Archive for February, 2013

February 28, 2013

Observed on the street: “Observe and learn . . .”

I saw this bit of wisdom written on a wall in my favourite local book store:

Message "Observe and learn, not serve and earn" written in black felt on an orange wall.

“Observe and learn, not serve and earn.”

Changing “serve and earn” into “observe and learn” takes just a little extra effort, a little something more, but the end result is huge.

Apply that little extra effort in your own life.  It will serve you well and earn you much respect.

February 21, 2013

Laugh of the day – The beauty of the artistic perspective

Courtesy of Alex Hallatt’s Arctic Circle cartoon series (and from one proud arts major to any others!):

"Arctic Circle" cartoon by Alex Hallett (Feb 1, 2013)

February 17, 2013

Diversity makes the world go around

Today’s bit of wisdom comes from Lynn Johnston, the cartoonist behind the long-running comic strip For Better or For Worse.  Johnston writes in the introduction to her 15th anniversary collection, It’s the Thought That Counts . . . :

We are all born with wonderful gifts.  We use these gifts to express ourselves, to amuse, to strengthen, and to communicate.  We begin as children to explore and develop our talents, often unaware that we are unique, that not everyone can do what we’re doing!

It’s the last phrase in this quote that strikes me — that we are “often unaware” of our own uniqueness, of that special blend of skills and talents and interests that exists within each of us, and that no one else possesses in quite the same way.  So many people spend so much of their lives comparing themselves to others — even trying to be others.  We worry about how we look, how we act, what we do (or don’t do) for a living, how we raise our children — the list goes on — and how it all stacks up against the people around us.

Johnston’s words remind us that stacking up doesn’t matter.  Not one single bit.  What matters is developing that one-of-a-kind combination of talents and motivations that makes you you, even if the outcome doesn’t seem to conform to what you see around you.  Especially if it doesn’t seem to conform to what you see around you.

Diversity is what makes the world go around.  Celebrate yours, and give your talents the space (and permission!) they deserve to grow into something magnificent.

February 16, 2013

Observed on the street: A little Seussian wisdom, in just the right place

Posted in big letters — one to a page — in the front window of a local elementary school, this phrase from Dr. Seuss’s book Horton Hears a Who!:

Don’t give up!  I believe in you all.  A person’s a person, no matter how small.


February 8, 2013

Open wide and travel well

I like this quote from Marcel Proust:

The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.

There is so much to discover right where you are — today, tomorrow, in this moment.  Open your eyes wide and travel well.

February 2, 2013

Life is random, like a bouncey-castle

Salman Rushdie’s novel The Ground Beneath Her Feet provides this wonderful perspective on the randomness of human relationships, and of life in general:

Our lives disconnect and reconnect, we move on, and later we may again touch one another, again bounce away.  This is the felt shape of a human life, neither simply linear nor wholly disjunctive [detached] nor endlessly bifurcating [forking into two paths], but rather this bouncey-castle sequence of bumpings-into and tumblings-apart.

Life’s encounters, Rushdie suggests, are completely random.  You might be able to choose which bouncey-castle you enter — or even whether you enter at all — but once inside, you can’t control exactly where the motions will take you.  You certainly won’t travel in a straight line, or bounce around in isolation, or move either up or down, left or right, according to your choice.  Instead, you’ll careen around the place, crashing into some people while never quite reaching others.  You’ll be hit from behind — unexpectedly knocked off course — by some encounters, while others will bounce right into your arms when you least expect it.  Even if you do control your trajectory for a while, you never know what the ground beneath you is doing — how it is rippling and rolling in response to the leaps and bounds of the other people cartwheeling around in there with you.  What seems like stable footing might suddenly shift under your feet, throw you left when you wanted right, tumble you head over heels who knows where.  No matter how you set your course, you never know exactly where your bounces will take you, and you never know who or what is heading your way.

What I like about this concept is that it encourages each of us to make the most of — to “jump on” — those bumpings-into that truly intrigue and attract us while we can.  At the exact moment when we cross paths or bounce in parallel with a like-minded soul, we have the ability, the opportunity, to reach out and hold on, to travel together for a while, wrapped in each other’s arms, until momentum pulls us apart.  These moments of shared travel may not last long, but we can live them fully while they’re there, until we tumble away into something new.

February 1, 2013

February challenge: Make an “I rock!” list!

This month, I challenge you to:

  1. Find a nice piece of paper.
  2. At the top, write the phrase “I rock because . . .”.
  3. Underneath, write at least five reasons why you think you’re totally awesome.  That’s right!  Five things you love about yourself — five qualities or characteristics you possess that, in your eyes, totally rock.

Call this your “I rock!” list.  Hang it in a place where you can see it every day for the rest of the month (on your fridge, on your bathroom mirror, on the steering wheel of your car, etc.).  Then, every day this month, look at your list, read it, and respect what it has to say — i.e., that you rock!

So many of us find it hard to acknowledge and celebrate the good in ourselves.  We say “I can’t” or “I’m not good at” more often than we say “I can” or “I’m awesome at”.  We find it easier to put ourselves down than to prop ourselves up, to dodge compliments than to welcome them, to devalue our own worth than to stand proud in who we are — before others and before ourselves.

This month, let’s break these patterns.  Make your “I rock!” list and display it proudly.  Because you do rock.  There are so many fabulous qualities you hold, so many things you do well, so much good inside you.  You are an amazing person.  And it’s time to acknowledge and celebrate that fact.