Change course, experiment with life . . .

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You have a right to experiment with your life. You will make mistakes. And they are right too. No, I think there was too rigid a pattern. You came out of an education and are supposed to know your vocation. Your vocation is fixed, and maybe ten years later you find you are not a teacher anymore or you’re not a painter anymore. It may happen. It has happened. I mean Gauguin decided at a certain point he wasn’t a banker anymore; he was a painter. And so he walked away from banking. I think we have a right to change course. But society is the one that keeps demanding that we fit in and not disturb things. They would like you to fit in right away so that things work now.

— Anaïs Nin

Consider this: Where do you need to change course today?

If You Bring Love . . .

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If You Bring Love
Joseph Campbell

At a certain moment in Nietzsche’s life, the idea came to him of what he called ‘the love of your fate.’ Whatever your fate is, whatever the heck happens, you say, “This is what I need.” It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge.

If you bring love to that moment – not discouragement – you will find the strength is there. Any disaster that you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow. Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see that this is really true.

Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not.

Consider this: It is a matter of perspective.

Two Questions . . .

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Ancient Egyptians believed that upon death they would be asked two questions and their answers would determine whether they could continue their journey in the afterlife. The first question was, ‘Did you bring joy?’ The second was, ‘Did you find joy?'”

Dr. Leo Buscaglia

Consider this: What is your answer today?

Be Present Today . . .

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No matter what looms ahead, if you can eat today, enjoy the sunlight today, mix good cheer with friends today, enjoy it and bless God for it. Do not look back on happiness — or dream of it in the future. You are only sure of today; do not let yourself be cheated out of it.

Author Unknown
But Greatly Appreciated!

Consider this: Be thankful today!

9/11 Remembered . . . 


Fifteen years ago today, (9/11/01) I received a call from Nat Irvin asking me if I heard that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I was sitting in my office on the 13th floor. He called again minutes later to say it had happened again. And then we all would find out about the terrible tragedy unfolding. That evening, I wrote this column that appeared in The W-S Chronicle on (9/13). 

I Cried Today
By Nigel Alston
The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.‘ — Joshua 1:9
I cried today.
I was overcome with the burden of loss. The loss of people, like you and me, who went to work, in New York and Washington, and didn’t make it home. People like you and me who boarded a plane for a destination they wouldn’t see at the end of the day.
I cried today.
I don’t know what you believe in or, for that matter, if you believe in a higher power or not. I do. That’s why I went to church tonight and knelt at the altar beside my sister and cried, as I prayed for those who died today, their family, relatives and friends, for me and for you.
My sister sent a package, Federal Express, to an employee in the World Trade Center Monday night, who worked on the 34th floor. It was delivered Tuesday morning at 8:15 am, shortly before a hijacked plane crashed into the building. We hope the person to receive the package was late for work or didn’t show up.
A package with my sister’s name on it, is in the rubble of the World Trade Center. Had she not been ill during the last few months, she too might have been in that building today instead of the package she mailed and I would still be crying.
My heart is heavy.
I kissed my wife this morning before she left for work. Someone else kissed their loved one too. I ate dinner with her this afternoon. Someone else thought they would, but didn’t know today was the last day for their loved one. I am sitting at home with my wife now. Someone else isn’t. They had planned to, but they didn’t know their plans would change so drastically.
I saw my sister tonight. I held her hand at the altar, as I prayed for you and me to get our act together, before it is too late.
Thousands of people will not get to do that tonight. It’s too late for them. I hope they kissed someone before they boarded the plane.
I hope they hugged someone before going to work and smiled at something that made them happy.
I was overcome at the altar trying not to lean on my own understanding.
A woman called her husband, on her cell phone, from one of the hijacked planes. It was their last conversation. Another man communicated with his wife by email moments before the building collapsed to the ground, disappearing from the skyline. I hope she printed off his last comments.
Jennifer was a witness today. I’ve known her since she was a little girl. I often tease her about going to Sunday School. She is married now and her mother and father cried today.
I sat beside Pat, Jennifer’s mother tonight. You see, Jennifer was supposed to be in that building today. Her feet hurt, so she missed the ferry, and while waiting for the second one, saw that first low flying plane as it crashed into the building.
That’s why we prayed at the altar tonight. We prayed for her and her husband, who works in the same building. He slept late today. Jennifer’s mother had tears in her eyes as she thanked God for her daughter and new son-in-law.
Another church member’s sister works in the Pentagon on the opposite side of the crash today. He is thankful too.
I am glad to know that I can go to the altar and cry and pray for you, me and the thousands of people who can’t pray tonight. And for their family and relatives.
I am OK now. I have nothing to complain about. Life is good. And, I will not take tomorrow for granted. I hope you don’t either.

