A person is fully human “when joy is the fundamental thing in him, and grief the superficial. Melancholy should be an innocent interlude, a tender and fugitive frame of mind; praise should be the permanent pulsation of the soul. Pessimism is at best an emotional half-holiday; joy is the uproarious labor by which all things live.”
G.K. Chesterton certainly let us know what we need to focus on: joy. And what a life force it is! We don’t realize how much our thoughts impact us, our minds, our actions, our responses. And therefore how it affects others’ minds, actions, and responses. He also points to the vapidness of negative thinking. What can it do, how can it build? It only tears down. And so we should, as best as possible, obliterate it from thought.
We can contribute so much in this world. It starts with our thoughts; it starts right now; and that joy can carry us to an entirely different level of harmonious living.
Thank you to Gilbert Keith Chesterton for such wonderful advice. G.K. was a profound English writer of the 20th century who contributed across philosophy and poetry, as well as fiction. Two of his best known works are Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man. He also wrote a weekly column in The London Illustrated News for thirty years. He was known for his incredible intellect, desire to decrease political divisions, and strong reasoning skills.
I am one of those fortunate people who did not need to board a flight this past holiday. My family is local: My parents live 45 minutes away on the Peninsula, and my sister, brother-in-law and three nephews and niece live about 1 mile from my parents.
That’s truly been a joy for me, the simple presence of family. Being able to babysit last minute; experiencing the chaos of taking care of kids during ‘meltdown time’ at 5 pm with a 6, 4 and 1 year old when they were growing up ; celebrating their progress on their soccer field; scootering with them to ice cream on a warm summer night, after dinner.
Why do we allow ourselves to live apart? Why is it so accepted?
I know I am fortunate. Sometimes people have to move because of marriage. A new job. Taking care of an elderly parent. All very legitimate reasons which contribute to family, and yet, also separate…
In a recent Gallup Poll, 16% of the world said they would like to move to another country. This comes from both dire situations (such as Somalia) to the desire for luxury or adventure. But in one region the rates are lower than Europe and America: Asia. Due to progress in political freedoms and enhanced economic opportunities, many Asians are staying put: Only 10% desire to move. But there’s another factor as well: Close family ties, and a cultural commitment to taking care of family, keeps the desire to move low.
Let’s learn, if we are so fortunate, from this cultural and familial commitment to keep family close…
“Against criticism a man can neither protest nor defend himself; he must act in spite of it, and then it will gradually yield to him.” –Johan Wolfgang von Goethe
No matter how hard it is, we have to face challenging feedback and take some step of action. It’s not easy… but the more we do it, the more we become accustomed to it. To being honest with ourselves…and to overcoming the challenge. We grow, we excel, and we move on, up and over it. With that honesty, as Goethe states, “(the criticism) will gradually yield to him.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) was a German writer and artist, and a leading figure in German literature. His works include The Sorrows of Young Werther and Faust. He was highly influential to the 19th century.
“When a suffering is shared, its weight is divided; and when a joy is shared, the delight is multiplied. We need each other.”
– Sue Monk Kidd, First Light, Chapter: Availability.
Sue Monk Kidd is a writer, novelist, and memoirist. She grew up in the Southern United States and her hometown of Sylvester, Georgia influenced her first and best-known book The Secret Life of Bees. As a worldwide acclaimed author, her fictional works are concentrated on the oppositions and successes of women. Kidd is inspired by Henry David Thoreau, Kate Chopin, Thomas Merton, Martha Burke, and Carl Jung as role models.
“Love Many, Trust a Few, And Always Paddle Your Own Canoe”
–Terri, from Coudersport, PA, as seen on Dark Chocolate Dove Wrapper
Terri has it right. What a joy to enjoy dark chocolate, which I love, with a truly inspired quote.
Life affords us so many ways to love, and how important it is that we keep doing so. At the same time, we have to be careful, and so Trust, or entrusting ourselves to others, perhaps must be a bit more rare. I wish it weren’t so…however, everyone is on their pathway of personal growth. So we must honor them, and honor ourselves: We should always love, but not necessarily entrust to others.
As far as paddling one’s own canoe. As my Oma says, “You’d better put a little elbow grease into that.” She was always ensuring she had pulled her weight. In fact, when I went over to Oma’s for a sleepover as a young child, even at the age of 8 or 9, our fun together — was working together. We scrubbed the kitchen floor on hands and knees, sharpened pencils, and wrote up a list for the freezer so she knew what was in there. She taught me to care about being clean, ordered and organized, which made her home special. She made it fun. I loved working with my Oma.
Terri, we thank you for a quote which has delighted us all!
I think one key point in life is to maintain balance–balance between time for work, time for loved ones, time for oneself, time for interests outside of one’s business. It’s so important to keep that balance, or we’ll simply burn-out.
I remember once when I was young in my career, and meeting with a fairly older, single woman. She was a successful venture capitalist. But I don’t know that I would consider her life successful. She traveled the world incessantly and was on every important board. But she seemed tired and joy was scarce. She told me to “Pack it all in.”
I didn’t. I kept my balance. I started a nonprofit and I did creative improv. I took care of my very young nephews and nieces. I loved life and I loved the people in my life.
We need to be renewed. We need to feel honored as whole, functioning people with families, outside interests, balanced lives, as well as our commitment to achieving the goals and vision of the organizations we run. The beauty of this balance is that I come back energized to UniversalGiving. My mind has had “time off” and is thrilled to re-engage with our efforts to serve. I look at challenges in a new light. My energy is renewed. I bring new skills to the table; my thoughts are stronger and more helpful. It’s better for me–and for my organization.