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Living As Wisely As Possible

Another Take on ‘Oh, You’re Being So Illogical!’

apporangeA recent front-page article in The New York Times was entitled, “In Battle, Hunches Prove to be Valuable Assets.” The article—continuing from the front page of the newspaper to take up the full page on A6—describes the research done with soldiers on subjects like “how the brain processes images, how well it reads emotions and how it manages surges in stress hormones.” Dr. Antonio Damasio, director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California, is quoted in the article:

Not long ago people thought of emotions as old stuff, or just feelings—feelings that had little to do with rational decision making, or that got in the way of it. Now that position has reversed. We understand emotions as practical action programs that work to solve a problem, often before we’re conscious of it. These processes are at work continually; in pilots, leaders of expeditions, parents, all of us.”

The either/or thinking—logical, rational, conscious thinking versus hunches, feelings, “gut responses”—once again proves to be too simplistic. (more…)

A Green Shoot Growing From a Dead Log?

For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down,
that it will sprout again,
and that the tender branch thereof will not cease.
Though the root thereof was old in the earth,
And the stock thereof die in the ground;
Yet through the scent of water it will bud,
And bring forth boughs like a plant.

—The Book of Job (14:7-9)


No one among us would say, I think, that this is an easy time. Where is there an uplift of spirit? Certainly not among the news headlines, the situation in communities around the country, or the concern in our own homes. Yet…Yet…

In ancient wisdom we often find a perspective that has stood the test of time in its truth and usefulness. (more…)

Borrowed Wisdom to Begin A New Year

All of us have probably seen more “Lists About How To Live Life” than we could possibly ever incorporate into our daily routine.  Googling “lists how to live life” brings up twelve pages and counting of entries…sites like “How To Live Life to Your Full Potential,” “Simple Living Manifesto,” and “A Guide to Life and Lists to Live By.” No matter how useful any individual site might be, we couldn’t be faulted for feeling inundated with suggestions, tips, recommendations, and reminders.

Sunrise, Nov. 5, 2008 Lake Michigan, Chicago. Photo by Ernestine Hambrick

Sunrise, Nov. 5, 2008. Lake Michigan, Chicago. Photo by Ernestine Hambrick

And here I am offering you yet one more list!


Once in a while, someone sends me a list that has entries on it that truly do make me stop and think. Words that bring me up short in an eye-opening way.

Recently a lawyer friend of mine sent me a list called “Instructions for Life.” This list is attributed to the Dali Lama, although I cannot vouch that he is the author. I can vouch for the usefulness to me of several of the items in the list. (more…)

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