January 2014 Features
Poetry of the Present Moment
The present moment is like a spinning wheel,
Taking our wooly, unformed future
And spinning it into the yarns of our past.
The present moment is on the cusp,
Right in between the unknown future
And the known past.
The present moment transforms
The spirit of our future
Into the soul of our past.
Photo of the Month: Sunset Meditation
During the winter, there is something especially appealing about a peaceful beach scene….
Book Review: Until I Say Good-Bye
If you’d like to read a book that is both inspiring and down-to-earth, Until I Say Good-Bye fits that description. Written by Susan Spencer-Wendel (with Bret Witter), this book is subtitled My Year of Living with Joy and it chronicles her last year of relatively good health.
Spencer-Wendel worked as a successful court reporter for years and at home she and her husband were raising three children. Then, in June 2011 at the age of 44 she was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Following her diagnosis, she decided to take seven trips with important people in her life to places ranging from the Yukon to Cyprus.
She journeyed with her best friend Nancy to the Yukon to see the northern lights and she travelled to Cyprus, the birthplace of some of her ancestors, with her husband John. In addition to sharing fascinating stories about the seven trips, Spencer-Wendel provides context by documenting other adventures in her life, such as when she and John lived in Budapest for two years in the 1990s.
Her candor and determination are inspirational and may lead you to think about what it is that you want to try to make happen during the rest of your life. A quote by Dr. Seuss at the end of the book seems to sum up Spencer-Wendel’s attitude: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened."
5 Things to Enjoy about Winter
Even for those of us who don’t participate in winter sports, there are definitely some things to enjoy about winter.
1) Hot coffee and tea warm you up, in addition to waking you up.
2) Pasta and mashed potatoes and other hot foods taste better when it’s cold outside.
3) Sleeping in on a weekend can be easier (because the sun isn’t up as early as it is in the summer).
4) You get to wear your favorite cozy sweater.
5) Snuggling up—with a blanket or loved one—is more fun than it is in the summer.
Word of the Month: Courage
What do you think of when you hear the word “courage”? Do you think of physical courage, the kind that’s required to face down a terrible threat to life and limb? Or do you think of emotional courage, the kind that’s needed to look for a soulmate or start a new project? I tend to think of the latter type of courage, perhaps because in the course of my life, I’ve more often been in situations where I needed courage to face the fear of heartbreak or disappointment than in situations where I required courage to survive an imminent physical threat.
Emotional courage is crucial if we are going to have any chance of realizing our dreams. Yet we don’t have to feel courageous all day long in order to reach our goals. Sometimes, all it takes is a second of courage to send an email that could lead to an amazing relationship or a minute of courage to make a phone call that could help your new project to succeed.
January is a good month in which to meditate on courage, as we often feel an impetus to try something new at the beginning of the year. Of course, we also need courage to stay the course when that’s appropriate and courage to walk away when that is truly what is best. If you need a boost of courage this month, remember the words of Sonny Kapoor in the movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: “Everything will be all right in the end, so if it’s not all right, then it’s not yet the end.”