Friday, 24 September 2010

Three Young Ladies?

Last night after my evening meal I went for a walk. As I was getting ready to go out the door my wife’s parting words were, “Remember it is a walk you are going for you are not going out to right the worlds wrongs.” She is always so worried that I will say something to some bunch of yobs and they will not like what I say. I assured her I would be on my best behaviour and headed off out the door.

I set off heading towards the setting sun. The sky was beautiful with its reds and oranges and the dark clouds interspersed through it. It was breathtaking. I turned to head south so the red sky was to my side. Ahead of me were three young ladies, heading in the same direction. They were obviously very hungry and thirsty. They were leaving behind them a trail of litter and empty bottles. My wonder of the sky was spoiled as I tried to gather their mess.

As I caught up with them, I remembered my wives words. I looked at them and said,” I think you have been dropping things that belong to you. Such a shame you spend so much time to look like nice young ladies and then go and spoil it by acting like children.” I popped the litter and rubbish in the first bin about fifty yards further on.

Jerry once reminded me not to blame young people, to blame their parents. Nobody tells so many of our young people how to behave. As I left them, I heard one of them say, “Sorry mister.” It is not all hopeless. I called back, “Thank you.”

I kind of hope my wife is too busy today to read this blog, and please my friends don’t you give me trouble either.

I walked the rest of my journey thinking about the story of the world survey.

The story was that a worldwide survey had been carried out and only one question was asked.

"Would you please give your honest opinion about the solution to the food shortage in the rest of the world?"

The survey was, not surprisingly, a huge failure.


In Africa they didn't know what "food" meant.

In Eastern Europe they didn't know what "honest" meant.

In Western Europe they didn't know what "shortage" meant.

In China they didn't know what "opinion" meant.

In the Middle East they didn't know what "solution" meant.

In South America they didn't know what "please" meant.

And, in the UK/USA they didn't know what "the rest of the world" meant.

I do not mean to be unkind to any country. In times of economic uncertainty it is so easy for us to turn in on ourselves. We have so many problems that need sorting, we have no time for other matters.

In my country right now we are constantly being told about the governments’ big idea. The big idea is not really all that big, it hardly gets past our own noses.

I long for a return of the days when there was a society and we all cared for each other and for the world. We did once, I can remember it.

So sorry this is sounding heavy today. I am heading off tomorrow to run my two mountains. I will not manage a post tomorrow but should manage back on during my time away.

Please all have a great weekend and week. If you have a moment think of me and my mountains, I will try my best to keep you informed.

This blog is linked to my other.  Dave

Thursday, 23 September 2010

How Many Does It Take.

I stood in the shop waiting and waiting. There were four members of staff present and the delivery man was there also, so five of them and one of me. I waited while all four were gathering items to complete the order the delivery man was waiting to deliver. Heads down intense on the task to hand.

I studied the clock on the wall as the second hand repeated its journey for the now sixth time. This must be a really important person they are serving I thought. The need for urgency was so obvious.

At last one of them turned her attention to me. “What can I do for you?” I thought for a moment and said, “Serving me would be nice.” “I see,” she said, “What can I get you?”

Well I had an answer but decided just to tell her what it was I wanted. She went to get the required items. Actually it looked like maybe she was having a real bad day. Her face looked so sad and downcast. At last all the required items were gathered and I paid the bill.

Surprise, surprise she could smile. She beamed as she handed me the receipt. “Can I ask you to look at the back of the receipt? We are asking customers to go online and complete a customer service survey. You could wind £200.”

I looked at her straight in the face and gave her a gentle smile. “I would just love to complete your survey.” Yesterday I did just that can you guess what I said in it? I will leave you to think about that.

Reminded me of the survey about artists and light bulbs.

How many artists does it take to change a light bulb?

Ten. One to change it, and nine to reassure him about how good it looks.

How many modern artists does it take to change a light bulb?

Four. One to throw bulbs against the wall, one to pile hundreds of them in a heap and spray-paint it orange, one to glue light bulbs to a cocker spaniel, and one to put a bulb in the socket and fill the room with light while all the critics and buyers are watching the fellow smashing the bulbs against the wall, the fellow with the spray-gun, and the cocker spaniel.

How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?

Two. One to hold the giraffe and the other to fill the bathtub with brightly coloured machine tools.

How many visitors to an art gallery does it take to change a light bulb?

Two. One to do it and one to say "Huh! My four-year old could've done that!"

How many members of staff does it take to serve a customer? Five if the customer cannot take time to come to the shop.

How many muscles does it take to create a smile? Every muscle in your head. I hope they are all working right now.

I am indeed looking forward to today I hope you are also.  And yes the above story about the shop and the survey is a very true story, I can give you the link to the customer survey.

This blog is linked to my other.  I Have Added More Darks

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Obstacles Along The Way

As I ran yesterday I noticed something we have probably all witnessed a hundred times. The traffic on the main road was slowing, almost to a standstill at some stages. It could be for many reasons. Sheer volume of traffic can often be the case. Or it can be caused by those who are trying to jump the queue and forcing their way back into the traffic further on. Selfish actions may on some occasions help one at the cost of the many. It was Katherine who earlier drew my attention to those whose lives as so important that even passing a car or two makes them feel so much better.

As I approached the bottleneck I could see the cause of the problem. On the roadway was something that had fallen from the back of a lorry. Two lanes of traffic had to push together into one lane to avoid the hazard. This in turn slowed down those behind. Nerves were getting frayed, horns were being hit. Chaos abounded.

Now here is the really interesting thing. I was able to walk out into the road and lift the obstacle to the side with very little effort. Of course my run was not nearly as important as there getting to their place of work, or their meetings.

Did anybody take a second to thank me? I will leave you to work out the very difficult answer to that question. It would have taken any one of the drivers two minutes to put on hazard lights, get out of the car and do as I had done. Far to simple I suppose.

This reminded me of the story of the King and the boulder.

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.

That day the peasant learned a lesson that some of us never seem to learn.

Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

I can think of so many times in my life when I thought that things could never be worse than they were. From the difficulties lessons were learned and experiences gained. Some small; some momentous, but each obstacle a point of learning.

I will say a bit more about this on my other blog. I Think It is Almost There

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Friend Are Such Precious Things.

I had an interesting comment made to me yesterday. Now at this exact moment I am not going to say who it was made the comment, whether it was an acquaintance or a friend. The person I was with had asked me a question about something that was happening in the village. When I said I did not know the answer the person commented that he was surprised. he thought at least one of my friends would have told me. He then went on to name somebody and say, “Surely he knows the answer.”

This comment made me think. Yes the person mentioned might indeed know the answer. But more important did I consider this person a friend, the person he spoke of. He went on to make the comment that he did not know anybody with as many friends as I have. Now the truth is, I do speak to a great many people, likewise a great many people seem happy to share time with me. Yes I am surrounded by friends.

But do I treasure them as I should? Do I give them enough of my time? Am I there for them if they need me? So many questions that saying we have friends throws up. What is the real nature of friendship?

