13 March 2018
you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking.
Angels whisper to a person when one goes for a walk.
person is the
individual who forms the habit
of doing what the failing
person doesn't like to do.
Who builds a church within
And takes it with them everywhere
Is holier far than they whose church
Is but a one-day house of prayer.
Morris Abel Beer
Laura Berman Fortgang
Usually, I find it easy to find the divine in strangers I
meet along my path. It may be on an airplane, at the
mall, on a campground--just anywhere. I find it easy
to connect with them, usually being the one who starts the
conversation especially if I see them looking awkward
wondering if they should say something. I can find
something in them across any cultural, racial, or physical
boundaries to connect with them on. As my eyes meet
theirs and a smile warms my face, it's almost as if my
upturned expression turns on a faucet that empties love
into my heart. Much more difficult is finding the
divine in those who test my patience and goodwill.
When I lived in my studio on Twenty-third Street in New
York City, I had a neighbor who was very elusive.
Our apartments were separated only by an elevator shaft,
yet we never spoke to each other. She would rush
into her apartment and close the door to avoid eye contact
with me, and she often left things that got in my way in
the narrow hallway. She was a chubby woman in her
forties with big blue eyes and curly chestnut hair, who
always seemed distracted, in a rush, and somewhat messy
and eccentric. I had some animosity toward her only
because at the time it was hard not to take it personally
that she never looked up to say hello. I didn't hate
her, but I just never gave any thought to her behavior
other than being annoyed by it.
winter in particular, I happened to casually notice that
the hats or head scarves my neighbor usually wore no
longer had chestnut curls falling from them. There
was no evidence of her head being shaved; her hair had
clearly fallen out.
"Oh my God," I remember thinking.
"She's got cancer!"
After I made that discovery, the opportunity to run into
her had not come up until one night, when I went to throw
the trash into the incinerator. I found her sitting
in the stairwell smoking a cigarette.
"I've never seen you smoke," I said.
"It's not a good time to start," she said.
"I wanted to keep the smoke out of the
apartment. You know, I am really sorry for all the
stuff I leave in the hallway sometimes. I had to
lose a breast to figure out it was time to let go of some
of the stuff in my apartment."
I didn't know how to react at first.
"You don't have to apologize." I could
feel shame washing over me as I realized I had known
nothing of this woman's pain.
"I noticed you had lost your hair, but I had no idea
you had cancer. I'm so sorry."
"It's okay," she said. "I am going to
be all right. But I am learning so much and I know
this happened to me because I can't let go of
anything. I can't let you in to see, but my
apartment is floor-to-ceiling shoes, furniture,
newspapers, and boxes, with a few little pathways to walk
through. I know I have to clear this place
I don't remember how the conversation ended that night,
but I do remember that we went on to be friendly with each
other. We found that we shared a religious
upbringing and a love of vintage shoes and all things
bohemian. She moved away a couple of years later,
and while we never became close enough that we might have
kept in touch, her presence had taught me so much.
Through the realization that her earlier behavior had had
absolutely nothing to do with me, I learned that taking
personally such small things as a failure to say hello was
a waste of energy. If I had known to see more and
look more deeply, I may have recognized her magnificence
sooner. She was a sweet person with a tough
life. I felt so bad for having ever been annoyed
with her. If I had asked about the stuff in the
hall, I might have learned about her living conditions
earlier and maybe could have helped her. Her
perfection was a given, but I never bothered to look.
people behind the words
and excerpts - Daily
Two - Year Three
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Your Fun Every Day as You Do Your Work
Orison Swett Marden
Ten things are necessary for happiness in this
life, the first being a good digestion, and the
other nine,--money; so at least it is said by
our modern philosophers. Yet the author of
"A Gentle Life" speaks more truly in
saying that the Divine creation includes
thousands of superfluous joys which are totally
unnecessary to the bare support of life.
They alone are happy people who have learned to
extract happiness, not from ideal conditions,
but from the actual ones around them. The
people who have mastered the secret will not
wait for ideal surroundings; they will not wait
until next year, next decade, until they get
rich, until they can travel abroad, until they
can afford to surround themselves with works of
the great masters; but they will make the most
out of life to-day, where they are.
"Why thus longing, thus forever sighing,
far-off, unattained and dim,
While the beautiful, all round thee lying,
Offers up its low, perpetual hymn?
"Happy the people, and happy they alone,
They who can call to-day their own;
They who, secure within themselves, can say:
'To-morrow, do thy worst, for I have
Paradise is here or nowhere: you must take your
joy with you or you will never find it.
It is after business hours, not in them, that we
break down. We must, like Philip Armour, turn
the key on business when we leave it, and at
once unlock the doors of some wholesome
recreation. Dr. Lyman Beecher used to divert
himself with a violin. He had a regular system
of what he called "unwinding," thus
relieving the great strain put upon him.
