Monthly Archives: August 2009

H.R. 3200, America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, District by District Impact

H.R. 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, District by District Impact

Publications

Friday, 24 July 2009 16:24

The Committee has prepared, for each member, a district-level analysis of the impact of the legislation. This analysis includes information on the impact of the legislation on small businesses, seniors in Medicare, health care providers, and the uninsured. It also includes an estimate of the impacts of the surtax that is used to pay for the legislation.

via H.R. 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, District by District Impact.

Ted Kennedy Dies of Brain Cancer at Age 77 – ABC News

Sen. Ted Kennedy died shortly before midnight Tuesday at his home in Hyannis Port, Mass., at age 77.

via Ted Kennedy Dies of Brain Cancer at Age 77 – ABC News.

Sadness…

And may it be said of us, both in dark passages and in bright days, in the words of Tennyson that my brothers quoted and loved, and that have special meaning for me now:

“I am a part of all that I have met
To [Tho] much is taken, much abides
That which we are, we are —
One equal temper of heroic hearts
Strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end.
For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.

Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for DeliveryEulogy for Edward Kennedy

Boston, MA

Mrs. Kennedy, Kara, Edward, Patrick, Curran, Caroline, members of the Kennedy family, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

Today we say goodbye to the youngest child of Rose and Joseph Kennedy.  The world will long remember their son Edward as the heir to a weighty legacy; a champion for those who had none; the soul of the Democratic Party; and the lion of the U.S. Senate – a man whose name graces nearly one thousand laws, and who penned more than three hundred himself.

But those of us who loved him, and ache with his passing, know Ted Kennedy by the other titles he held:  Father.  Brother.  Husband.  Uncle Teddy, or as he was often known to his younger nieces and nephews, “The Grand Fromage,” or “The Big Cheese.”  I, like so many others in the city where he worked for nearly half a century, knew him as a colleague, a mentor, and above all, a friend.

Ted Kennedy was the baby of the family who became its patriarch; the restless dreamer who became its rock.  He was the sunny, joyful child, who bore the brunt of his brothers’ teasing, but learned quickly how to brush it off.  When they tossed him off a boat because he didn’t know what a jib was, six-year-old Teddy got back in and learned to sail.  When a photographer asked the newly-elected Bobby to step back at a press conference because he was casting a shadow on his younger brother, Teddy quipped, “It’ll be the same in Washington.”

This spirit of resilience and good humor would see Ted Kennedy through more pain and tragedy than most of us will ever know.  He lost two siblings by the age of sixteen.  He saw two more taken violently from the country that loved them.  He said goodbye to his beloved sister, Eunice, in the final days of his own life.  He narrowly survived a plane crash, watched two children struggle with cancer, buried three nephews, and experienced personal failings and setbacks in the most public way possible.

It is a string of events that would have broken a lesser man.  And it would have been easy for Teddy to let himself become bitter and hardened; to surrender to self-pity and regret; to retreat from public life and live out his years in peaceful quiet.  No one would have blamed him for that.

But that was not Ted Kennedy.  As he told us, “…[I]ndividual faults and frailties are no excuse to give in – and no exemption from the common obligation to give of ourselves.”  Indeed, Ted was the “Happy Warrior” that the poet William Wordsworth spoke of when he wrote:

As tempted more; more able to endure,

As more exposed to suffering and distress;

Thence, also, more alive to tenderness.

Through his own suffering, Ted Kennedy became more alive to the plight and suffering of others – the sick child who could not see a doctor; the young soldier sent to battle without armor; the citizen denied her rights because of what she looks like or who she loves or where she comes from.  The landmark laws that he championed — the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, immigration reform, children’s health care, the Family and Medical Leave Act –all have a running thread.  Ted Kennedy’s life’s work was not to champion those with wealth or power or special connections.  It was to give a voice to those who were not heard; to add a rung to the ladder of opportunity; to make real the dream of our founding.  He was given the gift of time that his brothers were not, and he used that gift to touch as many lives and right as many wrongs as the years would allow.

