Walking agian in the morning

Bird Droppings May 9, 2011
Walking again in the morning

It is hard for me to describe the feeling of losing this aspect of the day. It has been now nearly eleven years since each morning I would get up and walk upwards of five miles before dawn. Many of those journeys were with a good friend discussing various topics be it politics, theology, education and or philosophy. The past years I find myself more simply going into the early hours and listening alone to the quiet and stillness of that fraction of time before the sunrises. As I went out this morning walking the dog for a few minutes as she went about her morning business I could not help but here the sounds of spring were returning. Our morning had been rather cool and tree frogs and crickets had been silent for some time.
As I looked into the sky I noticed a small smile of a moon I feel as if I have lost time I have nearly missed a full moon cycle. The moon was barely visible through the trees now nearly filled in. In a few more days my teaching school year draws to an end, only a handful of days the next two weeks. My own schooling begins anew in a day or two as I get back seriously to my dissertation back to reading and writing it seems graduate school is composed of reading and writing.

“We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.” William Ewart Gladstone

On a morning where the news headlines is filled with headlines of retaliation, suicide bombers, conflict, war, mayhem and death it is new week what a better way to start then to think of peace.

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” Mother Teresa

Through out her life she set an example lived her life for others less fortunate than she and always striving for peace in her actions.

“Peace cannot be achieved through violence; it can only be attained through understanding.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I think back to my high school days and how Emerson was approached I never did learn who he was until my later years somewhere in grad school. He was one of our great thinkers and philosophers so and often we by pass him in literature a passage here and a note there leading into Thoreau and quickly go to Moby Dick and Melville. So many authors listened to and asked him for advice and mentoring. As I read Emerson today I have many websites featuring his works tagged on my computer for quick reference.

“If they want peace, nations should avoid the pin-pricks that precede cannon shots.” Napoleon Bonaparte

One of the great warriors of all time saw peace as a veil that men in general never wanted hence the constant pin pricks.

“The more we sweat in peace the less we bleed in war.” Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit

Maybe it is the work needed to be at peace maybe it takes too much and we seem to always choose the easy way that of quick and complete destruction.

“The real differences around the world today are not between Jews and Arabs; Protestants and Catholics; Muslims, Croats, and Serbs. The real differences are between those who embrace peace and those who would destroy it; between those who look to the future and those who cling to the past; between those who open their arms and those who are determined to clench their fists.” William J. Clinton, 1997

While we can argue his morality and personal life for many days on end Bill Clinton was an astute and intelligent man. As I read this passage I find this is the basis for so many of the world’s wars, clinging to his past. It often is not whether it is right or wrong but just clinging to it, that tradition or ritual. My Westie this past weekend has a stuffed toy bone she has carried every where made it hard to get her outside to the yard without it. She slept on it, carried it everywhere, she is obsessed with it. Many nations and peoples are like this as they wage war no practical value and definitely no humanitarian value, just because it was this way.

“You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.” Indira Gandhi

Interesting how in India where Mahatma Gandhi taught peace so many leaders have died trying to attain that goal including Gandhi himself.

“Peace hath higher tests of manhood, than battle ever knew.” John Greenleaf Whittier

We have always known it takes far more to walk away then to fight but we succumb to our human nature and take a swing. Seems we always want to get in that first blow.

“Five great enemies to peace inhabit with us: avarice, ambition, envy, anger, and pride. If those enemies were to be banished, we should infallibly enjoy perpetual peace.” Francesco Petrarch

As I look about this morning how do we even attempt to banish these when they are the basis for so much of the world’s leadership perhaps when we vote next time around.

“There is one armor that the world of men and women, as a world, has never yet put on. The churches have long bungled with its fastenings, but the world has gone unfended, and few have been those in whose hands the mystical sword of the spirit has shone with daily use. This armor, waiting to be worn, is the armor of brotherhood and sacrifice, the world of unselfishness, a conquering sword, with the power, where used, to unite the world in love. And there are none who may not put it on.” M.A. DeWolfe Howe

Why is it the word love keeps popping up I recall my earlier years as anti war demonstrators in the 1970’s used peace signs and many times the word love was written right next to the peace symbol. One of my all time favorite movies of all time, Billy Jack contains a song, One Tin Soldier, recorded and sung in the film by the group Coven.

“Go ahead and hate your neighbor, Go ahead and cheat a friend. Do it in the name of heaven, you can justify it in the end. There won’t be any trumpets blowing come the judgment day, on the bloody morning after…. One tin soldier rides away.” Lambert-Potter

Actually briefly back in the day it was a hit song for the group. The song and short animated film of the song are based on the ends justify the means. I find it amusing how war never does seems to bring peace. World War II ended and we went into the cold war and Korean War, war does not bring peace. I was watching, The Scorpion King over the weekend and there is a scene where the bad guy says he is going to bring peace after conquering and slaughtering all in his path. The heroine, the sorceress turns to him and says you are bringing not peace only oppression.

