John William Waterhouse "The Crystal Ball"
Seeing Venice. Riding an elephant. Owning a home by the ocean.
Longing for the unattainable is pleasurable in a strange way, or at least I find this to be true. It is the setting of magical goals in our hearts—goals that might never materialize and yet they fire our imaginations with ripe possibility and allow us, in our quiet moments of yearning, to picture ourselves in that daydream world.
I spoke about the art of longing with a friend one day, of the ability to see something in a window or magazine, to imagine having it, to take pleasure in the idea of it, and to let the yearning curl around your mind and heart with the tantalizing hope that perhaps one day it might be possible. And to be wistfully content if it is not. Longing can and should encompass not needing to own something, despite wanting to.
My mother, when she has seen something lovely in a shop window, has frequently said: Isn't that beautiful? But don't get it for me... I don't need to own it. And another friend spent years of Sunday afternoons going to open houses with her husband, despite the fact that they had barely enough money to live on, much less buy a house. She was practicing the art of longing.
Longing can embrace the sheer pleasure of knowing a particular item or place exists in the world with us. Too few people know what it means to desire something and be willing to allocate the reality to 'some day'. Or perhaps to 'never'. Nearly a year after that conversation with my friend, this delightful book arrived.
|Nineteen Hats, Ten Teacups, an Empty Birdcage & The Art of Longing|
Longing, far more than it haunts you,
reminds you of your true name.
Longing that is with joy is complete longing.
When it is strong it calms us.
Longing is whatever one wishes.
It can tell you your life again.
Longing does not change anything.
It is the art of not knowing.
Longing is when we think our storm is the right size.
A little can be eternal.
Longing always visits one who is content.
It may be the gift no other gift provides.
Longing comes singly and leaves accompanied.
It can be happiness.
Longing is a word that means to put stars together:
the faith you instill, the faith it has instilled.
Longing is to be someone.
To be someone in solitude.