Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘words of wisdom’

Greetings friends and fellow pilgrims.  I am still preparing for and adjusting to my son’s departure for Fort Lewis Washington.  As a going away gift I am having the book “365 Tao” bound as a hardback book.  He has read it in the past to the point of breaking the binding so I thought a hardback copy would serve him well,  I also had the book binder include several pages of my words of encouragement and what I call “Words of Wisdom.”  I thought my readers might enjoy see them, so here they are:

The following represents “Words of Wisdom” I have gleamed from my life experiences.  I hope that pondering them may help you recognize their possible relevance in your life.

 1)      “Shit happens” – our lives are a constant parade of events that we are required

                                             to adjust too,  how we adjust affects our level of happiness!

  TYPES OF SHIT:

a)      Just Happens” Shit – we have little or no choice in the event’s occurrence

  1. THROWNESS – conditions we are born with (gender, race, baldness, etc)
  2. “DROPPED OUT OF THE BLUE” Shit – largely unexpected or unforeseeable events and conditions (illness, accidents, acts of nature)

      Keys to adjustment for the “Just Happens Shit”:

  1. Acceptance and Accommodation – some people actually embrace the

            event as a way of adjusting (“bald is beautiful”)                                        

  1. Foster Coping Skills – prepare for the next “unexpected event”

            (buy insurance, build strong social support, foster spirituality, get training)

      Most Common Errors:

  1. “Fight the Shit” – this is the basis for many marketing efforts

                                   (hair loss treatments, diets, cosmetic surgery)

  1. “Fear the Shit” – worry about all the “what ifs” that could occur

 b)      Stepped in It” Shit – we have some responsibility for these events occurrence 

                                                       as they are influenced by our life choices

  1. CONSEQUENCES – conditions we create by our actions, they are not necessarily predictable, but likely outcomes of our actions (highly probable).  They may involve the consequences of ours and others people’s actions, we tend to not see these coming, although in “hind sight” we realize that they were highly probable. (cancer due to smoking)
  2. “SEE IT COMING” Shit – if you are observant and know how to recognize it, these are the situations/ relationships/ events that you can steer clear of/ avoid (getting in the car with a drunk, going out with a drug user, skipping classes, unprotected sex).

      Keys to adjustment for the “Stepped In It Shit”:

  1. Make Corrections – change the causal behaviors or attitudes that 

                                       lead to event (quit smoking, start exercising, 

                                       leave the relationship, training, etc.)            

     2. Learn From It – take a lesson away from the experience and then 

                                Implement changes to decrease the likelihood of   

                                future problems (choose relationships more wisely)

     3. “Fight It” – work to take control (now) over the things you still have

                         control over… manage the fallout! (apologize)

      Most Common Errors:

  1. Embracing the Shit – this “there is meaning in suffering” attitude 

                                        often leads to a lack of action (everyone dies!)

  1. Misinterpreting it – seeing it as “Just Happens Shit” and accepting it 

                                      as an unchangeable situation. (I said “I do!”)

      Note:  Situations often represent combinations of these categories.  An unwanted  

                pregnancy maybe experienced as a “Dropped out of the Blue” event, but in 

                hindsight it is a “See it Coming” Event.

“I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but almost always end up where I need to be.” – Douglas Adams

 2)       “Be Happy”           

–    Life is all about attitude! Attitude represents a filter or lens (like a pair of glasses) that we  

           view the world through.  Like a dirty lens, we often assume that what we perceive

           (through the lens) is the world and not a filtered image (anger is a dirty lens)

–          always remember that your lens needs polishing and cleaning… check it frequently!

3)      “Never Say Never”

–          We can only make predictions about the future, none of us can know what it holds!

       This attitude helps keeps us from committing to inflexible positions… keeps us from

       having to “eat our words” in the future… helps us keep our options open!

