Archive for Inspirational Quotes – Page 2

What I Learned from the 2014 Winter Olympics

One thing I know for sure is that there are opportunities for learning all around us, if we will but only open our eyes and ears – and hearts and minds.

Did you catch any part of the recent Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics? Did you see the part when the snowflake, which was supposed to transform into the fifth Olymic Ring, didn’t transform? If not, you can catch a glimpse of it here. It was talked – and joked – about all over social media and, I would bet, at most “water coolers” around the world. My favorite joke was from The Huffington Post. It showed a picture of the four open rings and one un-opened one, with a tag line that said,”too afraid to come out.”  You can see that joke, and other clever (and some crude) ones at Buzzfeed’s article called The Best of the Internet’s Response to the Fifth Ring Not Opening. You can see a less subjective article from The Atlantic about the mishap here.

Admittedly, there were a lot of other really cool effects that did work during the lavish ceremony, and can still find evidence of this all over the internet, including this article from the sports site, Bleacher Report. But this error had the potential to overshadow all of that, and haunt Russia and the Olympic organizers forever.

But I predict it won’t. Why not?

Just a little over two weeks after the techincal debacle, during the Closing Ceremony, Russia showed us all that they had decided not to let the earlier error –  the error seen ’round the world – keep them down. They replicated the same exact scene, with the first four snowflakes opening beautifully. Then, what happened next showed us that Russia has a sense of humor after all. When it was time for the fifth ring to open, breaths were held across the globe. And for a short moment, which seemed like an eternity, it didn’t open. And then it did. And we all sighed. And laughed.

Russia and the 2014 Winter Olympic Committee had taken what was a snafu of epic proportions and used it to make fun of themselves.

What a beautiful lesson! Since not even the Russians take themselves too seriously, why should we? Why should I?

So this is one of the many things I learned from the 2014 Winter Olympics. And it has very little, if anything at all, to do with the athletes, the medal count, or even the the politics of the international event. It has to do with you and me and how we will live our lives from this point forward. Will we live them fully and richly and joyfully? Or will we die before we die?

I hope you join me in choosing to really live while we are alive. After all, in the words of Elbert Hubbard, “Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.”

PS Tragically, Elbert Hubbard and his wife died aboard the RMS Lusitania, which was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine on May 7, 1915. With all due respect to this wise and accomplished man, I certainly hope that he had been living while he was alive.

Valentine’s Day – The Bad News and the Good

The bad news: For many, Valentine’s Day is among the year’s most unhappy days, whether or not they are in relationships.

The good news: There is a foolproof way to eliminate this unhappiness due to an unfulfilled desire for love, and not just on February 14th!

So, what is this foolproof way of having fulfilling, lifelong love?

Loving yourself.

Granted, this can be difficult. Fear not, though, there’s more good news. Louise Hay has offered us clear directions for getting started, with her 12 Commandments to Help You Learn How to Love Yourself.

They are:

  1. Stop All Criticism;
  2. Forgive Yourself;
  3. Don’t Scare Yourself;
  4. Be Gentle and Kind and Patient;
  5. Be Kind to Your Mind;
  6. Praise Yourself;
  7. Support Yourself;
  8. Be Loving to Your Negatives;
  9. Take Care of Your Body;
  10. Do Mirror Work;
  11. Love Yourself… Now; and
  12. Have Fun!

It would be easy to let this list overwhelm us. That’s why we need to just pick one and start there. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m going to start with #6. Which one will you choose?

Regardless of which, do choose one, and make yourself your own, lifelong Valentine.

Choose you. You’re worth it.

Love,
Laura

P.S. For more about the 12 Commandments, go to this page of Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life site.

P.P.S.  This post is based on an article from the February, 2013 Edition of my newsletter, True Voices Express.  If you’d like to subscribe, please do!  Just go here and fill out the form in the top, right corner.  Thanks!

It’s Create A Vacuum Day

Before you go thinking that I’m suggesting we all create vacuum cleaners today, hear me out.  That’s not what I’m talking about, unless of course, you want to do that!

What I’m suggesting is that, in honor of Create A Vacuum Day, we clear out some space, whether it be physical or emotional.  Surely there is something – an item or a negative thought pattern  – you’d like to re-gift, recycle, or just plain get rid of.  There are certainly those things for me.  And in addition to my feeling good about doing one or all of those things, something else good will come of it.  How do I know?

Perhaps you’ve heard the idiom, “Nature abhors a vacuum.”  This is a statement attributed to and debated by many very smart men, including Aristotle, Galileo, and Isaac Newton, to name a few.  The idea is that nature requires spaces to be filled with something.

For example, if you have a glass that is full of water, and you pour the water out, it seems as though the glass is empty.  But, in fact, it is not.  It is full – of air!

Therefore, I am thinking that we could use this special day to create a vacuum in our lives, so that something we prefer or even deeply desire can rush in, like air into an “empty” glass.  What do you think?  What will you get rid of?  And what is it that you’d like to rush into the space that you create???

