26 July  2016      

Hello, and welcome to our last issue of our seventh month!  It's hard to believe
that we're almost through with July, but the fact is that August awaits us just
around the corner, full of new opportunities for us to make the most of our days.
Please end your July well!

 from The Wayfarer on the Open Road
Ralph Waldo Trine

Pearls of Wisdom (an excerpt)
Rachel Naomi Remen

On Strength (an excerpt)
Kent Nerburn

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Love doesn't just sit there,
like a stone--it has to be made, like bread; re-made all the time, made new.

Ursula K. LeGuin

The habit of always putting off an experience until you can afford it, or until the time is right, or until you know how to do it is one of the greatest burglars of joy.  Be deliberate, but once you've made up your mind--jump in.

Charles R. Swindoll

The tragedy of life is not death but in what dies inside a person while he or she lives--the death of genuine feeling, the death of inspired response, the death of awareness that makes it possible to feel the pain or the glory of other people in oneself.

Norman Cousins

Tolerance is a better guarantee of freedom than brotherly love; for people may love their brothers so much that they feel themselves thereby appointed their brothers' keepers.

Everett Dean Martin


From The Wayfarer on the Open Road
Ralph Waldo Trine

12.  To know that it is the middle ground that brings pleasure and satisfaction, and that excesses have to be paid for ofttimes with heavy and sometimes with frightful costs.

ALL things, good in themselves, are for use and enjoyment; but all things must be rightly used in order that there may be full and lasting enjoyment.  A law written into the very fibre of human life, so to speak, is to the effect that excesses, the abuse of anything good in itself, will end disastrously, so that one's pleasures and enjoyments will have to be gathered up for repairs, or perchance his shattered mind or body also, and in case of the latter then the former will have to bide their time or wait indefinitely for their resumption.

Wise indeed is he who fully recognizes this law that never has and that never will allow itself to be violated or undone, but that will shatter, sometimes with telling and open blows, more often perhaps with blows subtle and guarded, but just as telling, the happiness or even the mind and the body of the one who would do violence to or who would fail to recognize its mandate— Moderation.

On the other hand, to see evil in things good in themselves is the perversion of another law that carries with it its own peculiar penalty.  The one tends to make the prig, the self-righteous, out of a good, wholesome man or woman, the same as the other makes eventually the voluptuary.

The one errs in the one direction the same as the other in another direction.  Each pays the penalty for his folly, the one by cutting himself off from much innocent and valuable God intended enjoyment, at the same time casting a continual shadow over the lives of others; the other by way of settling heavy bills of costs for his excesses.

It should be then neither license nor perverted use on the one hand, nor asceticism or priggishness on the other—the full use of all normal and natural functions, faculties, and powers, innocent and good in themselves, that all may be brought to their fullest growth and development, but never excessive or perverted use.

The tendency of the great majority, especially in our present-day American life, is on the side of the too serious, the too busy, the too absorbing in the business, in the work.  This induces all unconsciously, in time, a prevailing type of thought and mental activity that takes, so to speak, the buoyancy, the elasticity out of both mind and body, so that age and its accompanying features manifest, assert, and fix themselves in many, or to speak more truly, in the majority of cases, long before their time.  By way of balance, by way of disarming these, we need more of the play element, more of the open air, the sunshine, the exercise element in our lives.  It would save thousands from stiffening of joints and muscles, hardened arteries, dyspepsia, apoplexy, nerve exhaustion, melancholia, premature age, premature death.

''Happy recreation has a very subtle influence upon one's ability, which is emphasized and heightened and multiplied by it.  How our courage is braced up, our determination, our ambition, our whole outlook on life changed by it!  There seems to be a subtle fluid from humor and fun which penetrates the entire being, bathes all the mental faculties, and washes out the brain-ash and debris from exhausted cerebrum and muscles. . . . A joyful, happy, fun-loving environment develops powers, resources, and possibilities which would remain latent in a cold, dull, repressing atmosphere."

Look where we will, in or out and around us, we will find that it is the middle ground—neither poverty nor excessive riches, good wholesome use without license, a turning into the bye-ways along the main road where innocent and healthy God-sent and God-intended pleasures and enjoyments are to be found; but never getting far enough away to lose sight of the road itself. The middle ground it is that the wise man or woman plants foot upon.


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Pearls of Wisdom (an excerpt)
Rachel Naomi Remen

Some of the oldest and most delightful written words in the English language are the collective nouns dating from medieval times used to describe groups of birds and beasts.  Many of these go back five hundred years or more, and lists of them appeared as early as 1440 in some of the first books printed in English.  These words frequently offer an insight into the nature of the animals or birds they describe.  Sometimes this is factual and sometimes poetic.  Occasionally it is profound:  a pride of lions, a party of jays, an ostentation of peacocks, an exaltation of larks, a gaggle of geese, a charm of finches, a bed of clams, a school of fish, a cloud of gnats, and a parliament of owls are some examples.  Over time, these sorts of words have been extended to other things as well.  One of my favorites is pearls of wisdom.

