Beauty of living. Choices. The soul. Falling in love with literature. Pursuing LIFE rather than enduring life. (Dec. 2008)

Susan's Thursday morning note December 11, 2008 
Beauty of living.  Choices.  The soul.  Falling in love with literature.  Pursuing LIFE rather than enduring life.

Just Life, Part Two by Melanie Wilkinson
Stoner by John Williams
Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Lean Forward with Your Life and Live Boldly by Mary Anne Radmacher
Spirit quote by Victor Hugo

Hi to all of you!  Finally we can have the cold with the snow & somehow…somehow…just the scene makes my coffee even sweeter!  How is that?  This week Stu read me a line that he thought I would find interesting, and possibly want to try to refute.  This is taken from Stoner by John Williams.  On a graduate heading to the state university to study agronomy in Missouri, who falls in love with literature.  The book is a tragic book, but beautiful in the writing and scenarios.  The scene was the home before he left for college as he described his family and surroundings.  Here is his description of his mother:

His mother regarded her life patiently, as if it were a long moment that she had to endure…. I will now take you through six separate books on pursuing LIFE.  The soul.  The beauty of living.  Choices.

From Spirit: Book of Quotations on the Soul

    There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky;
    there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul. 
                                                                Victor Hugo.

Introduction from Just Life: Part 2 by Melanie Wilkinson (of York, NE – just released!!!)

    The essential ingredient of life is water.  Without it, nothing can live or thrive.
    And each drop that falls from the sky, forms as dew on the leaves, trickles from a spring or rolls in the ocean – each is a component of life.
    I believe each of those drops are also like souls.  All of the billions of souls who have passed through this earth and then beyond are part of God’s grand plan. 
    And each soul we encounter creates the sea that surrounds us – a sea of love, conflict, humor, sadness, connectiveness.
    If water is at the heart of life, then, too, are the experiences we all have.  What a wonderful pool we swim in…it’s just life. 

(Melanie is young and has lost both of her parents when she was young and also her sister died at the age of 14 in a car accident).  Just Life – moving on…(she writes for the York News-Times) 

Thoughts from Lean Forward Into Your Life: Begin Each Day as if it were on Purpose by Mary Anne Radmacher.

This book is an invitation.  A reflection.  A mirror.  A set of prompts to help you remember the questions you want to ask yourself. 
An intimate portrait of some of my processes that have allowed me to separate life as it happens to me and life as I choose it.  They are very different things.
– It’s not a scar, it’s a story.
– Intentional living recognizes that, while accidents happen, life is not an accident.  Days are built choice by choice.
Play…a synonym for romping in and reveling in the day’s simple pleasures…In the end we live out of breath and out of time.  And we see less, taste less, listen less, smell less, touch less, and savor our own fullness less.  Which begs the question: How do we re-train our own eye (or mind) to appreciate simple pleasure?  To play?  To live playful?  Let’s begin with this:  Can you tell me a simple pleasure that happened, that you enjoyed, in the past hour?  The past day?  And while we’re on the subject, it wouldn’t hurt to change the way we talk to one another.  Why not ask, What surprised you today?  What made you smile?  We live in a world with two spaces.  One for accomplishments, checklists, busyness, and doing.  The other is about being.  And play.  It is the space where music, laughter, friendship, enchantment, and wonder are birthed and nourished….It’s not really about play.  It’s about being awake.

Thoughts from Live Boldly: Cultivate the Qualities that Can Change Your Life by Mary Anne Radmacher:

    The most insidious failures I have experienced are the ones in which I never risked the trying.  Then I was left to live with the wondering of what might have been. 

    Winston Churchill lived by what he is known for saying: “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” 

“My purposeful days are full of little leanings, not grand lungings.  In my own aspiration toward growth and becoming the best version of myself, I just edit a little.

Each day.  Little edits add up to great changes.  They nurture and cultivate the changes I want to make in my life. 