Poetry and the Olympics: Michael Phelps and Me

As of now, Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time.  Wow – that is so exciting!  And, as much of a star as he is, he’s also been known to make mistake or two. I, too, have been know to make a mistake now and again.  🙂  And I’d like to apologize for at least one of them here.  My apologies to Jane Yolen, Mary Oliver, Jack Gilbert, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Tony Hoagland. In my enthusiasm for your amazing work, I posted your poems without asking for your permission or for the permission of your estates.  I hope you can forgive me.  Please know that l’ll be removing your poems from my previous posts, and replacing them with links…  And, starting right now, I’ll be posting only links or original poems, such as the one I posted yesterday by my friend Ken Carlson, and the one I am posting right now, by me!

The Call to Connect

There is a need I have
To connect
From waaaay down deep inside me
To waaaay down deep inside you.

You can take that to mean something
Sexual, and sometimes it does,
But mostly it doesn’t.
Mostly, it means

I have a need to see you, know you, feel you and
To be seen, known, felt by you.
And then there comes the time when I am done
Connecting with you.

This is when the call comes
To connect with me
Only. Sometimes
I answer.

Laura Overstreet Biering (Copyright 2008)

 

Poetry and the Olympics: Are You Among the Best in the World?

Maybe we can’t all be Olympic athletes or geniuses or stars, but I know one thing at which we can all be hailed as the very best.  Being ourselves!

Today’s poem is by a friend of mine, Ken Carlson. It grabbed me from the very first line, and I am delighted to share it with you.  It’s entitled “The Best You.” Enjoy.

The Best You

I know you are tired
I know you are ready to quit
Do your best

I’m not asking you to win
I’m asking you to try
Do your best

This is how you learn
This is how you grow
Do your best

I respect you
Especially when you try
Things you don’t know
And you…
Do your best

Imagine if today
Every day
You just did it
Your best

Imagine how many failures
Imagine how many successes
You would experience

You would be the best
The best you
That you could be

A Pretty Good Play

According to the Book of Days for the Literary Year, on November 5, in 1644, Samuel Pepys wrote in his Diary that he had been to see MacBeth, “a pretty good play.” Clearly, the test of time has shown us that Shakespeare’s MacBeth is more than just a “pretty good play.” It’s clear now, over 367 years later, that Pepys underestimated MacBeth … Or did he? Wasn’t he just stating his opinion, to which he was certainly entitled?

Who are we to judge what the test of time will prove? People are going to like what they like. And that’s their (our) prerogative. In fact, it’s one of the things that makes the world such an interesting place.

Just because people like or don’t like what you do (or don’t do), however, doesn’t mean that it’s not worthy, not a masterpiece. And furthermore, it doesn’t mean that you’re not worthy, either, not a masterpiece! Those people may just not be “your people.”

So whether or not you or your stuff is deemed “pretty good” by someone else, claim it – claim you – as worthy. The test of time may tell us what’s deemed true about your stuff. But for now, one thing we know for sure is that you are a valuable piece of the global puzzle – a masterpiece, no less.

So there!

Gratitude and Want – One Paradox of Being Human and Divine

Hello, my dear lovely,

I am writing to say – out loud – that I want to write for 15 minutes a day.  I would love to write for an even longer time, but setting that bar hasn’t served me lately.  So, inspired by Dawn Goldberg of Write Well U, I’m going to write at least 15 minutes a day, for at least 15 days in a row.

This shouldn’t be difficult, as there’s a lot I want to say.  It’s true, I want people to be moved and educated and inspired and empowered by what I write.  But mostly, I want to do it because I want to do it.  And I believe that because I’ve wanted to write regularly for so long that I am meant to do it.  So there.

There is a lot I want.  Off the top of my head, I’ll say I want to sleep well and eat well and get (and stay) fit.  I want to (want to) exercise.  I want to be in nature more of the time, and be with the people I love even more than that.  I want to create and connect and learn and teach and grow and be me out loud.  And I want to help others do the same – if that’s what they want.

I want to make so much money that I am not only able to have the things and experiences that I want for myself, but I also want to be able to share it with others.   I want to share my things and experiences with those I love, and I want to give money to complete strangers, supporting people and causes I believe in.

I want, I want, I want. Sure, I want a lot.  And there’s a lot more than what I’ve mentioned here.  The paradox is that I am also very grateful for all I have  and am and all I am able to do.

One thing I am grateful right now is the fact that I just wrote for more than 15 minutes!  Thanks for being here for that.

I wish for you all that you want.  And I wish for you wanting what you want without judging or shaming yourself in any way.   By our very nature, we are human and divine, and inherent in that is paradox.  Embrace this paradox, and all others, if you can.  Life is far more enjoyable this way, for me at least.  And as a result, I feel so much more free to be me out loud.

Isn’t that a nice way to feel – free – here on the 5th of July?

Won’t you join me?

love,
Laura

PS On another note completely, there is a fabulous play by Lanford Wilson called Fifth of July.  He wrote lots of powerful plays worth looking into, if you’re so inclined…

 

 

Eleanor Roosevelt, Goddess of Authenticity and Courage

I have been re-reading one of my favorite Eleanor Roosevelt biographies, Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way, and seriously, this woman rocked!  Hence, I see her as a great choice with whom to kick off Women’s History Month (after my mom, of course)!

