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from The Book of Qualities by J. Ruth Gendler

Harmony doesn’t seem extraordinary until you have known him for a while.  He knows how to be gentle, and such gentleness is surprisingly powerful.  The silence around him is lyrical.  If I sit in his kitchen in the late afternoon and drink ginger tea, by the time I am ready to go home the contradictions inside my head are no longer shouting at me and trying to tear each other apart.  He gives me space to be my whole self.

It may be hard to believe it now, but there was a time when Harmony was afraid to leave his house.  I am not sure about the whole story.  In college he was an outstanding athlete, and he won many prizes.  One summer when he was training intensively, he became dissatisfied with the whole set-up.  Torn apart inside, he could no longer keep his balance.  He alienated many of his friends with his tirades about hypocrisy and ugliness.  Frustrated with people, he took long walks through the neighboring countryside.  He found sanity in the geometry of the old buildings and started dreaming about how to organize spaces in which he could feel more comfortable, thus stumbling into the profession of architecture through a back door.  He has learned how to design rooms which evoke different aspects of our selves.  Although he is a meticulous architect, he is no longer fussy and alienated.  He can go anywhere now.  Simply by being himself, he alters the current in the field around him.

step with care

Posted on

Step with care and great tact
And remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

Theodor Seuss Geisel, 1904 – 1991

why worry?

“Forty percent of the things you worry about will never occur anyway.”

“Thirty percent of the things you worry about are things that have already happened — in the past.  And all the worry in the world ain’t gonna change what’s already happened, right?”

“. . . twelve percent of all worries have to do with needless imaginings about my health.  My leg hurts.  Do I have cancer? My head hurts.  Do I have a tumor?  My daddy died of a heart attack when he was sixty, and I’m fifty-nine.

“Ten percent would be petty-little-nothing worries about what other people think. . . . And we can’t do nothin’ about what other people think.”

“Eight percent for legitimate concerns. . . . But . . . it should be noted that these legitimate concerns are things that actually be dealt with.  most people spend so much time fearing the things that are never going to happen or can’t be controlled that they have no energy to deal with the few things they can actually handle.”

Matthew 6:34

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

music of possibility – sound of potential


“All creatures are flawed, but out of the flaw may come the universe.”

– Marguerite Young

“I like flaws and feel more comfortable about people who have them.

I myself am made entirely of flaws,

stitched together with good intentions.”

– Augusten Burroughs (Magical Thinking: True Stories)

Think Smart

from the book jacket:

In Think Smart, the renowned neuroscientist and bestselling author Dr. Richard Restak details how each of us can improve and tone our body’s most powerful organ: the brain.

As an expert on the brain, Restak knows that in the past five years there have been revolutionary new scientific discoveries about the brain, its function, and its performance.  So he’s asked his colleagues — many of them the world’s leading brain scientists and researchers–an important question: What can I do to help my brain work more efficiently?  Their surprising–and remarkable feasible–answers are at the heart of his book.

Restak lists the findings of some of the ‘world’s most prestigious brain experts’ suggestions for anyone who wishes to develop and maintain an optimally functioning brain:

1. – Attention: This must be rock solid.  Attention in the mental sphere is equivalent to physical endurance in the physical sphere.

2. – Memory is a natural extension of attention.  If you attend to something you increase your chances of remembering it.

3. – Sensory memory consists of the brain’s initial recording physical sensations as they impinge on our sense organs.  Iconic memory (things that we see) and echoic memory (things that we hear) are the main forms of sensory memory.

4. – Long-term memory refers to information that becomes a permanent part of us (information about our work, our relatives and friends: basic facts about our culture such as holidays, movies, and television shows; income tax deadlines).  Vocabulary is the best example.  We can learn new words and phrases throughout our lives, no matter how old we become.

5. – Working Memory: Also known as short-term memory, working memory involves the most important mental operation carried out by the human brain: storing information briefly and manipulating it.  working memory differs from long-term memory in an important way.  While long-term memory is for the long haul–establishing memories that become permanent and available for future retrieval–working memory is for “right now.”

6. – Mental exercises:  For mental exercises to be beneficial to brain health, they should be tailored, I’m convinced, to each person’s interests and proclivities.  Because of this tendency for mental exercises to provide limited and circumscribed benefits, a program for enhancing brain performance must include efforts aimed at improving the functions mentioned above along with seven other key brain functions:

Visual observation

Fine motor skills

Tactile perception




Visual-spatial thinking

. . . The more vivid your impressions about what you see, hear, smell, taste, or touch, the easier it is to establish a vivid and easily recollected memory.


Quote of the Day

Hope begins in the dark,

the stubborn hope that if you just show up

and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.

You wait and watch and work:

You don’t give up.

– Anne Lamott