"A person," says Dr. Johnson,
"should spend part of his or her time with the
Humor was Lincoln's life-preserver, as it has
been of thousands of others. "If it were
not for this," he used to say, "I
should die." His jests and quaint stories
lighted the gloom of dark hours of national
"Next to virtue," said Agnes
Strickland, "the fun in this world is what
we can least spare."
"When the harness is off," said Judge
Haliburton, "a critter likes to kick up his
"I have fun from morning till night,"
said the editor Charles A. Dana to a friend who
was growing prematurely old. "Do you read
novels, and play billiards, and walk a great
Gladstone early formed a habit of looking on the
bright side of things, and never lost a moment's
sleep by worrying about public business.
There are many out-of-door sports, and the very
presence of nature is to many a great joy.
true it is that, if we are cheerful and
contented, all nature smiles with us,--the air
seems more balmy, the sky more clear, the earth
has a brighter green, the trees have a richer
foliage, the flowers are more fragrant, the
birds sing more sweetly, and the sun, moon, and
stars all appear more beautiful. "It is a
grand thing to live, to open the eyes in the
morning and look out upon the world, to drink in
the pure air and enjoy the sweet sunshine, to
feel the pulse bound, and the being thrill with
the consciousness of strength and power in every
nerve; it is a good thing simply to be alive,
and it is a good world we live in, in spite of
the abuse we are fond of giving it."
"I love to hear the bee sing amid the
To me his drowsy melody is sweeter than his
For, while the shades are shifting
Along the path to noon,
My happy brain goes drifting
To dreamland on his tune.
"I love to hear the wind blow amid the
And when a fragile flower falls, to watch it as
And view each leaflet falling
Upon the emerald turf,
With idle mind recalling
The bubbles on the surf.
"I love to lie upon the grass, and let my
Earthward and skyward there; while peacefully I
How much of purest pleasure
Earth holds for his delight
Who takes life's cup to measure
Naught but its blessings bright."
Upon every side of us are to be found what one
has happily called--UNWORKED JOY MINES.
And those who go "prospecting"
to see what they can daily discover are wise
training their eye to see beauty in everything and
"One ought, every day," says Goethe,
"at least to hear a little song, read a
good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were
possible, to speak a few reasonable words."
And if this be good for one's self, why not try
the song, the poem, the picture, and the good
words, on some one else?
Shall music and poetry die out of you while you
are struggling for that which can never enrich
the character, nor add to the soul's worth?
Shall a disciplined imagination fill the mind
with beautiful pictures? Those who have intellectual
resources to fall back upon will not lack for
daily recreation most wholesome.
It was a remark of Archbishop Whately that we
ought not only to cultivate the cornfields of
the mind, but the pleasure-grounds also. A
well-balanced life is a cheerful life; a happy
union of fine qualities and unruffled temper, a
clear judgment, and well-proportioned faculties.
In a corner of his desk, Lincoln kept a copy of
the latest humorous work; and it was frequently
his habit, when fatigued, annoyed, or depressed,
to take this up, and read a chapter with great
relief. Clean, sensible wit, or sheer
nonsense,--anything to provoke mirth and make a
man jollier,--this, too, is a gift from Heaven.
In the world of books, what is grand and
inspiring may easily become a part of every
person's life. A fondness for good literature, for
good fiction, for travel, for history, and for
biography,--what is better than this?
Wallpaper! Just click below
the size your desktop is
right-click on the
picture that appears
in the new
window, and choose
"Set as background."
photo's from a winter
day in the Cascade Mountains)
x 800 - 1440
you know the more I look into life, the more things it seems to me
successfully lack--and continue to grow happier. How many kinds
food I do not need, or cooks to
cook them, how much curious clothing
tailors to make it, how many books I have
never read, and pictures
are not worthwhile! The farther I run, the more I feel like casting
aside all such impediments--lest I fail to arrive at the far goal of my
I've been in many situations in which I've watched people
celebrate the mediocre and even the poor job. I've been at
schools in which students are praised with words like "You
did a wonderful job" just because they did something better
than they did it the last time, but by no means did they
accomplish something excellent, something extraordinary.
It's a tendency that bothers me greatly, for while we think that
it's helping a person's self-esteem to praise them highly, what
it's actually doing is teaching that person that mediocre work is
not just acceptable, but it's something to be praised.
I definitely believe in giving praise where praise is due.
