One of the questions I always try to keep in the front of my mind is to ask why would anyone want to read this, and to try to find a positive answer for that. People’s time, if you bought it off them, is expensive. Someone’s going to give you eight or ten hours of their life. I want to give them something back, and I want it to be an enjoyable experience.
~ David Mitchell, The Soul Cycle
(Yet) another great piece by Mark Morford on the aftermath of Robin Williams death titled: A little spark of madness:
Was this really necessary?…
No answer comes. This is the beautiful, brutal secret of the universe. No answer ever comes. It just keeps dancing.
…Really now, do we not invent many of our own demons, feed and coddle them, manufacture and amplify and make them into unstoppable armies? Given the size of the population, our rapacious rates of consumption, the dazzling reach of the Internet and the speed at which suffering can now gain traction and travel, we have more potential threats to the stability of our psyche – both personal and collective – than we’ve ever had before…
But then, what of the popular Jungian notion that the dark side, the shadow is ever-present and ever lurking? What do we make of the idea that we are ever at the mercy of our own treacherous temptations and inherent flaws? What of the fear that whatever took down Williams is ever breathing at all our doors?…
What do you think?…
Read his wonderful perspective and inspirational conclusion @ A little spark of madness:
Credits: Image form Living in Maine
We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?
~ Robin Williams as John Keating, Dead Poets Society (1989)
Steps for Longevity: A recent study has found that running for just five minutes a day, even at a slow pace, has similar health benefits to running for longer periods.
And if you liked this, check out “June.”
When I was getting ready to graduate from college in 1957, I was fed up and ready to drop from exhaustion, but still my mind kept telling me, “Hurry, hurry, hurry.” I felt I had to do something, go on to the next step, whatever it was — career, graduate school, as long as it was important. This is an American disease.
~ Florence King
Photography: Thank you Carol @ Radiating Blossom
From Kate Murphy, NY Times, No Time to Think:
ONE of the biggest complaints in modern society is being overscheduled, overcommitted and overextended. Ask people at a social gathering how they are and the stock answer is “super busy,” “crazy busy” or “insanely busy.” Nobody is just “fine” anymore. When people aren’t super busy at work, they are crazy busy exercising, entertaining or taking their kids to Chinese lessons. Or maybe they are insanely busy playing fantasy football, tracing their genealogy or churning their own butter.
And if there is ever a still moment for reflective thought — say, while waiting in line at the grocery store or sitting in traffic — out comes the mobile device.
Moreover, in one experiment, 64 percent of men and 15 percent of women began self-administering electric shocks when left alone to think. These same people, by the way, had previously said they would pay money to avoid receiving the painful jolt.
It didn’t matter if the subjects engaged in the contemplative exercise at home or in the laboratory, or if they were given suggestions of what to think about, like a coming vacation; they just didn’t like being in their own heads.
It could be because human beings, when left alone, tend to dwell on what’s wrong in their lives. We have evolved to become problem solvers and meaning makers. What preys on our minds, when we aren’t updating our Facebook page or in spinning class, are the things we haven’t figured out — difficult relationships, personal and professional failures, money trouble, health concerns and so on. And until there is resolution, or at least some kind of understanding or acceptance, these thoughts reverberate in our heads. Hello rumination. Hello insomnia.
Read full article by Kate Murphy in NY Times: No Time To Think
Image Source: Sh*t In My Head
The endless, useless urge to look on life comprehensively, to take a bird’s-eye view of ourselves and judge the dimensions of what we have or have not done: this is life as a landscape, or life as resume. But life is incremental, and though a worthwhile life is a gathering together of all that one is, good and bad, successful and not, the paradox is that we can never really see this one that all of our increments (and decrements, I suppose) add up to. “Early we receive a call,” writes Czeslaw Milosz, “yet it remains incomprehensible, / and only late do we discover how obedient we were.”
— Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2013)
I finished this book last night. As Henry David Thoreau said: “Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.”