An oyster is soft, tender, and vulnerable.  Without the sanctuary of its shell it could not survive.  But oysters must open their shells in order to "breathe" water.  Sometimes while an oyster is breathing, a grain of sand will enter its shell and become a part of its life from then on.

Such grains of sand cause pain, but an oyster does not alter its soft nature because of this.  It does not become hard and leathery in order not to feel.  It continues to entrust itself to the ocean, to open and breathe in order to live.  But it does respond.  Slowly and patiently, the oyster wraps the grain of sand in thin translucent layers until, over time, it has created something of great value in the place where it was most vulnerable to its pain.  A pearl might be thought of as an oyster's response to its suffering.  Not every oyster can do this.  Oysters that do are far more valuable to people than oysters that do not.

Sand is a way of life for an oyster.  If you are soft and tender and must live on the sandy floor of the ocean, making pearls becomes a necessity if you are to live well.

Disappointment and loss are a part of every life.  Many times we can put such things behind us and get on with the rest of our lives.  But not everything is amenable to this approach.  Some things are too big or too deep to do this, and we will have to leave important parts of ourselves behind if we treat them in this way.  These are the places where wisdom begins to grow in us.  It begins with suffering that we do not avoid or rationalize or put behind us.  It starts with the realization that our loss, whatever it is, has become a part of us and has altered our lives so profoundly that we cannot go back to the way it was before.

Something in us can transform such suffering into wisdom.  The process of turning pain into wisdom often looks like a sorting process.  First we experience everything.  Then one by one we let things go, the anger, the blame, the sense of injustice, and finally even the pain itself, until all we have left is a deeper sense of the value of life and a greater capacity to live it.



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Why do we protect children from life?  It's no wonder that we become afraid to live.
We're not told what life really is. We're not told that life is joy and wonder and magic
and even rapture, if you can get involved enough.  We're not told that life is also pain,
misery, despair, unhappiness, and tears.  I don't know about you, but I don't want
to miss any of it.  I want to embrace life, and I want to find out what it's all about.
I wouldn't want to go through life without knowing what it is to cry.

Leo Buscaglia

On Strength
Kent Nerburn

We each have a different kind of strength.  Some of us are able to persevere against hopeless odds.  Some are able to see light in a world of darkness.  Some are able to give selflessly with no thought of return, while others are able to bring a sense of importance into the hearts of those around them.

But no matter how we exhibit strength, its truest measure is the calm and certain conviction with which it causes us to act.  It is the ability to discern the path with heart, and follow it even when at the moment we might wish to be doing something else.

True strength is not about force, but about conviction.  It lives at the center of belief where fear and uncertainty cannot gain a foothold.  Its opposite is not cowardice and fear, but confusion, lack of clarity, and lack of sound intention.

True strength does not require an adversary and does not see itself as noble or heroic.  It simply does what it must without praise or need of recognition.

A person who can quietly stay at home and care for an ailing parent is as strong as a person who can climb a mountain.  A person who can stand up for a principle is as strong as a person who can fend off an army.  They simply have quieter, less dramatic, kinds of strength.

True strength does not magnify others' weaknesses.  It makes others stronger.  If someone's strength makes others feel weaker, it is merely domination, and that is no strength at all.

Take care to find your own true strength.  Nurture it.  Develop it.  Share it with those around you.  Let it become a light for those who are living in darkness.

Remember, strength based in force is a strength people fear.  Strength based in love is a strength people crave.


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Young people say, What is the sense of our small effort?  They cannot see that they must lay one brick at a time; we can be responsible only for the one action at the present moment. But we can beg for an increase of love in our hearts that will vitalize and transform all our individual actions, and know that God will take them and multiply them, as Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes.

Dorothy Day

Goodness Knows

Goodness knows that sometimes the greatest thing in the world is a smile from a child,
So Goodness laughs a lot.

Goodness knows that it's easier to break a child than to mend one,
So Goodness handles with care.

Goodness knows that everyone deserves a second chance,
And sometimes a third and fourth chance, too.

Goodness knows that we all need friends in this world,
So Goodness is determined to be friendly.

Goodness knows that only people count,
So Goodness never counts out people.

Goodness knows that life is sometimes lonely,
But we are never alone.

And when the sorrows of life are left unexplained, it's still not too much to bear,
For we can trust that Goodness knows.


Listen to your life.  See it for the fathomless mystery
that it is.  In the boredom and pain of it no less than
in the excitement and gladness:  touch, taste,
smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it,
because in the last analysis all moments are key
moments, and life itself is grace.

Frederick Buechner


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