All posts by dixonl2014

Candide in 2020!

The other day, I was surprised to see that Candide by Voltaire was trending in 2020 on Twitter.  It was written in 1759 and I read it many years ago, but I chose to revisit it to see why it is currently quite the rave.  I finished it in a couple of days and took copious notes to make sure that I did not miss a beat. 

Candide is a young man who is put out of his dwelling after he is caught exchanging kisses behind a screen with Cunégonde, the master’s daughter.   He is turned out and his mentor-philosopher Pangloss travels with him as they embark upon many adventures.  Though he cannot understand why these things are happening to him, Pangloss constantly assures him that, “All is for best.”

They travel far and wide and Pangloss also tells him that “All effects have a cause.”  He sees so many horrors along the way and hears that Cunégonde and her family have been slaughtered.  As he carries on, he discovers that she did indeed survive, and his entire goal is to be reunited with his beloved.

Everywhere Candide goes, he witnesses the cruelty that men inflict upon each another.  He is baffled when he sees that some of them pray regularly while still being mean and insensitive to his fellow man.  He talks to those who have been tortured, lost body parts, enslaved and brought low by life’s circumstances.

He continually looks for the silver lining as he listens to others’ stories.  He even meets former kings, princes and sultans who have lost their positions and fortunes.  He is shocked by one prominent man who has everything but finds no pleasure in anything nor anyone.

Candide travels from France through Europe and even makes it to South America where he finally finds Cunégonde alive and still beautiful; but before they can reunite, he has to run from the authorities for a murder he had committed along the way.  They are separated again and he vows to make it back to her though she is being hotly pursued by a wealthy Argentinian.

Finally, things begin to come full circle and Candide is reunited with other loved ones that he thought had perished.  Miracles continue to happen and he again finds his beloved Cunégonde, who is no longer beautiful. Woe! 

Yet, life has altered him and his viewpoints and he has learned that, “All is for best.”  He has seen through his winding journey that the greatest evils are, “Weariness, vice and want.”  He knows that he should not sit idly by, but stay busy. He moves on as he and his new wife cultivate their own garden together!

Lynn M.

July 11, 2020

Refill!

Have you ever felt depleted or as if you just could not go on?  Did your cup fill empty with no reserve fuel in the tank?  Well, breathe and know that whatever appears to be exhausted can be refilled and refueled, so to speak.

It is like getting a free soft drink refill at a fast food place. You too can simply announce to “fill ‘er up!” Push the RE button and watch the words spew out and float all around in the air. You can be replenished, renewed, reinvigorated, and mostly reawakened to the real you.

If you had the substance to achieve it once, you can do it again.  Whatever stuff you had inside to get the other job, home, transportation, family, friends, spouse or whatever you feel you have lost, you can attract it all again. This time it will come in better and higher forms because this is the improved you that is rebuilding those dreams!

Thomas Edison reminds us, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.  The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”  So, while reinvesting in your hopes and dreams, remain inspired and know that you can do it!

As you reinvent yourself and reconfigure your outlook and ultimately your life, there will be no more moping.  Simply start coping with things as they are and before you know it, your cup will once again runneth’ over and be filled to the brim!

Lynn M.                                             July 4, 2020

Growing!

The other day I was watching the movie, The Yearling with the iconic stars, Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman.  Their only son returned home after getting lost and his father noted that he came back changed.  That is what harrowing life experiences do for us.  They alter us and adjust our viewpoints.  The son understood why his father made him kill his pet deer that had grown and become a menace after eating the family crops.

We too are growing day by day and this pandemic has forced many of us to see things in another way.  Several have matured through solving problems moment by moment.  It may be new for some to chug away at arising dilemmas all day, but others have known nothing but struggle and strife.

We may wonder why some people seem so unmoved by upheavals and others run around in a frantic fluster.  Those that appear calm know deep down inside that this too shall truly pass, for they have earned higher levels of maturity.  Like the irritations that go on inside the clam as it creates a pearl, the seemingly laidback person can sigh, “Been there. Done that.”

They know that no amount of screaming, crying, walking the floor, staying up all night nor wearing down their friends with endless tales of woe will change anything.  Sometimes others can bail us out and sometimes they simply cannot.  Some situations come to be confronted, endured, and handled. If we do not handle those problems, then they will handle us.

Over time, we will find that everything has an answer but like the boy in The Yearling, oftentimes, the change must come from within.  Wayne Dyer said, “When you change the way you look at things, things change.”  Once we alter our outlooks, we can live freer and less infringed upon by circumstances. 

