Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

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An early riser, an optimist by nature, a lover of mornings, I’m always eager to launch myself into the day. And it doesn’t take much to make me happy: A cup of strong coffee laced with cream or a handful of frozen blueberries from my summer-stash in the freezer, a silly joke shared with my husband, a good-morning text from a far-away friend, the hairy woodpecker hanging upside-down at the feeder, busily extracting his morning ration of sunflower seeds, a sky fluid with traveling clouds executing their own sublime choreography, or a soft grey mantle of mist draped across the nearby hills. Looking around at the life I’m privileged to live, I see much to be grateful for.

~ Katrina Kenison, from Mending the World (Jan 20, 2017)

 


Notes:

 

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call (Bill Withers, A Whole Person)

“My father was this coal miner, but he was always interested in reading. Never got a chance to go to school. But he read. And, you know, dignity was very important to him. The first thing that I had to resolve in my life and the one thing that was very important to me, I had to sort this out: ‘Can I go into this thing and avoid the minstrel-ness of it?’ This is a business. And you got some cold pimps that will mail you out until you die in your grave. You got as many thieves in this stuff… There’s a life you have to run. And you do the best you can. And hopefully, as a human being, you improve. I’m 70-years-old. I’m not some kind of mindless troubadour. You know? I have an intellect I have to manage, I have some thoughts I have to manage, I have a life I have to maintain. I want to know where my stuff is. You know? I want to know who I am. I don’t want to be some simple-minded blues boy. You can bleep this out: ‘Kiss my ass with that shit.’ So I’m doing the best I can. To grow and improve my lineage as a species. So I got some responsibilities that require that I be available. I never had the benefit of a formal education, but I’ve always wanted to better myself. I can speak the language. I can write it, make it rhyme for you, if you want to. You know what I mean? Somebody said, “Education is the sum total of what you know.” That’s everything from tying your shoe to whether you can do quadratic equations or not. So, I’m not saying this should be a template for everybody, but that’s just the kind of person that makes sense for me to be. Hopefully the music that I made is useful to somebody. I mean, I get nice letters from people that say, ‘Hey man, my grandmother died, and the song helped me.’ I like that kind of stuff. As a result, it was important to me, as best I could, to try to wind up with a life that had some stability and some dignity in it… I made some choices earlier… that I wanted to be a whole person. Not just this entertainer thing. It doesn’t fill up my plate. I love it — who wouldn’t like it? But it doesn’t fill up my plate.”

Bill Withers, on why he walked away from the music business in 1985 in an Interview on The Sound of Young America


Notes:

All dust and flashing hooves

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Certainly, being in the moment would seem impossible in our culture’s time-fissioning present, our iPhoned, Facebooked, Googled, Twittered restlessness, our desperate fear of missing the latest morsel of information, our attention never more than a nanosecond from seduction — our discontinuous, du jour present, a Smithsonian so densely packed with experiential exhibits that no lingering look, no settled examination, seems permitted. No sooner do we settle into a moment than another gallops by, all dust and flashing hooves.

~ Jerry DeNuccio, from “A Moment.” Just as you’re ”in” the moment, another moment comes. What to do?. 


Notes: Quote – Thank you Beth at Alive on All Channels. Photo: Richard Baxter (Harcourt, Australia) with Spirit Dance

 

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

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Carl Richards, excerpts from Let 2017 Be the Year of Working Hard and Resting Hard (NY Times, Dec 19, 2016):

I’m tired — really tired — and I’m tired of being tired. In fact, it feels like I’ve been tired ever since I read Andrew Grove’s book “Only the Paranoid Survive” a decade and a half ago. That book was the beginning of a sea change in my thinking about work, business, hustling and survival itself — so much so that I’ve been working like a fanatic ever since.

Up at 5 in the morning? Tried it! Daily workouts? Yep. Paleo, bulletproof, gluten-free, cold showers? Check. Build a business, start a side hustle, dominate Twitter, Instagram and Facebook? Yeah, all that too! Make my family a priority? Of course. Serve in my community? Definitely. For 5,478 days, I’ve been hitting repeat, and it’s killing me.

I know I’m not alone. The last 10 years have felt like the #CrushIt decade. Every time you turn around, somebody is crushing something. Gary Vaynerchuk wrote the book on it, and according to him, people “need to work harder. And faster. There’s really nothing else to it. I’m exhausted every day, but I’m making all sorts of things happen in my 18 hours.”… [Read more…]

Saturday Morning

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It’s a season when one gets spread out almost too thin in too many human directions, but come January first I am determined to batten myself down, tighten up, go inward. I feel the day must be marked by a change of rhythm, by some quiet act of self-determination and self-assertion. Everyone earns such a day after the outpourings of Christmas. We are overextended. Time to pull in the boundaries and lift the drawbridge.

~ May Sarton, The House by the Sea: A Journal

 


Photo: Kevin Farris (via Your Eyes Blaze Out)

Truth

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Excerpts from wsj.com: Six luminaries to weigh in on a single topic. This month: Manners:

“When you speak to people of my generation, you’ll find that our parents didn’t talk to us about things; they just told us what to do. From morning until night, you were issued instructions. Seventy-five percent of those instructions had to do with manners—don’t reach in front of another person, elbows off the table. As a result, you had a certain way of seeing the world. I went to the Nobel Prize ceremony with Toni Morrison the year she won. I got up at one point during the dinner to talk with the wife of an editor at Knopf. But when I got to her, she practically shoved me to the ground and said, ‘Don’t you know you can’t stand up when the king is sitting down?’ Well, no, I didn’t know that. How would I know that? Of all the things my mother told me, that is one thing she missed. But other than that I pretty much know everything!”

