By Kahlil Gibran (Gibran Khalil Gibran)
To mark the National Arab American Heritage Month (this past April), I chose one of my favorite books: the Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran, a Lebanese-American writer. I grew up back home in Beirut having a very deep appreciation for him.
What genre? life wisdom, inspiration, poetry fables
Why read? in a collection of twenty-six beautiful and deeply insightful poetic essays, the author Kahlil Gibran shares the wisdom of a prophet who is asked fundamental questions by a group of people on love, marriage, law, pain, freedom, self-knowledge and other topics on life and the human condition
3 concepts that inspired me:
Rest in reason and move in passion: Our souls are often a battlefield between our reason & judgement on one hand, and our passion & desires on the other. If we let our reason rule alone, it would act as a confining force… and if we let our passion unattended, it will be like a flame that burns into its own destruction. Let us instead consider both as two loved guests in our house that we honor equally - let our soul elevate our reason to the height of our passion, and let it as much lead our passion with reason, so that our passion may ‘live through its own daily resurrection’.
Put love into your work: Kahlil Gibran describes work as a way to keep pace with the soul of the earth. He says that keeping ourselves busy with work is a way to, in truth, love life. More importantly putting love into our work is how we bind ourselves to ourselves, and to one another. No matter the work we choose, let’s find ways to doing it with love, to make it wholesome for ourselves and others - indeed the baker who creates bread with love creates a sweet bread that fully feeds man’s hunger. Work is “love made visible”.
Give what you’re able to give, and learn to receive. Let’s give whatever we’re capable of giving, let’s try to give even when unasked, and let’s above all, try to give with joy - as joy will be our biggest reward. As for when we’re receivers, let’s learn to “rise with the giver on their gifts as on wings”, and let’s not worry or be over-mindful of our debts, as it would be to doubt our givers’ generosity and joy in giving us.
2 excerpts I enjoyed reading:
On the bond of a healthy union and love:
“You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore. (…) But let there be spaces in your togetherness. And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. (…) Fill each other’s cups but drink not from one cup. (…) Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”
On joy and sorrow being inseparable:
“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven? (…) When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for what has been your delight. ”
1 question I’m asking myself:
Next time, my passion (or reason) completely takes over, what can I do to also listen to my second beloved guest within?
Dear all, to ensure I continue putting all my love and care into these newsletters - quite timely with this book’s learnings :), I am turning them into monthly ones (at least for now). Whenever life allows it, I will be releasing extra editions. With love always, Vanessa