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

19 February 2006

Seek out and befriend people whom you respect but whose political opinions clash with your own.  Read articles and editorials that make you uncomfortable.  Attend religious services that feel alien to you.  Visit parts of the world where people live very differently from the way you live.  (Find such places just a few miles from home!)  Attend a convention or a cultural event or movie or concert that baffles you - how could people be interested in such stuff?  Ask them.

Feel no obligation to change your own views, but change the channel and then gauge your own reactions.

~ Josh Mitteldorf

18 February 2006

Your pain is the breaking of the shell
that encloses your understanding.

Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its
heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

And could you keep your heart in wonder
at the daily miracles of your life, your pain
would not seem less wondrous than your joy;

And you would accept the seasons of your
heart, even as you have always accepted
the seasons that pass over your fields.

And you would watch with serenity
through the winters of your grief.

Pain is the bitter potion by which the
physician within you heals your sick self.

Therefore trust the physician, and drink
his remedy in silence and tranquility:

For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided
by the tenderness of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips,
has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter
has moistened with His own sacred tears.

~ Kahlil Gibran

17 February 2006

Arturo Toscanini said of her that a voice likes this is heard only once in a hundred years.  Her talent was sufficiently grand to break through the prejudices of a nation, and she earned a place on stages where blacks were not yet allowed even in the audience.  

Sol Hurok went out on a limb to promote her.  Eleanor Roosevelt famously resigned from the DAR when they stodgily refused to allow her on their stage.  Emerging from deprived and impoverished origins in South Philadelphia, she became an ambassador from the streets of squalor to the halls of power.

Marian Anderson was born this day in 1897.  The passion and the dignity of her presence brought separate worlds together.

Early audio recordings:  The Whole World in His Hands;  A Sibelius song

16 February 2006

“The habit of looking to the future and thinking that the whole meaning of the present lies in what it will bring forth is a pernicious one. There can be no value in the whole unless there is value in the parts.”
~ Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness

Yes, Bertrand, but people's brains are not mere logic engines, and once we allow that the ultimate arbiter of value is something as quixotic as human sentiment, we are drawn down the slippery slope into paradox.  If that which actually brings us happiness differs so markedly from that which ought rationally to make us happy, then there is undeniable logic in choosing the illogical.

“It has been a thousand times observed, and I must observe it once more, that the hours we pass with happy prospects in view, are more pleasing than those crowned with fruition. In the first case we cook the dish to our own appetite; in the latter nature cooks it for us.”
~ Oliver Goldsmith, The Vicar Of Wakefield.

15 February 2006

“I observe that there are two entirely different theories according to which individual men seek to get on in the world. One theory leads a man to pull down everybody around him in order to climb up on them to a higher place. The other leads a man to help everybody around him in order that he may go up with them.”

~ Elihu Root, born this day in 1845, was an early advocate for an international court of justice, which would uphold universal standards for humanity. “He instructed the American delegates to the Hague Conference to support the founding of a World Court…
“Root was the first president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and helped to found its European counterpart. He believed that international law, along with its accompanying machinery, represented mankind's best chance to achieve world peace, but like the hardheaded realist he was, he also believed that it would take much time, wisdom, patience, and toil to implement it effectively.”

Elihu Root won the 1912 Nobel Peace Prize.

14 February 2006

Late in the Forrest I did Cupid see 
     Cold, wett, and crying, he had lost his way, 
     And being blinde was farther like to stray; 
     Which sight, a kind compassion bred in me. 

I kindly took, and dry'd him, while that he, 
     (Poore Child) complain'd, he starved was with stay 
     And pin'd for want of his accustom'd prey, 
     For none in that wilde place his Host would be. 

I glad was of his finding, thinking sure, 
     this service should my freedome still procure, 
     And in my armes I tooke him then unharm'd, 

Carrying him safe into a Myrtle bowre, 
     But in the way he made me, feele his powre, 
     Burning my heart, who had him kindly warm'd.

Lady Mary Wroth, 1587-1651

13 February 2006

"That which you seek cannot be found by seeking, but only those who seek will find it."

~ Abu Yazid al Bistami, Persian Sufi of the 9th century