is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the
earth and in contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of
wonder and humility.
best and most beautiful things
in the world cannot be seen
or even touched. They must be
felt with the heart.
is a present attitude--
not a future condition.
in my study late one night, I was reminded that the
French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre had argued that
we invent ourselves by virtue of the multitude of our
choices. And Rollo May, in his intriguing book
The Courage to Create, says, "Human freedom
involves our capacity to pause between stimulus and
response and, in that pause, to choose the one
response toward which we wish to throw our
weight. The capacity to create ourselves, based
upon this freedom, is inseparable from consciousness
you given much thought to the fact that you create
yourself? You do, to an altogether unsuspected
extent, simply by the choices you make, by the things
you decide to do or not to do.
the Danish philosopher Kierkegaard well said,
"The self is only that which it is in the process
of becoming." So it is that an adult can
stand in front of a full-length mirror and take a
good, long look at what he or she has created.
leave home, we form ourselves into new people, and we
learn, as Thomas Wolfe learned, that we can't go home
again--that we don't fit as well as we used to.
We're different. We wonder, after a visit--as we
leave to return to our everyday lives--what happened,
if something is wrong, what the strangeness was.
It is simply that we are different now, and going back
home again is like trying to get a two-year-old shoe
on a teenager. It's just not going to fit
have shaped ourselves into new people, and we have
done so by our decisions. There's no going back,
of course, and I guess most of us wouldn't want to if
we could, even though we're acutely conscious of
mistakes we've made. We have to remember that
each of us is new at this business of living and
content ourselves with the fact that most of us have
plenty of time to make good decisions in the future.
there's a rule in making decisions, I suppose it is to
listen to that inner voice and try to make decisions
that tend to be growth oriented. There's really
no standing still, even if we'd like to.
often wonder how many parents in poor families have
said to their children, "I want you to get an
education and make something of yourself."
The old term "Make something of yourself"
carries with it the clear message that we invent--we
think, however, that most try to play it safe.
That is, they select those decisions that seem to
carry the least risk of failure and by doing so live
out their lives well below their real potential as
persons. Sayings such as "I'm not going to
stick my neck out" and "Don't rock the
boat," to say nothing of the popular "Take
it easy" and "Never volunteer," all
indicate a reluctance to live fully extended or at the
leading edge of life.
Sidney Hook of Columbia University wrote:
"My observations lead me to the conclusion that
human beings have suffered greater deprivations from
their fear of life than from its abundance. The
most deplorable insecurities are those which prevent
human beings from deviating from traditional routines,
which prevent them from living their own lives in
their own reflective styles."
Hook goes on to remind us that "When we learn to
be unafraid, the insecure and uncertain lose their
terrors for us. And we can learn to be unafraid
through habit and reflection."
people behind the words
and excerpts - Daily
Two - Year Three
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I Had My Life to Live Over
Someone asked me the other day if I had my life to
live over would I change anything.
answer was no, but then I thought about it and changed
I had my life to live over again I would have waxed
less and listened more.
of wishing away nine months of pregnancy and
complaining about the shadow over my feet, I'd have
cherished every minute of it and realized that the
wonderment growing inside me was to be my only chance
in life to assist God in a miracle.
would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up
on a summer day because my hair had just been teased
would have invited friends over to dinner even if the
carpet was stained and the sofa faded.
would have eaten popcorn in the "good"
living room and worried less about the dirt when you
lit the fireplace.
would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather
ramble about his youth.
would have burnt the pink candle that was sculptured
like a rose before it melted while being stored.
would have sat cross-legged on the lawn with my
children and never worried about grass stains.
would have cried and laughed less while watching
television. . . and more while watching real life.
would have shared more of the responsibility carried
by my husband which I took for granted.
would have eaten less cottage cheese and more ice
would have gone to bed when I was sick, instead of
pretending the Earth would go into a holding pattern
if I weren't there for a day.
would never have bought ANYTHING just because it was
practical/wouldn't show soil/ guaranteed to last a
my child kissed me impetuously, I would never have
said, "Later. Now, go get washed up for
would have been more I love yous. . . more I'm sorrys.
. . more I'm listenings. . . but mostly, given another
shot at life, I would seize every minute of it. . .
look at it and really see it. . . try it on. . .
live it. . . exhaust it. . . and never give that
minute back until there was nothing left of it.
Wallpaper! Just click below
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photo's from a fall
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x 800 - 1440
gentle with yourself, learn to love yourself, to
for only as we have the right
attitude toward ourselves can
we have the right
attitude toward others.
between Heart and Mind
I wasn't sure how to
title this piece: I was having problems deciding
between "finding a balance" and "creating
a balance," so I just decided to leave the first
two words off for the sake of accuracy. The truth
as far as my mind is concerned is that both words would
work, but there's something in my heart that says that
neither word is completely accurate. Is the
balance there already, and we reject is or simply can't
find it? Or have we been taught so much to value
one over the other that we have to go back and
re-educate ourselves so that we can learn the value of
Either way, we seem to have been brought up in a society
that doesn't value balance at all--in our world, people
are consistently rewarded for going to extremes:
working more time, focusing on one thing and one thing
only, becoming expert in very limited fields, even for
giving up things like free time to do more work.
In all of our hurry and hustle and bustle, we are
definitely losing much of what we've always considered
to be important to us, things such as rest and
relaxation, hobbies, reading, time with friends and
family, and many other elements of life that don't
directly "contribute" or "produce,"
but which have always been important ways for us to
ensure that when we are productive, we're even more so.
