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

1 January 2006

Self-care is not a luxury that only those with leisure can afford. On the contrary, we must attend to the needs of our bodies and our minds the more attentively when we are under stress.  Whatever hardship we need to endure, whatever we hope to accomplish, whatever joys we wish to experience: we will be more successful if we are fit, exercised and well-rested, appropriately nourished, in good spirits, and drug-free.

~ Josh Mitteldorf

31 December 2005

Your soul once sat on an easel on my knee.
For ages I have been sketching you
With myriad shapes of sounds and light;

Now awake, dear pilgrim,
With your thousand swaying arms
That need to caress the Sky.

from They Call to You to Sing, by Hafiz (1320-1389) tr Daniel Ladinsky
or perhaps by Daniel Ladinsky, as inspired by Hafiz

30 December 2005

"Borrow trouble for yourself, if that's your nature, but don't lend it to your neighbours."

~ Rudyard Kipling, born this day in 1865, was swept up in early life by the mission of Western Civilization to transform the world, otherwise known as 'imperialism'.  His view was changed when his own son died in battle.  He wrote, 'If any question why we died/ Tell them, because our fathers lied.' (Epitaphs of the War) and

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of the late deceased, 
And the epitaph drear: `A fool lies here who tried to hustle the East'.  (The Naulahka)

29 December 2005

I would like to write a poem about the world that has in it nothing fancy.
But it seems impossible.
Whatever the subject, the morning sun glimmers it.
The tulip feels the heat and flaps its petals open and becomes a star.
The ants bore into the peony bud and there is the dark pinprick well of sweetness.
As for the stones on the beach, forget it.
Each one could be set in gold.

So I tried with my eyes shut, but of course the birds were singing.
And the aspen trees were shaking the sweetest music out of their leaves.
And that was followed by, guess what, a momentous and beautiful silence
as comes to all of us, in little earfuls, if we're not too hurried to hear it.

~ from This World, by Mary Oliver

28 December 2005

2006 will see the implementation of a European Union recycling regulation, requiring that factories take back their products when they are ready to be retired.  This provides an incentive to design the products for ease of recycling (and for durability!).  The easiest way to comply with the law will be for manufacturers to incorporate recycled or re-manufactured parts in their new products. 

Some states in the US are not waiting for the Federal Government to take a lead on this issue.  California leads the way, as usual, and there are parallel threads in New England.  "Maine's new law on recycling electronics is much closer to the European approach, however, because it compels the manufacturers to internalize these costs on their balance sheets. The companies, not the consumers, will either pay pound-for-pound for recycling their worn-out products or do the work themselves. Either way, the cost pressure is on them to reduce waste and harm a concept known as 'extended producer responsibility.'...

"A potential breakthrough exists in a consortium of legislators from ten Northeastern states. The consortium members are developing a model state law based on the Maine example. If they get it right, we could see rapid political advances at the state level."

- from a Nation article by William Greider

27 December 2005

"Guilt and shame, says the allegory, were at first companions, and in the beginning of their journey inseparably kept together. But their union was soon found to be disagreeable and inconvenient to both; guilt gave shame frequent uneasiness, and shame often betrayed the secret conspiracies of guilt. After long disagreement, therefore, they at length consented to part forever. Guilt boldly walked forward alone, to overtake fate, that went before in the shape of an executioner: but shame being naturally timorous, returned back to keep company with virtue, which, in the beginning of their journey, they had left behind." 

This passage from The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith demonstrates that in the 18th Century, common wisdom was already aware of a central human truth that we have come to think of as Freudian:  the most virtuous among us are haunted by guilty feelings about our shortcomings, while those who perpetrate great misdeeds are usually well-defended against feelings of responsibility for the consequences of their actions.  It is upon people in the first group, among whom I number all the readers of this web page, that devolves the responsibility for preserving our humane social institutions against the ravages of those in the second. 

26 December 2005

That thought may thrive,
So fades the fleshless dream;
Lest men should learn to trust
The things that seem.
So fades a dream,
That living thought may grow
And like a waxing star-beam glow
Upon life's stream
So fades a dream.

Paul Laurence Dunbar