From My Modern Met:
Hossein Zare, is an Iranian photographer. He is an absolute master at creating spectacular photos that depict otherworldly and surreal scenes. Through a combination of photography and digital manipulation in Photoshop, Zare creates powerful images that look as if they come from dreamscapes, with recurring motifs such as ladders that stretch endlessly into the clouds, expansive and barren fields, sprawling cities, and a lone figure wandering through these strange landscapes in search of something.
More of his work can be found here: Hossein Zare
It’s the end of a (very) long day, concluding with a work dinner. I drag myself out of the car, pulling my briefcase behind me. My shirt tail is untucked. My tie half undone. My shoes, dusty and scuffed. A disheveled, sloppy mess.
I’m hopeful that I can slither into the house and get a few minutes to myself. I enter. The house is quiet but for the soft murmur of a TV running on another floor. I slowly strip my shoes and socks, with my bare feet cooling on the wood floor. I’m in decompression. Hose me down with pure oxygen. Let Solitude rain on me.
There’s Thunder. Four legs storming up the stairs. Zeke’s bounding down the hallway. Dad’s Home! He wiggles in and out of my legs. Kissing (licking) my suit pants, leaving white slobber dripping from my crotch. Well that’s nice. Ah, just forget it. It just adds to your ensemble.
Susan rounds the corner. My Hummingbird spewing nectar all over. She’s talking. I’m listening. (Sort of.) The subject turns.
SK: Do you want some feedback? [Read more...]
“The temptation is to make an idol of our own experience, to assume our pain is more singular than it is. Even here, in some of the entries above, I see that I have fallen prey to it. In truth, experience means nothing if it does not mean beyond itself: we mean nothing unless and until our hard-won meanings are internalized and catalyzed within the lives of others. There is something I am meant to see, something for which my own situation and suffering are the lens, but the cost of such seeing — I am just beginning to realize — may very well be any final clarity or perspective on my own life, my own faith. That would not be a bad fate, to burn up like the booster engine that falls aways from the throttling rocket, lighting a little dark as I go.”
~ Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer
On the afternoon of his 39th birthday, less than a year after his wedding day, poet Christian Wiman was diagnosed with an incurable cancer of the blood. Wiman had long ago drifted away from the Southern Baptist beliefs of his upbringing. But the shock of staring death in the face gradually revived a faith that had gone dormant. Wiman’s book of essays, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer took shape in the wake of his diagnosis, when he believed death could be fast approaching. These writings come from someone who is less a cautious theologian than a pilgrim crying out from the depths. They divulge the God-ward hopes (and doubts) of an artist still piecing together a spiritual puzzle. San Francisco-based lawyer and author Josh Jeter corresponded with Wiman about his new book, his precarious health, and the ongoing challenge of belief in God. (Source: CT)
- Photograph: metamorphically, i dream
- Related Christian Wiman Posts: The most blinding illumination; Screaming into Silence; Bang our very bones to roust our own souls; Something is off; Sunday Sermon
I’m outside with Zeke.
It’s dark. Still. Quiet.
We’re both calm.
I look up.
Yes, I sense it too.
Something bigger, much bigger here.
the sound of eternity
can at times be heard—
the stars somehow closer and
a sense of the earth’s moving.
~ Michael Boiano
Milky Way Fact Source: Thank you Rob Firchau @ The Hammock Papers
Within the ongoing havoc
the woods this morning is almost unnaturally still.
Through stalled air, unshadowed light,
a few leaves fall of their own weight.
The sky is gray.
It begins in mist almost at the ground
and rises forever.
The trees rise in silence
almost natural, but not quite,
almost eternal, but not quite.
What more did I think I wanted?
Here is what has always been.
Here is what will always be.
Even in me,
the Maker of all this returns in rest,
even to the slightest of His works,
a yellow leaf slowly falling,
and is pleased.
- Wendell Berry
- Credits: Poem – ArtPropelled. Photograph: mascarandelegance
- Other Wendell Berry favorites: The circle of no beginning or end. And that is Hell and I believe that whatever we need is at hand…
“All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.”
