Thursday, June 30, 2005

One to ponder...

"Every life is march from innocence, through temptation, to virtue or vice."

--Lyman Abbott
Thursday Thought: Innocence

Our classical radio station, WCLV, played America this morning--a song I loved as a young boy. As I listened, I recalled how we enjoyed singing this song as children in grade school. A question popped into my head as I reminisced: "What happened to my innocence?" What has happened to my innocence, my sense of trust in the world, my child-like appreciation for simple things?

--Don Iannone

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

One to ponder...

"I bid him look into the lives of men as though into a mirror, and from others to take an example for himself."

--Terence
Wensday Thought: Don't Try, Do

Do or do not. There is no try.

--Yoda, 'The Empire Strikes Back'

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Blight
By Edna St. Vincent Millay

Hard seeds of hate I planted
That should by now be grown,—
Rough stalks, and from thick stamens
A poisonous pollen blown,
And odors rank, unbreathable,
From dark corollas thrown!

At dawn from my damp garden
I shook the chilly dew;
The thin boughs locked behind me
That sprang to let me through;
The blossoms slept,—I sought a place
Where nothing lovely grew.

And there, when day was breaking,
I knelt and looked around:
The light was near, the silence
Was palpitant with sound;
I drew my hate from out my breast

And thrust it in the ground.

Oh, ye so fiercely tended,
Ye little seeds of hate!
I bent above your growing
Early and noon and late,
Yet are ye drooped and pitiful,—
I cannot rear ye straight!

The sun seeks out my garden,
No nook is left in shade,
No mist nor mold nor mildew
Endures on any blade,
Sweet rain slants under every bough:
Ye falter, and ye fade.
One to ponder...

"Most of us can read the writing on the wall; we just assume it's addressed to someone else."

~Ivern Ball
Tuesday Thought: Responsibility

"I must do something" always solves more problems than "Something must be done."

~Source Unknown

Monday, June 27, 2005

Stilling the Waters
Poems About Finding Peace and Meaning in Everyday Life
By Don Iannone

Have you purchased your copy? I have some left, although they are selling pretty quickly. Drop me an email if you'd ike one. Don Iannone:
diannone@ix.netcom.com
Awake at Night
By Matsuo Basho


Awake at night--
the sound of the water jar
cracking in the cold.
A Caterpillar
By Matsuo Basho

A caterpillar,
this deep in fall--
still not a butterfly.
Monday Thought: Imagine No Boundaries

"The temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers."

--Matsuo Basho
The Echoing Green
By William Blake

The Sun does arise,
And make happy the skies;
The merry bells ring
To welcome the Spring;
The skylark and thrush,
The birds of the bush,
Sing lounder around
To the bells' chearful sound,
While our sports shall be seen
On the Echoing Green.

Old John, with white hair,
Does laugh away care,
Sitting under the oak,
Among the old folk.
They laugh at our play,
And soon they all say:
"Such, such were the joys
When we all, girls & boys,
In our youth time were seen
On the Echoing Green."

Till the little ones, weary,
No more can be merry;
The sun does descend,
And our sports have on end.
Round the laps of their mothers
Many sisters and brothers,
Like birds in their nest,
Are ready for rest,
And sports no more seen
On the darkening Green.
Tomorrow, Tomorrow
By Derek Walcott

I remember the cities I have never seen
exactly. Silver-veined Venice, Leningrad
with its toffee-twisted minarets. Paris. Soon
the Impressionists will be making sunshine out of shade.
Oh! and the uncoiling cobra alleys of Hyderabad.
To have loved one horizon is insularity;
it blindfolds vision, it narrows experience.
The spirit is willing, but the mind is dirty.
The flesh wastes itself under crumb-sprinkled linens,
widening the Weltanschauung with magazines.
A world's outside the door, but how upsetting
to stand by your bags on a cold step as dawn
roses the brickwork and before you start regretting,
your taxi's coming with one beep of its horn,
sidling to the curb like a hearse -- so you get in.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Poppies
Mary Oliver

The poppies send up their
orange flares; swaying
in the wind, their congregations
are a levitation

of bright dust, of thin
and lacy leaves.
There isn't a place
in this world that doesn't

sooner or later drown
in the indigos of darkness,
but now, for a while,
the roughage

shines like a miracle
as it floats above everything
with its yellow hair.
Of course nothing stops the cold,

black, curved blade
from hooking forward—
of course
loss is the great lesson.

But I also say this: that light
is an invitation
to happiness,
and that happiness,

when it's done right,
is a kind of holiness,
palpable and redemptive.
Inside the bright fields,

touched by their rough and spongy gold,
I am washed and washed
in the river
of earthly delight—

and what are you going to do—
what can you do
about it—
deep, blue night?
Work your plan...

"Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work."

--Peter F. Drucker
Sunday Thought: The Work We Do

"There is a vast world of work out there in this country, where at least 111 million people are employed in this country alone - many of whom are bored out of their minds. All day long."

--Richard Nelson Bolles

Saturday, June 25, 2005

The Observatory Ode
By John Frederick Nims

I
The Universe:
We'd like to understand,
But any piece, in the palm, gets out of hand,
Any stick, any stone,
- How mica burns! - or worse,
Any star we catch in pans of glass,
Sift to a twinkle the vast nuclear stone,
Lava-red, polar-blue,
Apple-gold (noon our childhood knew),
Colors that through the prism, like dawn through Gothic, pass,
Or in foundries sulk among grots and gnomes, in glare of zinc or brass.
Would Palomar's flashy cannon say? Would you,
Old hourglass, galaxy of sand,
You, the black hole where Newton likes to stand?
II
Once on this day,
Our Victorian renaissance-man,
Percival Lowell - having done Japan,
And soon to be seen
Doing over all heaven his way -
Spoke poems here. (These cheeks, a mite
Primped by the laurel leaves' symbolic green,
Should glow like the flustered beet
To scuff, in his mighty shoes, these feet.)
He walked high ground, each long cold Arizona night,
Grandeurs he'd jot: put folk on Mars, but guessed a planet right,
Scribbling dark sums and ciphers at white heat
For his Pluto, lost. Till - there it swam!
Swank, with his own P L monogram.
III
Just down the way
The Observatory. And girls
Attending, with lint of starlight in their curls,
To lens, 'scope, rule.
Sewing bee, you could say:
They stitch high heaven together here,
Save scraps of the midnight sky. Compile, pole, pool.
One, matching star with star,
Learns that how bright can mean how far.
That widens the galaxies! Each spiraling chandelier
In three-dimensional glamour hangs; old flat nights disappear.
Desk-bound, they explore the immensities. Who are
These woman that, dazed at dusk, arise?
- No Helen with so much heaven in her eyes.
IV
With what good night
Did the strange women leave?
What did the feverish planet-man achieve?
A myth for the sky:
All black. Then a haze of light,
A will-o'-the-wisp, hints time and place.
Whirling, the haze turned fireball, and let fly
Streamers of bright debris,
The makings of our land and sea.
Great rafts of matter crash, their turbulence a base
For furnaces of nuclear fire that blast out slag in space.
Primal pollution, dust and soot, hurl free
Lead, gold - all that. Heaven's gaudy trash.
This world - with our joy in June - is a drift of ash.
V
That fire in the sky
On the Glorious Fourth, come dark,
Acts "Birth of the Universe" out, in Playland Park.
Then a trace of ash
In the moon. Suppose we try
- Now only suppose - to catch in a jar
That palmful of dust, on bunsens burn till it flash,
Could we, from that gas aglow,
Construct the eventful world we know,
Or a toy of it, in the palm? Yet our world came so: we are
Debris of a curdled turbulence, and dust of a dying star
- The children of nuclear fall-out long ago.
No wonder if late world news agree
With Eve there's a creepy varmint in the Tree.
VI
The Universe:
...Such stuff as dreams are made on...
Yet stuff to thump, to call a spade a spade on.
No myth - Bantu,
Kurd, Urdu, Finnish, Erse -
Had for the heaven such hankering
As ours, that made new eyes for seeing true.
For seeing what we are:
Sun-bathers of a nuclear star,
Scuffling through curly quarks - mere fact a merry thing!
Then let's, with the girls and good P.L., sing carols in a ring!
Caution: combustible myth, though. Near and far
The core's aglow. Ho heat like this,
No heat like science and poetry when they kiss.
One more...

"Where there is great love, there are always wishes."

--Willa Cather
Saturday Thought: Love

"Love is the beauty of the soul."

--Saint Augustine

Friday, June 24, 2005

Happy Fifteenth Anniversary, Mary
By Don

It's been fifteen years since we tied the knot,
How wonderful for us what Fate has wrought,
Our paths crossed gently, like two stars in the night,
Ever since then, we've been as high as a kite,
All things for a reason, as we've come to learn,
The story of our lives together a wonderful sojourn,
Our adventure in Oregon has been beyond words,
Away we did fly, like two happy birds,
As we sit before the sunset, and watch the last sign of light,
I recall our first meeting with the utmost delight,
We look to the future, with all it does hold,
Every moment with you has been more precious than gold.
A Supermarket in California
By Allen Ginsberg

What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked
down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking
at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon
fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at
night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!
--and you, GarcĂ­a Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?

