12 June 2018
always takes her time. Great oaks don't become
great overnight. They also lose a lot of
leaves, branches and bark in the process of becoming
love says, "I love you because you love
me." Mature love says, "I love you
whether you love me or not."
is a divine trait: nothing is
so strong as
gentleness and nothing
so gentle as real strength.
often we hear people say, "I'm unhappy,"
as though happiness were the object, or purpose, of
life. It isn't, nor can it be. Happiness
is an effect, a by-product, a symptom of something
else. Therefore, seeking happiness directly
must always result in failure.
comes only to those who have done something to cause
it. It can be meeting the so-called "right
person." Falling in love brings a
euphoric, giddy kind of happiness which, if the love
is real and lasting, can settle down into a kind of
permanent state of happiness. There will be
ups and downs, of course, so-called good days and
moments and bad days and bad moments, but if the
relationship is sound and satisfying, having the
right person can bring a kind of joy for many, many
generally comes most often to productive and
creative people when they have found and are engaged
in work in which they can lose themselves.
When the work has been completed, they must then,
after a while, find more.
the author, it can be a book or a story; for the
painter, a subject, an idea. And it's the same with
architects, engineers and all the rest of us.
are usually happiest when we are unaware of our
happiness. We'll be busily engaged in
something that demands our full attention and best
talents and suddenly discover, during a pause in the
work, that several hours have passed in which we've
been completely unaware of the passage of time and
And, if we think about it,
we'll realize that we were living close to the peak
during that time and that we were in a very high
order of happiness.
comes when we are doing something for others,
too. On Christmas morning, our joy or our
happiness can be at a very high level, not because
of our anticipation of what we might receive but,
rather, in anticipation of watching our loved ones
open our gifts to them. In fact, if we're not
careful, we can fail to register sufficient
excitement and joy upon opening the gifts we receive
from others. We must remember that they are
happiest at that time and to give them top billing,
to stretch their happiness to its full length.
we're so anxious for them to open something we've
given, we'll tend to pass over the things they've
given us. Have to watch that, especially where
the children are concerned. They've spent
days, perhaps weeks, thinking of the moment when
we'll finally open the present on which they've
lavished so much thought and love and care.
if we remember that we are happiest when we are
doing things for others, when we are busiest, and
after we have accomplished something worthwhile, we
need never be unhappy again, at least not for
long. We need only find a project on which to
work, or put in a good hard day doing those things
that need to be done, or find a way to do something
for others. Then happiness, like a butterfly,
will come and land on our sleeve.
is not the purpose of life. It is a by-product of
keeping busy, of losing ourselves in our work and of
doing things for others. Knowing that, we need never
be unhappy again.
people behind the words
and excerpts - Daily
Two - Year Three
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"Came to believe that a power greater than
ourselves could restore us to
sanity." That is the second step of
the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.
What a statement. I have lived by this
step for many years. It has given me the
courage to find a power much greater than myself—A
power that gives naturally, the power of
Nature. By finding that connection to the
natural world, I found that we are a very
important part of nature. We give, and in
return, we get back much more.
Even before my ill-fated past, I had the
opportunity to experience the overwhelming awe
of the Colorado Rockies: the deep blue
sky, white puffy clouds, magnificent stars at
night—everything from the smallest insect to
the towering pines, the highest mountain top to
the most fragile wild flower, from the amazing
wildlife to a full moon or a stunning
sunset. Nature has a special spot for
me. I have sought this power greater than
myself for nineteen years. It sustains
me. It heals my suffering, lightens my
heart, shows me compassion, and teaches me
responsibility. It just makes you feel
It's starting to show signs of spring here at
The Center. What a wonderful time of the
year to wake us up from a long cold and busy
winter. The month of May is the month of
miracles. Miracles are the little things that
awaken the soul. The hardwood trees are
starting to bud. The daffodils, tulips,
and crocuses are popping up through the
Earth. The winds are changing direction,
bringing a host of migrating birds from the
south. We can look for warblers, orioles,
grosbeaks, and chickadees. We can take a
mindful walk in the woods, noticing the sights
and sounds of life all around us, and the smell
of the fresh moist Earth that heightens all our
I am extremely grateful to be able to share the
spiritual mission of The Center. Come and
spend a day in nature with like-minded
people. There are four mindfulness
retreats a year, a good way to find your center.
Come and enjoy Sunday morning bird walks at the
Lodge in May. There are weekly wildflower
walks on Tuesday evenings in May. There is a
spring migration birding retreat on May
12th. Come and join our spring events at
the farm, or find a spot in the pine
forest. If you're still, you may hear the
"hoot" of a Great Horned Owl or maybe
notice a Cooper’s hawk soaring above the
trees. It is nothing short of joy.
Joy comes from simple and natural things;
Mists over meadows,
Sunlight on leaves,
The path of the moon over water.
