Brilliant Advice for You from Shakespeare

From Henry V

All things are ready if our minds be so.

Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin As self-neglecting.

From Hamlet

This above all: to thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.

From Julius Caesar

france-772589_640There is a tide in the affairs of men Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life Is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, And we must take the current when it serves, Or lose our ventures.

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.

Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.

From Romeo and Juliet

Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.

My bounty is as boundless as the sea, My love as deep. The more I give to thee The more I have, for both are infinite.

From As You Like It

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.

Blow, blow, thou winter wind! Thou art not so unkind as man’s ingratitude.

From Measure for Measure

Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.

The miserable have no other medicine but only hope.

From Macbeth

william-shakespeare-67764_640But screw your courage to the sticking-place And we’ll not fail.

Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.

From King Lear: To willful men, The injuries that they themselves procure Must be their schoolmasters.

From Sonnet 116 Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds.

From Othello: Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing; ’Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands. But he that filches from me my good name Robs me of that which not enriches him And makes me poor indeed.

From Antony and Cleopatra: To business that we love we rise betime, And go to’t with delight.

From The Merchant of Venice: The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.

All’s Well That Ends Well: Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.

The Unsurprising Rise of Donald Trump

Donald Trump is leading in the polls, leading in delegates and may well win the Republican presidential nomination. You may be appalled and dismayed but you should not be surprised.

Trump often calls his campaign with its millions of followers a movement. He’s right, and if you want to know more about what that means, read Eric Hoffer’s 1951 classic The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements

Eric Hoffer  was a voracious reader, thinker and observer of mankind. Known as the Longshoreman Philosopher because of  the years he spent working on the San Francisco waterfront, Hoffer was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1983. Hoffer’s words are as true today as they were 65 years ago. They offer insight into the Trump movement and why we should not be surprised by it.

It is a truism that many who join a rising revolutionary movement are attracted by the prospect of sudden and spectacular change in their conditions of life. E.H.

Hoffer believed that mass movements – whether they be religious, political or cultural – have this in common:

  1. change-671371_1280Sparked by frustration and a sense of powerlessness.
  2. Belief that the world is corrupt.
  3. Hope lies in belonging to a group that demands radical change.

Mass movements do not usually rise until the prevailing order has been discredited. E.H.

The seeds of a massive anti-government movement have been sprouting for years. Following are but a few of the reasons many Americans feel powerless against a corrupt government that is not serving the best interests of the people. 

  1. Republicans vowed to block anything proposed by Barack Obama even if it was for the good of the country.
  2. Allegations against government and corporations by WikiLeaks.
  3. According to political commentator John Oliver, Congressmen spend 1/4 to 2/3 of their time raising money for their campaigns.
  4. The majority of people want Supreme Court nominee Merrill Garland to receive a hearing but Republicans insist on denying him.
  5. There have been increasing infringements on personal freedom since 9/11.
  6. The 2015 Survey of American Fears found government corruption topping the list.

And OMG, some of the things our government does we don’t even know about. Want to peek behind the curtain? See Will Potter’s website and watch his TED TalksThe Secret US Prisons You’ve Never Heard of Before and The Shocking Move to Criminalize Nonviolent Protest.

If nothing else, this political campaign has illuminated how  illogical and ripe for corruption our political process is. One delegate proudly proclaimed, “You don’t elect the president, we do.”

Is it any wonder that we have lost faith in government? Feelings of insignificance, helplessness and extreme frustration are brewing agents for a mass movement. If only someone seemingly big and formidable with magical powers would come along. Someone who promises CHANGE – fast, furious, far-reaching change. Enter Donald Trump.

donald-trump-1269307_640Those who would transform a nation or the world…must know how to kindle and fan an extravagant hope.” E.H.

People who are comfortable with the status quo seek to maintain it. But Trump’s popularity is evidence that millions of Americans are not satisfied.  And they finally have a mouthpiece. It matters not that we have no idea just how a President Trump would make America great again. There is blind faith that he will restore confidence in America, make us proud and powerful again.

“All mass movements…breed fanaticism, enthusiasm, fervent hope, hatred, and intolerance…all of them demand blind faith and single-hearted allegiance.” E.H.

Herein lies the primary difference between the Trump and Sanders movements. Each group reflects the nature of the man it follows. Contrast a reasonable, practical approach in the Sanders camp against the intolerance and angry passion that underlies the Trump movement.