I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking
among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops?
What price bananas? Are you my Angel?
I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you,
and followed in my imagination by the store detective.
We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy
tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the
cashier.

Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in a hour.
Which way does your beard point tonight?
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and
feel absurd.)
Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade
to shade, lights out in the houses, we'll both be lonely.
Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automo-
biles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America
did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a
smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of
Lethe?
One to ponder...

"It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power."

--Alan Cohen
Friday Thought: Look in Awareness

Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.

--James Thurber

Thursday, June 23, 2005

One final one...

"We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe."

--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
One to ponder...

"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."

--Jiddu Krishnamurti
Thursday Thought: Change

"Most of the change we think we see in life is due to truths being in and out of favor."

--Robert Frost

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Siwashing It Out Once in Suislaw Forest
By Gary Synder

I slept under rhododendron
All night blossoms fell
Shivering on a sheet of cardboard
Feet stuck in my pack
Hands deep in my pockets
Barely able to sleep.
I remembered when we were in school
Sleeping together in a big warm bed
We were the youngest lovers
When we broke up we were still nineteen
Now our friends are married
You teach school back east
I dont mind living this way
Green hills the long blue beach
But sometimes sleeping in the open
I think back when I had you.
Ponder this...

"Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

--Who knows
Wednesday Thought: How to Succeed

"No one ever attains very eminent success by simply doing what is required of him; it is the amount and excellence of what is over and above the required that determines the greatness of ultimate distinction."

- Charles Kendall Adams

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Road and the End
By Carl Sandburg

I shall foot it
Down the roadway in the dusk,
Where shapes of hunger wander
And the fugitives of pain go by.
I shall foot it
In the silence of the morning,
See the night slur into dawn,
Hear the slow great winds arise
Where tall trees flank the way
And shoulder toward the sky.

The broken boulders by the road
Shall not commemorate my ruin.
Regret shall be the gravel under foot.
I shall watch for
Slim birds swift of wing
That go where wind and ranks of thunder
Drive the wild processionals of rain.

The dust of the traveled road
Shall touch my hands and face.
On from the road...

"Poetry is the journal of the sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air. Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and the unknowable. Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away."

~Carl Sandburg
Tuesday Thought: The Poet

"Poets are soldiers that liberate words from the steadfast possession of definition."

~Eli Khamarov

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Pilot
By Shin Yu Pai

you move through space
in three dimensions
only in flight

young,
a fascination starts
with the push off

the third story of a neighbor's roof
and the desire to explore
what tooth and hip remember

more clearly than a father tells it

falling

crack of bone

disruptions to water

in inner
the ear

how the body compensates
for fractures
by honing

situational awareness
based on
career vocation

you have perfect eyesight
at night
low level cargo flights

over the Persian sea
the belt of Orion
in the Northern hemisphere

or
a belt of military ships

orthogonal lines recede into a space
where boats to you are as stars
One to ponder...

"Happiness is not a destination. It is a method of life."

-Burton Hills
Monday Thought: Road to Happiness

"People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost."

-H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Oregon in Winter
By Timothy Bovee

To any man who'd bring his sorrow
To Oregon in winter--what kind of fool
Would drop his tears to increase
Grey Atlantic's burden of salt?
Or add a lump to all the coal
In Newcastle's darkened yards? Or sell
Fine igloos freon-cooled to
Inuit on Canada's far icy coast?
Erect a fan on Oklahoma's windswept course,
To guide Tornado's drunken path?
For surely when the rain and fog
Creep down from Cascade's peaks
To Willamette's gentle thighs,
Oregon in winter brings sorrow enough
To measure out a lifetime's worth
Of tears and bonefelt cold, warmed only
By the hearth and kin of home.
One to ponder...

"Most people would rather be certain they're miserable, than risk being happy."

-Robert Anthony
Sunday Thought: Happiness

"Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times."

--Anonymous

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Light Breaks Where No Sun Shines
By Dylan Thomas

Light breaks where no sun shines;
Where no sea runs, the waters of the heart
Push in their tides;
And, broken ghosts with glow-worms in their heads,
The things of light
File through the flesh where no flesh decks the bones.

A candle in the thighs
Warms youth and seed and burns the seeds of age;
Where no seed stirs,
The fruit of man unwrinkles in the stars,
Bright as a fig;
Where no wax is, the candle shows its hairs.

Dawn breaks behind the eyes;
From poles of skull and toe the windy blood
Slides like a sea;
Nor fenced, nor staked, the gushers of the sky
Spout to the rod
Divining in a smile the oil of tears.

Night in the sockets rounds,
Like some pitch moon, the limit of the globes;
Day lights the bone;
Where no cold is, the skinning gales unpin
The winter's robes;
The film of spring is hanging from the lids.
The power of belief...

"The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen."

