Posts Tagged ‘Emerson quotes’

Christmas Eve 2013: HUA Attack

<Dec. 24 & 25/13.>

Generally, I’m pretty good at diagnosing others as suffering from Head-Up-Arse disease (yes, please forgive me my occasional lapses of … decorum ). 

Today I realized I suffer from somewhat regular attacks of the syndrome myself.  

Pretty much every Christmas, Easter & Thanksgiving, actually – with the Christmas season (that annual bumpy emotional roller coaster ride) the star of the show. 

So, earlier today, I had a severe attack.

The world is of course, as ever, falling apart around our ears.

There are typhoons, ongoing nuclear disasters, ice storms for which large cities (like Toronto, Ontario, Canada) are ill-prepared – along with the “everyday” glaring (one might also say appalling & disgusting) income & social disparities/inequalities that we have apparently come to accept as a species, & as individuals (those of us who have accepted them, that is). 

& then there are those of us who have our predictable little meltdowns at certain times of the year.

As I do. 

It’s complicated, & I’m not even remotely interested in trying to “explain” it. So much of it is irrational, & how well can one rationally articulate the irrational? Philosophical question for the day. 

So, from time to time (fortunately relatively infrequently), I get downright self-absorbed about my (so-called) “troubles.” 

Troubles that probably at least 90% of humanity would likely thank you for (given their own deeply deeply difficult circumstances). I need to get a grip … hmmmm? 

A lot of  “negative” emotions run through me when I’m undergoing one of these HUA attacks. 

  • Sadness
  • Self-pity
  • Envy
  • Regret


What came over me today, after realizing what an ass I am, is how humbling, really, these occasional attacks are.

They force me to sit up & take note of how gold-plated my life is (something I am normally quite adept at doing). I am genuinely blessed in a great many ways, & my problems, such as they are, are what you might call “small potatoes” compared to those of so very many HBs. 

So when I catch myself in a full-blown HUA episode, I quickly become ashamed at how absurd I am, but then too, compassion wells up in me for those whose problems are so much bigger “potatoes” than my own. It’s good to have compassion for all of us – myself included! (Heck, I’m allowed to wallow a little, once in a while, no??  As Joanna Macy says, it is appropriate to “honour our pain,” & as Stephen Levine says, many of us have “unattended sorrows.”) 

We are in many ways a rather sorry lot, we humans. (Or worse, even; bear in mind I’m an anti-nuclear activist. The word evil comes to mind often-ish; “sorry lot” really just doesn’t quite cover it. )


Anyway, so the next thing is, I wind up hearing CBC Radio doing a repeat of its Ontario Today call-in show on gratitude.

This turns out to be JUST what I need to put a final end to the HUA episode. A shot in the arm, totally. It reminds me of my posting ‘Gratitude, Remembered’; even a regular practitioner of gratitude can forget sometimes…hmmm?


No doubt I’ll suffer future episodes of HUA at some point, being merely human. A human bean just like all of us. Merely another “bozo on the bus,” hmmm? 

Life is a challenging business, dear Reader. Especially when one is paying full attention to the madness that is raging & seemingly ramping ever upward all around us. This Wendell Berry quotation springs to mind: 

“You can describe the predicament that we’re in as an emergency, and your trial is to learn to be patient in an emergency.” (Wendell Berry) 

Off for a walk!


‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “In our daily lives, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but the gratefulness that makes us happy.” – Albert Clarke, quoted in Speak Peace in a World of Conflict – What You Say Next Will Change Your World, by Marshall B. Rosenberg 

A few bonus others:

“It may be that the satisfaction I need depends on my going away, so that when I’ve gone and come back, I’ll find it at home.” – Rumi, “In Baghdad, Dreaming of Cairo: In Cairo, Dreaming of Baghdad” 

“I know what the greatest cure is: it is to give up, to relinquish, to surrender, so that our little hearts may beat in unison with the great heart of the world.” – Henry Miller

“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.” – Joseph Campbell

“Do not follow where the path may lead…go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882) 

“He then learns that in going down into the secrets of his own mind he has descended into the secrets of all minds.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“What lies behind us and what lies ahead are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson [more Emerson quotes]





12 2013

Slow Learners

Recently had a funny conversational exchange in a bank with a “stranger” who referred to himself as a slow learner.

I guess I could go on at some length on that topic.

What I’d just been mulling over in my mind was mind-made problems. As in, all our problems are mind-made. Heck, the atom bomb was a thought before it became a concrete reality.

I’d even had the thought that I sometimes get the sense that some people’s minds are actually virtual (self) torture chambers. You know??

The smart folks say our feelings are preceded by thoughts. In other words, it is our thoughts that lead to our feelingsnot the other way around.

I meet the occasional person who seems to have a torture chamber inside her or his head. It’s easy to become impatient with such individuals (true confession: sometimes I do) & one can also feel considerable compassion (especially if one makes a point of thinking about being compassionate!)

Because hey! Who among us has never found our mind acting as our own personal torture chamber?? I mean honestly

So. I could say more about problems being mind-made, & torture chambers inside heads & out, & slow learners (this latter is a pretty large club, hmmm? I myself have had a very-very long-time membership), but Life calls.


p.s. right off the top, a few writers whose books spring to mind (there’s that word again) on mind-made troubles & healing:


p.p.s. I’ve been observing recently that some people I encounter seem to have a bit of a mean streak. When I muse some on their past, I’m soon able to get some insight about where the mean streak likely originated.

p.p.p.s. I’m not sure I’ve ever met a single individual who didn’t have something useful to teach me.

p.s. # 4: these last 2 p.s.’s may seem a bit like non-sequiturs to you. They sort of do to me, too. But I think I’ll leave them here. What the heck.

‘Quote of the day with this post: “What lies behind us and what lies ahead are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

A few other Emerson gems (just because I can):

“A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“He then learns that in going down into the secrets of his own mind he has descended into the secrets of all minds.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“As long as a man stands in his own way, everything seems to be in his way.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, American writer and philosopher (1803-1882)

“Nothing is secure but life, transition, the energizing spirit… No truth so sublime but it may be trivial tomorrow in the light of new thoughts.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Do not follow where the path may lead…go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882)

“Life consists of what a person is thinking about all day.” ~ Emerson

“The crime which bankrupts men and nations is that of turning aside from one’s main purpose to serve a job here and there.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

On Success: “To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of oneself; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived…this is to have succeeded.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

** note: heard recently that this was probably not actually said by Emerson. Ah well. So many quotations are mis-attributed, hmmm?

“It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Nothing great has ever been achieved without enthusiasm.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Non-sequitur quote: “Men honour what lives within their sphere of knowledge, but do not realize how dependent they are on what lies beyond it.” – Chuang-tse (quoted in “The Te of Piglet,” by Benjamin Hoff)


04 2012