“Prayer is when you talk to God; meditation is when you listen to God.” – Diana Robinson

4)     

“Be Certain, But Humble”

–          Strive to be certain about your beliefs (in yourself and your worldview).  Strive to have your life experiences fit your life view, but be humble about your beliefs because they are yours and do not necessarily fit the life experiences of other people. 

–          This is particularly important with respect to political and religious beliefs.

 5)      “Change is Mandatory, Growth is Optional!”

–          perhaps one of the most important overriding points about life is that it is a process!

–          it is always in the process of becoming something (something more or something less, but surely something different) our control over this process is sometimes limited

–          like it or not, planned and unplanned changes (shit) happens, it is what we do with these changes (resist/ignore/adjust to them) that is of paramount importance

–          how we respond dictates the general course our life follows (do we consistently make mountains out of mole hills… or see mountains –obstacles- as just speed bumps)

–          wise choices do not always lead to success (a lack of failure) but they always lead to  growth (improving our happiness and chances for success in the future)

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” – Buddha

 6)      “Always strive for Balance”

–          Growth is a process of finding balance between our desires and needs (present and future) and the demands of life situations (rules and laws, other’s needs)

–          Buddha and the Taoists preached “the Middle Path” – don’t deny your needs but don’t give in to excesses – always treat others with compassion and care!

 7)      “Just because you can doesn’t mean that you have too or should!”

–          Life presents us with multiple possibilities and choices, we must choose wisely!

–          Not all choices are equal! Some choices represent unreasonable risks (You can see it coming shit) and     

            threaten to move us away from a balanced position.

–          Stupid people make stupid choices: 1) They couldn’t do what they tried to do (lacked skills to do it); 2) They

            didn’t see the potential risk (should not have done it); 3) They told themselves they “had to do it” (a dare,

            standing up to an insult, to look tough).

I hope that you found my words thought provoking and humorous… have a wonderful day!

Read Full Post »

Pilgrimage Statistics 

Consecutive Days Riding: 148                                      Days Blogged: 132 

New Mileage: 8                                                     Total Trip Mileage: 1031

As I ride the bike this evening I  think about my blog topics over the last several weeks.  It seems to me that a particular theme ribbon ran through several of the blogs.  From Taoist river stones that are shaped by thousands of year of river water, to Helen Wilmer-Post and the demise of her self-help healing empire at the hands of political intrigue.  We admired sunrises and the shifting drifting veils of clouds, and musings on death, cremation and a poem about spreading my ashes.  One of my blog followers noted: “your poem is beautiful! It’s haunting because it’s about death, but it’s still sweet because the “recipe” is filled with good things.”  I think this is a common reaction because we tend to perceive death as a negative and generally tragic event and thereby an “ugly” event. But it can also serve as an opportunity to celebrate a life well lived and to give thanks for life’s many gifts.

Mount Rushmore Monument

It seems to me that the thread is the issue of permanence, whether it be shifting and changing clouds or Taoist river stones shaped by the relentless river.  Being human we all desire a sense of permanence. Since ancient times, we have built monuments to mark our presence and to give a sense of permanence to our rulers and political institutions.  If you come back in the future, little of the glory and splendor of the site may be left intact. Eastern philosophy tells us that the permanence we grasp for is an illusion. Even mountains, given the time frame of nature, are weathered away becoming little more than sand on the shore and rich mud on the ocean floor.  Majestic lakes and seas fade away and dry up.

Backside of the Monument

I’m reminded of the statement: the only thing which does not change, is the process of change!”  No one can turn back the process of aging. Nor can we retain a young body.  Add as many initials as you like behind you name, achieve accolades and earn rewards, but in the end you will become nothing but dust.  Your name will become nothing more than an etching on a stone marker.  Someone might list you in a family tree, but you are little more than a name with dates.  What about all the years between the dates, the time period we call your life!

