Friday, January 20, 2017

One Hand In My Pocket

For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

When you feel life has taken a weary turn on you, always know that this too shall pass.

Grab your overcoat, umbrella and be sure to wear your boots in order to weather the elements of life.

A Dream within a Dream by Edgar Allan Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow
And in parting from you now
Thus much let me avow ---
You are not wrong who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away.

In a night or in a day
In a vision or in none
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand ---
How few! Yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep
While I weep --- while I weep!
O God! Can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream.

And "what it all comes down to, is that everything's gonna be fine, fine, fine."

Stay inspired my friends!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

End Of The World

In 5-billion years the Sun will expand and engulf our orbit as the charred ember that was once Earth vaporizes. Have a nice day.” ― Neil deGrasse Tyson

To look back in time and see the fragile nature of humans, we magnify our present condition along the timeline and worry that the end is near. That one man, one election cycle, one event can end it all.

We have come close at times to making our planet a not so great place to live. The threat of nuclear destruction, of accelerating impact climate change and other acts of either selfish nature or exaggerated claim.

Life will go on.

Maybe it will not be a pleasant place to live. Maybe we will just have to put up with the current condition.

When we put our current condition, our current events and our current feelings into perspective, the world will not end at 12:01 PM on Friday, January 20, 2017.

And it did not happen when ...

... eighteen missing seconds and plumbers became a scandal.
... a pardon was given.
... Americans were held hostage and an attempt to rescue them failed.
... hundreds of US service personnel died when barracks in Lebanon were bombed.
... a pledge not to raise taxes became a misguided lie.
... an intern in a blue dress was lied about and became a scandal.
... two large towers and two other acts blackened our skies killing over 3000.
... an embassy was overrun and Americans lost lives.

Nor did it happen four, eight or even through all of the preceding years of our American existence. And it did not happen when many with different opinions said it would.

So tomorrow is not when it will happen.

Maybe 5-billion years from now, but not tomorrow.

Stay inspired my friends!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Train Tracks

Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” ― Will Rogers

There is an old joke about two drunk men who were walking between the railroad tracks. One of them said, "This is is longest stairway I have ever been on." To this, the other replied, "It's not the stairs that bother me, it's the low banister."

Like these two men walking drunk, do we fail to understand where we are walking just as they were completely unaware? The excuse for them is being blind by being drunk. Our excuse could be we simply are not paying attention.

Are we on the right track?

For many of us, just knowing if we are actually on the right track is half the battle. We begin a path towards a goal or direction without giving it much thought. We let life itself dictate those things for us.

We bounce from the left to the right rail and back. We are happy for these guard rails to keep us moving straight but unknowing where it takes us. Even when the junction appears, we follow the course of the tracks laid out in front of us.

Where are we headed?

Once we find out if the direction we are headed is the place we want to go, the tracks will help guide us. In other instances, we can switch tracks to take us in a new direction. Knowing where it leads us is a first and important step.

You must then decide to keep moving. To sit down upon the rail will get you no where and could get you run over. You could build a hut next to the tracks with a nice porch, but all that will provide you is a view of the rusting rails.

Keep moving forward.

If you have ever walked down train tracks - let me state that not only is it dangerous, but walking on any railroad property is also against the law - you will know that it is not always smooth walking due to the railroad ties, rock fill and other things that could trip you up.

Yet in spite of any railroad ties or any other metaphorical obstacles, we need to keep moving forward in life. Movement will take us to where we want to be. Movement will keep the tracks from rusting. Movement will keep us more alive.

Stay inspired my friends!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Life's Blueprint

"If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well. If you can't be a pine at the top of the hill, be a shrub in the valley. Be be the best little shrub on the side of the hill. Be a bush if you can't be a tree. If you can't be a highway, just be a trail. If you can't be a sun, be a star. For it isn't by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here is the speech Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to a group of students at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia. This speech was given roughly six months before he was assassinated. This speech contains his streetsweeper quote and is titled, What is your life's blueprint?

I want to ask you a question, and that is: What is your life's blueprint?

Whenever a building is constructed, you usually have an architect who draws a blueprint, and that blueprint serves as the pattern, as the guide, and a building is not well erected without a good, solid blueprint.

Now each of you is in the process of building the structure of your lives, and the question is whether you have a proper, a solid and a sound blueprint.

I want to suggest some of the things that should begin your life's blueprint. Number one in your life's blueprint, should be a deep belief in your own dignity, your worth and your own somebodiness. Don't allow anybody to make you fell that you're nobody. Always feel that you count. Always feel that you have worth, and always feel that your life has ultimate significance.

Secondly, in your life's blueprint you must have as the basic principle the determination to achieve excellence in your various fields of endeavor. You're going to be deciding as the days, as the years unfold what you will do in life — what your life's work will be. Set out to do it well.

And I say to you, my young friends, doors are opening to you--doors of opportunities that were not open to your mothers and your fathers — and the great challenge facing you is to be ready to face these doors as they open.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, the great essayist, said in a lecture in 1871, "If a man can write a better book or preach a better sermon or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor, even if he builds his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door."

This hasn't always been true — but it will become increasingly true, and so I would urge you to study hard, to burn the midnight oil; I would say to you, don't drop out of school. I understand all the sociological reasons, but I urge you that in spite of your economic plight, in spite of the situation that you're forced to live in — stay in school.

