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April 30, 2009

This wonderful life

A Simple Universe

Henry David Thoreau wasn’t designing inspirational jewelry when he wrote the following words, but he might well have been for the number of times I have seen the phrase repeated on bracelets, necklaces and a full variety of T-shirts, coffee cups, magnets and other vessels for slogans: Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.

See there, that’s all there is to it. Confidence. How do you live the life of your dreams? You just live it. Okay, class over. We can all go home now and start living the life of our dreams.

But wait, there is actually more to that line than that. Thoreau followed up with:

As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.* In other words, you will stop leading a ``life of quiet desperation.’’ Your perspective shifts. Pretty sweet.

*For my literary stickler friends, the oft-repeated lines above are actually paraphrased from Thoreau’s ``Walden,’’ in which he wrote: ``I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. . . . In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.’’

Since I started my bid to become more mindful and create a more mindful family at the beginning of January, my success has been mixed, to say the least. On one hand, I have been more aware of some things, both good and bad. I have beená a bit more intentional and more assertive in how I spend my time.

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