After much consideration, hesitation, deliberation, several repetitions, & much derision from my relations, I have finally passed my matriculation examination which is a great botheration to the Indian nation whose main occupation is cultivation through irrigation.
MY FRIDAY STORY
The Daffodil Principle
Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, “Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are over.” I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead “I will come next Tuesday”, I promised a little reluctantly on her third call.
Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn’s house I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren.
“Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see badly enough to drive another inch!”
My daughter smiled calmly and said, “We drive in this all the time, Mother.” “Well, you won’t get me back on the road until it clears, and then I’m heading for home!” I assured her.
“But first we’re going to see the daffodils. It’s just a few blocks,” Carolyn said. “I’ll drive. I’m used to this.”
“Carolyn,” I said sternly, “please turn around.” “It’s all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience.”
After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read, “Daffodil Garden.” We got out of the car, each took a child’s hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight.
“Who did this?” I asked Carolyn. “Just one woman,” Carolyn answered. “She lives on the property. That’s her home.” Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house, small and modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house.On the patio, we saw a poster. “Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking”, was the headline. The first answer was a simple one. “50,000 bulbs,” it read. The second answer was, “One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain.” The third answer was, “Began in 1958.”
For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration.
“It makes me sad in a way,” I admitted to Carolyn. “What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and had worked away at it ‘one bulb at a time’ through all those years? Just think what I might have been able to achieve!”
My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way. “Start tomorrow,” she said.
She was right. It’s so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, “How can I put this to use today?”
Use the Daffodil Principle. Stop waiting…..
Until your car or home is paid off
Until you get a new car or home
Until your kids leave the house
Until you go back to school
Until you finish school
Until you clean the house
Until you organize the garage
Until you clean off your desk
Until you gain 10 lbs.
Until you get married
Until you get a divorce
Until you have kids
Until the kids go to school
Until you retire
Until you die…
There is no better time than right now to be happy.
So work like you don’t need money.
Love like you’ve never been hurt, and, Dance like no one’s watching. If you want to brighten someone’s day, pass this on to someone special.
Wishing you a beautiful, daffodil day!
Don’t be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin.
Crisp morning air.
A choir of nature’s various voices celebrating the arrival of a new day.
The ones that catch the worms.
Food. From one perspective.
A sign of disease & decay. From another.
A few folks up & about. On their morning walk.
A few dogs walking their owners.
I have been reading Emerson’s Essay on Compensation. “An inevitable duality exists in nature.” Makes a lot more sense to me now than it did 5 years ago.
Business-speak for a presentation of information of something that is taken for granted.
I read today that we count our life in years, & live them in days, hours & moments.
Early this morning, as I meditated, a thought floated in – (isn’t that amazing, how thoughts FLOAT IN??) – a memory actually, of my first paid employment at a garment retailer. I was contracting for the inventory accountant who was on leave. The job involved compiling, understanding & reporting of the Work-in-Progress account. My predecessor showed me the intricacies involved – using MS Access reports to fetch the information, spending a couple of days formatting the gazillions of rows of data, & then performing the analysis required.
It somehow seemed wrong to me that computers would actually make work harder – (read “a couple of days formatting the gazillions of rows of data”) – & my predecessor was the in-house expert on this task. The thought continued, & instead of getting straight on at the task (I was warned against delaying any of the reporting requirements), I walked up to the database administrator, a person I had befriended at the coffee machine, & told him what I was thinking about.
His response both excited & shook me – he gave me an “insight – how the database application used a query to convert the raw data into information, & then created a “soft-on-the-eye” report – great to read, but of no use whatsoever to someone who had to work with it to analyse the data. He showed me how to get the report, cutting down my work tasks by a full two days! The time saved I used to learn more about how to create those queries, & how databases really worked, etc…
My insight: In life, as at work, cosmetics are good only up to a certain point. I’m better off investing time understanding the fundamentals & learning to apply them than simply spending time doing what others have done before, without questioning. The easy way is always there – I simply have to find it.
Courage is the mastery of fear, not the absence of fear.
Feel the fear & do it anyway.
I’m not thinking of courage to go into war, or fighting aliens, or some monster being that is about to destroy the world. No, that isn’t the courage I’m talking about at all.
I’ve been watching my little “I’m-almost-4-years-old” daughter at very close quarters of late. In the last month or so, our relationship has taken on a depth I’ve never truly felt, except for the first couple of months of her life, after watching her be born.
I’ve been inspired by the courage she’s shown in doing things that sometimes terrify me. Like simply walking up to a person she’s seen & met for the first time, & saying thank you for letting her pet the horse. & then having a conversation about horses & their hair & her hair & dogs & whatnot.
I am beginning to understand what the phrase “Child is the father of man” means. Innocence, I think, is unadulterated. I’m beginning to think that the word – adulterated – refers to something spoiled by adults. But again I digress.
Fear is something we learn as we grow older – fear of people, fear of solitude, fear of poverty, fear of … the list can be longer / taller than Robert Wadlow. Yet, as children, we’re unblemished – what we fear we have learnt from our surroundings – parents, peers, siblings. Fear is the external world’s way of control over something that is otherwise uncontrollable. & most of us fall for it.
Most I said. I will devote this week to look for & post stories that are in the news, of people who have summoned up the courage to do things – not necessarily earth-shattering or record-setting events, rather, of people who to me appear worthwhile emulating for their every-day courage.
I read an interesting article yesterday here, the results of a poll that suggests that over 80% of the 27000 people who were part of the survey from all over the globe, suggest that the Net is a “Fundamental Right”.
My idea of fundamental rights was a list of some words that you had to memorize, & be able to recite to pass your school exams. I can’t remember one fundamental right or duty enshrined in the Indian Constitution. Or any other country’s constitution for that matter.
I began to think as I write this if I know what I hold to be my own fundamental rights, my private Constitution. I struggle with the thought, but here’s a feeble attempt:
- Right to decide what to do with my life & discover my own destiny.
- Right to enjoy life & all that it has to offer
- Right to learn more about anything that catches my fancy.
- Right to my personal beliefs, & to change them.
This list is by no means comprehensive, & is something I have consciously set out to discover. I realize that these Rights also come with Duties or Action.
My personal role model, Ben Franklin had a list of 13 virtues he attempted to live is life by (you can read about them here), which he had a very interesting way of tracking. In his autobiography, he mentions how he would try to live each one of them for one week. Over the course of 52 weeks, he would have tried (& his achievements & life tells us he mostly succeeded) each one of them four times, he also tells us he tracked his results very diligently for quite a long period. (Reminds me to read the book once again, I don’t seem to recollect some important details!)
It was a warm day.
The air was thick & sticky, like a bowl of porridge.
The train was packed with people heading back home. Some kept fanning themselves to cool down. Others tried to get busy with their books or iPods or computers. Minds were feeling as dull as the heat that numbed it.
Then suddenly came the staccato of machine gun fire. Jerked into action. Those unfortunate enough to be seated at the windows ducked for cover. Everyone else did too, not wanting to get a stray bullet in their ear.
The firing continued. People peering from their hiding places. Nearly everyone had ducked. Most were safe.
Most, except one young, bearded fellow. Had dark glasses on. Well dressed. Polished shoes. Head leaned against the window. Unmoving. Was he hurt? Did he get the gunfire? Where is he hurt? Do we need to pull the chain & stop the train?
& then came the sound again. Louder this time. The silence in the train car was deafening. Were they following someone? Everyone was looking out the window, trying to identify where the tanks & guns were.
Attention went back to the young fellow. He was breathing. Deeply & regularly.
Sleep is a wonderful drug. Snoring isn’t!