Charlie Kain recently sent me a chain email. I don’t usually participate in chain message things, but this one was intriguing:
“We’re starting a collective, constructive, and hopefully uplifting inspirational exchange. It’s a one-time thing and we hope you will participate. We have picked those we think would be faithful, and make it fun. Please send an encouraging quote or verse to the person whose name is in position 1 below…a favorite poem/prayer/meditation that has lifted you when you were experiencing challenging times. Don’t agonize over it–it is one you reach for when you need it or the one that you always turn to.”
I sent this one:
“It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to desist from it.”
* * *
I received these:
“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever. That surrender, even the smallest act of giving up, stays with me. So when I feel like quitting, I ask myself, which would I rather live with?”
* * *
“You,” he said, “are a terribly real thing in a terribly false world, and that, I believe, is why you are in so much pain.” – Emilie Autumn
* * *
“Picture a forest with a small stream babbling through it. It is early fall and you spot one maple leaf detach from a tall tree and slowly, gently, float and dip back and forth on air currents. It floats down to land easily on the water’s surface where it is born downstream like a little boat.”
* * *
“This too shall pass!”
* * *
“Self knowledge is always bad news.” – John Barth (I find this consoling when something doesn’t go well. Kind of like “no pain no gain” but more philosophical.)
* * *
My Symphony, by William Ellery Channing
To live content with small means.
To seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion.
To be worthy not respectable,
and wealthy not rich.
To study hard, think quietly, talk gently,
act frankly, to listen to stars, birds, babes,
and sages with open heart, to bear all cheerfully,
do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never.
In a word, to let the spiritual,
unbidden and unconscious,
grow up through the common.
This is to be my symphony.
* * *
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the thing I cannot change, The courage to change the thing that I can, And wisdom to know the difference.”
* * *
“Remember that happiness is a way of travel, not a destination.” – Roy Goodman
* * *
“If you are looking for a hero, look again; you are diminishing some part of yourself.” – Sheldon Kopp, If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him
* * *
A good friend of mine always says, “Thank God for the diversity of gifts” when people start to drive her crazy. Also, I read this and thought it quite profound, “Life isn’t crowded with opportunities, so make the most of them.”
* * *
Hopi Elders Speak – March 2003, Oraibi Arizona
You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour.
Now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour.
There are things to be considered:
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.
This could be a good time!
There is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid.
They will try to hold on to the shore.
They will feel that they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.
Know the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open and our heads above water.
See who is in there with you and celebrate.
At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all, ourselves.
For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.
The time of the lone wolf is over.
Banish the word struggle from your attitude and vocabulary.
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
* * *
Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.
He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.
To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said,
“It made a difference for that one.”
* * *
Desiderata, by Max Ehrmann
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious
to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter, for always
there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment;
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore, be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations
in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
* * *
Dare to Be, by Steve Maraboli
When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.
When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.
When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.
When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.
When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.
When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.
When you’re feeling tired, dare to keep going.
When times are tough, dare to be tougher.
When love hurts you, dare to love again.
When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.
When another is lost, dare to help them find the way.
When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.
When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.
When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.
When the day has ended, dare to feel as you’ve done your best.
Dare to be the best you can –
At all times, Dare to be!
* * *
And one more of my favorites:
Caminante, son tus huellas
el camino, y nada más;
caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.
Al andar se hace el camino,
y al volver la vista atrás
se ve la senda que nunca
se ha de volver a pisar.
Caminante no hay camino
sino estelas en la mar.
Wanderer, your footsteps are
the road, and nothing more;
wanderer, there is no road,
the road is made by walking.
By walking one makes the road,
and upon glancing back
one sees the path
that never will be trod again.
Wanderer, there is no road–
Only wakes upon the sea.