Monthly Archives: May 2013

Today

For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today was the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.        — Steve Jobs

Wishing you grace, peace and simple abundance…and a today that you look forward to.

You are here to enrich the world.

You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget that errand.  — Woodrow Wilson

Wishing you grace, peace and simple abundance…and that you will fulfill your errand.

The Glass Castle…good stories out of bad memories

Gratitude. Gratitude is an appreciation for what one has. It’s easy to forget to express gratitude in the midst of busy days. But most of us do in fact have much for which to be grateful.

Yesterday I read an article about a woman named Jeanette Walls in The New York Times Magazine. The article, Mommy Nearest: How Jeanette Walls Spins Good Stories Out of Bad Memories, describes Walls’ experience growing up with itinerant, bipolar parents. Her growing up years were spent constantly moving from place to place, often without indoor plumbing or electricity, never knowing when or what they might eat, and having her father take the money from her piggy bank to buy booze.

Yet, Walls proved to be a survivor. As an adult making her own way in the world, she was constantly afraid of being exposed; that the dark secrets of her parents and childhood would become known. But then she grew tired of hiding her past and wrote a book about her experiences, The Glass Castle.

In the article, Walls says, “…when people take advantage of you, is it smart to fight back? One of the blessings of my childhood was being a fighter and a scrapper, but being a fighter and a scrapper is a curse too. I’m just learning that you don’t always have to fight. That’s been the revelation with The Glass Castle, the kindness of people. It’s completely defanged and disarmed me. It’s one of the reasons I quit doing gossip (Walls had been a gossip columnist). It’s so ironic. I was campaigning, crusading and exposing other people while I was hiding my own secret. Shame on me. I was convinced that if other people knew the truth about me, I would lose my job. The revelation is if you’re willing to discuss what you’ve been through, people become unashamed of their own secrets.”

While her bipolar father dreamed of the “castle” he would one day build, Ms. Walls has done it.

“He’d be so proud. That’s why I can’t be bitter or angry, because I got the damn castle, didn’t I? And he and my mother gave me the tools to do it.  I’ve got four flush toilets in this house, O.K.? Push the little lever, life is good. I got heat, push the little buttons, life is really good. I will never take anything for granted. It is a miracle to me that I can go to the grocery store and don’t have to stop counting at $3. I can also live without too much fear because I know I could survive without these things.”

Ms. Walls’ story is an amazing example of turning lemons into lemonade, of not allowing bitterness and anger color her vision of the possibilities in life. Hers is a primo example of character as described in yesterday’s post. Hers is a story that reminds us that even the things we take for granted…flush toilets, heat, electricity…are things we should be grateful for. Hers is also a story of hope and possibilities. I encourage you to read the article and her book. I believe it will be time well spent and that you will then find much in your own life for which to be grateful.

Wishing you grace, peace and simple abundance…the strength to overcome adversity…and gratitude.

Character

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. — Helen Keller

Character is the combination of qualities or features that distinguishes one person from another. Character, thoughts, feelings, experiences, interests, abilities, beliefs and physical appearance…all make you, and me, unique…unlike any other human being on the planet. Why, then, do we expend so much time and energy trying to alter ourselves to be more like others? Why do we aspire to the business and social acumen of others, the vocations of others, the physical appearance of others, the experiences and lifestyle of others rather than celebrating our uniqueness?

Why do we repress our experiences of trial and suffering rather than dragging them out into the light of day where we can see them for what they are, a part of our history that we don’t care to repeat but have contributed to the formation of our character?

The experience of trial and suffering is not unique to you or to me. Every human being has his or her own share of such experiences…some visible to others but many carried in the dark places of the heart unseen by those around us. Many choose to be victims of the trials and suffering they have experienced.

For “the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved,” our experiences of trial and suffering must be embraced and allowed to surface so that they no longer dominate us and limit the possibilities for which we were created. We can choose to acknowledge them and express gratitude for what we have learned and what we have overcome as a result of them. We can choose to forgive ourselves for mistakes we have made that led to trial and suffering. We can choose to forgive others who have caused us trial and suffering. We can choose to face each day anew. We can choose to live purposefully and be a positive force in the world, having learned from, rather than being controlled by, the experiences of trial and suffering from our past.

Victim or possibilities…what will you choose?

Wishing you grace, peace and simple abundance…and depth of character.

Just one day

Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself, “I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it will be. Yesterday is dead; tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.” — Groucho Marx

Wishing you grace, peace and simple abundance…and that you will choose wisely today.

The trouble is…

What would you do if you were told you had only one year to live? Do it now.

What would you do if you had just one month of life remaining? Do it now.

What would you do if the next seven days were to be your last? Do it now.

What would you do if this was your last day on earth?

Think about it.

Do it now!

Wishing you grace, peace and simple abundance…and a life well-lived.

The people who achieve much

The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come. — C.S. Lewis

Wishing you grace, peace and simple abundance…and the relentless pursuit of knowledge.