One of the areas of balance that has suffered
dramatically in what we call "Western" society
is that of mind and heart. Somehow, we've come to
believe that logic and rational thought are the keys to
existence, and that our hearts somehow steer us wrong
because they allow input from our emotions. We can
"think our way through anything," we believe,
because we've been taught that there's always some sort
of logical answer to be found.
the heart speaks, the mind
finds it indecent to object.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
But our world is far
from logical. We see the logic because we try
to impose it upon the world, but just because we put
it there on a shrine and start to worship it doesn't
mean that it's supposed to be there. We
actually lose a lot when rationality becomes our
ruler--we lose compassion, we lose open-mindedness,
we lose spontaneity, we lost connection, and we lost
our instincts. When we try to think our ways
through everything, we lose our connections to the
higher parts of ourselves and to the unity of all
things that surround us.
We are a people who want to solve every mystery,
never even considering what it would be like to let
that mystery be and actually respect it and enjoy
it. We want to explain everything, without
even considering that not everything can be
explained, and that sometimes it's better to leave
things unexplained. We think we can reach a
solution to every problem without considering the
possibility that some problems may make us better
and stronger people by forcing us to go through
certain trials and tribulations.
One of the ways that I see this lack of balance
regularly is in our reading, especially as far as
education is concerned. We usually want to
"get" a reading: we want to analyze
it in order to understand it, and we want to find
all the symbols and metaphors and plot lines and
conflicts and explain what they "mean" and
how they relate to each other. Rarely do we
allow ourselves to simply read and feel a book
because that doesn't have as much "value,"
and that doesn't show any intelligence or critical
Some of the best books and poems that I've read,
though, have been ones that I haven't tried to
analyze, ones with characters with whom I empathize
and/or sympathize. When I read books like
this, my heart goes out to the characters, even
though I know that they don't exist as human
beings. I feel compassion for people who
aren't even people, and this allows my heart to grow
and to expand. This is one of the reasons for
which I won't read many violent novels or horror
stories--it's too hard for me to see these
characters suffer because of other people's cruelty,
and I feel somewhat sick when I read such
things. Even though my mind tells me,
"Oh, it's just some actors," my heart
tells me, "It's violence and it's not really
entertainment." In this case, I prefer to
listen to my heart because I truly do not want to be
entertained by other people's suffering.
It is only with the heart
that one can see rightly;
what is essential is invisible to the eye.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Little Prince
I watch people try to
treat their children purely rationally, and they
relate to them on only rational and logical
levels--they very rarely allow their hearts, which
are filled with love, "get in the
way." When I'm with my students, though,
and someone doesn't get their homework turned in, I
have to decide whether I'll let them turn it in
late. My rational mind says that they're
possibly scamming me to buy more time, but my heart
says, "Yeah, that's possible, but what if
they're not? What if they got so caught up in
another class's work that they didn't have time?
What if they're having relationship issues?
There's so much that I simply don't know
here!" Whichever decision I make, I can
end up being wrong, but I've decided that if I'm
going to make mistakes, they're going to be mistakes
in the favor of other people, in favor of my heart,
and in favor of compassion rather than
punishment. In short, in favor of love, and
love is the heart's dominion, not the mind's.
Because the mind will look at something like love
and try to analyze it, try to figure out if the cost
is worth the return, try to reach a logical
conclusion as to whether or not love is justified or
even worthwhile. The mind will find reasons to
reject love and compassion because of potential
problems that haven't even surfaced yet, while the
heart will recognize potential problems and then try
to work through them instead of rejecting outright
the love itself.
So here's what I try to do: I try to recognize
whether particular thoughts of mine are coming from
my head or from my heart. If somebody has
harmed me, are my thoughts of getting even an effort
of my ego to make myself feel better, or an effort
of my heart to show love and compassion? If I
have to decide whether or not to donate to a certain
cause, are my thoughts mind-centered and focused on
how much money I'll "lose," or are they on
the good that the money can do to help someone else
It's difficult because our minds can rationalize
almost any behavior we choose. It's also
difficult because sometimes, the logical choice is
the best choice. There are times when
punishment is merited for a child who has chosen to
do something wrong, because it really is necessary
for us to learn that our actions do have
consequences, and sometimes negative ones. Our
hearts may be saying "Show some sympathy,"
but our rational minds may realize that there are
longer-term issues at stake. Perhaps if I need
to buy a new car, my heart may be sold on a very
expensive one while my mind has a very good grip on
just how much I can afford to spend each month.
heart's voice is your true voice. It is easy to ignore it,
it says what we'd rather it did not--and
it is so hard to risk the
we have. But what life are
we living, if we don't live by our
hearts? Not a true one.
And the person living it is not the true you.
The Highland Witch
All that I've said so
far, though, is about making choices. Living
from the heart instead of the head is so much more
than that, though. It involves letting the
heart take the lead, following it and allowing it to
show you things that you would never see
otherwise. But there will be more about that
next week, I'm sure.
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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is an art in
noble souls always
know how to
you must be
true Freedom but to break
Fetters for our own dear sake,
And, with leathern hearts, forget
That we owe mankind a debt?
No! True freedom is to share
All the chains our brothers wear,
And, with heart and hand, to be
Earnest to make others free!
are slaves who fear to speak
For the fallen and the weak;
They are slaves who will not choose
Hatred, scoffing, and abuse,
Rather than in silence shrink
From the truth they needs must think:
They are slaves who dare not be
In the right with two or three.
So the thing to do when working on a
motorcycle, as in any other task, is to
cultivate the peace of mind which does not separate one's self
one's surroundings. When that is done successfully, then
follows naturally. Peace of mind produces right values,
right values produce
right thoughts. Right thoughts produce right actions and
right actions produce
work which will be a material reflection for others to see
of the serenity at the center of it all.
Robert M. Pirsig
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