I still like the seagull book

Bird Droppings November 3, 2022
I still like the seagull book

As I get older, I feel seventy-three years and two days old today. Many years ago, as I drove my kids to school each morning, I would spin yarns of various Indian tribes and Great Grandpa Niper. Some were stories told to me by my father and are now being passed down to my children and soon to grandchildren. My youngest son would offer one of his lines back in the day, one of his favorite sayings relating to anything past his recollection. However, many years before the idea of the “New Age,” back when such books were often considered simply whimsical, a former test pilot and fighter pilot wrote a short book entitled Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Once upon a time, that line started so many stories in my day that perhaps it would be an excellent way to start today.

Richard Bach’s book was an easy read, a one-sitting book that was a best seller for several years in the 1970s. As I look back, maybe in my naiveté of the day, perhaps he opened the door for the many “new age” writers to come out of the woodwork, so to say. I recommend his book, and if you have not read it previously, try and borrow a copy or buy one and read it. A bit of advertising, Amazon has it discounted to five or six dollars; it is a simple story about a seagull who wants more than diving at fish. It is a fun read and relaxing.

“Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours.” Richard Bach from Jonathan Livingston Seagull

As I read this quote for the first time in many years, I found it related to several current situations in our society, nation, and me. We often tend to limit ourselves by standards imposed or self-imposed by others and or work, school, church, or society. I have watched friends argue for their limitations, and guess what? That is where they end up. Rather than constantly reaching higher, people get so caught up in their limitations they flounder and wither away. In the book, the lead character Jonathan Livingston Seagull reaches for the sky and eventually gets it.

“The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work.” Richard Bach from One

As much as I complain about something, it is not because I do not like doing it, but it is about fitting into my supposed rock-solid schedule. I recently spent a few hours learning a new software program formatting videos for a friend, layout, graphics, formatting, and using still photos to animate into a video. While, on the one hand, it was a pain, it gave me ideas for my teaching as well. It gave me practice at something I had not done in a few years, and I got to use my creativity and imagination; it did not work. As I looked through several books from Richard Bach, ideas and thoughts and several good quotes, but as I looked at this particular one for some of you younger folks, maybe it is not significant, but for old-timers like me, it makes sense:

“The simplest questions are the most profound.
Where were you born?
Where is your home?
Where are you going?
What are you doing?
Think about these once in a while and watch your answers change.”
Richard Bach from One

As I sit this morning, reflecting on an era that spawned JLS and, in reality, raised the question about which we were and why “new agers” are still working. Maybe the answers were there all along, and marketing ploys and skeptics have kept the ball rolling either downhill or up, depending on your view. I think Bach raised a question about our spiritual side; for so many years, the word spiritual meant a specific church or religion, and Bach opened a door that later writers would access, direct and guide. Bach’s characters were fictitious, thinking-talking seagull, and more recently, his books are based on ferrets. Reading JLS, you are first reading a story of a seagull searching for more to life, then you reflect, and on second reading and see aspects that may or may not correspond to your existence, and then you see a spiritual side.

“We are each given a block of marble when we begin a lifetime and the tools to shape it into sculpture… We can drag it behind us untouched, we can pound it into gravel, and we can shape it into glory.” Richard Bach from Illusions

I once read Michelangelo could see his artwork in the marble before he would chisel his masterpieces, and it was for him a work of art waiting to be exposed. As I look back over Bach and his writings, I think he, too, was trying to show us each. There are artworks inside waiting to be exposed, for the self-imposed limitations to be lifted, and for the procrastination to be gone.

“We generate our environment. We get exactly what we deserve. How can we resent the life we’ve created for ourselves? Who’s to blame? Who’s to credit but us? Who can change it, any time we wish, but for us?” Richard Bach from Illusions

Maybe a few will search and read a few lines or get on the internet and look up this writer who may have opened a door years ago who, for some and is little more than a fancy, but I will end with one final Bach quote.

“Any powerful idea is absolutely fascinating and absolutely useless until we choose to use it.” Richard Bach from Illusions

I found this one thought wandering through my whimsical ideas in my reading today. Nearly every day, the information we have been led to believe is refuted, and each day a new explanation is given by our “adults” in charge. Negative feelings are held deep inside and manifest in our government and actions worldwide, a sad state we are in. With all that is going on in the world, we need to refind that innocence of childhood, and then maybe we can resolve our issues.

“Look at children. Of course, they may quarrel, but generally speaking, they do not harbor ill feelings as much or as long as adults do. Most adults have the advantage of education over children, but what is the use of an education if they show a big smile while hiding negative feelings deep inside? Children don’t usually act in such a manner. If they feel angry with someone, they express it, and then it is finished. They can still play with that person the following day.” His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, Imagine All the People

So, reflect, ponder, dream and use your ideas to grow trees from the seeds, not just allow those seeds to mold. Raise your expectations and exceed them and above all, until our friends and family members are home and safe, keep all in harm’s way in your heart and on your mind and always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)


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