--Frank Lloyd Wright
Saturday Thought: What We Believe

"Man is what he believes."

--Anton Chekhov

Friday, June 17, 2005

Dreams
by Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
One to ponder...

"When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere."


--Francois de La Rochefoucauld
Friday Thought: World Owes Me Nothing

"Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first."

--Mark Twain

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Happiness
By Raymond Carver


So early it's still almost dark out.
I'm near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.

When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.

They wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
They are so happy
they aren't saying anything, these boys.

I think if they could, they would take
each other's arm.
It's early in the morning,
and they are doing this thing together.

They come on, slowly.
The sky is taking on light,
though the moon still hangs pale over the water.

Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn't enter into this.

Happiness. It comes on
unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really,
any early morning talk about it.

One to ponder...

"So long as all the increased wealth which modern progress brings goes but to build up great fortunes, to increase luxury and make sharper the contrast between the House of Have and the House of Want, progress is not real and cannot be permanent."

~Henry George, Progress and Poverty, 1879
Thursday Thought: Prosperity

"Armaments, universal debt and planned obsolescence - those are the three pillars of Western prosperity."

~Aldous Huxley

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Wednesday Thought: It's Up to Us

"A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back -- but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you."

--Marian Wright Edelman
On Jefferson Street
By David Hedges

I shall set forth for somewhere,
I shall make the reckless choice.
Robert Frost

Two trucks pass my window each morning at nine,
Bringing Budweiser in, taking Blitz Weinhard out.
It's nice to know taverns are still doing fine
In the face of inflation, depression and doubt.

Where else does free enterprise flourish replete
With the devil-may-care found on Jefferson Street?

The Goose Hollow Inn rings with laughter at five,
Stirring questions my conscience would rather avoid:
Is work my sole reason for being alive?—
And is life my excuse for remaining employed?
I flush my responses from bushes I beat
And they pop up like pigeons on Jefferson Street.

When Porsches break down they are cradled in slings,
Never hoisted with hooks like your commoner makes.
These bumperless babies are delicate things
Driven mostly by leadfooted nifties and rakes.
My window affords me a fine grandstand seat
For the Porsche parade along Jefferson Street.

From Suicide Bridge on a clear day you see
(With a ten-power telescope held to your eye)
The red-lettered words on the movie marquee:
Inside, JOY! they proclaim to the world from on high.
I drink to the failure of those who'd delete
All the X-rated scenes seen on Jefferson Street.

A block up the way a man hunkers and stares
At the sidewalk, oblivious even to cold,
Adjusting the cap and the muffler he wears
But unable to fathom the fact that he's old.
He's someone you recognize, someone you meet
When you walk in December on Jefferson Street.

My maple tree changes to gold in a blink,
Then it's bare, then with new leaves and full growth and old.
I see what I look at, I know what I think,
But I keep precious little of what's mine to hold.
I watch as the seasons slip past incomplete
Through my time-machine window on Jefferson Street.
Dreamer
By Steven Robert Heine

Look far away
for a little while,
and tell me the dreams
that you see.
From the fountain of love
that flows from your heart,
great things will soon come to be.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Haiku Moment
By Don

we are born complete
whole in all respects, and more
follow your native path
Your life journey...

"Your life is a sacred journey. And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path... exactly where you are meant to be right now... And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love."

--Caroline Adams
Tuesday Thought: Don't Worry

"Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy."

~ Leo Buscaglia
One to ponder...

"The principal block to fullfillment is unhealed anger ."

--
ElsaJoy

Monday, June 13, 2005

Climbing the Chagrin River
By Mary Oliver

We enter
the green river,
heron harbor,
mud-basin lined
with snagheaps, where turtles
sun themselves--we push
through the falling
silky weight
striped warm and cold
bounding down
through the black flanks
of wet rocks--we wade
under hemlock
and white pine--climb
stone steps into
the timeless castles
of emerald eddies,
swirls, channels
cold as ice tumbling
out of a white flow--
sheer sheets
flying off rocks,
frivolous and lustrous,
skirting the secret pools--
cradles
full of the yellow hair
of last year's leaves
where grizzled fish
hang halfway down,
like tarnished swords,
while around them
fingerlings sparkle
and descend,
nails of light
in the loose
racing waters.
One to ponder...

"I think that taking life seriously means something such as this: that whatever man does on this planet has to be done in the lived truth of the terror of creation, of the grotesque, of the rumble of panic underneath everything. Otherwise it is false. Whatever is achieved must be achieved with the full exercise of passion, of vision, of pain, of fear, and of sorrow. How do we know ... that our part of the meaning of the universe might not be a rhythm in sorrow?"


