Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.
— Jonathan Swift
Coffey looks and he sees hate and fear, you have to look with better eyes than that. – Lindsey Brigman in The Abyss
Wow… Thanksgiving is tomorrow. Can’t believe it. Sometimes these things sneak up on us. Not that we aren’t prepared, we are. It’s just that I can’t believe it’s already that time of year. We have entered the holiday season. And again I’ll say… wow.
Now that I’m getting over my shock at the time of year it is, I want to give some thanks, as has become my tradition here at the think tank every year. I am thankful for so many things….
First, as always, I’m thankful for my honey. I just spent a couple of weeks away from her and let me tell you, I’m no good without her. I mean this in a metaphorical sense people so don’t go making assumptions about my lack of self esteem… my self esteem is in tact. It’s just that I don’t like being without her. As I explained to my Mom and my brother, Karen is my home. A house is a structure that, if done correctly, reflects who we are, feels cozy to that end, and shelters us from the elements. A home, on the other hand, is where our heart lives. Mine lives with Karen. Hers with me. We are simpatico in this. Which makes it all the more real and heartfelt. My home is with her, no matter where we live, and I am beyond thankful for that. I’m blessed to have met her, lucky to have snagged her, and honored and humbled by the fact that she continues to love me, and love me more every day. I can’t begin to express what this means to me, and really I don’t think there are words to describe it. She is my breath, my light, my warmth, my love. She is my split apart, and I am hers. I whisper, thank you thank you thank you, out to the universe every day for her.
Mom and Kev… We are, and have been for a long long time, the three amigos. Having spent time with you these least three weeks (one here and two there), I appreciate you even more, if that’s even possible. There is a magic that happens when we are all in the same room. I’m so lucky to be a part of that. So lucky to have you… I feel love and gratitude for you every day.
Mary, Martin, and our little man… Thank you. Thank you for allowing me into your lives, into your family. As I’ve said before, I never had my own children, but nevertheless I consider you mine. I feel a part of a family, with children, and grandchildren, that I would never have without you and your acceptance and love of me. I love you guys and am so very grateful for you every day.
My family and friends… I tear up thinking about all of you, near and far. For one person to be blessed with such an outstanding group of people in my life… I am so humbled. You bring the zest, the encouragement, the support, the fun, and more love than I thought possible. I’m amazed every day by the depth and quality of the people in my life. Not only the sheer numbers of you, but by the people you are. Each and every one of you is a stellar human. I mean this. Family to friends, each of you brings something so uniquely you to my life. I treasure that. I treasure how individual you are, how loving you are, how fun you are, how many smiles and laughs you’ve given me over the years, and I feel so fortunate to have all of that with you. I am blessed beyond measure for knowing you, for having you in my life, and for continuing to get to spend time with you when I can. No matter the distance it seems we always manage to pick up where we left off, be that a year ago or yesterday, and I am honored by that, by your presence in my life. I feel you with me every day and I’m so very thankful for you.
The pups… I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but they are so important to me and every day I’m so loved by them, and grateful to them for their little selves in my life. They are my home as well, and I am so lucky to have them. They love without condition, without pretense, without judgement or agenda. They’re always excited to see me, even if I’ve only been outside for a moment, and they are always completely genuine. I love them more than I can measure, and am so very thankful for them. They bring a joy to my life, our lives, that can’t be measured.
I always say the only thing in life that truly matters are the people we love and who love us. I mean this. Everything else is set dressing, though nature, in all it’s glory, is a wonder and something I’m also grateful for every day. To that end I’d like to include the following poem by e.e. cummings. He’s my favorite poet, and I’m humbled by and grateful for his words, words that have helped, at times, me to get through periods of struggle. Words that have at times helped me to better explain the world to myself. This is one of my favorites of his… and it pretty much sums up the rest of it, the rest of what I’m grateful for…
i thank You God for most this amazing
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
Stan… I am so sorry my friend. And I love you…
I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge, that myth is more potent than history. I believe that dreams are more powerful than facts, that hope always triumphs over experience, that laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death. – Robert Fulghum
I feel like I…I just really need to listen to my inner instinct. And um,my inner instinct says “don’t go right now”, so I’m not going out. I’m going to be right here until I…until I get another message…from myself. ~ Best In Show
Richard found himself imaging the Earl sixty, eighty, five hundred years ago: a mighty warrior, a cunning strategist, a great lover of women, a fine friend, a terrifying foe. There was still the wreckage of that man in there somewhere. That was what made him so terrible, and so sad. ~ Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere
This is what you shall do: Love the earth and the sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hate to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body…
Today is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I was looking up quotes by him and was so inspired. Here we are, so many years after that tragic day, and his words still ring true. Whether you agree with him or not, and really how could you not when all he really cared about, talked about, was striving for, and preached about were the principles of doing the right thing, equality for all, peace between nations and our fellow men and women, and love. Love being the chief message. Love instead of hate, peace instead of war, freedom instead of constraint and imprisonment, solving problems via understanding and communication instead of through violence. A spectacular man.