1.  Begin the day as if it were on purpose.  I invite enthusiasm in.

2.  Include movement: dance, aerobics, exercises, biking, walking, physical intimacy.

3.  Make nutritionally intelligent choices often.

4.  Do a bit toward my passion, my great joys, my dream.

5.  Do just a bit toward something difficult, a challenge, which might otherwise be put off.

6.  Make the moment for at least one quality connection with a good friend: e-mail doesn’t count.  Write a letter or send a card or call.

7.  Introduce a festivity, a celebration, a whimsy, a little silliness: play.

8.  Extend an unexpected generosity toward a stranger.

9.  Utilize every opportunity to express gratitude to myself and others and the opportunity to say, “I love you.”

10.  At the end of the day express shortcomings and invite the finest sleep to come.

Is there something you have been longing to change? To realize? To start? To build? What holds you back?  Do you feel you are not bold enough?  Begin now to strengthen those qualities within you that can move toward excellence.  Please start.  Now.  Start now. 

Don’t wait.  Don’t wait. 

There are those of you for whom these words are all you need.  Don’t wait.  You know exactly what I mean.  And you could stop reading right now.  But keep reading, even still. 

The finest stationery in the back of your drawer?  The china that you have not used in how long?  The tools you don’t let the kids touch?  The special occasion stuff that you hardly ever have occasions special enough to use?  Don’t wait. 

The love you hold in your heart that you know they know so why bother saying it?  The kiss, the lingering touch, the hug, the appreciation of your family/  Your friends? 

Say it.  The dream you’ve held for so long?  The one that you wish for while you are doing the other stuff?  The dream that you think you don’t have enough money for, aren’t yet smart enough to do or do not have the courage to start? 

Begin it. 

The person you want to meet?  The individual you want to praise, congratulate, honor?  The friend you want to reconnect with?  The person you have waited to apologize to…the relationship you ought to rebuilt but keep waiting?  Don’t wait. 

Start on your dreams, your impulses, your longings, your special occasions today.  Because this is your moment. 

You aren’t going to be any smarter, more ready, more able or more qualified than you are right now.  Right now.  Now is the time to start living boldly.  The longing for boldness is enough to begin.  Don’t wait….Live boldly…And may you find the finest path to your own ways of living boldly.

From Tess of  the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy – describing a group of girls walking…

And as each and all of them were warmed without by the sun, so each had a private little sun for her soul to bask in; some dream, some affection, some hobby, at least some remote and distant hope which, though perhaps starving to nothing, still lived on, as hopes will. 

I won’t even try to follow up all of those thoughts.  I hope that you can take something from this week…not wait until Christmas or New Years to make your changes.  To make your phone calls.  To begin a new chapter in your life.  A new movement in your song.  Turn the page.  It’s time.  There is nothing I can put in print to really thank you for all you’re doing to help our store do well this season.  Oh, if you only knew all I wanted to add – we are all honestly making it happen.  I love being here & I love seeing you leave the store with great packages and with smiles.  I truly hope I’m working when you come in so I can tell you thank you, but if I’m not, know that I thank you.  Now go make your changes.  Make yourself proud.  Even if no one ever knows what you did.  Thank you again for letting me enter your life with this note!    Susan

Latin for this week
Sedit qui timuit ne non succederet – "He who feared he would not succeed sat still" (Horace). For fear of failure he did nothing.

Works Cited:
Hardy, Thomas.  Tess of the d'Urbervilles.  New York.  Dodd, Mead, & Co.  1960.
Radmacher, Mary Anne.  Lean Forward into Your Life: Begin Each New Day as if it Were on Purpose.  San Francisco.  Conari Press.  2007.
Radmacher, Mary Anne.  Live Boldly: Cultivate the Qualities that Can Change Your Life.  San Francisco.  Conari Press.  2008.
Wilkinson, Melanie.  Just Life, Part Two.  Henderson.  2008.
Williams, John.  Stoner.  New York.  New York Review Books.  1965.
Yamada, Kobi, compiled by.  Spirit.  Seattle.  Compendium.  2007.