I’d already answered them and so had more quiet in my head this time.

Too soon to worry, said one reader.

I say pray about it, said another.

I’ve got a prayer for you—




I have no parents

I make the heavens and earth my parents
I have no home

I make awareness my home
I have no life and death

I make the tides of breathing my life and death
I have no divine power

I make honesty my divine power
I have no means

I make adaptability to all circumstances my means
I have no tactics

I make unshadowed by thought my tactics
I have no enemy

I make carelessness my enemy
I have no armor

I make benevolence and righteousness my armor
I have no castle

I make immovable mind my castle
I have no sword

I make absence of self my sword




Today Nora and Nick have gone off somewhere and I have the house to myself.

I love my family and I love my solitude, everything quiet and empty and lovely and a dream. I have no home, no power, no means, no tactics, no castle, no sword.

I’ve heard it said that people claim to want many things, though in the end all they really want is peace.



You are far away




When everything is taken away, we see who we really are




How’s your immovable mind today? Just Add Father is listening. (Add your thoughts by clicking a few lines below below, where it says comments or add one. I always respond here.)


If you like this post and have a Facebook, Twitter, or other social media account, please consider sharing it by clicking one of the buttons below:

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Gail September 17, 2012 at 8:51 am

“Everything clearer and more strange.” Love that. Seems a perfect summation to me! xo


Wolf Pascoe September 17, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Probably stolen from Shakespeare.


Barbara September 17, 2012 at 9:08 am

Thank you for sharing that Samurai prayer – so true and thought-provoking. We should all be Samurai! I like ‘mysteries to be believed’, too. Great inspiration for a Monday morning.


Wolf Pascoe September 17, 2012 at 7:41 pm



shelley September 17, 2012 at 11:34 am

I love this post! Reading your posts is always like a glass of cool water on a hot day. The poem is one I’ll study. And your reader’s comments and your thoughts about them as well.

A thought I had: In the end, I believe all people want is love. Once they have love, and realize how noisy it can be, they want peace. But mostly they wouldn’t trade the first for the second unless they’re either afraid of being vulnerable or so enlightened that being love has become more important than having love.


Wolf Pascoe September 17, 2012 at 7:40 pm

“Once they have love, and realize how noisy it can be, they want peace.”

You should comment here more often.


jim Parkevich September 17, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Hi Wolf,
I find it perplexing, that in the 21st. century, as we try to find meaning and sustenance to the hectic pace of our lives, we are continuously turning the clock back..Back to the times of NO cell phones, pagers, TV’s, instantaneous demands on our body and soul..times when the air was fresh and clean…time for uncluttered thought. I am going to use this poem for my Boy Scouts..hope you don’t mind if I copy it down and keep it for special occasions.


Wolf Pascoe September 17, 2012 at 7:39 pm

It’s all yours. Different variants are all over the Internets.


The Exception September 17, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Oh how I love the typo – my fingers tend to get ahead of me sometimes too… and how wonderful when the typo adds to the pondering.
The poem is definitely one for reflection. Lines to share on my white board at work.

Thinking aloud, there is love in silence. I wonder if, sometimes, we don’t spend our energy looking for love and silence and magic when they are each waiting for us to stop, slow down, breathe and realize that they are each with us all the time.


Wolf Pascoe September 17, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Lenny Bruce used to laugh at his own jokes, so you’re entitled to love your typos.

“There is love in silence.” Yes, thanks for that. Two solitudes (Rilke).


BigLittleWolf September 18, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Your writing always makes me think – and feel. I wonder if that is in part the way you marry opposites, and require us to deal with their magnetic opposition.


Wolf Pascoe September 18, 2012 at 7:13 pm

I sort of agree with you and sort of disagree, if you know what I mean.


Kyle Bradford September 19, 2012 at 9:23 am

Those who don’t receive ample supplies of solitude quickly and most thoroughly…lose their minds.


Wolf Pascoe September 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Somewhere I read that the most important pre-requisite for creativity is solitude. Makes sense to me.


Kristen @ Motherese September 19, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Man, those samurai were wise. Much like you, my friend.


Wolf Pascoe September 20, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Wisdom is easy if you have no preferences. Once you can fake that you’ve got it made.


pamela September 20, 2012 at 1:52 pm

So glad you found The Exception. Also glad you aren’t super glad to be home … that means you are ready:)


Wolf Pascoe September 20, 2012 at 8:32 pm

I have no home. I make faking awareness my home.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: