Expectation, Faith, Gratitude, Happiness, Life, Love, Purpose, Uncategorized

DESIDERATA…🕊

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Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;

for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.

Especially, do not feign affection.

Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

❤️ E.Lyn

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Happiness, Life, Love, Purpose

The ‘Business’ of Busy-ness….

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People who often say they’re “too busy” or “crazy busy” sound like buzzing busy signals.
And when one starts sounding like an appliance, it makes it hard to connect with him/her.

My reaction to busy signals is much like that of Mindy Kaling, who sees stress as non-conversation:

No one ever wants to hear how stressed out anyone else is, because most of the time everyone is stressed out.
Going on and on in detail about how stressed out one is, isn’t conversation. It’ll never lead anywhere — except making your conversation partner bored, or worse, peeved.

No one is going to say, “Wow, Mindy, you really have it especially bad.
I have heard some stories of stress, but this just takes the cake.”

People who act super busy send the same message, making time spent with them never feel quite whole.

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Interestingly, I find that most people who are legitimately occupied,
with their work, family, art or what-have-you, rarely play the “too busy” card, or go out of their way to make time for meaningful connection exactly because they’ve been busy.

The Meaning Behind “Busy”

When one goes on to other people,
or to oneself, about being so busy,
he/she is often engaging in doublespeak.

Let’s dig a little deeper to translate what one actually means when one is in the habit of saying or acting like he/she is too busy:

I matter.
Being busy means I’m needed and significant in this great big universe. Though going around literally telling people, “I matter!” and expecting some sort of substantive conversation to result would be really weird, I’ll just say “I’m busy!” instead.

I am super-important.
Doling out complaints and explanations about being too busy is the express line to a mini-ego trip.
It’s going beyond “I matter” to “I matter … more than you” despite the fact that nobody ever wants to hear this.

I’m giving you an easy excuse.
This is one of the easiest outs for stuff I don’t want to do.
Alternatively, I’ve spent a lot of time being distracted or stuck, but this excuse allows me to feel okay with it.

I’m afraid.
I keep relentlessly busy because I suffer from FOMO, or fear of missing out. I’m scared that I don’t matter,
that I’m not important, that I’m not needed, so I’m going to spend my time on distracting stuff that doesn’t really matter, that’s not all that important, where I’m not actually needed.

I feel guilty.
There’s fulfilling, meaningful stuff that I actually do want to do but I can rationalize it away instead of confronting challenges or changing direction.

Alternatively, I think being busy is such a valuable quality that I’ll overbook myself to the point where I feel guilty for not getting to everything or for spending time on anything that doesn’t fit into a limited definition of “productive.”

The worship of busy-ness as such a virtue is where the trouble begins, providing the foundation to its indiscriminate use as a front or an excuse.

It’s easy, even enticing, to neglect the importance of filling our time with meaning, thinking instead that we’ll be content with merely filling our time.

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We self-impose these measures of self-worth by looking at quantity instead of quality of activity.

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In the children’s book (that every adult should read), The Phantom Tollbooth, the protagonist Milo comes across the frightening, faceless Terrible Trivium, a “demon of petty tasks and worthless jobs, ogre of wasted effort, and monster of habit.”

Milo and his friends fall under his spell, agreeing to perform busy-work like moving a huge pile of sand from one place to another, grain by grain, using a tweezer.
The Terrible Trivium’s explanation for this terrible fate?

If I only do the easy and useless jobs, i’ll never have to worry about the important ones which are so difficult. I just won’t have the time.

For there’s always something to do to keep me from what i really should be doing….

What a scary thought!

So if I find myself feeling frazzled, habitually explaining away things with a busy status, it’s probably time to slow down and pay attention to the important, difficult stuff.

I’ll examine what is keeping me so busy compared to what I really should and want to be doing.

Here are a couple ways I could start:

Track myself.
In the quest to better connect my attention and action, i do an attention audit.

Track my time using a tool like Harvest or a time log spreadsheet. Break down how I spend time on the computer with RescueTime.
Or see how i answer the questions of “What did you get done today?” and “What did you pay attention to today?” over time using iDoneThis.

Change my language.
I like this tip from Laura Vanderkam. Instead of putting things in terms of time and activity, frame them in terms of priority:

Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels.

Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation.
I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to.
But other things are harder.

Try it: “I’m not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.”
“I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.”

If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point.

Changing my language reminds me that time is a choice.
If i don’t like how I’m spending an hour, i can choose differently.

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Another thing I could do is to have a clearer handle of my priorities and how i want to spend my energy, changing my definition of “productivity” to encompass those things.

Press pause.
Not only does one need rest and renew, we also have to slow down and pause to acknowledge our feelings, celebrate our accomplishments, and gain some insight.

Brené Brown explains how people stay busy out of habit and fear.
She recommends letting go of “exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth” and allowing us to explore what matters:

When we make the transition from crazy-busy to rest, we have to find out what comforts us, what really refuels us, and do that.

We deserve to not just put work away and be in service of someone else.

What’s really meaningful for us?
What do we want to be doing?

Do less and feel more joy.

The opposite of the fear of missing out, as Anil Dash so beautifully wrote, is the joy of missing out.

Pay attention to what’s in front of us and we’ll gain control and find joy.

Being the one in control of what moves me, what I feel obligated by, and what attachments I have to fleeting experiences is not an authority that I’m willing to concede to the arbitrary whims of an app on my mobile phone.

Feel more joy.
Learning how to do less.
Stop spreading myself so thin by saying “no” more, by saying “no” to being busy, and by meaning “yes” more fully… ❤️E.Lyn.

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Expectation, Happiness, Life, Purpose

“Hope & Cynicism…”

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To live with sincerity in our culture of cynicism is a difficult dance — one that comes easily only to the very young and the very old.
The rest of us are left to tussle with two polarizing forces ripping the psyche asunder by beckoning to it from opposite directions — critical thinking and hope.

Critical thinking without hope is cynicism. Hope without critical thinking is naïveté.

Finding fault and feeling hopeless about improving the situation produces resignation — cynicism is both resignation’s symptom and a futile self-protection mechanism against it.

Blindly believing that everything will work out just fine also produces resignation, for we have no motive to apply ourselves toward making things better.

But in order to survive — both as individuals and as a civilization — and especially in order to thrive, we need the right balance of critical thinking and hope.

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A plant needs water in order to survive, and needs the right amount of water in order to thrive.

Overwater it and it rots with excess. Underwater it and it dries up inside.

I thought about this recently in observing my unease — my seething cauldron of deep disappointment — with an opinion piece commenting on Arianna Huffington’s decision to continue publishing necessary reporting on “what’s not working — political dysfunction, corruption, wrongdoing, etc.” but to begin giving more light to stories that embody the “perseverance, creativity, and grace” of which we humans are capable.

The writer criticizing Huffington’s decision asserted, with ample indignation, that “to privilege happy stories over ‘unhappy’ ones is to present a false view of the world.”

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Let’s consider for a moment the notion of an un-false view of the world — the journalistic ideal of capital-T truth.
Let’s, too, put aside for now Hunter S. Thompson’s rather accurate assertion that the possibility of objectivity is a myth to begin with.

Since the golden age of newspapers in the early 1900s, we’ve endured a century of rampant distortion toward the other extreme — a consistent and systematic privileging of harrowing and heartbreaking “news” as the raw material of the media establishment.

The complaint which a newspaper editor issued in 1923, lamenting the fact that commercial interest rather than journalistic integrity determines what is published as the “news,” could well have been issued today — if anything, the internet has only exacerbated the problem.

As for Huffington, while we can only ever speculate about another person’s motives — for who can peer into the psyche of another and truly see into that person’s private truth? — this I continue to believe: The assumptions people make about the motives of others always reveal a great deal more about the assumers than the assumed-about.

This particular brand of cynicism is especially pronounced when the assumed-about have reached a certain level of success or public recognition.

Take, for instance, an entity like TED — something that began as a small, semi-secret groundswell that was met with only warmth and love in its first few years of opening up to the larger world. And then, as it reached a tipping point of recognition, TED became the target of rather petty and cynical criticism.

Here is an entity that has done nothing more nor less than to insist, over and over, that despite our many imperfections, we are inherently kind and capable and full of goodness — and yet even this isn’t safe from cynicism.