“I think that people want peace so much that one of these days’ governments had better get out of their way and let them have it.” Dwight Eisenhower

General Eisenhower fought for peace as commander of he allied forces in World War II during World War II and then served our country as President.

“We have all taken risks in the making of war. Isn’t it time that we should take risks to secure peace?” J. Ramsay MacDonald

Maybe weapons of peace just aren’t as cool as weapons of war and with so many video games featuring destruction who knows.

“We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

True peace is about freedom and choice and understanding.

“Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air – explode softly – and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth – boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn’t go cheap, either – not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.” Robert Fulghum

I wonder if any US funds have been spent on this weapon. I wonder if the current Congress would even address such a weapon. I wonder if Brown and Root have an inventory of Crayolas around somewhere in anticipation along with their corporate partner Halliburton.

“A warless world will come as men develop warless hearts.” Charles Wesley Burns

Peace is not an easy task when so many are against the idea and reap profits off of war and destruction. It seems so often companies who profit from destruction also make fortunes on reconstruction.

“We shall never be able to affect physical disarmament until we have succeeded in effecting moral disarmament.” J. Ramsay MacDonald

It is not an easy task seeking peace in a world so intent on war. I remember peace activists being jailed and beaten by police for being nonviolent which to me is a paradox of sorts. Gandhi was punished for being nonviolent and killed eventually because of his beliefs. Martin Luther King Jr. died advocating for nonviolence and peace. So many die for peace. Is a death in peace more notable than a death in war? I wonder if there is a congressional medal of honor for dying trying to achieve peace. Both dying for what they believe. As I search my heart this morning as I wrote I borrowed a passage from Dr. Wayne Dyer.

“When you know rather than believe you will discover the necessary abilities to carry out your purpose. Beliefs are handed to you; hence they are received with some doubt. Knowing comes from within.”

It is about knowing not simply believing. Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.
namaste
bird

Sometimes we get to close to the edge

Bird Droppings April 19, 2011
Sometimes we get to close to the edge

I recall taking groups hiking in North Georgia and always there is that one person who has to be at the edge of a gorge or edge of the trail dropping two hundred feet down looking over and nearly falling. Maybe they were adrenaline rush junkies. It has been some time since I would edge my canoe off a rapids occasionally not knowing what lay ahead. I have gone off some pretty good size falls not paying attention.

“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.” Soren Kierkegaard

I often wonder if I had chosen differently at various times in my life what would be the outcome and where would I be. What if I had not left teaching so many years ago would one of my former students perhaps have changed directions and not be serving three life sentences currently. I was aware of issues back then nearly thirty five years ago but I was just a kid working with kids.

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Pablo Picasso

It is through experience that the highest form of learning occurs and it is learning that will stay with us as we move through life. I can describe how to tie a square knot and I can show pictures all day long of a square knot but until you physically tie a square knot with a piece of rope you will not recall the intricacies and methods.

“When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap?” Cynthia Heimel, Lower Manhattan Survival Tactics

I recently did a timeline of my life showing what I call coincidence points where a slightly different twist, trail, or take would have altered my life. People I have met, things I have done or not done all altered by a moments choice somewhere along the line.

“I dip my pen in the blackest ink, because I’m not afraid of falling into my inkpot.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have been a fan of Emerson for some time and as I read this line I recalled several comments from a friend who is an artist and very independent drawing a comparison to the Dr. House on TV. He is an arrogant extremely brilliant physician who offends everyone and seemingly solves unsolvable medical mysteries. My friend is a graphic artist and has learned the game of preparing art boards for clients; she will always do several and sort of over emphasize the one that she feels is best. You are giving your customer choice and options yet controlling the situation for the better. This is a Dr. James Sutton trick for working with Oppositional Deviant children. My friend has a customer who never picks the best one always the wrong one and now without just being obnoxious directs the customer to the best art work.

“Progress always involves risks. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.” Frederick B. Wilcox

So often life presents us with challenges or with trails to follow do I go left or right do I take the steeper one or the easy pathway. Over the years hiking in the Appalachian mountains of Georgia and North Carolina you would come upon switch backs where the trail rather than going straight up would be a series of switches back and forth a bit more distance but an easier incline especially when encumbered with a heavy backpack. Some people want to charge forward and I had a few who would allows make a beeline for the top of Blood Mountain and avoid switch backs and about half way up the rest of us would catch up to them exhausted and bruised and bloodied from rocks and falls. Often there is wisdom in experience. Still those of us moving up the mountain maybe in a slower pace but would still finish ahead of them.

“Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is?” Frank Scully

I remember picking apples and crawling out a bit too far on a limb nearly falling going for the best ones. Learning the limits of your environment can be beneficial and help you get the best possible of what you seek.

