Tuesday’s Quotes August 14, 2018 – On listening…

“How do you listen? Do you listen with your projections, through your projection, through your ambitions, desires, fears, anxieties, through hearing only what you want to hear, only what will be satisfactory, what will gratify, what will give comfort, what will for the moment alleviate your suffering? If you listen through the screen of your desires, then you obviously listen to your own voice; you are listening to your own desires. And is there any other form of listening? Is it not important to find out how to listen not only to what is being said but to everything – to the noise in the streets, to the chatter of birds, to the noise of the tramcar, to the restless sea, to the voice of your husband, to your wife, to your friends, to the cry of a baby? Listening has importance only when on is not projecting one’s own desires through which one listens. Can one put aside all these screens through which we listen, and really listen?”  — J Krishnamurti

Krishnamurti, who died in 1986 at 90, was a philosophical and religious speaker. Indian by birth, but adopted by Annie Besant, president of the Theosophical Society, as a child, and promoted by her as the leader of the new world order that the Theosophists had predicted would come. In 1929 he renounced that claim, and spent the next several decades traveling globally to speak about religion and philosophy, without identifying with any one religion, or ideology. I had the good fortune to hear him speak in Madras in 1984.

It seems that the art of listening is diminishing in direct proportion to the increase in the speed of information, and the shortening of our collective attention span. All too often, we listen to respond, not to hear. In order to engage in productive dialogue, and to understand others, we need to work past that tendency, so that we hear not only the words, but the meaning behind them.

The mindful listening image came from a presentation found on Slideshare.net on Listening Skills http://www.slideshare.net/jgerst1111/listening-skills-10244219  


International Youth Day

Today, as the title says, is International Youth Day. In December 2009, the UN General Assembly endorsed a resolution that August 12, beginning in 2010, be declared International Youth Day. The day is intended to raise awareness of the challenges facing the world’s youth, and to celebrate the role that the youth of today have to play on the world of tomorrow. It is their world, after all, we’re just living in it and holding (sometimes even tending) it for them.

According to the website, the world currently has its largest population ever of people between the ages of 10 and 24. Unfortunately, out of those 1.8 billion young people, 10% live in conflict zones. In addition to basic physical safety, this impacts educational opportunities, access to adequate medical resources, food, clean water, and to the social ties that we all need to develop in oder to successfully live, and work, with others as adults.

Those of you that read this blog somewhat regularly know that I think it’s important that we adults recognize that our time is limited, and that the future belongs to the younger generations – we should do what we can to support them, and to prepare them, not to not belittle them because they aren’t us, and their vision is not ours.

To borrow a quote from the 2018 statement on International Youth Day by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres:

“The hopes of the world rest on young people. Peace, economic dynamism, social justice, tolerance – all this and more, today and tomorrow, depends on tapping into the power of youth.”


It’s raining again…

“For after all, the best thing one can do
When it is raining, is to let it rain.”

— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Poet’s Tale”

With Bill’s limited mobility, we were hoping to catch the meteor shower from the deck but, although not raining now, the overcast is growing at the same rate that daylight is fading away, so I guess not. And with flash  flood watches in place for the entire weekend, I guess tomorrow night is no good either. Today was a full-day break from what has been an unusually wet summer. The rain is  is a very good thing since the area I live in has been well below average in both rain and snow fall for a few years now, and has been in and out of moderate drought conditions. For the first summer in recent memory everything is growing (including a large assortment of weeds and wildflowers), and as demonstrated in the picture taken last weekend – our ‘lawn’ is actually green (and from a distance looks like a lawn instead of the controlled meadow it really is). The below normal snowfalls remain, though, and in the long run, it is the snowpack that feeds the reservoirs. So the return to drought conditions is likely. But, for now, we can enjoy the greenery.

I assume the persistent wetness is why I have the Supertramp song  It’s Raining Again stuck in my head. Not one of my favorite songs. Not one of my favorite bands. But earworms are for sharing. So enjoy the song and have a great weekend.


Tuesday’s Quotes August 7, 2018 – Looking for Peace

Edited from my August 9, 2016 and August 6, 2017 posts regarding the anniversary of the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima that ended the Pacific side of World War II.

“No cause justifies the deaths of innocent people.” — Albert Camus

Yesterday marked the first of two horrifying anniversaries, with the second following in two days. On August 6 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, three days before dropping a different type of atomic bomb on the city of Nagasaki – with the threat of additional bombings unless the Japanese agreed to unconditionally surrender to allied forces. The devastation in Nagasaki alone killed at least 74,000 people. In Hiroshima at least 40,000 people were killed in the initial blast, with upwards of 70,000 more in the following weeks. The bombings left a decades long legacy of horror and illness, as the long-term dangers of radiation exposure became apparent. And my heart breaks a bit more every time I think about it. And, although I know – and understand – the thinking behind the decsion to use the weapons (a decision that was not made by the US alone), I also know that they should never be used again – by anyone. There is no cause great enough to justify the use of nuclear weapons – especially now that we better understand all of the ramifications that go along with their use.

Like all baby boomers, I grew up in a Cold War world, dominated by the nuclear arms race, and the uncomfortable notion of peace brought about by mutually assured destruction. I have no desire to revisit those days, or for my children or grandchildren to have to live with those thoughts.  I may not have the solution for world peace, but I know it cannot be found in nuclear threats. Nor can it be brought about, or sustained, by war.

Franklin Roosevelt called December 7, 1941, the day the Japanese bombed the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, a day that would “live in infamy”, but for me, for most of my life, it has been August 6th and August 9th, 1945 that are perhaps the most infamous days that I hope the world ever comes to know.


“If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.”

— Lao Tzu

Keep adjusting those sails

Another weekend is coming to an end – one where I was as willfully unproductive as possible – and I look forward to a far more self-disciplined week. Well, maybe not so much ‘look forward’ as ‘recognize as necessary’.

This afternoon, in a limited show of productivity, I caved in to Facebook tyranny and created a ‘page’ so that I could continue automatically send my posts out to the world (or at least the limited world on my social networks). This step will hopefully also get me to focus more on the writing that I’d planned to do this year. Being largely homebound for the next few weeks until my husband is able to travel has the unexpected benefit of leaving me with more time to focus on projects beyond blogging and volunteering. I chose to create that page in that spirit. Now we’ll see how it develops.

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”

— William Arthur Ward

As I’ve noted before, I’m pragmatic, but I’m also human – I complain about the wind (and unwanted FB changes), but adjust the sails & keep moving forward, anyway. Vita perseverat.

Photo of the Sloop Clearwater April 2016


Something to think about…

A long, long week is finally winding down. Although it will, literally, be several weeks before my husband’s leg is healed and life is fully back to normal for us, some degree of normalcy has been restored now that he is back home. Of course, returning to normalcy means that I no longer have an excuse for not doing things that I need to do.

For the moment, though, I’m going to revel in having a relatively normal weekend with nothing to do (other than the stuff I need to do, of course), and nowhere that I need to be.

And in a totally unrelated vein, as I relax a bit, and carve out some leisure time to enjoy, I leave with you with these words of Werner Heisenberg’s to contemplate….

“We have to remember that what we observe is not nature herself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.”

This is as true of the rest of life as it is to scientific research.


Contrasting views at Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, July 9, 2018 – with the Painted Desert in the background.