philosophy

Always Believe

We're almost at the end of February (sounds of cheers all round)

So I reckon it's time to get positive.

I came across this quote some years ago, but it's only recently I discovered who wrote it. 

Thanks to Dr. Sukhraj S. Dhillon, scientist and writer who among other things has written books called 'The Power of Breathing' and 'Art of Stress Free Living'. 

Happy Saturday everyone!

 

Always believe 1


Brighter Days Ahead

Sometimes less is more ... today I just want to share this thought with you!

Brighter days ahead

Thanks to my friend Lindsey for sharing this thought on Facebook the other day. Sometimes, I just need to be inspired!

Happy Monday!


What to give up

So this week we've been thinking about the start of Lent - the period in the Christian church which prepares believers for the sacrifice and celebrations of Easter.

Yesterday I ended my daily thought by asking what it was we might be thinking about 'giving up' for the 40-days of Lent. But I also asked whether instead of depriving ourselves of things we love, perhaps it might be worthwhile thinking about what we could START doing instead.

That would certainly be in the spirit of the Lenten season, when we may be setting time aside to think about our relationship with God and what might be the plan for our lives, and how we might make our world a better place all round. 

Today I share this thought with you ... I found it online on IrishAmericanmom.com 

Thanks to you, whoever you are! It's really got me thinking about how we can turn the negative into positive, not just in our actions but also in our thinking.

What-To-Give-Up


Keep Looking Up

Wisdom comes in all shapes and sizes, but not always from holy scriptures or experts who have studied to PHD level or who have all the experience in the world.

So how about this for a thought for today?

 

Snoopy keep looking upProfound eh?

And that's from a dog!

The dog is Snoopy, and if you're not already aware of it, he's the companion of a certain Charlie Brown,  a little boy who is 'loveable loser'  - he's meek, not that self-confident and is of a nervous disposition. He's pessimistic quite a lot, but also sometimes optimistic. He worries about the day and all the things around him, and other times hopes for the best and tries desperately to make good things happen.

Charlie Brown is puzzled by Snoopy and some of the slightly weird things he gets up to, but he looks after him, and does his best to provide his dog with a happy life. And in response, Snoopy is always there for Charlie when he gets let down or needs support.

I've always felt a bit of an affinity with Charlie Brown, even though he isn't a real person, but a cartoon.

He's the central character of the Peanuts comic strip created by Charles M Schulz, who died on this day - February 12th - in the year 2000.

'Peanuts' had first appeared in print in USA newspapers on October 2, 1950. It shows the world of a group of young children. Adults are barely heard, but woven into the comic strips are some very adult themes like philosophy, psychology and sociology. There's some deep stuff in Peanuts and it's characters, even things that could be interpreted as 'spiritual' if not 'religious'.

Take this Snoopy quote for example - 'Keep Looking Up... that's the Secret of Life'.

Now, as a person of faith, what I get from those words is that I need to keep looking up to the Creator, for inspiration and motivation.

In the Old Testament in the Bible, in Psalm 121, we are encouraged to look up to God for all our needs. I particularly love the translation of this psalm from The Message translation:

I look up to the mountains;
    does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains

He won’t let you stumble, your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.
Not on your life! Israel’s Guardian will never doze or sleep

God’s your Guardian, right at your side to protect you—
Shielding you from sunstroke, sheltering you from moonstroke

God guards you from every evil, he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return, he guards you now, he guards you always

Don't you love that? We're not on our own. We just need to look up, not to physical mountains, but even higher, to put our trust in God.

But the Snoopy quote an also be interpreted in a different way. If we are constantly looking DOWN, physically, we will never see the potential of what isn't yet here, what might be open to us. We will always be just concentrating on where we are, now, and not looking forward.

See what I mean? There are so many different ways of looking at life through the eyes of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the gang. Maybe you may interpret this Snoopy Saying in a way that rings true with you and your life?

The final Peanuts comic strip was published on the day after Charles M Schulz died. On February 13th 2000 the 17,897th-and-last instalment appeared in newspapers around the world.

But that wasn't the end of Charlie Brown and his world. The comic strips live on, there are TV cartoons and movies, and images of him and his quotes and those of Snoopy and the other Peanuts kids all over the internet. They are icons of our time!

Hope charlie brown

We all need friends and we all need hope if we are to live life well. 

Charlie Brown had Snoopy ... who do you have?

And are you, like Charlie, always seeking the hopeful path? 

Are you looking UP or always looking down?

Maybe worth thinking about?


 


Diamonds are Forever

'Diamonds are forever', 'Diamonds are a girl's Best Friend'. Who hasn't heard of those songs?

Just two of the most popular tunes and songs with diamonds in the title.

The sparkling gemstones are, of course, much prized and the most popular of jewels. The diamond, being a hard element, also represents steadfast love ... hence all those love songs, I guess! 

And diamonds come in all sizes. But did you know that it was on this day - January 26th in 1905 - that the world's largest diamond was discovered, in South Africa?

The Cullinan Diamond, which was 10.1 centimetres(4inches) long, 6.35cm (2.5in) wide, and 5.9cm (2.3in) deep, was discovered at a mine in Pretoria. It weighed 3,106-carats. With one carat equal to 200 milligrams, I worked out that the Cullinan weighed around 621 grams, which is 1.3lbs. That's big!

