Category Archives: Uncategorized

Daily Supply

God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies. Never ask for tomorrow: it is enough that divine Love is an ever-present help; and if you wait, never doubting, you will have all you need every moment. What a glorious inheritance is given to us through the understanding of omnipresent Love! More we cannot ask: more we do not want: more we cannot have. This sweet assurance is the “Peace, be still” to all human fears, to suffering of every sort.
Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings

The Fire of Your Own Inspiration

Emily Carson  January 23, 2008

“Begin with the glory that was always yours.  Begin with that fire, with the passion housed in your cells, with the inspiration you are made of.  Begin with that stamina which has sustained you all this time, the substance of that fire, the ground which has held you up and has kept you moving.  Your passion holds you to your purpose and without it you will not be bound there; without it you will flee the only thing you were meant to do, and you will want all the things you do not need, at the expense—the great expense—of your own meaningful life.

You need the fire of your own inspiration, you need that glory.  It was that fire that brought you here and it is that fire that will sustain you in right and meaningful action, in true and pure intention.  If you cannot find your passion for your own fearless living, then you cannot live fearlessly, you cannot rise in yourself to your own highest potential, manifesting the very pinnacle of what you have to give yourself.  You cannot live well without the fire of this inspiration.  You forget yourself without it; you forget what you love, you forget where you are going, you turn and follow side roads, you dwell in dead ends.

Bring your wanderings back home to your purpose; bring your strayings back to center.  Give yourself the chance to have what you want most dearly, the chance for a life that is yours, a life that matters to you, a life that feels full and rich and lived…”

Earth’s crammed with heaven

Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries…
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

… Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
Exodus 3:5, Bible, King James translation

Paradise is where I am. 
Francois Voltaire, Le Mondain

It’s a magical world, Hobbes, Ol’ Buddy…let’s go exploring!  
Calvin & Hobbes
comic strip, 12/31/95, by Bill Watterson

“Michael is doing just fine at being who Michael is”

I have a friend named Michael who is four years old. Michael has a rare chromosome disorder and is delayed in some of his cognitive development in areas such as speech. I was speaking with his mother and I asked how his speech was going.

In a loving way she let me know that Michael is doing just fine at being who Michael is. I realized that my emphasis on the importance of language, instead of other forms of communication, kept me from seeing and fully appreciating Michael. She went on to tell me that though he doesn’t talk much he kisses and hugs quite a bit, and he doesn’t discriminate as to who receives his enthusiastic and spontaneous affection. Thus there are some surprised strangers receiving large and loving embraces.

After speaking with Michael’s mom, I realized that I would benefit from talking less and indiscriminately loving more. Michael never sees a world full of problems to be solved. He sees a world full of people to be loved.

Smile for No Good Reason, by Lee L. Jampolsky

“Wherever you are is called Here”

Lost

Stand still.
The trees ahead and the bushes beside you
Are not lost.
Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must not treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes.
Listen. It answers,
I have made the place around you.
If you leave it you may not come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost.
Stand still.
The forest knows
Where you are.
You must let it find you.
David Waggoner, from Who Shall Be the Sun? Poems Based on the Lore, Legends, and Myths of Northwest Coast and Plateau Indians 

The Perfection of Our Imperfection

Our current mental hygiene/philosophy stresses the idea that people ought to be happy, that unhappiness is a symptom of maladjustment. Such a value system might be responsible for the fact that the burden of unavoidable unhappiness is increased by unhappiness about being unhappy… [given little opportunity to see it as] enobling rather than degrading, so that, he is not only unhappy, he is ashamed of being unhappy.
Edith Weisskopf-Joelson, quoted in Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning”

Abraham Lincoln’s Perfect Imperfection

The following is excerpted from the article Lincoln’s Great Depression in Atlantic Magazine, October 2005 by Joshua Wolf Shenk. He’s author of the book, Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness.

Abraham Lincoln fought clinical depression all his life, and if he were alive today, his condition would be treated as a “character issue”—that is, as a political liability. His condition was indeed a character issue: it gave him the tools to save the nation…

But Lincoln’s melancholy is part of a whole life story; exploring it can help us see that life more clearly, and discern its lessons. In a sense, what needs “treatment” is our own narrow ideas—of depression as an exclusively medical ailment that must be, and will be, squashed; of therapy as a thing dispensed only by professionals and measured only by a reduction of pain; and finally, of mental trials as a flaw in character and a disqualification for leadership.

Throughout its three major stages—which I call fear, engagement, and transcendence—Lincoln’s melancholy upends such views. With Lincoln we have a man whose depression spurred him, painfully, to examine the core of his soul; whose hard work to stay alive helped him develop crucial skills and capacities, even as his depression lingered hauntingly; and whose inimitable character took great strength from the piercing insights of depression, the creative responses to it, and a spirit of humble determination forged over decades of deep suffering and earnest longing.

Become the Sky

Become the sky.
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Escape.
Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.
Do it now…
Your old life was a frantic running from silence.
The speechless full moon
Comes out now.

Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

Joss Whedon: “The Most Important Message”

The times are chaotic. For me, I would hope that people look at [“Angel” (1999/I)] and gain strength by it. With everything that I do, I hope that they see people struggling to live decent, moral lives in a completely chaotic world. They see how hard it is, how often they fail, and how they get up and keep trying. That, to me, is the most important message I’m ever going to tell.
Joss Whedon, scriptwriter, The Vancouver Sun, February 3, 2004, quote from IMDb

Oprah on failure

When you fail at something, it is God’s way of telling you that you’re going in the wrong direction.
Oprah Winfrey

Not necessarily so. This could suggest we use society’s or someone’s perception of success and failure to define our path and our self.

Here’s another take from Oprah I like better:  So go ahead.  Fall down. The world looks different from the ground.

There are countless people we revere today who were considered failures in their lifetime, but chose to endure. I’m glad Van Gogh and Max Raffler didn’t quit painting (see July 24 entry, below) and Emily Dickenson didn’t quit writing poetry. I’m glad Kerouac didn’t quit writing after his 9th book was turned down. I’m glad Michael Jordan didn’t quit when he was cut from his high school basketball team. I’m glad Siddhartha Gautama left the “successful” life of a prince and sought his own calling, though his family considered this a failure.

What’s “failure”? What’s the “wrong” direction? We can define these only for ourselves. When we start defining them for others, or when others attempt to define them for us, that isn’t truth, it’s just opinion. And if you think you’re a failure, check your self-esteem and think again. Maybe you feel like giving up or you already have.

Consider someone with huge confidence—Thomas Edisonand his famous quote about inventing the light bulb. “I haven’t failed, I’ve found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” How many of us would keep trying after our 9,999th “failure”? It boggles the mind. And I’m not just talking about material goals. I think also of aspirations towards peace, intelligence, wisdom, courage, patience, grace, kindness and compassion.

I’ll end this with the immortal words of Yogi Berra:
  Slump ? I ain’t in no slump. I just ain’t hittin.

The Mind-made Self

Eckhart Tolle:

The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive. To put it more accurately, it is not so much that you use your mind wrongly—you usually don’t use it at all. It uses you.

This incessant mental noise prevents you from finding that realm of inner stillness that is inseparable from Being. It also creates a false mind-made self that casts a shadow of fear and suffering.

To be free of time is to be free of the psychological need of past for your identity and future for your fulfillment.

Thoughts on NEVER Giving Up

…by packaging Success with Virtue, we make a failure a moral defeat. And rather than risk such failure, the less daring now take it to be the part of wisdom to sit it out in the booths and the bars. They do not wish to commit themselves, they are reluctant, in this sick air, to let themselves be engaged. Not realizing that the only true defeat is to be capable of playing a part in the world, and playing no part at all.
Nelson Algren, Nonconformity

The reason you got scared and quit is because you felt too damn important… Feeling important makes one heavy, clumsy, and vain. To be a man of knowledge one needs to be light and fluid.
Don Yuan to Carlos Castaneda, A Separate Reality

The enemy, then, is to be found in one’s own mind, it is cowardice…once she overcame her doubts and fears, she attained her birthright, her self. Then no official, no army, no empire could stop her from going where she pleased.
Alexandra David Neel, Forbidden Journey

Walk Straight on Following Your Heart’s Desire.
Motto on Alexandra David Neel‘s French Medal, from Ecclesiastes

Even in that deep misery I felt my energy revive, and I said to myself, in spite of everything I shall rise again—I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing.
Vincent Van Gogh

You miss 100% of the shots you never make.
Wayne Gretzky

Believing is Seeing

Once upon a time a man whose ax was missing suspected his neighbor’s son. The boy walked like a thief, looked like a thief, and spoke like a thief. But the man found his ax while digging in the valley, and the next time he saw his neighbor’s son, the boy walked, looked and spoke like any other child.
Lao Tsu

Barn’s burnt down. Now I can see the moon.
 
Masahide

We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.
Talmud

Behind one objective that one values, another objective lurks just within sight, and another beyond one’s grasp… “man’s purpose is like the horizon… (as it) appears before the eyes, so the purpose appears before the mind, and as the horizon is in fact nonexistent, so the purpose is in fact a non-reality. (Man) is limited because he is conscious of his limitation. … Here we touch upon the clue to the ultimate awakening: switch the setting of consciousness. “What is meant by limitation and by perfection? These are only conditions of the consciousness. When one is conscious of limitation, one is limited. When one is conscious of perfection, one is perfect.” What we obtain is what our beliefs allow us to obtain.
Pir Vilayat, Message in Our Time (biography of Sufi Master Inayat Khan)

Not Invited?

