Observation and or observing

Bird Droppings November 29, 2010
Observation and Observing – Part I

“I do not write from mythology when I reflect upon Native American spirituality in this book. In my own opinion, mythology leads to superstition; and superstition has proved fatally destruction to many millions down through time. It is ironic, then that Dominant Society accuses Native practices of being based on myth.” Ed McGaa, Eagle Man

My wanderings are the expanse of several days of traveling and thinking and observing mankind. Last night my son and I walked out to a choir of coyotes just a few yards away deep in the pines. It was literally an opera of coyotes howls and yells. While only a few minutes the sounds were an eerie reminder that even in a civilized world nature was only a few feet away in its wildest. I was walking Sunday morning and being away from my quiet spot near my home in Between Georgia and on a foreign beach alone in the panhandle of Florida the quiet was over powering along with the lulling movement of wind and water as I walk on the beach. Around me birds dove occasionally into the shallows after fish most of the time with out a sound. I was alone walking with the sand making its way into my open sandals. It was a wonderful experience being there as the sun came up and starting this particular book Nature’s Way.
Ed McGaa is a Lakota Sioux and an attorney by education. He chooses his words wisely and does not simple offer a book to fill a spot on a shelf. He points to observations as a basis for our spiritual views rather than heresy or simply taking the word of another. As I drove yesterday home from a quick trip into Florida to see my son and his wife and our soon to be born grandbaby due any day I noticed nearly fifty red tailed hawks sitting on the wires watching as we drove by. If you have ever seen a hawk hunting observation is a key. Every detail is seen as they look for a food item crawling or scurrying along the ground.

“Clearly we are meant to think, analyze, and deliberate. And yet humans seem to have some sort of fear (or is it plain ignorance?) of exercising the simple freedom to think. Why are we so prone to let others do our thinking for us – to lead astray and control us?” Ed McGaa, Eagle Man

We have just recently been through one of the most biased and perhaps most sheep lead to slaughter election campaigns I have ever experienced in my life. The negative ads were the vast majority of all from either side. Issues were simply something that would be dealt with after the election and even then that was questionable. Here in Atlanta several of the mega churches are going through serious upheavals with pastors who after years of preaching and blasting various human characteristics and or issues are coming out themselves and in turn being who they preached against for twenty years and built empires against. One of the themes I have seen in politics and religion so blatant in the past year is the “letting of others do our thinking for us”. I received a copy of a new book in the mail yesterday from a friend in New York. I have known the title for months but seeing it and beginning my initial reading the title hit me. “Hustlers and the idiot swarm”, how appropriate is that to our society today.

Opening up Reverend Manny’s book and turning to the very first page there is a quote and thought that permeates our society if even unknowingly.

“For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all experts liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.” Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. I, Ch. X

It was within a day or two of first setting foot in Washington that a newly elected Congressman who ran on a ticket of repealing the newly legislated Health Care bill was upset that his government health care insurance did not start immediately and he had to wait twenty eight days and made a scene in his first official meeting. During the course of the past year lies about the health care bill made headlines more so than points that were significantly important to many families. Having grown up in a family with a severely disabled brother who would never have been insurable under most standard insurance due to preexisting conditions and having a son in graduate school who is over twenty five without health insurance coverage I was reading fine print of health care and asking questions of my insurer.
I really did not want to get into the idea of politics since reality is not an issue there sadly. I started my thoughts the past few days thinking about how we find our own center and understanding of the world around us.

“The Sioux believe that lies, deceit, greed, and harm to innocent others will never be erased, and neither will good deeds of generosity and caring. Dominant society on the other hand, leans towards “forgiveness” theory which claims that bad deeds can be purged.” Ed McGaa, Eagle Man, Nature’s Way

As I started getting into this idea of each of us formulating and ratifying our own understandings of all that is about us it became clear this will be more than a quick note. I walked out of the house earlier and had on R. Carlos Nakai on my ear phones and rather loud. The CD is one of Nakai who is a seven note cedar flute master playing with a symphony his various melodies and it was almost haunting as the visage before me was one of fog and shrouds of mist surrounding the trees. The visibility was less than a hundred feet. I had to stop listen to the music and see this silvery image before me. The two interplayed as I got ready to leave the house. As I turned from observing I noticed a flat tire which brought me back to reality and the moment.
To close this quick dropping and getting on with the day I remind everyone to please keep all in harms way on their minds and in their hearts.
namaste
bird

