5 March 2014

Ash Wednesday

While I don't attend church services in Lent, I do find the concepts raised in the 40-day period important...

Yesterday was all about living, feasting and making merry, and today, the main focus of Ash Wednesday is to remind ourselves that we are made of dust, and to dust we will return...

I know some find this morbid/difficult, but it's a universal Truth. The Japanese call it wabi-sabi, Buddhists practise the truth of impermanence, and spend any time in Nature, and you'll see it all around. All things live and die...

The book I'm using shows this painting by an unknown French artist from the 17th century. Painted in the tradition of vanitas - popular in the 16th and 17th centuries among still life painters. They took their inspiration from Ecclesiastes 1:2: 'Vanity of vanities... all is vanity'
Knowing - and accepting - that all things live, flourish, then die, is an important Truth to live by, I think. The West has trouble accepting this with its elevation of youth and beauty (though there are signs this is changing...)

To me, there is a different beauty to be found in impermanence...

Nothing endures but change - Heraclitus

Nothing in the world is permanent, and we're foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we're still more foolish not to delight in it while we have it.
W. Somerset Maugham


  1. "Nothing in the world is permanent, and we're foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we're still more foolish not to delight in it while we have it." this is a beautiful quote, I've never heard it before but it's a lovely message xx

    1. I hadn't either! I'm not a great Maugham fan, but I came across this on BrainyQuotes (or Goodreads, can't remember, actually) when looking through quotes on impermanence. T'internet is an amazing thing sometimes :) x

  2. Very true there is a beauty in impermanence, for there we find the strength and weakness.

  3. How lovely the friendships we form in the time we are here. That's real treasure x

  4. I love your black and white leaf photo. Such a gorgeous, detailed image.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier and for the nice comments.

    Happy Woyww,

    Sandy #23

  5. Anonymous6:48 pm

    Well I've never particularly been a Maugham fan, but isn't that just wonderful. Thanks Claire, Love Jane H x

  6. Beautiful thoughts. I had my GriefShare meeting this evening. I lost my ex-husband (of only 7 months) 4/30/13. The same day my daughter had a D&C to terminate an unsustainable pregnancy. Then 12/13/13 her father-in-law died unexpectedly in his sleep. I thought I had come to terms with my own impermanence when I fought cancer and these made me realize that even though my husband had been ill, I really had accepted the fact that I wouldn't have that good friend here. Everyone is my grief group has been amazed at how difficult this grief journey is for each of us. We are not only processing the grief of our lost one, we are processing old baggage, too, that is surfacing. Wishing you a Peace filled day.

    1. Bless you, Suze - grief IS hard, and the journey is unique to each of us... For me it's been a spiral road - I revisit the same places/emotions/'baggage' again at different times, but it's never exactly the same, I am never exactly the same... When I mentioned our daughter's grave on Tuesday, I cried again... she died in-utero at 30 weeks in 1993 - the hurt is still there, the memory of the pain is still there, but not as intense, not as debilitating... We can only really experience our own grief road, but we can share the journey, we can help each other when we stumble... xx


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It's good to know I'm not alone :)