We can still hear his voice bellowing through the Senate chamber, face reddened, fist pounding the podium, a veritable force of nature, in support of health care or workers’ rights or civil rights.  And yet, while his causes became deeply personal, his disagreements never did.  While he was seen by his fiercest critics as a partisan lightning rod, that is not the prism through which Ted Kennedy saw the world, nor was it the prism through which his colleagues saw him.  He was a product of an age when the joy and nobility of politics prevented differences of party and philosophy from becoming barriers to cooperation and mutual respect – a time when adversaries still saw each other as patriots.

And that’s how Ted Kennedy became the greatest legislator of our time.  He did it by hewing to principle, but also by seeking compromise and common cause – not through deal-making and horse-trading alone, but through friendship, and kindness, and humor.  There was the time he courted Orrin Hatch’s support for the Children’s Health Insurance Program by having his Chief of Staff serenade the Senator with a song Orrin had written himself; the time he delivered shamrock cookies on a china plate to sweeten up a crusty Republican colleague; and the famous story of how he won the support of a Texas Committee Chairman on an immigration bill.  Teddy walked into a meeting with a plain manila envelope, and showed only the Chairman that it was filled with the Texan’s favorite cigars.  When the negotiations were going well, he would inch the envelope closer to the Chairman.  When they weren’t, he would pull it back.  Before long, the deal was done.

It was only a few years ago, on St. Patrick’s Day, when Teddy buttonholed me on the floor of the Senate for my support on a certain piece of legislation that was coming up for vote.  I gave him my pledge, but expressed my skepticism that it would pass.  But when the roll call was over, the bill garnered the votes it needed, and then some.  I looked at Teddy with astonishment and asked how he had pulled it off.  He just patted me on the back, and said “Luck of the Irish!”

Of course, luck had little to do with Ted Kennedy’s legislative success, and he knew that.  A few years ago, his father-in-law told him that he and Daniel Webster just might be the two greatest senators of all time.  Without missing a beat, Teddy replied, “What did Webster do?”

But though it is Ted Kennedy’s historic body of achievements we will remember, it is his giving heart that we will miss.  It was the friend and colleague who was always the first to pick up the phone and say, “I’m sorry for your loss,” or “I hope you feel better,” or “What can I do to help?”  It was the boss who was so adored by his staff that over five hundred spanning five decades showed up for his 75th birthday party.  It was the man who sent birthday wishes and thank you notes and even his own paintings to so many who never imagined that a U.S. Senator would take the time to think about someone like them.  I have one of those paintings in my private study – a Cape Cod seascape that was a gift to a freshman legislator who happened to admire it when Ted Kennedy welcomed him into his office the first week he arrived in Washington; by the way, that’s my second favorite gift from Teddy and Vicki after our dog Bo.  And it seems like everyone has one of those stories – the ones that often start with “You wouldn’t believe who called me today.”

Ted Kennedy was the father who looked after not only his own three children, but John’s and Bobby’s as well.  He took them camping and taught them to sail.  He laughed and danced with them at birthdays and weddings; cried and mourned with them through hardship and tragedy; and passed on that same sense of service and selflessness that his parents had instilled in him.  Shortly after Ted walked Caroline down the aisle and gave her away at the altar, he received a note from Jackie that read, “On you the carefree youngest brother fell a burden a hero would have begged to be spared.  We are all going to make it because you were always there with your love.”

Not only did the Kennedy family make it because of Ted’s love – he made it because of theirs; and especially because of the love and the life he found in Vicki.  After so much loss and so much sorrow, it could not have been easy for Ted Kennedy to risk his heart again.  That he did is a testament to how deeply he loved this remarkable woman from Louisiana.  And she didn’t just love him back.  As Ted would often acknowledge, Vicki saved him.  She gave him strength and purpose; joy and friendship; and stood by him always, especially in those last, hardest days.

We cannot know for certain how long we have here.  We cannot foresee the trials or misfortunes that will test us along the way.  We cannot know God’s plan for us.

What we can do is to live out our lives as best we can with purpose, and love, and joy.  We can use each day to show those who are closest to us how much we care about them, and treat others with the kindness and respect that we wish for ourselves.  We can learn from our mistakes and grow from our failures.  And we can strive at all costs to make a better world, so that someday, if we are blessed with the chance to look back on our time here, we can know that we spent it well; that we made a difference; that our fleeting presence had a lasting impact on the lives of other human beings.

