5:33 a.m. I enter the on-ramp. Pre-rush hour traffic is gliding down I-95.
Where you at today? What’s it gonna be? Which DK is going to show up?
I glance at the dash. 39° F. Overcast. Low hanging mist. Light is beginning to creep through the gloom.
A fulsome night of sleep. No anchor pulling down on this a** today. Today, I’m rumbling.
I glance at my watch – a late jump for an early morning meeting.
The first rule is the best. Rule number one is that ‘it doesn’t matter.’ ‘It doesn’t matter that what you think. Follow this rule and it will add decades to your life. It does not matter if you are late or early, if you are here or there, if you said it or didn’t say it, if you are clever or if you were stupid…it doesn’t matter.’ Wisdom at last.”
The app calculates my arrival time: 5 minutes before the meeting start time.
Tight. Too tight. Serves you right for agreeing to burn it on both ends. Burn. Burn. Burn. [Read more…]
After a thirty-year study of time diaries, two sociologists found that Americans were actually working fewer hours than we did in the 1960s, but we feel as if we’re working more. We have the sense, too often, of running at top speed and never being able to catch up. With machines coming to seem part of our nervous systems, while increasing their speed every season, we’ve lost our Sundays, our weekends, our nights off— our holy days, as some would have it; our bosses, junk mailers, our parents can find us wherever we are, at any time of day or night. More and more of us feel like emergency-room physicians, permanently on call, required to heal ourselves but unable to find the prescription for all the clutter on our desk.As I came down from the mountain, I recalled how, not many years ago, it was access to information and movement that seemed our greatest luxury; nowadays it’s often freedom from information, the chance to sit still, that feels like the ultimate prize.
~ Pico Iyer, “The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere.” (Simon & Schuster/ TED, November 4, 2014)
Image Source: Journalofanobody
Source: ferret from gifak
Source: Find “Swallow” and other treasures at Eclecticity
The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.
I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.
I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.
The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.
- Marge Piercy Poem from Circles on the Water (Knopf, 1982) via Paul Loeb, The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen’s Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear (Basic Books. 2014)
- Photograph by Leonardo Caforio titled “Sthe hands of a farmer of 95 years marked by hard work in the fields
Zeke and his Dad have had a long day…
Thank you Rachel.
Source: gifak (*This is not our Viszla Zeke. He would have snagged this…)
Good Day. Or Bad Day.
Rush. Hurry. Spin. Pause.
Self-flagellation. Empathy. Gratitude.
Image Source: YourEyesBlazeOut
I continue to be awed by my fellow bloggers in the WordPress community. Here’s another fine example.
Uncle Spike from Uncle Spike’s Adventures was searching “Photography” tags on WordPress when he came across the photo I shared in my Veteran’s Day post (Honor). He “Liked” my post. I noted that his Gravatar had the camel photo above and my antenna went up. I sent him an email asking for consent to share the photograph and we traded emails. He explained that he took the photograph north of Rumuruti in Kenya in 2007 and that “he rode this Beastie for 8 hours!”
I read his About page and was hooked. Here’s a small morsel:
“As you sit there reading this, I’m having a bash at fruit farming in Turkey, blogging and somehow I’ve also become a proof-reader for academic papers, conference articles and post-grad theses. It’s a curious mix I’ll admit…Nowadays, I’m within sniffing distance of 50, but always very busy, constantly reinventing. Being honest, I reckon I’m pretty content with life…”
Check out more here: Uncle Spikes Adventures.
Of course, prior to this interaction, the clock was ticking for the Wednesday Hump Day post deadline.
Coincidence? Serendipity? Synchronicity?
And Bam, here comes Uncle Spike to the rescue…
Note: Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts: Let’s Hit it Again
I have a friend who traffics in words. She is not a minister, but a psychiatrist in the health clinic at a prestigious women’s college. We were sitting once not long after a student she had known, and counseled, committed suicide in the dormitory there. My friend, the doctor, the healer, held the loss very closely in those first few days, not unprofessionally, but deeply, fully — as you or I would have, had this been someone in our care.
At one point (with tears streaming down her face), she looked up in defiance (this is the only word for it) and spoke explicitly of her vocation, as if out of the ashes of that day she were renewing a vow or making a new covenant (and I think she was). She spoke explicitly of her vocation, and of yours and mine. She said, “You know I cannot save them. I am not here to save anybody or to save the world. All I can do — what I am called to do — is to plant myself at the gates of Hope. Sometimes they come in; sometimes they walk by. But I stand there every day and I call out till my lungs are sore with calling, and beckon and urge them in toward beautiful life and love…
There’s something for all of us there, I think. Whatever our vocation, we stand, beckoning and calling, singing and shouting, planted at the gates of Hope. This world and our people are beautiful and broken, and we are called to raise that up — to bear witness to the possibility of living with the dignity, bravery, and gladness that befits a human being. That may be what it is to “live our mission.”
~ Victoria Safford, excerpt from “The Small Work in the Great Work”
- The Reverend Victoria Safford is the minister of White Bear Unitarian Church, in Mahtomedi, Minnesota, and the author of Walking Toward Morning (Skinner House, 2003) and With or Without Candlelight (Skinner House, 2009).
- Quote excerpt is from Brainpickings via Paul Loeb’s book: The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen’s Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear. (Basic Books)
- Image Source: Precious Things
Caleb visits the Pittsburgh Zoo. Check out his sweet Serape…
Check out his sexy legs in the frontal shot below: [Read more…]
Day in the life of a leader…
Source: gifak (administering medicine to Panda)
It was three weeks ago, 6 p.m. and I’m on my evening commute home. I-95 is snarled in both directions. Heavy, slow-moving metal edging its way up, a car length at a time. I’m looking ahead to find a break. I see none. Waze flashes an update: “Your drive time is extended by 10 minutes. Accident ahead.”
