Saturday, March 17, 2007

Another Triplet ~ Early Morning Thoughts

I interrupt the scheduled posting to bring you these stories from a collection of stories that I quoted from the other morning. Having spent a little more time with the collection today, I wanted to offer one more triplet.
Any resemblance to current affairs, or current activities is purely coincidental.

Pleasing everyone ~

A man who decided to take his donkey to town to sell it, started off with his son and himself walking alongside the animal. they had not gone very far when they met a group of young girls returning from town. "Look at that old fool!" one of the girls cried out. "At least one of them could ride the donkey but there they are walking." So the father put his son on the donkey and continued the trip.

Presently they passed a group of women who stood chatting outside a house. "There, that proves what I've been saying," said one of the women in a loud voice. "Look at that young brat riding the donkey while his poor father is walking. We're spoiling our children!" When the father heard this he thought perhaps he had better avoid further criticism by taking the son's place on the donkey's back.

As they neared the town they met an aggressive young woman who stopped and denounced the father as being cruel. "How can you ride the animal while your poor little boy has to grudge along beside you in the dust and heat!" With a sigh the poor man told the son to mount the donkey, too, and thus burdened the poor beast struggled along toward town.

When they entered the town a bustling citizen dashed up to them and cried out: "You ought to be reported -- two big healthy people sitting up there on that poor animal's back. Why you two should be carrying the donkey instead of it carrying you!" The alarmed father dismounted with his son and they tied the animal's legs and with a pole across their shoulders struggled along with the donkey, until they came to a bridge, where a number of people began laughing uproariously at them. This noise frightened the donkey and he fought to free himself. this increased the uproar of the crowd and in the midst of it all the animal slipped off the pole and over the bridge into the river below and drowned.

The Speckled Ax ~

My scheme of order gave me the most trouble. order with regard for places for things, papers, etc.,I found extremely difficult to acquire....I made so little progress in amendment, and had such frequent relapses, that I was almost ready to give up the attempt, and content myself with a faulty character in that respect, like the man who, in buying an ax of a smith, my neighbor, desired to have the whole of its surface as bright as the edge.

The smith consented to grind it bright for him if he would turn the wheel; he turn'd, while the smith press'd the broad face of the ax hard and heavily on the stone, which made the turning of it very fatiguing.
The man came very now and then from the wheel to see how the work went on, and at length would take his ax as it was, without further grinding. "No," said the smith, "turn on, turn on; we shall have it bright by-and-by; as yet it is only speckled!"

"Yes," says the man, "but I think I like a speckled ax best." and I believe this may have been the case with many, who, having for want of some such means as I employ'd, found the difficulty of obtaining good and breaking bad habits in other points of vice and virtue have given up the struggle, and concluded that "a speckled ax was best"
-- Benjamin Franklin

Appointment In Samarra ~

A merchant in Baghdad sent his servant to the market. The servant returned, trembling and frightened. The servant told the merchant, "I was jostled in the market, turned around, and saw Death.

"Death made a threatening gesture, and I fled in terror. May I please borrow your horse? I can leave Baghdad and ride to Samarra, where Death will not find me."

The master lent his horse to the servant, who rode away, to Samarra.

Later the merchant went to the market, and saw Death in the crowd. "Why did you threaten my servant?" He asked.

Death replied,"I did not threaten your servant. It was merely that I was surprised to see him here in Baghdad, for I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.
--W. Somerset Maugham
(retelling an even older story - 1933)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Self-Fulfilling Anger ~ Early Morning Thoughts

A fellow blogger once wrote that comments and emails are like drugs ... we get some and then we want more!!! Today, when I got home there were two emails about my post yesterday about anger. Both brought up the same point ... a valid point.

When I talked about becoming angry, not just irritated, but angry I was expressing what was going on within me. That feeling of almost rage about something. Now, there are times when anger is very appropriate, however - it's where the anger is directed and what's done with it that's the important issue.
You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.
When I started having the problem of getting the delivery, I was irritated which then as the problem dragged on, became anger. Now, that anger was becoming something that was beginning to effect how I was viewing things around me. It was becoming the overriding emotion for the day. It actually was beginning to resemble a volcano, with hot lava about to erupt.

What made me work at changing was watching the man on the bus. His anger had reached such strength that nothing, no one was right, doing right or being right. And by that I do mean no one. It almost became laughable. People were getting on the bus too slowly, the lights should change faster and the rain needed to stop. He grumbled at a lady because her umbrella was wet and would get the floor wet...which it already was. The windshield wipers were too noisy. And his list was getting longer as time went on. That's what I mean by his external behavior was beginning to mirror what I was feeling internally.