--Ernest Becker
Monday Thought: Finding It

"You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life."
--Albert Camus

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Summer I Was Sixteen
By Geraldine Connolly

The turquoise pool rose up to meet us,
its slide a silver afterthought down which
we plunged, screaming, into a mirage of bubbles.
We did not exist beyond the gaze of a boy.

Shaking water off our limbs, we lifted
up from ladder rungs across the fern-cool
lip of rim. Afternoon. Oiled and sated,
we sunbathed, rose and paraded the concrete,

danced to the low beat of "Duke of Earl".
Past cherry colas, hot-dogs, Dreamsicles,
we came to the counter where bees staggered
into root beer cups and drowned. We gobbled

cotton candy torches, sweet as furtive kisses,
shared on benches beneath summer shadows.
Cherry. Elm. Sycamore. We spread our chenille
blankets across grass, pressed radios to our ears,

mouthing the old words, then loosened
thin bikini straps and rubbed baby oil with iodine
across sunburned shoulders, tossing a glance
through the chain link at an improbable world.
One to ponder...

"In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high."

--Henry David Thoreau
Sunday Thought: Investing Your Time

"Don't just spend your time, invest it. For spending your time gives you nothing in return, but to invest it, will make it all worthwhile."

--Author unknown

Saturday, June 11, 2005

She Came and Went
By James Russell Lowell (1819-1891)

As a twig trembles, which a bird
Lights on to sing, then leaves unbent,
So is my memory thrilled and stirred;--
I only know she came and went.

As clasps some lake, by gusts unriven,
The blue dome's measureless content,
So my soul held that moment's heaven;--
I only know she came and went.

As, at one bound, our swift spring heaps
The orchards full of bloom and scent,
So clove her May my wintry sleeps;--
I only know she came and went.

An angel stood and met my gaze,
Through the low doorway of my tent;
The tent is struck, the vision stays;--
I only know she came and went.

Oh, when the room grows slowly dim,
And life's last oil is nearly spent,
One gush of light these eyes will brim,
Only to think she came and went.
What is poetry?

"Poetry is not an expression of the party line. It's that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that's what the poet does."

--Allen Ginsberg
Saturday Thought: Be of Love

"Be of love a little more careful than of anything."

--e. e. cummings

Friday, June 10, 2005

Friday Thought: Courage

"Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage."

--Maya Angelou
Gratitude as an Economic Development Strategy
By Don Iannone

Everything around us is transformed when we are grateful. Small things seem large, and large things seem small. I have noticed this in my own life. Perhaps you have found the same to be true in your experience.

I believe there is room for greater gratitude in economic development. Instead of simply wanting more, or wanting something different than what we have, we may discover that by being more grateful we are richer than we ever imagined, and that we are "richer" in ways we never thought possible.

Lately, I have been thinking a great deal about how a daily attitude of gratitude could transform what we do in the economic development business. It is quite possible we might discover that our communities and businesses have far greater assets and resources than we ever envisioned. We might learn that our fundamental purpose in economic development is not to simply satisfy community and business desires for more of whatever they want. Rather, we have been put on this Earth as economic developers to appreciate the economic and business mysteries and wonders of life and to allow that sense of appreciation to transform us in a personal and community sense.

Many world religious traditions contend that "wanting" is the source of all suffering in life, especially when we are never satisfied with what we have. In my work with communities across America, I see so many that suffer under the burden of their own excessive wanting because they are never satisfied with what they have and who they are. A wiser approach to economic development is to develop a fuller awareness and understanding of what we already have in terms of human, business, and community assets. I am not convinced that our current "Me, My, Mine" model of strategic planning prepares us to do that.

Please don't misunderstand what I'm saying. The desire for positive change and to make improvement are vital in economic development. However, wanting for the sake of wanting, and wanting in the absence of gratitude are not ok in my book. This is meaningless consumerism, the exact thing we rail against when we think of the economy that Wal-Mart is creating for us, whether we want it or not. The alternative is to invest in things that really matter to our genuine happiness and well-being. You decide what those things are.

In conclusion, perhaps we should consider how a healthy dose of gratitude could contribute to a greater sense of appreciation and well-being in our communities, and perhaps that sense of well-being and appreciation could help engender greater real prosperity and abundance in our lives. I think that is what the noted author and physician Christiane Northrup had in mind when she said: "Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life."

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Sympathetic Joy
By Joan Halifax Roshi

"The third boundless abode is sympathetic joy. Sympathetic joy is joy in the basic goodness of all beings, and joy in the fundamental well being of ourselves and others. Sympathetic joy is essentially unconditional. However, there are important supports to joy that allow us to realize basic goodness, such as having a good home life and livelihood, encountering good friends and teachers, and living in the outer world according to strong inner virtues. These supports help us learn to realize and rest in basic goodness without being swayed by external conditions."
Thursday Thought: Defeat

"What is defeat?...Nothing but the first step to something better."

