The Pursuit of Happiness

“There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.”

– Henry David Thoreau

I was 19 and sitting in a classroom off the Midway. The class was discussing happiness, the topic introduced by a visiting lecturer known to resent working with undergraduates. He began the session with a question. Are most people happy? The class fumbled, tossing thoughts around the room, not quite sure what he was looking for. He stopped us. Ladies and gentlemen, I want a simple yes or no. Our consensus was no. His was yes, but he did appended his thought. He believed that happiness was generally unrecognized because it
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Pomp and Circumstance

Above all, you must be rid of the hideous idea, fruit of a widespread inferiority complex, that pomp, on the proper occasions, has any connection with vanity or self-conceit. A celebrant approaching the altar, a princess led out by a king to a dance a minuet, a general officer on a ceremonial parade, a major-domo preceding the boar’s head at a Christmas feast–all these wear unusual clothes and move with calculated dignity. This does not mean that they are vain, but that they are obedient. The modern habit of doing ceremonial things unceremoniously is not proof of humility, rather it proves the offender’s inability to forget himself in the rite. -C.S Lewis
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Falling Leaves and Personality Traits

In every change, in every falling leaf there is some pain, some beauty. And that’s the way new leaves grow.”
― Amit Ray

Back in the day, changes in behavior were credited to the “stages” children were passing through. Not much attention was paid to them, and, like growing pains, most folks agreed they’d pass with time and fresh air. Stages, save for adolescence, had no names, and even that fell into a broader catch-all that identified those in that category as “teens.” It was a simpler time, and parents whose experience was mirrored in the behavior of their children, Continue reading “Falling Leaves and Personality Traits”

Vaccinations – My Perspective

“In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the small-pox, taken in the common way. I long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it; my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen.” – Benjamin Franklin

It’s becoming obvious that vaccines have been tossed into a pot that already contains politics, religion, abortion and money. Continue reading “Vaccinations – My Perspective”

The Tree of Heaven

“There’s a tree that grows in Brooklyn. Some people call it the Tree of Heaven. No matter where its seed falls, it makes a tree which struggles to reach the sky. It grows in boarded-up lots and out of neglected rubbish heaps. It grows up out of cellar gratings. It is the only tree that grows out of cement. It grows lushly . . . survives without sun, water, and seemingly without earth. It would be considered beautiful except that there are too many of it.” Continue reading “The Tree of Heaven”

The Onion and the Labyrinth

“Everything that’s created comes out of silence. Thoughts emerge from the nothingness of silence. Words come out of the void. Your very essence emerged from emptiness. All creativity requires some stillness.”       Wayne Dyer

Decades ago, a musical called Stop the World! I Want to Get Off ran for about a year on Broadway. It was not a particularly memorable play and its details, I’m sure, are remembered only by Methuselah and me. It’s etched in my memory because I saw it at an age when my brain still had the sponge-like ability to absorb everything that it heard or saw.  I’m not bragging. Continue reading “The Onion and the Labyrinth”

A Clean Slate

“We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential.”   Ellen Goodman

The tree had just been stripped of ornaments, and as I sat cross legged on the floor, a persistent thought, like a refrain the brain won’t release, rooted in my head. I was surrounded by the remains of  Christmas present and within my sight line was the large container they would share with the ghosts of Christmas past. Continue reading “A Clean Slate”

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