“You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Wayne Gretzky

I first used this quote nearly eight years ago putting a copy on my then principal’s door. Interesting that sheet of copy paper made the move to a new school and is still hanging in his office eight years later.

“I believe in getting into hot water; it keeps you clean.” G.K. Chesterton

I have never been one to back down from a challenge and Chesterton’s words are true so often people sit and languish sadly literally molding away.

“The torment of precautions often exceeds the dangers to be avoided. It is sometimes better to abandon one’s self to destiny.” Napoleon Bonaparte

In Risk Management you terminate the risk, you tolerate the risk, and you treat the risk and or transfer the risk which equates to the four T’s of Risk Management, Terminate, Tolerate, Treat and Transfer.

“This nation was built by men who took risks – pioneers who were not afraid of the wilderness, business men who were not afraid of failure, scientists who were not afraid of the truth, thinkers who were not afraid of progress, dreamers who were not afraid of action.” Brooks Atkinson

It was the vastness of the frontier that truly gave us the American Dream. I have been working on papers dealing with the development of education historically and it is interesting how the frontier paid such a significant role. Europe had reached a point where every corner and every nook was owned and possessed and a totally new atmosphere occurred when the colonists came across the ocean. It was a vast un-chartered frontier.

“Nothing will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must be first overcome.” Samuel Johnson, Rasselas, 1759

So many times in history because of various limitations imposed by religion and by rulers because objections hold the society in limbo.

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” Robert F. Kennedy

I recall the day Bobby Kennedy was killed and football Hall of Fame great Rosie Greer who had been helping with security, he was one of the great all time linemen in pro football was griddling his head. As the news started a picture came across the media. The photo was the huge Rosie Greer bent over a fallen Bobbie Kennedy with tears in his eyes. Shortly thereafter news carried the words word that Kennedy had died. He knew the chances but believed in what he was trying to do.

“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.” Seneca

Nearly 3000 years ago these words were uttered by the great Greek philosopher and today they hold as true as they did back then.

“What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?” Robert H. Schuler

Pastor Schuler was never one to limit himself such as in building one of the largest church congregations in the country and the largest TV audience of all time.

“Every man has the right to risk his own life in order to preserve it. Has it ever been said that a man who throws himself out the window to escape from a fire is guilty of suicide?” Jean-Jacques Rousseau

I am amazed as to how perception changes as conditions change.

“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little course and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice. Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

The old adage of getting back on the horse when you fall off still holds clout.

“Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.” Ray Bradbury

Every day some of us live this way waiting till the last minute and thriving on the adrenalin but not everyone can function in this manner. I sit back and recall my father going over the four T’s of risk management in a conference so many years ago and how applicable that still is not just in industry but in school, education, families, and life in general. Some people need a moment or two to catch their breath to ponder and make the wisest and sometimes safe choice. So today please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts.
namaste
bird

Perhaps my favorite store

Bird Droppings April 11, 2011
Perhaps my favorite store

It is the first time this year I needed my alarm to wake up in the morning. I am a bit out of my normal routine perhaps after a week of spring break. Interesting two thoughts while similar struck me this morning as I started the day out. One I heard on the radio going to get gas for my wife yesterday afternoon from a radio announcer recalling an old Bush quote, and the other thought is from perhaps a favorite of many as book series go, Harry Potter. All of this and a later a trip or I should say my daily trip to the giant Kroger near our house, my favorite store. All these and school starts again. What a glorious day ahead?

“It is not about the goods we accumulate but about the good we do” George W. Bush

“It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices.” Professor Dumbledore to Harry in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” by J.K. Rowling

I wish it would be possible to believe the first, but with through most of his term as president he was trying to drill for oil in wilderness Alaska and off shore in Florida and other parts of the country and friends in high places were reaping huge profits and a war costing trillions of dollars that was bogus from many people’s standpoints. War efforts accumulation seems more important than doing any sort of good. Of course the philosophy of the ends justifies the means could possibly be applied. That was sort of the approach when the last passenger pigeon died in the Cincinnati zoo and some people had the attitude well it’s only a pigeon.
Sadly once there were billions flying over the forests of the east coast, and yes it is only a pigeon except we can never at this time replicate that one, it is gone. The Alaska wilderness when it is gone is gone can never be replicated as well but if the end justifies it many people see no problem. However as I sat this morning, perhaps a better brighter thought from J.K. Rowling thorough the character of Dumbledore “it is our choices that show who we really our”. I wonder how soon Harry Potter books will be classics and teachers will be analyzing the plots and developing theories as to why Rowling characterized Harry as a boy or teenager and why an owl as his companion versus a weasel.
I recall eleventh or twelfth grade English with our teacher Ms. Stern and “Moby Dick”, according to her the ship represented the world and Ishmael, in his journey in life got stuck on that ship since he was the wanderer. What was Melville really telling us besides a great story and one of the best history’s of the short lived New England whaling industry? I really enjoyed the story but not the analysis and when I wrote my opinion, it was wrong according to Ms. Stern. Many years ago choices we make not our abilities was the credo.

