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DailyOM – When We Don’t Take Action

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March 30, 2011
The Effect of Not Doing
When We Don’t Take Action Every action taken affects the whole as greatly as every action NOT taken.

Life is sculpted on a moment-to-moment basis. Every one of the thoughts we think, the words we speak, and the actions we take contributes to the complex quality and character of the universe’s unfolding. It simply is not possible to be alive without making an impact on the world that surrounds us. Every action taken affects the whole as greatly as every action not taken. And when it comes to making the world a better place, what we choose not to do can be just as important as what we choose to do.

For example, when we neglect to recycle, speak up, vote, or help somebody in immediate need, we are denying ourselves the opportunity to be an agent for positive change. Instead, we are enabling a particular course to continue unchallenged, picking up speed even as it goes along. By holding the belief that our actions don’t make much of a difference, we may find that we often tend to forego opportunities for involvement. Alternatively, if we see ourselves as important participants in an ever-evolving world, we may feel more inspired to contribute our unique perspective and gifts to a situation.

It is wise to be somewhat selective about how and where we are using our energy in order to keep ourselves from becoming scattered. Not every cause or action is appropriate for every person. When a situation catches our attention, however, and speaks to our heart, it is important that we honor our impulse to help and take the action that feels right for us. It may be offering a kind word to a friend, giving resources to people in need, or just taking responsibility for our own behavior. By doing what we can, when we can, we add positive energy to our world. And sometimes, it may be our one contribution that makes all the difference.

I discovered our Ball State University choral friend, Steve Workman, and his wife, Connie Ortman Workman, lived in the same community of some dear friends not associated with BSU. In fact, Steve had recently accompanied their daughter at solo & ensemble contest. This was my friend’s note regarding Steve’s funeral.

Darin, just came back from Steve’s funeral. It was beautiful, what a tribute to the man’s life. The church was packed. There were so many snifles and tears, it was the underscore of the service.

He truly touched so many lives. They left one of the altar (officiant) chairs with his vestments on it — for him.

The service was very well done. And Ball State was mentioned a few times, as well as Muncie, Indiana. Of course I thought of you.

Just thought I would share this with you.

She called “5 Horses”

This is mythical and deep.
Truly beautiful…

A man asked an American Indian what was his wife’s name.

He replied, “She called Five Horses”.

The man said, “That’s an unusual name for your wife.

What does it mean?”

The Old Indian answered,

“It old Indian Name. It mean…


Orpheus with his Lute, from Henry VIII
William Shakespeare

Orpheus with his lute, with his lute made trees
And the mountain tops that freeze
Bow themselves when he did sing.
To his music plants and flow’rs
Ever sprung as sun and show’rs
There had made a lasting spring.
Ev’ry thing that heard him play
Ev’n the billows of the sea,
Hung their heads and then lay by,
In sweet music is such art,
Killing care and grief of heart,
Fall asleep, or hearing die,
Fall asleep, or hearing die.

Orpheus with his Lute, from Henry VIII,

Written by President John Quincy Adams in 1821:

“Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force…. She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit….”

Whenever my siblings and I get together our familiar stories often return to our school days in Elwood, Indiana, mostly centering around two teachers who seemed to have a great, and lasting impact on our lives beyond Elwood Community High School – Darren Paquin (Advanced Composition) and Diana Garner (Latin).

I began my high school Latin studies in 1979 and Mrs. Diana Garner was just returning from the birth of her first child. A number of us students had Mr. Garner for math in 8th grade, and I honestly do not remember if I elected to take Latin because of his encouragement, or because I thought it might help in music. Regardless, it was a wise, wonderful choice.

Throughout my years in school, I had many teachers who had a great passion for teaching, but it would take a minimum of three teachers to match Mrs. Garner in the classroom. I owe much of my own classroom/studio energy to this teacher’s modeling. And having seen my brother, Destin, who is ten years younger than me, in action as a teacher, I assume he also absorbed Mrs. Garner’s energetic passion for sharing information, history, and life.

My high school Latin classes have served me well since graduating in 1983, and Latin has come in handy in the most unusual places of my career. How funny that a local priest would attend my directed production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, and hire me to help him and some of his cleric buddies to clean up some of their Latin!

Thanks to Mrs. Garner’s Latin classes I have been able to

  • tutor my own sons in Latin
  • share wonderful stories with my sons and students who also study Latin
  • enjoy college trips to Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Crete
  • explain to countless others why some of the auditorium seats have “backs” at Epidaurus
  • swell with pride when complimented by Italian and Greek tour guides for knowing their culture and history
  • sing Latin correctly!
  • and so much more!

My music students know the history of March 15th, and many have chosen to wear black today.

For me, March 15th, or The Ides of March as it is commonly known, is not about remembering the murder of Julius Caesar, but all about celebrating Latin, and especially, the teacher who made a “Dead Language” come to life, and continue to live nearly thirty years later!

Hail , Magistra Diana Garner! Gratias ago vos pro condita an labefactum in meus vita sic ego can labefactum alius.

Several years ago, Rev. Becky Strang suggested a site, Belief.Net, thinking I might like it. I did. With all the SBC email garbage, I relocated the site and signed up again.

I seldom take the quizzes, but this one seemed to strike me as interesting: “What religion are you?” In the box below this title, it reads, “Belief-O-Matic Knows.” I laughed, thinking it was more like one of those carnival gimmicks where you put a quarter into a machine, place your palm on the ball, and presto!

