Monday, May 10, 2010

Dream For Your Life

Deer in Our Backyard
Photo taken by Ben McCartney, June 2007

"A gentle rain makes the grass many shades greener. So our prospects brighten on the influx of better thoughts. We should be blessed if we lived in the present always, and took advantage of every accident that befell us, like the grass which confesses the influence of the slightest dew that falls on it; and did not spend our time in atoning for the neglect of past opportunities, which we call doing our duty. We loiter in winter while it is already spring."

~Henry David Thoreau

"Be not the slave of your own past -- plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience, that shall explain and overlook the old."

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience."

~George Washington

"You did then what you knew how to do,
and when you knew better, you did better."

~Maya Angelou

"Is willing to accept that she creates her own reality except for some of the parts where she can't help but wonder what the hell she was thinking."

~Brian Andreas

And finally this, from one of my wisest friends, who pulled all the above passages together for me:

"Yes, looking back can be a trap, for me anyway. I like the Serenity Prayer--because "accept the things I cannot change" includes the entire past, through and including five minutes ago. That doesn't leave me off the hook for "changing the things I can." But it saves wear and tear on my nerves and heart to forgive myself for all my decisions, and to remember that given the emotional and other data I had at the time, I made what seemed like the best decision I could, at the consciousness level I had achieved to that point. That's what it is to be human--no crystal ball.

"Having said that, I think it is the ongoing challenge to listen to the "still small voice." That is my spirituality. I don't equate the voice with God. It's more like my own unique and local feeling of happiness and aliveness, in any scenario where I am one of the key players. What will I wish I had done, when the immediate pressures bearing on the situation are no longer there? Is it too much to ask, to be allowed to be true to myself? Something like that."

And to conclude ~
A couple of my favorite songs
sung by Judy Collins
on her CD Trust Your Heart

"Trust Your Heart"
The heart will teach us all we need to learn
We have dreams, we hold them to the light like diamonds . . .
Some we keep to light the dark nights on our journey . . .
The heart can see beyond our prayers
Beyond our fondest schemes . . . Trust your heart.

"The Life You Dream"
There's a time that comes once every morning
When you choose the kind of day you will have
It comes in with the sun and you know you've begun
To live the life you dream
You can light all your candles to the dawn
And surrender yourself to the sunrise
You can make it wrong you can make it right
You can live the life you dream.

Lyrics & music for both by Judy Collins
[also on Kitti's List: book blog on "Inner Quiet"]

The picture at top is better, but this one, with the corner of the garage included, gives a better idea of the proximity. Ben took a few at first through the window, so the deer wouldn't be startled. But those shots turned out so hazy, and the deer continued to remain so calm that Ben took the chance of going right outside. As you can see, the deer were only too happy to pose quietly for him!


  1. Joni writes:

    Just read this, Brene Brown's Whole hearted living quotes, before reading your blog. Spooky. Love it all.

    When we compared our dream list to our "joy and meaning" list, we realized that by merely letting go of the list of things we want to accomplish and acquire, we would be actually living our dream -- not striving to make it happen in the future, but living it right now. ~ Brené Brown

    What if the life you've been longing for is right here, right now? What if the deepest dream you could ever wish for is to be in the present and allow for all the joy available in this one moment. Today, just today, consider the possibility that your life is a dream come true, and that being open to what is will bring you more joy than anything striving or achievement could ever offer.

  2. Cate writes:

    All good. Thoreau I'm familiar with, been reading it for weeks now. I keep saying I need to get Emerson in here. I loved him when I was 15. Eve is good too . . . do you really have friends who talk like this?!

  3. Further thoughts on self - forgiveness from various conversations; not sure I embrace all, but food for thought for future exploration:

    If you could have, and if you knew better, you would have done better . . . you did the best that you could at the time.

    The others involved must have asked for the experience that they had...otherwise, it could not have happened . . . it was their karma.

    It is only dreaming and none of it has any effect on reality. Nothing real can be threatened.

    Perhaps forgiveness equals equanimity; let things be the way they are; give up trying to have had a better past; do not feed grudge-fires; allow insights of shared humanity to trump blame.

    Aim to be an avid non - anything - ist; aim to be all that you can be, not be all that you are not.

    Don't get all "should"- y about things; don't force the macromoment to occur. You do not control the universe; approval is not yours to bestow or withhold.

    It is very important that you forgive yourself. Otherwise, you are carrying guilt, and guilt is a request for punishment. Your requests are granted. Such is the power of your mind. Your guilt can cause a lot of suffering for yourself.

    Oprah Winfrey said she was bolstered by the comforting response of Maya Angelou: "I shared this with Maya Angelou . . . and you know what she said to me? It really turned my life around, and I say this to you, 'You did then what you knew how to do and when you knew better, you did better.' And I'll never forget that."

  4. "Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety. Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in. Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays."
    -Ralph Waldo Emerson