“On my last birthday I was ninety-three years old. That is not young, of course. In fact, it is older than ninety. But age is a relative matter. If you continue to work and to absorb the beauty in the world about you, you find that age does not necessarily mean getting old. At least, not in the ordinary sense. I feel many things more intensely than ever before, and for me life grows more fascinating.” –cellist Pablo Casals
This song is absolutely beautiful and completely ridiculous.
Full lyrics HERE.
“It is impossible to be at your best or your worst at all times. Who is always consistent? Everyone changes according to different situations and as they go through life’s different phases. There is no point in feeling great pride or great shame simply because of temporary circumstances.” ~Ogyen Trinley Dorje, 17th Karmapa
Frank Sinatra heard O.C. Smith’s version of That’s Life on his car radio, and was so impressed he tracked down the publisher to record his own version.
His version is very different. Smith’s version is mellower, more bluesy, while Sinatra’s is more motivational-speakerish.
The final line fits seamlessly in Smith’s version, but is a little jarring in Sinatra’s.
Full lyrics HERE.
“If we just worry about the big picture, we are powerless. So my secret is to start right away doing whatever little work I can do. I try to give joy to one person in the morning, and remove the suffering of one person in the afternoon. If you and your friends do not despise the small work, a million people will remove a lot of suffering.” ~Sister Chan Khong
Probably my biggest moral failing is giving in to despair. It’s hard not to feel helpless in a world with so many problems, a world where so many leaders revel in, and are celebrated for, overt evil.
I have the quote above taped next to my desk, so I see it every day.
It reminds me to do what I can.
Alan Dershowitz was part of the legal team that won an acquittal for O.J. Simpson, even though he was guilty. Next he dug up dirt on Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers, helping him get a ridiculously light sentence for abusing little girls.
And he is currently representing Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump.
According to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer, available HERE (PDF), Fifty-six per cent of the surveyed global population said capitalism in its current form does more harm than good in the world, and fifty-seven percent of respondents worry about losing the respect and dignity they once enjoyed in their country. Most respondents said that hard work no longer leads to a better life.
There was a strong generational difference, with young people being far more pessimistic than old people. My guess is that it’s because the stock market benefits when wages are kept low. Someone with a nice 401k is doing fine, someone working as a cog in their machine not so much.
America has done a pretty good job of keeping dissent to a minimum. They allow the occasional protest to let off some steam, but they peter out before anything actually changes. That’s by design. They let the protesters shout a bit and maybe block traffic for a day or so, knowing that soon despair and helplessness will return and they will all go home.
So far their strategy has worked. But I feel like an explosion is coming.
People look back at the 60s through rose-colored glasses. They remember the music, the fashion, peace-and-love, psychedelia.
They’re forgetting the violence. There were mass arrests. Cities burned. People were assaulted, people suffered, people died.
I don’t want to live through it again.
But I think I’m going to.
“In the morning, on awaking, we should make the following pledge: ‘Throughout the whole of today, I will remember Bodhichitta. Eating, dressing, meditating, wherever I go, I will practice it constantly. Should it slip my mind, I will remind myself. Mindful of it, I will not allow myself to wander into states of anger, desire or ignorance.’ We should make a concerted effort to keep this vow and at night before going to sleep, we should examine ourselves as to how much we have been able to generate Bodhichitta, how much we have been able to help others and whether all our actions have been in accordance with the teachings.” ~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
I’m not Buddhist, but the advice is still sound. It’s not easy to be the kind of people we wish to be. It takes vigilance and renewal.
When I lived in Dallas, they used to circle the parking lots of malls and department stores on bicycles, targeting shoppers who walked alone. They were better trained than any used car salesman– any polite decline of their intentions on my part was met immediately by a rehearsed counter-proposal.
There was no nice way to get rid of them. I was forced to be abrupt and slightly menacing. It was the only strategy that worked.
Then came the door-to-door salesmen. “I’m one of those college kids working my way through school by selling…” and I fell for it the first time. Next was the slight variation, young Black men selling magazines “to keep me out of gangs and on the right track.” Now I’m in the suburbs, and after every thunderstorm men with clipboards appear wanting to inspect my roof. They can get me a free replacement from my insurance company, they say.
So I have learned to peek through the window first, and not answer my door if it isn’t someone I recognize.
I don’t answer the phone anymore, either, if I don’t know the number. It’s likely to be a “charity” I’ve never heard of raising money for the police, the troops, or cancer patients. Sometimes it is someone offering to update my Google listing, whatever that means.
I don’t want to be unkind, but I also don’t want to be taken advantage of.
And I resent the people who have forced me to make that choice.
In my personal life I’m very reserved, very cool, very laid back– but the people I admire most are not.
There aren’t enough songs about evolution.