So here is my quizz…. I had to chuckle… loving nature, believing in reincarnation of the spirit, not believing in Satan, and believing more along the lines of Lutherans (grace) placed me in some wild categories.

A Personality quiz about your religious and spiritual beliefs

Your Results

The top score on the list below represents the faith that Belief-O-Matic, in its less than infinite wisdom, thinks most closely matches your beliefs. However, even a score of 100% does not mean that your views are all shared by this faith, or vice versa.

Belief-O-Matic then lists another 26 faiths in order of how much they have in common with your professed beliefs. The higher a faith appears on this list, the more closely it aligns with your thinking.

How did the Belief-O-Matic do?

1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Liberal Quakers (90%)
3. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (88%)
4. New Age (83%)
5. Reform Judaism (81%)
6. New Thought (76%)
7. Mahayana Buddhism (73%)
8. Orthodox Judaism (72%)
9. Scientology (66%)
10. Secular Humanism (63%)
11. Sikhism (63%)
12. Baha’i Faith (62%)
13. Jainism (62%)
14. Hinduism (62%)
15. Theravada Buddhism (60%)
16. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (55%)
17. Taoism (54%)
18. Orthodox Judaism (47%)
19. Islam (41%)
20. Orthodox Quaker (39%)
21. Nontheist (37%)
22. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (22%)
23. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (22%)
24. Seventh Day Adventist (16%)
25. Eastern Orthodox (12%)
26. Roman Catholic (12%)

Blaming your farts on me…..
not funny… not funny at all !!!

Yelling at me for barking.

Taking me for a walk, then
not letting me check stuff out!
Exactly whose walk is this anyway?

Any trick that involves balancing
food on my nose. Stop it!


Any haircut that involves bows or ribbons.
Now you know why we chew your stuff
up when you’re not home.

The slight of hand, fake fetch throw.
You fooled a dog! Whooooooo Hoooooooo – what
a proud moment for the top of the food chain.

Taking me to the vet for ‘the big snip’, then acting
surprised when I freak out every time we go back!

Getting upset when I sniff the crotches of your guests.
Sorry, but I haven’t quite mastered that handshake thing yet.

Dog sweaters. Hello ???
Haven’t you noticed the fur?


How you act disgusted when I lick myself.
Look, we both know the truth. You’re just jealous.


Blaming your farts on me…..
not funny… not funny at all !!!


Blaming your farts on me…..
not funny… not funny at all !!!


Blaming your farts on me…..
not funny… not funny at all !!!

Choose Something Like a Star

by Robert Frost – 1947

O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud —
It will not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light.
Some mystery becomes the proud.
But to be wholly taciturn
In your reserve is not allowed.

Say something to us we can learn
By heart and when alone repeat.
Say something! And it says “I burn.”
But say with what degree of heat.
Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade.
Use language we can comprehend.
Tell us what elements you blend.

It gives us strangely little aid,
But does tell something in the end.
And steadfast as Keats’ Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.

Right now, I am seated at my study’s desk with two pups sleeping around my feet, so close my slippers are nearly pulled off. Flyer’s blindness keeps her secluded to the boys’ room, sleeping on one of their beds, and only coming down to go to the restroom or eat. Her visually limited world feels safer upstairs. Despite the pups filling some gap, I do miss Flyer’s companionship that has accompanied me these past ten years. Logan, at almost 17 years, still has energy, and stamina, and is now sleeping on my desk with her chin resting on my forearm as I type. I am sure it must be uncomfortable, but she continues to show her love and devotion.

Chief’s primary pre-occupation is the kitchen table. The little chap finally discovered why Logan was hopping onto the table. She has a constantly filled food bowl! I have always had to set Logan’s food up because Flyer loves to eat it for her. With the cat’s food on a higher location Logan can eat throughout the day as she wishes, and a nibble here and there.

Well, Chief observed Logan hopping up on a chair pulled slightly away from the table, and quickly followed suit. Jose and I pushed the chairs up to the table. Naturally, that did not deter Chief who figured out how to push the chair back on its back two legs to create enough space. Next, Jose and I folded the chairs, stacking them against the wall on either side of the table. One chair went crashing to the floor as Chief attempted to use it as a ladder. When that failed, he decided my old swivel desk chair, which we use at the table for the three of us, would be his best route to Logan’s delicious food. This he has not yet mastered; however, I am sure he will by week’s end as this little lad loves a mission!

Navi… sigh… Navi… I think Navi needs a puppy IEP. She is small, cute, and sweet, but her Friskeys don’t go all the way to the top of the bowl. She is slower than Chief when it comes to picking up new commands, but the potty thing is still beyond her grasp. Still, she is a sweetheart, and often the one cuddled due to her impish features. Though Navi is much smaller than Chief, do not assume that he is the more aggressive one in puppy-play! Navi is the instigator, and the first to whelp when Chief gets a little too rough. She knows how to capture sympathy from everyone!

Like Flyer on her second night with me in November 2001, the pups began sleeping up near my pillow. Now, they are gravitating to the foot of the bed with Logan who must not sleep much for her watchful eye lest one of these little scalawags trespass into her personal space.

The little peeps come to lessons, and remain quite focused. My middle school and high school students, however, are reduced to teeth-chattering idiocy when they see the pups.

Twice a day, Flyer and I have our time together when I take a break from work.

The pups are a good deal of work, but if they are to fit into the Haasienda, behaving and performing as wonderfully as their older siblings, Logan and Flyer, the work’s investment will be worth it. They, too, will learn commands in English, German, and Sign Language, and will grasp the acceptable behaviors when Dad is teaching.

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March 2011
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