In the world of blogging we can see some examples of the difference. I am sure it is the same for all of us. There are those FRIENDS, who visit out blog on a regular basis whether we visit theirs and leave a comment or not. There are those who only visit after we make a comment on their blog and there are some who never visit at all.

I was made very aware of this when one friend, please note I said friend, asked me to visit her blog. I visit it regularly; I just do not always leave a comment. I do the same with so many. I apologise that I have been so remiss and will make more effort to let you know I am visiting. Friends are important and I cherish the many I have met on blogging.

A very dear friend added to my collection of stories with this little marvel. I share it with you.

Two monks, who kept a vow of silence, were making a journey. The walk was long, warm and tiring. They stopped for lunch. At one point one of the monks, in some way did something to upset the other. The monk slapped his hand across the face of the one who had offended.

The one who had been slapped, stood up. He said noting and with a stick wrote in the sand.

Today my best friend slapped me in the face.

The journey continued, and they walked on.

They came to an oasis where they stopped. They rested, then decided to take a much need bathe.

One of the monks, the one who had been slapped, got stuck in the mud and was sinking. The other monk managed to drag him clear.

The monk who had now been slapped and saved, rested after the ordeal. he then got up and carved into a stone the following words.

Today my best friend saved my life.

As the day came to a close and the two were now able to lay aside the vow of silence and speak, they discussed the day.

The one who had slapped his friend and then saved his life, wanted to know about the writing in sand and carving in stone.

The saved one explained. When someone hurts us, we should write it down in sand where the winds of forgiveness will carry it away. When someone does something good for us we must engrave it in stone so that it is never forgotten, and the winds of time cannot erase it.

Learn to write your hurts in the sand and to carve your benefits in stone.

It is said, that it takes a minute to find a special friend. It takes an hour to appreciate them. It takes a day to love them. But then it takes and entire life to forget them.

To those who know I consider them friends in your artistic eye watch as I carve your name on my heart where it will always be cherished.

This is the way of the Tao.

This blog is linked to my other. The Work Goes On

Monday, 20 September 2010

The Race To The Top.

I am for some strange reason growing more and more reluctant to watch television. In an age where daily more channels are added to the daily schedule. A bigger and bigger selection of programmes to watch; less and less worthy of giving the time to viewing. We have in the UK become obsessed with two things, it seems to me. Reality television, where people expose their lives for the rest of us to view, and then we have the love of so called celebrities. People become celebrities because they have appeared on reality television, then they appear on all kinds of shows telling us how best to enjoy life.

Yesterday as I watched for about ten minutes there was also shown an advertisement for some well known batteries. toys doing all sorts of things but the ones with the right batteries winning and lasting the longest.

I just could not help putting the two together in my thoughts. Let me explain with another of my little stories.

There once was a bunch of tiny frogs.

They had arranged a running and climbing competition. The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower.

A big crowd had gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer on the contestants.

The starting pistol was fired and race began.

Honestly, no-one in crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower.

You could hear people shouting.

"Oh! WAY too difficult!!"

"They will NEVER make it to the top".

"Not a chance that they will succeed. The tower is too high!"

Sure enough the tiny frogs began collapsing, one by one.

Yet some were still climbing higher and higher.

The crowd continued to yell

"It is too difficult!!! No one will make it!"

More tiny frogs got tired and gave up.

But ONE continued higher and higher and higher.

This one wouldn't give up!

At the end, everyone else had given up climbing the tower. Except for the one tiny frog whom, after a big effort, was the only one who reached the top!

Of course all of the other tiny frogs naturally wanted to know how this one frog managed to do it?

A contestant asked the tiny frog how the one who succeeded had found the strength to reach the goal?

It turned out.

That the winner was deaf.

He was the only one whose mind had not been filled with negative and empty advice.

He had listened to the inner voice that assured him success was possible.

Now! This is the way of the Tao.

I will explain the use of this picture on my other blog along with todays art. A Work In Progress

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Let Us Race Again

I apologise that this morning my story begins again with a tale of running but I really just had to share this with you. Since my fall I had allowed myself to get so very unfit. I had not realised just how unfit I had allowed myself to get, until I tried to go for a run with my wife. She had to keep stopping and waiting until I caught up. So humiliating for it had always been me do the waiting.
Yesterday 28lbs lighter and a lot of walks and runs under my belt I was at the two mile mark a full minute and a half before her. I have to say it felt good, even to the point that I was feeling bad about just how good it was feeling. It was after all not a competition; it was just an exercising run.

I have though, to admit, always been very competitive. It feels good to be fit enough again that when I see a runner out in front of me I just want to catch up and maybe even pass them.

Now the reason I am sharing this is because this little incident reminded me of another story of a similar incident.

Long ago there was a young athletic boy hungry for success, for whom winning was everything and success was measured by winning.

One day, the boy was preparing himself for a running competition in his small native village, himself and two other young boys were to compete. A large crowd had congregated to witness the sporting spectacle and a wise old man, upon hearing of the little boy, had travelled far to bear witness also.

The race commenced, looking like a level heat at the finishing line, but sure enough the boy dug deep and called on his determination, strength and power he took the winning line and was first. The crowd was ecstatic and cheered and waved at the boy. The wise man remained still and calm, expressing no sentiment. The little boy, however. felt proud and important.

A second race was called, and two new young, fit, challengers came forward, to run with the little boy. The race was started and sure enough the little boy came through and finished first once again. The crowd was ecstatic again and cheered and waved at the boy. The wise man remained still and calm, again expressing no sentiment. The little boy, however, felt proud and important.

"Another race, another race!" pleaded the little boy. The wise old man stepped forward and presented the little boy with two new challengers, an elderly frail lady and a blind man. "What is this?" asked the little boy. "This is no race" he exclaimed. "Race!" said the wise man. The race was started and the boy was the only finisher, the other two challengers left standing at the starting line. The little boy was ecstatic; he raised his arms in delight. The crowd, however, was silent showing no sentiment toward the little boy.

"What has happened? Why are the people not happy for my success?" he asked the wise old man.

"Race again", replied the wise man, "...this time, finish together, all three of you, finish together" continued the wise man. The little boy thought a little, stood in the middle of the blind man and the frail old lady, and then took the two challengers by the hand. The race began and the little boy walked slowly, ever so slowly, to the finishing line and crossed it. The crowd were ecstatic and cheered and waved at the boy. The wise man smiled, gently nodding his head. The little boy felt proud and important.

"Old man, I understand not! Who are the crowd cheering for? Which one of us three?" asked the little boy. The wise old man looked into the little boy's eyes, placing his hands on the boy's shoulders, and replied softly . "Little boy, for this race you have won much more than in any race you have ever ran before, and for this race the crowd cheer not for any winner!"

This time the people cheer for the event.

This is the way of the Tao.

This blog is linked to my other.      Poppies In The Wind

Saturday, 18 September 2010

I Am Seeking The Truth

I was sitting yesterday starting to prepare to do another drawing, I had the paper, an eraser and two pencils. I had to laugh to myself. Is this all I am going to use to produce what I would hope to call a work of art? It was, and I hope to produce something that I might one day share with you. So I made a start. After being engrossed for an hour, I had not achieved a great deal. but there was at least something on the white surface.