The second statement I like to quote is: “Change is mandatory, growth is optional.”  Nothing is permanent, everything changes.  The key to life is what we do with that change.  Do we roll with the punches; do we grow stronger and wiser, become more joyful?  Do we see the moments of life, the sunrises, the smile of a child, the touch of a lover for what they really are… gifts!  Do we embrace these and share them with others, our smile, our riches, and our touch?  Do we plant seeds of joy and happiness or do we spew forth anger and hatred.  Do we try to hold on to those things we can’t take with us? Do we commiserate over missed opportunities and past failures?  We enter the world naked and are given a first breath; we will exit the world with a final breath and leave everything, including a well dressed corpse behind. It’s what we do with the time and opportunities between the first and last breath that matters.

The third statement I embrace is: “It’s not about the outcome, winning the race, it’s about the process, and how you run the race!”

I hope you have enjoyed these “Words of Wisdom”.

 If you have enjoyed the blog please sign up for stationarypilgrim’s e-mail notification by going to the upper right corner of this page!

Read Full Post »

Pilgrimage Statistics

Consecutive Days Riding:  125                                              Days Blogged: 107

New Mileage: 4                                                                 Total Trip Mileage: 890

It’s Valentine’s Day and I would like to wish all of my blog readers a happy holiday.  It is always good to be joyful about and give thanks for our relationships.  Of course it can be said that we shouldn’t need to have a holiday to remind us of how special some people are in our lives.  We shouldn’t depend upon a once a year box of candy, flowers and card to remind a person how important they are to us, every day these people are gifts in our lives. If you do not have a Valentine in your life then today is a good day to ask yourself what you need to be doing to find such a relationship.  Remember these words of wisdom: “Relationships may be made in heaven, but you got to do your own maintenance.”   But then isn’t that the whole idea behind this holiday?

The Ark of the Covenant

Today’s blog is not about Valentine’s Day.  Today we are visiting our third pilgrimage site in as many days.  The Orlando Florida area is what you might call a site rich environment.  Most people who visit this area know about the monster resort and theme park known as Disney World.  The site we are visiting today represents a spiritual theme park unlike any that I have found on my pilgrimage search.  It is called The Holy Land Experience it is part of the Trinity Broadcast Network it advertises itself as an experience of the holy land in particular during the time of Christ’s life.

The Scriptorium

The site has the Scriptorium a Museum/archive filled with relevant archaeological manuscripts, and areas like: the Jerusalem Street Marketplace; the Great Temple designed in the style of that that would’ve existed at Jerusalem in the 1st century; also the Wilderness Tabernacle site with the Arc of the Covenant like that the Jews would have used as they wandered the wilderness; and Calvary’s Garden Tomb with a replica of Christ’s tomb and the three crosses.  Obviously anyone visiting this site needs to be prepared for the fact that this is an evangelical Christian site.  From what I could see only cursory mention is made of the Jewish faith and I saw no indications of the significance of Jerusalem to the Islam faith.

Calvary Garden Tomb

I entitled this blog one third of the holy land experience because Jerusalem, and the surrounding area, the holy land, is a major pilgrimage site for the all three of the monotheisms.  For the Jews the Wailing Wall is arguably their faith’s major pilgrimage site, and for Islam the Dome of the Rock is often listed as the third most important pilgrimage site.  This bias is to be expected and of course it is the Trinity Broadcast Network’s right to advance their viewpoints. I suspect it is also indicative of this group’s exclusionary approach to viewing religious truth.  They believe they, meaning their faith, has truth and other faiths do not!

Christ in the Prayer Garden

As a pluralist it saddens me that an opportunity to educate people of all three faiths to the beliefs and contributions of the other faiths has been missed. Yesterday we visited a Buddhist temple that included replicas of shrines that exists in India and Nepal.  I noted that these replicas serve the same function as visiting the actual location if the followers approached them with a sense of reverence.  I suspected that this theme park can serve as a pilgrimage site for Christians.  Personally, I wonder if it’s not a little too commercial!