”Ability is of little account without opportunity.” Napoleon Bonaparte

“The first requisite for success is the ability to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem incessantly without growing weary.” Thomas A. Edison

It is also about being at the right place at the right time the synchronicity that I have referred to so many times or is it simply the choice we make. It is also about applying and choosing when opportunity provides a window and then plot thickens.

“It is a fine thing to have ability, but the ability to discover ability in others is the true test.” Elbert Hubbard

Humility is an added aspect of today’s search seeing in others that ability which h I consider almost an intuitive aspect of our humanity.

“The world cares very little about what a man or woman knows; it is what a man or woman is able to do that counts.” Booker T. Washington

This morning as I was being lazy albeit the alarm and getting started later than normal well I had been enjoying spring break so I read several emails. One spoke of realizing school was nearing the end and graduation was only a few weeks ahead and now they would have to make a way in life. In that same email concern for a friend stationed in the Middle East. Watching the news doesn’t give justice to friends and families with loved ones overseas in harm’s way, as I think back to the choices we make. I received a message from my youngest son reminding me to not fax a form for him for his nursing school application when I get to school lastly another email with a suggestion of a book to read. Three emails of 70 or so from last night and yesterday that truly caught my attention.
I started with a Bush quote and maybe that applies to a job search as well. So many of the following what we do with our lives is our choice how the world will see that choice is dependent upon the direction and choices we make as we proceed. It is not the ability that you will be known for or how great an actor or musician or football player but what you do with your talent is what is seen. Family is so crucial and friends equally as well and always seek to learn to know more about what we do through reading, writing, thinking and reflecting.

“If there were no writers there will be no readers” unknown source

“Choose wisely”, it has been said and in the end some do and some will not. So today take stock of where you are and look at the road ahead and pick that path way that will direct you where you need to be.

“Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought.” Basho

In today’s hectic world we all look for quick solutions, five minute abs, six minutes to wisdom, and a one minute egg. Wisdom is not on the stock exchange, it is not a brokered commodity. It is there, and it is a journey. The journey is not an easy one and to be involved in finding wisdom only those who actually travel that road will truly become wise.

“True wisdom lies in gathering the precious things out of each day as it goes by.” E. S. Bouton

Several nights ago I was bored no American Idol, NCIS or House and I put on a video of Star Trek of all things, “Star Trek Insurrection”. The plot revolves around a planet where all is at peace this is an old one. The few residents, all 600 or so have forsaken technology for art, or literature, for the aesthetics in life and for all that they can make of themselves. Interestingly a weaver studies 40 years to become an apprentice and apprentice another 40 to become a master weaver of rugs and tapestries. These people live n a planet whose innate radiation prolongs life and rejuvenates them cellular so they have time to accomplish what it is inside them. It sounds so easy when the time allows it.
Daniel Day Lewis, actor took a break from acting to be a cobbler taking a five year hiatus from movies to study cobbling, (shoe making) in Europe from the masters. As the Star Trek movie progressed a comment was made about that prefect moment, a special moment that stands out above all else. Captain Pickard mentioned seeing earth from space for the first time, many astronauts recall that moment as they tell of their exploits. For me it was a sunrise over the Atlantic one morning on Cumberland Island one of the Georgia Barrier Islands with the waves splashing about and the most brilliant reds and oranges I have ever seen. A shrimp boat slowly moved through this picture yet in its awesomeness the boat was insignificant.
As Pickard spoke with this woman on this planet of a perfect moment she then offered now to learn to make every moment perfect and the movie continued and soon he was seeing a hummingbird flit to a flower or the pollen blown from a flower.

“Wisdom is like electricity. There is no permanently wise man, but men capable of wisdom, who, being put into certain company, or other favorable conditions, become wise for a short time, as glasses rubbed acquire electric power for a while.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am always intrigued as I read various thoughts on wisdom and for some reason I am always drawn to Emerson. He was always controversial yet perhaps one of the greatest thinkers as well as poets of his time. He was alluding to wisdom as a temporary entity in his statement. The next quote is an interesting statement from a President often who was misunderstood

“Wisdom oft times consists of knowing what to do next.” Herbert Clark Hoover

“Wisdom begins at the end.” Daniel Webster

So often we spend time simply doing, not seeking, we spend time worrying about which path to travel or preparing our needs for the journey and worrying about the destination. We forget to go and there we are no better and no worse, only we are where we were to start still. Somewhere in among all things is the destination but the destination is not necessarily the end but a point B of a line AB and still out there is C and D and E and much more. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your thoughts.
namaste
bird