I am so used to having to prepare so many things before starting on a painting and then working fast and after an hour having something to show. Something that will look like a picture.

As I sat and looked I remembered a lovely story I gathered on my journey through life. It is the story of the man who was seeking the truth of life.

After years of searching, the seeker was told to go to a cave, in which he would find a well. 'Ask the well what is truth', he was advised, 'and the well will reveal it to you'. Having found the well, the seeker asked that most fundamental question. And from the depths came the answer, “Go to the village crossroad: there you shall find what you are seeking.”

Full of hope and anticipation the man ran to the crossroad to find only three rather uninteresting shops. One shop was selling pieces of metal, another sold wood, and thin wires were for sale in the third. Nothing and no one there seemed to have much to do with the revelation of truth.

Disappointed, the seeker returned to the well to demand an explanation, but he was told only, 'You will understand in the future.' When the man protested, all he got in return were the echoes of his own shouts. Indignant for having been made a fool of - or so he thought at the time - the seeker continued his wanderings in search of truth. As years went by, the memory of his experience at the well gradually faded until one night, while he was walking in the moonlight, the sound of sitar music caught his attention. It was wonderful music and it was played with great mastery and inspiration.

Profoundly moved, the truth seeker felt drawn towards the player. He looked at the fingers dancing over the strings. He became aware of the sitar itself. And then suddenly he exploded in a cry of joyous recognition: the sitar was made out of wires and pieces of metal and wood just like those he had once seen in the three stores and had thought it to be without any particular significance.

At last he understood the message of the well: we have already been given everything we need: our task is to assemble and use it in the appropriate way. Nothing is meaningful so long as we perceive only separate fragments. But as soon as the fragments come together into a synthesis, a new entity emerges, whose nature we could not have foreseen by considering the fragments alone.

This is the way of the Tao.

I hope this is the start of a wonderful day and weekend for all of you.

Yesterday Jerry asked me to explain how to add a link on a blog. I know a lot of you already know how to do that but as ever trying to be helpful let me explain. First you decide where you wish the link to be and place the cursor there. So if I wanted to link it to Jerrys blog I would place the cursor before his name. Then on the blogger dashboard hit the word Link. A box opens. In the top box I write Jerrys. Then in the box underneath I paste the link to his blog> I do this by opening his blog and copying the address bar and pasting it in this box. You must do it in that order. Then click ok and there you go as you will see if you Hit his name above. I have linked to your profile because I se you hae Two blogs Jerry. Hope this helps.

This blog is linked to my other. Lavender Fields

Friday, 17 September 2010

Please Bring Your Own Spade.

There are every now and then days when you make a little step forward and you just know that it was a significant moment. More than once, fellow bloggers have said to me that if I stopped worrying about painters block it would just one day disappear. They were right, but nothing ever just happens in life we have to make it happen.

I remember being visited once by a young man while I was a minister. He had fallen on hard times, some of which was of his own making. He was an angry young man that morning. It was a Friday morning; I was in the study in the church building, doing preparation for the sermons I would preach on the Sunday. He was blaming everybody for the ills of his life. He said, “I joined this church because you said faith moved mountains.” I got up walked past him opened the door, looked out and then gently closed it again. I sat opposite him and said, “I notice you did not bring your spade.” I told him that faith could move mountains but you have to bring your own spade. I also pointed out that he had blamed almost everybody for his ills, except the most important person of all, himself.

It did change his life. I could almost see the penny drop.

I remember a day when I was out walking with my father. I cannot remember how the conversation had got to where it was, but I had made a comment about doing things to the best of my ability. He went on to tell me that he thought that was good. He then said, “When you do something the first time, do it to the best of your ability. The second time you do it, do it just a little bit better.” What he was saying was in fact go the extra mile.

My old Grandmother was the font of wisdom. I often wonder what she might have become in life had she not lived during a war in which her husband was killed. She one day told me something I have never forgotten. She said, "In life there are those who work all day, those who dream all day, and those who spend an hour dreaming before setting to work to fulfil those dreams. Go into the third category because there's virtually no competition".

I am so grateful for yesterday. For all of those who took the time to get in touch with me. Those who wrote comments; and those who emailed me. Those who challenged me to try other things. On my other blog today I will post another attempt at the Jackie drawing and make further comment there.

Jerry is so correct. Blogging is a marvellous place and together we could achieve so much. Artists have never before had such an opportunity to share. Can you imagine what impressionism might have been like if they had the world of blogging to share their message?

Oh, the picture at the top of this blog is just there for a laugh. Feel free to do so. This was me just about the time I was having that conversation I have related above.

Please do go and read my other blog.  Its Jackie Again

Thursday, 16 September 2010

It All Depends Where You Are.

I promise not to bore you with running but I have to share this with you. Enjoying so much being back on the trail I decided to buy a running magazine. There was an article in it about the best 10 half marathons in the UK. They decided to describe them under three headings. What was good about it, where it was and lastly its downsides. To be expected most of them were in the south of England, but there were two listed from Scotland. The downsides of all the others were small things, like how tough it was. The two from Scotland had the same downside. They were a bit inaccessible and a long travel if you lived in the south of England. I could not believe so instantly penned a letter to them to tell them that from where I stood Bristol was exactly the same, a long way from Scotland.
There is a similar story of a Prime Minister, who shall remain nameless, but he has been in the news a lot recently,

The Minister travelled for days by train and car and boat to one of the furthest islands in Scotland As he surveyed the bleak but inspiring landscape, he turned to a local villager and said: "You're very remote here, aren't you?" She responded: "Remote from what?"

We who have gardens, and I am aware many of you have, can so easily become obsessed with weeds, especially if they are in your lawn. A man who took great pride in his lawn found himself with a large crop of dandelions. He tried every method he knew to get rid of them. Still they plagued him.

Finally he wrote to the Department of Agriculture. He enumerated all the things he had tried and closed his letter with the question: "What shall I do now?"

In due course, the reply came: "We suggest you learn to love them."

Every single thing that happens to us in life always has more than one perspective. Nobody should know that more than the artist. It all depends which perspective we choose to take. I already know that if and when Susan reads this morning she is going to fully agree. How do I know that? Because she is a lady that is so upbeat about life she cannot help telling us to always look for the good in everything, and she is so right.

I have written so many of these blogs now I cannot remember if I have told you the old Native American tale of the two wolves. Whether I have or not it is worthy today of hearing one more time.

There was an old American Native Chief who was talking to his grandson. He told him, "I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one."

The grandson asked him, "Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?"

The grandfather answered: "The one I feed."

So which wolf will you chose to feed. I will try my very best to feed the good one but I know I must always be on guard because the other one has a crafty knack of slipping in there and grabbing my attention.

Beware of hungry wolves

Have a great day.

This Blog is linked to my other. Jackie

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Be Smart Like The Goose.

