Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I'm a firm believer in the philosophy that there are no accidents in life. And so, the other night when I found myself awake into the wee hours of the morning, I was flipping through the TV channels and happened upon a special on our local PBS channel called "Seeing, Searching, Being".

This show was made by Ken Burns who is known for his documentary on the Civil War, among others. "Seeing, Searching, Being" is a documentary about William Segal, a painter who lived from 1904-2000. William Segal's "religious philosophy centers on the idea that humans should practice silence, stillness and contemplation to discover the secret spiritual forces within themselves". He studied Chinese Zen Buddhism as well as other philosophies and lived his life exploring the world around him. He painted many self-portraits during his lifetime. Ken Burns stated that his friendship with William Segal "rearranged his molecules" (not a direct quote but I paraphrase).

Here is one of the poems that I found that he wrote.

"To wake up to..."

To wake up to
who we are
what we are here for.

To make all life
more poetical, more sane
more livin, lovin.

To experience
the true of all things

this moment...
this moment...
this moment.
William Segal

Needless to say, I got on the computer the next morning and ordered the video. The colors, the story behind his beliefs, the artistic way the film was shot, the artwork created by William Segal, his demeanor...all are part of what drew me to this documentary in the first place. Because there are no accidents in life and, as William Segal whole-heartedly believed: "to wake up to who we are and what we are here for", I found myself this week seeing this thread running through many different blogs I have read. And, even the lesson on Sunday at my church was discovering your mission and your purpose. A quote in the lesson said this:

"When a man has a big enough sense of purpose, he loses himself (yet finds a greater self) in his absorption or dedication to the purpose." (Taken from The Week That Changed the World by Ernest C. Wilson)

It would seem that I am being lead to explore what my purpose in life is. The evidence to me is what I am seeing when I open my eyes..."to wake up to who we are and what we are here for". When you see something reiterated over and over to you, do you listen to the message or ignore it? And, more importantly, do you recognize what it is you are supposed to be seeing? That is the really important part.

Another pertinent quote from Sunday (thank you Mark!) is this:

"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy." George Bernard Shaw

Make your purpose count. Follow your bliss. Discover the secret spiritual force within yourself.

These are all messages I have seen this week and are relevant in my life right now. And what is on my current reading list: you guessed it: Insomnia by Stephen King! How relevant is that!


  1. Great quotes, great post! I will watch for the PBS Ken Burns show on Segal. It sounds fascinating!

  2. Wow Teri...this is so powerful! You touched at the core of my being today. I have for the longest time tried to move forward in many different directions. Two businesses, back to school to prepare for another, and then another attempt at a small business with Etsy....all had given me nothing but obstacles. I kept thinking that I needed to find what I loved to make a living...and yet have one. But some time ago it was revealed to me that I am here to be a mother to my kids and grandmother to the grandchildren. And it may seem like a bore to some and not much respect given to this calling...it is what I was brought her to do. I was resentful of my kids for a long time thinking their needs were holding me back. I'd start a project...and the kids would need attention keeping me from moving forward. I decided to just give in to it. The I came across this quote..."Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially on their children than the unlived life of a parent." C.G.Jung. And then it dawned on me...after all these years that the need to succeed in a business wasn't for me personally....it was somewhat of a tool to teach my kids what they could do with their lives by my example. Once I made the realization...it seemed all the doors began to open for me...as well as them. And that is my purpose...it still is all about being a mom.
    Sorry for being so long-winded here...but this is a wonderful post Teri...it really is so true. Thank you so much dear friend. <3

  3. this is cool...i really liked the verse and will dig more into this...

  4. this is really some interesting stuff...i really like the verse and will look more into him...

  5. I'm adding this film to my queue right now! And I love LOVE the Shaw quote. I might have to post it soon.

  6. Wow, weird synchronicity that "This moment this moment this moment" was also what popped into my head for a post title just a week or so ago! I'm definitely going to check this movie out.

  7. What an interesting post with a lot to think about.
    One of my favorite quotes is by Teilhard De Chardin. It says:
    "The whole of life lies in the verb SEEING."

    I love this and believe that true vision comes with quiet introspection and thought. The ego vanishes and we don't have to create a reason for ourselves and others. We only need to watch and listen. Then we live "in the moment,in the moment,in the moment"

    I like the idea of seeking purpose but I'm in my 60's and I haven't found a single purpose. I have found many over my lifetime. Because "in the moment" is always in a different place.... "now" is always changing. So we need to see what is there, in that moment and live it.

    Great post. I will try to find the Burns documentary. It sounds very interesting.

  8. Connie--What a great thought that the purpose changes perhaps daily. And at first I read your comment that you "hadn't found a single purpose" differently. I get it now! You have found "many"! I loved the "feeling" in the documentary. There is a quiet peace, a feeling of calm that really comes through. It depicts what Segal is really about I think. I did some research on him later and he had a very interesting career. I am going to see if I can find any of his books at the library. They were pretty pricey on Amazon.

  9. this movie sounds so good so hope it is on Netflix. I actually live just 15 minutes from Ken Burns' place!! though sadly have never met him to my knowledge.


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