February 21


Today's Quotation:

I think that all human systems require continuous renewal.  They rigidify.  They get stiff in the joints.  They forget what they cared about.  The forces against it are nostalgia and the enormous appeal  of having things the way they always have been, appeals to a supposedly happy past.  But we've got to move on.

John W. Gardner

Today's Meditation:

How have you "renewed" yourself today?  Have you done anything new or different that you might have feared doing in the past?  Have you read something that gives you a new perspective to consider, or watched a movie that may be at odds with some of your deepest-held beliefs?  Have you listened to a person with whom you don't really agree, or considered a newspaper editorial that expressed an opinion that doesn't sit well with your own?  There are many ways that we can grow and move on, and if we don't do so, we risk a great deal.

I had a friend once who lived in the past--all of her conversations revolved around times that had been years earlier.  She listened to music from that time, and she remembered the movies from that time.  Mostly she talked of people she knew and things that happened in high school.  Ironically enough, to hear her speak those times weren't all that good to her--they weren't happy, and a lot of very negative things happened to her.  But somehow, they were safe to her, and focusing on the past allowed her to deal with her todays.

But she wasn't growing, and it seemed as if her mind had stagnated, caught in some sort of pool of murky, dirty water that didn't flow at all, just lay there in a puddle that grew less and less fresh and inviting every day.

We need renewal.  We need to refresh ourselves--we can't just assume that it will happen automatically without any effort on our part.  Some of the most important lessons that I've learned have come from sources that I thought I would hate because their views were so completely different than my own.  But I don't want to rigidify and become a person who hangs on to a "supposedly happy past," not seeing the beauty of the present.

Questions to ponder:

1.  Why is it so tempting to try to keep things the same way they've always been?

2.  Do we learn when we're comfortable, doing the same things as always?  When and how do we learn the most important lessons of our lives?

3.  How often does taking a risk turn out to be a complete disaster?

For further thought:

It seems necessary to completely shed the old skin before the new, brighter, stronger, more beautiful one can emerge. . . . I never thought I'd be getting a life lesson from a snake.

Julie Ridge



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