It is woven as the spider spins

Bird Droppings November 26-27, 2010
It is woven as the spider spins

“For certain fortunate people, there is something that transcends all classifications of behavior, and that is awareness, something which rises from the programming of the past, and that is spontaneity; and something that is more rewarding than games and that is intimacy. But all of these may be frightening and even perilous to the unprepared. Perhaps they are better off as they are, seeking their solutions in popular techniques of social action, such as ‘togetherness.’ This may mean that there is no hope for the human race, but there is hope for individual members of it.” Dr. Eric Berne, Games People Play, 1964

The title intrigued me as I was sitting here 1:00 AM wondering which direction to go in this mornings writing I was thinking about grandbabies to be, students, parents and teachers and how so often the intertwining of personalities produce the fabric of the day. I recall in a graduate class a professor friend used the term or representation of weaving. Our lives are a tapestry being woven each day as we go. Each thread and line put into place almost in a mundane or routine sort of way yet each relying on the last to complete the whole. I got up a bit early in anticipation of heading down to Panama City to see my son and daughter in law and grand daughter to be.

“Each person designs his own life, freedom gives him the power to carry out his own designs, and power gives the freedom to interfere with the designs of others.“ Dr. Eric Berne

For many years I was directly involved in the sheep industry between raising, breeding, publishing about and of course shearing the sheep and selling the wool. I traveled nation wide photographing and talking to producers and writing about the sheep and the wool industry. I met many hand spinners and weavers as I traveled. Some were artisans spinning yarn as fine as silk and weaving literally pieces of art work. Back in the day we had a ewe (a female breeding sheep) a Hampshire cross that was “black” when you sheared her fleece was chinchilla gray. Many years back a dear friend would get that fleece each year for her spinning and weaving. Somewhere in a box stored away is a small ball of yarn my oldest son spun one afternoon when he was six or so with that fleece and my friend showing and helping him.
Life as Dr. Donna Andrews, chairperson of the Special Education Department at Piedmont College commented in class is a weaving it is an intertwining of events and people. The symbolism of that analogy has stuck with me as I have proceeded far from that class so many years ago.

“A man is the sum of his actions, of what he has done, of what he can do, nothing else. “ Mahatma Gandhi

One of Gandhi’s methodologies of protest was to spin and weave his own cloth rather than rely on industrial and British produced material. Many other intricate thoughts were woven in as well; spinning is for many a form of meditation. The process of weaving, creating and designing a piece is literally a painting of a picture with thread and yarn. In the Navaho culture where the spider is held as sacred in its ability to weave and the weaving of blankets held a very high position and within each the artisan placed a piece of their soul.

“A man’s action is only a picture book of his creed.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

So as we weave our cloth in life we are seen by the fabric, the pattern, and the methods we use to make that piece.

“When power leads man towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. “ John F. Kennedy

With each progress report we call students parents or guardians to discuss issues and grades. I spoke with several over the phone back a week or so ago. I walked through my room after school that day reading a poster that has been hanging around now on my wall where ever I take up for 30 years, Children Learn what they live. While one weaves silk others weave burlap. Silk has many great attributes as does burlap and the applications and uses vary. To spin hemp into twine and weave the burlap is as much a skill as the artisans who weave the silk threads into cloth. The weaving and material made is not the issue but it is that weaving that is occurring. Applying to human kind it is in that effort that is being made to produce a life.

