Bird Droppings July 23, 2019
What does it take for that light bulb to go on?
Yesterday I finally could sit long enough to do some work on my dissertation. I had a couple emails back and forth with my chair and actually felt like I was back on track for my doctorate. It has been nearly twelve years since my doctorial cohort at Georgia Southern ended and we began the journey on our own. I stopped in 2010 for several reasons. For a couple semesters 2013-14, I was a member of a new cohort at a new program at Piedmont College and wandering down the path of learning again. As costs became prohibitive I had to leave that venture and found my way back to Georgia Southern where I started.
I recall many months back we met for an advanced seminar and one of the readings was an Aldus Huxley book, Doors of our perception, which while not that many pages was a major part of the discussion. I am always intrigued when pieces of my time in existence seem just for me as several ideas within the book were significant as I look back. However, our professor ended the session pointing inward and mentioned how he has pursued intellectualism. Reading and expanding his own knowledge has been his pursuit and he mentioned several times how great it is to be a professor you get paid to read. I was thinking to high school students who we try and get to read and many college students as well. So often when you ask, what is your favorite book a response will be, I do not read? Instilling that passion for knowledge should be our task rather than just testing for specific pieces of information.
“You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” James Allen
I have been thinking on this passage many days. I firmly believe even as we plan and set goals and agendas we are where we need to be at this moment. Is it as simple as we travel the pathways presented to us each day thinking we have choice and actually could be setting the direction? It has been a few years since I first looked at life as a journey. Since that first day however it has become a truly memorable one for me. Now I try to view each moment as I pass try and keep up with all the surroundings and trying to understand each piece of the puzzle as it falls in place. “Life is about the journey”, I have used many times in my writings.
“Thinking more than others about our own thoughts is not self-centeredness. It means that if asked what’s on our mind, we are less likely to mention being aware of the world around us, and more likely to mention our inner reflections. But we are less likely to mention thinking about other people.” Elaine N. Aron, Clinical Psychologist
I just took Dr. Aron’s quiz to see if I am an HSP highly sensitive person or not rather interesting. I tend to argue several issues within her test. I thrive on the interactions and emotions while the tests seem have this as a negative response.
“You live with your thoughts — so be careful what they are.” Eva Arrington
“If everybody thought before they spoke, the silence would be deafening.” George Barzan
Each day I spend a large portion of time trying to assist students in thinking. A simple thought yet rather difficult. Trying to encourage thought processes can be interesting as one student told me. “Mr. Bird why do we have to think it hurts my brain.” Sadly, I hear that several times a day.
“There are lots of people who cannot think seriously without injuring their minds.” John Jay Chapman
I keep a box of Band-Aids handy and have pulled them out occasionally for serious brain injury and surprise students with the offer when their brains hurt.
“No matter how hard you work for success if your thought is saturated with the fear failure, it will kill your efforts, neutralize your endeavors and make success impossible.” Baudjuin
“A thought which does not result in an action is nothing much, and an action which does not proceed from a thought is nothing at all.” Georges Bernanos
Thought processes are often bewildering. I was sitting here typing and thinking and went to type, Ge, and was thinking and spelling and got to Geo and couldn’t hit the “o” key I wanted to hit “r” but thought process and fingers got caught. I was looking at “o” and wanted to type “r”, actually paused for a second to rationalize.
“We are formed and molded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts give joy when they speak or act. Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them.” Buddha
“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make our world.” Buddha
Interesting as I look at these two remarks from several thousand years ago. Today psychologists will say the same thing. I say the same thing without quoting Buddha every day. But so many people do not really think about where there are.
“Man is what he believes.” Anton Chekhov
It is so difficult to explain this to students really to anyone. Yet great coaches around the country have been proving this for years. My youngest son is an avid sport trivia fan while still not on par with the great trivia authority and good friend, former student, now fellow teacher and Head Baseball Coach at the school I teach in, Jimmy Hughes. My son is pretty good. He will ask many times who do I think is the greatest of all time NCAA coaches. Although usually the question is “dad don’t you think Spurrier is the greatest of all time NCAA coaches”. I like it when he leaves me an out, he didn’t mention a sport and I can throw out John Wooden or Dan Gable or even more recent Paul Hewitt and really get him going. “Well what about Coach K then”, thinking though is the goal and that he does.
“The problem with most people is that they think with their hopes or fears or wishes rather than their minds.” Walter Duranty
“It is astonishing what an effort it seems to be for many people to put their brains definitely and systematically to work.” Thomas A. Edison
I recall my middle son’s senior year. He was near the top in his class and always an excellent student. Due to scheduling he was unable to take the honors English course he wanted to and had to take regular senior English with the rest of humanity. He has a slug sitting next to him who every day would ask to copy his homework. My son got to where his responses were classic, one that stuck with me went something like this “We all make mistakes and, in all honesty, I truly believe this is all correct. But what if I am wrong and I allow you to copy and then you receive a failing grade and your life is ruined I will not be able to live with that. So, no, I cannot allow you to copy. If you fail I want it to be you who fail not me helping you too”.
“Humans have the ability to shift perspective. We can experience the world through our senses. Or we can remove ourselves from our senses and experience the world even less directly. We can think about our life, rather than thinking in our life. We can think about what we think about our life, and we can think about what we think about that. We can shift perceptual positions many times over.” John J. Emerick
Each moment is similar and each uniquely different. As we are wandering the pathways of life they can tire you. You might stop to sip a cup of water midst the turmoil of the day and move on past the strife. Each day we have choices to make we have opportunity and we have disaster waiting. It is that light bulb going off, like in the old cartons over our heads that makes the difference. Sitting in my sanctuary of my class room at school in the darkness of morning thinking and pondering as I say that makes the difference for me each day at school. As my moments draw down and it becomes time for me to move to the sofa and prop up my leg for stage two of the day I draw solace from my quiet time. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.
My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)