There are special souls born of compassion and placed into the lives of others for a special reason. They not only see their glass as half full, they are happy to give you their half just to fill yours up.
Their gift is to give. Pleasure is found in the ability to enrich the lives of others while asking nothing in return. Their purpose is well defined by the lives they lead.
“You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving.”
–Robert Louis Stevenson
In the mirror they see an ordinary person. In their actions they sense comfort and peace that only comes from following their natural path. They don’t feel as if they are special and they don’t need the recognition of others to know the value of self-worth.
They are not found on the forefront of life’s stage, they toil in the wings; their only goal to assure that all others have the performance of a lifetime.
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
They generate kindness and encourage consideration for others; helping us to realize we all have our struggles and the journey we travel is difficult if attempted alone.
They don’t wait until Christmas or other holidays to give because they must breathe to live, and giving of themselves is the breaths they take each day.
“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”
-John Andrew Holmes
Holidays are great times to feel that giving spirit rejuvenated, but I like to think about how wonderful the coming year will be if that same spirit is kept alive long after the holidays are gone.
“Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’”
I’ve never met a truly happy “taker.” I’ve never met a truly unhappy “giver” either. If my goal is success and happiness, it appears the intelligent road to take is the one that does not try to travel on the backs of others, but rather helps to clear the way for them to proceed.
As the New Year approaches I want to make certain I keep focus on the proven promise by a man who demonstrated its effectiveness may times over;
“You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”
The sound of rushing water becomes almost hypnotic; the steady rhythm of wet dripping notes pounding out on rock drums far below. A cooling mist blows from the falls as the energy of the descending water creates its own wind. Painted ferns dance to the music and shine in the kaleidoscope of sunbeams bouncing around on natures stage.
I sit in the quiet company of elder trees and listen. My thoughts turn to the words of an ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, who said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for its not the same river and he is not the same man.”
Heraclitus was big on change. In his writings, he spends a lot of time contemplating and philosophizing on what would be termed in present day as “Universal Flux.” Some attribute another famous saying to him, “the only thing constant in life is change.” I believe in many instances this quote holds true. Change. A difficult and vast contemplation for sure.
I’m not big on change. I’m glad for opportunity to see the changing river flow, the change of the seasons, or the downward change in the price of gas; but when it comes to me and my life, my excitement for change quickly wanes in most professional circumstances.
Resting on a fallen log in natures den, I breathe in the forest air, strong in scent of woody pine. I know that to shy from change sets the foundation for stopping progress, for without embracing the new, we are stuck with the old and the evolution needed for success is cut down in its prime. I realize that change means moving forward into the unknown. Perhaps it’s not the idea of change that causes my angst, but this idea of the unknown. Change will, many times, actually be a good thing and bring about a positive movement for the future. But can the unknown ever provide the same confident look into tomorrow?
Under the shimmering water of the flowing stream beside me sit multicolored rocks smooth from the constant polishing of the every changing river. The rocks don’t move much without considerable force, and yet even sitting still they are impacted by the water moving over and around them.
Sometimes I’m a rock. Sometimes I will just sit still and yet will continue to find myself being influenced and moved by the world going by around me. Sometimes the world pushes a little harder and I have no choice but to move in the same direction. The world is ignorant to my wishes, and I am forced to adapt with some change. But even as I am forced to change, I am guided down a path that is full of unknown and the question remains; how do I get comfortable with what is coming that I can’t see?
A large pine cone drops solidly beside me with a loud, “Thump!” I’m startled. I didn’t know that was going to happen. My heart rate jumps and my sense of awareness is heightened. More unknown.
I don’t think I have to necessarily be OK with the unknown. I think being a little on edge about what comes next in my tomorrow or even in my next few moments will help me focus more on being present in each of them as they are passing. I’m already aware that time will continue with or without me. I can’t influence it at all. To be the best person I can, I have to pay attention. I have to maintain awareness of what goes on around me. I must make certain that I remain as prepared as I can for what happens next, but not spend so much energy worrying about it that it consumes my ability to be fully present in the “right now” moments as they occur.
What are you thoughts on this philosophical quandary; Is change good? Is the unknown to be feared? If a large pine cone were to fall in the woods and I wasn’t there to get startled by it, would it still make a sound?