Let’s return, then, to the question of what is true and what is false, and what bearing this question has — if any — on what we call reality.

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The stories that we tell ourselves, whether they be false or true, are always real.
We act out of those stories, reacting to their realness.
William James knew this when he observed: “My experience is what I agree to attend to. Only those items which I notice shape my mind.”

What storytellers do — and this includes journalists and TED and everyone in between who has a point of view and an audience, whatever its size — is help shape our stories of how the world works; at their very best, they can empower our moral imagination to envision how the world could work better.

In other words, they help us mediate between the ideal and the real by cultivating the right balance of critical thinking and hope.

Truth and falsehood belong to this mediation, but it is guided primarily by what we are made to believe is real.

What we need, then, are writers like William Faulkner, who came of age in a brothel, saw humanity at its most depraved, and yet managed to maintain his faith in the human spirit.

In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, he asserted that the writer’s duty is “to help man endure by lifting his heart.”
In contemporary commercial media, driven by private interest, this responsibility to work in the public interest and for the public good recedes into the background.

And yet I continue to stand with E.B. White, who so memorably asserted that “writers do not merely reflect and interpret life, they inform and shape life”; that the role of the writer is “to lift people up, not lower them down.”

Yes, people sometimes do horrible things, and we can speculate about why they do them until we run out of words and sanity.

But evil only prevails when we mistake it for the norm.

There is so much goodness in the world — all we have to do is remind one another of it, show up for it, and refuse to leave… ❤️E.Lyn

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Expectation, Happiness, Life, Love

Love…Expectations…Bliss…❤️

“What Is Love?”
Famous Definitions from 400 Years of Literary History.

“Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get;
Only with what you are expecting to give;
Which is everything…”

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After those collections of notable definitions of art, science & philosophy,
what better way to prepare ourselves,
for the coming season of love & thanksgiving,
than with a selection of poetic definitions of a peculiar phenomenon that’s more amorphous than art,
more single-minded than science & more philosophical than philosophy itself…?

Culled from several hundred years of literary history, the following are some of the most memorable and timeless insights on love.❤️

Luxuriate in the read! =)

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Kurt Vonnegut, who was in some ways an extremist about love but also had a healthy dose of irreverence about it, in The Sirens of Titan:

A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.

Anaïs Nin, whose wisdom on love knew no bounds, in A Literate Passion: Letters of Anaïs Nin &
Henry Miller, 1932-1953:

What is love but acceptance of the other, whatever he is.

Stendhal in his fantastic 1822 treatise on love:

Love is like a fever which comes and goes quite independently of the will. … there are no age limits for love.

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C. S. Lewis, who was a very wise man, in The Four Loves:

There is no safe investment.
To love at all is to be vulnerable.

Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.

If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal.
Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.
But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change.

It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.
The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

Lemony Snicket in Horseradish:
Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid:

Love can change a person the way a parent can change a baby — awkwardly, and often with a great deal of mess.

Susan Sontag, whose illustrated insights on love were among last year’s most read and shared articles, in As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks, 1964-1980:

Nothing is mysterious,
no human relation… Except love.

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Charles Bukowski, who also famously deemed love “a dog from hell,” in this archival video interview:

Love is kind of like when you see a fog in the morning, when you wake up before the sun comes out.
It’s just a little while, and then it burns away… Love is a fog that burns with the first daylight of reality.

Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind.

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Ambrose Bierce, with the characteristic wryness of The Devil’s Dictionary:

Love, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage.

Katharine Hepburn in Me : Stories of My Life:

Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get — only with what you are expecting to give — which is everything.

Philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell, he of great wisdom, in The Conquest of Happiness:

Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky puts it even more forcefully in The Brothers Karamazov:

What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.

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Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in a letter to his ten-year-old daughter explaining the importance of evidence in science and in life:

People sometimes say that you must believe in feelings deep inside, otherwise you’d never be confident of things like ‘My wife loves me’.
But this is a bad argument.
There can be plenty of evidence that somebody loves you.
All through the day when you are with somebody who loves you, you see and hear lots of little tidbits of evidence, and they all add up.
It isn’t purely inside feeling, like the feeling that priests call revelation.

