Smile a Lot

“We have to learn to be kinder to ourselves, much more kind. Smile a lot, although nobody is watching you smile. Listen to your own brook, echoing yourself. You can do a good job. In the sitting practice of meditation, when you begin to be still, hundreds of thousands, millions, and billions of thoughts will go through your mind. But they just pass through, and only the worthy ones leave their eggs behind. We have to leave ourselves some time to be. You’re not going to see the Shambhala vision, you’re not even going to survive unless you leave yourself a minute to be, a minute to smile. Please give yourself a good time.”  ~Chögyam Trungpa (via)

Monsters

“We can spend our whole lives escaping from the monsters of our minds.”  ~Pema Chödron

Ninth of Twelve

Everything about this video, from the way they dress to the way they dance, just radiates joy.

Full lyrics HERE.

Other songs about September include:

 

Hoax

Chaz Ebert on the passing of her famous husband, Roger:

The one thing people might be surprised about—Roger said that he didn’t know if he could believe in God. He had his doubts. But toward the end, something really interesting happened. That week before Roger passed away, I would see him and he would talk about having visited this other place. I thought he was hallucinating. I thought they were giving him too much medication. But the day before he passed away, he wrote me a note: “This is all an elaborate hoax.” I asked him, “What’s a hoax?” And he was talking about this world, this place. He said it was all an illusion. I thought he was just confused. But he was not confused. He wasn’t visiting heaven, not the way we think of heaven. He described it as a vastness that you can’t even imagine. It was a place where the past, present, and future were happening all at once.

You can read the entire (short) article at Esquire.com, HERE.

(And this reminds me of my favorite Joe Walsh song, Life of Illusion, on YouTube HERE.)

Bisy Backson

“What if we stopped celebrating being busy as a measurement of importance? What if instead we celebrated how much time we had spent listening, pondering, meditating, and enjoying time with the most important people in our lives?”  ~Greg McKeown

Decision Making Strategy

Excerpted from The Power of Persuasion:  How We’re Bought and Sold by Robert V. Levine, ©2003:

You might try an eight-step decision-making strategy developed by cognitive psychologists known by the acronym of PROACT (problem, objectives, alternatives, consequences, and trade-offs):

      • Clearly define your problem. What is it you’re trying to decide? Be sure you’re addressing what’s actually the significant problem.
      • Specify your objectives. Think through where you want this decision to take you.
      • Force yourself to consider alternative courses of action. If there weren’t alternatives, you wouldn’t be making a decision. Be imaginative here.
      • Evaluate the consequences of all possible decisions. How effectively will each alternative satisfy your objectives?
      • What are the trade-offs of each course of action? List the pros and cons of potential choices. Articulate your priorities and see which choice strikes the best balance.
      • Address uncertainties. What could happen in the future, how likely is it to occur, and how will it effect your decision?
      • What is your risk tolerance? Which alternative offers the right level of risk for you?
      • Plan ahead. How may this decision affect other decisions you make in the future? Recognize that any important decision is going to alter the nature of other decisions you make later. Try to predict the long-term sequence that any choice will set in motion.

There are no guarantees these eight steps will keep you from being duped. After all, there’s a certain degree of risk in any decision. But if you follow this approach, or perhaps develop a systematic alternative that is more suited to your temperament and needs, there’s less chance you’ll make a serious error.

 

It’s not easy sometimes to think through problems in a structured way. I think this gives a nice framework to start with.

But you can still follow your heart, if you want to.

Blake, the much despised

Casey at the Bat
Ernest Lawrence Thayer

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day:
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play,
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to the hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, “If only Casey could but get a whack at that—
We’d put up even money now, with Casey at the bat.”

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a hoodoo, while the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despised, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred,
There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It pounded on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile lit Casey’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt;
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance flashed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped—
“That ain’t my style,” said Casey. “Strike one!” the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore;
“Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted someone on the stand;
And it’s likely they’d have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the dun sphere flew;
But Casey still ignored it and the umpire said, “Strike two!”

“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered “Fraud!”
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn’t let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate,
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate;
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out.

The Prophet

I recently discovered The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran is in the public domain.

You can download a free copy from Project Gutenberg, HERE.  It’s available in plain text, Kindle, and Epub formats, and in HTML for online reading.

You just want to cry

“No two ways about it, the ’80s were rough. … It was seven years of going, ‘What is it that I do?’ Being self-employed your whole life, that becomes a certain rock, a reinforcement. When that’s gone, not only are you bored stiff, but you just want to cry, ‘What do I do? I know I used to serve a purpose.'”  ~Greg Allman

That Word Is

“Historians have a word for Germans who joined the Nazi party, not because they hated Jews, but out of a hope for restored patriotism, or a sense of economic anxiety, or a hope to preserve their religious values, or dislike of their opponents, or raw political opportunism, or convenience, or ignorance, or greed.

“That word is ‘Nazi.’ Nobody cares about their motives anymore.” ~Julius Goat

Vacation

Season 5 of Everybody Loves Raymond opens with a two-parter that finds the Barone family on vacation in Italy.  It has become one of my favorite episodes.

It was almost certainly sponsored by the Italian Tourism Board.  There are very few jokes and absolutely no plot.  The family just wanders around admiring beautiful sights, eating delicious food, and enjoying each other’s company.  Ray buys everyone flowers, Robert discovers gelato.

It was a really nice change of pace from the traditional sit-com style.  It’s one to keep an eye out for.

Soulshine

Full lyrics HERE.

There are some amazing live versions of this song by Gov’t Mule on YouTube, if you want to explore a little.