— Fran Lebowitz is a writer and social commentator.

“When I was a child, my parents used to take me out to a restaurant once a week, even though they didn’t necessarily have the means. Restaurants are a wonderful space for a child to learn the value of good behavior because, in dining, the rules of etiquette are built on respect….

— Charles Masson is a restaurateur. His latest project, Majorelle, opens in December at the Lowell Hotel in New York City.

“My husband and I have four sons and two grown grandchildren. Good manners were as important to their education as their schooling. When our grandchildren came to our house, their parents would say, ‘Mind your Mimi’s manners!’ It’s all about treating people with courtesy and kindness. […] If ever I’m asked an ill-mannered question, I just say, ‘I’ll forgive you for asking me that question if you’ll forgive me for not answering it…’

—Lynn Wyatt is a philanthropist and socialite.


Image: kate spade new york

Trail Therapy: Watch. Just Watch.


Steve Fugate lost both his children–his son committed suicide, and his daughter overdosed. Sixty-four years old, Mr. Fugate has walked across the United States seven times to raise awareness for depression and suicide and to inspire people he meets to “love life.”

Stick with it to the end…This Man is something special.

Happy? Now? What about how? And Now?

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At the playground, the mantra of mellow parenting is “I don’t care, as long as he’s happy.” Whippman notices after a while that her reflexively sardonic British brain is suddenly looping around a new set of questions: Am I happy? Right at this moment? What about now? And now? Am I happy enough? As happy as everyone else? What about Meghan? Is she happier than me?

Tuning into this alien internal monologue reveals her grand thesis about America: The problem with our quest for happiness is that, apparently, it’s making us miserable. After some idle Googling, her suspicions are confirmed. Various clever studies by psychologists at the University of California, Berkeley, show that “paradoxically, the more people valued and were encouraged to value happiness as a separate life goal, the less happy they were.” When it comes to emotional temperament, America is the clumsy suitor of nations. We yearn and obsess and plot new elaborate strategies as the object of our desire shrinks ever farther away. It’s a little embarrassing.

~ Hanna Rosin, Why Are Americans So Anxious?, Book review of “America the Anxious. How Our Pursuit of Happiness Is Creating a Nation of Nervous Wrecks” by Ruth Whippman.

Running. With a Red Butterfly.

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I run. I write. I post. In that order. With few gaps. Typically. But not Saturday. No. No. No. Disbelief. Fatigue on overdrive. Just not real. 

I marinated in it for days.

And then Rilke prods: “ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night: ‘must I write?’ Delve into yourself for a deep answer. And if this should be affirmative, if you may meet this earnest question with a strong and simple ‘I must,’ then build your life according to this necessity.”

So I must.

And I write.

A series of interlocking coincidences which only rose to consciousness after a replay of events played forward from daybreak.

5 a.m.

A short reading. It was Leonard Bernstein, from Dinner with Lenny: The Last Long Interview with Leonard Bernstein:

I am frequently visited by a white moth or a white butterfly. Quite amazingly frequently. And I know it’s Felicia. I remember that when she died, her coffin was in our living room in East Hampton … and just a few of us were there—the family and a rabbi and a priest, because she’d been brought up in a convent in Chile. We were playing the Mozart Requiem on the phonograph. Everyone was absolutely silent. And then this white butterfly flew in from God knows where—it just appeared from under the coffin and flew around, alighting on everybody in the room—on each of the children, on the rabbi, on the priest, on her brother-in-law and two of her sisters, on me … and then it was gone … though there was nothing open. And this has also happened to me here, sitting outside in my garden. … White.

The appearance of a white moth. Or white butterfly…White.

7 a.m.

From somewhere, an unbeknownst longing for a punishing trail run. It had been months. I’m in the car. [Read more…]

Imagine an infant lying in its cradle, discovering its voice, purring and murmuring MMM to itself

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Bernstein reminded me that the word “education” is related to the Latin educere—“ to bring forth what is within”— and then added: “Though I can’t prove it, deep in my heart I know that every person is born with the love of learning. Without exception. Every infant studies its toes and fingers, and a child’s discovery of his or her voice must be one of the most extraordinary of life’s moments. I’ve suggested that there must be proto-syllables existing at the beginnings of all languages— like ma (or some variant of it), which, in almost every tongue, means mother— mater, madre, mère, mutter, mat, Ima, shi-ma, mama. Imagine an infant lying in its cradle, discovering its voice, purring and murmuring MMM to itself… […]

Whether teaching children or adults, Bernstein understood that loving and learning are inextricably linked, that real knowledge is a concomitant of the desire to know, and that music itself— a meeting of living creator and creative listener— is one of the most efficacious vehicles for teaching. As a conductor, Bernstein experienced the relationship between himself and his orchestra as that of a lover and his beloved. As he remarked at the conclusion of his 1955 Omnibus television broadcast “The Art of Conducting”:

“The conductor must not only make his orchestra play; he must make them want to play…. It is not so much imposing his will on them like a dictator; it is more like projecting his feelings around him so that they reach the last man in the second violin section. And when this happens— when one hundred men share his feelings, exactly, simultaneously, responding as one to each rise and fall of the music, to each point of arrival and departure, to each little inner pulse— then there is a human identity of feeling that has no equal elsewhere. It is the closest thing I know to love itself.”

~ Jonathan Cott, Dinner with Lenny: The Last Long Interview with Leonard Bernstein


Notes: Original Source – Brainpickings

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