In the discussions with the company that was supposedly delivering the package, I was faced with choices. I could really "let-them-have-it" or try and figure out what was going on. When I got the final phone call last night attempting to get to the bottom of the issue, the person on the other end tried to place the blame where it wasn't ... on me. Again, I could have really vented - but I chose (this time) to simply stay where I felt I wanted to be. I stayed firm, but calm.

Today, the decision paid the benefit. There was another phone call this morning about the delivery. I'm sure the person calling was expecting a major problem...but within five minutes the issues had been completely resolved, the delivery DID arrive at the time it was supposed to AND I got a discount on the purchase price for the delay.

Now, I'm not some kind of Pollyanna that thinks that everything can be solved with calm words, sweet behavior. I KNOW better than that. What I don't want to do, is become as that person on the bus - the kind of individual who thinks that everything is wrong, nothing and no one is right. That kind of behavior becomes almost a self-fulfilling prophecy...keep believing that, and soon that's exactly what will happen. Once we cast someone or something/someone as the enemy everything is to be suspect and made to fit the preconceived ideas we have.
Anger is only a natural reaction; one of the mind's ways of reacting to things that it perceives to be wrong. While anger can sometimes lead people to do shocking things,it can also be an instinct to show people that something isn't right.
A number of years ago there was a book titled "Don't Waste Your Sorrows," but I would like to use the term "Don't Waste Your Anger." There are some things we should be angry about - injustice, hatred, bigotry (all kinds), deceit (any kind) and the list could go on. However, if the anger isn't causing some kind of action, then to me it's wasted.

-- more tomorrow

Meme Or Not To Meme ~ Early Morning Question

Bloggers often play "tag" with each other. Sometimes it merely having to accomplish some kind of writing or reveal something about yourself that others might not know, or in some cases, not wish to know. I'm not sure this qualifies as an authentic meme but here's my contribution to something that's been wandering around:

Here are five statements. All you have to do is tell me which one is the true statement. Then, in the next few days, I will write the story behind the statement.

1. I spent part of my college life working at a sea park.

2. Thanks to my youngest son, I spent a night in jail.

3. My musical instrument of choice in high school was the accordion, earning me extra money (and pick-ups) at parties.

4. I am terrified of thunder and lightning.

5. I was once an extra in a major motion picture.

Let me know which one you think it is, and as I said, in a few days I'll write about the true one (and explain the false ones) .

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Flung From The Tree Into Life ~ Early Morning Thoughts

Today I became very angry. A delivery that was supposed to happen yesterday … with the companies precise scheduling “sometime between 8:30am and 5:00pm.” It didn’t happen, in spite of several phone calls to find out what was going on. It didn’t happen. It was scheduled today, supposedly before 12 noon - or shortly thereafter. Again, several phone calls later - no one really had a good answer as to what happened. The mysterious delivery is supposed to happen tomorrow. Perhaps it will - but what I gained today is going to make tomorrow a lot easier.

I started to become quite angry. I was not irritated (that might have been justified). I was becoming very angry. The kind of anger that would have translated into outward behavior, I have no doubt. When it was finally determined that the delivery wasn’t going to occur - unless someone waived a magic wand, or sprinkled fairy dust - I headed to catch a bus to get some errands done. As I was sitting on the bus with the rain coming down (Oh, just great! … mutter, mutter, mutter), there was another problem. One that really caught my attention. A gentleman got on the bus who had obviously had a very bad day - no, make that a week (at least). Nothing was going right, everything was wrong and everything was everyone else’s fault. No one could meet his standards for breathing, let alone living. When he got off the bus, there was almost a collective sigh of relief - but one from me of awareness. As much as I don’t want to admit it, his outward expression was somewhat matching my own inward feelings.

Had I continued with my thoughts and mental complaints, things would have been very different. And I wouldn’t have begun to notice things around me again. The beauty of the clouds as they moved, the various expressions of people as they moved through existence. I wouldn’t have noticed something I thought went out of style when I was a “young-un.” There was actually a child with folded paper sailing a “boat” in the water of the gutter.

I want to borrow a story from a wonderful teacher/actress that I have the privilege to know personally. She has an amazing outlook on life and living.
My cousins live in Asheville, North Carolina, where Jesse is a prominent surgeon. He is a fine man, a very gracious man, a very loving man, but a man who doesn’t like cats. His wife, Frances, is a delightful person who loves cats.