--Wendell Phillips
Primary Wonder
By Denise Levertov


Days pass when I forget the mystery.
Problems insoluble and problems offering
their own ignored solutions
jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber
along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing
their colored clothes; caps and bells.
And then
once more the quiet mystery
is present to me, the throng's clamor
recedes: the mystery
that there is anything, anything at all,
let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything,
rather than void: and that, 0 Lord,
Creator, Hallowed one, You still,
hour by hour sustain it.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Wednesday Thought: Life's Limits

It is easy to believe that life is long and one's gifts are vast -- easy at the beginning, that is. But the limits of life grow more evident; it becomes clear that great work can be done rarely, if at all.

--Alfred Adler
The Birth of Angels
By Stephen Dobyns


The heavy-lidded enterprise of the dead
begins with forgetting, ends with forgotten.
Like smoke, so thick at first but higher
just a wisp, until it is indistinguishable

from air. The move from youth to old age,
doesn't it resemble falling, a leaf descending
from white birch to front lawn? You think
it drifts slowly? It plummets. And this well-

dressed elderly man crossing against the light.
At the curb he puts a hand to his chest. He feels
a fluttering which suggests the birth of angels:
a sudden consciousness, the thrashing of wings.
Sticking With Your Meditation Practice

It's too easy to set aside your daily meditation practice.

First it starts with shortening the amount of time you meditate each day, and then you start missing a few days each week, and then you miss a week of meditation. Pretty soon, you notice that your head just doesn't feel clear, and then you have lost sight of the peace that meditation brings you.

Ask someone who knows. I was giving less and less time to meditation over the past month. I just didn't feel the same. I'm back in the groove. It took sitting for one hour and then doing a half hour walking meditation.

Now, I know what I was missing over the past month. Ah, it feels good!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Tuesday Thought: Be Nice to Yourself

"Do something nice for yourself today. Take time to give yourself a special treat.

In order to contribute to life and provide value to others, you must first connect to the value that is within you. To connect with and appreciate that unique inner value, be good to yourself.

Think of the things that feel good, and right, and fulfilling to you. Look past all the superficial things undertaken or acquired only to impress others, and focus on what is sincerely you.

Give yourself the gift of being totally and joyfully you. Let go of your concerns, your worries, your pretenses and anxieties, and truly enjoy the moment you're in.

By being good to yourself, you'll be much better equipped to deal with whatever difficult situations the world sends your way. By being good to yourself, you vastly increase the value you can provide to others.

On a regular basis, take the opportunity to be good to yourself. And it will spur you on to become the best that you can be."

--
Ralph Marston
Your Personal Anthropology

Click here to learn more about a test you can take (for a fee) to discover more about your personal anthropology.
Dr. Thorson's Humor Scale

Do you step back and laugh at life's absurdities? Or do you wring your hands, find gloom and doom everywhere, and conclude that our world is awful?

You’ll be healthier if you lighten up. Our research has shown that those who score high on a multidimensional sense of humor scale have lower levels of depression and higher levels of purpose than those who score low in humor.

You don’t have to be the author of the joke to appreciate it, nor do you have to laugh out loud. How much you laugh isn’t a good measure of your sense of humor. Soldiers going into battle, for example, respond to the least little thing with gales of nervous laughter. You can laugh inwardly, and some types of humor, such as dry wit, demand a wry smile rather than a laugh.

Some people are better than others at laughing things off, or at least smiling at the ridiculous, and research indicates that those blessed with a funnybone may actually live longer.


Take the self-test at Spirituality and Health online.
By the way, my score is not as high as I'd like it to be, which indicates that I have some work to do to be more of a funny man.

Monday, June 06, 2005

TOMORROW, TOMORROW
By Derek Walcott

I remember the cities I have never seen
exactly. Silver-veined Venice, Leningrad
with its toffee-twisted minarets. Paris. Soon
the Impressionists will be making sunshine out of shade.
Oh! and the uncoiling cobra alleys of Hyderabad.
To have loved one horizon is insularity;
it blindfolds vision, it narrows experience.
The spirit is willing, but the mind is dirty.
The flesh wastes itself under crumb-sprinkled linens,
widening the Weltanschauung with magazines.
A world's outside the door, but how upsetting
to stand by your bags on a cold step as dawn
roses the brickwork and before you start regretting,
your taxi's coming with one beep of its horn,
sidling to the curb like a hearse -- so you get in.
Monday Thought: Poetic Suffering

"You don't have to suffer to be a poet; adolescence is enough suffering for anyone."

--John Ciardi
On second thought...

"The poet doesn't invent. He listens."