“Understand clearly that when a great need appears a great use appears also; when there is small need there is small use; it is obvious, then, that full use is made of all things at all times according to the necessity thereof.” Dogen Kenji, Zen master

Recently I used the word direction and drew criticism from a teacher trying to explain that choosing a direction in a journey and not truly having a destination is sometimes a meaningless effort. For some just going is the norm. I always speak of the journey being more important versus the destination but there is a point to head towards. When building a house first you build walls you determine where doors and windows are needed and add them as you go. A really good builder knows ahead and plans for doors and windows and designed properly a house can have huge windows and great doors – and movement in and out occurs continually.
Many years ago I was sitting along side a fence in a field far away from houses and people I watched a spider spin a web. We see webs all around I was told there are thousands of spiders per acre in any field. Many of the spiders are minute and nearly microscopic. Anyhow the spider climbed to a point and dropped leaving a strand of silk climbed and dropped and so forth building a base for her web. Next came the cross lines and soon a web was built over an hour or so in the process. We see webs and easily sweep them away but the design and care in making is engrained in the spider. Life is a weaving a spinning a web of sorts and yes so often is simply swept away. Occasionally someone will stand back in awe of the artistry if only we would take note every time. Please as we partake of a day only a few off from our day of thanksgiving and keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.
namaste
bird

To think or at least to try this morning

Bird Droppings November 24, 2010
To think or at least try this morning

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” Joseph Campbell

I wonder if it is for attention that so many teenagers seek the route of drama in their lives. Over reacting to seemingly inconsequential stimulus seems to be a matter of fact in the teenage world. Is it hormones and assorted emotional lapses that drive the various levels of human kind? I often wonder at why we do what we do. I observe and listen and find myself all to often swept into turbulence that is difficult to raise ones head above. I was called to talk to a student before the holiday break. Her head was in her hands sobbing and she had asked for me. The story from a few days before had grown and found its way to school. I had heard bits and pieces floating around school in the days before.
On another topic a young man in my own classes asked me if he had been good and would I write a letter for his probation officer. A week ago I separated him from another fellow just before a fight.

“Absolutely speaking, Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you is by no means a golden rule, but the best of current silver. An honest man would have but little occasion for it. It is golden not to have any rule at all in such a case.” Henry David Thoreau

I wonder at times do our worlds of reality even intertwine or is this some great Venn diagram and only occasionally do the edges over lap. Is part of reality A and part of B touching here and reality C and D barely touch over there?
I wonder if it is for attention. I watched a girl walk down the hall staring straight ahead obviously depressed. How do you get depressed at 16? What in our water drives a teenager to depression? Earlier I went out briefly my head today feels like a sponge. It was hard getting up I forgot to take my allergy medicine last night and the gas heat really tears up my sinuses. But as I walked and stood looking as my dog ran around the yard searching for prey and also trying to find a dry spot in the wet grass to do her duty I could not help but think. I wonder about dogs they look for a dry spot to make wet. It actually might be logical perhaps in dog thinking. But as I looked about the air seemed to resonate my own mood foggy and the weather channel had issued fog warnings for our county.
I could see stars yet the trees only a few feet away were clouded over. One in particular was literally in a mist as I looked. At 2:30 in the morning much is a mist but this tree was unclear as the others about it were fine. My own perception was a bit foggy today and actually I did go lay down again after getting up a with a severe sinus headache. But as I lay back down I thought of seeing pieces clear and others shrouded in mist. Some were unclear and indistinct while others were plain as day.
I will come back to students and kids at school perhaps there is a difference. On one hand there are students, those who learn and kids those ones who are taking up air and space and or baby goats, sarcastically. But as I thought perhaps it is knowing that clears ones self, ones own self image is more clear when you know your self. In so many of the Eastern religions and philosophies there is a focus on “know thy self”. Here is a thought from one cloudy mind today to numerous cloudy minds at 4:00 in the morning. Maybe it is like my tree so many people are unclear because they do not know who they are. In their searching and journeying in life they never have a clear pathway always seems to be rubble blocking the way, be it relationships, family, “friends” and for some perhaps a disability or imperfection that in their eyes holds them back or cause them to stumble. Very easily it could create an unclear vision of who they are.
I went back out and as my head cleared the tree that had been blurry cleared up and I was able to see it fine. When we meet people even ones with drama and unclear at the time views if we focus, if we give ourselves a moment to recompose often we can see through the fog and see the real person even if that person is unsure and then we can offer a hand to help them come back. It could be sort of a tug into the Venn diagram perhaps. It might be M&M’s or a paper towel, or just a word or thought and it amazes me at times tp see some things so simple can change a life. Sometimes it is just coming when called or needed. I wish we had “clear life”, something bottled you could spray out and all would be fine sort of like the commercials with the red eyes and one drop and they are clear. Peace my friends and please when opportunity is there offer a hand for far to many people are stuck in the fog of their own lives. Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts as we go into this holiday tomorrow.
namaste
bird