I am not going to even begin to think that I can do her justice here, in a little ol’ blog post.  What I am going to do is point you over to her page on Wikipedia.  First, however, I am going to list only some of the many great things she is quoted as having said.  Enjoy!

  • Courage is more exhilarating than fear, and in the long run, it is easier.  We do not have to become heroes overnight.  Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.
  • Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.
  • Friendship with one’s self is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.
  • I you have something to say, you can say it.
  • I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.
  • In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.
  • It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.
  • One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes… and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.
  • People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.
  • Readjustment is a kind of private revolution.
  • Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.
  • The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
  • We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.
  • What matters now, as always, is not what we can’t do:  it is what we can and must do.
  • When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?
  • When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.
  • Work is easier to carry when your heart is involved.
  • Women are like tea bags – you can’t tell how strong they are until you put them in hot water.
  • Women, whether subtly or vociferously, have always been a tremendous power in the destiny of the world.

Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month:  One whole month of the year dedicated to one of the two genders.  Hmm… In one way, it’s sad to think we need a designated month to remember that (we) women have made significant contributions in our world. On the other hand, I am glad that while we still need it, we have it.  (At what point do you think we won’t need it?  Soon, I hope!)

This year, and every year, that month is March. And so today, on the first of this month, we celebrate Women’s History Month.

For which women in history – recent or in the distant past – are you most grateful? What did you learn or receive – directly or indirectly – as a result of their lives and the actions they took – or refused to take?  And how are you living differently now, due to their influence?

Think about it and then let me know.  I’d love to hear!  Plus, there are so many, and so many I don’t yet know about, I look forward to learning from you.  Most of all, however, together, let’s celebrate and honor the important women that came before us!

PS  March is a special month for me for another reason, too.  It’s the birth month of someone very special in my life – Mary Ann Luck Taylor.  Happy Birth Month, Mom!  I celebrate, honor, and love you!

The Holidays: Holy? Holey? Wholly?

Just hearing these words – without seeing them – brings me back to church hymns of my youth.  This month hymns and carols and traditional music are all around us.  Many of us are even hearing and singing them without much attention to the words.  It’s a time of year when I think we do a lot of things without much attention. We run on automatic at the very time it would serve us to be more intentional.

Whatever holidays you celebrate this month, chances are there is much to do.  Decorating, shopping, planning, cooking, packing, delivering, mailing.  There’s so much packed into the few weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day that it hardly seems there could even be room for “holes.” And yet, they’re there:  those spaces between what we’re doing and what it all really means.  It isn’t always easy to acknowledge that our observance of holidays – those days we hold sacred and dear – could have holes, could be incomplete.  But in the busy-ness, it’s easy to rush past meaning in our efforts to just get it all done.  How many times, for instance, have you pulled out the Christmas decorations before the Thanksgiving dishes were even dry, and then spent New Year’s Day packing them all away in a hurry to “get the house back to normal”?  Did you get to enjoy them, remembering the trip to Mexico where you purchased the tiny bird ornament made of clay?  Or what about thinking of how your parents lit the candles on this very same menorah? Or was getting them put out and then put away just another chore on your to-do list?

Can we fill the holes? Perhaps. And perhaps focusing on the holiness of our holidays is a way to do so.  Regardless of your tradition, holidays in this season are all holy in some way. (I’m assuming that’s where the word holiday came from, in the first place!)  Beyond the decorating, shopping, cooking and parties, there are – to borrow the phrase – the reasons for the season.  If we put first the true meaning of our holidays, the real reason we have them in the first place, our priorities become clear, making it easier for us to follow suit with our actions.

We might do this in very simple ways – reading and meditating on sacred texts, attending services with family and friends, spending some time working with a favorite charity, spending time in nature, breathing in the grandeur, or just stopping and breathing and listening – being attentive, regardless of where we are.  We can bring our focus back to what it is that makes our holidays holy.  Can’t we?

That’s a tall order – celebrating the true and holy bases for our holidays and still take care of the shopping and wrapping and party planning.  Can we possibly do all of that and remain whole ourselves?  How do we make it to January 1st with the energy to move into a new year with excitement and purpose?

What if we don’t have to do it all?  Try making a “Not to Do” list this year.  Include those things that you’ve felt pressured to take care of in the past, but that you really don’t enjoy and that aren’t even critical to your celebration of the holiday. Then, don’t do them.

In his book, “Hundred Dollar Holiday: the Case for a More Joyful Christmas,” author Bill McKibben writes, “The reason the holidays are wonderful is because there remains a residual set of traditions from before hyper-consumerism, of being together with friends and family, and doing things like singing carols that connect you with other people. Most of the best traditions of Christmas and other holidays pre-date the current commercial celebrations, and they’re among the things that we need to recapture even as we invent new celebrations.”

If we take an honest look at our priorities, we can probably separate those things we do out of a sense of obligation and duty from those in which we truly find joy.  It is then that we can celebrate the holy, wholly.