Notes: The living voice, counts for a great deal

"Honor those you quote by practicing their wisdom and then quoting yourself; be not a mirror but a sprouting seed." I was compelled to publish that thought after seeing popular quote after popular quote retweeted and shared on the Internet.

The importance of practicing the wisdom behind popular quotes instead of simply sharing and forgetting them is paramount. I believe the best way we can honor the authors of those quotes is not by sharing their wisdom, but by practicing it.

After I published my thought, my friend Amit shared the following passage from Letters from a Stoic by Seneca, which gelled very well with this train of thinking (the following was written about 2,000 years ago):

But in the case of a grown man who has made incontestable progress it is disgraceful to go hunting after gems of wisdom, and prop himself up with a minute number of the best-known sayings, and be dependent on his memory as well; it is time he was standing on his own feet. He should be delivering himself of such sayings, not memorizing them. It is disgraceful that a man who is old or in sight of old age should have a wisdom deriving solely from his notebook. ‘Zeno said this.’ And what have you said? ‘Cleanthes said that.’ What have you said? How much longer are you going to serve under others’ orders? Assume authority yourself and utter something that may be handed down to posterity.

Produce something from your own resources. This is why I look on people like this as a spiritless lot – the people who are forever acting as interpreters and never as creators, always lurking in someone else’s shadow. They never venture to do for themselves the things they have spent such a long time learning. They exercise their memories on things that are not their own. It is one thing, however, to remember, another to know. To remember is to safeguard something entrusted to your memory, whereas to know, by contrast, is actually to make each item your own, and not to be dependent on some original and be constantly looking to see what the master said. ‘Zeno said this, Cleanthes that.’ Let’s have some difference between you and the books! How much longer are you going to be a pupil? From now on do some teaching as well. Why, after all, should I listen to what I can read for myself? ‘The living voice,’ it may be answered, ‘counts for a great deal.’ Not when it is just acting in a kind of secretarial capacity, making itself an instrument for what others have to say.

This Moment

Close encounters with death are the ultimate reminder that each day, each breath, is indeed a gift, a precious privilege that we must respect and protect, a reminder that each moment is an opportunity to express the qualities we are worthy and responsible for living, qualities of courage, curiosity, compassion, kindness, and creativity; qualities of strength, intelligence, peace, love, and humility.

This isn't an opportunity we can waste. It's not something we can put aside until we have more time. We must use this moment to live with zest, with vigor, and with veracious valor. We must use this moment to express what it means to be a living breathing human being. We must use this moment to live fearlessly responsible for life because the next reminder we get may not leave us with another moment.

You are an Artist

Everything you do is art.

From the moment you wake up until the moment you sleep, you're creating art.

Brushing your teeth? Art. Putting on makeup? Art. Getting dressed? Art. Eating breakfast? Art. Kissing a loved one? Art. Driving to work? Art. Doing your work? Absolutely art.

Speaking to a friend? Art. Walking to lunch? Art. Reading email? Art. Writing email? Art. Browsing the web? Art. Daydreaming? Art. Brainstorming? Art.

Every single thing you do is art.

You cannot escape it. Whether you choose to believe it or not is irrelevant. The very fact that you're human makes you an artist. You have the gift of conscious awareness, the gift of choice, the gift of creativity. Continue reading

Live Each Day To The Fullest

The following is a guest post by David Turner. He emailed this amazing story to me after watching my latest video, Contemplating Contentedness. David's story touched me in many ways, so I asked if he would allow me to share it with my readers here on the blog.

"We have but limited time in this life and we need to do everything in our power to make the most of it." ~ Raam Dev

Ain't that the truth.

Made a few posts here and there about an RIP to a co-worker. But never really shared.

We had a 76 year old guy cleaning our cars at the dealership. He started about 11 years ago after 30+ years at the local foundry. He came to Indiana from West Virginia (from the hills). His dad worked in coal mines. Denver was unique. Had and kept his true hillbilly accent. "You gots sumthin I can tak this tar of with?" Now cleaning cars, one would think black tar... but he was of course talking about tires.

The guys back in the shop loved to tease him. And he gave it right back at them. He'd walk the dealership singing songs, not words but noises followed sometimes by a "yeah man, yeah buddy". Someone would say something interesting to him and he would make a lil hand gun out of his fingers and make the gunshot noise followed by "yeah" or "yep" or "you can say that again".

He was a true friend to everyone he met. Never met a stranger that didn't become his friend in seconds. Of course he didn't remember half their names, but the folks he befriended remembered him for life. Continue reading