LEARNING FROM THE WISDOM OF OTHERS

We in the 21st century have no corner on wisdom, despite all our amazing progress in the scientific field. I have been collecting quotations for over a year to use on my Happiness Cards, and I use only words from those no longer living to avoid infringing on copyright protection. Choosing what to include and what to leave out has been an interesting process, and I imagine one could glean a fairly accurate psychological picture of me from the choices I have made.

I am particularly drawn to quotes by people who have had some relevance in my life. John Wooden, UCLA basketball coach and wise man, was coaching when I was a grad student there. He led the team to 10 national championships in 12 years, a record that still stands.  He became world-renown without losing his humility. Many of his instructions to his players have become words that guide lives far removed from the basketball court, and have become known as “Woodenisms

He was born and raised in Indiana, and his quotes are down-to-earth, practical and very Mid-western. “Things turn out best for the people that make the best of the way things turn out,” is a quote that displays his gift with words as well as his practical philosophy. “Never mistake activity for achievement.” That’s one I need to tape to my computer!

Someone else who touched my life and whom I quote is Peace Pilgrim. She’s not as well known as John Wooden, but just as wise in her own way. She began walking for peace at the 1953 Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, and crossed the country on foot several times. I felt as if I was walking in her footsteps when I was part of the Great Peace March and walked from Los Angeles to Washington, DC.

Her quotation from one of my Happiness Cards is: “When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.” Her philosophy can be summed up with the following words: “This is the way of peace: Overcome evil with good, and falsehood with truth and hatred with love.”

The internet is a treasure trove of quotations. Spending time culling through the hundreds available on line continues to be one of my favorite activities.

SURPRISE AT THE DMV

I woke Tuesday night with a start. I hadn’t renewed my driver license on my birthday a few days before. Oh, no! I knew what I’d be doing Wednesday morning! I woke at 5:15, thanks to my feline alarm, and went through my usual “first-thing-in-the-morning” routine before facing the inevitable. I pulled up the driver’s handbook on my computer, did a quick scan of the California rules and regulations and set off for the DMV.

As I pushed open the glass door leading into the small office I was overwhelmed with a standing-room-only crowd of patiently waiting, mainly Hispanic, patrons. I’d forgotten the new California law that allows undocumented residents to apply for a driver license.

There were more than 35 people ahead of me with 2 overworked clerks. Discouraged and upset, I left to run some errands. On my return I saw I’d advanced by one number. Didn’t look promising. I returned in the afternoon, and things were only slightly better. Grrrr!

The only solution seemed to be to arrive the next morning before the doors opened. Got there at 7:30. First one to arrive. I sat in my car to stay warm until others were gathering by the doors. (Great opportunity to pass out Happiness Cards, which I did.)

Doors opened promptly at 8:00. I was second in line and was called immediately by one of the 2 clerks. I made out the necessary form and presented that and my old license to her. She scanned my papers and with a puzzled look said, “Your license hasn’t expired. You have another year! With that, I learned once again how unnecessary all the strum and drang of the past 24 hours had been.

 

WHY FLOWERS?

“Flowers are love embodied. Look deeply at the color. Feel the vibrancy. Put your nose a little closer. Look deeply. Fall inside. Start your life over right here, right now, inside a flower.” ~ Lao TzuTulipWhat a tribute to flowers Lao Tzu makes in that quote! It makes me want to do just as he suggests: soak up the vibrancy and fall inside. Following are some further thoughts about the subject that I wrote for a page on my website to explain my chosen subject matter for photography.

Of all the extravagant beauty on our earth nothing is as colorful, varied, ubiquitous and downright flamboyant as flowers. They are not only lovely to look at, but our very lives depend on them. Most of our food comes from plants that flower, are pollinated and grow into fruits, vegetables and grains. Often the grains are then fed to animals that many people eat.

For a photographer flowers are perfect subjects. They can be shot on location or brought into the studio. They pose endlessly, don’t move around and need no breaks. Each blossom has its own distinctive characteristics. Their varied forms allow me to emphasize detail in a macro photograph, delineate abstract features in black and white, or portray a group of blossoms in all their brilliant color.

You need not be a photographer to enjoy flowers. Bring a bunch of spring daffodils inside to see how they brighten a room. Buy a bunch to give to your neighbor who needs some cheering up; surprise your spouse with his/her favorite blossoms. As Luther Burbank said, “Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food, and medicine for the soul.” Here’s to flowers! www.happinesscards.net