Yesterday I was out running in what could only be described as a gale. The rain was very heavy and the wind blowing towards me made each step harder than the one before. It reminded me of another occasion when I was out in a similar situation with running with my friend. He had tucked in behind me using me as a windbreak. saying, “There is not much of you but in such situations there is enough.”

That memory was brought back to me not by the wind or the rain or in fact by the running, but later in the day when I saw a flock of geese making their way across the sky. I am sure you have seen how they fly in a large v. They were heading towards Loch Leven.

The next time you see geese flying in a "V" formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way.

As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in a "V" formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily, because they are travelling on the thrust of one another.

When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front.

If we have the sense of a goose, we will stay in formation with those people who are heading the same way we are.

When the head goose gets tired, it rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.

It is sensible to take turns doing demanding jobs, whether with people or with geese flying.

Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

What message do we give when we honk from behind?

Finally - and this is important - when a goose gets sick or is wounded by gunshot, and falls out of the formation, two other geese fall out with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly or until it dies; and only then do they launch out on their own, or with another formation to catch up with their own group.

If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other like that.

The trouble with us is that we are so often like my friend. He wanted to stay in the rear the whole way getting the benefit of my break before him. When he made noises at the back, it was because I was moving too far too the side not doing as he wanted. When we had turned out of the wind to make the home run he, having been shielded from the wind broke out and ran ahead feeling pleased to be able to do the last mile faster than me.

We laughed about that often because the end result was that I waited my time for another equally difficult run and remembered this event and acting differently and got the last laugh. Fortunately we knew each other well enough to laugh sadly so often such single-mindedness results not in laughter but feelings of division.

Maybe the silly goose has something to teach us about co-operation.

This is the way of the Tao.

This Blog Is Linked to My Other Blog  Mountains To Climb

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

You Have to be What You Are.

Yesterday just seemed to go on and on. I wrote my blogs and headed out, in what could only be described as a gale, to do my daily six mile run. Yes I know I am crazy, at least four people told me so, before I had gone the first half mile. In spite of the wind and rain I was running well, I felt a spring in my feet. At about three and a quarter miles I mad a turn to begin the homeward leg. The spring in my foot disappeared as the wind hit me full on. It is just a fact that circumstances sometimes come our way to make life harder, we just have to cope with them, they too pass. It felt good to get home and into the hot tub.

I then spent a long afternoon driving to the sports shop for new running shoes. Another story but not for this blog at this time. The good thought about this is that I was seriously considering my need for these. A few months ago had I thought about this I would have told myself to stop dreaming. Yes the new ones lie on the rack waiting for their first outing.

After evening meal I headed out for a walk. It was still very stormy. Along the coastal path the waves were crashing against the rocks on the shore creating great plumes of foam. It was marvellous to watch. It reminded me of the tale of the little wave.

The story is about a little wave, bobbing along in the ocean, having a grand old time. He's enjoying the wind and the fresh air – until he notices the other waves in front of him, crashing against the shore. “My God, this terrible”, the wave says. “Look what's going to happen to me!”

Then along comes another wave. It sees the first wave, looking grim, and it says to him: “Why do you look so sad?” The first wave says: “You don't understand! We're all going to crash! All of us waves are going to be nothing! Isn't it terrible?”

The second wave says: “No, you don't understand. You're not a wave, you're part of the ocean.”

I finished my walk as darkness fell. As I thought of the little wave I remembered another story.

Once a farmer found a dead eagle, and not much further on a nest and in it was an egg still warm. He carefully took the egg back to his farm and laid it in the nest of one of his hens. The egg hatched and the baby eagle grew up along with the other chickens. It pecked about the farmyard, scrabbling for grain. It spent its life within the yard and rarely looked up.

When it was very old, one day it lifted up its head and saw above it a wonderful sight - an eagle soaring high above in the sky. Looking at it, the old creature sighed and said to itself, "If only I'd been born an eagle.

Sometimes it is not easy to accept what it is that we are. Or the stage of life we are at. We want to change everything and make all things the way we wish. Other times we accept much less than we can in fact be.

Real wisdom is knowing the difference. Knowing when it is best to accept things and go with it or being aware that now is the time to lift out wings and fly.

This blog is linked to my other. Rainy Day On The Coastal Path

Monday, 13 September 2010

So You Thought Nobody Was Looking.

I was Katherine yesterday who said that my story made her cry. It made her cry because she has a deep and profound love of children. That makes her a marvellous teacher, I am sure of this because of the blogs I have read. I was a teacher, and I believe in my heart I was a good teacher.

But let me tell you a little secret. We are all teachers, and the real secret is that we are all teachers when least realise that we are in fact teaching. Let me explain, not today in a story but another of those little lists I so like and enjoy

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator and I immediately wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you feed a stray dog, and I learned that it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you make my favourite cake for me and I learned that the little things can be the special things in life.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you make a meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I learned that we all have to help take care of each other.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you give of your time and money to help people who had nothing and I learned that those who have something should give to those who don't.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you take care of our house and everyone in it and I learned we have to take care of what we are given.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw how you handled your responsibilities, even when you didn't feel good and I learned that I would have to be responsible when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw tears come from your eyes and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it's alright to cry.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw that you cared and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I learned most of life's lessons that I need to know to be a good and productive person when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I looked at you and wanted to say, 'Thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn't looking.'

Each and every one of no matter the age teaches those who watch us all the time. We influence those who love us and those who respect us.

Who will be watching you today and what will you teach that person?

This blog is linked to my other.Large MM Abstract

Sunday, 12 September 2010

The Home Run

I have always laughed when in the village where I live when friends introduce me as the artist. They see me as that, I do not, but it has stuck. It seems though that I am also getting a bit of a name for being the storyteller. There are those, who when they see me in the village, stop me and ask what my story for the day is. I tell them all about my blogging friends and then I have to give them a version of the day’s story or tale. It is amazing how many people still do not have, or wish to have access to the internet.

One of the good things though, is that others then give me a story that I might be able to use or adapt. So I am now also becoming the collector of stories.

Yesterday I was out walking. As I walked I saw notices directing people to a,”Boat Fest.” I did not have a clue what this was but I followed the signs anyway. It turned out to be a meeting of people who had hand built boats. Marvellous works of art. There were craft stalls and all sorts of things. One stall had people smoking haddock in barrels. A local delicacy called, “Arbroath Smokies.” I purchased one and as I sat on the quay to eat it, out of paper, no other way to, a man sat next to me and asked what my story for the day was. He was like me visiting the fest. He then went on to tell me a story that today I am going to share with you because it moved me to tears.

It is an American story and I am leaving it as I was told it. I apologise if my friends over the pond have heard it.

At a fundraising dinner for an American school that serves learning disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:

"When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?" The audience was stilled by the query.

Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked,” Do you think they'll let me play?" Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play, not expecting much. The boy looked around for guidance and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning."

Shay struggled over to the team's bench put on a team shirt with a broad smile and his Father had a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart. The boys saw the father's joy at his son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field.

Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing the other team putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over, but the pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the head of the first baseman, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!" Never in his life had Shay ever ran that far but made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!" Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to second base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball, the smallest guy on their team, who had a chance to be the hero for his team for the first time. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions and he too intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, "Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay" Shay reached third base, the opposing shortstop ran to help him and turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third! Shay, run to third" As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams and those watching were on their feet were screaming, "Shay, run home! Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the "grand slam" and won the game for his team.

That day, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world

Why do I like this story? Because it says this to me. That the answer to the fathers question at the beginning is in the story. When something tragic happens in life the tragedy can be made worse by how people respond to it. Here there was an opportunity for all to learn and turn tragedy into victory. It is all down to how we respond.

I am sorry this has been a long post but I thought the story deserved telling and passing on in its entirety.

This blog is linked to my other. Abstract MM1

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Just Before You Tell Me.

There is always something nice about a little story .We all love a little story, and if it is about somebody else then that is even better. There are always some people who just love to tell you little stories they heard, and thought you might like to know. Yes my blog is called partly, the barstool philosopher so I could so easily be one of those very people.

I do tell lots of little stories, because I love to hear them. I hope though that my little stories are seen for what they are. They are stories to inspire us to think a bit more . To maybe even make us turn to action.

Yesterday I was walking home deep in thought, putting one foot in front of the other. The next thing I knew a “friend “ was walking next to me and speaking to me. I laughed and apologised I had not heard him coming up at the back of me. We walked together and passed the time of day. At first we were only talking about gardens and vegetables, things we have in common. Then he said to me, “Have you heard about,” and he mentioned a name. I knew immediately he was about to tell me a little story. It was a little story about a friend of mine and yes I had heard it before. What is more I knew the little story was not true, and that it was wrong to repeat it and just as bad of me to consider listening to it again. So instead I told him of Socrates. Yes I do that, not just on blogs do I tell my little stories.

I am sure some of you have heard of Socrates, and some of you may even have heard this little tale.

In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”

“Hold on a minute,” Socrates replied. “Before telling me anything I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”

“Triple filter?”

“That’s right,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. That’s why I call it the triple filter test.

The first filter is Truth.

Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”

“No,” the man said, “Actually I just heard about it and ...”

“All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not.

Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness.

Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?”

“No, on the contrary…”

“So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him, but you’re not certain it’s true.

You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left: the filter of Usefulness.

Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?”

“No, not really …”

“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”

Strangely enough after I told him that little story he went back to talking about his garden. We enjoyed the rest of the walk up the road.

So I give you the triple filter test. It may or it may not be useful.

Now having said that  I have never heard anything bad said on blogging about others. In fact it is a world full of good words. I just wish today though I could get past the words and find a way to help a fellow blogger in need. Then blogging would have taken me beyond words.

This blog is linked to my other.Words

Friday, 10 September 2010

Just a Little Thought to Make you Smile.

 So many of you try to get the weekend off to a good start with a light hearted Friday blog, I have had a somewhat heavy blogging week, so I thought today I might keep it light. I have to say though that after reading Sherry’s blog yesterday I had a fairly heavy heart for large parts of the day. How I wish I could think of a way we could help.

Last night I went for a long walk on my own. I walked through the woods and watched the deer have a last meal before settling for the night. It lifted me to see nature in the raw.

Yesterday I watched some young lads in a shop giving the other customers a hard time with their behaviour. It is amazing that the teacher/judge voice still works.

This reminded me of a tale that made me smile. It was a real event. There was a queue of people waiting for the arrival of a bus. At the front was a big burly lad, behind him an old frail looking lady. A man came to join the queue and just pushed in front of the old lady. Nobody said a word. The big lad at the front turned and said to the old lady, “Would you like to step in front of me?” She moved to the front of the queue. The big lad then asked the next person behind the bully to do the same. He did this until the bully was at the back of the queue and he was second from the end. The bully fumed but said nothing. When the bust arrived the tall lad heard the old lady at the front of the queue call him, “Would you like to step in front of me?” Problem solved!

There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom.

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit not a vegetable.

Wisdom is knowing not to include it in a fruit salad.

A young teacher from an industrial city in central Scotland had accepted a temporary job teaching a class of five-year-olds out in one of the most isolated, rural parts of northern Scotland. One of her first lessons involved teaching the letter S so she held up a big colour photograph of a sheep and said: "Now, who can tell me what this is?"

No answer. Twenty blank and wordless faces looked back at her. "Come on, who can tell me what this is?" she exclaimed, tapping the photograph determinedly, unable to believe that the children were quite so ignorant. The 20 faces became apprehensive and even fearful as she continued to question them with mounting frustration.

Eventually, one brave soul put up a tiny, reluctant hand. "Yes!" she cried, waving the snap aloft. "Tell me what you think this is!" "Please, Miss," said the boy warily. "Is it a three-year-old Border Leicester?"

Now is that knowledge or is that knowledge with wisdom?

One last tale before I head out to face the rain for my morning run.

Once a man was walking along a beach. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. Off in the distance he could see a person going back and forth between the surf's edge and the beach. Back and forth this person went. As the man approached, he could see that there were hundreds of starfish stranded on the sand as the result of the natural action of the tide.

The man was stuck by the apparent futility of the task. There were far too many starfish. Many of them were sure to perish. As he approached, the person continued the task of picking up starfish one by one and throwing them into the surf.

As he came up to the person, he said: "You must be crazy. There is about three miles of beach covered with starfish. You can't possibly make a difference." The person looked at the man. He then stooped down and picked up one more starfish and threw it back into the ocean. He turned back to the man and said: "It sure made a difference to that one!"

We cannot change the world but we can change the small bit we live in.

This is the way of the Tao.

This blog is linked to my other blog. Sun and Calm Looking to Arran

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Tell Them You Care.

I am going back in memories today, sorry. Was something that happened yesterday made me remember this true story. I have thought about it before but never mentioned it on here.

I had moved from being a minister to becoming a teacher of world religions and philosophy. Like all other trainee teachers I had to do a year in teaching practice working with a principal who had committed to take on probationers and help them. I remember one particular class that had a number of pupils in it with behaviour problems. I was so unused to having problems with students, so many of them seemed to find their ways to my room at lunch hour and before the day began, I thought I was good with them. yet here was a difficult group. The principal, when I asked for a strategy shrugged and told me I seemed to be doing ok with them, better than most. I felt ok but unhappy I was going to leave that school feeling I had not done the best I could.

One day I thought I would try something I had learned as a minister. Something I had picked up somewhere, I do not know, and used in the training of church elders.

I gave each student in the class a sheet of blank paper. On it I asked them to list the names of all the other students. I then asked them to write one sentence about each of their classmates. The comment they were asked to write was to be a positive comment, stating a good quality the student possessed.

This task took them the whole of the teaching lesson, and it sure did keep them quiet.

At the end of the session I gathered them all in. That night I made each student a sheet with the comments made about them by their classmates. I did not identify who said what, just gave them the list.

