Surprise! + The Art of + Not Like I Did Anything
Happy New Year and Good Morning from Prince Edward Island,
Put the kettle on and let’s have two cups; we did survive another year! Looking forward to seeing what this year will bring.
Our eldest daughter surprised us by arriving home from Kelowna on the 23rd, just under the lockdown deadline. It had been over three years since she was home. Such a treat. We all tested several times over the holidays, and all is well. We will be sad to see her leave tomorrow.
Like a blizzard, Omicron is blowing through the region. Hopefully, like all blizzards, will die out soon. Stay safe. Our young niece and nephew tested positive. We hope for a speedy recovery and no long-term health consequences.
Looking back over the year, I have made a list of the books I read. Added a few in process of finishing.
2021 Book List. (not it in any order)
The Little Prince by de Saint-Exupery, Antoine
A Man at Arms by Stephen Pressfield
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden
Principles by Ray Dalio
An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff
The Science of Self Discipline by Peter Hollins
Several Short Sentences About Writing by Verilyn Klinkenborg
The Artists Way by Julia Cameron
Healing Childhood Trauma by Robin Marvel
Agent Sonya by Ben MacIntyre
The Greatest Miracle in the World by Og Mandino
Into the Magic Shop by James R. Doty, MD.
Firewater: How Alcohol Is Killing My People (and Yours) by Johnson, Harold R.
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
How to Avoid A Climate Disaster by Bill Gates
Canoeing the Mountains by Tod Bolsinger
Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins
*Currently Reading or as the mood hits.
*The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Baltasar Gracian, Joseph Jacobs Translation 70% read
*The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk 40% Read
*Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation by Stephen Mitchell 20% Read
*Of Wolves and Men by Lopez, Barry 20% Read
I am most engaged with The Art of Worldly Wisdom at the moment.
The Art of Worldly Wisdom is a book written in 1647 by part life-coach, part Machiavelli, part Yoda, Balthasar Gracian [1601-1658]. A Jesuit priest, baroque prose writer and philosopher. He wrote this collection of pithy sayings four centuries ago. Gracian speaks to the twenty-first century as well as the seventeenth.
The book is a collection of 300 maxims, each with a commentary, on various topics. Giving advice and guidance on how to live fully, advance socially , and be a better person. The book became popular throughout Europe. It was translated by Joseph Jacobs 1892. You can access a free digital edition through Google Books via their partnership with Princeton University Library.
Some highlights from the book to share with you as we go into a new year.
Slow and Sure.
Early enough if well. Quickly done can be quickly undone.
To last an eternity requires an eternity of preparation.
Only excellence counts; only achievement endures. Profound intelligence is the only foundation for immortality. Worth much costs much.
The precious metals are the heaviest.
To Excel in What is Excellent.
A great rarity among excellences. You cannot have a great person without something pre-eminent. Mediocrities never win applause. Eminence in some distinguished post distinguishes one from the vulgar mob and ranks us with the elect. To be distinguished in a Small post is to be great in little: the more comfort, the less glory. The highest eminence in great affairs has the royal characteristic of exciting admiration and winning goodwill.
Do Not Give Way to Every Common Impulse.
One is great who never allows themselves to be influenced by the impressions of others. Self-reflection is the school of wisdom. To know one’s disposition and to allow for it, even going to the other extreme so as to find the juste milieu between nature and art. Self-knowledge is the beginning of self-improvement. There be some whose humours are so monstrous that they are always under the influence of one or other of them, and put them in place of their real inclinations. They are torn asunder by such disharmony and get involved in contradictory obligations. Such excesses not only destroy firmness of will; all power of judgment gets lost, desire and knowledge pulling in opposite directions.
I mentioned in a blog last year that I spent time searching for a word to represent the year ahead, and last years word was growth. Looking for My North Star + What About You? + Or You’ll What?
If I were to give myself a score, I think I would have to take the test again. There was a lot of stress in 2021 and that alone stunted ‘growth.’
Stress interferes with everything. Creativity, it robs us of joy, interferes in our relationships with others and ourselves.
“Everything can be taken from a person but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances,
to choose one’s own way.” Viktor Frankl
This years word is still being formulated and listened for.
Put good things in front of your eyes all day and turn the tide of negativity. - Pema Chödrönf
Aliveness comes down to one thing—consenting to rise,
to be dented, impressed,
pressed in upon,
to rejoin, to open, to ponder,
to be where we are in this moment and see what happens,
allowing the breath of not knowing to be taken,
wanting to see what is there and what is not there.
Aliveness springs from our making something
of what we experience and receiving what experience makes of us.
~ Ann Ulanov
A story and website that brought awe to me in 2021.
Sunken by grief, Alenka Artnik found herself alone on a bridge, contemplating suicide. Ten years later, she is the world’s greatest female freediver and getting stronger with each record-breaking plunge. How one woman emerged from mental health struggles to push the limits of the human body.
The mind is - potentially - the greatest prison ever built. But, you have a lot of say in what goes on in there. It's your mind, and, within reason, you can do whatever you want with it. Because of its power and importance to change your life, you have to take care of your mind first. That’s where it all happens. Control what goes on in your mind, and you’re going to be able to control a lot more of what goes on in your life. ~ Kamal Ravikant
Read and Watch This Beautiful Story.
Over the last few days, we have been binge watching Love on the Spectrum on Netflix. Finding love can be hard for anyone. For young adults on the autism spectrum, exploring the unpredictable world of dating is even more complicated.
Kindness is like snow - It beautifies everything it covers." ~ Kahlil Gibran
Two seasons of a compassionate, human celebration of difference, and of love. To see the empathy, kindness and gentleness expressed through these human connections can be emotional (in a good way) to watch.
Music Samples from this week are:
Classical: David Fray Goldberg Variations
Family is up and on the move, got to run. Have a great weekend.
Thank you for all your comments on the blog this past year, they provide a great deal of encouragement.
Wishing you and yours a safe and happy 2022.
With love from Prince Edward Island,
Bruce + Millie
ps. Your Morning Smile
I hate it when my wife gets mad at me for being lazy.
It’s not like I did anything!
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