One day a little neighbor girl ran crying to their house. Her cat had climbed up in a tall, slender tree and couldn’t get down. Jesse thought that was a very good place for a cat to be, but following Frances’s gentle persuasion, he said, “Let’s see what we can do to help.”

The two of them decided that Frances, who is of diminutive stature, would grab the lower part of the tree and work it down until the topmost branches reached Jesse. Then Jesse, who is quite tall, would scoop the frightened cat from the top of the tree to safety. Their plan worked well at first. Frances grabbed the part of the tree within her reach and pulled it toward her. The tree tipped down like a thirsty giraffe, bearing a tiny passenger on its head. The branches were almost to Jesse when Frances lost her grip!

Whoom! The tree slipped from Frances’s hands and sprang away with such great force that the cat was flung into space! Catapulted! Claws out! Eyes wide! Approaching a certain but unknown destiny.

The little girl was crushed, but the shock of her beloved cat’s mode of departure stopped her sobbing. Frances was overcome by guilt because she and Jesse had lost the little girl’s cat. Jesse tried not to laugh. They all accepted the foiled rescue attempt. What else could they do?

A few days later, Frances was in the grocery store and noticed a friend pushing a grocery cart with cat food in it. She knew that her friends’ husband didn’t like cats any more than Jesse did. “I see you have cat food. Do you have a cat?” she asked.

Her friend stopped, looked around to be sure no one else could hear, and said, “Frances, the strangest thing happened. My husband and I were sitting in out backyard when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, this cat landed at our feet! My husband looked at the cat and then at me. He said, “Maude, the Lord has sent us a cat!”

My cousins’ story gives me new insight into the dilemmas of traveling and the bewilderments I often find in life. I identify with that cat! Often flung out into uncharted space. I’m not sure where I’m going, but I’m going there very rapidly. Clashing priorities, scrambled agenda, sudden assignments, unexpected incidents catapult me into areas and activities for which I have no comfortable preparation. Sometimes, I even look like that cat. Claws out! Eyes wide! Grasping for breath and trying unsuccessfully to get my act together before I land.
--Jeannette Clift George
Travel Tips From A Reluctant Traveler
--angry cat

--angry kitten by Yiannis Pavlis

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Three Cups ~ An Elegant Timewaster

Thanks to the folks at Durnmoose I have spent a lot of time with this game.

The object is quite simple - turning two cups at at time, get all three cups upright.

Oh, and they are so helpful, they even show you how to do it before you start to play.

I am not responsible for frustration, throwing things at the monitor, broken keyboards from having heads banged on them in irritation.

You were warned!!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

F. Y .I. ~

There will be no post tonight (3.13) of Early Morning Thoughts. I will be back tomorrow (3.14).

However, remember the eclipse of the moon the other night? Here is a picture of a lunar transit photographed (in stereo) from space ... taken using several ultraviolet filters ...This link gives a very interesting explanation...

Here is a time lapse video of the event.


Triplet ~ Early Morning Thoughts

Fame ~

He had come to the big city from a little rural community, had worked hard and intelligently and climbed high up the business ladder with unusual speed. He was, in fact, rather well-known among the businessmen in the big town.

With the means and freedom now to indulge himself, he thought of his home-town and how nice it would be to return for a visit -- a visit no doubt characterized by praise and adulation of the local boy who had made the big time.

When he stepped off the train there was no welcoming committee there to greet him. this was surprising, and a bit disconcerting. the few people on the station platform paid him no heed and went on their way.

As he picked up his bag and old freight handler came up, looked at him curiously and said, "Howdy Jim, you leaving town?"

Buried Treasure ~

A farmer on his deathbed summoned his four sons and told them he was leaving his farm to them in four equal parts. "I have very little ready cash, but you will find that the greater part of my wealth is buried somewhere in the ground, about a foot and a half from the surface.
I have forgotten precisely where." Then he died.

The fours sons set to work on the fields and dug up every inch of them, searching for the treasure the father had buried. They found nothing. But they decided that since they had dug up all the ground, they might as well plant a crop and reap a good harvest.

That autumn, after an abundant harvest, the four boys again began digging in search of the buried treasure; as a consequence their farm was turned over more thoroughly than any other farm in the area.

And of course, again they reaped a fine harvest. After they had repeated this procedure for several more years, the four sons finally realized what their father had meant when he told them his wealth was buried in the ground.