There are outside things to back up the inside feeling: looks in the eye, tender notes in the voice, little favors and kindnesses; this is all real evidence.

Paulo Coelho in The Zahir: A Novel of Obsession:

Love is an untamed force.
When we try to control it,
it destroys us.
When we try to imprison it,
it enslaves us.
When we try to understand it,
it leaves us feeling lost and confused
.

James Baldwin in The Price of the Ticket: Collected Non-fiction, 1948-1985:

Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does.
Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.

Haruki Murakami in Kafka on the Shore:

Anyone who falls in love is searching for the missing pieces of themselves.

So anyone who’s in love gets sad when they think of their lover. It’s like stepping back inside a room you have fond memories of, one you haven’t seen in a long time.

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Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in Airman’s Odyssey: Night Flight / Wind Sand & Stars / Flight to Arras:

Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.

Honoré de Balzac, who knew a thing or two about all-consuming love, in Physiologie Du Mariage:

The more one judges, the less one loves.

Louis de Bernières in Corelli’s Mandolin:

Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.
And when it subsides, you have to make a decision…
You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part… Because this is what love is.

Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion,
it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body.

No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do.
Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.

E. M. Forster in A Room with a View:

You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right… Love is eternal.

English novelist Iris Murdoch, cited by the great Milton Glaser in How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer:

Love is the very difficult understanding that something other than yourself is real.

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But perhaps the truest, if humblest, of them all comes from Agatha Christie, who echoes Anaïs Nin above in her autobiography:

It is a curious thought,
but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous that you realize just how much you love them…. ❤️E.Lyn

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Happiness, Purpose

The Power Of Purpose …✨

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He who has a Why to live can bear any How… – Friedrich Nietzsche –

An excerpt from a fable I once read…

A king once gave his wise men a challenge.

“Create a ring that will make me happy when I am sad.”

The wise men succeeded.
It was a plain ring with an inscription etched into the metal… It read,
“This too shall pass.”

During times of hardship,
the king would notice the inscription.
It would remind him that hardships always pass, even when things seem hopeless.
He would stop worrying and appreciate life rather than spending all his energy trying to fix problems.

But of course, the ring had an opposing effect as well…

Whenever he felt jubilant,
the ring reminded him that joyful circumstances change as well.

“Nothing lasts forever…”

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One may ask then…
“Wouldn’t persevering & hard work be pointless if nothing lasts forever?”

While there’s truth to the etching on the king’s ring, perhaps there is more to be said…

“While circumstances always pass,
the strength of our will & purpose can endure.
When we choose a purpose for our lives, our steadfast pursuit of that purpose can remain a source of joy in both good times and bad.”

Striving to make life about something worthwhile has done me much good.

Choosing to do so has given me an anchor of strength and joy.

Well, we could even pledge allegiance to a cause that will persist beyond our lives.
Achieving some end is not the goal!

Living life in full pursuit of what I believe in has been my goal.

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For instance, when I have a disagreement with someone who matters in my life, I feel disconnected, hurt, frustrated…
And oftentimes such feelings are disconcerting.

Withal, instead of getting unduly depressed because of the “disconnection” I feel, I keep in mind the words etched on the king’s ring… “This too shall pass.”

“When we choose to love,
it is an act of our will.
Love is an active choice, not just a feeling…

It is something inside of us.
Love is a part of who we are.”

Relationships with family & friends will inevitably have their ups and downs.

During unpleasant times like these,
I would work on my relationship with them instead of letting circumstances of the moment define my happiness.

Focusing on purpose instead of brooding or crying over spilt milk has made me a stronger person…

Being human, naturally I feel hurt of course…
But the power of purpose has made it easier to let go of pain & frustrations…

Forgive… forget… And smile again! 😊

Hugz …❤️E.Lyn

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Faith, Gratitude, Happiness

Thank You, Lord… 👼

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Gratitude Bestows Reverence…
allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe… And changes forever how we experience life and the world.

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There is calmness to a life lived in gratitude… a quiet joy.

“Our hearts deviseth our ways;
But the Lord directeth our steps.”
(Proverbs 16:9)

With all my heart,
I trust in you, Lord…
You are my all in all.

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