Here are some of my most favorite of the quotes I found…
At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.
Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other. ― Martin Luther King Jr.
I just read this post on Facebook and had to repost it here on my blog. It had me laughing so hard I was was crying. Thanks Margaret for posting it there and Jim (whoever you are) for writing it.
Why Can’t I Own a Canadian?
by Margaret Shelburne Reed on Friday, February 11, 2011 at 7:46pmDr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a east coast resident, which was posted on the Internet. It’s funny, as well as informative:
Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:
When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?
I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?
Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? – Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.
Your devoted fan,
In honor of national poetry day I thought I’d post a good one from Pablo Neruda.
‘Perhaps not to be is to be without your being.’
Perhaps not to be is to be without your being,
without your going, that cuts noon light
like a blue flower, without your passing
later through fog and stones,
without the torch you lift in your hand
that others may not see as golden,
that perhaps no one believed blossomed
the glowing origin of the rose,
without, in the end, your being, your coming
suddenly, inspiringly, to know my life,
blaze of the rose-tree, wheat of the breeze:
and it follows that I am, because you are:
it follows from ‘you are’, that I am, and we:
and, because of love, you will, I will,
We will, come to be.
Why in moments of crisis do we ask God for strength and help? As cognitive beings, why would we ask something that may well be a figment of our imaginations for guidance? Why not search inside ourselves for the power to overcome? After all, we are strong enough to cause most of the catastrophes we need to endure.” – Bill Scheel, Starbucks customer from London, Ontario. He describes himself as a “modern day nobody”.
After reading this quote I actually got online a bit later and went to the Starbucks “The Way I See It” section of their webpage. While there I found some really good quotes. I’m going to include a couple of those here. If you’re into this sort of thing and interested in reading more, click the link above. You might not always agree with what you read, but that’s the beauty of words, and opinions, they carry personal meaning, are almost always subject to personal interpretation, and they can spark fantastic conversations.
The Way I See It #31
Risk-taking, trust, and serendipity are key ingredients of joy. Without risk, nothing new ever happens. Without trust, fear creeps in. Without serendipity, there are no surprises. –Rita Golden Gelman Author of Tales of a Female Nomad. She has had no permanent address since 1986.
The Way I See It #233
I used to think that going to the jungle made my life an adventure. However, after years of unusual work in exotic places, I realize that it is not how far off I go, or how deep into the forest I walk that gives my life meaning. I see that living life fully is what makes life – anyone’s life, no matter where they do or do not go – an adventure. –Maria Fadiman Geographer, ethnobotanist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer.
The Way I See It #280
You can learn a lot more from listening than you can from talking. Find someone with whom you don’t agree in the slightest and ask them to explain themselves at length. Then take a seat, shut your mouth, and don’t argue back. It’s physically impossible to listen with your mouth open. –John Moe Radio host and author of Conservatize Me.
The Way I See It #270
Taste is subjective. Taste is democratic. Taste is powerful. Taste – the combination of texture, aroma, temperature, aesthetic and environment – is also a window into someone else’s life or culture. Be confident in your taste, but remain curious and expose yourself to new tastes. Allow your taste to constantly evolve and grow – while keeping and cherishing the memories that taste creates. –Marcus Samuelsson Chef, co-owner of Restaurant Aquavit and author of The Soul of a New Cuisine.
And, lastly, my favorite of the groups I read today. This guy’s description, which I included here in part of the interview Starbucks did with him, of loving unconditionally and paying love forward, is completely inspiring.
The Way I See It #27
Do not kiss your children so they will kiss you back but so they will kiss their children, and their children’s children. –Noah benShea Poet, philosopher and author of Jacob the Baker, Jacob’s Journey and Remember This My Children.
And part of the interview (the rest can be found at the Starbucks website by clicking on the link above) with Noah benShea…
Noah, what was the spark behind this particular quote? Is there a story or event that inspired it? And why did you think it would be particularly suitable for a Starbucks cup?
For five years I wrote a weekly essay for The New York Times Regional Syndicate (and continue to do so on my website, http://www.noahswindow.com.) When my daughter was graduating from university and my son from high school, I stopped to think about all the notes I had left them while they were growing up: Don’t forget to clean up, wash up, pick up, etc. Then it struck me, what if I didn’t think I was coming home, what could happen in any post-9/11 New York minute, what then would I want my kids to remember if I wasn’t around? And I wrote an essay and now a book entitled Remember This My Children.
In that process, it struck me that most of life is a series of reciprocal trade agreements: I give you this. You give me that. Teaching and parenting are the only exception. A teacher or parent gives, and what they get is the unparalleled experience of giving without expectation – the soul-gratifying experience of planting a tree from which you will never pluck the fruit.
I wrote the line trying to touch this idea. This is what I want my children to know. I want them to know that life, in any venue, at its best is an opportunity to pay love forward.