— Susan Sontag
How can this human life
be anything other than astonishing?
The tick-tick-tick of pleasure’s ignition
~ Sigman Byrd, “The Beginner”
“The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. Like, I will probably never be struck by lightening, or win a Nobel Prize, or become the dictator of a small nation in the Pacific Islands, or contract terminal ear cancer, or spontaneously combust. But if you consider all the unlikely things together, at least one of them will probably happen to each of us. I could have seen it rain frogs. I could have stepped foot on Mars. I could have been eaten by a whale. I could have married the Queen of England or survived months at sea. But my miracle was different. My miracle was this: out of all the houses in all the subdivisions in all of Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman.”
~ John Green, Paper Towns
Or, let’s change up the last sentence with an alternate version:
I have observed the power of the watermelon seed. It has the power of drawing from the ground and through itself 200,000 times its weight. When you can tell me how it takes this material and out of it colors an outside surface beyond the imitation of art, and then forms inside of it a white rind and within that again a red heart, thickly inlaid with black seeds, each one of which in turn is capable of drawing through itself 200,000 times its weight – when you can explain to me the mystery of a watermelon, you can ask me to explain the mystery of God.
Related Post: Love ya. All Seasons. All Forms. All meals.
Some things can’t be left unchecked. No Sir.
My youngest Brother Lorne replied to my post “I came that way. D0K” with this:
That was funny but don’t feel sorry for you. On a weekly basis I go through this. First name Lorne. Loren? No. Lauren? No. Lauryn? No. Mark? Mark…WTF! And the other day…Thor! Really? How our parents allowed you and my other awesome brother to name me I will never understand!!
JB: Full name please?
DK: David Kanigan. David K-A-N-I-G-A-N.
JB: Full name please.
DK: David Kanigan. David K-A-N-I-G-A-N.
JB: That’s your full name?
(Yes. Oh, yes. I know what’s coming next. This scene, played out, over and over. Hundreds of times. Blood pressure clickety clacking up.)
JB: Middle name please.
(She lifts her head to look at the Alien. And pauses, wondering whether to push forward. Then, courageously plows ahead.)
JB: You mean you weren’t given one at birth? Or you changed your name?
(I look down. Two arms. Two legs. Flip flops reveal 10 toes. How many years do I have to take this sh*t?!)
(I look up. Smile. Which way do I take this? High Road. Or Low Road. I count. One. Two. Three.)
Caleb not coming out to play today…
What you must realize, what you must even come to praise, is the fact that there is no right way that is going to become apparent to you once and for all. The most blinding illumination that strikes and perhaps radically changes your life will be so attenuated and obscured by doubts and dailiness that you may one day come to suspect the truth of that moment at all. The calling that seemed so clear will be lost in echoes of questionings and indecision; the church that seemed to save you will fester with egos, complacencies, banalities; the deepest love of your life will work itself like a thorn in your heart until all you can think of is plucking it out. Wisdom is accepting the truth of this. Courage is persisting with life in spite of it. And faith is finding yourself, in the deepest part of your soul, in the very heart of who you are, moved to praise it.
~ Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer
Okay, not one can write a symphony, or a dictionary,
or even a letter to an old friend, full of remembrance
Not one can manage a single sound though the blue jays
carp and whistle all day in the branches, without
the push of the wind.
But to tell the truth after a while I’m pale with longing
for their thick bodies ruckled with lichen
and you can’t keep me from the woods, from the tonnage
of their shoulders, and their shining green hair.
Today is a day like any other: twenty-four hours, a
little sunshine, a little rain.
Listen, says ambition, nervously shifting her weight from
one boot to another — why don’t you get going?
For there I am, in the mossy shadows, under the trees.
And to tell the truth I don’t want to let go of the wrists
of idleness, I don’t want to sell my life for money,
I don’t even want to come in out of the rain.
