Thursday, March 11, 2021

#70 / Popover

Much as I make sure to read every edition of The Sun magazine (an article from The Sun having been advertised here yesterday), I similarly enjoy reading the Brainpickings postings of Maria Popova. Popova is a Bulgarian-born, American-based writer of cultural criticism, and of literary and arts commentary. 

When you do a search for Brainpickings online, you'll find the link to its website coupled with this description: "An inventory of the meaningful life." I have found that description to be accurate, and so I commend Brainpickings to any who may be reading this. As a discipline, taking an inventory of the meaning of one's life on a weekly or even bi-weekly basis has much to recommend it. You can subscribe to Brainpickings for free, though contributions are welcomed. 

As you can possibly tell from the illustration above, which I have commandeered from the most recent, "midweek Pick-me-up" edition of Brainpickings, Popova's commentaries - though often dealing with serious subjects - are not necessarily dark, heavy, or ponderous. They tend to be posted from the sunny side of the street. That is why I have taken a bit of liberty in the title to today's blog post, denominating Popova as "Popover." Just like the comestible of that name, her offerings are most usually both light and delicious. 
The subject illustrated by the whimsical Raccoon and Goose, pictured above, is "heartbreak." Consistent with the illustration, Popova has an upbeat take on this topic, citing to David Whyte and his book, Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words:

Heartbreak begins the moment we are asked to let go but cannot, in other words, it colors and inhabits and magnifies each and every day; heartbreak is not a visitation, but a path that human beings follow through even the most average life. Heartbreak is an indication of our sincerity: in a love relationship, in a life’s work, in trying to learn a musical instrument, in the attempt to shape a better more generous self. Heartbreak is the beautifully helpless side of love and affection and is [an] essence and emblem of care… Heartbreak has its own way of inhabiting time and its own beautiful and trying patience in coming and going. And yet while heartbreak has this immense spiritual value, and even an evolutionarily adaptive one, we still treat it like a problem to be solved rather than like the psychoemotional growth-spurt that it is.

Heartbreak as a growth spurt / spur to growth? That's an upbeat take on this topic, for sure - but perhaps just the right way to look at it. Popova would undoubtedly endorse the song that sprang to my mind, as I read her latest. It's one of my favorites, from the Carter Family.
Keep On The Sunny Side

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