Steps of the Great Temple

I read reviews where people talk about the long lines and waits, and the plays that are conducted using Roman soldiers wearing Adidas tennis shoes.  I suspect most of the actors look an awful lot like the visitors, more European than of Middle Eastern.  I wonder what it’s like to watch an reenactment on the Great Temple steps while you’re eating a corn dog are sucking down a Coke, or standing next to  fidgety children in the hot Floridian sun?

Many people visit Orlando and its numerous amusement parks to escape into a fantasy world of loveable characters, goofy Pirates and fairy tale princesses. Some people would say the Holy Land Experience may be promoting the same escape experience, this time into a “world of old” that is as much “imagined” as it is factual.  But then again, I guess one person’s Theme Park distraction may be another person’s profound pilgrimage experience into the past.  I guess waiting in line to catch a glimpse of Christ’s tomb may be an opportunity for soul-searching exploration of one’s beliefs.  If a walk along the river wrapped in the solitude of nature can connect me with the divine, then it’s likely that watching an enactment of Christ’s crucifixion can and does reconnect some Christian to their God.

Happy Valentines Day!

One final note, I mentioned to Susan how interesting it might be to have a pluralistic theme park featuring rides, restaurants and attractions representing all of the world religions.  Perhaps we could call it The Holy World Experience.  I started to create some rides and restaurant ideas, however Susan warned me that I might be venturing into the area where terms such as sacrilegious, blasphemy, and heresy are likely to be thrown around.  While I am never one to shy away from a good parody, there are some topics that are too sensitive to be treated so lightly.

Stay tuned as we will visit two more pilgrimage sites in the next three day.  Have a wonderful  St. Valentine Day!

If you have enjoyed the blog please sign up for stationarypilgrim’s e-mail subscription by going to the upper right corner of this page For more information about the temple and it’s shrines please visit the Pilgrimage Site tab at the top of this page.

Read Full Post »

Pilgrimage Statistics 

Consecutive Days Riding:  84                              Consecutive Days Blogging: 85 

 Today’s Mileage: 8                                             Total Trip Mileage: 695

 As I ride the bike this morning I think about how quickly the celebrations of the New Year have come to an end.  How quickly we find ourselves back on the path, back to the grind and the demands of life. We strike off again with a hand full of new resolutions, refreshed motivation and knowledge that spring will soon follow the cold biting winds of winter.

Life is a Dance!

Yesterday I shared with you a number of quotes and images to ponder as you faced the New Year. One of my regular blog followers made that comment: “Funny how some authors lend themselves to quotes, and others, also favorites, will hardly have a quotable sentence in a whole book.” Almost two weeks ago I produced a blog entitled: Inspirational Sayings: Gifts With Out Instructions.  I noted that inspirational messages, while important, may be meaningless if the person receiving them is without the skill, abilities or resources to meet the goal they are working towards.  My viewer’s comment got me to wondering about Wisdom.  Is it always useful and meaningful? How is it that some people can present it in a sentence or two, while others need a whole lecture, book or lifetime to express it?

I googled the phase “Words of Wisdom” and found over 18 million references. The search broke them down into general categories which included: Funny Words of Wisdom, Inspirational Quotes, Words of Encouragement, Short Words of Wisdom, and Words of Wisdom and More Good Advice.

How do I make sense of the sources and forms of Wisdom?   To begin, I must speak in a general way to what I see as the primary motivation of our journey through life. I believe that life is a process. Like a dance, it is a balance between two partners.  One partner is represented by our desire to find meaning in life, to understand it, and to make it at best, predictable.  This partner tends to explore the past for patterns and the future for possibilities.  The second partner is represented by our desire to experience life. This partner lives in the moment of the sensations of the dance, the rhythm and beat of the music, the spinning and twirling and the movement of the dance.  One partner reviews the past and points to the future as the other spins and twirls in the moment.  Together they can achieve a balance that advances both causes and fills both desires.

Something is not in balance!