This is how Ted Kennedy lived.  This is his legacy.  He once said of his brother Bobby that he need not be idealized or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, and I imagine he would say the same about himself.  The greatest expectations were placed upon Ted Kennedy’s shoulders because of who he was, but he surpassed them all because of who he became.  We do not weep for him today because of the prestige attached to his name or his office.  We weep because we loved this kind and tender hero who persevered through pain and tragedy – not for the sake of ambition or vanity; not for wealth or power; but only for the people and the country he loved.

In the days after September 11th, Teddy made it a point to personally call each one of the 177 families of this state who lost a loved one in the attack.  But he didn’t stop there.  He kept calling and checking up on them.  He fought through red tape to get them assistance and grief counseling.  He invited them sailing, played with their children, and would write each family a letter whenever the anniversary of that terrible day came along.  To one widow, he wrote the following:

“As you know so well, the passage of time never really heals the tragic memory of such a great loss, but we carry on, because we have to, because our loved one would want us to, and because there is still light to guide us in the world from the love they gave us.”

We carry on.

Ted Kennedy has gone home now, guided by his faith and by the light of those he has loved and lost.  At last he is with them once more, leaving those of us who grieve his passing with the memories he gave, the good he did, the dream he kept alive, and a single, enduring image – the image of a man on a boat; white mane tousled; smiling broadly as he sails into the wind, ready for what storms may come, carrying on toward some new and wondrous place just beyond the horizon.  May God Bless Ted Kennedy, and may he rest in eternal peace.

Trustworthy

“People are good and trustworthy and generally just concerned with getting through the day,” Newmark says. If most people are good and their needs are simple, all you have to do to serve them well is build a minimal infrastructure allowing them to get together and work things out for themselves. Any additional features are almost certainly superfluous and could even be damaging.” — Craig Newmark

True leadership is a combination of initiative and humility. The best leader remains obscure, leading but drawing no personal attention. As long as the collective has direction, the leader is satisfied. Credit is not to be taken, it will be awarded when the people realize that it was the subtle influence of the leader that brought them success. —Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao

“To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.” — George MacDonald

“You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you do not trust enough”
— Frank Crane

“Trust that little voice in your head that says “Wouldn’t it be interesting if..”; And then do it.” — Duane Michals

“You must trust and believe in people or life becomes impossible.” — Anton Chekhov

“One must be fond of people and trust them if one is not to make a mess of life.” — E.M. Forster

‘Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.” — Alfred Adler

‘Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” — William Shakespeare

“Deciding whether or not to trust a person is like deciding whether or not to climb a tree, because you might get a wonderful view from the highest branch, or you might simply get covered in sap, and for this reason many people choose to spend their time alone and indoors, where it is harder to get a splinter.” –Lemony Snicket

“You can’t trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there’s nothing you can do about it, so let’s have a drink” — Terry Pratchett

My usual approach to trusting people follows the old Stephen Covey line “assume that what someone is telling you is true, and then ask yourself what it could be true of”. I think most people are trustworthy. To be who they are, and not what you expect of them. If you understand who they are, then you can trust them. If you don’t understand where they are coming from, you don’t know if you can trust them or not. But trusting someone does not necessarily mean that you will trust them with everything — only with the things you know they can handle. I think this made raising my kids easy for me — I knew who they were and what I could trust them with. I never approached them from an attitude of distrust. But I did teach them very early on not to lie to me, and to always let me know where they were. I trusted them, but not always their friends. And taught them not to hang around friends who weren’t worthy of their trust. I hope they have always been able to trust me, too.

I find it sad that we live in a society where misleading others or lying to them is often rewarded. And my own deepest regrets are the times I may have misled others or misused their trust in me. If I give someone my word today, it matters a great deal to me, and I feel the worst when I have to break an agreement I’ve made with someone, even if for very good reasons.

Freestyle

Haven’t been writing much, so just wanted to get some thoughts down today. I’ve felt a bit uptight and anxious ever since being on jury duty, which threw me out of my routines and also required some heavy thinking. I overheard a conversation between the witness and the defendant’s family out of court, and so had myself excused from the case. I spent a lot of time deciding that was the right thing to do, but still felt a bit bad about it, as if I had somehow shirked my duty. In the end I’m sure it was the right thing, since it so strongly affected how I felt about the case, and there was a possible life sentence involved, so I would have had to feel pretty sure about things to be on that jury.

