Tuesday, January 31, 2012

moving in the right direction

I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
~ Henry David Thoreau

When I was growing up, I was well aware of how special I was. 
(Weren’t you?) 
My mother wasn’t nearly as confident about herself as I was.
My daughter is twice as sure. She is a world changer, a bright soul ready to stand on the world stage and SHINE!

Monday, January 30, 2012

my favorite day

Do not dwell in the past, 
do not dream of the future, 
concentrate the mind on the present moment.
~ Buddha

"What day is it?" asked Pooh.
"It's today." squeaked Piglet.
"My favorite day." said Pooh.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

to forgive

‎"To forgive is to set a prisoner free 
and realize that prisoner was you." 
~ Lewis B. Smedes

Friday, January 27, 2012

lists, lists, & more lists

I love lists.
I write a lot of lists.
The older I get, the more my memory relies on lists.

I came upon a blog yesterday that you must see if you too love lists: 
Lists Of Note.

Here are two of my favorite entries:

In 1933, renowned author F. Scott Fitzgerald ended a letter to his 11-year-old daughter, Scottie, with a list of things to worry about, not worry about, and simply think about. It read as follows.

(Source: F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters; Image: F. Scott Fitzgerald with his daughter, Scottie, in 1924.)

Things to worry about:

Worry about courage
Worry about cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship

Things not to worry about: 

Don’t worry about popular opinion
Don’t worry about dolls
Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up
Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don’t worry about triumph
Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don’t worry about mosquitoes
Don’t worry about flies
Don’t worry about insects in general
Don’t worry about parents
Don’t worry about boys
Don’t worry about disappointments
Don’t worry about pleasures
Don’t worry about satisfactions

Things to think about: 

What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:

(a) Scholarship
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?

With dearest love,


A Decalogue of Canons

In 1825, the year before his death, Thomas Jefferson — the 3rd U.S. President and a Founding Father of the United States of America — was asked by a father to supply some words of wisdom to his young son, Thomas Jefferson Smith, who had recently been named after him. Jefferson graciously responded with a handwritten letter, at the end of which was the following 10-point list of advice for the youngster, titled, "A Decalogue of Canons for observation in practical life."

Each and every word still rings true.

Transcript follows. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Image: Library of Congress

A Decalogue of Canons for observation in practical life.

1. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do to-day.
2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
3. Never spend your money before you have it.
4. Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap; it will be dear to you.
5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold.
6. We never repent of having eaten too little.
7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
8. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.
9. Take things always by their smooth handle.
10. When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, an hundred.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

nothing good gets away

I have always associated John Steinbeck with high school... Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men...  reading classics because you had to. Now, some thirty years later, I am becoming a John Steinbeck fan. 
I am reading Steinbeck: A Life in Letters, and finding that reading someone's letters is a beautiful way to get to know them.

I like this part... eventually I will be so good that I cannot be ignored. But, I adore the last two sentences... Financially we are a mess, but "spiritually" we ride the clouds. Nothing matters.  (I added the smiling star to remind myself to always 'ride the clouds').

And then there is Steinbeck's letter to his son, Thom...

First — if you are in love — that’s a good thing — that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you.
Second — There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you — of kindness and consideration and respect — not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.
don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens —The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.

Read the full letter online here

I plan to save those last lines for my own children as they grow... don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens —The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.

What is perfect for you will come. Trust life and it’s myriad forces that operate behind the scenes.
Nothing good gets away.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

mind the gap

I went to see Mike Rowe speak last night... 
yes, that Mike Rowe... from Dirty Jobs.

He was talking on the 'job skills gap'. A job skills gap is simply the difference between the skills needed for a job versus the skills of a prospective worker. For Idaho it means a shortage of a qualified workforce. Only one-third of Idaho high school graduates go on to secondary education.

A great blog post on last night's ED Session can be found here.

I liked the part about ethics...
Talent, Risk, Teamwork, Being mindful, & Being connected.

I want to add one more of my own:

Trust your instincts.

Don't allow yourself to get discouraged.

Albert Einstein was expelled from school because his attitude had a negative effect on the serious students. He failed his university entrance exam and attended a trade school for one year before finally being admitted; and was the only one in his graduating class who did not get a teaching position because no professor would recommend him. One professor said Einstein was "the laziest dog" the university ever had. 

Beethoven's parents were told he was too stupid to be a music composer.

Charles Darwin's colleagues called him a fool and what he was doing "fool's experiments" when he worked on his theory of biological evolution.

Walt Disney was fired from his first job on a newspaper because "he lacked imagination."

Thomas Edison had only two years of formal schooling. He was totally deaf in one ear and was hard of hearing in the other. He was fired from his first job as a newsboy and later fired from his job as a telegrapher; and still he became the most famous inventor in the history of the U.S.

So, do what you love to do. 
Do it with great pride, passion, and excellence.
Trust your instincts.

You're in great company. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I have been guilty of looking for recognition for my contribution. The, "Hey, I'm not going to do that because I haven't been recognized for doing this.' It's all quite embarrassing to admit... but it happens.

But what if, as Simon Sinek says, we stop looking for recognition and start looking to recognize others. It's a very powerful shift. I think I'm going to give it a try.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

This year, the Chinese year 4710 begins on January 23, 2012. 2012 is the year of the Dragon.
The dragon is the luckiest and most auspicious of the animal signs. 
I should know... I'm a dragon.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

hope, like River

River's picture at the Humane Society
Four weeks ago, we adopted a very frightened Australian Shepherd from the Humane Society. 
The workers were unsure how long she had been on the street; 
she had 8 puppies. 
They named her River.
We've been pouring our love into her all month.
She's beginning to see that life can be beautiful.

