Gandhi’s personal mission statement

78861-gandhi1929Let the first act of every morning be to make the following resolve for the day:
* I shall not fear anyone on Earth.
* I shall fear only God.
* I shall not bear ill will toward anyone.
* I shall not submit to injustice from anyone.
* I shall conquer untruth by truth.
* And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.
— Mahatma Gandhi

3 journal fragments: What time is now

willow 12-21-2018

Almost a month into my Year of Finishing, and I haven’t finished anything yet. Even the schedule of what to finish, and when, isn’t done. What gets finished first, hmm?

What time is now?

I’m amused by the new bosses who have spent the last eight years screaming in the faces of elected officials that their policies are shameful and hurtful and mean, and now, having succeeded in winning significant seats from those they have treated as mortal enemies, now call for civility and bipartisanship. Where was civility when their duly elected opponents were passing their legislation? Where was civility when they were shouting from the gallery and fighting to have courts declare their opponents’ laws illegal and immoral?

What time is now? Is it time for civility and bipartisanship – the latter a code word for “cave to my demands” – or is it simply time to resume the battle, with the battle lines redrawn? Continue reading “3 journal fragments: What time is now”

Life as a fantasy

winter sunset through the windshield

“Life, to the believer OR the agnostic, is a pretty wonderful affair. I mean wonderful in the sense of true wonder, awful in the sense of awe, stressing the IM in impossible. It is truly a miracle that we are here at all, to sleep, to rise, to down quick breakfasts and run for trains and be on time or late, as Fate decides.”

— Ray Bradbury, from the Introduction to Timeless Stories for Today and Tomorrow

July 1, 1951

The Parable of The 27 Failures

baseball - dreamstime_s_5496710

Blam! With a swing of the bat, a hard spherical object reverses direction and is sent hundreds of feet across the air, landing behind a wall. Thousands of witnesses erupt in happiness, praising the wielder of the bat. This is the ultimate achievement in this game, or at least the one with the most instant gratification – the ultimate achievement is probably pitching the perfect game, preventing 27 consecutive opponents from connecting with the spherical object in any meaningful way.

The appeal of baseball may be its lack of a clock, although it has its own deadline in a sense: You must score more runs than your opponent before you run out of opportunities to fail. You’re allotted up to 27 failures, and you only need to succeed a comparative handful of times (few teams ever get as many as 27 base runners in a game) to win the contest. You don’t know exactly how much time you’ll have before the 27th out, which is closer to life than games with a clock. In life, you usually don’t know when time will run out, either.

In life you’ll likely fail more times than you succeed – how many potential mates do you meet before marrying one, how many job interviews before landing one, how many great books rejected before finding a publisher – and you usually don’t know how much time you’ll have; you just keep going until you run out of opportunities.

Don’t be overly concerned when you swing and miss; step back up to the plate and give it another go. With persistence, you’ll connect enough.

[Photo © Michael Drager –]

What is and what may have been

planning the week

When I have time to sit and ponder, the week ahead unfolds with certain order. Today I can do this task and that, and I can start on that project that’s due the day after tomorrow, and this afternoon I should have time to accomplish the usual accomplishments.

But of course, one by one the images unravel with unexpected interactions with other people’s plans and expectations and needs, and The Week That Was is not The Week That Was Going To Be.

As the next week approaches, I assess that at least this got done and that got started, although this other thing is still not begun and overall progress should have been better. The certain order collapsed into uncertain disorder, or at least less order than I would have preferred.

But such is life in the pinball machine, careening from wall to wall and bumper to bumper, getting bopped by the flippers and staying in the game as long as possible.

It never happens quite the way it was envisioned because of the push and pull against each other in infinite combinations. The journey is the destination, because the journey determines the destination, which is always different – slightly or dramatically – from the one envisioned at first step.

Not Empty Yet

not empty yet

There will come a time when you’re tired and it feels like time to set down the mantle and rest – well, rest is OK – but the longer it goes, the more it seems like you’ve said and done all you have to say and do – those are the times you need to lift your head and look around and stretch your limbs and find a deeper reserve – because the truth is, you don’t run out of things to say and do – not in this lifetime – that’s why it’s called a lifetime: Your time of life. As long as your heart is beating and you’re drawing air, you’re not empty yet. Say what you have to say; do what you have to do.