Anyway, it was quite difficult to be my usual calm and inspirational self when I was going through all of that. I shy away from discussing my personal problems and foibles here much anymore, since I did so much of that the first couple of years I wrote here, and then spent much of the Bush years bitching about politics. These days my thoughts turn more to the philosophical, the uplifting, and always the return to the Tao. But turmoil and upheaval are a part of life and the Tao as well, and the darker side of our lives and thoughts cannot be simply ignored, even if they are harder to face at times and require more effort.

As my family returns to school and work, and my time frees up once again for myself, I expect I will get back to my meditation and writing and have a bit more to say. There is a new stack of books here next to me which look like interesting reading and blog material. Older books are being sent on their way through Paperbackswap, which is a great service if you aren’t already using it. I am a great fan of reuse and this is one of the best services available online for trading books.

I am also posting on Facebook, although the format there limits one to little more than trivialities, quick thoughts and photos. I’m enjoying following friends’ travels and adventures, and occasionally there are moments of real connection. Haven’t succumbed to Twitter yet, but who knows. I still don’t feel these social networking tools provide the depth of what one can do with a blog post, but they seem to do a nice job of providing the feeling of connection, if not the depth. For me, that is never quite enough, but the intensity of my feelings and connections runs pretty deep, and tends to be what gets me into trouble. So perhaps a lighter means of communication is good for me anyway.

But I find this shallowness interferes with the depths of my thoughts, and I miss that. So I do intend to write more here again, perhaps moving more into an exploration of the darker side of my thoughts again.

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and Earth.
The named is the mother of the ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one sees the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source
but differ in name; this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.

— Tao Te Ching One

Optimism

Optimism

More and more I have come to admire resilience.
Not the simple resistance of a pillow, whose foam returns over and over to the same shape, but the sinuous tenacity of a tree: finding the light newly blocked on one side,
it turns in another.
A blind intelligence, true.
But out of such persistence arose turtles, rivers, mitochondria, figs–all this resinous, unretractable earth.

Jane Hirshfield
(thanks to Whiskey River)

See those trees
Bend in the wind
I feel they’ve got a lot more sense than me
You see I try to resist — “Rubberband Girl”, Kate Bush

There was an old man who began an orchard upon his retirement. Everyone laughed at him. Why plant trees? They told him that he would never live to see a mature crop. Undaunted, he planted anyway, and he has seen them blossom and has eaten their fruit. We all need that type of optimism. That is the innocence and hope of childhood.

Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao

In the beginning, all things are hopeful. We prepare ourselves to start anew. Though we may be intent on the magnificent journey ahead, all things are contained in this first moment of our optimism, our faith, our resolution, our innocence.

Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao

A flower’s fragrance declares to all the world that it is fertile,
available, and desirable, its sex organs oozing with nectar.
Its smell reminds us in vestigial ways of fertility, vigor, life-force,
all the optimism, expectancy, and passionate bloom of youth.
We inhale its ardent aroma and, no matter what our ages,
we feel young and nubile in a world aflame with desire.

— Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses

“These are the soul’s changes. I don’t believe in aging. I believe in forever altering one’s aspect to the sun. Hence my optimism.” — Virginia Woolf

“When the aerials are down, and your spirit is covered with snows of cynicism and the ice of pessimism, then you are grown old, even at twenty, but as long as your aerials are up, to catch the waves of optimism, there is hope you may die young at eighty.” — Samuel Ullman

“Optimism is a seed sown in the soil of faith; pessimism is a seed hoarded in the vault of doubt.” — William Arthur Ward

I don’t think there’s anything on this planet that more trumpets life that the sunflower. For me that’s because of the reason behind its name. Not because it looks like the sun but because it follows the sun. During the course of the day, the head tracks the journey of the sun across the sky. A satellite dish for sunshine. Wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it. And that’s such an admirable thing. And such a lesson in life.” — John Clarke, Calendar Girls

How (Bad) Process Creates Crisis

As someone whose focus in life has continuously moved towards understand process work and process change, this is a very important statement about our political process in California, and in our nation as a whole. I think this is in many ways what happens towards the end of an empire, as the strategies that used to work — namely force and the dominance of the upper class — no longer will continue to work. The progressive movement does not arise out of a vacuum — it arises out of the need for change, away from a very conservative stagnant society that no longer can economically move forward. Our economy is tied up in meaningless bank accounts, too large to be spent appropriately to create growth. As Dolly Levi said, “Money is like manure — it’s no good unless it is spread around encouraging young things to grow.” Our political process has become the same — no good at encouraging growth, it simply stinks.