Tolerance ~

Legend has it that when Abraham sat at his tent door, according to his custom, waiting to entertain strangers, he saw and old man, stopping and leaning on his staff. He was weary with age and travail, being a hundred years of age. Abraham received him kindly, washed his feet, provided supper, and caused him to sit down.

Observing that the old man ate and prayed not, nor begged a blessing on his meat, Abraham asked why he did not worship the god of heaven.

The old man told him that he worshiped fire only, and acknowledged no other God. At this answer Abraham became so angry, that he threw the old man out of his tent, and exposed him to all the evils of the night in an unguarded condition.

When the old man was gone, God called out to Abraham, and asked him where the stranger was. "I thrust him away, because he did not worship you." God was silent, then answered, "I have suffered him these hundred years, and you could not endure him for one night-when he gave you no trouble?"
--Jeremy Taylor

Just stand aside and watch yourself go by,
Think of yourself as "he" instead of "I"
--Strickland Gillilan

Monday, March 12, 2007

Oh Wow! PB & J In Japanese ~

Here is the original post (from Valentine's Day)~

And here is the translated version ~

That brought a huge smile to my face ~ I don't know how accurate the translation is,but it looks great!!!

Light On The Way ~ Early Morning Thoughts

I have a very dear friend who is going through a very difficult emotional time.
To my dear suffering friend:

When I wrote of the experiences of the train trip while in India, I included this end note:
Squeeze a lemon and you don’t get apple juice” was a popular saying a few years ago. The meaning was quite simple - whatever I am inside, is going to come out during stress and strain. Whatever masks or identities I wear -- when the going gets personally tough, whatever is within - whatever I hold as “me” is probably going to “shine” when the push becomes the shove. Miss Marley (an elderly lady who lived at the school - and was the oldest resident of the school) always told me - “When you squeeze a grape, you don’t get wine. It’s got to be mashed around a bit first.”
Unfortunately, being mashed around a bit to me, isn't a very pleasant process. When I had relationships fail, almost ended up living under a bridge and some of the other things happen I felt what I thought was complete despair. But, in doing some reading recently, I realized there is the word despondency that, while it may seem to be nothing more then semantics, can actually make a great difference in how I look at what is going on around and with me.
If I were to paint a picture of despair, I would select the darkest blues, blacks, purples, and black greens from my palette. I would cover every speck of my canvas in thick swirls of tormenting movement. There would be no highlights. If I were to paint despondency, it would be much the same, but the swirls would have tinted under-shadows and at some point on the canvas, I would make one lightning stroke of gold-white hope. But even this I would cover with a sheer filmy cloud, so that only the perceptive viewer would notice. Should I allow despondency to prevail, it could easily result in despair by a few strokes of the brush to erase hope. But should I wish to encourage the gold-white ray of hope to extend into the turmoil, I may need added skill to remove the cloud, or seek the guidance of an artist more knowledgeable of the medium.
In life we may need comparable means to turn despair into despondency and despondency into hope. Scriptures, history, and general observance of life show us examples of deep despondency approaching despair. There are so many examples of this, but I have chosen one from an ancient source - the Bhagavad-Gita. We meet a very powerful general by the name of Arjuna. As he is preparing for battle, he surveys the two armies getting ready to fight ... he sees the families, relatives and close friends from both sides. He becomes puzzled, sad and gives into what seems to be the impossibility of fighting either side.

I am so familiar with Arjuna's deep sadness becoming completely overwhelming in the opening chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita. Having suffered both despair and despondency, I understand his reaction of sitting down, putting away his arrows and bow, and stating he could not fight.

Despair, then, is a severe state of hopelessness, while despondency is depression that can be worked through. And the going through it is going to take faith, work and support.

Arjuna was so burdened it caused him near immobility. In this state he questions, argues, suffers, and finally begs Krishna to teach him and through eighteen chapters of the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna responds. This lengthy discourse is in response to Arjuna's request: "I wish to learn ... the nature of abstaining from action and of the giving up of the results of action, and also the difference between these two." The final wrap up covers the whole of the final chapter. But two statements stand out:
..O Arjuna, that which out of delusion, you do not wish to perform, you will do unavoidably ... if rationalizing due to false ego, you resolve not to fight such a decision is only in vain, your own nature will compel you ...
Finally Arjuna says: "... I am collected once more; I am free from doubt, firm, and will act."

