Life, in all its splendour

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Life, in all its splendour

So it’s been exactly a week. A week since life as we knew it here in Paris was suddenly – in a rampage of bullets and bombs – no more.

How far we’ve come since then. Or at least I know that I have, making my way through various stages of mourning, moment by moment, in no particular order – shock, horror, pain, sadness, despair, impotence, loss, anger, fear, compassion, love… So much love! How stunning that these vicious acts of pure violence so imbued with hate should give rise to such an outpouring of love.

Even ordinary contact with people in the streets, in the Métro, in shops and offices seems different, somehow softer, as if an edge had been smoothed in us all.

I heard that tonight at the place de la République people spontaneously gathered (public gatherings are officially forbidden under our state of emergency) and held hands and sang and drank Champagne, marking the tragedy with an insuppressible expression of life in all its splendour. It was as if they were saying, ‘We humans love this life of ours, so beautiful and, alas, so tragic.’

Just like Leonard Cohen says: ‘Everything has a crack; that’s how the light gets in.’ And this week in Paris, the light has been pouring in.

By | 2015-11-20T23:46:40+00:00 novembre 20th, 2015|Textes|5 Comments

About the Author:

Enseignante Zen et poète, Sensei Amy “Tu es cela” Hollowell est née et a grandi à Minneapolis, aux Etats-Unis. Arrivée en France en 1981 pour étudier la littérature et l’histoire, elle y est restée, s’installant à Paris, où elle élève ses deux enfants et gagne sa vie en tant que journaliste. The Zen teacher and poet Amy “Tu es cela” Hollowell Sensei was born and raised in Minneapolis, but came to France in 1981 to study literature and history and has lived in Paris ever since, raising her two children and making a living as a journalist.


  1. […] (por Amy Hollowell Sensei em Zenscribe) […]

  2. Evi 25 novembre 2015 at 12 h 11 min - Reply

    Dear friends,
    I want to share with you what I shared with my paramita practice group this month. We focus each month on one virtue of a bodhisattva, this month was virija. I wish it for all of us as well:
    “I did not write about vigor so far. But I do feel a lot of energy and power in my body. Virija often gets translated as determination. Thatˋs said easily, wenn we feel well and there is peace. Virija gets endangered and challenged, when our values are threatened and our trust is shaken.
    In this sense I had a lot of virija this month. I decided to set one dignified death against each undignified of terrorist attaacks, as far as I have influence on it (iˋm a palliative care nurse). And I really started a book about intimate realtionships with the dyig. Dying and griefe are a big part of my vow. There is a lot of it right now.
    And in this sense, virija also has a lot to do with refuge for me. I always start singing the refuge when I realize, I get anxious or unsettled. Then I escape to where I feel safe: the Oneness of life, the diversitiy of life and the interconnectedness of life, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha – and I escape to my vows.
    I wish all of you a stable refuge in this instable time

  3. Chiara-Emma 24 novembre 2015 at 14 h 03 min - Reply

    Just a short note to say Thank you so much to Geert for sharing Tai Sheridan’s inspiring work.
    Peace to you all!

  4. GEERT 23 novembre 2015 at 9 h 42 min - Reply

    More than ever, in difficult times, we can share what we have because all we « have » has been shared by others…
    So, these are healing zen prayers by Tai Sheridan. He shares them for free. For some reason (or many reasons?)
    they came to me. I want to share them with you because they have been – and are helpful and healing for me and because I think
    this is a good place and the right time to share them.
    May they also be helpful and healing for you, for everyone reading them ! May you share them in order to be helpful and healing
    for beloved ones, friends, sangha members, other people… Copy the link below this message in your browser and you will be able to read or download the prayer book. Thank you, Geert

  5. Brenda Liddy 21 novembre 2015 at 12 h 56 min - Reply

    Hi Amy
    It was great having a Skype session with you today. I was feeling very emotional this last few days. I suppose Samsara is Nirvana. (Or in Mark Epstein’s anecdote, that you mentioned,a woman thought he said ‘some sorrow’. I am going through a painful time in my relationship. but as you say Amy the only way out is through so I will call it a break-through. It was so helpful talking to you this morning. In regard to the horrific slayings which took place in Paris last Friday, I can only express my sense of disbelief and shock. I lived through the Troubles in Northern Ireland and every day from 1969 to 1998. The images that were on the TV screens and in the papers recorded the dreadful murders, bombings and maimings that occurred on a regular basis and bore testimony to mistakes of the past, and the way anger and the feelings of disempowerment/injustice spilled out on to the streets initially as Civil Rights marches and then via terrorism. After 3,500 deaths of civilians, activists and military personnel, we had the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 and now we have peace (albeit an armed peace as we still have 88 Peace Walls). Robert Fisk interviewed Brian Keenan this week and I found his insights vis-à-vis the Paris bombings helpful. He said’ Emotion, not reason is the policy option. ‘Without mercy’ is now our dogma as well as that of Isis…but I guess you need four and a half years in a blindfold to understand that.’

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