We need to change it, and soon. Now.

Over the last several months, we have started to see a lot of attention at the national level devoted to this topic of the California budget crisis. And this would be pleasing to me, if it wasn’t for the minor point that all of it has been wrong. One hundred percent, no exceptions, wrong. You can start by the insistence on referring to it as a budget crisis. I’ll give you a related example. Right now we’re seeing this debate over health care, and the intensity of the town hall meetings and misinformation provided by Republicans and their allies in the health care industry. But really, none of that has to happen. With a Democratic President, and large majorities in the House and Senate, there should be no problem finding a majority that supports some form of decent legislation which includes insurance reforms and a public option to provide competition. But you have the hurdle of the filibuster in the Senate. In fact, the very undemocratic nature of the Senate itself, where the state of California and the state of Wyoming have the same representation despite one having over 70 times as many residents as the other, distorts the debate and creates abstractions from the expressed will of the people and the political will in Washington. Now, that ought to be understood as a political crisis, not a crisis over what to do about health care but a crisis about how to leap the institutional hurdles. Well, take that situation, multiply it by 10 orders of magnitude, and you start to understand the nature of the problem in California.

We have a center-left electorate and a center-right political system in which they must operate. And sure, Democrats in the state could do a much better job at negotiation and advocacy. But my contention is that this is not a problem of personality but process, and that process has created the crisis which we now face. We could elect Noam Chomsky Governor next year and still be saddled with the structural hurdles that must be jettisoned before we can even return to a baseline of sane and responsible governance in California.

And while the worst economic hole since the Great Depression certainly accelerated the problem, this is not the result of a perfect storm of factors contributing to the demise. It was a 70-year bout of rain, and at every step of the way, nobody properly challenged this slip into an ungovernable system. So it’s going to take a lot of time to restore democracy to California, just as it took so much time to take it away. But I believe that we can solve this problem in a way that can truly be a harbinger for the country at large, which is the state’s reputation. If we can really work to figure out the proper model for government that allows for the will of the people to be reflected in policy and provides the accountability for the public so they know whether or not they like the policy results, we will not only have saved California, but the whole nation. So that’s what we’ll be talking about today.

via Calitics:: California – How Process Creates Crisis @Netroots Nation Open Thread.

Solutions (repost)


Escher, Reptiles

Don’t be afraid to explore;
Without exploration there are no discoveries.
Don’t be afraid of partial solutions;
Without the tentative there is no accomplishment.

Indecision and procrastination are corrosive habits. Those who wait for every little thing to be perfect before they embark on a project or who dislike the compromise of a partial solution are among the least happy. Ideal circumstances are seldom given to anyone for an undertaking. Instead there is uncertainty in every situation. The wise are those who can wrest great advantage from circumstances opaque to everyone else.

Wanting everything in life to be perfect before you take action is like wanting to reach a destination without travel. For those who follow Tao, travel is every bit as important as the destination. One step after another : That is still central to the wisdom of Tao.

Every day passes whether you participate or not. If you are not careful, years will go by and you will only have regrets. If you cannot solve a problem all at once, at least make a stab at it. Reduce your problems into smaller, more manageable packages, and you can make measurable progress toward achievement. If you wait for everything to be perfect according to your preconceived plans, then you may well wait forever. If you go out and work with the current of life, you may find that success comes from building upon small things.

Deng Ming Tao, 365 Tao

I used to be very perfectionistic and a procrastinator. These days, perfection is no longer a concern for me, and I tend to do things rather than put them off. The biggest reason for this change for me was actually because of having children, because I no longer had the time or energy to do things to perfection!

I grew up with two mixed messages on perfection. From my mom, I would hear the “four A’s and a B” tape, questioning why I had gotten a B even though all my other grades were As. From my dad, I would work on house projects with him and if I made a mistake, it was, “Well, only you and I will know about it.” It took a long time to get over the perfectionistic message and accept that making mistakes was all right, and part of learning.