♦Photo Tip♦ One of my favorite ways to photograph water and waterfalls is with a slow enough shutter speed set to let the glowing smooth water gather a visual motion. There are a few things that will help make your same water pictures turn out the best they can. A good, steady tripod is really a must for tack sharp pictures with the slow speed shutter. You want to try and get a shutter speed that is slow enough to smooth the falling water, but fast enough so you don’t blow out the whites with over exposure. For most waterfalls, the tumbling drops will start to blend around 1/30th of a second or slower. The time of day, angle of the sun, and weather will all impact what settings work best, so don’t be afraid to take lots of pictures with different set ups until you find the one that works for your current environment. If you have the ability to take bracketed exposures you can really make these photos pop. If you’re not sure how that works, just stay tuned to this blog and we’ll get to it sometime I’m certain!
A WanderingPixels blog remix.
A man wakes up early in the morning every day to go to work at a company he loves. He builds boats. He works with other people who build boats, specifically fishing boats. His particular craft, which he does well, is to hand-lay the air dried lumber planks that form the hull of the boat. He specializes in carvel planking, which he learned from his father who learned it from his father, who used the same technique when he built Tall Ships that crossed the oceans in earlier times.
The boats this man builds are used to catch shrimp off the coast of North Carolina. One boat in particular, the Miss Evans, spent many years in service bringing in shrimp that was served in restaurants up and down the East Coast. Some of those shrimp made it inland, traveling a few hundred miles on ice to satisfy the needs of Piedmont landlubbers craving a taste of the sea’s bounty.
In a small town in the central part of the state, there is a cozy diner that got a shipment of these delectable shrimp delivered only once or twice a year. It was news in this little town, and the arrival of the Miss Evans shrimp was always announced with fanfare. One particular individual was especially excited when the shrimp arrived. She had never seen the ocean. Confined to her bed by a tragic accident, she was limited in her ability to travel. Nonetheless, she appreciated good shrimp, and saved diligently to be able to purchase a few when they came to town. She never married and was focused on her trade.
Although immobile, she knew how to sew. She specialized in making jackets; heavy wool jackets that could keep a person warm and dry in the worst of weather. The fine detail and extra care that was put into her coats was well known. Each was handmade and crafted for the individual who ordered it. Although expensive by the standards of the time, she was only able to lovingly create 4 or 5 jackets a year due to the complexity of their needlework. Still, she had a waiting list of folks who wanted to own her treasured jackets that was pages long up until the day she died.
A gentleman from New England proudly wore one of those coats every day, weather permitting. He got the coat as a gift many years ago, from a friend who owned a boat building company. One of the workers had mentioned that his aunt made the nicest wool jackets, highly prized for their fit and finish. The owner had purchased a coat from Miss Evans and cherished it so much that gave a boat the same name, to honor her for the fine work she obviously took so much pride in doing.
The boat builder never knew a boat he carefully created had been named after his aunt.
The gentleman from New England later became president of the United States, wore the prized wool jacket at his inauguration, and now it hangs in the Smithsonian.
Miss Evans never knew that the shrimp she so loved came from a boat with her namesake, or a jacket she made became famous.
The owner of the boat building company eventually retired and moved inland. He bought a small diner in a central part of the North Carolina, where he serves shrimp when he can get it once or twice a year.
In the spirit of honesty; this story is a work of fiction. I created it while looking at the picture I took of a boat. And while none of it is true, the premise of the story line is not so far-fetched.
Edward Lorenz was a very smart man. His Chaos Theory, later leading to the term he coined– “The Butterfly Effect” describes how slight changes in one dynamic system can and will have an affect on other dynamic systems in proximity, which in turn will affect another, and so on. Basically stated, chaos is defined by Mr. Lorenz: “When the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future.”
Fascinatingly confusing to try and think about for a simple mind like mine, but here is how I translate it:
I like to think that I have have potential for lots of unseen connections of some form or fashion. Most of my acquaintances and people I run into each day come from different backgrounds, perform different jobs, and cope with daily life in different ways. I think we all have a story to tell that brought us to where we are today. Although different in many ways, I think I still impact many people I don’t even know by what I say and do to get myself through the day. I wonder what type of tangled web I would discover if I could see all the lines that remotely tie us together as I wiggle through life every day.
I just hope when I flap my wings, like the butterfly in South Africa; I create something more pleasant than a hurricane.