I believe that finding this balance is a major goal for most individuals and that it is the healthiest goal we can undertake!  Some people fall short of this goal, as they fail to see life as a dance. They may deny one partner to the advantage of the other.  They act as if life is a solitary dance and as a result turn all of life into an intellectual puzzle, or a hedonistic free for all.  Others recognize the dance and the presence of the two partners, but then give dominance to one, allowing them to be the sole leader and director of the dance.

I have observed that if one has not found this balanced dance, that person often feels as if something is “missing.” They feel as if they are missing a partner or are unable to “get onto the same page of music.”  The dance becomes a struggle. When you achieve the balance, comfort and joy are found and the dance becomes effortless!

Back to the question of Wisdom!  I believe that wisdom comes about when we recognize patterns in the dance and can make predictions about choices and paths we might follow.  This experience can be put into words and represents the Wisdom of Meaning.  Wisdom can also arise in the experiential realm of the dance.  This is “known” but not spoken and shows up in the ease of the master athlete when a racket or bat becomes but an extension of their arm.  The person with this wisdom imagines a movement or a dance step and it just happens.  To some it may look like magic or the product of the supernatural, while others will recognize it as the Wisdom of Experience (knowledge of the dance movement).

 I believe that each type of Wisdom has two forms! Personal Wisdom is unique to our story and circumstances but may have little application to others.  There is only one eldest son of Lee and Rose Ann, born in Iowa, raised in the Dakotas, veteran of the US Navy, artist, poet, therapist, college professor and now a stationary pilgrim! My personal wisdom has created many an interesting story, as my students regularly attest, but only bits and pieces of it reverberate with my listeners. The other form is Universal Wisdom. It is achieved when the dancer sees common patterns in their dance and the dance of others.  This wisdom is realized in the shared aspects of the dance.

Balanced Dance!

For all my uniqueness, I share many experiences with others; of being an eldest child, a veteran, a therapist, a teacher, a parent, an artist.  I believe that what makes me a good teacher and therapist is my ability to weave and highlight this more universal wisdom into the details of my stories.  Sometimes I try to distill it out into a quote or a sentence or two (i.e. Be certain, but humble!).  At other times I highlight it like a bright thread running throughout the story.  I hope the listener might recognize similar threads in their own histories and follow them to find the universal wisdom in their lives. I believe it is this universal wisdom that makes up the bulk of the “inspirational and motivational quotes and advice” people view as gems of wisdom.  Personal wisdom on the other hand might be intriguing and interesting, but does not reverberate with many other people.

Back to the question of why some authors and teachers are so quotable and others are not? Some individuals hold primarily personal wisdom even though they may harbor a great deal of knowledge about topics of interest (e.g. hold a PhD in an area).  But look as hard as you can and you will not find the universal gems. Other individuals have achieved not only a level of universal wisdom, but the ability to distill it down into a handful of words or a poignant and relevant example. These gems are often embraced by others as a gift and/or a significant discovery.  This is in part because it seems that the giver has done all of the work of mining them from a life lived, a life dance embraced!  I caution you to recognize these as gifts but not answers.  They are insights into patterns, universal yes, but patterns that you must work to uncover in your own dance.   The universal wisdom is only valuable if we make it personal in our own life.  It must be transformed into personal wisdom, and used to bring balance to our dance. Otherwise it is just a showy piece of costume jewelry and not a special treasure.

Dance like no one is watching!

A quick note on today’s blog title; I have been planning a drop in gathering for my eldest son as he leaves for the Army in three days.  He informed his mother today that he will not make it to the event.  I have a suspicion that he is looking for an excuse to not let family and friends say their goodbyes.  This saddens me but is not surprising.  He has made a practice out of making his choices, while ignoring the needs and desires of others.  That is his choice!  All I can do is try to glean some wisdom from the whole experience, which is why I also remind myself: “The best laid plans are just that… plans!”

Read Full Post »