Courage for today and beyond…

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because, without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue.”  – Maya Angelou

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose site of the shore.”  – William Faulkner

“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth — more than ruin, more even that death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid… Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.”                    – Bertrand Russell

 

Still I Rise

 

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

 

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

 

Just like moons and like suns

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

 

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

 

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.

 

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

 

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

 

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past, that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear it in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

 

Maya Angelou – Still I Rise

 

With all that is going on in the world, we each must fight battles as our conscience dictates. Thought and rigorous prioritization will help us to know where to direct our thoughts and most of all, our actions. We can tell someone we love them, but our actions usually get their first and are usually much more credible. Ask yourself where your courage is most needed and dispatch it immediately.

Bisous,

Léa

To Live “according to nature”… Nietzsche

 

“Sensuality often hastens the ‘Growth of Love’ so much that the roots are weak and easily torn up.”  – Friedrich Nietzsche

“He who establishes his argument by noise and command shows that his reason is weak.”  – Michel de Montaigne

“Let us give nature a chance; she knows her business better than we do.”                      – Michel de Montaigne

Do you want to live “according to nature”? O you noble Stoics, what a verbal swindle! Imagine a being like nature – extravagant without limit, indifferent without limit, without purpose and consideration, without pity and justice, simultaneously fruitful, desolate, and unknown – imagine this indifference itself as a power – how could you live in accordance with this indifference? Living – isn’t that precisely a well to be something different from what this nature is? Isn’t living appraising, preferring, being unjust, being limited, wanting to be different? And if your imperative “live according to nature” basically means what amounts to “live according to life” – why can you not just do that? Why make a principle out of what you yourselves are and must be? The truth of the matter is quite different: while you pretend to be in raptures as you read the canon of your law out of nature, you want something which is the reverse of this, you weird actors and self-deceivers! Your pride wants to prescribe to and incorporate into nature, this very nature, you morality, your ideal. You demand that nature be “in accordance with the stoa,” and you’d like to make all existence merely living in accordance with your own image of it – as a huge and eternal glorification and universalizing of stoicism! With all your love of truth, you have forced yourselves for such a long time and with such persistence and hypnotic rigidity to look at nature falsely, that is, stoically, until you’re no longer capable of seeing nature as anything else – and some abysmal arrogance finally inspires you with the lunatic hope that, because you know how to tyrannize over yourselves – Stoicism is self-tyranny – nature also allows herself to be tyrannized. Is the Stoic then not a part of nature?… But this is an ancient eternal story: what happened then with the Stoics is still happening today, as soon as a philosophy begins to believe in itself. It always creates a world in its own image. It cannot do anything different. Philosophy is the tyrannical drive itself, the spiritual will to power, to a “creation of the world” to the causa prima |first cause|

Friedrich Nietzsche Beyond Good and Evil

 

“It is better to change an opinion than to persist in a wrong one.” – Socrates.

 “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle                                             

“To find yourself think for yourself.” – Socrates

 

Time is precious and each of us is allotted a relatively small portion. Self-examination is crucial and a necessary investment in ourselves, routine maintenance so to speak. If we can’t be firm in our convictions, do we have any? Or do we simply parrot those of another? If we don’t change our minds, from time-to-time, examine our beliefs, are we sure we are capable of doing so. The world does not stand still and we need to be mindful that even the road less traveled bends, rises, and falls.

Bisous, Léa

WORDS TO LIVE BY…

 

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” – Henry David Thoreau

 

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however, measured or far away.” – Henry David Thoreau

 

Desiderata

GO PLACIDLY amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

– Max Ehrmann Original text Copywrite 1927

 

This beautiful work deserves our consideration and reflection. Open your heart as you delve into these words and be inspired. We are in need of his wisdom even more during this perilous time. 

Bisous et bonne santé

Léa

Joyeux Anniversaire Monsieur William Shakespeare!

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”      – The Tempest Act 4, Scene 1

 

“Lord, what fools these mortals be.”  – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

 

JOYEUX ANNIVERSAIRE! In honor of the Bard’s birthday, I offer one of his well known and much-loved sonnets. Yet when I read it, or think of its message, for me it is not just about romantic love but the love of family, friends, humanity, and our struggling environment.