Somehwere inside perhaps within ourselves

Bird Droppings November 23, 2010
Somewhere inside perhaps within ourselves

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” Mary Engelbreit

I am very much a creature of routine of habit and when my daily path is altered I have occasion to be amiss. My days that go off in another direction or start late seem a bit out of kilter. Over the years I heard my father speak numerous times in his lectures and training sessions of W. Edwards Deming the man who changed Japan’s industry around. US industry knew of Deming but sort of turned a deaf ear. On the opposite end of the world Japan embraced Deming’s ideas.

“It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” W. Edwards Deming

Blunt and to the point Deming revolutionized industrial thinking and began the quality movement and in rebuilding Japanese industry as well as increasing production in the United States during World War II. It was the significant altering of industry in Japan that made the world pay heed to Deming and the quality movement.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Victor Frankl

Philosophers and thinkers keep coming back to we may not be able to change the conditions but we can change ourselves. Often the indigenous medicine person would wander off into the wilderness to find him or herself through a vision. They would often forgo food and water for a period of time even submitting to a sweat lodge to assist in bringing about the vision. In today’s modern world such primitive endeavors are not always looked upon as acceptable and we seek other ways of finding ones self. Some search within learning and understanding trying to delve deeper into the inner makings of mankind. Rationalizing, intellectualizing and forming theories and philosophical standards that stand the test of time.

“The man who looks for security, even in the mind, is like a man who would chop off his limbs in order to have artificial ones which will give him no pain or trouble.” Henry Miller

IN my observing and participating in the educational system I see this attitude daily. Functioning and attitudes are very much in line with Millers man who would literally cut off his own limbs for artificial ones to avoid the pain.

“There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse! As I have often found in traveling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one’s position, and be bruised in a new place.” Washington Irving

Coming back to my starting point of habit and routine we would rather than take another form of transportation and or for other reasons perhaps time and speed we as humans seem to put up with simply being bruised on the other cheek at least back in the day.

“When you are through changing, you are through.” Bruce Barton

“Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.” John Kenneth Galbraith

I am as guilty as any one on this point yet often I can prove my point. Many the time, I am often more so the one initiating the change or creating the dissidence that pushes for altering how a student does something. It is quite often a behavior that is deemed inappropriate for society and through modification or change might be made acceptable to others. Sometimes it is about conforming to what in a school setting falls into the rules and parameters that the majority aloe for and desire. In some areas I am not quite the advocate of change and I try in general to keep any such endeavor limited to those that provide a means for a student to live within and get through graduation. I use my own credo of doing no harm to others as a g=basis for behaviors that might need some tweaking and or changing

“The only difference between a rut and a grave is their dimensions.” Ellen Glasgow

I have been a student and or teacher at eight possibly ten colleges and or universities and on several occasions I have worked with two professors in a course now several times. I have found that each time it is new alive and viable and different. I can see the wrapping is the same and the course number and name but it changes with the group of students. Each course has pieces that will be exactly like the last yet each too is subtly different. I have found no two groups in teaching are the same so how can we teach the same material the same way every time. Sadly this is what text book manufactures want and school systems and school boards and parent groups push for and get. In Georgia we now have GPS, Georgia Performance Standards. Every little nuance is accounted for and every moment a student is in the class room.

“Life is its own journey, presupposes its own change and movement, and one tries to arrest them at one’s eternal peril.” Laurens Van der Post

I have over the years written about this several times. Van der Post writes about the last Bushmen painter, as he remembers the day that the last painter died. There was a series of caves and rocks on the edge of the Kalahari that each time he visited during his childhood new paintings of animals, birds and other aspects of nature would be appearing on the rock face. It was also during this time the South African Government much like our own had chosen the path of genocide for a people, the Bushmen. Van der post writes about hearing as a child the gun shots and upon a visit to the rocks and caves on a later day seeing the paintings that were now a series of red slashes and warriors dying and then no more paintings. The last painter had recorded the beginning of the end and there was not another to take his place.