It had an amazing effect on that class. For the rest of my year with them I actually looked forward to last period Tuesday afternoon class 2C.

Some seven or eight years later I was contacted by a parent of one of the more troublesome of that class. The son had been involved in a motorcycle accident and had been killed. When they were cleaning out his room they had found the sheet. They had asked his friend about it and he had explained. It seems he had kept his sheet also and so had some of the others in the class.

It seems that for some of them that lesson had been a turning point. That exercise became a standard lesson each year with all my new class groups.

It is amazing the change it can make to a person to be told what it is about them that others like. To know that they do not need to be a bully or the class clown that people care about them as they are.

It is never too late to tell somebody you love them or care for them or respect them. As I have said I do not claim to have been the originator of this idea and you may have heard of it before but it worked well for me.

I no longer give out sheets of paper but I do try to find out little things that people like about each other. If anybody ever says anything to me about a person, good or bad I always then am able to say. “Strange that because they think this about you. They told me this once.” Works every time. I call it my little notebook of good things people say about others.

It is a bit like blogging really is it not? I realised that yesterday when somebody commented on my blog about somebody else, and somebody else said something about me on theirs.

We are a great group here I think.

This blog is linked to my other. The Conspirators

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

So You Think You Have No Worth?

Somebody spotted it the other day I think it might have been Susan, I am so sorry I cannot remember. She spotted that something more was going on in my life and that once I got that sorted the painting would follow. I said nothing at the time but I think that maybe there was more truth in it than I had thought.
I took a look one day, well I was forced to, somebody commented on my weight increase. I think they kindly said, “Mmmm nice spread of tummy there.” When I looked I was not too happy with what I saw. So I have been doing a bit of stock taking.

There is this wonderful and yet frightening journey I have been travelling, called Life. It is good to stop now and again and take stock of it, just to remind ourselves of how the journey has been. So often I have heard people ask the question, “Why me?”

The easy answer is of course, why not me? Having thought about it a bit I have another slant on it. How else could I have become the person I am if I had not made the journey I have made?

My life, my journey is the very tool that has taught me the how and why of living. It neither matters that I have had good and bad experiences. It only matters that I learned something important from each experience. The goodness of an action speaks for itself, learning the error of a bad experience may not reveal itself so easily. The difference in the two journeys is how I use them to learn and to improve my life.

I know it was a phrase overused, but I liked it when Forest Gump said life was like a box of chocolates. The trouble is it often seems that the box is all the same flavours. Well it is up to me to choose an assorted box. My life has indeed been an assorted box, some bits I have loved some bits have been real bad experiences.

I am so fortunate that I have been able to make a teacher out of life’s experiences I have learned from my journey how to have a good day. My teacher, my life's journey has shown me the bad days, but in so doing this, I choose not to allow bad days to accompany me on future journeys. Dying can change your perspective in just one heartbeat. Death can show you every reason that just simply being alive is the greatest box of chocolates of all, as Jerry reminds us all each and every day. I find that for me my journey both good and bad, happy or sad remains a great challenge. To be able to just breath, aye that's life at its very best and what a wonderful and exciting journey it's been, and will continue to be.

The nice spread of tummy is almost gone completely.

Yesterday I got the shortest haircut I have had in years, though still not short enough to please everybody. Yesterday I received a wonderful gift from another blogger of a beautiful drawing. I discovered somebody special was getting over an illness.

Life was good and whoever it was who said it was correct, the painting will most surely come.

I hope my ramblings today are not too personal to be of any use to anybody else. If so once again, apologies.

I am off to have a run and remember all of you the wonderful world of blogging.

This blog is linked to my other. Love Reaches Deep

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Now What Was All That About?

I had a really mixed bag of a day yesterday yet it turned out to be a day well worth having. I suppose I was playing a kind of game, do anything you can to keep busy and then you can justifiably say you had no time to paint.

I ran in the morning, the sun shining on the water but a strong wind made every stride feel like two. I then went wild berry picking. I collected wild blackberries, they make the most marvellous crumble. I recommend this if you are not worried about the number of calories.( recipe available) I filled two large two litre containers. While collecting them an old man passed and stopped to speak. He was a nice old lad, but I could not make head or tale of what he was talking about, and he sure did not want to listen, just words. Made me remember my days as a preacher, I used many words in those days. I often left the pulpit thinking to myself; well that was another lot of word, word and words.

I began to think about this and blogging. I suppose in many ways the two are related, we bloggers are trying to share our thoughts and experiences with one another. I say this because I am so happy to have found blogging and so many friends. Is there any other differences? Of course there is. Here we are sharing from the well of life with no effort to change the lives of other. You could never say that about the preacher.

That said I have listened to some marvellous preachers who have inspired. I have also heard some who had never learned the art of knowing when to sit down. There sermons were like longhorn cattle, a point here and a point there but in between a lot of bull.

Another thing blogging and preaching has in common is this. Preaching is not about hetting up and having to say something, it is about getting up and having something to say.

I would hate to be in the position of having to have something to say, but I know you my friends in blogging will tell me if that happens. I would hate to be like the preacher who thought he had preached a marvellous sermon and was glowing in the praise of his congregation at the door of the church. A visitor, who could be forthright said, “I loved that sermon this morning, it was like water to a drowning man.” Think about that.

If my blogs ever become like water to a drowning man please tell me.

A minister was standing at the church door greeting the congregation as they left. A lovely old lady took his hand. She wished him a good day with the most beautiful of smiles. Then she delivered the sucker punch. “Minister, it seems that every sermon you preach is better than the next one!"

I am saying all of this because all those who gave me marvellous advice yesterday were right and I promise to listen to you all. I have always been guilty of seeing things from the need to be good at everything I do and I get so at myself when I do not. I had a beautiful church in a lovely parish. The church building was beautiful with its marvellous oak panels. It could seat 1000 people. When I stepped into the pulpit you would think that all I would see was a sea of faces of friends. You know I had the ability to notice that one empty seat.

Thank you all my dear blogging friends who help me keep art in its place and my place in art.

Now what was all that about?  Have a lovely day it is raining here so I am going to read some blogs.

This Blog is Linked to my other.   Calm Along the Coastal Path

Monday, 6 September 2010

The First Step

I was amazed yesterday in so many ways some I will share some, I will keep to myself. That is life. It was though a day of amazing events. I had a day with many milestones. As a runner I am aware of things like milestone, yesterday while running I passed six of them and then while out walking I passed another six. I do not of course mean that I passed actual markers, than goodness the roads and country are not blighted by too many of those. I do though have a watch that records my runs and tells me as I hit each mile.
One of the amazing things of yesterday was that once again another blogger and I were on the exact same themes. This has happened before. I read Katherine’s blog and like me she was talking about change. It made me consider further that topic. Why is it we are afraid of change? is it because we are afraid of the possibility of failure?

Some of the thoughts I had about that;

Most people know Jonas Salk discovered the polio vaccine, but few realize he had to fail two hundred times before he found the right one. Thank goodness he kept on trying.

