heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 2 of 7: Walk the walk

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“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”
— Edith Lovejoy Pierce, American Poet & Pacifist

When Opportunity knocks, by all means open the door. But what happens if it doesn’t knock, or ring, or fall down from the sky right into your lap? And you keep waiting, and waiting, and waiting…

The reality is that we create our own destiny. I know this is a cliché, but it’s worth repeating. If we keep waiting for good things to happen to us, we may be sorely disappointed when they don’t. When you work long and hard on something – be it a passion or a project – you will likely see a return on your investment. By investment, I mean your time. And time is precious.

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”
Michael Altshuler, Speaker & Trainer

So begin the new year by shelving anything and everything that simply didn’t yield anything for you. Then start fresh. Make a strategy, hatch a realistic plan and then see it through. By “seeing it through” I also mean spreading the word. Networking with people is a surefire way to create a domino effect of opportunity. If you ‘walk the walk’ (translation: work diligently and follow through), you will most likely be smiling like a Cheshire cat by the end of the year.

There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big…. as long as you’re not being delusional. For instance, if your big dream is to be a singer when, in reality, you’re kind of tone deaf… then you may want to rethink your strategy.  I have always been in awe of Barbra Streisand and dreamed of singing (with a voice like hers) in Carnegie Hall. But I’m a realist. I will never have That Voice. So I sing in the shower instead.

Don’t wait for Opportunity to knock. Steer your own ship. Make 2017 your flagship year and wake up each morning, excited about what you’re doing.  Keep at it and don’t let anyone dampen your spirits or weaken your resolve. Here’s to a great year – for all of us!

“Sow a thought and you reap an act;
Sow an act and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit and you reap a character;
Sow a character and you reap a destiny.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 1 of 7: Take the time to read

2017

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It’s a new year, ladies and gentlemen!
May it be a good one for all of us!
This year, the inspiration for my New Year’s “Revelations” stems from some of the sage words and wisdom of the great philosophers  and literary figures of all time.
I hope that some or all of these revelations resonate with you.

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Take the time to curl up in a comfortable chair and read a book. Read, not skim. A book, not a tablet or computer screen.  Turn your phone off, close your computer and let yourself be transported into a beautiful piece of literature, a gripping bestseller, an interesting biography, or a thought-provoking work of non-fiction.  Reading is quite simply the best therapy in the world. It’s right up there with music, dance and art. Therapy aside, reading helps you to relax and de-stress.  And, of course, there is something to be said about learning new things, opening up your mind and… actually stimulating your mind.

 “The art of reading is in great part that of acquiring a better understanding of life from one’s encounter with it in a book.”

André Maurois

I have always been a bookworm. As a child, when my friends would knock on our door and ask my mother whether I was coming out to play, I would tell them that I was in the middle of a good chapter and would come out when finished. Several hours later, I would join them and smile sheepishly as they rolled their eyes at me.

“I consider as lovers of books not those who keep their books hidden in their storage chests and never handle them, but those who, by nightly as well as daily, use them, thumb them, batter them, wear them out… who fill out all the margins with annotations of many kinds, and who prefer the marks of a fault they have erased to a neat copy full of faults.”

Erasmus

A decade ago, I used to read at least three books a week and as 2016 drew to an end, I realized that I had read only 20 or so books throughout the year. For me, that is unacceptable! It’s also simply not in character. Clearly my priorities were all wrong. This will change in 2017.

So I encourage each of you to pick up a good book and take the time to savour each word. Then pick up another.

Happy reading!

P.S. In case you’re wondering, this is not a photo of me. I hail from the Baby Boomer generation. This is a photo of a young Millennial who is clearly enjoying a good read.

Over and out, 2016!

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“Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.” ― Brad Paisley

What a year it has been! G’bye 2016. It’s been a slice.

Many blessings for 2017 and may tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebration be filled with laughter, good food, plenty of bubbly libation, and the company of those you hold dear!

And, as always, a very special shout-out to my family and friends across the globe.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the first of my annual seven New Year’s Revelations (not to be confused with resolutions!).  And a new chapter begins ….