 

Sonnet 116: Let me not to the marriage of true minds

 

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove.

O no! It is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wand’ring bark,

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me prov’d,

I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.

 

Perhaps you have a favorite, and perhaps there is too much to choose from to eliminate others?

 

Bisous, Léa

Deep in the jaws of a pandemic – If

At times like this, I seek knowledge, wisdom and some comfort from some of those who have lighted the way for many in the past. Instead of the usual quotes, I hope I give you much more today.

 

If               

If you can keep your head when all about you,

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good or talk too wise:

 

If you can dream and not make dreams your master;

If you can think and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear the words you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breath a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And-which is more- you’ll be a man, my son!

 

– Rudyard Kipling 1865 – 1936

I do hope you take his words to heart and perhaps listen to what he is telling us and perhaps you? Despite this poem being a century old, it resonates as if told today for the first time. 

Bisous,

Léa

Foreshadowing Tips — Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog

Originally posted on K.M. Allan: One of the best elements that you can add to your book is foreshadowing, which is dropping clues for your readers so they don’t get to that awesome plot twist and immediately think, “Where did that come from?” In that situation, the reaction you want is “OMG, yes!” or…

via Foreshadowing Tips — Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog

I’m back…

“The only constant in life is change.”  – Heraclitus 

In all the time since my last post, there have been personal changes and changes throughout the world. Many of them are troubling. I’ve no doubt that each of you has concerns regarding the state of affairs both where you live and the world at large. 

Always a reader, I often turn to books and the comfort they give. There is a world of wisdom between the covers, questions to ponder and perhaps even shifts in our way of thinking and/or living. 

“If you haven’t changed your mind lately how can you be sure you still have one?”    –  Peace Resource Project ( https://www.peaceproject.com/)

For now, this blog will share quotes, even if I don’t agree with all of them. There may be a few musings, rants and possibly a poem or two… and I would love to hear your thoughts and feelings that these words stir if indeed they do.   Perhaps you will take a moment and share one of your own favorites? At times there may be a focus on a particular author. There are other times when two, three or even more will join it.  On his excellent blog, Charles French will set up a mythical table of authors that one might choose to encounter. Find Charles here: https://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.wordpress.com/  I do hope he will forgive me for borrowing from that delicious idea and creating a Café setting where the invited allow us to sit in and listen, ask questions and perhaps simply reflect on their thoughts.  We will, of course, have our excellent French wine on the table. 

It can be wonderful to read from the great philosophers throughout time and acknowledge some shared beliefs. Truth be told, I find I get much more out of the ones I don’t agree with as it makes me dig deeper into my beliefs, challenges me and question myself. I can’t believe anything that I haven’t thought through exhaustively.  Okay, the caveat here is that intuition can have its way as well but here we are having an Empath’s moment…

“It is always advisable to perceive clearly our ignorance.” – Charles Darwin

Thank you to all who chose to join me on this journey. Let us see what we can discover?

Bisous,

Lea

 

Caligula Unbound

Caligula, Trump… what’s in a name? unconscionable.

Earth Tourist

Caligula Unbound cover

CALIGULA UNBOUND

alan reynolds

copyright © 2019 alan reynolds
all rights reserved
http://www.alanreynolds.nl

Preface
Some stories need to told and retold. One of them is the story of the notorious Roman emperor Caligula.
Struck by the resemblances between Caligula and current American politics, I tried to capture them in this story of a ruler unchained and dangerously free from restraining, sane, and ethical influences and considerations.
In addition to being available in a print version and as ebooks* the full text of Caligula Unbound is online here.

Alan Reynolds
Monnickendam, 2019

* Please contact me at alanreynolds@gmail.com if you would like the print version or an ebook (either epub or mobi format)

Prologue
Long long ago when times were unenlightened
a madman gained much power. Don’t ask how.
His twitches soon had his own Cabinet frightened.
He cajoled, barked, and bullied trying to cow
those doubting that his dubious advent…

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