A Senecan Praemeditatio [The wise]

A Senecan Praemeditatio

[The wise] will start each day with the thought….
Fortune gives us nothing which we can really own.
Nothing, whether public or private, is stable; the destinies of men, no less than those of cities are in a whirl.
Whatever structure has been reared by a long sequence of years, at the cost of great toil, and through the great kindness of the gods, is scattered and dispersed in a single day. No, he who has said ‘a day’ has granted too long a postponement to swift misfortune; an hour, an instant of time, suffices for the overthrow of empires.
How often have cities in Asia, how often in Achaia, been laid low by a single shock of earthquake? How many towns in Syria, how many in Macedonia, have been swallowed up? How often has this kind of devastation laid Cyprus in ruins?
We live in the middle of things which have all been destined to die. Mortal have you been born, to mortals have you given birth.
Reckon on everything, expect everything.

from The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton

Courage It is in the

Courage
It is in the small things we see it.
The child’s first step,
as awesome as an earthquake.
The first time you rode a bike,
wallowing up the sidewalk.
The first spanking when your heart
went on a journey all alone.
When they called you crybaby
or poor or fatty or crazy
and made you into an alien,
you drank their acid
and concealed it.

Later,
if you faced the death of bombs and bullets
you did not do it with a banner,
you did it with only a hat to
cover your heart.
You did not fondle the weakness inside you
though it was there.
Your courage was a small coal
that you kept swallowing.
If your buddy saved you
and died himself in so doing,
then his courage was not courage,
it was love; love as simple as shaving soap.

Later,
if you have endured a great despair,
then you did it alone,
getting a transfusion from the fire,
picking the scabs off your heart,
then wringing it out like a sock.
Next, my kinsman, you powdered your sorrow,
you gave it a back rub
and then you covered it with a blanket
and after it had slept a while
it woke to the wings of the roses
and was transformed.

Later,
when you face old age and its natural conclusion
your courage will still be shown in the little ways,
each spring will be a sword you’ll sharpen,
and you’ll bargain with the calendar
and at the last moment
when death opens the back door
you’ll put on your carpet slippers
and stride out.

from Anne Sexton The Awful Rowing Toward God via In A Dark Time

Fantastic! A powerful inter-galactic conversation

Fantastic!
A powerful inter-galactic conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to waste time at work, download naughty pictures, and build pipe bombs. As a direct result, things are getting really weird — and getting weird faster than the parking lot at a Grateful Dead concert.

from The Gluetrain Manifesto

A Brave Man I really

A Brave Man
I really love reading In A Dark Time. It is full of beauty and wisdom. I had no idea just how dark the dark time is…

Suddenly, though, that my concern over the nation’s problems has taken a backseat to my own personal crisis. In the last month-and-a-half I have discovered that I have a large cancerous tumor in my throat and have had to examine the different treatments available, none of which are very good, and decide which of these treatments I will try. In essence, I have been making life-and-death decisions and decisions about the quality of life almost daily over the last two weeks

And yet in the face of such a crisis there is still truth…

I truly believe that moments like this, if we survive them, help us to get more out of life. By forcing us to see our life’s decisions in the hard glare of critical decisions, we can begin to see how strong our beliefs are and whether or not they truly help us to make decisions when we need to. They force us to consider whether we are wasting our lives when there are more important things to be done and to decide what really is important.

…and beauty…..

So the abyss;
The slippery cold heights,
After the blinding misery

The climbing, the endless turning,
Strikes like a fire,
A terrible violence of creation,
A flash into the burning heart of the abominable;
Yet if we wait, unafraid, beyond the fearful instant,
The burning lake turns into a forest pool,
The fire subsides into rings of water,
A sunlit silence.

from Theodore Roethke’s The Abyss in The Far Field

Creativity versus productivity? Creativity is

Creativity is often thought of in terms of artistic expression or hobbies, while productivity is most commonly associated with work and value creation. In truth, there is no difference as each set of activities involves the creation of something. Those who identify primarily with the word creativity tend to abhor structure and look upon work as a limiting factor to their self-expression. Conversely, those more comfortable with the term productivity tend to regard it as an efficient and valuable endeavor and are suspicious of “creative types”….The truth is that both groups are invovled in the same activity, whether they perceive it or not.

from Nathan Shedroff via evhead