Cheers!

heatherfromthegrove

 

 

In Memoriam 2016 – the loved and the lost

“It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.”

– John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent

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For it is in Giving that we Receive

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(Photo Credit: by Ed Yourdon from New York City, USA (Helping the homeless  Uploaded by Gary Dee)  via Wikimedia Commons)

“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” – Henry James

As we count our blessings this holiday season, please remember that there are millions and millions of people – around the world – who are hungry, homeless, displaced, discouraged and lonely.

In this, the season of giving, please do what you can to help a neighbor, a stranger, a family in your community.

Donate food, clothing, blankets and toys to your local missions.  Help out at your local food bank. Share your Christmas feast with someone less fortunate.

If you dine in restaurants, give your leftovers (that you would normally take home) to the homeless man or woman huddled on the sidewalk. Don’t pass them by, averting your face.  Show them compassion.

Spread a little Hope and Kindness.

After all, this is the season of Light… is it not?

May the true meaning of the holiday season fill your hearts and homes with many blessings.  Remember to take time to slow down and enjoy the simple things. I wish you, dear readers, much happiness today and throughout the New Year.

Blessings and Warmest Wishes,

heatherfromthegrove

 

A perspective on life and loss

Recent political developments in the United States have caused quite a stir across the globe.  Social media is flooded with comments and rantings from both sides of the political spectrum. I myself have contributed to this “animated” discussion. But when someone (be it a friend or a family member) passes away in the middle of all the histrionics, everything screeches to a halt. It’s amazing how quickly we re-align our priorities…. because, at the end of the day, it’s family and friends that really count the most.

There will be other elections. Other presidents. What is done in one term can be undone in another. So, let’s chill out and focus on what really matters.

This post is dedicated to all of our loved ones who have gone too soon. And to the families and friends who are left behind to grieve their loss.

I love the poetry and writings of Kahlil Gibran and I always take the wisdom of his words to heart.

I hope you do, too.

On Death
by Kahlil Gibran

You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

Marcus Aurelius, the Last of the Five Good Emperors

Some great quotes to live by…..

… so, I’m in a philosophical frame of mind these days and for the rest of 2016, my posts will highlight famous philosophical quotes and the philosophers who said them. This month (October), the focus will be on some of the greatest ancient Roman philosophers whose influence and thinking have transcended the passage of time.

MARCUS AURELIUS

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Here are some famous quotes by Marcus Aurelius:

“I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinions of himself than on the opinions of others.”
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.
“The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.”

Marcus Aurelius or Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (121 AD – 180 AD), was the Roman emperor from 161-180 AD. He is believed to be the last of the Five Good Emperors. He was also among the foremost Stoic philosophers of his time, as evidenced by his greatest work, Meditations, written entirely in Greek. He wrote this while he was conducting his military campaign. He took lessons in oration from two Greek tutors and one Latin tutor. The Roman aristocracy of the time still valued Greek as a language and used it prolifically. Marcus Aurelius epitomized the Golden Age of the Roman Empire.

HIS MOST FAMOUS WORK:

  • Meditations

Cicero, the embodiment of “humanitas”

Some great quotes to live by…..

… so, I’m in a philosophical frame of mind these days and for the rest of 2016, my posts will highlight famous philosophical quotes and the philosophers who said them. This month (October), the focus will be on some of the greatest ancient Roman philosophers whose influence and thinking have transcended the passage of time.

CICERO

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Here are some famous quotes by Cicero. (note how well they apply to our social and political condition today):

“Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century:
Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;
Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;
Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it;
Refusing to set aside trivial preferences;
Neglecting development and refinement of the mind;
Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.”

For all you book lovers:

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”

Some tongue-in-cheek humor aimed at all you book writers out there (like me):

“Times are bad.  Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.”

And always remember:

“Where there’s life, there’s hope.”