And when the folks at Starbucks told me the title of their program was “The Way I See It,” I thought to myself, bottom line, that’s how I see it. Whether in the schoolroom, the living room, the bedroom, or the boardroom, loving forward is life’s most noble adventure. Love is a ladder; it allows us to climb out of ourselves.
To see the earth as we now see it, small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the earth together, brothers on that bright blue loveliness in the unending night - brothers who see now they are truly brothers. – Archibald MacLeish
Dark Helmet: I am your father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former room-mate.
Lone Star: What’s that make us?
Dark Helmet: Absolutely nothing.
I love ya Man….
Some believe there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world’s ills — against misery, against ignorance, or injustice and violence. Yet many of the world’s great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man. A young monk began the Protestant reformation, a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth, and a young woman reclaimed the territory of France. It was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and 32 year old Thomas Jefferson who proclaimed that all men are created equal. ‘Give me a place to stand,’ said Archimedes, ‘and I will move the world.’ These men moved the world, and so can we all. -Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968)
All great questions must be raised by great voices, and the greatest voice is the voice of the people – speaking out – in prose, or painting or poetry or music; speaking out – in homes and halls, streets and farms, courts and cafes – let that voice speak and the stillness you hear will be the gratitude of mankind. – Robert F. Kennedy Source: Address, New York City, January 22, 1963
The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.
Martin Luther King Jr., “Strength to Love”
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
Martin Luther King Jr., Accepting Nobel Peace Prize, Dec. 10, 1964
Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
Martin Luther King Jr., December 11, 1964
Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963
Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.
Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963
The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers.
Martin Luther King Jr., ‘Strength to Love,’ 1963
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
Martin Luther King Jr.
How vast those Orbs must be, and how inconsiderable this Earth, the Theatre upon which all our mighty Designs, all our Navigations, and all our Wars are transacted, is when compared to them. A very fit consideration, and matter of Reflection, for those Kings and Princes who sacrifice the Lives of so many People, only to flatter their Ambition in being Masters of some pitiful corner of this small Spot. – Christiaan Huygens, (1629 *1695)
I was looking around the net this morning and came across this quote, which I loved….
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
- Mark Twain
Trying this posting remotely thing. what can I say… I’m home, I don’t feel good, and I’ve been sitting here all day. Oh, and I love the following quote, so I thought I’d include it.
Stop this day and night with me, and you shall possess the origin of all poems; You shall possess the good of the earth and sun(there are millions of suns left); You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books;You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me: You shall listen to all sides, and filter them from yourself.
I am a bit of a word nut. I love them. In fact my love for them is so much a part of who I am that I used to, when I was a kid, read the dictionary to learn new words. I should confess that I sometimes still participate in this very nerdy activity. But, what can I say? I guess only something I’ve already said… which is, I love them. They can be beautiful, strange, hilarious, functional, mysterious, and so much more. There are so many vehicles for self expression available just by opening up a copy of Webster’s or browsing through one of my favorite sites, Dictionary.com. All those words, which are used to make sentences, paragraphs, and stanzas. It’s mind boggling and exciting at the same time. Think about it… each time a person puts some of those little buggers together, it’s a form of self expression that is solely unique. Every writer, every orator, uniquely using their own voice. It’s a wonderful thing.
I guess that’s why I love quotes, poetry, and all things literary. I love listening to all of those unique voices doing their own thing. Putting those linguistic puzzles together like only they, as the author, can. Which brings me to some quotes I ran across recently. Something about each of these struck me, and because this is my personal space to share words that have meaning to me, I’m going to put them out there.
“Imagination is a ship, and with it we may sail into uncharted waters, discover new lands and peoples, and finally reutrn home with the treasures of a world that we alone have seen.” ~author unknown (this quote was on a birthday card I recently gave to a friend)
“From this hour I ordain myself loosed of limits and imaginary lines.” ~Walt Whitman
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” ~Proust
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” ~Goethe
I also love movies and one of the reasons for that is, you guessed it, the writing… here are a couple of examples of some really good movie writing…
Lindsey: We all see what we want to see. Coffey looks and he sees Russians. He sees hate and fear. You have to look with better eyes than that. – The Abyss
William Parrish: Love is passion. Obsession. Someone you can’t live without. Someone you fall head over heels for. Find someone you can love like crazy, and will love you the same way back. Listen to your heart. No sense in life without this. To make the journey without falling deeply in love, you haven’t lived a life at all. You have to try, because if you haven’t tried, then you haven’t lived. – Meet Joe Black
Paul Varjak: You know what’s wrong with you, Miss Whoever-you-are? You’re chicken, you’ve got no guts. You’re afraid to stick out your chin and say, “Okay, life’s a fact, people do fall in love, people do belong to each other, because that’s the only chance anybody’s got for real happiness.” You call yourself a free spirit, a “wild thing,” and you’re terrified somebody’s gonna stick you in a cage. Well baby, you’re already in that cage. You built it yourself. And it’s not bounded in the west by Tulip, Texas, or in the east by Somali-land. It’s wherever you go. Because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself. – Breakfast at Tiffany’s