“Growth is the only evidence of life.” John Henry Newman

“The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.” William Blake

As I look at the statements perhaps growth would have been looking at the Bushmen and seeing their views rather than destroying them. So many pathways in history have been of destruction rather than change, rather than seeing a different view.

“Time, which changes people, does not alter the image we have retained of them.” Marcel Proust

“We did not change as we grew older; we just became more clearly ourselves.” Lynn Hall

I seriously wondered as I read and thought about this quote. Maybe we do not change but come to grips with and accept who we are rather than trying to be the image of what we think others want us to be. Watching students in high school so many simply trying to be what others want them to be.

“What you have become is the price you paid to get what you used to want.” Mignon McLaughlin

As I sit and ponder how true this is, each event in our life has led us here to this moment and place.

“All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.” Ellen Glasgow

“If you want to make enemies, try to change something.” Woodrow Wilson

I have a dear friend who constantly reminds me of this all movement is not forward and to that effect I once made an open ended rubric there were literally no parameters in any direction more of a shading as one event evolved into the next.

“Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights.” Pauline R. Kezer

I really do like this illustration we find our grounding, our roots in the continuity of life but it is that new look that change that grows us and lifts us up.

“If you would attain to what you are not yet, you must always be displeased by what you are. For where you are pleased with yourself there you have remained. Keep adding, keep walking, and keep advancing.” Saint Augustine

This is a profound statement and not to belittle who and what you are but to always be trying to be more than the point at which you are. Far too many people are content and stagnate repeating William Blake’s quote. “The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.”

“God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it’s me.” Author Unknown

I generally like to attribute to someone a quote but this wording caught my attention a spin on Rhinehold Niebuhr’s words on his famous Serenity Prayer.

“Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Things do not change; we change.” Henry David Thoreau

A general and a philosopher offer similar ideas but it is truly up to us to provide the catalyst and effort.

“He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator.” Francis Bacon

Inevitable that change will occur through evolution, migration, alteration, dissemination, ramification, ossification, delineation, degradation and even in our own country segregation. Change is evident always and certain how we adapt and survive this is the crucial point.

“Every possession and every happiness is but lent by chance for an uncertain time, and may therefore be demanded back the next hour.” Arthur Schopenhauer

Describing Schopenhauer many writers see his works as unlike many of his time he is easier to read often making sense on the first read. He was one of the first European philosophers to look at and utilize eastern thought. As I read this line life is much like a loan shark we borrow pieces only to have to eventually pay back with interest often at a higher rate. Sitting here this morning I wonder when our interest will be due for our current situations. Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.
namaste
bird

Why don’t we each make a difference

Bird Droppings November 22, 2010
Why don’t we each can make a difference

I walked out last night to a full moon although I did not quite see the blue moon that was supposed to be gleaming over head. However as I did see a jet stream was perfectly inline with the moon almost as if a line was drawn and the moon was moving along the line.

“The purpose of Living Values: Educational Program is to provide guiding principles and tools for the development of the whole person, recognizing that the individual is comprised of physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual dimensions.” livingvalues.net

When I first read the lead line to this website it is too good to be true, someone after my own heart. As I thought it is not just about content but context as well although in public school spiritual can be a carefully handled word. Yesterday I borrowed from John Dewey’s pedagogy and this is a similar line looking more at the whole person.

“In confronting the many challenges that the future holds in store, humankind sees in education an indispensable asset in its attempt to attain the ideals of peace, freedom and social justice. The Commission does not see education as a miracle cure or a magic formula opening the door to a world in which all ideals will be attained, but as one of the principal means available to foster a deeper and more harmonious form of human development and thereby to reduce poverty, exclusion, ignorance, oppression and war.” Jacques Delors, Learning: The Treasure Within, UNESCO

ALIVE, The association for Living values Education International was founded by the Untied Nations a few years ago. As I read through the literature the concept of teaching values intrigued me. Is this maybe where we go wrong in public school focusing on content on curriculum on page 1-500 only. Maybe this is where students lose the desire to learn being force fed piles of facts or does it happen elsewhere.