Each stage/moment of life requires changing and rearranging of the hues and shadows on our canvas of life, speaking in terms of what I wrote above. Life is worthwhile and worth living ... and requires all the resources we have available. I actually had this quote on my mirror for quite awhile:

With the ultimate ever in mind, we must yet live for the day. . . . We have not to look ahead to future years with fear and dread, but to eliminate from our minds all those ideas that have taken root in our blood, which make us the progeny of doubt and fear...
-- The Wine of Life
(these quotes thanks to Nodrin King
~ A Flat With A View)

Dreams can often become challenging but challenges are what we live for.
--Travis White

When you've got something to prove, there's nothing greater than a challenge.
--Terry Bradshaw

Mountains cannot be surmounted except by winding paths.
--Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Accept the challenges so that you can fell the exhilaration of victory.
--George S.Patton

If someone says can't, that shows you what to do.
--John Cage

To be tested is good. The challenged life may be the best therapist.
--Gail Sheehy
--painting "hopeless" by Billy Gong
--free from egg


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Hope Springs Eternal ~ Early Morning Thoughts

I found this picture of what could possibly be a supernova 'black hole' in space...and I thought about the times I've felt and people I know have felt that everything good seemed to have vanished into a 'black hole.' But, there is hope -- always hope. Some collected thoughts about hope....

The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
--Allan K. Chalmers

If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
--Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Not only is another world possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.
--Arundhati Roy

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.
--Dale Carnegie

Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow.
--Dorothy Thompson

Fear grows in darkness; if you think there's a bogeyman around, turn on the light.
--Dorothy Thompson

I have learned two lessons in my life: first, there are no sufficient literary, psychological, or historical answers to human tragedy, only moral ones. Second, just as despair can come to one another only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.
--Elie Wiesel

He who has never hoped can never despair.
--George Bernard Shaw

A sobering thought: what if, at this very moment, I am living up to my full potential?
--Jane Wagner

Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn!
Look to this Day!
For it is Life, the very Life of Life.
In its brief course lie all the
Verities and Realities of your Existence.
The Bliss of Growth,
The Glory of Action,
The Splendor of Beauty;
For Yesterday is but a Dream,
And To-morrow is only a Vision;
But To-day well lived makes
Every Yesterday a Dream of Happiness,
And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope.
Look well therefore to this Day!
Such is the Salutation of the Dawn!

Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow them.
--Louisa May Alcott

I accept the universe!
--Margaret Fuller
(Ralph Waldo Emerson's reported response: "By God, she'd better!")

If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.
--Martin Luther King, Jr.

I still believe in Hope - mostly because there's no such place as Fingers Crossed, Arkansas.
--Molly Ivins

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge -- myth is more potent than history -- dreams are more powerful than facts -- hope always triumphs over experience -- laughter is the cure for grief -- love is stronger than death.
--Robert Fulghum

The natural flights of the human mind are not from pleasure to pleasure but from hope to hope.
--Samuel Johnson

I steer my bark with hope in the head, leaving fear astern. My hopes indeed sometimes fail, but not oftener than the forebodings of the gloomy.
--Thomas Jefferson

Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.
--Thomas Merton

The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
--Winston Churchill

Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.

Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on working.”
--Bill Cosby

To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.

May the love hidden deep inside your heart find the love waiting in your dreams. May the laughter that you find in your tomorrow wipe away the pain you find in your yesterdays.

Love comes to those who still hope even though they've been disappointed, to those who still believe even though they've been betrayed, to those who still love even though they've been hurt before.

What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise

Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.”
--Eskimo Proverb

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”
--Albert Einstein

Hope is the most exciting thing in life and if you honestly believe that love is out there, it will come. And even if it doesn't come straight away there is still that chance all through your life that it will.
--Josh Hartnett

In all things it is better to hope than to despair...
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Never let go of hope. One day you will see that it all has finally come together. What you have always wished for has finally come to be. You will look back and laugh at what has passed and you will ask yourself... 'How did I get through all of that?”

When you say a situation or a person is hopeless, you are slamming the door in the face of God.
--Charles L. Allen

Hope is the dream of a soul awake.
--French Proverb

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human enough hope to make you happy.”

When things are bad, we take comfort in the thought that they could always be worse. And when they are, we find hope in the thought that things are so bad they have to get better.

Hope never abandons you; you abandon it”
--George Weinberg

Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope...

Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.
--George Iles

Hope is not a dream but a way of making dreams become reality.

--pictures four, five and six