The true believer is everywhere on the march, and both by converting and antagonizing he is shaping the world in his own image. E.H.

Not all Trump supporters share the same motivation and blind faith. Many people believe a businessman might be just what the country needs. Some do not see a viable Republican alternative. However, those who are driven by xenophobic fears or have crossed party lines and forsaken Democratic principles like pro-choice and marriage equality are propelled by strong emotions and idealistic but unrealistic hopes. 

seal-president-of-the-united-states-1163420_640Whether Donald Trump would make a good president, I do not know. I do believe that the self-serving nature and narrow-mindedness of many politicians gave rise to him and his movement. 

Mass movements can be dangerous. They can also usher in much-needed change. The Trump movement is yelling loud and clear: “We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore.” We ignore them at our peril.  

Do You Want Love and Happiness? Forgive.

In last week’s blog about  kindness, I suggested that our negative judgments, anger, grievances are blocking our ability to be truly compassionate and kind. The way to remove those blocks was suggested by another answer to my question: “If you could give people one piece of advice, what would it be?” Forgiveness.

We tend to think that forgiveness means giving hook-159682_640people a pass, letting them off the hook. Someone did something wrong, made a mistake, hurt you in some way. You, being the bigger, better person are going to forgive them. That is not true forgiveness. In fact, it comes not from loving kindness but from arrogance and self-righteousness.

True forgiveness is not about forgiving another person. It has nothing to do with other people except that you cease to see them through eyes of bitterness. It is about letting go of our unkind, negative, hurtful thoughts.

It has been said that holding onto resentment and grievances is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die. You may have been wronged. Your anger and grievances may be justified. But you are the one who will suffer as long as you hold onto those feelings.caught-1013600_640

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. Lewis B. Smedes

Grievances, no matter how seemingly justified, nourish and sustain pain. They release toxic chemicals in the body and brain. They can bring on illness and depression. Forgiveness sets us free. It releases the past and liberates the future. It undoes blocks in our minds and hearts that stifle the full, free flow of kindness, happiness and love.

Another respondent’s advice was, “Stay in the moment. Be present.” Grievances tie us to the past and prevent being fully aware and alive in the present. To forgive but not forget is a contradiction in terms. Forgiveness literally changes memories and feelings about the past. It is not possible to experience love and kindness when dark shadows of the past make us guarded, defensive and distrustful. Carrying pain from the past distorts thinking. If you are consciously alert and aware in the present, you will make wise choices.

We must denon-violence-1158316_640velop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Someone else suggested, “Never allow anyone to brainwash you.” Unfortunately, we are all brainwashed to some degree. The programming of our childhood, our culture, religion, the influence of the media all have an effect on us. It is counter-productive to blame them for our misperceptions or fears or attack thoughts.

I think it’s very important that you make your own decision about what you are. Therefore, you’re responsible for your actions, so you don’t blame other people.
Prince William

In the end, it is always ourselves we must forgive. We are the ones harboring thoughts and emotions that hurt us. And we are the ones responsible for letting them go.

WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS BUT WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR HOW WE REACT TO IT, WHAT IT DOES TO US.

From Healing Feelings: As Viktor Frankl explains in Man’s Search for Meaning, “…man is ultimately self-determining. What he becomes – within the limits of endowment and environment – he has made out of himself. In theholocaust-956654_640 concentration camps, for example, in this living laboratory and on this testing ground, we watched and witnessed some of our comrades behave like swine while others behaved like saints. Man has both potentialities within himself; which one is actualized depends on decisions but not on conditions.”

The decision to forgive everyone and everything every day is the certain path to happiness, kindness and love.

FORGIVENESS by Geri O’Neill
(originally printed in Make the Best of the Rest of Your Life)

They speak of reincarnation
And I wonder, if it’s so,
Perhaps our paths have crossed before
Not so very long ago.

And did I do unto your soul
What you now do to me?
And are we only working out
A debt to set us free?

Or perhaps you haven’t been here
As often yet as I;
Nor had the time to overcome
The faults that I decry.

And even in this present life
I was not at your side
To feel the things that rent your heart
And know what made you cry.

What myriad of thoughts and feelings
Knit the fabric of your being?
Am I to judge you right or wrong
On the little that I’m seeing?

There is much of life ahead,
And I have much to do.
If I would have forgiveness
I must grant it first to you.

For should I hold my grudges,
And you hold yours for me,
We bind our souls with iron links
Through all eternity.

peace-1183282_1280