The guy who found it was a 'surface manager' at the Premier No.2 mine in Cullinan in the Transvaal Colony, which is now known as South Africa.  Lots of big diamonds had been dug out of the earth before, but this was and remains, the largest.

In those days, before social media and the like, although the news of the find went around the world, the diamond did not immediately get snapped up by a rich person. Instead, it went on display - at the Standard Bank in Johannesburg - until it was sent to London. It was a bit of a security palaver. To avoid attempted robberies, detectives apparently were set sail on a steamboat, believe to be carrying the Cullinan. They were locked in the captain's cabin to keep the diamond safe.

But this was a decoy. The diamond they were protecting was a fake, and the real Cullinan was sent to England via regular standard post, in a box. That's clever!

Yet, on arrival in England, it remained unsold. It was two years before the Transvaal Colony bought the diamond on behalf of the British King, Edward VII, for a price of £150,000 - the Bank of England inflation calculator reckons that's nearly £18,500,000 at the end of 2020. It was presented to the King on his birthday, on the 9th of November 1907.

The Cullinan was then was sent to Amsterdam for cutting. The diamond trade and industry in that city in the Netherlands goes back to the 16th century and so it was there that the experts meticulously cut the Cullinan into nine separate diamonds. Two are part of the British Crown Jewels, and the remainder are still privately owned, by the British monarch.

RingYes, diamonds are very special. I don't own any, although I do have a little ring set with a diamond chip or two - it cost substantially less than 18 and a half million pounds. More like £18 I think!

But it's pretty, and I like it!

Yet the interesting thing about diamonds, I'm sure you know, is that they don't start out as precious jewels. Even the Cullinan Diamond had to be cut, and polished, to create the exquisite and very expensive gemstones fit for the Crown Jewels.

And diamond is actually carbon ... the same element as coal. Black, hard, dirty coal which can burn to give us warmth. Not a glittering gem, but made of the same stuff.  The beauty of the diamond is made under the pressure of being created deep within the earth over billions of year. And as the solid form of carbon, diamond is the hardest of any natural material so it is used in industry as well, for cutting and polishing. It seems there's a lot more to a diamond, or even a diamond chip,  than just a sparkling ring on my finger!

The 19th century British historian, writer and polymath Thomas Carlyle is credited with saying 'No pressure, no diamonds.' 

I like that! 

We might like to have life handed to us on a plate, with little work on our behalf, but real life isn't like that. Sometimes we have to go through challenges to fulfil our dreams and reach our goals. Sometimes the pressures of life can bring us down, but often they can make us stronger.

So, today, if you're going through hard times, please believe this - beauty can come out of adversity.

Don't give up. Keep on going!

And have a great day!

 

 

World's Largest Diamond Discovered - On This Day

 


The Gift of the Present Moment

So .. this One Day @ a Time blog is my attempt to do a thought for every day of the year. 

So far, I've managed it, but 21 days does not a year make!

As I hope people will enjoy and maybe even be inspired by a daily thought, reading, poem and more, I also want to share some of the readings and people who have inspired me on a day-to-day basis.

As a Christian, I find daily inspiration in reading scripture and prayers, but there are also other publications and people to whom I also turn from time to time. 

Have you ever heard of Marcus Aurelius?  He was a first century Roman Emperor but in his lifetime he also acquired a reputation for being a philosopher, in the Stoic tradition. His renown continued after his death and even some early Christians admired him not just as a philosophic but also as a philanthropic leader. 

Today he is still known, for some 'Meditations' that he authored. Marcus book cover 2

While on a war campaign (between 170 and 180AD), Marcus wrote his Meditations in Greek, firstly as a source for his own guidance and self-improvement. Although it's not known how widely these writings were circulated during his own lifetime, they have been handed down the centuries and today they are still very popular. Just check out the internet ... there are loads of sites which include his sayings and epigrams.

Some I find difficult and even challenging, mostly because of the two thousand years or thereabouts between the authoring and my reading of them, and the contexts of the times Marcus and I were/are living through.

But some of his 'Meditations' are surprisingly 'modern' and completely up to date and perfect for the early 21st century. I bet Marcus didn't expect to be so relevant for so long when he scribbled his thoughts all those years ago!

Take this one from Book 8 of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.

Marcus quote1 (2)

This could really have been written for today, couldn't it?

We know there are lots of people who are obsessed with leaving their mark on the world, and spend every living moment thinking about the future, trying to ensure people will remember them.

Being ambitious is not a bad thing, of course, but if it is all consuming and we are always reaching for the 'next thing' and believe that the grass is always greener in the next field, maybe this prevents us from just enjoying the life we have - right now.

Even back in the first century, Marcus Aurelius seems to have recognised this trait of human nature.

And his advice is as sound today as it was all those years ago.

'Give yourself a gift: the present moment'

Today I'm going to try to do that. Moment by moment. To appreciate what I have, not worry about the things I do not have. Not being concerned about what people might think of me, or say about me. 

Just to breathe in the joy of life. Right now! 

#