Have you ever driven on a foggy day, the world outside reduced to what you can see a few meters from your hood? That was me today.
It was almost as if the fog lay waiting. As I left the main highway, following the curve of the road, it bulged from behind a small smattering of trees, quickly enveloping me in its embrace. Fingers of mist danced around me, the trees sparkling in the morning haze. You could almost see them smile.
The weight of deadlines and appointments was still there, but it was almost as if the fog had a density great enough to block out everything except what was held within my small space. The twin beacons of fellow travelers passed slowly through my kingdom, paths crossing in separate worlds. I have no doubt that had I reached my hand out, I could have given the hazy grey morning a squeeze.
A calmness, pure serenity came with that mystical embrace. There’s comfort in silence so peaceful. It left me smiling – just me – happy and grateful for all the gifts I’ve been given.
I hope everyone has the chance to get lost in the fog sometimes.
Tonight, I’m a bit tired and because of this I’ve decided to let Walt Whitman take over Day 3. Plus, just look at him… Wisdom flows from the tips of his crazy eyebrows.
“This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body… . The poet shall not spend his time in unneeded work.” Walt Whitman
In one of his most noteable lines from the preface to Leaves of Grass, Whitman throws out a challenge to break the mold. Create your own path and embrace the differences in the world, especially those who may not fit into what society considers the norm. Don’t settle for the answers you’re given, challenge yourself to find out more. The more you understand life, understand yourself, the more beautiful life will be.
~ The Hatter
As we enter the first weekend of Easter, today will be the first post in what I’m hoping will be 40 days of thoughts on friendship, life, happiness, and humility. Each day I will post a quote from a well-known author, philosopher, or religious leader for reflection and follow it with a short commentary.
In what may seem like an unusual way to start an Easter inspired series, I’ll begin by referencing The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama. If you haven’t read anything by the Dalai Lama, please consider doing so at some point, not necessarily the how-to books, but more the high level philosophical books like this one. He has a way of putting things in perspective that I haven’t found elsewhere.
“Human beings by nature want happiness and do not want suffering. With that feeling everyone tries to achieve happiness and tries to get rid of suffering, and everyone has the basic right to do this. In this way, all here are the same, whether rich or poor, educated or uneducated, Easterner or Westerner, believer or non-believer, and within believers whether Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and so on. Basically, from the viewpoint of real human value we are all the same.” – The Dalai Lama, taken from Kindness, Clarity, and Insight’
As we get caught up in the day-to-day rigors of life, it’s very easy to lose sight of the impact we have on those around us and it’s even easier to begin to resent those around us who are different from ourselves, whether that be by religion, status, or race. As the Dalai Lama says, when you really break it down we all have one commonality, we’re all human and want happiness. Unfortunately, this is often overlooked.
How many times in the past week have you actually seen those you come in contact with and considered them as people? The barista in the coffee shop, the man asking for change while huddled under a blanket downtown, the coworker who you’ve never spoken to… They all have their own lives and stories. They all have good days and bad. Some are happy some are not. The American lifestyle of go, go, go makes it easy to pass through the day so focused on ourselves and our own lives that we miss out on the human interactions and human feelings of those around us.
Has there ever been a time when you’ve been so focused on something that you were caught off-guard by a kind word or gesture from a stranger? Imagine how good you felt and the happiness that stuck with you throughout that day… Now try to think of the last time you did this for someone else… Can you come up with an example? We’re only as alone as we let ourselves become.
This weekend, I urge you to take a step back, slow down, and consider the impact you have on others. Happiness begins with you.
~ The Hatter