- Mary Oliver, “Black Oaks” in West Wind
There are places in and around our great cities, where the natural world has all but disappeared. You can make out streets and sidewalks, autos, parking garages, advertising billboards, monuments of glass and steel. But not a tree, or a blade of grass or any animal, besides of course, the Humans. There are lot’s of Humans. Only when you look up straight up through the skyscraper canyons, can you make out a star or a patch of blue. Reminders of what was there long before humans came to be. It’s not hard going to work every day in such a place to be impressed with ourselves. How we’ve transformed the earth for our benefit and convenience. But a few hundred miles up or down, there are no humans, our impact on the universe is nil. In the last 10,000 years, an instant in our long history, we’ve abandoned the nomadic life. We’ve domesticated the plants and animals. Why chase the food, when you can make it come to you? For all its material advantages, the sedentary life has left us edgy, unfulfilled. Even after 400 generations in villages and cities, we haven’t forgotten. There are now people on every continent and the remotest islands. From pole to pole. From Mount Everest to the Dead Sea. On the ocean bottoms, and even, occasionally in residence two miles up. Humans, like the Gods of old, living in the sky. These days there seems no where left to explore. Victims of their very success, the explorers now, pretty much, stay home.
The lodgepole pines I had seen as red and dying were now part of the story they introduced as fire ecology, with pine bark beetles entering the cambium layer of the tree, killing it, and preparing it for fire. Ted spoke of the flames rising with the heat in the forest, splitting open the cones that drop their seeds in the seared soil for the lodgepole’s regeneration the following year. “Lodgepole pinecones may remain unopened for years and burst open only during a forest fire,” Ted said. “They are referred to as serotinous cones.” As a young Mormon woman, I heard “Resurrection.”
~ Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice
It was one of the most emailed and shared NY Times articles this month. It has set off a frenzy of opposing responses from religious groups and from folks who believe in life on other planets – – along with others who are in violent agreement. I read it the day it was published (May 2nd). I found it interesting that for a man clutching the fence (The Believer of Convenience), it has been looming in my consciousness since then. And, like Lightman, it frightened me too.
The tornadoes that have been devastating parts of the South and Midwest, just weeks after a deadly mudslide in Washington, demonstrate once again the unimaginable power of nature…
…Aren’t we a part of nature, born in nature, sustained by the food brought forth by nature, warmed by the natural sun? Don’t we have a deep spiritual connection with the wind and the water and the land that Emerson and Wordsworth so lovingly described, that Turner and Constable painted in scenes of serenity and grandeur? How could Mother Nature do this to us, her children?
…Yet despite our strongly felt kinship and oneness with nature, all the evidence suggests that nature doesn’t care one whit about us. Tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions happen without the slightest consideration for human inhabitants…Our comfort with nature is an illusion.
…In the other direction, nature is constantly given human qualities. Wordsworth wrote that “nature never did betray the heart that loved her.” Mother Nature has comforted us in every culture on earth.
…I would argue that we have been fooling ourselves. Nature, in fact, is mindless. Nature is neither friend nor foe, neither malevolent nor benevolent.
…Nature is purposeless. Nature simply is. We may find nature beautiful or terrible, but those feelings are human constructions. Such utter and complete mindlessness is hard for us to accept. We feel such a strong connection to nature. But the relationship between nature and us is one-sided. There is no reciprocity. There is no mind on the other side of the wall. That absence of mind, coupled with so much power, is what so frightened me on the sailboat in Greece.
…we should not be concerned about protecting our planet. Nature can survive far more than what we can do to it and is totally oblivious to whether homo sapiens lives or dies in the next hundred years. Our concern should be about protecting ourselves — because we have only ourselves to protect us.
Read entire article: Our Lonely Home in Nature
- Image Credit: Tony Harratt Photography. Storm in Liverpool Bay.
- Related Quote: “The universe doesn’t care about us. Time doesn’t care about us. That’s why we have to care about each other.” ~ David Levithan
Just another Friday morning commute.