There are no perfect solutions to the problems in our lives, no matter how much we long for them. Better to do what you can and work to make it even better than to believe you can’t do anything at all.

Beyond Bitterness

“There is a bitter aftertaste when one swallows the truth, sometimes. It may be years before it becomes apparent, so long that you’ve forgotten that first taste, but it does come. It comes when, having thought you swallowed truth whole, what you got was only a morsel. Further, the spreading bitterness derives from understanding that what you thought was true was, actually, true, but not in the way you thought or wanted it to be.” — Terrance Keenan (via Whiskey River)

“Sour, sweet, bitter, pungent, all must be tasted.”
– Chinese Proverb

I Am Becoming

by Jayne Relaford Brown

I AM BECOMING
the woman I’ve wanted,
grey at the temples,
soft body, delighted,
cracked up by life
with a laugh that’s
known bitter
but, past it, got better,
knows she’s a survivor­
that whatever comes,
she can outlast it.
I am becoming a deep
weathered basket.

I am becoming the woman
I’ve longed for,
the motherly lover
with arms strong and tender,
the growing up daughter
who blushes surprises.
I am becoming full moons
and sunrises.
I find her becoming,
this woman I’ve wanted,
who knows she’ll encompass,
who knows she’s sufficient,
knows where she’s going
and travels with passion.
Who remembers she’s precious,
but knows she’s not scarce­
who knows she is plenty,
plenty to share.

When sorrow comes, its bitterness soaks everything. The sages say that life is illusion, but does that change its poignancy? Let us be sad; it is feeling that makes us human. If we gain enlightenment, understanding all life to be a dream, sadness and happiness will fall away soon enough. — Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao

You and I assumed forever
When we became companions.
But now, unhappy, you are leaving.
The sky turns to bitter candescence
Unslaked by resignation.
— Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao

After a bitter quarrel, some resentment must remain.
What can one do about it?
Therefore the sage keeps his half of the bargain but does not exact his due.
A man of Virtue performs his part;
But a man without Virtue requires others to fulfil their obligations.
The Tao of heaven is impartial.
It stays with good men all the time.

Tao Te Ching, 79

Do not let yourselves be discouraged or embittered by the smallness of the success you are likely to achieve in trying to make life better. You certainly would not be able, in a single generation, to create an earthly paradise. Who could expect that? But, if you make life ever so little better, you will have done splendidly, and your lives will have been worthwhile.” — Arnold Toynbee

Don’t exclude the quiet people from your life who seem so invisible. They will be your confidant, the one who keeps your secrets and doesn’t gossip about you, the one who is there in your most desperate hour when there is no one else you can share your secrets with. They will be the one who loves you and tells you there is hope for a different life than the one that makes you feel so bitter and angry and cynical. They will be the one who loans you money when you need it most, the one who helps you move when no one else is around, the one who indulges you when you most need it. They will be the one who is there for you when you feel there is no chance someone will find you attractive and desirable again.

Never cease loving a person, and never give up hope for him, for even the prodigal son who had fallen most low, could still be saved; the bitterest enemy and also he who was your friend could again be your friend.” — Soren Kierkegaard

The essence of the fourth noble truth is the eightfold path. Everything we do — our discipline, effort, meditation, livelihood, and every single thing that we do from the moment we’re born until the moment we die — we can use to help us to realize our unity and our completeness with all things. We can use our lives, in other words, to wake up to the fact that we’re not separate: the energy that causes us to live and be whole and awake and alive is just the energy that creates everything, and we’re part of that. We can use our lives to connect with that, or we can use them to become resentful, alienated, resistant, angry, bitter. As always, it’s up to us.– Awakening Loving-Kindness Pema Chodron

Every person has the power to make others happy.
Some do it simply by entering a room –
others by leaving the room.
Some individuals leave trails of gloom;
others, trails of joy.
Some leave trails of hate and bitterness;
others, trails of love and harmony.
Some leave trails of cynicism and pessimism;
others trails of faith and optimism.
Some leave trails of criticism and resignation;
others trails of gratitude and hope.

What kind of trails do you leave?”

— William Arthur Ward