17 May 2016
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
Joseph M. Marshall III
women, no longer young, sat together and talked about the
lives they had lived. The first woman had married
young and raised several children. She and her
husband had worked hard to have a home and provide for
their family. They had spent their lives in that
home in a valley along a river. Neither of them
traveled very far from their valley. As time went
by, their children grew and eventually had children of
their own. But all the years of hard work had
finally taken their toll on her husband, and he died.
The second woman, on the other hand, had married a man who
was an important official. His duties took him away
from home to far and distant places. She frequently
traveled with her husband, and therefore saw many
different lands and people from different
backgrounds. Although her house was filled with
treasures from those faraway places, there were no
children. Her husband wanted none, afraid they would
hamper his career, and she acquiesced.
So as the two women talked, a question arose in each of
their minds. Why couldn't things have been
different? It troubled each of them that they might
have been able to live a different life, and didn't.
Unable to find answers, they decided to speak with a very
old woman known for her wisdom and kindness.
old woman listened to the two women as they told the
stories of their lives, and their questions about what
might have been. She was not surprised as she
listened to them describe their lives, the dreams realized
and unfulfilled. When they finished, she reached
into a closet and withdrew two woven wool blankets,
identically plain and gray. She gave a blanket to
each woman. Then she gave them needles and many
spools of different-colored thread.
"Decorate your blankets, each of you," the old
woman instructed. "When you have finished,
bring them to me, and then we will talk again."
The two women were a little puzzled, but they did as the
old woman bid them.
Many days later the two women returned with their
blankets. Each had decorated one entire side of her
blanket. The old woman was pleased.
"Let us look at your blankets," she said, and
hung them on a wall.
"Well, well," she chuckled, "just as
I thought. Though all I said was to decorate your
blankets, each of you has told the story of your
Indeed they had.
On the first woman's blanket was a series of scenes,
vignettes of her life. First there was a man and a
woman, then babies and children, and children grown into
adults with babies of their own. A man and a woman
tilling the Earth and bringing in the harvest; a house
standing near a river in a valley beneath a wide
sky. She had used almost every color from the spools
of thread; vibrant greens, bright blues, fiery reds,
glowing yellows, soothing lavenders, and soft oranges.
The second woman had used the same colors as well, though
understandably, the vignettes of her life were
different. On her blanket were pictures of trains
and ships, and desert lands, mountain ridges, and great
cities, and people with various styles of clothing, and
animals of different shapes and sizes.
"You came to me and asked if your lives should have
been different. I believe you have answered your own
question, each of you. Both of your lives could have
been different, if you had made other choices; if
you had turned left instead of right, if you had said 'no'
instead of 'yes.' If the lives you lived were
unacceptable and you were truly unhappy with them, you
would have told the story of your lives as you wished they
could have been. Yet you told them as they
were. You could have changed your stories but you
did not. Now you can think about the choices you
make from this moment on."
The two women took their blankets home, and each of them
found a wall in her house to hang them. Every
morning each woman awoke and looked at her blanket and
faced the day with a smile. Every evening each
looked at her blanket, and whispered a prayer of
And if you were to ever visit them and see their blankets,
chances are you would be drawn to the images and the
colors, and not notice the blankets were gray underneath.
best-selling Native American
writer Joseph M. Marshall III
comes an inspirational guide
deeply rooted in Lakota
a young manís father
dies, he turns to his sagacious
they sit underneath the familyís
tree, and the grandfather
shares his perspective
on life, the
perseverance it requires, and the
pleasure and pain of the journey.
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.
He alone is the happy man who has learned to
extract happiness, not from ideal conditions,
but from the actual ones about him. The man who
has mastered the secret will not wait for ideal
surroundings; he will not wait until next year,
next decade, until he gets rich, until he can
travel abroad, until he can afford to surround
himself with works of the great masters; but he
will make the most out of life to-day, where he
"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 man, and happy he alone,
He who can call to-day his own;
He who, secure within himself, 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 man," says Dr. Johnson,
"should spend part of his 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. How
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 he who goes "prospecting"
to see what he can daily discover is a wise man,
training his 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? He who has 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
man's life. A fondness for good literature, for
good fiction, for travel, for history, and for
biography,--what is better than this?