Mind is pond skittering. Nothing heavy on the calendar. Chance to leave early. Long weekend. Kids home. 58° F. Morning sun warming with forecaster calling for more Spring heat. Gnawing on a protein bar. Windows down. Feelin’ light. Feelin’ Gratitude.
Ray P comes sauntering in. His Detroit Tigers’ baseball cap is slung low. His pants hiked way up and cinched with a belt burnishing a oversized golden buckle. A middle aged client from 20 years back who inherited a small sum from his Mom who had the foresight to dribble out food money in monthly installments. Mail was unacceptable. He had to pick it up. He’d bite his lip hungrily ripping open the envelope…stare at the check, look at me: “Son, I’ve got the world by the a**.”
I’m at the speed limit in the center lane, flowing with the other fishes, no obstructions this morning. Son, I’ve got the world by the a**. [Read more...]
Mist. And Ambivalence rains. Mind says yes. Body says rest.
I gear up.
Red and Black shoes. Black running pants. Red top.
Red. Rhino. Run.
I’m out the door.
The Mind whirrs back to Wednesday. We’re in the car on our bi-annual trek to pick up Eric at College. It’s a 10 to 14 hour drive and we’re standing in wall-to-wall traffic on the GW Bridge. We’re tracking to the wrong end of the range and the horse has just left the barn.
We clear the bridge and I’m barreling down the NJ turnpike. 72 mph. OK, 78 mph. Making up time.
The Warning light flashes on dash. “LOW TIRE PRESSURE.” Followed by a PHSSSSSST. And then, a WUMP. WUMP. WUMP. WUMP. (Blood rushes to head. Why is it so hot in the car? Tension fills the cabin. Co-Pilot has seen the Captain manage the unexpected. It’s not pretty.)
I pull the car over to the shoulder. (I come from a long lineage of handymen. DNA somehow skipped me. My fix-it depth consists of bangin’ on the Alt-CTL-DEL key.)
Susan calls AAA. ETA is 30 minutes. (30 minutes to show up. 15-20 minutes to put on the provisional. 90 minutes to 3 hours to find a service station to replace tire. Estimated 2.5 – 4 hour delay. Mood darkens. Migraine thundering on queue.)
AAA arrives. I get out of the car to car to greet him. He gives me a hand signal to stay off the highway. His lips mouthing “too dangerous.” A Semi passes by and kicks up a wind gust. Diesel exhaust fills my lungs.
Aubrey de Grey, 51, is the man who insists that within a few decades technology will enable us human beings to beat death and live forever. “Someone is alive right now who is going to live to be 1,000 years old.”
The British-born de Grey, with a doctorate in biology from Cambridge, is also the single most colorful figure in the living-forever movement, where colorful figures generously abound. “I look as though I’m in my 30s,” he informed me…And maybe he does look that young, but it’s hard to tell, because his waist-length, waterfall-style beard—a de Grey trademark—gives him the look of an extremely spry Methuselah, who, according to the Bible, made it only to 969 years.
De Grey is actually of the phenotype Ageless British Eccentric: English Rose cheeks, piercing blue eyes, and someone-please-make-him-a-sandwich slenderness; his tomato-red shirt and gray slacks hang from angular shoulders and legs. Bony frames that verge on gauntness are a hallmark of the living-forever movement, most of whose members hew to severe dietary restrictions in order to prolong their lives while they wait for science to catch up with death. De Grey, by contrast, claims to eat whatever he likes and also to drink massive quantities of carb-loaded English ale, working it all off by punting on the River Cam in the four months a year he spends doing research back at Cambridge.
De Grey subscribes to the reigning theory of the live-forever movement: that aging, the process by which living things ultimately wear themselves out and die, isn’t an inevitable part of the human condition. Instead, aging is just another disease, not really different in kind from any of the other serious ailments, such as heart failure or cancer, that kill us. And as with other diseases, de Grey believes that aging has a cure or series of cures that scientists will eventually discover…
Read more at The Weekly Standard: So You Want To Live Forever
it may take years, Dr. Ming whispers,
to wash them out,
telling me to breathe deep, to breathe
the body is nothing but a map of the
—Len Roberts, closing lines to “Acupuncture and Cleansing at Forty-Eight.”