But that’s not the story. No. That’s not what drifts in during my 7-mile run on Sunday. It’s not what emerges during a meeting late Monday afternoon. And it’s not what’s hanging around the edges, gently finding its place among the mental chatter of Work.
It’s a white speck 75 car lengths ahead, hovering a steady five feet above the sea of car tops. A white speck, moving against traffic. First the speck. Then Wings. Then the gull.
The bird’s line is a straight shot.
Seagulls that I know, float in wind tunnels, they surf, they lallygag on shorelines. Not this one. This Gull’s wings are flapping, beating fiercely and maintaining the rhythm of an Olympic rowing crew free of its coxswain: I need to get there. Quickly. I need to get there. Now.
It’s 15 car lengths now. The bird is keeping its line, passing under a bridge without interruption. Jet Gull – – at low altitude and maintaining flight speed. I’m locked in.
I bend my head to see him. He doesn’t look down, or around or even shift his glance. Focus. Hurry. Get there. Now.
Blink. He’s in my rear view mirror. Gull. Wings. A Speck. Gone.
My gaze turns back to the sea of cars in front of me. Gull, where are you going? Why the Rush?
Its 4am. Today, Hump Day. Weeks later. I’m flicking through my Reader and I come across This.
A seagull froze, motionless, in the sky – lost in thought. Then suddenly it remembered something important, perhaps that life is as short as a blink, and went dashing off a full pelt.
Synchronicity? Coincidence? Serendipity?
I’m on the first train. I’m with my commuters deep into the morning papers. The silence is broken for three short intervals – the conductor collecting tickets and two stops on the Express. Otherwise, a library. 55 minutes of heaven.
Yet, the silence is thundering.
EBOLA. Mid-term elections. School shootings. Shooting rampage in the Canadian Parliament. Ukraine. Work-budget-goals. Man attacks NYC cops with a hatchet. Markets tumbling. Afghanistan. Iraq. Syria. Hong Kong protesters. Millions of air bag recalls. Stepfather Charged After 3-Year-Old Girl Beaten to Death at Brooklyn Shelter. OMG. Turn the page. Turn the page. Turn the page. Unable to find something Good, I put away the news, close my eyes, lean my head against the window and drift into Grand Central.
I twist in my ear buds, first right and then left. I exit the train to 42nd street with hundreds of early morning commuters.
Zibby introduces Jesse to classical music in Liberal Arts; DK had no such Muse. Yet, the impact is no less Divine. The biting winds of darkness and doubt whistling through the skull are placed on Pause. My 12-minute cross-town walk is filled with ethereal beauty, a peace, a calmness, a lightness. The delivery trucks. The yellow cabs, honey bees buzzing in and out. The shop owner opening the gate. A construction worker taking a long pull on his cigarette. A student sipping coffee in an empty Diner. The leaves on a lonely tree rustling from the gust of a passing bus. All of it, a symphony. [Read more…]
And if you are really tired, work it lying down…
And don’t miss a full series of terrific penguin gifs here: observation deck
Thank you Kurt @ culturaloffeirng
Some days one needs to hide from possibility.
~ Jim Harrison & Ted Kooser, Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry
Notes: Photograph via YourEyesBlazeOut
She has been coming to work with her mother since she was just six weeks old. And now it seems three-year-old Vittoria Cerioli, daughter of Italian MEP Licia Ronzulli, is taking an ever more active interest in mummy’s work as she joined her in a session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg yesterday. Stealing the show at this month’s session in eastern France, adorable Vittoria took part in proceedings as she lifted her arm up along with her mother to vote.
Don’t miss the full set of pictures here: Enchanting Little Girl Following In The Footsteps of her MEP Mother
91 total points. (If you are higher than 45, you are a Maximizer.)
“Most people fall somewhere in the middle.”
“Maximizers” like to take their time and weigh a wide range of options—sometimes every possible one—before choosing. “Satisficers” would rather be fast than thorough; they prefer to quickly choose the option that fills the minimum criteria (the word “satisfice” blends “satisfy” and “suffice”).
“Maximizers are people who want the very best. Satisficers are people who want good enough,”
“Maximizers landed better jobs. Their starting salaries were, on average, 20% higher than those of the satisficers, but they felt worse about their jobs.”
“Satisficers also have high standards, but they are happier than maximizers, he says. Maximizers tend to be more depressed and to report a lower satisfaction with life”
My Score: 60. (Oh Boy)
Read full article in wsj.com: How You Make Decisions Says a Lot About How Happy You Are
Source: themetapicture.com (thanks Susan)
Leonard Cohen turned 80 this week. His new album, “Popular Problems“, was released on Tuesday. He was interviewed by Mike Ayers for an article in wsj.com titled: Leonard Cohen’s ‘Bad Habit’. A few excerpts:
Q: The new record is called “Popular Problems.” Are these what we are all up against?
A: I thought it as a general description of what we’re all up against. Those are the questions: life, death, war, peace, space, God. All those matter, and rather facetiously, I describe them as “popular problems.”
Q: All of us think about that stuff daily and there are no real answers.
Q: But you can sing about it?
A: If you can sing about it, that’s a kind of answer.
Q: What still draws you to making records these days?
A: You know, it’s a bad habit…Well, after a while you can’t break it. Employment is a very crucial matter for everyone. Unemployment is the most sinister disease of our society. To feel fully employed, it’s not something you want to relinquish or abandon. So that’s my work and I’m able to do it, God willing, I’ll be able to do it until I can’t do it any longer. I have no plans to abandon it. [Read more…]