~ Sigurd F. Olson ~
There is a scripture, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, that
kind of fits the bill. If I can replace
the word love with nature it goes
like this: "Nature is patient, Nature
is kind. It does not dishonor others. It
is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs. Nature does
not delight in evil, but rejoices with
truth. It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres. Nature never
fails. . . ."
So here we are, and the big question is—Nature,
Love, God, is it all one? Is Nature
the higher power that sustains me? Is it
the miracle of Love that comforts me? Is
it the realization of God that I
seek? I have come to believe, Yes.
Give back and you shall receive.
Surrender and you shall win.
article was originally published in the May,
2018, newsletter of the Chicago Southwest
Community Center Foundation.
Life Fully, the e-zine
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are presented as thoughts of the authors--by no means do
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There are people who put their dreams in a little
box and say, “Yes,
I’ve got dreams, of course, I’ve got
dreams.” Then they
box away and bring it out once in a while to look in it,
yep, they’re still there.
These are great dreams, but they never
even get out of the
box. It takes an
uncommon amount of guts
to put your dreams on the line, to hold
them up and say, “How
good or bad am I?” That’s where courage comes in.
Lessons for Life
Marian Wright Edelman
following ten "lessons" are taken from Edelman's
"Twenty-Five Lessons for Life," in her book The
Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My
Children and Yours.)
is no free lunch. Don't feel entitled to anything
you don't sweat and struggle for.
And help our nation understand that it's not entitled to
world leadership based on the past or on what we say
rather than how well we perform and meet changing world
goals and work quietly and systematically toward them.
We must all try to resist quick-fix, simplistic answers
and easy gains, which often disappear just as quickly as
My Daddy used to ask us whether the teacher had given us
any homework. If we said no, he'd say, "Well,
assign yourself." Don't wait around for your
boss or your co-worker or spouse to direct you to do what
you are able to figure out and do for yourself.
Don't do just as little as you can to get by.
be afraid of taking risks or of being criticized.
An anonymous sage said, "If you don't want to be
criticized don't say anything, do anything, or be
anything." Don't be afraid of failing.
It's the way you learn to do things right.
and help others remember that the fellowship of human
beings is more important than the fellowship of race and
class and gender in a democratic society.
Be decent and fair and insist that others be so in your
presence. Don't tell, laugh at, or in any way
acquiesce to racial, ethnic, religious, or gender jokes or
to practices intended to demean rather than enhance
another human being.
confident that you can make a difference.
Don't get overwhelmed. Sometimes when I get frantic
about all I have to do and spin my wheels, I try to recall
Carlyle's advice: "Our main business is not to
see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies
clearly at hand."
down and live"
is an African song I sing inside my head when I begin
flitting around like a hen with her head wrung off:
"Brother slow down and live, brother slow down and
live, brother slow down and live, you've got a long way to
go. Brothers love one another, brothers love one
another, brothers love one another, you've got a long way
your friends carefully.
Stay out of the fast lane, and ignore the crowd. You
were born God's original. Try not to become
for "the sound of the genuine" within yourself
Meditate and learn to be alone without being lonely.
"Small," Einstein said, "is the number of
them that see with their own eyes and feel with their own
hearts." Try to be one of them.
are in charge of your own attitude--whatever others do or
circumstances you face.
The only person you can control is yourself. Worry
more about your attitude than your aptitude or lineage.
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are as many nights as days,
and the one is just as long
as the other
in the year's course. Even a happy life
be without a measure of darkness,
and the word
would lose its
meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they
with patience and equanimity.
Carl Gustav Jung
worth is in being, not seeming--
In doing, each day that goes by,
Some little good--not in dreaming
Of great things to do by and by.
For whatever we say in our blindness,
And spite of the fancies of youth,
There's nothing so kingly as kindness,
And nothing so royal as truth.
get back our mete as we measure--
We cannot do wrong and feel right,
Nor can we give pain and gain pleasure,
For justice avenges each slight.
The air for the wing of the sparrow,
The bush for the robin and wren,
But always the path that is narrow
And straight, for the children of men.
not in the pages of story
The heart of its ills to beguile,
Though he who makes courtship to glory
Gives all that he hath for her smile.
For when from her heights he has won her,
Alas! It is only to prove
That nothing's so sacred as honor,
And nothing so loyal as love!
cannot make bargains for blisses,
Nor catch them like fishes in nets;
And sometimes the thing our life misses
Helps more than the thing which it gets.
For good lieth not in pursuing,
Nor gaining of great nor of small,
But just in the doing, and doing
As we would be done by, is all.
envy, through malice, through hating,
Against the world, early and late,
No jot of our courage abating--
Our part is to work and to wait.
And slight is the sting of his trouble
Whose winnings are less than his worth;
For he who is honest and noble,
Whatever his fortunes or birth.
hope that my achievements in life shall be these -- that I will
have fought for
what was right and fair, that I will have risked
for that which mattered, and that I
will have given help to those
who were in need that I will have left the
earth a better place
for what I've done and who I've been.