“On his own at sixteen after being raised by an alcoholic father and an abusive mother, Len Roberts is best known for poems of stark imagery that concentrate on his progress in life and how he has come to an acceptance of life’s flux.”
- Len Roberts bio. Poem from The Trouble-Making Finch: Poems.
- Poem Source: A Poet Reflects.
- Image Source: k-omakino.
Good Friday or Christmas Day, this message rings in the season. In this clip, the film producers spent the day talking with people who were going to spend their Christmas on the streets. You can find more on The Dream Dealer here.
Here’s the “Meaning of Life.” ~9,000,000 people have watched this video in the past 2 weeks and seem to agree. I’m one of them. I was moved by this short film. (Be sure to check out Ana’s wonderful blog. She’s from Portugal. Her blog’s name is “Sol de Dezembro” (“December Sun”).
I have never wanted anything more than the wild creatures have, a broad waft of clean air, a day to lie on the grass at times, with nothing to do but to slip the blades through my fingers, and look as long as I pleased at the whole blue arch, and the screens of green and white between; leave for a month to float and float along the salt crests and among the foam, or roll with my naked skin over a clean long stretch of sunshiny sand; food that I liked, straight from the cool ground, and time to taste its sweetness, and time to rest after tasting; sleep when it came, and stillness, that the sleep might leave me when it would, not sooner … This is what I wanted,—this, and free contact with my fellows … not to love and lie, and be ashamed, but to love and say I love, and be glad of it; to feel the currents of ten thousand years of passion flooding me, body to body, as the wild things meet. I have asked no more.
~ Voltairine De Cleyre (1866-1912)
“How does that happen?” Matthiessen asked me rhetorically, posing the question of the novel. He referred back to the novel’s epigraph, a poem by Anna Akhmatova that wonders, when we are surrounded by so much death, “Why then do we not despair?” Matthiessen looked at me, eyes dancing, beating on his leg in time as he said, “Something, something, something,” unable to name the mysterious life force that allows us to rejoice…
~ Jeff Himmelman
Peter Matthiessen, 86, died last night. R.I.P.
The quote above is an excerpt from Himmelman’s April 3, 2014 NY Times Magazine article titled Peter Matthiessen’s Homegoing.
From today’s front page story in the NY Times Peter Matthiessen, Lyrical Writer and Naturalist, Is Dead at 86:
“Zen is really just a reminder to stay alive and to be awake,” he told the British newspaper The Guardian in 2002. “We tend to daydream all the time, speculating about the future and dwelling on the past. Zen practice is about appreciating your life in this moment. If you are truly aware of five minutes a day, then you are doing pretty well. We are beset by both the future and the past, and there is no reality apart from the here and now.”
Matthiessen was an American novelist, naturalist, and wilderness writer. He was a three-time National Book Award-winner for The Snow Leopard and Shadow Country. He was also a prominent environmental activist. According to critic Michael Dirda, “No one writes more lyrically [than Matthiessen] about animals or describes more movingly the spiritual experience of mountaintops, savannas, and the sea.”
Matthiessen’s new book, In Paradise, is scheduled for release on April 8, 2014.
I’m rumbling down I-95.
Dave Matthews is blaring through the speakers. And has been joining me on the morning ride all week.
You’ve been off. Haven’t found your rhythm. It’s back. You’re burning it from both ends. The adrenaline – – it’s pumpin’.
I look down at the gas gauge. And then to the estimate of the mileage remaining. Annoyed at the interruption. Need to stop. Better stop. I pull over to the Mobile station.
I’m listening to the clicks on the pump. And find myself drifting off. There’s mist coming from my nose, rising up, and then disappearing into the darkness. I breathe in deeply. Exhale through the nose. And watch the show again. Magic. A Miracle. My morning moment of meditation. And like the wisp of air, Pessoa’s disquiet rushes to fill the stillness.