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The transition from rebellion to acceptance
has an extremely important
consequence. . . in which we
start seeing life as a training school,
to teach us what
we need to learn.
or the Easy Way out?
Sometimes I see things very clearly. Sometimes this is a
curse. It becomes a curse when I find myself facing the
dilemma: do I say something about what I see, or do I stay
quiet? It's a very strong dilemma, because usually after I
weigh the pros and cons, the right thing seems to be to say
something, and that almost always brings repercussions, even if
I'm simply telling the truth. Many people don't want to hear
the truth, though, for it complicates their lives.
Here's an example: somebody is conducting training for the
people in your office. The trainer is unprepared,
ineffective, and basically wasting everyone's time. You see
this, and it frustrates you to know that everyone's wasting their
time and not really learning anything that would be helpful to
them in their jobs.
Do you say anything? If you're fortunate, you'll have a boss
or supervisor who's willing to listen and actually do something
about it. But most of us aren't fortunate, and we have
bosses or supervisors who don't want to do anything about such a
problem because to do so would mean them sticking their necks out
and doing more work trying to deal with the problem.
Besides, the company has already paid for the training, so let's
just sit through it like good little boys and girls and then go
back to our jobs.
Even worse, whenever you decide to make a complaint, valid or not,
you run the risk of being seen as not a "team
player." You run the risk of being labeled a whiner or
complainer. Now, there are people who do whine or complain a
lot, but there are also people who, when they see something wrong,
feel a moral and ethical imperative to try to do something to
right the wrong, even if that's just by bringing it to the
attention of someone who should be able to do something about it.
I go through this all the time. Very often, I'll weigh the
pros and cons and decide not to say anything at all, for the
potential positive results simply aren't strong enough to balance
out the potential negative results.
Other times, though, I have to be like Atticus Finch, who tells
his children that he defended Tom Robinson because it was the
right thing to do, and if he didn't do so, he wouldn't have been
able to hold his head high and ask his kids to be true to their
own morals. I know that if I don't say anything, I won't be
able to live with myself if I don't say something. I know
that I would become a hypocrite or a liar if I stay silent, and
then, no matter what the outcome, I say what I know to be right.
Such an action is not without its negative results. When we
point out flaws, people tend to feel threatened, and they tend to
react defensively. Sometimes they'll insult you to make your
argument seem less valid in their eyes--after all, if they can
talk down to you, then what does your opinion or voice
matter? Other times, they'll criticize you in order to
discredit who you are and what you say. If they're insecure
enough, they may even make personal attacks to try to harm
you. None of these results are all that great, but what is
It's quite simple--the alternative is to go on in your life
knowing that when something needed to be said, you didn't have the
courage to say it. When change needed to be made for the
good of others, you didn't have the courage to work for that
change. And if I'm to live my life fully, I simply can't go
through my days having allowed something wrong to continue.
How many people live lives filled with regret because of an action
that they didn't take, or a decision that they didn't make?
I just watched a school administrator listen to someone tell him
that a man with psychotic tendencies had threatened a student in
the school, and his response was to do nothing. Kids still
went out to recess, nothing changed at all except that the front
door was locked. Thankfully, nothing happened. I know
that in his position, I never would have made the same decision to
do nothing, for I would rather other people look at me as if I
were a fool for overreacting, then to have to live my life in
regret for having neglected to act. He dodged a bullet, and
he'll just shrug and say, "See, I was right--nothing
I'm sure that there are many people at many schools that have
suffered violent attacks who wish that they could say that.
In my life, I want to make the decisions that are always for the
good of the many, even if they put me in awkward situations.
I'd rather be fired from a job for airing an important grievance
than continue to work under wrongful conditions, for then I'm
dealing with the conditions and the knowledge that I let cowardice
overrule my good judgment. And then what kind of life will I
of the most important elements
of living life fully is
awareness-- awareness of our surroundings, of other people
and their motives and fears and desires, of the things that
affect us most in our lives, both positively and negatively.
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The lessons of great men
women are lost
upon our minds
the highest demands
we make upon ourselves;
they are lost unless they
drive our sluggish wills
in the direction
their highest ideas.
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.
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 work, even our leisure time.
We can put so many
and should's on
everything we do that our very lives become
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.
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
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