--Jean Cocteau

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Getting Over It

People have a hard time "getting over" whatever ails them and causes them to suffer. It could be a lost job, a divorce, the death of a loved one, or an injustice they've experienced in life. It's never easy to get over deep pain, fear, and other feelings that seize our gut, but we have to. Usually, people are finally willing to "let go" of what ails them when the pain of holding on is greater than the pain of letting go.

It saddens me to see people suffer. I hate to see it. Yet, each of us reaches a point in our life when we must accept responsibility for our own suffering and give ourselves permission to let go of our angst.

Some say only time can heal certain pain in life. That is partially true, but I think each of us has a responsibility to "get over," put behind, or let go of what the author and spiritual psychologist Thomas Moore calls the "dark nights of our soul," so we can heal and so we can stop making other people suffer over our suffering.

Communities have a hard time "getting over" whatever troubles them. They too must learn to forgive and move on. My work in economic development provides numerous examples of how community leaders and citizens hold on too long to their torment and prevent themselves from healing and moving to a more positive way of being.

May we all seek the blessing of forgiveness and allow that blessing to help us "get over" whatever troubles us in our lives.
Constellations
By Steven Heighton

After bedtime the child climbed on her dresser
and peeled phosphorescent stars off the sloped
gable-wall, dimming the night vault of her ceiling
like a haze or the interfering glow
of a great city, small hands anticipating
eons as they raided the playful patterns
her father had mapped for her — black holes now
where the raised thumb-stubs and ears of the Bat
had been, the feet of the Turtle, wakeful
eyes of the Mourning Dove. She stuck those paper
stars on herself. One on each foot, the backs
of her hands, navel, tip of nose and so on,
then turned on the lamp by her bed and stood close
like a child chilled after a winter bath
pressed up to an air duct or a radiator
until those paper stars absorbed more light
than they could hold. Then turned off the lamp,
walked out into the dark hallway and called.

Her father came up. He heard her breathing
as he clomped upstairs preoccupied, wrenched
out of a rented film just now taking grip
on him and the child’s mother, his day-end
bottle of beer set carefully on the stairs,
marking the trail back down into that evening
adult world — he could hear her breathing (or
really, more an anxious, breathy giggle) but
couldn’t see her, then in the hallway stopped,
mind spinning to sort the apparition
of fireflies hovering ahead, till he sensed
his daughter and heard in her breathing
the pent, grave concentration of her pose,
mapped onto the star chart of the darkness,
arms stretched high, head back, one foot slightly raised —
the Dancer, he supposed, and all his love
spun to centre with crushing force, to find her
momentarily fixed, as unchanging
as he and her mother must seem to her,
and the way the stars are; as if the stars are.
One to ponder...

You know a dream is like a river, ever changing as it flows.
And a dreamer's just a vessel that must follow where it goes.
Trying to learn from what's behind you and never knowing what's in store makes each day a constant battle just to stay between the shores.
And I will sail my vessel 'til the river runs dry.
Like a bird upon the wind, these waters are my sky.
I'll never reach my destination if I never try,
So I will sail my vessel 'til the river runs dry.
Too many times we stand aside and let the water slip away.
To what we put off 'til tomorrow has now become today.
So don't you sit upon the shore and say you're satisfied.
Choose to chance the rapids and dare to dance the tides.

-Garth Brooks, song "The River" co-written with Victoria Shaw
Sunday Thought: What Determines Our Lives

Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results.

-Anonymous

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Lines on Retirement, after Reading Lear
By David Wright

for Richard Pacholski

Avoid storms. And retirement parties.
You can’t trust the sweetnesses your friends will
offer, when they really want your office,
which they’ll redecorate. Beware the still
untested pension plan. Keep your keys. Ask
for more troops than you think you’ll need. Listen
more to fools and less to colleagues. Love your
youngest child the most, regardless. Back to
storms: dress warm, take a friend, don’t eat the grass,
don’t stand near tall trees, and keep the yelling
down—the winds won’t listen, and no one will
see you in the dark. It’s too hard to hear
you over all the thunder. But you’re not
Lear, except that we can’t stop you from what
you’ve planned to do. In the end, no one leaves
the stage in character—we never see
the feather, the mirror held to our lips.
So don’t wait for skies to crack with sun. Feel
the storm’s sweet sting invade you to the skin,
the strange, sore comforts of the wind. Embrace
your children’s ragged praise and that of friends.
Go ahead, take it off, take it all off.
Run naked into tempests. Weave flowers
into your hair. Bellow at cataracts.
If you dare, scream at the gods. Babble as
if you thought words could save. Drink rain like cold
beer. So much better than making theories.
We’d all come with you, laughing, if we could.
One for the road...

"People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built."