You’re more comfortable moving. You find peace in motion. Yet, you know it ain’t peace.
It’s hanging on my bulletin board in the office: “business is the art of getting people to where they need to be faster than they would get there without you.” A Hugh McLeod illustration. A Big red hand with index finger pointing up – #1. There it is. Your strength. Your core competence. The transference of your disquiet to others. Pushing the pace. Injecting your adrenaline. More. Better. FASTER.
I’m on the train, returning home, and rifling through blog posts on my reader.
My index finger pauses. Then stops.
You are perfect.
You are perfect.
I am Perfect.
I am Perfect?
Who believes this nonsense?
No breakfast: And 1 granola bar for lunch. (No calorie diet after weekend gorging.)
No 8 glasses of water a day: Try zero. Zero liquids. (A head scratcher. Is that even possible? Are you a camel? An Android?)
No waiting for Walk Signals: I jaywalk in a criss-crossing of Manhattan streets, sheets of freezing rain slapping my trench coat. Eye glasses wet and fogging. (March 31. Please, Please make it Be Spring.)
No shortage of stupidity. I rub the rain-splashed-grime off the toe caps of my shoes with my hands, and instinctively reach for my suit pants. Black shoe polish. (I look around to see if anyone is watching. Just me. Who does this?)
No breaks: No pauses. No eye rests. No at-your-desk toe and leg stretches. (An accomplished All-Pro Back at the sedentary position.)
No Enjoyment of the Warming Evening Sun: Head down, as the crow flies, walk-running cross-town to catch the 6:30 pm Metro North. (Aware of no one. Aware of nothing. But the shot clock. More March Madness.)
No Perfection: Just another Imperfect Manic Monday.
Charles Murray’s 5 Rules For A Happy Life:
- Consider Marrying Young
- Learn How to Recognize Your Soul Mate
- Eventually Stop Fretting About Fame and Fortune (Fame and wealth do accomplish something: They cure ambition anxiety. But that’s all. It isn’t much…)
- Take Religion Seriously
- Watch “GroundHog Day” Repeatedly
#4: Now that we’re alone, here’s where a lot of you stand when it comes to religion: It isn’t for you. You don’t mind if other people are devout, but you don’t get it. Smart people don’t believe that stuff anymore. I can be sure that is what many of you think because your generation of high-IQ, college-educated young people, like mine 50 years ago, has been as thoroughly socialized to be secular as your counterparts in preceding generations were socialized to be devout…I am describing my own religious life from the time I went to Harvard until my late 40s. I still describe myself as an agnostic, but my unbelief is getting shaky…Start by jarring yourself out of unreflective atheism or agnosticism. A good way to do that is to read about contemporary cosmology. The universe isn’t only stranger than we knew; it is stranger and vastly more unlikely than we could have imagined, and we aren’t even close to discovering its last mysteries. That reading won’t lead you to religion, but it may stop you from being unreflective. Find ways to put yourself around people who are profoundly religious. You will encounter individuals whose intelligence, judgment and critical faculties are as impressive as those of your smartest atheist friends—and who also possess a disquieting confidence in an underlying reality behind the many religious dogmas.
Read all five rules here.
What’s with the mustache?
Have you ever shaved it off?
How long have you had it?
(Pause) It’s older than you are.
Why don’t you shave it off?
So. Why don’t you shave it off?
(Pause) It’s foliage.
(Silence) (I catch the stare. Then the flash of understanding, of empathy. The eyes avert. The awkward step backward to create space.)
I turn my back and walk away.
Image Source: Thank you Carol
“You are meant to fight. When you are sick, your body fights for its right to function. When you hold your breath, your body fights for its right to breathe. There are billions of tiny events—from the surface of your skin, down to the very cells of your body—that have to happen in order for you to be simply sitting here today. If your most minuscule parts haven’t given up yet,
Why should you?”