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC to 43 BC) – a Roman politician, lawyer, and orator who was born into a wealthy Roman equestrian family. He represented one of the few in a new generation of men in Rome – to be the first man in his family to become a senator, and gain the highest office of consul. Cicero was best known for preventing the Catiline Conspiracy, as well as his philosophical works and devotion to the Republic. Although he was invited to join the powerful political union formed by Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey, Cicero refused and instead became an opponent of Caesar. Years later, he met his death at the hands of a soldier named Herennius, who had been ordered by Mark Anthony to kill him during the proscriptions of the Second Triumvirate.

One of the greatest Roman orators and prose stylists of his time. Cicero was also a philosopher, politician, lawyer, political theorist and a constitutionalist. He was also famous for introducing neologisms such as: evidentia, humanitas, qualitas, quantitas, and essentia.

READ SOME OF HIS MOST FAMOUS WORKS:

The Teacher and the Student

Some great quotes to live by…..

… so, I’m in a philosophical frame of mind these days and for the rest of 2016, my posts will highlight famous philosophical quotes and the philosophers who said them. This month (September), the focus will be on some of the greatest ancient Greek philosophers whose influence and thinking have transcended the passage of time.

PLATO & ARISTOTLE

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Plato (left) and Aristotle (right) – School of Athens

Some famous quotes by “The Teacher” — Plato:

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” 

“In politics we presume that everyone who knows how to get votes knows how to administer a city or a state. When we are ill… we do not ask for the handsomest physician, or the most eloquent one.” 

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” 

Plato  (427—347 BCE) was born in Athens,  of Athenian nobility. He was the devout and most brilliant student of Socrates, and they became close friends. After the death of Socrates, Plato turned his back on Athenian politics. His most productive works were written in the course of three voyages to Sicily. He began to write the dialogues (writing in the form of conversation) ad this became the foundation of his philosophical teachings. Upon returning to Athens, he founded the Academy – the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Aristotle became one of his star pupils and closest associate.

Perhaps the most influential philosopher of all time, Plato is known for his usage of dialectic – a discussion of ideas and insights into the nature of reality. And his philosophy espoused cognitive optimism – a belief in the capacity of the human mind to seek and attain the truth, and to use this truth for the rational and virtuous management of  life and government. He believed that all the conflicting elements in society could (and should) be harmonized. Each of these elements will flourish when they coexist in harmony.  The existence of such a balanced society is impossible without virtue.

Plato’s Academy remained in existence for another thousand years. Centuries after his death, his philosophical system resurfaced as  Neoplatonism.

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Some famous quotes by “The Student” — Aristotle:

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” 

“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.” 

“He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.” 

Aristotle (384—322 BCE) was born in Stagira (northern Greece). He was the son of Nichomachus –court physician to the Macedonian royal family. Trained first in medicine, he then later went on to study philosophy with Plato (in Athens). Aristotle was a brilliant student, so much so that he questioned some of Plato’s teachings. After  Plato died, Aristotle was not appointed head of the Academy. and so he left Athens for the islands. In 338 B.C.E., he returned to Macedonia to tutor Alexander the Great. When Alexander conquered Athens, Aristotle went there to set up a school of his own, known as The Lyceum. After the death of Alexander the Great, Aristotle opposed Macedonian rule and his rebellion nearly cost him his death. He fled to the island of Euboea, where he later died.

It is believed that Aristotle’s body of written work included as many as 150 philosophical treatises – of which 30 survived. From biology and physics to morals, aesthetics and politics, he wrote prolifically. Although his teacher (Plato) believed ultimate reality was found in ideas or eternal forms, Aristotle saw ultimate reality in physical objects, through experience. But what really distinguished Aristotle from other ancient, medieval and modern philosophers was that, according to him, the universe never had a beginning or an end. It was eternal.  He also believed that change was cyclical. In the Middle Ages, Aristotle’s philosophy was adopted and fused into Christian doctrine, forming a philosophical system known as Scholasticism. Indeed, the Roman Catholic Church embraced Aristotelian thought as its official philosophy.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

READ SOME OF THEIR MOST FAMOUS WORKS:

The Trial and Death of Socrates, by Plato

The Republic, by Plato

Apology, by Plato

Politics, by Aristotle

The Neomachian Ethics, by Aristotle

Metaphysics, by Aristotle