Monthly Archives: April 2009

Favourite quotes: message from Bill Gates….

This turned up as a Forward in my husband’s email recently. Normally, I delete any Forwards I receive, and never read his. However, I thought this one was worth quoting in full (I haven’t checked its provenance….):

Subject: MESSAGE FROM BILL GATES

This should be posted in all schools and work places

Love him or hate him, he sure hits the nail on the head with this!

Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a high school about 11 things they did not,

and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically

correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality

and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it!

Rule 2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect

you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You

won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had

a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about

your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are

now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and

listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you

save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try

delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS

NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as

MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and

very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF.

Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to

leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds.. Chances are you’ll end up working for one. 

Comments on this quote are welcome!

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Happiness and the healing power of Nature

This article, first published some time ago, sums up my relationship with nature. I am sure that many readers share the same need for connection to the Great Round through immersion in the natural world. Today in Glasgow, Scotland, UK it is a wonderful sunny Spring day. Celebrate it with me!

I  have a ritual which I’ve repeated for a long time now. From late February each year, I go into the Botanic Gardens in Glasgow  via the Kirklee gate entrance, stroll up the path, and have a close look at the earth border to the left. Green shoots are just appearing. I check them every week, as the stems grow taller and sturdier, and the buds fatter. There is a magic moment  in mid to late March when, at last, I see the first daffodil of Spring. Quite often, I punch the air and go “Yes!!” That moment provides a rush of pleasure which remains with me the whole day.  I call my ritual The Daffodil Run. You think I’m daft? I know it’s an important part of  what keeps me sane.

There are very few clear evening skies in Glasgow. If you’re rushing up Byres Road on the way home on one of those rare nights, especially when you cross the Queen Margaret Drive bridge, look out for a small woman standing still, gazing at the sky. That’ll be me, admiring the wonderful, fragile beauty of a new crescent  moon. Even in the city, in the increasingly hurried pattern of 21st century life, it is possible to maintain a connection to the cycles of the seasons and the rhythms of nature. It’s increasingly recognised that regular contact of this kind is an important component in establishing and maintaining the kind of inner balance and peace that promotes happiness.

One of the many advantages of living in a small country like Scotland is that access to the great outdoors is not difficult – half an hour out of Glasgow, for example, it is possible to disappear into lovely countryside and forget the existence of the city very quickly. Try it ! It doesn’t matter how stressed you are, how much angst you are carrying. A couple of hours of  tramping across the hills, often in rain and wind, focusing on nothing more complex than  where you put every footstep in order to avoid disappearing up to your waist in a bog, is guaranteed to purge out at least some of it.

Over many years of  walking, I have offered the hills both my joys and my sorrows, and  have found validation for the former and solace for the latter. In homeopathic medicine, broadly speaking, you treat an ailment with a very dilute form of the toxin which caused it. I have found the homeopathic principle works very well with bleakness of the soul or spirit. That condition can be effectively treated by choosing weather and landscape to match your mood, and immersing yourself in it for a few hours. Meeting bleakness with bleakness has a powerfully cleansing effect.

Complementary to this is the powerfully life-affirming effect that natural beauty can have.

"I am the Soul of Nature...."

"I am the Soul of Nature...."

Standing on top of a favourite hill on a sunlit day, looking at stunning panoramic views, listening to the joyous song of a skylark, feeling at one with the wind and the landscape, has on numerous occasions made me feel so glad to be alive that I have wept for joy. These experiences may fade in the face of the rigours of an average life. But if you repeat them often enough, you develop a sense of being part of the great round of nature, where joy and sorrow, youth, maturity, decline, death and rebirth all have their part. You also learn, slowly, the importance to being a happy person of being able to ” grasp the joy as it flies”, celebrate the moment, “seize the day.”

( First published in “Self & Society”(The Journal of Humanistic Psychology) (UK)Vol 27 No 5, November 1999, then http://www.innerself.com : Innerself Magazine (USA), and most recently – March 09 –  in ‘ The Drumlin’, the Newsletter of Glasgow Botanic Gardens. )

Comments on this article are welcome

 

700 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2009
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page