And if someone does a good job, then I firmly believe that it's
important that we acknowledge that fact with a "good
job." However, there's a huge difference between good
and wonderful, and it seems that fewer people are able to
recognize that difference when they see it, and they're teaching
young people the wrong things about what constitutes
The problem with this tendency is that it keeps young people from
learning just what "excellent" really means. The
word obviously is derived from the verb "to excel,"
which means to do something better than others do the same
thing. I've worked with many young people who experience
great disappointment and frustration when they've done somewhat
decent work and have expected a high grade for it. I even
have students who think that they should get an "A" just
because they did an assignment. Because others have allowed
them to believe that they can be rewarded for doing just normal
work, they aren't able to deal effectively with the results of
being told their work is decent--it causes them to experience
extremely negative feelings.
All we have to do is look to athletics for a good example.
In competitions, "excellent" is obvious, whereas
"okay" is also obvious. For the most part, young
people are able to get a realistic idea of where they stand.
Of course, since some of them are at very small schools, the level
of competition is much lower, and this presents a problem,
also. What's excellent in a track meet for small schools,
for example, probably wouldn't even make the cut for a track meet
for large schools.
So what? To me it seems very clear that one of the most
important things that we can do for our young people is to give
them an accurate idea of their abilities. We can still
praise, and we can still encourage, but if we start gushing, we
could easily be doing more harm than good. Young people who
grow up knowing that excellence takes extra work and extra
dedication are much more likely to reach excellence in their work
and their hobbies, for they won't have grown up thinking that they
can win praise and accolades for mediocre work. I can't tell
you how many students in my English classes in college ended up
getting C's when they had never gotten below an A in high school.
Help our young people to have an accurate idea of their skills and
potential. As hard as it is, withhold the claims of
"that's a wonderful job" for the truly wonderful
jobs--you can say "You did well" and still help
someone to feel good about themselves. What our young learn
from us sticks with them for a very long time, and we want that to
be something helpful, not something harmful.
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While ideas such as discipline and focus
so is the idea of having fun.
With a small amount of
effort, we can extract
all the fun and joy out of most parts of our lives--our
our work, even our leisure time. We can put so many
and should's on
everything we do that our very lives become
dull, overly ponderous, and routine. Before long, we find
ourselves living up
to a set of rules--and we're not
certain where the rules
came from or whose
Let yourself go. Have a little fun
with life. Or, have
of fun with life. If you've spent years being
extremely disciplined, reliable,
and somber, maybe
part of achieving balance is having a
decade of fun.
Look at life through the windshield,
not the rearview mirror.
My sister Barbara tried to teach me this lesson
more than twenty years ago. At the time, she was
planning her wedding under what I can only describe as
bittersweet circumstances. On the one hand, my
sister was about to realize a life-long dream:
at age thirty-eight, she was about to marry the man
she had been in love with since they were
teenagers. On the other, she had just been
diagnosed with colon cancer. . . .
"What good would it do to be angry,
Patsy?" she said gently. "I can't
change the past and I can't control the future.
I can, however, make the most of the present.
Shot and I are together now. At this
moment. And, if you think about it, this moment
is all any of us really has."
The ability to live fully in the moment--in the
time and place we are right now--is one of the
greatest secrets I know of living joyfully.
Because once you grasp it, freedom is very
close. You stop worrying about the past and
stressing out about the future. Enjoying
life--not agonizing about what happened yesterday or
what might happen tomorrow--becomes your
priority. Your days become a gift, not a grind.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Sometimes I feel so passionate a yearning
For spiritual perfection here below,
This vigorous frame, with healthful fervor burning,
Seems my determined foe,
actively it makes a stern resistance,
So cruelly sometimes it wages war
Against a wholly spiritual existence
Which I am striving for.
interrupts my soul's intense devotions;
Some hope it strangles, of divinest birth,
With a swift rush of violent emotions
Which link me to the earth.
is as if two mortal foes contended
Within my bosom in a deadly strife,
One for the loftier aims for souls intended,
One for the earthly life.
yet I know this very war within me,
Which brings out all my will-power and control,
This very conflict at the last shall win me
The loved and longed-for goal.
very fire which seems sometimes so cruel
Is the white light that shows me my own strength.
A furnace, fed by the divinest fuel,
It may become at length.
when in the immortal ranks enlisted,
I sometimes wonder if we shall not find
That not by deeds, but by what we've resisted,
Our places are assigned.
Everybody avoids the company of
those who are always grumbling, who are
full of "ifs" and "buts," and "I told you
so's." We like the people who always
look toward the sun, whether it shines or not. It is the
cheerful, hopeful people
we go to for sympathy and assistance; not the carping, gloomy
think it is going to rain, and that we are going to have a terribly
summer, or a fearful thunder-storm, or who are forever complaining
times and their hard lot. It is the bright, cheerful, hopeful,
who makes their ways, who are respected and admired.
Gloom and depression not only take much out of life, but detract
from the chances of winning success. It is the bright and
spirit that wins the final triumph.
Orison Swett Marden