“The traditions of our people are handed down from father to son. The Chief is considered to be the most learned, and the leader of the tribe. The Doctor, however, is thought to have more inspiration. He is supposed to be in communion with spirits… He cures the sick by the laying of hands, and payers and incantations and heavenly songs. He infuses new life into the patient, and performs most wonderful feats of skill in his practice…. He clothes himself in the skins of young innocent animals, such as the fawn, and decorated himself with the plumage of harmless birds, such as the dove and hummingbird …” Sarah Winnemucca, Paiute

We learn much of who we are good or bad at home. Several years ago I wrote a paper about “The Sixteen Hour Syndrome” that time kids are away from school. As a parent teacher and soon to be grandparent I seen students leave school and go home where any semblance of value and order was disavowed. Students were unlearning literally anything that had been taught. Teachers have eight hours of which transportation and breaks and lunch come out of so maybe six hours to try and instill values and information. Some could argue is school the place for values to be taught? It is a place and teaching is occurring so do what you can.

“All sciences are now under the obligation to prepare the ground for the future task of the philosopher, which is to solve the problem of value, to determine the true hierarchy of values.” Fredrich Nietzsche

“You must look within for value, but must look beyond for perspective.” Denis Waitley

Students should bring some tattering of values to school but going back to September 11, 2001 which coincidentally was my first day back to teaching after a twenty three year break a student informed me he was the first in four generations not to run moonshine. Interestingly enough last night on the history channel a show memorialized moonshiners as an integral part of our history and that we had to have them in order for a progression to occur. This was while the host sampled various brews from around the country. If you are raised that moonshining, racism, bigotry, anti government and a good one today belittling women is appropriate and then correctly imagine the impact of those eight hours in school with a female teacher. After battling with that type of student, teachers are weary and they are not just in the south. So the issue becomes how do we alter values.

“Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.” Albert Einstein

“Although gold dust is precious, when it gets in your eyes it obstructs your vision.” Hsi-Tang

We all need to work together be it in parenting and in teaching and in working towards a world we can eliminate the sixteen hour syndrome and children can learn to appreciate life and all that could be there for them.
“Minds are like parachutes – they only function when open.” Thomas Dewey
The other aspect is that in order to open properly that parachute has to be packed correctly folded and arranged so it will open when the rip cord is pulled. Far too many children have not had their parachute folded properly before the jump and crash and burn. As I look back over the past few weeks of school and writings teachers are expected to check the parachutes and repack daily. Teachers are expected often times to even postpone the jumps till everyone is ready. But in life as in parachuting there comes a time when you have to learn to pack your own chute. When it doesn’t open it is no ones fault but your own.
“If a man who cannot count finds a four-leaf clover, is he entitled to happiness? You must first have a lot of patience to learn to have patience.” Stanislaw Jerszy Lec, Unkempt Thoughts, translated from the Polish by Jacek Galazka
As I read a few of Lec’s words this morning many are dark foreboding telling of a time when death was near the door step in Poland during World War II. Executioners and death are a major topic looking through Unkempt Thoughts a rather large collection of anecdotes. But when I saw these particular two lines the first is so true of education we pass the child through knowing he can not “count” are we truly happy when he finds a four leave clover and patience is learned but it does take patience to learn patience otherwise you would have run out of patience. Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts and please let’s make sure parachutes are packed right for that first jump.
namaste
bird

Adversity is only a bridge

Bird Droppings November 19, 2010
Adversity is only a bridge

“If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience.” Robert Fulghum

It was perhaps two days ago one of the teachers at school in an email to all staff mentioned another member of our staff had been diagnosed with breast cancer. If anything I have found in my sixty one years of living upon this reality of life is that we as an organism are resilient. In my time wandering about I have been carried through the hallways of a polio ward observing other children in iron lungs one day and gone the next. Yet somehow in that doom and gloom of that era we survived. I have witnessed first hand the human travesty of mental institutions as a chaplain counseling inmates who never will leave the confines of the walls and bars that held them contained.

