For Want of Open Minds

He asked my thoughts on politics
but before my mouth could move
he stormed ahead with words of dread
drowning out the room

and on he roared, a raging flood
I chose to bide my time
for it was plain enough to hear
I couldn’t change his mind

no reasoned fact, no cautious note
no plea for honesty
was going to change this zealot’s fears
about humanity

I smiled and offered my goodbye
I scarcely think he heard
for he was talking to himself
since no one else concurred

a sad day for democracy
sad for humankind
when we fail to listen with respect
for want of open minds

tio stib,
2017, 2018

You might also enjoy: Blind Man on a Bench, Almost Heaven

Commitment

Commitment, like love, is a verb.” Commitment does not exist without action.

I offer the following thoughts on “Commitment,” as much to re-inspire myself as to inspire you-

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back– Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.”

-W.H. Murray, Scottish Himalyan Expedition, 1951

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”

-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe?

GO FOR IT!

tio stib
2015, 2018

You might also enjoy: Breaking Trail, If

“Our Deepest Fear” by Marianne Williamson

I often return to Marianne Williamson’s thoughts on fear when feeling small and lost. Her words never fail to spark the light of hope within me.

tio stib

“Our Deepest Fear” by Marianne Williamson

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are born to manifest the glory that is within us. It is not within some of us, it is in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear our presence automatically liberates.” others.”

-Marianne Williamson, “A Return to Love, Reflections on the Principles of ‘A Course in Miracles’”

Breaking Trail

in winter stillness
ancient aspens watch
a chickadee flitting past
feathered music
bouncing
over infinite blue

alone
atop the buried meadow
a man paused
turned
looked back at the trampled snow
the trail of footsteps
each print a shadowed testament
to sweat falling from his brow

all he could see was white
reflected memories in a sea of snow
light’s harsh truth
stinging weary eyes

a deep sigh
a gasp of icy air
a hesitation in the heartbeat of being

a smile

he chooses life

again

tio stib

2016, 2018

You might also enjoy, If, Invictus

If, by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling, 1895

Source: A Choice of Kipling’s Verse (1943)

When I’m down and feeling sorry for myself, “If” is one of the poems I return to for inspiration. Here are YouTube links to great readings of this poem, the first  by Holly Musgrove, the second by Sir Michael Caine-

Insert video link  to Holly Musgrove 

Insert video link to Sir Michael Caine

Life is a gift and a responsibility. Let’s make the most of it!

Tio Stib

 

Jumping Off

leaning out the open door
time roars by
it’s gone
no more
I wonder what my life might be
had I the courage to jump free

behind me in the train’s cocoon
dreams fly off to distant moons
faces glued to heartless screens
joyless stares and silent screams

and so we travel every day
secure and safe or so we say
the child no longer comes to play
the status quo will have its way

will I stay an untold story
remain in hopeless purgatory
pretending that I care no more
soul crying for its need to soar

then I jumped off into space
the unknown flying in my face
It’s not clear where I will land
no matter
I am free again

tio stib

2016, 2017

You might also enjoy: Life is Like a Broken Egg, Paddling a Submarine vs. Living an Authentic Life.

Michael Moore’s “Trumpland” Explains Why Trump Won

Yes, like many Americans, I was stunned by Donald Trump’s astonishing election as the next president of the United States. No, I didn’t vote for him. His vile, bullying, and deceitful behavior during his candidacy left me both cold and embarrassed to be an American. No, I didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton either. Rightly or wrongly, I believed her to be part of an elitist political establishment that had little real concern for me or the rest of everyday America. I was an ardent Bernie Sanders supporter. Bernie is a good man, a decent human being, whose history of committed service to Main Street America, whose honesty and integrity, sparked me to political activism because I truly felt he was working for me. Sadly, Bernie didn’t make it past the Democratic Convention. Sadly, Bernie was not a real choice for president come election day. Instead, it was Clinton vs. Trump, not choices I could support. And Trump won.

This leaves me with two thoughts. First, Michael Moore saw all this coming last July. He correctly posited what would happen when what was formerly white middle class America reared up and roared it’s rage against the political establishment. He noted that this powerful elite had simply stopped listening to their constituency, and this complacency cost them dearly.

I’ve always enjoyed Michael Moore’s work, finding his voice to be insightful, compelling, and often humorous, a beacon of democratic freedom of expression and a reminder that democracy is the responsibility of each citizen.

Here’s the link to a summary of Moore’s “Trumpland” explanation of the election-

http://www.ew.com/article/2016/11/09/michael-moore-trumpland

Lastly, I must now confront my own responsibility for what is happening in America today, the divisiveness, the anger, even hatred, the polarization and tendency towards separation, all thinking and behaviors that run contrary to truly democratic process. I must push myself to pay attention, to listen with respect, to seek common ground and work for collective solutions to whatever challenges face my community, America, and the world I’m blessed to live in.

It is now, in this time of turmoil and difficulties that we each must work to be courageous, to stand for what is right, to listen with respect, to hold dear to the principles of freedom and equality that America was founded on. And we must never give up in our commitment to these ideals.

Be kind! Be strong! Be inspired!

Tio Stib