Archive for September, 2010

“The smart person accepts. The idiot insists.”

That’s my pithy quote of the day.

It comes from a long article in Vanity Fair that, unfortunately, has to do with what a mess the Greek economy is in and the role a monastery on Mt. Athos has played in it. Or something. The article is long and kind of a snooze but I really like that quote, which is posted in the Fr. Ephraim’s office at the monastery. He says “it’s the secret of success for anywhere in the world.”

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Your child’s greatest burden

Here’s a Jung quote that made me say “oops:”

The greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of the parents.”

As if worrying about how my lived life affects my kids isn’t enough. ;) I’ve thought a lot about this quote and can’t find a way to disagree with it and can’t see how this burden avoidable. I’m thinking the burden isn’t all bad, however.

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September Rose

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For some reason I’m never inclined to take photos (or, more accurately, ask my oldest daughter to take photos) of the flowers in our yard in the summer.

As much as I like the star gazer lilies, peonies, hibiscus, petunias, etc. I’m also aware of how evanescent they are.

But come fall I start noticing the flowers in a different way because there are a lot less of them. The shrub roses in particular keep hanging in there even until early December and I really like that and draw encouragement from that more than I do from the summer flowers. I hardly notice the roses when all the other flowers are in bloom during the summer so it’s nice they can have their moment in the fall.

Whereas the mums almost make me grumpy when I look at them because they are branded as a fall flower and remind me too much that winter is coming. Not so with the roses.

This week my daughter’s Barbra Streisand rose started blooming again (see above photo), which was a surprise because it’s a tea rose, not a hardy shrub rose.

She planted it in June and it had one stunning bloom and then went dormant, much to our disappointment.

She planted an Elizabeth Taylor rose in that same spot last year and after one bloom the plant literally disappeared. The plant just had a single stem so we don’t know if it blew away or what. Weird.

So it was exciting for us to see the Barbra Streisand rose come back to life this week. These tea roses can be fussy so I hope it blooms again next year.

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Reason #57 To Own a Trench Coat (Mini-Saga #5)

She slipped into her pajamas at 6:30, recklessly thinking she could burrow in for the night. “Could you drive to the library and pick up my books?” asked her daughter. Argh! Then she realized… when else does she have an excuse to wear a trench coat on a warm sunny evening?

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Taking Care of Business (Mini-Saga #4)

Mark slid next to his wife and kissed her awake.

“We got the contract!”

“We did? How in the world…”

“I couldn’t have done it without you.”

“But we’ll have to double the size of our company!”

“You’re the master of the art of hiring people.”

“Not anymore. I quit!”

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In which we ban the word “exercise”

Are you sick of the word “exercise?” Me too, which is why I’ve borrowed the phrase “Dedicated Body Time” from the blogger Peacebang.

Dedicated Body Time is simply time set aside where you are moving around – no sitting – and it doesn’t have to be conventional exercises and you don’t wear special workout clothes.

My DBT occurs every weekday after I drop my youngest children off at school. Before I start in on the day’s writing projects I spend 30-60 minutes doing one or more of the following:

* Picking up sticks in the backyard (this is actually a good workout – my heart rate gets up to 140 – because our backyard is big and there are lots of sticks to haul around).

* Sweeping.

* A set of 5 Hindu pushups.

* 50 Tai Chi waist turners.

* Walking a labyrinth.

* Walking a nature trail.

* Hitting tennis balls against a wall at a nearby court and practicing my serve.

* Lawn mowing.

* Walking to the library carrying a bag of books to return.

* Weeding.

Activities like these don’t make me feel like a machine the way regular exercise often does.

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In which we remember 9/11

A story of how a guide dog saved two men during 9/11. Click to embiggen.

H/T Hillbuzz

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Walking in Circles

Who knew that walking in circles could be a form of meditation/prayer?

I didn’t until I recently read about labyrinths (not to be confused with mazes).

I discovered this worldwide directory of labyrinths. Even places like John Hopkins provide labyrinths for their patients and medical staff, so I figured there must be something to it.

I’m not all that good at the sitting and standing versions of meditation/prayer so I was curious to try this.

To my surprise there are a number of  labyrinths here in Madison so this morning I went to the one closest to my house, about six miles away on the grounds of a church.

It’s in the middle of countryside and my inner country mouse was able to come out and play. That right away put me in a more meditative state of mind.

I was amused that a church with a “Way Cool” service listed on its sign would have a labyrinth. I guess you can’t always judge a church by its sign.

It’s an outdoor labyrinth made of gravel and pavers and surrounded by trees, which gives it a nice secluded feeling. There’s also a view of the distant farmland. It uses the medieval Chartres design.

When I first entered the labyrinth I was very analytical about it and tried to assess what I was supposed to do.  Eventually it became clear that I was to just stay on the path and follow it to the center. I didn’t need to be heads up about anything. The path would guide me.

There were times it felt like I was going over the same path twice and I started getting too analytical again, wondering if I messed up.

I’d be on one side of the circle and then in a flash, it seemed, I’d be on the other side, and I wondered how that happened so fast.

While walking the path closest to the center I logically assumed it would open up into the center but that didn’t happen and I was a bit frustrated.

Then while on a middle path, to my surprise, it suddenly opened up onto a path that led straight to the center.

Of course I couldn’t help but notice how all of this parallels our journey through life.

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Rock your neurosis

The same author who says that anxiety is really an elixir is now telling me that it’s OK to rock some of our neuroses. Woo hoo!

I continue to be on a bit of a James Hollis kick and am now reading his What Matters Most: Living a More Considered Life book. He’s a renowned Jungian analyst and I like his style because it’s minds-on, yet clear, and free of fluffy self-help.

He says this in the preface:

I have no vested interest in our becoming saner, or mentally balanced, or even useful to society.

If you, the reader, find a neurosis that works for you, and gifts others as a bonus, then ride it for all it’s worth.

We are not here to fit in, be well-balanced, or provide exempla for others.

We are here to be eccentric, different, perhaps strange, perhaps merely to add our small piece, our little clunky, chunky selves, to the great mosaic of being.

I think I can handle that. :-)

I’ve only just started the book, but the chapter titles alone are compelling, so I’m sure the book won’t disappoint:

That Life Not Be Governed By Fear

That We Learn To Tolerate Ambiguity

That We Consider Feeding The Soul

That We Respect The Power Of Eros

That We Step Into Largeness

That We Risk Growth Over Security

That We Live Verbs Not Nouns

That We Find And Follow The Path Of Creativity And Delight In Foolish Passions

That We Engage Spiritual Crises And Other Bad Days At The Office

That We Write Our Story Lest Someone Else Write It For Us

That We Fight Fate And Love It Also

That We Live More Fully In The Shadow Of  Mortality

That We Accept At Last That Our Home Is Our Journey And Our Journey Is Our Home

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Six Word Story #1

[I know, I know. As if subjecting you to my 50 word mini-sagas last week wasn’t enough, now I’m trying a six word story. This type of story was made famous by Hemingway, who wrote one and called it his best work. Here it is: “For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.” I can’t top that one but I’ll give it a try anyway.]

Rehearsal dinner tomorrow. Will he show?

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