More and Less

February 20, 2010

Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; love more, and all good things will be yours. ~Swedish proverb

Who could argue with that bit of wisdom? It got me thinking: What do I want less of? More of? Here’s my list. Hope you’ll share yours.

Eat less; move more.
Keep less; toss more.
Waste less time; write more.
Fret less; smile more.
Fear less; love more.
Sit less; walk more.
Acquire less; give more.
Look inward less; look outward more.
Work less; play more.
Ignore less; help more.
Complain less; express gratitude more.

What do YOU need less of? More of?

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Happy Wise

March 8, 2009

Be happy. It’s one way of being wise. ~Sidonie Gabrielle Colette

Thanks to Pat Wagner for this quote and the lovely photo of her bathtub full of catnip that accompanies it on her post card. In times of depression, of course, the exhortation to be happy can be a mockery. But I like the implication that for most of us, most of the time, if we have a few tools and techniques at our disposal, happiness is a choice, and a wise one.

This must be true, if we take into account the many who are in suffering and need much greater than our own, but are still able to maintain this state. Consider this quote: “Don’t be concerned about being disloyal to your pain by being joyous.” ~Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan

Here are some of the ways I encourage myself to be happy:
practice yoga
go outdoors, especially in the sunshine
pet my cat
make love
learn something new
keep a gratitude journal
share with others in a variety of ways
visit with close friends
blog
keep track of the good things I do for myself each day
read
write poetry
make a donation to a cause I believe in
meditate
draw
organize and simplify
crochet or knit
smile

What are the ways you practice being happy?


Generativity

February 9, 2009

Where there is a path it is someone else’s way. ~Joseph Campbell

We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real? ~Ray Bradbury

Like most of us I guess, I have followed a lot of worn and recommended paths, made fairly safe choices, and rested in the familiar throughout my life. In recent years, though, I have been bothered by the question concerning what my authentic path is. What is it that’s right for me, that allows me to contribute creatively to the world in a way that no one else can?

It is this exploration that is to be the excitement of my old age, I think. There’s nothing inherently wrong with worn paths, and I have learned a great deal by following them. They save us a lot of time and energy in a way. But I feel the urge now to blaze my own trail, to better understand my gifts and how to share them.

I don’t think this necessarily requires a dramatic change in what I do and how I live; it is more an internal shift in perspective. I expect only gradual changes in the ways I engage in the world, the activities I choose, the invitations I accept or decline, the work I do in retirement, and so on. (But who knows, really?)

And this is not just about creative self-expression (no–I promise–it’s not all about me!), but about generativity. As someone who did not raise children, I want to help future generations in the only way I believe I can–by living my authentic life, by sharing what is uniquely mine to give.

What is your authentic path, your unique contribution to the world? Are you bothered by the question?


Why I Blog

August 4, 2008

Many ideas grow better when they are transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

The greatest gift we can give people is our work on ourselves, so that we become an environment for them, so that, if they should ever want to come up for air, there’s nothing in us that would keep them stuck. ~Ram Dass

The future enters into us in order to transform itself in us, long before it happens. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

If you have knowledge, let others light their candles at it. ~Margaret Fuller

He who finds a thought that enables him to obtain a slightly deeper glimpse into the eternal secrets of nature has been given great grace. ~Albert Einstein

Words do two major things. They provide food for the mind, and create light for understanding and awareness. ~Jim Rohn

These are some of the reasons I have found this blog satisfying and continue to do it. I discover glimpses of truth, I bear witness to personal revelations, and I have hope that sharing my journey will occasionally have meaning for others. Why do you read?


Giving

November 21, 2007

Hands that give, also receive.  ~Ecuadorian proverb 

This is the season of the donation solicitation. Form letters in the mail are one thing; but it is always painful for me to pass human beings begging in the streets.

The first time I saw the “Will Work for Food” sign, I wept. But the panhandlers on the city streets always seem a little risky. There is so much at the root of the problem as well, and perhaps if I were actively working for social justice, I could pass these people by with a clear conscience.

Someone I was reading once (was it Natalie Goldberg?) said they vowed to give to anyone who asked for a year . It’s hard to know if such an intention is for the beggar or the giver.  I think it was a Jane Austen novel (I miss my memory!) in which a mother explains to her child that they give to the less fortunate in order to make themselves feel better, to alleviate the suffering of privilege.

What is the right response to the beggar? In a sane society, it would certainly be to give, but there’s always a question about how the money will be used. On the other hand, Aeschylus said, “It is easy when we are in prosperity to give advice to the afflicted.”