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

31 July 2005

The Paradox of Giving

How can it be true that ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’ when every gift depends on the appreciation of a recipient for its power?

Certainly, if we take what is not freely offered, we create upset and imbalance.

But if we passively permit others to rob us of something that is meaningful to ourselves, we may have colluded in their corruption. In this sense, have we not taken something from them?

And if we seek to maximize our gifts to the world, are we in danger of getting caught up in an illusion of self-importance? How much better if we can facilitate others in the process of sharing their gifts!

The charm of the child lies in the way that he appreciates our nurturance, and expresses a genuine delight in our gift, validating our goodness and ability to contribute. And for some adults, if we culture the child in ourselves, we regain the ability to permit others to make us happy.

What we know is that the shared joy in giving and receiving is our most meaningful communal activity. What we don’t know is, in such activity, which of us is the giver and which is the receiver?

- Josh Mitteldorf

30 July 2005

"Historically we have seen ourselves as the center of the universe and the center of creation. Science has repeatedly dethroned us from such positions. We may be at the leading edge of evolution on one small planet, but we are not its end point or ultimate achievement. We. like the life we have evolved from, are a stepping stone to an ever expanding consciousness."

-Paul Budnik, from What Is and What Will Be

29 July 2005

We are not souls but systems, and we move
In clouds of our unknowing
like great nebulae.
From hooded powers and from abstract flight
I summon you, your person and your pride.
Fall to me now from outer space,
Still fastened desperately to my side;
Through gulfs of streaming air
Bring me the mornings of the milky ways
Down to my threshold in your drowsy eyes;
And by the virtue of your honeyed word
Restore the liquid language of the moon,
That in gold mines of secrecy you delve.
My whirling hands stay at the noon,
Each cell within my body holds a heart
And all my hearts in unison strike twelve.

-from The Science of the Night by Stanley Kunitz, whose 100th birthday is today

28 July 2005

Soul, self; come, poor Jackself, I do advise
You, jaded, let be; call off thoughts awhile 
Elsewhere; leave comfort root-room; let joy size
At God knows when to God knows what; whose smile
’s not wrung, see you; unforeseen times rather—as skies
Betweenpie mountains—lights a lovely mile.

-My own heart let me by Gerard Manley Hopkins (born this day in 1844)

27 July 2005

Water dripping ceaselessly
Will fill the four seas.
Specks of dust
Not wiped away
Will become the
Five mountains.

-Calming the Mind, by  Shih Wang Ming (6th cent AD)

26 July 2005

Without belief, we would be left with nothing but an overwhelming doom, every single day. And it will beat you. I didn't fully see, until the cancer, how we fight every day against the creeping negatives of the world, how we struggle daily against the slow lapping of cynicism. Dispiritedness and disappointment, these are the real perils of life, not some sudden illness or cataclysmic millennium doomsday. I knew now why people fear cancer: because it is a slow and inevitable death, it is the very definition of cynicism and loss of spirit... So, I believed.

- Lance Armstrong

25 July 2005

"You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you."

"The capacity for getting along with our neighbor depends to a large extent on the capacity for getting along with ourselves. The self-respecting individual will try to be as tolerant of his neighbor's shortcomings as he is of his own."

-two of many memorable aphorisms by Eric Hoffer, the People's philosopher, born this day in 1902