Out walking yesterday, she reminded me of this saying:
Hope is believing despite the evidence, 
then watching the evidence change.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

You'll see and experience so much more.

One of the best lessons I've learned is how to relax, breathe, quit scheduling... and enjoy life at a much slower pace.  

Monday, January 16, 2012

glide and sing

The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us, thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing.

John Muir

Saturday, January 14, 2012

you know I love this...

"Libraries are not made; they grow"
~ Augustine Birrell
The International Public Space Library (IPSL) offers books in public spaces around the world.
Unlike a traditional library, the IPSL is not permanently housed in a physical building; any public space is a temporary location for the IPSL. Anyone can donate or borrow a book.
Read Me... ready and waiting
To get involved and donate a book, download a pdf copy of the IPSL ex libris image Here. Print and affix it inside the front cover of the book you want to share... then leave the book in a public space, free to pick up. Readers are encouraged to return the book after reading it by placing it in another public space.  It's a fun way to support the free exchange of ideas and connections.

"This book was graciously and anonymously donated to the International Public Space Library. You are welcome to borrow it and enjoy it. When you are finished, please leave it in another public place where someone else might find it as you did."

The idea for the IPSL was launched by Momentech and was inspired by the discovery of a book in a public space in St. Montan, France, inside of which was inscribed similar text.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Joy = Love-Fear

I am currently reading an amazingly simple, yet wonderful, book: Emotional Equations by Chip Conley.
It's a book that can help you to see light in darkness by using simple mathematic equations.

To paraphrase Nietzsche, the measure of ourselves is how we transform pain or suffering into something worthwhile or meaningful in our lives.

Chip Conley - Emotional Equations from ISHOTHIM on Vimeo.

From Emotional Equations:

Victor Frankl wrote, "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." You have the power to choose how you respond. You are a product of your decisions, not your conditions.

Think of your emotions as messages that give you the freedom, rather than the obligation, to respond. Fear protects. Regret teaches. Sadness releases. Joy uplifts. Empathy unites.

Letting an emotion move through you is healthy. Letting an emotion define you is not.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

to the curious

"The questions are more important than the answers."

The Future Belongs to the Curious from Skillshare on Vimeo.

"We are all lifelong learners, 
from day one to twenty-thousand-and-one, 
and that’s why we keep exploring, 
wondering and discovering, 
yearning and learning, 
reaching with more than just our hands… 

The future belongs to the curious.”

Sunday, January 8, 2012

see what happens

I've been reading and thinking a lot about passion and purpose.

I've been focused on passionate, purposeful doing this year... as opposed to striving, frenzied accomplishment.

The idea of mindfully working at those creative things that are important to me... those things that I do when I'm taking a break from the things I am suppose to be doing... all sounds wonderfully Zen and calm and right. But sometimes, sitting alone in a room with a blank something (paper, canvas, word document) and trying to fill it up with something meaningful, something soulful, something wholehearted... well, that can be a daunting task.
Then I remember... I just need to show up. No more striving... no more frenzy. One simple step forward... show up with the blank something and the goal of seeing what happens.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

have the richest fluency

"This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one 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 hat 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."
~ Walt Whitman 
(In his preface to Leaves of Grass, 1855 edition)

How is your own This is what you shall do... for the new year going?
Perhaps Whitman had it right... maybe we shouldn't worry so much about a list of resolutions... instead, hold a vision of the person you aspire to be.
What do you need to do to be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in words?
Don't get discouraged... you have 51 more weeks to give it a try.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

a leap toward passion

I will begin something new this year and it excites me. I am curious and I want to write about something I love. I am following my passion, with no thought to where it might lead. The destination isn't the point, the act of doing is what I'm after. 

If you're curious, check it out here.

What new ideas excite you this year?

Do you want to travel, or write a book, or take up singing, or painting?  Maybe you want to run a 10K, or ride a bike, or do yoga. Maybe you just want to organize your closet.

If it excites you, follow through. We can take the leap together.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

give us what you've got

Have you heard about the man who, after learning he only has three months to live, quits his job and becomes a painter?
A year later the cancer is offi­cially in remission but he doesn’t pick up his old life... he continues on as a successful painter. He says he has never been happier. 
The idea of death does not cause people to change; it causes them to step back and see how necessary change is. It gives them a reason to overcome resistance.

I am reading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. It's about creativity and overcoming resistance.
“The most important thing about art is to work. 
Nothing else matters except 
sitting down every day and trying.” 
~ The War of Art

My favorite quotes from the book all seem to come from page 146:

“We’re not born with unlimited choices. 
We can’t be anything we want ot be. 
We come into this world with a specific, personal destiny. 
We have a job to do, a calling to enact, a self to become."

“Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves 
into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, 
but to find out who we already are and become it.”

“If we were born to overthrow the order of ignorance
 and injustice of the world, 
it’s our job to realize it and get down to business.” 

As a last bit of advice, Steven Pressfield challenges all of us:

Your creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention...  It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.

Monday, January 2, 2012

“So, I love you because 
the entire universe conspired
 to help me find you.”

~ Paulo Coelho

Sunday, January 1, 2012

to the undeniable poetry of it all

in a new year...
all that you sought and didn't find
all the good that you tried for and didn't achieve
all that you dreamed but didn't dare do
all that you hoped for