An uplifting news item, poem, thought or quotation each day.
Archive of past entries

14 November 2004

Advice should never be offered reflexively, and criticism only after profound meditation. But a true reflection that affirms the highest self can be the crowning benefaction of a friendship.

-Josh Mitteldorf

13 November 2004

"I believe there is an important distinction to be made between religion and spirituality: 

Religion I take to be concerned with belief in the claims to salvation of one faith tradition or another - an aspect of which is acceptance of some form of metaphysical or philosophical reality, including perhaps an idea of heaven or hell. Connected with this are religious teachings or dogma, ritual, prayers and so on. 

Spirituality I take to be concerned with those qualities of the human spirit - such as love and compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, a sense of responsibility, a sense of harmony, which bring happiness to both self and others."

Through the ages, religion has begun with spirituality, but the temptations of power and wealth proved too much for religious leaders, who time and again adopted the dogma and trappings of religion, while losing its soul of spirituality. The Dalai Lama is one of the few who made the transition in reverse: born into a position of religious power and authority, he has spent a lifetime purifying his own spirit, and spreading messages of peace and tolerance that transcend Buddhism. 

12 November 2004


"He has achieved success
who has lived well,
laughed often, and loved much;
who has enjoyed the trust of pure women,
the respect of intelligent men
and the love of little children;
who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
who has left the world better than he found it
whether by an improved poppy,
a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
who has never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty
or failed to express it;
who has always looked for the best in others
and given them the best he had;
whose life was an inspiration;
whose memory a benediction."

- Bessie Anderson Stanley

...or perhaps, to succeed is to have left a mark so deep that it is adapted and interpreted through the ages, though your association with the original idea is long lost.  Here's a version of the same thoughts, often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, though not to be found in any of his major published writings or letters:

"To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived;
This is to have succeeded."

Veteran's Day 2004

"There are two sides to war - yours and mine...A hostile aircraft flies over our city and drops bombs. Suppose these men who were hired to murder me and my family were invited to my apartment. We would discuss problems of life and death. Possibly we would agree on the futility of killing each other. But this would get us nowhere. We and they are not important enough to count. The fate of the world is not hanging upon our shoulders. We are merely patriotic killers.

"On the other hand, supposing I invited into the same apartment a group of diplomats. We become very familiar. Yet I know and they would know that anything we said or did would be a lie. These men are trained in a profession to fabricate the truth in the same way and with the same precision that I am trained to kill in the air and on the ground...These gentlemen flatter me and remain my friends only so long as I execute their murderous demands. So long as the war lasts, either I continue to follow in accordance with their political plans, or else...

"Why did these diplomats and patriotic murderers decide in 1914 that I should go out and kill, according to their dictates, any man, woman or child whose fate threw them in my way? Why should I hazard my life in effecting the schemes of these self-ordained gods of war? I did not ask these questions in 1915. I was young. I thought I was about to become a hero."

Capt. Erroll Boyd

"The Lindbergh of Canada"


10 November 2004

"The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority."

- Kenneth Blanchard

9 November 2004

Jan Born of the University of Luebeck in Germany has demonstrated a link between creativity and sleep. People who get a good night’s sleep are more likely to find creative solutions to problems. The recipe that emerges is to first, study a problem while awake; then put it aside and have a restful night's sleep.  Original article in Nature.

Other studies link adequate sleep to avoiding traffic accidents, quick response times, and the ability to learn and remember.


8 November 2004

February 15, 2003.  Thirty million people all over the world organize themselves to request peace, tolerance, and restraint in the conduct of American foreign policy.This scene is from Heroes' Square, Budapest.