Nearly everyone who watches professional basketball agrees Michael Jordan is one of the greatest players of all time. But most people don't realize he failed to make the basketball team in high school. He didn't quit playing because he had a teacher that failed to see his potential.

Henry Ford went bankrupt five times before he finally succeeded.

Thomas Edison failed over ten thousand times in his attempts to find the correct filament for the light bulb. When an aide urged him to quit after several hundred failures, he replied, "Why quit now? We know of at least a hundred things that won't work."

It seems that we should never be afraid to fail because failure is just the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.

I thought of this as I walked along the side of one of our famous lochs yesterday, Loch Leven. I remembered visiting this loch as a young boy while camping not far from it with the cub scouts. I must have been about 9 years old at the time.

I had been agreed we would all go swimming in the loch. As I stood on the edge I remembered somebody shouting, “Come on in it is great.” It looked like it did yesterday, very cold. I remember putting my foot in the water and jumping back. It was freezing. Eventually I did get in, and then after a minute or so not wanting to get out, it was marvellous. Since the, I just get right in there, why stop and think it will only be cold for a second or two.

Whenever we first break through a comfort zone, we will probably feel uncomfortable at first. But not long after we make the change, we experience a new-found freedom on the other side. Then we wonder why we didn't break through sooner.

There is never ever a time not to contemplate change. So, we might fail, but then we will have learned something.

I better stop at this point I think maybe the ministerial collar has slipped back on under my shirt today.

I hope today hold a point of discovery for you, and know it is going to for me.

Have a wonderful day.

This blog is linked to my other.  1812

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Is It Time For a Change?

Yesterday I went walking with my daughter. We walked a path I had walked not so many weeks ago. It was not the longest of walks lasting only about three hours. The fact that I had walked it before was comforting though, in the sense that I knew what to expect. I knew there were some narrow paths and some big drops, but having been there before I knew what to expect and so able to warn my daughter. The known path is the easy path to take, it contains no surprises. Now that is not always the case. On this occasion I was telling her we were coming up to a very narrow path which had on one side a drop and on the other an electrified fence to protect horses. The last time I had walked there I felt it was dangerous enough for me to write to the council about. To my surprise they had taken heed, as they had promised. The fence had been moved back and the path cleared.

A pleasant surprise! That does not detract from the fact that the rest of the walk held no surprises for me, an easy walk. It might have been more enjoyable to share an adventure of a new route with my daughter. She loves the unexpected, the hint of the unknown and maybe even a bit of danger.

It is a bit like life, is it not? We feel comfortable with the known, the expected, the every day. It can be comforting, the daily routine.

It is easy to get into the position that we just do the same things as before. Some times we have to be forced into change.

It is like the prisoner who said to me one day. “I am going to change my ways. No more of this breaking the law.” “Good,” I said, “have you seen the light?” “No,” he said, “I have felt the heat.”

There are two reasons why people change, they either feel the heat or see the light. Feeling the heat forces us to change. Seeing the light inspires us to change

It is in the unexpected that we discover the person we have yet to meet. That inner person we all have waiting to be released.

From 1900 to 1967, the Swiss were the leading watchmakers in the world. In 1967, when digital technology was patented, the Swiss rejected it in favour of the traditional ball bearings, gears, and mainsprings they had been using to make watches for decades. Unfortunately, however, the world was ready for this advance, and Seiko, a Japanese company, picked up the digital patent and became the leading watch manufacturer in the world almost overnight.

Fifty thousand of the 67,000 Swiss watchmakers went out of business because they refused to embrace this new technology. It was not until years later that the Swiss caught up and regained their position in the marketplace with the creation of Swatch watches

I am about to head out for a run. I think I might go and try a new route. You never know it might be better than the usual ones.

Never be afraid of change, it is after all just the next episode in your life.

This is the way of the Tao.

Have a good day. Oh and I am sorry if you have heard some of my stories before, I am aware that some of them are a bit like me, greying at the edges. But one a day it is almost impossible to be new all the time.

This blog is linked to my other. Apocalypse

Saturday, 4 September 2010

What Was That You Said?

I have nothing to say and I am only going to say it once. Yes I actually heard somebody saying that yesterday. How often can you say nothing. I was not part of the conversation it was a moment snatched that I overheard. It did make me consider though just how many words it takes to say nothing.
I used to tell my students to always remember that if they looked in the mirror, something most of them were not averse to doing, they would notice that there were some things they all had in common. For example, they all had two ears, one nose and one mouth. My son having only one eye makes me very aware of how far one can take this. They would all agree, often of course with some comment about being glad they did not have somebody else’s nose. I then went on to tell them that having one mouth and two ears, they should use them in that proportion. We should do twice as much listening as speaking.

I walked up the road yesterday just as the schools were coming out for the end of the day, and the start of the weekend. I often marvel at how young people communicate at all. They just all talk at once, liberally scattered with words I do not know, and words I would chose not to use.

I remember being told this wonderful phrase. "Say what you mean, mean what you say, and don't be mean when you say it." I really must be getting old. I love words and the power they have to bring joy and healing. But sadly, I believe we are losing the wonderful art of communication. Technology is making conversations one sided, and the art of listening is dying.

Have you ever considered that the two words, SILENT and LISTEN, use the same letters. Now tell me the is a coincidence!

A young son and his father were walking in the mountains. The father said, “Why don’t you yell and see if anyone is out there?”

So the little boy yelled, “Helllooooooo.

To his surprise, he hears a voice answering, “Helllooooooo.

Curious, he yells back, "Who are you?"

He receives the answer: "Who are you?"

Angered at the response, he screams: "You’re an idiot!"

He hears the reply: "You’re an idiot!"

He looks to his father and asks, "What's going on?"

The father explained that he’s hearing an echo, and whatever he says will be repeated back to him. Then the dad yelled into the valley, “I think you’re great!”

The voice answers, “I think you’re great!”

The father turned to his son and explained: "The way you talk to others is a lot like this echo. If you’re angry and yell at them, they will yell back. But if you will say nice things to them, they will respond in the same way to you.”

I leave you this morning with a couple of little sayings I learned from my grandmother. I do not know where she learned them because I never took the time to ask. She used to say to me, "Two monologues don't make a dialogue."

And my final word, “Never miss the opportunity to keep your mouth shut.”

I hope you have a wonderful day and weekend.

You did not think for one minute I was going to stop with my final word, did you?

This blog is linked to my other. Be Still

Friday, 3 September 2010

People Do Some of the Silliest Things.

I popped down to my plot yesterday to collect some fresh produce. While there I saw something I had never seen before, even now the thought of it makes me laugh inwardly. We have no taps for water, so any water we use to water plants has to be collected rainwater or water gathered from a small natural spring. This second way means walking to the spring and filling your watering can and then carrying it back to your plot. At the most it is possible to carry two such containers.

Yesterday I watched somebody fill a wheelbarrow with water and try to wheel it back to his plot. By the time he got there most of the water was watering the paths. If I had my camera with me I might have taken a picture of that and used it in a painting. I suppose nobody told him that was not a good idea. I hope he remembers.