At the end of Indiana, a French novel written by George Sand, I heard her message loud and clear.  I say her because Madame Dupin was the real authoress.  The protagonist had been disappointed in love but as time went on, all the bad feelings evaporated as she moved on and loved the one who was loving her.  She matured and stopped pouting about what might have been and lived life.

Maturing takes work.  It requires constant prayer, and hours of quiet reflection as we do deep soul-searching.  It takes admitting when we have been wrong in our actions or in our opinions and mostly, it takes a willingness to change.  If we can do that, then we will operate as calmer, more seasoned, mature beings who can handle whatever comes along.

Lynn M.                                       June 27, 2020

Living Again!

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I recall George Bailey’s plea, “I want to live again,” towards the end of the movie, It’s A Wonderful Life.  As I look out and see people walking, smiling and enjoying the sun, this line rings so true!

After being locked inside for over three months due to the current pandemic, people are truly living again!  They have felt stymied by the protests, looting and massive losses of lives and jobs, but they are now exhaling.

They are vibrantly living again and remembering to take no thing nor person for granted.  They better understand the meaning of the phrase, “Here today. Gone tomorrow.”  They are letting out the staleness from pent-up, cabin fever and taking in huge, happy, fresh breaths of air.

Hope is being renewed and futures are looking brighter than they have for quite some time.  Some are wearing masks and some are practicing social distancing though others are not being as vigilant.  Either way, people are moving forward and affirming “We shall remain, “as the Native Americans vowed to do.

Lynn M.                                                   June 20, 2020

When the Lion Roars!

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We often see pictures of lions that are lazily sleeping or taking a seemingly calm stroll on his turf. But when he is pushed or agitated to the limits, he lets out a mighty and earth-shaking roar.  Everyone knows that he is not only awake but disturbed and ready to take some type of action.

I recently read that a lion’s roar can be heard as many as five miles away.  This is comparable to the current unrest that we are feeling around the world.  When a cave  has been closed for a long time, its opening releases a brisk rush of newly-stirred and powerful energy.

So, here we are.  The old, eerie quiet and silence have ended.  We are hearing the loud roars and uproars of the people from all walks of life. The noise is so loud and deafening that it cannot and will not be ignored any longer.

Our greatest hope is that the lion will again take his lackadaisical snooze but that is unlikely to happen until he finds his justice and then his peace.  As stated in the Book of Isaiah, “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat.  They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.” (Isaiah 65:25)

Lynn M.                                                   June 13, 2020

 

Reopening!

Grand reopening

 

 

We have been closed for oh, so long,
Our stores, shops reopen with song.

Humming work songs as we awake,
Though George Floyd’s death made us all shake.

Brandishing, bustling, we lunge through,
Wiping tears, we speak things more true.

So good to get back in the swing,
Altered, we advance with a zing!

Lynn M.                                                    June 6, 2020

The Gift of Life!

lifeWhat do you do when you are shaking like a leaf and swaying like a palm tree? The recent events have us all reeling and looking for some solid base on which we can locate an anchor. Then we can throw it out from the turbulent waters and hope that it latches onto some steady land.

The pandemic, the loss of life and the loss of jobs have left many families unable to put food on the table. Or in some cases, others do not know how they are going to bury their loved ones. I heard a conversation the other day between two people who had lost loved ones and they were discussing costs. “Do I cremate to save money, or will we be able to raise the money for a full funeral?” This was a surreal reminder of where we are as a nation right now.

Just when we thought it could not get any worse, it does. All hell breaks even further loose when George Floyd loses his life while being played out on television through the blatant insensitivity of a few. Now we have outraged citizens and burning cities which have caused a most imperfect storm.

So, we pause, and we pray. That is the only sure way that we will get through these dark, scary, and uncertain times. History has a way of creeping up on us and repeating itself. “Those who don’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” said George Santayana. So here we are again being reminded that we did not get it. The lesson was not learned so the situation has cropped up again.

Doing business as usual does not get new results. Old formulas bring about the same ‘ole by-products. Simple. Just as we must take baby steps while businesses reopen to get our economy up and running, some of us need to take baby steps in dealing with other human beings. Slow and steady wins the race. We must mindfully place one foot in front of the other and before we know it, we have advanced a whole mile as we grow our finances and our humanness.

As we emerge from our safe cocoons of self-quarantine, we remember the beauty of the sky and the sun. We remember that nothing is promised nor owed in this life and we are reminded that many will not ever have the opportunity to see them again. We as mortals are quite dispensable at any given moment. And no, wearing a mask is not a political statement. How absurd! It is a lifesaver.

For those who did not get the childhood lesson, guess what? The Golden Rule still works. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It is a law and it creates good karma. Defy it and oh well, “May the force be with you!”