“We have no right to ask when sorrow comes, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way.” “A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn.” Authors Unknown

As I came through college and a war in Viet Nam so many of my friends died while I gained knowledge. Yesterday I in my travels I watched the sun rise and set all in a day. So often we get absorbed in the issues the problems and do not see what lies ahead or that something can lie ahead around the turn

“The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.” William Shakespeare, Othello

Life continually throw curve balls be it physically mentally or emotionally and it is in learning to hit a curve ball where in lies the secret and not succumbing to the throes of human indignity. Of course when you learn to hit curves the pitcher in life may throw a slider. There is not a day goes by I do not see the words of a great woman since they are spread in quotes on my walls of my class room.

“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.” Mother Teresa

There is a bit of humor still in Mother Teresa’s stoicism and humility. Few people ever bear witness to the images that beset Mother Teresa daily as she walked the streets of Calcutta.

“We acquire the strength we have overcome.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

A simple thought but adversity does bring strength and gives us the understanding we need to take the next step or to simply breathe that next breath of air.

“You can’t run away from trouble. There ain’t no place that far.” Uncle Remus

I recall Uncle Remus from the Disney’s cartoons based on the characters and produced nearly eighty years ago. Even in the Madison Georgia home of the Uncle Remus’ characters you see the Disney art work. In life far too often we run away trying to avoid dealing with issues and there is no place far enough eventually it does catch up I can speak personally to this one.

“Enduring habits I hate…. Yes, at the very bottom of my soul I feel grateful to all my misery and bouts of sickness and everything about me that is imperfect, because this sort of thing leaves me with a hundred backdoors through which I can escape from enduring habits.” Friedrich Nietzsche

A day or so ago a comment was made about over achievers those that are forever dotting every I and crossing every T. In my world I call that obsessive compulsive disorder. Listening to a speaker the other day who was being perfect, as they spoke I was thinking obsessive compulsive not perfect. Understanding our frailties and weaknesses can make us strong.

“If I had a formula for bypassing trouble, I would not pass it round. Trouble creates a capacity to handle it. I don’t embrace trouble; that’s as bad as treating it as an enemy. But I do say meet it as a friend, for you’ll see a lot of it and had better be on speaking terms with it.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

Perhaps it is in acknowledgement of trouble that we can overcome. It is true we learn, we grow, and we do develop a capacity to overcome adversity.

“The healthy and strong individual is the one who asks for help when he needs it, whether he’s got an abscess on his knee or in his soul.” Rona Barrett

“Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known.” Garrison Keillor

So often we fret over things that in truth are simply a part of life and fretting will not take it away it is in knowing how to deal with and living with that makes the difference.

“Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.” Erich Fromm

You have to get through the trials before you can savor the victory.

“I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders.” Jewish Proverb

Perhaps the most powerful quote today as I look back in my own life and that of those of friends and family. If we all looked at life this way what a world we would have perhaps there would be no more whiners.

“Sometimes the littlest things in life are the hardest to take. You can sit on a mountain more comfortably than on a tack.” Author Unknown

Such a good illustration as I ponder that one in my mind and how true. The big issues we seem to deal with but those sharp tiny ones sneak in there and stick us in the butt.

“How can something bother you if you won’t let it?” Terri Guillemets

“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” Frank A. Clark

“As long as you keep getting born, it’s alright to die some times.” Orson Scott Card

“Bad is never good until worse happens.” Danish Proverb

Even though the smooth pavement is so much easier to travel on I do prefer a bump now and again to keep me awake. I was thinking of the ripples along side the interstate highways before bridges they really do wake you up thinking back to younger days and driving straight through from Georgia to Pennsylvania over the weekends to see friends. In life sometimes we need a ripple or two to keep us going.

“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” Walt Disney

Walt Disney was one of the great optimists of our time. Back in the day he had the vision to see pine flats, orange groves and swamp and envision a city, an amusement park unlike anything ever built before. As I look back all from drawing a little mouse.

“Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.” Arthur Golden

“There’s a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out.” Lou Reed

From Eastern thought the yin and yang, opposites that need each other so you can truly see what each is. That black and white we can call the the contrast of life.

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” Mary Engelbreit

So much of life is how we see it and what we do about it. A new week please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts and as I head into a holiday week thinking of close friends who need our support and concern as they deal with the pieces of the puzzle that life has provided to them. May peace be with you all.
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