One person who will remember the folly of his ways was a lad I met in prison. For those who are new to this blog, I used to be a prison chaplain. This lad had determined to rob one of Edinburgh’s finest stores. His plan was to wear his best suit and mingle with the customers until he was close to the main cash office. he would then don a mask hold up the teller and make a quick getaway. He got all dressed and ready for the occasion, new shirt and tie and shoes, wearing his best suit. All went well until he was making his fast get away. Forgetting his new shoes he slipped on the tiled floor and was caught by the security men. This error cost him more than spilled water. He did five years in one of Her Majesties finest establishments.

That was a true story; I met the lad and got to know him fairly well. He is now married and has a lovely daughter and holds down a steady job.

On telling the story of the man with the water to a friend I was told of another tale of mans stupidity. The man had been consulting a doctor to help him quit smoking. The doctor asked him how he was doing. He informed the doctor he was doing well, he had not smoked any cigarettes since seeing him. He was though having problems with the patches. Asked if he was using one a day he said yes. When he took his shirt off the doctor could see what he meant his body was covered with about thirty patches. He had not read the instruction about removing and replacing.

I am not at all sure of the authenticity of that one, but it did make me smile.

I can verify this one though, because this is another man I met in prison. He had gone into a bank to rob it. While in the bank he also stole the video camera. He was sure this was a wise move. The recorder was stored elsewhere, this he did not remove. The man never saw the video of him stealing the camera, but the police did.

Now these are all stories about men and there stupidity. Before I leave I hope with a smile on your face let me tell you of the lady who took the baby to the doctor for its first check up. The bay was fine, if a little light in weight. The doctor asked if the baby was bottle or breast fed. She told him it was breast fed. He told her to strip to the waist and he examined her breasts. After pressing and squeezing he said, “I can see why the baby is a bit light in weight. You have no milk.” The lady looked at him and replied, “I would think not , I am his grandmother.”

Yes I had a day full of laughs yesterday and I thought I would share some of them with you today. I hope today brings you a day full of laughs. I am not sure what I am to be about today, I need a rest day from running so I might just pop back down to my plot, you never know what I might see.

Have a good day.

This blog is linked to my other. Alpha Omega

Thursday, 2 September 2010

It All Comes Down To how You See It

I went for a walk yesterday and met this man who looked as if he was carrying the world on his shoulders. When I spoke to him he began by telling me how he was getting old and finding life difficult. Turns out he was younger than me. He complained he got pain in his knee after he walked a few miles. I told him I had pain in my foot before I began. And so it went on, one complaint after another. Eventually I laughed and pointed towards the cemetery. I reminded him there were loads of people in there would love to have his complaints. He looked at me and laughed with me. We walked a bit and I told him one or two stories. He left saying he had a good afternoon. It all depends how you see things.

I have two stories for you today to illustrate my point. Sorry if they are too long.

The first concerns a man who was offered a job as a toilet attendant. He accepted, but when they discovered he could not read or write changed there minds. He was feeling down. On his way home he passed a fish shop. Outside were some empty boxes. He asked if he could have them. On getting them home he chopped them up and sold them as firewood. With the money he purchased more old wood. Before long he went from having a cart to owning a lorry. Then he went into the haulage business and had a fleet of lorries.

One day he saw a Rolls Royce car, he so wanted to own it. He entered the garage and offered to buy it. He was asked how he wished to pay, by cheque or credit card. He said cash. he explained he had no bank account because he could not read or write. He kept all his money at home in a safe. The garage owner looked at him amazed. Just think what you could have been if you could write. “Yes,” he said, “ just think.” he could have been a toilet attendant.

A man decided to start a hot dog business. He bought a cart, filled it with hot dogs, and pushed it down a busy city street during the lunch hour. He sold out, so he ordered more from his supplier. As the weeks passed, he kept expanding his business and became a successful vendor.

One day his son came home from college and gave him some advice.

“Dad, don’t you know what’s going on in the business world? Things are bad. We’re in a depression.”

His father replied, “We are? I guess I’d better cut back on my supply of hot dogs.”

So he did. He reduced his inventory, ordering only minimum quantities. Because he kept running out, his frustrated customers stopped buying from him.

Several months later he shut down his business.

That night he called his son at college and said, “Son, you were right. We are in a depression!”

Yesterday while walking we came to a small rugged made bridge. I had just a small gap in the middle, just a little hop. My wife looked at it, “I will never get over that great gap.”

She did.

The way you choose to see the world creates the world you see. Pessimists expect the worst to happen, which often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The glass is in reality either half empty or half full. It is all up to you.

This is the way of Tao.

This blog is connected to my other. Music Movement and Life

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

It Takes Determination.

 Let me begin by apologising to those of you who got in touch to check that I was alright. How kind of you to do so. I did not make a thing of my being away, I was so sure that where I was going I would have no problems with internet. As it turned out the signal was weak and writing a blog became a big no.

I am back feeling that I have achieved much. In the time I was away I ran each morning, 6 miles. On one day I then walked for four hours, another I walked for five hours, and another 3 hours. I have very nearly completed the whole of the coastal path. I am making my task more difficult by the method chosen. I am parking my car and walking out then returning to my car. Once I have done the whole path I will have completed some 180 miles of walking. Now that may not seem a great deal, but I can only walk with the aid of painkillers, having had so many injuries to my feet with years of running mountains. After my accident falling from my caravan roof I never though I would mange to run or walk again. It has taken a lot of determination.

As Walt Disney said, “It is kind of fun to do the impossible.”

On one of my walks I saw a young girl walking towards me on the path. (When I say path I mean a trodden path not a made up track). She was certainly not dressed for walking. Thin trainers on her feet a bright pink t shirt and fluorescent green shorts with the obligatory tops of the underwear informing me she was wearing, “Girls Boxers,” in bright red. She had a number of piercings and tattoos, one on her hand that read, “Believe.”

She stopped to ask how far she had to go to reach her hoped for destination. She was a bit down when I told her how far she still had to go. She had set out to prove to herself she could do it. I asked about the tattoo reading believe. She told me it was there as a reminder to her that she was not useless and could and would achieve something. I felt greatly moved. She was a girl with a mission and a pleasant personality. I left uplifted and I heard her hum a tune as she carried on her way. I had no doubt she would reach her destination. To make sure she did not have to walk back I slipped her the bus fare.

Somebody once said, “You have to be determined to be determined.”

My father always told me that to do something you have first to tell yourself that you can, if you do not then you will be telling yourself you cannot.

"My mother taught me very early to believe I could achieve any accomplishment I wanted to. The first was to walk without braces." --Wilma Rudolph 1940-1994, Olympic Gold Medallist.

The other great joy of my last few days is that for the first time in two years my weight slipped ever so slightly below the 70kg mark head towards my target running weight.

I hope you are all well and be assured I missed you and will catch up with all your blogs over the next two days or so.

Have a great day and reach you target destination.

This is the way of the Tao.

This blog is linked to my other.  The Mirage