You have not been invited to somebody’s dinner-party? Of course not; for you didn’t give the host the price at which he sells his dinner. He sells it for praise; he sells it for personal attention. Give him the price, then, for which it is sold, if it is to your interest. But if you wish both not to give up the one and yet to get the other, you are insatiable and a simpleton. Have you, then, nothing in place of the dinner? Indeed you have; you have not had to praise the man you did not want to praise; you have not had to put up with the insolence of his doorkeepers.
Epictetus, Encheiridion (or Manual), translated by W.A. Oldfather

Foolish Rejectors!

Love ’em—stories of highly gifted types who faced rejection by mere mortals. The following are by Grantley Morris, who writes: “When hit by rejection, it is uplifting to know you are not alone. Let’s begin by exploring this thought and follow it up with other insights to empower you to spring back to effectiveness after a major blow.”

Rejected as too awkward and clumsy to be a ball boy in a Davis Cup tennis match, Stan Smith went on to become the officially ranked number one tennis player in the world (1972-1973).

Would-be crime novelist John Creasey received an unbroken succession of 743 rejections. Over sixty million of his books have now been published.

‘What will they send me next!’ said Edmund Hillary‘s gym instructor of the puny school boy now known as the man who conquered Mount Everest.

Beethoven‘s music teacher declared him ‘hopeless’ at composing.

Mentally backward Max Raffler loved to paint. Over the years, as his paintings piled ever higher, his sisters would burn them to make room for more. Finally, when an old man, his artistic ability was recognised. The well-meaning sisters had destroyed paintings that would have sold for tens of millions of dollars.

It was the dead of night. A shadow slunk down the street. It was Charles with the dickens of a problem. He was off to mail his manuscript, huddling his guilty secret, petrified lest friends find out and ridicule him. The manuscript was rejected. More rejections pierced him before he won the hearts of millions with such classics as Oliver Twist.

An invitation was extended to witness one of humanity’s most historic moments —the Wright brothers‘ first flight in their heavier-than-air machine. Five people turned up.

Don’t Let the Turkeys Get You Down

When faced with challenges, it can be easy to react with anger, bitterness, cynicism, self-righteousness, self-pity—to let these feelings move in and stake their claim in our hearts, for a moment or for years. An antidote for this is Viktor Frankl‘s book Man’s Search for Meaning. I should read at least parts of it often. Frankl spent years in a German concentration camp—talk about challenges, about unfairness, injustice, about not reaping what you have sown. His constant conscious choice to take the high road is humbling. This is someone who epitomized walking his talk.

A friend was walking across the field with me towards the camp when suddenly we came to a field of green crops. Automatically, I avoided it, but he drew his arm through mine and dragged me through it. I stammered something about not treading down the young crops. He became annoyed, gave me an angry look, and shouted… Only slowly could these men be guided back to the commonplace truth that no one has the right to do wrong, not even if wrong has been done to them.

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way… every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate.

Even though conditions such as lack of sleep, insufficient food and various mental stresses may suggest that the inmates were bound to react in certain ways, in the final analysis it becomes clear that the sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision, and not the result of camp influences alone. Fundamentally, therefore, any man can, even under such circumstances, decide what shall become of him—mentally and spiritually. He may retain his human dignity even in a concentration camp.

A Day at the Beach

If you find it hard to sink your toes in the sand and relax, consider the alternative—sand wizard Sandy Feet (pictured below checking her email) who quotes Edna St. Vincent Millay on her homepage:

Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!

sfchmp

dunecas99

Happy Birthday, Pablo

Ricardo Eliezer Neftali Reyes Basoalto was born on this day in 1904 in Parral, Chile. He wanted to be a poet, but his family disapproved, especially his father (his mother died when he was 2 months old), so he wrote under a pseudonym, Pablo Neruda, in honor of the Czech poet Jan Neruda. Others encouraged him, including a teacher, Gabriela Mistral (who became the first Latin American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature). He honored the poet Walt Whitman as an influence.

Poets.org writes that “he sold all of his possessions to finance the publication of his first book Crepusculario (Twilight).” Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. A life-long defender of social justice, he was close to Chile’s President Salvador Allende. On September 11, 1973, Allende died in a military coup by General Pinochet. As Neruda’s home was being ransacked by armed forces, Neruda told them “Look around—there’s only one thing of danger for you here—poetry.” Already seriously ill, he died twelve days later on September 23.

Poetry Arrived from http://www.poetseers.org

And it was at that age…Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don’t know, I don’t know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don’t know how or when,
no, they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.
I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
deciphering
that fire
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
nonsense,
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
unfastened
and open,
planets,
palpitating plantations,
shadow perforated,
riddled
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.
And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
void,
likeness, image of
mystery,
I felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke free on the open sky.

And Other Birthdays…

Also born today: Buckminister Fuller, 1895; George Washington Carver, 1864 (see January 19, 2006 entry below); Henry David Thoreau, 1817

I call intuition cosmic fishing. You feel the nibble, and then you have to hook the fish.
Buckminster Fuller

Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.
George Washington Carver

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.
Henry David Thoreau

So how was your day at work?

changing guard20