And when you discover what you will be in your life, set out to do it as if God Almighty called you at this particular moment in history to do it. don't just set out to do a good job. Set out to do such a good job that the living, the dead or the unborn couldn't do it any better.

If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well. If you can't be a pine at the top of the hill, be a shrub in the valley. Be be the best little shrub on the side of the hill.

Be a bush if you can't be a tree. If you can't be a highway, just be a trail. If you can't be a sun, be a star. For it isn't by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.
(From the estate of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Stay inspired my friends!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Pulling That Wagon

The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That's the day we truly grow up.” ― John C. Maxwell

When did that day come for you? It was the day when you finally figured out that childhood was over. A moment in which you made the decision to contribute to life instead of simply taking. Each of us reach it somewhere along a point in time of our life. Some reach it before others while others probably never will reach it.

The moment is responsibility, that juncture in time when we accept responsibility for not only our own life but for the lives of those around us. I have heard it said the following way, "Maturity happens when you move from being a 'guest in the hotel' to being a 'person serving in your own home', life takes on a meaning."

Meaningful life occurs in different flavors and colors.

A common theme of having a meaningful life is being the type of person who serves others surrounding us and those who pass through our life. It means being productive in some manner and getting rid of selfish attitudes. There are many people who never reach this selflessness and continue to hold on to selfish thoughts and complaint.

A speaker at a conference I attended put it this way, "Anthony Robbins says to 'awake the giant within'. I say to 'slap the weasel within us' and be a part of life." Which means you cannot achieve a greater life until you deal with your own issues and move on to better things.

Pulling that wagon of rocks forever and ever.

One way to describe it could be "carrying your baggage" around with you all day. I refer to it as pulling a wagon full of rocks as you search for meaning in life. So many people will spend all day pulling this wagon looking for someone else to either take the rocks or to pull the wagon for them.

Get rid of the rocks, let it go and move on. Take those rocks and lay them to the side and ease your load. Once you have done this, you can get onto more important things. You can help others unload their wagon and make room for the important stuff in life.

It doesn't mean to replace your rocks with another persons rocks.

It means making room in your life to be more productive, making more room to help others; making more room to have a greater life which is not held back by old pains, old hurts, old and negative attitudes. It means getting on with the life we have been given.

Accept responsibility for yourself and others will be amazed at the transformation within you. When you can take care of yourself, you can then help others. Once that moment happens, meaning will come into your life and purpose will become clear.

Stay inspired my friends!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

By Endurance We Conquer

Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.” - Marie Curie

There are stories that abound of facing all odds and persevering through even the worst of times. There is a story I have heard many times and came upon once again on the website named Glenn Gleason. It is the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and how he vowed and succeeded in saving all of his men when they became trapped in the Antarctic waters in 1914.

In repeating Glenn's words, "Shackleton and his crew formulated common goals, and made sure that every choice they made and every action they undertook specifically moved them closer to those goals. They drew upon their strengths to survive throughout enormous hardship. Shackleton’s core belief in a single, powerful dream guided them."

"This story of courage and survival teaches so many lessons. What circumstances are crushing you? Are you making concrete plans to overcome them? Are you reaching out to your “crew” for encouragement? Are you wiling to do whatever it takes to make it back alive?"

"One of the most telling parts of Shackleton’s story is his family motto, By Endurance We Conquer. Too many people simply give up. Take courage, persevere, and never be afraid to follow your dream.

What story do you have to tell?

It may not be the dramatic story of being trapped at sea, but to you the story is real.

Will you give up or will you push forward and realize your dream?

Stay inspired my friends!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

How Will It End

A man is like a novel: until the very last page you don't know how it will end. Otherwise it wouldn't even be worth reading.” ― Yevgeny Zamyatin

The last rites, in Christianity, are the last prayers and ministrations given to many Catholics when possible shortly before death. The ministration known as the last rites in the Catholic Church does not constitute a distinct sacrament in itself. It is rather a set of sacraments given to people who are perceived to be near death.

The last rites are meant to prepare the dying person's soul for death, by providing absolution for sins by penance, sacramental grace and prayers for the relief of suffering through anointing, and the final administration of the Eucharist.

In addition, the priest has authority to bestow a blessing in the name of the Pope on the dying person, to which a plenary indulgence is attached.

Source: Wikipedia

You are probably thinking, "Wow, what a pleasant way to start a story."

My story is one of my father who is nearing the end of his run in life. His story is in the final chapter with only a few more pages to write. The above information from Wikipedia is because it is tonight that he has requested for a Catholic priest to administer last rites for him. Another paragraph in this chapter.

The details of how my father will finally pass onto what I believe is something different can not be written until of course time has given us the hindsight to write it. I do believe that something exists beyond this natural life for our souls and my faith eases my mind when I think about losing my father.

How will it end?

But all of us want to jump ahead to the end of a story to see if the bad guy gets caught, did the couple fall in love or did the hero ride off into the sunset on a horse. My thoughts of the end have always been inquisitive but overridden by my excitement of the journey. To see what happens each and every day, what is around the next corner, bend in the road and hour of life.

There is so much we can do while we still have a breath in our body. A quote that actually comes from the Bible and has been popular in many movies and stories is "Where there is breath, there is hope." Even when last rites are given, each breath we take provides us with an opportunity to experience something more in our life.

We can create a memory, we can create laughter, we can create love for those around us and within us. Everything you do until no breath exists within you writes what will be the end of the story.

Stay inspired my friends!