Five references to feed your thoughts…

© Gail Boenning 2018

This morning after waking, I had choices — an abundance of choices. What should I make for breakfast? Where should I walk my dog? Do I shower before or after? What should I wear? What will occupy my mind while I’m eating oatmeal alone at the kitchen table?

1.) I chose to read my Blinklist free daily. Today’s featured book was A River in Darkness by Masaji Ishikawa, a man who had very few choices. In under ten minutes, I read the summary of Ishikawa’s life experience. As a child in the early 1950s, his family left Japan — along with about 2000 other Japanese.

With the promise of a better life, they emigrated to North Korea. Ishikawa details an immediate sense of what have we done when his family arrived in North Korea. His family’s story is what nightmares are made of — intimidation, starvation and constant fear. It was forty years before the author made his escape across the river into China — an escape most North Koreans would never attempt.

Talk about a grounding read.

I am among the luckiest people on earth.

2.) From Albert Einstein:

From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that we are here for the sake of each other — above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.

3.) Earlier in the week, I’d read the short story below in a Forbes article on leadership:

In pre-Revolutionary Russia a priest was confronted by a soldier as he walked down a road. Aiming his rifle at the priest, the soldier demanded: “Who are you? Where are you going? Why are you going there?” Unfazed by the sudden interrogation, the priest replied with a question of his own: “How much do they pay you?” Somewhat surprised, the soldier answered, “Twenty-five kopecks a month.” After a thoughtful pause, the priest said, “I have a proposal for you. I’ll pay you fifty kopecks a month if you’ll stop me here every day and challenge me to respond to those same three questions.”

4.) From a tea bag of all places!

Live light, travel light, spread the light, be the light.

5.) And finally, excerpted from The Angel and the Pier by White Feather, I’m reminded that adversity is a tool for growth:

“Those two boys who pushed you in the water were showing you something. If you need to be pushed someone will come along to push you. Do not fear the waters of humankind.”

These five wonderful, albeit unruly messages, have failed to gel into proper stories. Sometimes that happens I guess.

What I can say is that these references form a scaffold for who I want to be: grateful, giving, self-aware, light and brave.

Too many ideas make for a shaken soda can in my brain. Nothing good can come of it — just a sticky mess. So I’ve slightly loosened the lid, allowing a few to escape here.

They are ideas worth sharing — story or not. :)

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store