~Eleanor Roosevelt
Saturday Thought: Attitude

"Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives."

~William James

Friday, June 03, 2005

Voyages II
By Hart Crane

--And yet this great wink of eternity,
Of rimless floods, unfettered leewardings,
Samite sheeted and processioned where
Her undinal vast belly moonward bends,
Laughing the wrapt inflections of our love;

Take this Sea, whose diapason knells
On scrolls of silver snowy sentences,
The sceptred terror of whose sessions rends
As her demeanors motion well or ill,
All but the pieties of lovers' hands.

And onward, as bells off San Salvador
Salute the crocus lustres of the stars,
In these poinsettia meadows of her tides,--
Adagios of islands, O my Prodigal,
Complete the dark confessions her veins spell.

Mark how her turning shoulders wind the hours,
And hasten while her penniless rich palms
Pass superscription of bent foam and wave,--
Hasten, while they are true,--sleep, death, desire,
Close round one instant in one floating flower.

Bind us in time, O Seasons clear, and awe.
O minstrel galleons of Carib fire,
Bequeath us to no earthly shore until
Is answered in the vortex of our grave
The seal's wide spindrift gaze toward paradise.
Remember this?

"My heart was a habitation large enough for many guests, but lonely and chill, and without a household fire. I longed to kindle one! It seemed not so wild a dream . . . "

--Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
Friday Thought: Life Phases

"Youth is a blunder; Manhood a struggle; Old Age a regret."

--Benjamin Disraeli

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Thursday Thought: Integral Philosophy

Get the essence of it here. Learn more about Ken Wilber and his work here.
The Tao of Organization
By Cheng Yi

"Of particular interest for its application to business strategizing, this edition of the well-known ancient Chinese classic I Ching (The Book of Changes) guides readers through the intricacies of group dynamics and relationships within organizations of all kinds. The root text is supported by a commentary from the eleventh-century scholar Cheng-Yi, founder of the movement known as Lixue, the "study of inner design." Cheng contended that by understanding the pattern of events—the inner design of nature—one can bring about mutual understanding and cooperation among people in groups, thus facilitating the accomplishment of any tasks they might undertake.
The translator's extensive introduction gives specific, systematic guidelines for consulting the I Ching for greatest understanding and best results. Included in the afterward is a profile of the modern and Japanese organizational genius Matsushita Konosuke, founder of Panasonic and other multinational corporations, whose success has been built on the principles of the I Ching."


Source: Shambhala Publications
Awake at Work
By Michael Carroll

Book Abstract

"Work can often be frustrating. On the job we frequently face conflicts, difficult personalities, disappointing results—a variety of challenges and obstacles. In this unique book Michael Carroll, a Buddhist meditation teacher and a corporate executive, shares Buddhist wisdom on how to transform the common hassles and anxieties of life in the workplace into valuable opportunities for personal growth, heightened wisdom, and enhanced effectiveness. Carroll shows us how life on the job—no matter what kind of work we do—can become one of the most engaging and fulfilling areas of our lives.

At its heart, Awake at Work offers thirty-five principles for developing a new way of relating to work that is characterized by honesty, openness, courage, maturity, and endless learning. By contemplating these principles on a regular basis in the context of our daily work lives, we can begin to explore and overturn the misconceptions and mental habits that keep many of us in a state of constant frustration and dissatisfaction on the job.

Carroll invites readers to contemplate these slogans and to use them on-the-spot, in the midst of work's chaos, to develop clarity, wisdom, and inspiration. Along the way, Carroll presents a variety of techniques and insights to help us "acknowledge work, with all its complications, as a valuable invitation to fully live our lives." In an engaging, accessible, and often humorous style, Awake at Work offers readers a path to rediscovering a natural sense of intelligence, confidence, and delight on the job."

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Mapping the Moment

Click
here and see an example of a map of "this" moment.
Reverence...

"Reverence is the way of radical respect. It recognizes and honors the presence of the sacred in everything — our bodies, other people, animals, plants, rocks, the earth, and the waters. It is even an appropriate attitude to bring to our things, since they are the co-creations of humans and the Creator.

Nothing is too trivial or second class for reverence. But it has to be demonstrated with concrete actions. Don't abuse your body — eat right, exercise, get enough rest. Don't abuse the earth by being wasteful of its gifts. Protect the environment for your neighbors and future generations.

Reverence is also a kind of radical amazement, a deep feeling tinged with both mystery and wonder. Approaching the world with reverence, we are likely to experience its sister — awe. Allow yourself to be moved beyond words."


Source: Spirituality and Health
Wednesday Thought: Grace

"You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, and swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing, and grace before I dip the pen in ink."

— G. K. Chesterton
Friends' Blogs