Pretty Good . . .

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There once was a pretty good student,
Who sat in a pretty good class.
And was taught by a pretty good teacher,
Who always let pretty good pass.
He wasn’t terrific at reading.
He wasn’t a whiz-bang at math,
But for him education was leading
Straight down a pretty good path.
He didn’t find school too exciting,
But he wanted to do pretty well,
And he did have some trouble with writing,
And nobody had taught him to spell.
When doing arithmetic problems,
Pretty good was regarded as fine.
Five plus 5 needn’t always add up to be 10,
A pretty good answer was 9.
The pretty good class that he sat in,
Was part of a pretty good school.
And the student was not an exception,
On the contrary, he was the rule.
The pretty good school that he went to,
Was there in a pretty good town.
And nobody there seemed to notice
He could not tell a verb from a noun.
The pretty good student in fact was
Part of a pretty good mob.
And the first time he knew what he lacked was
When he looked for a pretty good job.
It was then, when he sought a position,
He discovered that life could be tough.
And he soon had a sneaky suspicion
Pretty good might not be good enough.
The pretty good town in our story
Was part of a pretty good state
Which had pretty good aspirations,
And prayed for a pretty good fate.
There once was a pretty good nation,
Pretty proud of the greatness it had,
Which learned much too late,
If you want to be great,
Pretty good is, in fact, pretty bad.”

Charles Osgood
©1986, CBS, Inc.
American Author, Journalist and Commentator

Consider this: Pretty good is not good enough.

The Chief Beauty About Time . . .

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The chief beauty about time
is that you cannot waste it in advance.
The next year, the next day, the next hour
are lying ready for you,
as perfect, as unspoiled,
as if you had never wasted or misapplied
a single moment in all your life.
You can turn over a new leaf every hour
if you choose.

Arnold Bennett

Consider this: What choices are you making about how you use your time right now?

I Know Nothing But Miracles . . .

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I Know Nothing But Miracles
Walt Whitman

As for me, I know nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under the trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love,
Or sleep in bed at night with any one I love,
Or watch honey bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon…
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown,
Or of stars shining so quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring…
What stranger miracles are there?

Consider this: What miracle have you witnessed today?

We’ll See . . .

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We’ll See
Author Unknown

Once upon a time, there was a farmer in the central region of China. He didn’t have a lot of money and, instead of a tractor, he used an old horse to plow his field.

One afternoon, while working in the field, the horse dropped dead. Everyone in the village said, “Oh, what a horrible thing to happen.” The farmer said simply, “We’ll see.” He was so at peace and so calm, that everyone in the village got together and, admiring his attitude, gave him a new horse as a gift.

Everyone’s reaction now was, “What a lucky man.” And the farmer said, “We’ll see.”

A couple days later, the new horse jumped a fence and ran away. Everyone in the village shook their heads and said, “What a poor fellow!”

The farmer smiled and said, “We’ll see.”

Eventually, the horse found his way home, and everyone again said, “What a fortunate man.”

The farmer said, “We’ll see.”

Later in the year, the farmer’s young boy went out riding on the horse and fell and broke his leg. Everyone in the village said, “What a shame for the poor boy.”

The farmer said, “We’ll see.”

Two days later, the army came into the village to draft new recruits. When they saw that the farmer’s son had a broken leg, they decided not to recruit him.

Everyone said, “What a fortunate young man.”

The farmer smiled again – and said “We’ll see.”

Moral of the story: There’s no use in overreacting to the events and circumstances of our everyday lives. Many times what looks like a setback, may actually be a gift in disguise. And when our hearts are in the right place, all events and circumstances are gifts that we can learn valuable lessons from.

Consider this: Don’t overreact.

You Learn . . .

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You Learn . . .

After awhile you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn that love doesn’t mean possession
and company doesn’t mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises and you begin to accept
your defeats with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of an adult not the grief of a child.
And you learn to build your roads today
because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
and futures have ways of falling down in mid-flight.
After awhile you learn that even sunshine
burns if you get too much so you plant your
own garden and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
that you really are strong
and you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn…

– Veronica A. Shoffstall

Consider this: Learning never stops!