Life is a gift. It is a privilege, not a right. We should take no day nor person for granted. All sunrises and sunsets are gigantic blessings. Every soul we encounter along our paths is a precious being who could very well be an angel in disguise. They could be testing us and keeping score to see how we are handling our earthly affairs!

Lynn M.                                                            May 30, 2020

Comparisons!

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I could barely believe my luck when I located a new magazine that featured a newly published and incomplete work by Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women. I was sold on this Strand Magazine and anxiously started reading her Aunt Nellie’s Diary when I got home.

It is an account of Aunt Nellie’s observations of her orphaned niece, Annie Ellerton and her friend, Isabel Loving. She notices how the two young women interact with each other while they visit her home. She has warm and protective feelings towards Annie who is amiable, unassuming and possesses a warm heart.

Isabel, however, causes Aunt Nellie quite a bit of discomfort because she sees a darker, competitive spirit. When the dashing Edward Clifford, enters the picture, Isabel’s need for attention becomes even more apparent because he is more drawn to Annie.

The short piece reminded me of the two stepsisters in Wives and Daughters by the British author, Elizabeth Gaskell. There is the lighter cheerful Molly and her beautiful but deceptive stepsister, Cynthia. whose secret liaisons almost cost the unsuspecting Molly her reputation in their small town. Both novels were written in the mid-1800’s when life moved much slower. Onlookers had more time to observe and watch every nuance and choice that people made in their daily lives.  The authors lived on different sides of the pond, but human nature is the same.

Though Louisa May Alcott did not finish Aunt Nellie’s Diary, I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting her writings again. As it closed, I can see the naïve Annie headed for trouble as she harbors a secret about Isabel’s ties to a Mr. Herbert Ainslie. Life!

Lynn M.                                                 May 23, 2020

Remnants!

Gleaming Strand of PearlsYears ago, there was a song called, Pick up the Pieces by AWB. As we walk through the scattered debris left from the current pandemic, we must follow suit and sort through what is left behind. In Biblical times, these remnants were known as spoils.

Some soldiers were designated to go through the heaps and mounds of carnage and look for the hidden treasures.  They were often abandoned by those that took flight.

Though life may never look, feel nor be the same for many of us, we must make the most of what is still available to us. We may be facing a new frontier, but we should gather up the essentials for our survival kits and play it forward.

It is much like collecting seashells by the seashore. We may initially overlook a few but after getting on our knees and taking a closer look, we might notice the beauty in a few cracked shells. So, we brush them off and put them in our keeper bin while having a silent, aha moment.

Now that we have been forced to curtail our busyness, our grasping at straws and our hoarding, we can pause and look through our personal collections. We can more clearly see what we have already acquired and find a few gems.  They can soothe us during those quiet feelings of brokenness.

As we wash our hands, spray down our counters and distance ourselves from others, we can mindfully rinse the dirt from those items what we have around us. And just perhaps, we may have enough remnants to create a new string of pearls!

Lynn M.                                                                 May 16, 2020

 

 

 

Mothers Breathe!

pink rosesOur maternal mothers breathe as Mother Earth breathes. On Earth Day, a beautiful rainbow appeared after the smog cleared from the skies while the stay-at-home order was in effect during the pandemic.

Mother Earth sighed, “Aha.  I can breathe freely again.”  She thought. No factory smoke, no car nor truck emissions are congesting my lungs.  There are no zillions of people’s feet stomping all over me and those fewer human breaths are not polluting my already toxic air.

“Ah,” she sighs again.  “A peak into normalcy.  I had forgotten what it felt like!  I feel calm, still and reflective as I slowly rotate on axis with a natural rhythm.”

And while Mother Earth breathes and sighs with relief, so do our maternal mothers. They have been coerced to be in the same quarters with their children. In many instances, it is for the first time and now they are taking a closer look at them.

They, too, are sighing, “A-ha or ah.”  They are thinking, I never knew he laughed that way or I did not realize that she did not like noise.  They are really seeing  their children for the first and some are slowly admitting that they do not really know their own children.

There’s no school, no babysitter, no nanny, no ballet classes, nor soccer practice.  No, nothing. Nada.  They now see that, yes, he does need more help with math and yes, her handwriting does need improvement.  Or, yes, he does tend to be a wise guy and yes, she does talk all of the time.  All of those irritating messages from those batty teachers now have some merit.

So, while Mother Earth relishes her break from the madness, the maternal mothers have been reunited or introduced to the quirks, idiosyncrasies and the loving touches from those that the Creator entrusted into their care.

           Happy Mother’s Day!

Lynn M.                                                               May 9, 2020